World Female Ranger Award

Our pioneering World Female Ranger Award gives international recognition to a female wildlife ranger who has shown exemplary service and commitment to conservation.

Congratulations to our 2022 winner, Purnima Devi Barman, Founder of Hargila Army, India. ❤️ 🇮🇳 "I’m humbled, honoured, and excited to receive the World Female Ranger Award 2022" says Purnima.

Applications for 2023 are now open!

Apply here!

Our 2022 winner is...

Purnima Devi Barman.

A conservationist, biologist and founder of the Hargila Army, India.

Purnima Devi Barman is changing people’s perceptions of the Greater Adjutant Stork. Often referred to as a disease-carrying pest, an ugly, filthy bird or a bad omen, Purnima and her ‘Hargila Army’ have helped turn this bird into a cultural icon in Assam, India. Purnima built the Hargila Army from small beginnings, now a team of over 10,000 women working together to protect the critically endangered Greater Adjutant Stork. They keep a strict vigil on the nests as habitat loss, poaching and poisoning are all significant threats to the bird. Purnima also built the world’s first artificial breeding platform where chicks can hatch safely to address the birds’ shrinking habitat problem. In addition, Purnima believes she has fostered pride in the rare stork by associating positive festivities with the bird. 

“Today many women join because it is a matter of prestige to be a part of the Hargila Army”​​​​​​, says Purnima.

Our 2021 winner was...

Caren Yegon Cheptoo.

A Maasai woman and a female wildlife ranger employed by the Mara Elephant Project (MEP), Kenya.

She was noted as a "top 1%" recruit and is now leading the Sheldrick Trust Mau De-Snaring Unit in the Mau Forest in Kenya to combat illegal logging and bushmeat poaching. ​​​​​​Since June 2020, Caren's team have arrested 90 suspects for unlawful habitat destruction, destroyed 17 kilns, confiscated 56 bags of charcoal and 4,311 illegal posts, trees or timbers. They've also arrested eight suspects for bushmeat poaching and removed 182 snares and seized 39 kg of bushmeat.

"MEP is extremely honored that Caren is the inaugural recipient of the World Female Ranger Award. Caren alongside the entire MEP ranger team all received an end-of-year bonus for this accolade. Thank you to World Female Ranger Week for acknowledging our rangers important work.".

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