Vivek Menon, Senior Advisor to the President CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare and ED CEO, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), is the first wildlife conservationist to be nominated for the Inspiring Innovators award by The Economist Magazine. He joins 14 other talented innovators from across the globe, which includes heavyweights like Steve McCurry, Jesse Owens, Naomi Klein, Aamir Khan, among others.

The nomination is particularly significant in drawing the attention of top international business leaders to the plight of Asian elephants in India and the possible solutions to resolve human elephant conflict. He was nominated by British model and actress Lily Cole for his work on restoring corridors to safeguard the traditional migration routes of elephants that have been unfortunately, over the years, victims of development.

The Economist recognises these talented individuals through annual innovation awards, now in their 14th year. Accordingly, nominations for outstanding innovators are listed under seven categories: bioscience; computing and telecommunications; consumer products; energy and the environment; process and service innovation; social and economic innovation; and a special “no boundaries” category for innovations that do not fit into any of the other categories.

Vivek Menon has spearheaded WTI to identify 100 such corridors across India for Project Elephant of Government of India. Over the past decade WTI along with its partners has assisted the State Forest Departments to secure crucial elephant corridors in Kerala, Karnataka, Meghalaya and are in the process of securing more corridors. 

“It is a personal dream to see each and every corridor secured for these magnificent yet endangered animals,” Vivek Menon said. I hope this recognition by The Economist not only takes the message to the masses many of whom might not be aware of elephant ecology but also sparks the interest of corporate India to partner in this mammoth project.”

WTI as the implementing partner in the Asian Elephant Alliance is mobilising support from corporate India. The project gets added teeth through Vivek Menon’s recent appointment as Chair of the IUCN Asian Elephant Specialist Group.

The plight of the endangered Asian elephant and its need for space was the raison d’être of the Asian Elephant Alliance formed with the objective of raising crucial funds to help secure 100 elephant corridors  in India.

The Alliance that saw International Fund for Animal Welfare and its partner Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) join hands with international charities Elephant Family, World Land Trust and IUCN Netherlands, faces the mammoth task of mobilising resources and influencing policy to reduce human elephant conflict, thus enabling peaceful co-existence of animals and humans.

The winner of the inaugural ‘Inspirations’ award was announced in The Economist’s November/December issue. The competition was fierce and the winner was Celia Greenwood, the founder of the WAC Arts, the performing arts school and charity in London.

Vivek will be joining three other nominees in giving a talk to guests at the dinner celebrating the award and the ‘Inspiring Innovators’ supplement on January 26th, 2016.

–RG

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Article source: IFAW

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