Purnima Devi Barman

Director of Species Restoration & Community Climate Education

Purnima Devi Barman is a wildlife biologist from Assam, India. She is the founder of the Hargila Army, an all-female conservation initiative protecting the greater adjutant stork (Leptoptilos dubius), known locally as the Hargila. In 2022, she was awarded the Champions of the Earth Award in the Entrepreneurial Vision category, UN’s highest environmental honour. In 2017, Purnima was the recipient of both the Whitley Award for her conservation efforts and the Nari Shakti Puraskar, the highest civilian award for women, presented by the President of India.

The Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN), a UK charity, has honored Dr. Purnima Devi Barman from India with the esteemed 2024 Whitley Gold Award for her exceptional efforts to save the Greater Adjutant Stork, affectionately called Hargila. Under her dynamic leadership, the stork population in Assam has quadrupled to over 1,800. Her innovative campaign now involves over 20,000 women across various regions.

Purnima is associated with Aaranyak, a leading wildlife NGO based in Guwahati, Assam, as a senior project manager of the Avifauna Research and Conservation Division. She also leads the Women in Nature (WiNN) chapter in India, is a TEDx speaker and was featured by National Geographic India.