Manoj Gautam is a passionate animal welfare campaigner working tirelessly – alone and in partnership with organisations – confronting Nepal’s illegal wildlife trade. He has led over 200 confiscation missions to rescue thousands of animals from traffickers. Also, he has worked undercover to expose cruelty to elephants. Beside of all this, Manoj sees that, while fighting for the environment or for animals, sometimes people forget to have respect and compassion for human beings. Coming from a rural farming background, Manoj has a good perspective on what’s important in communities.
Vision and Approach
The Gangetic river Dolphin is one of the oldest creatures in the world. One of the last viable populations lives in the Karnali river in Nepal. The local communities around the Karnali watershed rely on a healthy aquatic ecosystem for their livelihoods. Taking the Gangetic river dolphin as a flagship for the entire ecozone, Manoj is working on creating a robust community stewardship system that enables the local communities to enjoy the agency over the river management and protection while they fulfill the responsibility of the protectors and managers of the river health and biodiversity relying on the river.
Impact of the Future For Nature Award
“I think of the Future For Nature Foundation as my hidden power. They have boosted my morale by recognising my work and they are one of the guardians of my work. It gives me a firm faith in true visionaries who care about tomorrow and have found a way of serving the nature of tomorrow in their own way.” – Manoj Gautam
- The Future For Nature Award has helped Manoj strengthen his vision, restructure his plans and made him dare for more and dream bigger.
- Manoj has been able to harness further financial support to invest in the creation of a network of the local villagers eager to unite for stewardship on the protection of the river that is susceptible to various destructive commercial activities including invasive big hydropower project.
- A movement of the local people in the protection and conservation of the river and its life form is brewing in the Karnali watershed region which received a huge boost with the help of FFN awards.
- Also, a new initiative to support the important conservation projects being led by young conservationists like the winners of FFN awards is also in the development phase and Manoj has been working together with his cohorts from FFN award winners to bring the initiative into existence. Manoj takes FFN as his extended family, a go-to for support and expert pool which gives him an added strength in his endeavors.
“Manoj Gautam is truly a conservation hero with a broad interest in protecting the wildlife of Nepal. At his young age, he has already initiated and succeeded in several very important initiatives: Nepal’s first Animal Welfare and Protection Act, Roots&Shoots (providing community involvement and youth education), Vultures Restaurants, and the prevention of commercial trade and exploitation of animals. Manoj is always on his mission.” – 2015, Masha Vorontsova, International Selection Committee