Onkuri Majumdar
Onkuri showing evidence, Alaungdaw Kathapa Pagoda, Myanmar Author: Alaungdaw Kathapa (c) Freeland

Onkuri Majumdar


protecting earth’s most at risk

meet onkuri

A wildlife conservationist focusing on ending wildlife trafficking by training and supporting governments and the private sector, Onkuri has provided investigative support to law enforcement through analysis and intelligence gathering on tiger, pangolin, ivory, and exotic pet trafficking syndicates. She is currently working on a smartphone application with information on 600+ trafficked species for use by border and transport officials and the general public. Onkuri strongly believes that wildlife and nature have a right to thrive, and should not have to ‘pay’ for their continued existence by being useful to humans.

protecting earth’s most at risk
Nominated by: Damien Leloup FI'10
Class of 2021 Location India
Author: Alaungdaw Kathapa (c) Freeland

My work has focused on wildlife crime, and my stakeholders have been government officers and corporations, since private individuals typically do not have the power to act against criminals. An im- portant facet is to ensure that people mandated with stopping wildlife trafficking are informed and trained. My experience with hands-on training for forest and police officers, and airline and bank employees, opened my eyes to how inadequately many of them are trained to even recognize wildlife trafficking, let alone stop it. Over a career spanning nearly 20 years, I have trained over 900 officials in Asia and Africa.

I love the experience of being in the field, embedded with an agency in a national park or at a training academy, training on investigation techniques and learning unique challenges. Often I’ve received feedback that the training has changed careers by learning effective techniques. We have seen agencies take down international syndicates and seize their assets, repatriate live animals, and upgrade legislations to strengthen nature protection laws.

“I hope for a future when the right of wildlife to thrive simply because they exist is recognized universally.”

- Onkuri Majumdar

Ultimately, I would like to involve more people in wildlife conservation, and therefore we have been expanding a smartphone application that allows anyone to identify and report wildlife trafficking. The more people who feel invested in nature protection, the safer our world gets.

My overall hope is that through my work and resulting media stories, there may ultimately be a sea change in how people see the natural world. Currently, the attitude (even among many conservationists) is that nature must justify its right to existence by being useful to humans via environmental services or commercial exploitation. I hope for a future when the right of wildlife to thrive simply because they exist is recognized universally.

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