Three organisations working on wildlife conservation in Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar and in the Western Ghats on Thursday won grants worth ₹60 lakh from The Habitats Trust (THT) for their work to protect lesser-known indigenous species and lesser-known habitats.

The Habitats Trust (THT), is founded by Roshni Nadar Malhotra, CEO of the $8.1-billion HCL Corporation.

The Foundation of Ecological Security in Nagaland, which works on protecting endangered and threatened species in the north-eastern State, got the ₹25-lakh Strategic Partnership Grant.

Mumbai-based ReefWatch Marine Conservation bagged the Lesser-known Habitats Grant of ₹15 lakh for its work to restore coral reefs in Chidiyatapu in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The third grant — the Lesser-known Species Grant of ₹10 lakh — went to the Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra, which strives for the protection of the Indian pangolin with community participation in the Western Ghats.

“These grants are aimed at appreciating the work being done by organisations and individuals and giving them support so that they continue the great work,” Roshini, who founded the Trust with her husband Shikhar Malhotra in August, told BusinessLine.

There are so many social issues in India and it is understandable that much of the funding goes to support these causes, with very little of funds from corporates coming to nature and wildlife, she said.

“These natural habitats not just support the known and unknown species of flora and fauna, but these pristine forests are also the biggest source of water. So, by protecting these natural habitats we are protecting ourselves,” she said.

Be it the floods that ravaged Kedarnath a few years ago or the recent devastating deluge in Kerala, the reason is the widespread destruction that “we have been causing to the natural habitat”.

She added that within the conservation space, much of the attention and funds are cornered by tigers and elephants and the Trust would work towards correcting this.

“There are so many lesser known species that get completely ignored. And, there are some wonderful people who are doing amazing work with these small species,” she said.

Malhotra said that when the applications were opened, they were surprised to receive about 700 applications.

With the help of a jury well-versed in wildlife conservation and audit partner Grant Thornton, THT shortlisted three applicants for each of the three categories.

The Trust also rewarded other finalists with 10 per cent of the grant money in each category.

The Trust plans to work with national parks in Uttar Pradesh.

“We already do a lot of work in areas of education, health and livelihood, so environment is only a natural extension of our work,” said Malhotra, referring to the work being done by other foundations supported by HCL Corporation, such as the Shiv Nadar Foundation and the HCL Foundation.

“Most of the work we do in Uttar Pradesh, as HCL is one of the largest private employers in the State,” she said.