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City environmentalist gets state award

Visakhapatnam: This young environmentalist from the city has received the biodiversity conserver’s award from the state government on Sunday, especially for her work towards wildlife and mangroves conservation. She is also one of the 25 persons selected across the globe for the prestigious Darwin scholarship this year by the United Kingdom. Meet Aparna Surampudi, a research scholar in Andhra University.

Aparna was given the biodiversity conserver’s award by the state minister for forest, science and technology B Gopala Krishna Reddy in Tirupati. “The award came in recognition of my works in three villages near Koringa Wildlife sanctuary, especially towards mangroves conservation. Aparna has also been enthusiastically researching on the Eastern Ghats Wildlife – the flora and fauna.”

“I am from Andhra Pradesh which is the home to the Eastern Ghats hill ranges and houses innumerable species of flora and fauna but largely been unexplored till date. I am working in the field with local communities towards promoting education and awareness among them about community-based biodiversity conservation initiatives and in the field of wildlife conservation for the past six years, especially with regards to the threatened and endangered bird species. A variety of human-wildlife conflict issues are also on the rise across the range of Eastern Ghats and there is a need to build local capacity especially among rural communities who co-exist with wildlife outside the protected reserves.”

Being a field scientist, Aparna has been involved in a variety of biodiversity monitoring programmes and simultaneously pursuing her doctoral degree (Ph.D) in the department of environmental sciences, Andhra University. “My research work focuses on coastal sand dune ecology, biodiversity, conservation and management. As part of this work, I am monitoring and analysing the vegetation and observation of micro and macro fauna and doing awareness programmes on the importance of coastal sand dunes to fishermen community. Apart from this, I am also involved in Joint Community Forest Management Works (JCFMW) and preparation of biodiversity documentation of indigenous and traditional value of plant and animal species,” added Aparna.

Aparna has the work experience in biodiversity assessment of migratory avifauna in Kondakarla Ava Lake, the second biggest fresh water lake in AP. Now, she is working with the Indian Institute of Bio-Social Research and Development (IBRAD) as project officer to understand the existing mangrove ecosystem habitat, identify the impact of human induced activities on mangrove forest ecosystem and develop restoration strategies of the entire mangrove community.

“I have also been working with Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society to conserve small wild cats in AP and leading the Vizag Bird Watchers Society to document the avifaunal diversity in the region. And I recorded 113 coastal sand dune flora and also 187 avifaunal diversity in coastal area of Visakhapatnam,” averred Aprarna.

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