Speaking at the Awards, Prince William said, “I am in awe of their achievements and we rightly pay tribute to them, because they do this for the sake of all of us, so that we all continue to have the opportunity and – perhaps more importantly – the right, to benefit from our world’s natural heritage.”
Charlie Mayhew, Tusk CEO, said “Garth Owen-Smith is without doubt the founding father of community conservation. His vision, many years ago, has led to communities across Africa following his lead.”
The Tusk Award for a rising star in the increasingly challenging field of wildlife conservation is sponsored by Land Rover and was presented to Dr Emmanuel de Merode, from the Democratic Republic of Congo – a man whose work is now acknowledged as vital to the survival of Africa’s oldest national park, Virunga National Park.
Runners-up for this award were Cosmas Mumba from the Zambia Primate Project and Dr Mary Molokwu who was nominated for her groundbreaking forestry and conservation programmes in Liberia.
Closing the ceremony, the Duke said, “As the world’s population becomes more and more urbanised, an increasing number of people will grow up with little or no connection to the natural world. This will become a major challenge for conservationists. If people cannot see it, they will never learn to value it, or worse still will take little interest in looking after it. The planet and our natural resources is not something we can afford to squander.”
Emphasising a point that was made by all the award winners earlier in the evening, the Duke went on to say that he was optimistic about the future of conservation and that “we will win this battle by working together and by having a collaborative approach across the whole spectrum.”
The ceremony was attended by many of the charity’s high profile supporters and Tusk Patrons including Rory Bremner, Deborah Meaden and Katherine Jenkins. The awards ceremony was hosted by BBC broadcaster and Tusk Patron, Kate Silverton.
Tusk would like to thank its partners for their generous support, without whom the Tusk Conservation Awards would not be possible:
Investec Asset Management, Land Rover, Tiffany & Co., British Airways, Moët & Chandon, Mantis Group, and our hosts Claridge’s.