In a first for India, a female forest officer from Odisha, Sasmita Lenka has been felicitated with United Nation's Asia Environmental Enforcement Award.
Lanka, who is a divisional forest officer in Athgarh, Cuttack, received the award under the 'Gender Leadership and Impact' category for her work in help in busting pangolin smuggling rackets in the state.
Lenka has helped in busting an international network of pangolin in Athgarh and Khunnpunni.
"We have seized three pangolins, including a dead one, and arrested 28 smugglers. The pangolins were being supplied to China, Vietnam, and Myanmar for black marketing...I'm glad my work was noticed. But it'll only stop once the pangolin is saved from extinction," Sasmita, who is now posted as deputy conservator of forest in the Bhubaneswar district headquarters, said.
She also conducted many awareness campaigns among locals about the illegal trade of pangolins.
To bust the racket, she offered a reward of Rs 10,000 for information about suspects. "Residents across 30 villages reached out with information. The initiative received a huge response, and we took action against several criminals based on this information," Lanka said.
She said the majority of locals were not aware that pangolins exist in the vicinity, but awareness about the mal and strict action taken by the administration helped change the people's mindset.
( With inputs from ANI )
Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor