PRESS RELEASE – 1st July 2016
The Duke of Cambridge applauds shortlist for Tusk Conservation Awards
Three unsung heroes, chosen for their dedication to the future of Africa’s wildlife, have been nominated for the 2016 Tusk Conservation Awards.
Cathy Dreyer, for her outstanding work as a wildlife vet and her current role protecting South Africa’s increasingly targeted rhino population.
Rachel McRobb, for her exceptional conservation work in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley, stronghold of the country’s elephant and lion populations.
Dr Olivier Nsengimana, for his veterinary work with endangered mountain gorillas and his more recent efforts to save the critically endangered grey crowned cranes of Rwanda.
Tusk CEO, Charlie Mayhew said “Choosing just one winner when the inspirational work of all three has done so much for Africa’s rural communities and their irreplaceable natural heritage, will be very tough.”
To coincide with the announcement of the Award nominees, Tusk is releasing images of its Royal Patron, The Duke of Cambridge, on a recent visit to Kenya’s wildlife battleground. As Patron of Tusk and President of United for Wildlife, the Duke spent time at the end of March alongside northern Kenya’s fearless anti-poaching teams, lending his support to frontline rangers dedicated to the protection of endangered elephant and rhino. The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy’s anti-poaching unit is led by Edward Ndiritu, the winner of last year’s inaugural Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award, a personal initiative of the Duke of Cambridge.
The Duke also took a hands-on role in an anti-poaching exercise, fitting a radio tracking collar to “Matt”, northern Kenya’s largest known bull elephant. Co-piloting the helicopter used by the Kenyan Wildlife Service to dart “Matt”, he then assisted the team on the ground in fitting a collar that enables conservationists to monitor his movements round the clock. A priceless weapon in the war against poachers, the collar helps protects “Matt” and his tusks, worth more than a $100,000 to the illegal wildlife trade.
Speaking after his visit, The Duke of Cambridge said:
"It was a privilege to see Edward again and his amazing team, all of whom have shown extraordinary commitment to their work. But sadly my visit highlighted what I already knew – that some of Africa's most iconic wildlife are perilously close to extinction, with their existence threatened daily by the illegal wildlife trade.
Without people like Edward, and countless other unsung heroes, courageously battling the war against poaching, we would be living in a world without elephants or rhinos. That is not just an emotional statement, it is the stark reality of the situation and one that would have devastating consequences felt most acutely by the communities that live alongside the animals.
The economic security of millions of African people relies on the tourism industry, with around 80% of tourism revenue in Africa coming from people watching wild animals. If current poaching rates continue, diminishing opportunities for tourists, the impact on the future development and prosperity of large parts of this continent will be incredibly damaging.
That is why I am so proud to congratulate the three Tusk Award finalists today for their tireless commitment to preserving Africa's important natural heritage."
The fourth annual Tusk Conservation Awards will take place in central London in November. Further details will be announced in the coming months.
Notes to Editors
Edward Ndiritu was selected for the 2015 Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award in recognition of his outstanding commitment to combating the illegal wildlife trade, and heading a security operation, which has helped bring about a 79% reduction in poaching in Kenya over the last three years.
“Matt” - the elephant darted in the operation in which The Duke of Cambridge was involved is an exceptionally large bull for northern Kenya, where tragically most other big ‘tuskers' have already been eliminated by poachers.
Elephant expert, Iain Douglas Hamilton and his team have been tracking “Matt” since 2001. His position is now recorded every hour from the state of the art satellite collar fitted during the exercise undertaken with the Duke. “Matt” is alive and well.
Tusk has been working since 1990 to build a sustainable future for the African continent and its wildlife. Since its formation Tusk has raised £30m for a wide range of projects across Africa, which not only aim to protect wildlife, particularly endangered species, but also help to alleviate poverty through sustainable development and education amongst rural communities who live alongside wildlife. HRH The Duke of Cambridge became Royal Patron of Tusk in December 2005 and he has actively supported the charity’s work both privately and publicly on many occasions.
Open to nominations from across the continent of Africa, the Tusk Conservation Awards were established in 2013 with the full backing of The Duke of Cambridge.
The Awards are sponsored by Investec Asset Management with additional support coming from Land Rover. They comprise of the following three awards:
The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa is a lifetime achievement award, given to a distinguished individual for their outstanding dedication and exceptional contribution to conservation in Africa.
The Tusk Award for Conservation recognizes an emerging leader in African conservation whose work has already demonstrated an exceptional commitment to wildlife conservation and has made a significant impact.
The Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award recognizes the dedication and bravery of rangers working to protect Africa’s increasingly endangered wildlife.
How to access the images
10 photographs of The Duke of Cambridge’s visit to Kenya in March 2016 will be available via Getty Images on behalf of Tusk and United for Wildlife.
The images will be distributed through the UK Royal Rota system on the basis that international media will collect the photographs either through their UK affiliates or through other picture agencies.
Publications are asked to credit the photos Chris Jackson/ Getty Images
For Further Information
Tusk: Gloria Ward: +44 (0) 7775 722073; Tusk Office: +44 (0) 1747 831005 (Mary-Jane Attwood: email@example.com)
Kensington Palace for The Duke of Cambridge: +44 207 930 4832
This year's Tusk Conservation Awards are, for me, an opportunity to recognise and to highlight some of the remarkable – and courageous – conservation work being undertaken across Africa.