Nikita Dhawan is a high school student at the American Embassy School in New Delhi. She has always been passionate about animal rights and environmental conservation and is the founder of an animal welfare initiative called Youth for Animals.


Nikita is leading the organization’s flagship campaign #FreeShankarDelhiZoo to free Shankar, an African elephant languishing in the Delhi Zoo, from his life in solitary captivity. Nikita has filed a legal petition in the Delhi High Court for Shankar’s freedom and has received almost 200,000 signatures for her online petition. The campaign has been covered extensively by Indian and International media, including BBC, ABC News, Newsweek, Financial Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express etc.


Nikita is a recipient of the prestigious Diana Award and the Youth Award from the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organization (FIAPO). Nikita is also a Youth Ambassador for Born Free Foundation and Earthday.Org and a member of IUCN’s Commission on Education and Communication (CEC).