Sanctuary Wildlife Service Award to Hyderabad Based Conservationist Imran Siddiqui
- India’s most prestigious Award has been awarded to Hyderabad Based Conservationist Imran Siddiqui- He Monitors tiger in 10,000 sq km including Nagarjunasagar Srisailam, Amrabad and Kawal Tiger Reserves and Corridors connecting to Tadoba and Tirupati Forests; He played Key role in declaration of Kawal Tiger Reserve; Imran is member in various committees including State Board of Wildlife For Telangana; He has conducted 72 workshops covering 2400 frontline staff
Mumbai: Imran Siddiqui of the Wildlife Conservation Society – India has been honoured with the prestigious Sanctuary Wildlife Service Award 2018. Imran Siddiqui has come a long way from raising and selling poultry to fund his wildlife obsession. He is now on the Telangana State Board for Wildlife and works as an external expert for tiger monitoring in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. He is also the Assistant Director for Conservation Science at WCS-India, and the
co-founder of the Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HyTiCoS).
As his life and work reveal, Imran has no respect for man-made boundaries, much like the wildlife he’s so obsessed with. Traversing the rugged landscape of Kawal, Amrabad and Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserves and the Gundlabramheswaram Sanctuary, he works in tandem with state forest departments and local communities. He covers 10,000 sq km of wilderness in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, with his crew of over 35 field staff, 300 volunteers and hundreds of supporters.
Taking a cue from the success of WCS-India in Karnataka and extending it to the neighbouring Telugu states, he leads scientific surveys on prey analysis and occupancy surveys on mammals. He also helps in management planning, engages in snare removal drives, initiates voluntary relocation programmes for forest dwellers, facilitates capacity building workshops for the forest department and influences policy through public interest litigations, high-level committees, community engagement, strong advocacy and creating a political will on wildlife.
His efforts have resulted in the speedy disbursal of compensation, besides the initiation of the relocation of landless tribals who live within the two tiger reserves of Kawal and Amrabad.
Imran is also largely credited for the declaration of the Kawal Tiger Reserve (where he conducted the fieldwork for his Masters dissertation). For this, he had to lobby relentlessly at the political level as well as work tirelessly on the ground to counter misinformation spread by vested interests, and finally win the support of local communities.
In 2001, Imran and his brother Asif Siddiqui founded the HyTiCoS (Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society) mobilising a group of enthusiastic volunteers for the conservation of tigers and other wildlife in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh region.
After working extensively in the central Indian tiger conservation landscape for almost a decade, Imran soon found the need for a rigorous training rooted in science to pursue the career of a conservation biologist. He was subsequently selected for the WCS-NCBS Masters Program in Wildlife Biology and Conservation. After obtaining the degree in 2010, he explored collaborating with different NGOs before joining the WCS India Program to lead tiger conservation efforts in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
With his core skills in field surveys and GIS tools, Imran sees the imperative need to build local capacity of the frontline Forest Department staff and other civil society stakeholders to carry out effective conservation and conducted over 72 workshops covering around 2400 frontline staff in past 18 years.
“In addition to his technical expertise, Imran uses his strong liaisoning skills to motivate media groups, lawyers, political leaders and the general public for the conservation of tigers and their habitats. These skills always help in effective conservation,” said Ms Prakriti Srivastava, Director, WCS India Program.
He works closely with local communities in both the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, to win their support for conservation, without compromising on their livelihood security. To ensure this, he liaises with the government agencies on a fair and well-compensated voluntary relocation program sponsored by the government. The Sanctuary Wildlife Service Award 2018 is a testimony of his untiring efforts to save wildlife and wild places.