Nagaland Conservationist Y Nuklu Phom awarded Whitley Award 2021


Nagaland Conservationist Y Nuklu Phom was named the winner of ‘Whitley Awards 2021‘,  also known as the Green Oscar, donated by MAVA Foundation on May 12, 2021 for his efforts in establishing a biodiversity peace corridor in Nagaland.

He was among the seven conservationists from across the world who were recognised with the Whitley Award honour for working with communities in their home countries, leading grassroots action to benefit wildlife, habitats and people.

Y Nuklu Phom was the only Indian to win the prestigious annual award this year after a gap of three years. The Whitley Awards are conferred to individuals from the Global South by UK-based charity the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN)—this year.

Yanthungo Patton, Deputy Chief Minister of Nagaland tweeted congratulating Nuklu Phom for winning the prestigious Whitley Award. 

State Minister for Health & Family Welfare of Nagaland S Pangnyu Phom also congratulated Nuklu Phom for winning the Whitley Awards 2021. He tweeted saying that his hard work, commitment & tireless effort in establishing a biodiversity peace corridor has been recognized & has brought laurels to all of us.  

Key Highlights 

•With his Whitley Award, Y Nuklu Phom along with his team will create a network of community-owned forests, to fortify the rich biodiversity and culture of Nagaland.

•The Biodiversity Peace Corridor in Nagaland will now be expanded to incorporate 16 villages across four districts. 

•His team will ensure that the area supports both biodiversity and livelihoods by switching to sustainable and non-extractive land-use practices. 

•This will help unite some of India’s economically constrained communities through a common cause. 

•Nuklu along with his team also aims to revive the tribal education system and enable elders to teach traditional knowledge to the younger generation. 

Conservation of Amur Falcons 

•Amur Falcons migrate to Nagaland every year and they are important bio-control agents, as they protect the crops by keeping termite numbers in check. 

•However, people have recently started hunting and selling the Amur falcons in large numbers, with almost 14,000 falcons killed annually in one village alone.

•Nuklu and his team aim to stop the hunting of the Amur Falcons and want to offer alternatives that engage communities in conservation using the Amur Falcon as a flagship. 

•The project had begun in 2007 and currently, three reserves have been set aside and the number of roosting falcons has risen dramatically.

•Around 50,000 Amur Falcons were roosted in 2010, which increased to around 1,000,000 in 2019 due to Phom’s initiatives.

Key Actions

1. Y Nuklu Phom and his team will establish 16 community conservation areas as part of a Biodiversity Peace Corridor spanning 200km2.

2. They aim to stop hunting, dynamite fishing, logging and slash-and-burn cultivation in the reserves and instead provide eco-friendly alternatives to allow forest regeneration.

3. They also aim to train villagers for sustainable land use including fruit orchards, piggeries and ginger production, which will in turn benefit 4,000 households.

4. They also aim to initiate conservation efforts for the Amur Falcon as a flagship species and monitor its roosts and document the area’s biodiversity.


The state of Nagaland has the highest rate of unemployment in India due to its history of inter-ethnic conflict, struggle for independence and a lack of job opportunities from the government.

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