Jumbo Fund, instituted by cricketer Anil Kumble's Kumble Foundation, on Monday launched its activities by presenting the first Jumbo Wildlife Awards to temporary watchers, foresters, wildlife biologists and retired forest officers and civil servants to recognise their efforts to protect wildlife and forests.

Jumbo Wildlife Awards is to recognise and reward the dedication, commitment and courage of personnel from all ranks of the Karnataka Forest Department, NGOs, scientists, officials from the civil service cadres and even members of the public.

The awards will be presented annually.

The awards were given in the following five categories — Foot Soldier of Karnataka: Basavaraja (45), temporary watcher, N. Begur Range, Bandipur National Park; R. Venkatesh, (43), Forester, Aldur Range, Chikmagalur; and Shivappa Thayappa Hosamani (26), Forester, Anechoukur, Wildlife Range, Nagarhole National Park.

Exemplary Range Forest Officer: K.T. Boraiah (38), RFO, Kollegal Wildlife Range, BRT Wildlife Sanctuary; and V. Devraj (42), RFO, Srirangapatna, Mandya.

Wildlife Leadership Award: K.S. Lokesh, Field Coordinator, Nagarhole National Park.

Exceptional Applied Conservation Scientist: Ajay Desai, wildlife biologist.

Outstanding Civil Servant: S.G Neginhal, retired IFS Officer; and K.H. Gopala Krishne Gowda, Commissioner, Watershed Development Department and ex-Officio Secretary, Agricultural Department.

C.H. Vijayashankar, Minister for Small Scale Industries and Forests, spoke.

Many cricketers from India and New Zealand, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director, Biocon Group; Meera C. Saksena, Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner, I.B. Srivastava, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, were present.

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