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Belinda Wright

Belinda Wright

Belinda Wright has dedicated her life to wildlife conservation, not just in her capacity as Founder and Executive Director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), but because of her own drive and volition. Photo Credit: Ramki Sreenivasan.

Month Year: December 2012

Lifetime Service Award

Wildlife guardian, visionary conservationist, fearless crusader

Born in Kolkata, this warm-hearted conservationist is the Founder and Executive Director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). A dyed-in-the-wool wildlifer, she is a renowned tiger conservationist and wildlife campaigner, who has pioneered investigations into the illegal wildlife trade in India, Nepal, Bhutan and China. She has also organised hundreds of wildlife enforcement and anti-poaching workshops and skill shares for a range of professionals including Forest, Police and Customs officials. She helped discover and expose the trade in shahtoosh and its connection with the tiger bone trade, tracked tiger skins from India to the Tibetan plateau, and has worked to stop the slaughter of sea turtles off the coast of Odisha and the poaching and electrocution of wild elephants.

Daughter of the indomitable Anne Wright (Sanctuary Vol. XXXII, No. 4), a wildlife activist whose work spans half a century from the 1960s, she virtually grew up in the Kanha National Park, where her father, the late Bob Wright, and Anne set up a home to be with and protect the wild animals the family so loved.

Passion for the tiger and the natural world runs deep in her veins. A prolific writer, she has been a wildlife photographer and documentary filmmaker forNational Geographic for nearly two decades, having worked on more than a dozen wildlife films. The 1984 documentary, ‘Land of the Tiger’, produced by Stanley Breeden and her, won two Emmy Awards and 14 other major international awards. She founded WPSI in 1994 to draw attention to the precipitous decline in India’s wildlife. Working behind the scenes, often in disguise and posing as a buyer or trader, she has frequently placed her life at risk. Today WPSI is a vital source of intelligence and information on the national and global illegal wildlife trade with a wildlife crime database with details of nearly 22,000 cases. It is arguably one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the world.

Her dedication and drive has seen her appointed, down the years, to several State Wildlife Advisory Boards and the National Board for Wildlife from 2007 to 2010. She is currently an Honorary Wildlife Warden of NCT Delhi, a member of the IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group, an Honorary Trustee of the International Crane Foundation, a Patron of the Indian Chapter of The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA), and an Ashoka Senior Fellow. And to cap it all she has been decorated with the OBE by the Queen of England “for the protection of wildlife and endangered species in India.”

By any measure, this is an extraordinary woman of exceptional talent, whose life has been devoted to the protection of wild nature.

For this, we honour her.

Belinda Wright has dedicated her life to wildlife conservation, and has pioneered investigations into the illegal wildlife trade in India, Nepal, Bhutan and China. She has helped to expose the trade in shahtoosh and its connection with the tiger bone trade, by tracking tiger skins from India  to the Tibetan plateau. Courtesy: WPSI/EIA.

First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol XXXII No. 6, December 2012.

 
 
 

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Jai Singh

September 30, 2014, 07:45 PM
 KUDOS to Belinda Wright, I don't know her personally but I have read about her and seen her on TV, and any Wildlife Activist is a kin of another Wildlife Activist by virtue of Similar Thinking..
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Nirmal Ghosh

September 30, 2014, 01:49 PM
 I have had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Belinda since I was around 8 or 10, maybe even earlier. Our parents were close friends. She is a force of nature and an inspiration. We owe her - and her mother Anne - a truly extraordinary debt. It is certain that wildlife conservation efforts in India would NOT have achieved what they have, if not for them. No doubt about it. - Nirmal Ghosh
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Environment conservation Group

September 30, 2014, 01:38 PM
 She has been an inspiration for many people including me. Hats off to her ardent effort in curbing wildlife trade and wildlife conservation. - Saleem, Coimbatore