Ajjinanda Thamoo Poovaiah
Wildlife Service Awards (2010)
Ajjinanda Thamoo Poovaiah is a wildlife protector, businessman, activist and conservationist. Unable to stomach the devastation that unchecked tree felling was having on the Kodagu district of Karnataka, Poovaiah put together a network of local residents to fight against the all-powerful timber mafia 15 years ago. In the process he discovered to his dismay that there was a nexus between criminals and some forest officials. Under the banner of the Kodagu Ekikrana Ranga, Poovaiah and his team worked tirelessly to bring the accused to justice. In 2003, when he saw the same scam being perpetrated in Nagarahole, he worked to expose a six crore timber racket around a World Bank project that was stripping the forest. Pooavaiah subsequently co-founded an organisation called ‘Living Inspiration for Tribals’ or LIFT, to enlist locals into conservation by finding them employment in the Forest Department and helping those who opted for voluntary relocation out of the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve.
He has protected the forests of Kodagu against all odds. This is why we have honoured him.