Young Naturalist Awards (2013)
Rahul Kumar Rahul became involved with the Vikramshila Biodiversity Research and Education Center, Bihar, a group that protects dolphins in the Ganges river as it flows past his home-town, Patna. Exposed to the socioeconomic realities of the fishing community and to the insensitive river management policies, he began work on a project titled ‘Dolphin Mitra’ or Friends of the Dolphins earlier this year. The project seeks to involve fishermen in the task of monitoring and protecting the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary. He knows it’s a long road ahead, but a start has already been made by a network of vigilant fishermen who are working within their own community to usher in safer practices that are sensitive to the needs of dolphins.
In October this year, Rahul won the global Wilder World Challenge, and was invited to present his work at the 10th World Wilderness Congress (WWC) held in Salamanca, Spain. Disappointed by the lack of cohesive groups or channels for young persons in Bihar to tackle hardcore wildlife conservation issues, he created a network of people whose unity he uses to push for conservation action. Their combined efforts have exposed cases of corruption and illegal wildlife trade in different regions of Bihar. Rahul has also been fighting against the illegal extraction of snake venom and the trade in snakes using snake charmers as a cover. Rahul Kumar represents a new breed of young conservationists impatient to right wrongs and willing to go to extraordinary lengths to protect wild species by tirelessly campaigning to create a wilder world.
For this, we honour him.