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Whitley Conservation Award Continuation Grant


Whitley Fund For Nature supports BNHS Marine Biodiversity Conservation Programme at Andaman-Nicobar

Dr. Deepak Apte receives Continuation Grant for marine conservation

Mumbai: 2 July: The UK-based Whitley Fund For Nature is now supporting BNHS India’s maring biodiversity conservation programme in Andaman and Nicobar islands, India. Dr Deepak Apte, Chief Operating Officer, BNHS has been awarded the Continuation Funding grant for developing Giant Clam species recovery plan and identifying potential sites for marine conservation reserves in Andaman and Nicobar islands. Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India has also provided Rs 27 lakh to BNHS for the giant clam studies in Andaman.

Earlier, in 2008, Dr Apte was honoured with the Whitley Conservation Award by Shears Foundation for outstanding work in the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) of Lakshadweep, India. Moreover, India has a two-year presidency for Convention on Biological Diversity, starting from COP-11, which took place in Hyderabad in October 2012 and considers marine and coastal biodiversity as one of the priority areas. Thus, the BNHS Andaman-Nicobar Programme starts off at an appropriate time and is in line with the AICHI Targets of CBD COP.

About the grant

The grant was awarded to Dr Apte in June 2013. After rigorous review and discussion, Whitley Fund confirmed the award of £70,000 (about Rs 63 lakh) for the two year programme. Commenting on the occasion, a representative of Whitley Fund said that they are happy to be a part of the BNHS plan to scale up the successful earlier MPA model to Andaman and Nicobar islands and to create a national Giant Clam species recovery plan.

BNHS Andaman-Nicobar Programme

Under the Andaman-Nicobar Programme, BNHS aims to establish baseline data for both; Giant Clam population ecology as well as establishment of profound understanding of the social fabric of these islands. This will be done by way of undertaking social and natural resource use mapping. Simultaneously, BNHS also aims to arrange national legal consultation to identify gaps in existing conservation reserve policies. This data will form strong scientific basis to be fed into the national species recovery plan for Giant Clam. Giant Clam is an endangered species of clam found in the tropical coral reefs, including Indian waters. All the species of giant clams are protected under Schedule 1 of Wildlife Protection Act

Marine Conservation Programme by BNHS

BNHS under the leadership of Dr Apte has been conducting research and conservation activities regarding various aspects of marine life all along India’s coastline for over a decade. This includes study of Giant Clam and coral reefs, Molluscan Taxonomy, other marine fauna, mangroves, tidal creeks and flora and fauna of inter-tidal habitats. Currently regions covered by BNHS for this work include Gujarat, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep and Andaman-Nicobar.