Clive Stockil's acceptance speech

Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Secretary of State, Lords, Ladies & Gentlemen,

Sir, it is with pride and honour that I accept this prestigious Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa.

When I received your letter informing me of the judge’s decision, I was humbled, encouraged and excited that you are committed to protecting some of this planet’s most valuable assets.

The survival of the rhinoceros in its natural environment is hanging precariously in the balance. The sudden increase in the value of its horn has seen an unprecedented increase in demand.

We are seeing a move away from traditional methods of poaching to the use of sophisticated equipment such as aircraft, hi-speed motor vehicles, silenced rifles and mobile phones.

More recently we are seeing the use of something far more frightening. Poachers are turning to a silent and deadly agro-chemical which they inject in to a melon and lay in the animals path. This method has been used successfully to kill rhino in the Save Valley Conservancy and elephant elsewhere. In Gonarezhou Park, an elephant bull was poisoned and 285 vultures were found dead on the carcass. The poachers made off with the ivory, and vulture beaks, all of which have a commercial value.

I consider it a privilege to have been born on the continent of Africa, raised in the wildlife-rich lowveld of south-east Zimbabwe.

I have been fortunate to have spent my three score years in this diverse wilderness.

During this time I have witnessed many changes to the landscape, all in the name of progress. The construction of dams on five large river systems, the systematic removal of large wildlife species to make way for commercial cattle production and the extinction of the black rhino from the Gonarezhou National Park twice in less than four decades.

Sir I would submit that the greatest challenge conservationists are facing today is the need for SPACE.

Sustainable Conservation will depend on wise land use planning, ensuring that large diverse landscapes are created to achieve maximum biodiversity whilst recognising the need to create economic incentives through private sector and community partnerships.

My lifetime contribution to this end has been recognised by the two projects that I have been committed to.

The Mahenye Community Project evolved out of conflict between a local Changana community and the Gonarezhou National Park over natural resource use and competition for SPACE. The concepts that emerged out of this conflict later became the core principals incorporated in the CAMPFIRE programme, which has now been implemented in over forty other districts in Zimbabwe. Indeed many of the concepts have been copied or modified by other southern African countries. The project turned conflict into cooperation benefiting both man and beast through coexistence in a fragile environment.

The Save Valley Conservancy developed out of an opportunity to review a more appropriate land use option following a major drought in 1992.
This lead to the rehabilitation of three hundred and fifty thousand hectares of degraded land by removing all domestic livestock and slowly replacing it with wildlife species which naturally occurred in the area.

Five hundred and fifty elephants were reintroduced which now number approximately one thousand five hundred, along with twenty black rhino that now exceed one hundred.

African wild dog and lion reintroduced themselves and each now have populations exceeding one hundred and fifty in number.

This award has strengthened my resolve to continue working towards improving the environment in which we live, through dialogue and communication with all stakeholders, to achieve a ‘Win Win’ situation, ensuring that there will always be enough SPACE for all.

Those whom I have worked with, and whom I will continue to work with, have been greatly encouraged by the international recognition conferred by this award.

The Tusk Conservation Awards will provide encouragement not only to myself and my fellow finalists, but also to others who are facing similar challenges across the continent
In conclusion

Sir, Ladies and Gentlemen
Allow me to thank those who have supported me over the years
Mark Saunders, Director of the Malilangwe Trust
Lin Barrie my partner who has been wonderfully supportive
To the various community representatives I have had the pleasure of working with, for, without their contribution all of this would not have been possible.

Thank you

Clive Stockil
HRH The Duke of Cambridge, KG KT talks about the work of Tusk

Future generations must have the chance to wonder at The Continent’s spell-binding natural heritage for themselves.  We owe it to them.  This legacy is not ours to squander.  And in this cause, Tusk is a great Champion.

HRH The Duke of Cambridge, KG KT
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