Fellow Since 1998
Centre for Herpetology
This profile was prepared when Harry Andrews was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Harry Andrews is demonstrating how to make needed changes in the implementation of environmental protection programs in India. In earlier work with the Madras Crocodile Trust, he played a key role in the development of crocodile farming that has helped to preserve that threatened animal. Now, using the "flagship species" principle as one of his strategies, Harry is developing a comprehensive conservation program for the delicately posed ecosystems of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the south of the Indian mainland. His work integrates the local population into the management of the program, ensuring their ability to maintain a livelihood through economic activities while also conserving local habitat and wildlife. Recognizing that previous attempts to protect endangered wildlife by removing indigenous populations have not taken hold, Harry 's program in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands ensures the preservation of both natural resources and preservation of the cultural traditions of the last remaining original tribes on the islands. "People have to benefit in wildlife management or it will not be sustainable," according to Harry. He sees that sensibly developed wildlife conservation programs must pay for themselves and create means to decrease the land and natural resource pressures imposed by needy local populations. Under his leadership and for the first time in India, a national park is being developed in which the forest department and the local people are stakeholders and where conservation efforts coupled with compatible business activities, including eco-tourism, will pay for themselves and provide employment.