In a virtual first for the annual Tusk Conservation Awards, a global livestream audience joined the charity’s Royal Patron, HRH Prince William in honouring the extraordinary men and women dedicated to the survival of Africa’s natural world. Launched with Prince William in 2013, the awards, in partnership with Ninety One, shine a light on the inspirational work of leading conservationists across Africa.
The Duke of Cambridge joined famous faces including host Kate Silverton, Liz Bonnin, Rory Bremner, Ben Fogle, Bear Grylls, Katherine Jenkins, Deborah Meaden, Tristan Phipps, Emma Weymouth and Levison Wood to reveal this year’s winners and celebrate the incredible work that these conservationists have achieved against the odds. The ceremony was accompanied by live music from acoustic artist Jack Savoretti and his band. The Tusk Conservation Awards are available to view in full at www.tuskawards.com.
These inspiring men and women on the front line of African conservation now face their biggest ever challenge, as the devastating economic impact of Covid-19 threatens years of conservation work across Africa.
To help overcome this challenge, Tusk is significantly increasing the value of its awards thanks to the generous commitment of £1m over five years from The Nick Maughan Foundation. This additional funding more than doubles the previous conservation grant given to all winners and finalists, whose dedication and passion safeguards the continent’s wildlife and habitats for us all.
During a video call with Charlie Mayhew, CEO of Tusk, The Duke of Cambridge said of this year’s nominees and winners: “A lot of these people go under the radar. I hope that the Tusk Awards highlight and showcase their wonderful talent and hard work across the globe. I hope their stories go far and wide, that people feel inspired and young people look to these role models and say ‘I can do the same, I want to be involved and I care as much as they do too.’”
THE CONSERVATION LEADERS HONOURED IN THIS YEAR’S AWARDS ARE:
- Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa, sponsored by Ninety One – a lifetime achievement award, given to a distinguished individual for their outstanding dedication and exceptional contribution to conservation.
- Winner: Hipólito Lima (São Tomé and Príncipe), Programa Tato – Founder and Rangers Supervisor. Hipólito Lima has dedicated 26 years of his life to sea turtle conservation, protecting sea turtle females and their nests, monitoring the nesting beaches, training local rangers, and empowering local communities into sea turtle guardians and conservation leaders. His leadership has been crucial in lobbying the government for the establishment of legislation that would provide protection for sea turtles in the archipelago. This new legislation declares a complete ban on the capture, possession, and sale of all sea turtle species and their by-products as well as disturbance of nesting habitats. He has dedicated his entire life to restoring and preserving what his father once destroyed.
- The Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa, sponsored by Land Rover – this will be awarded to an individual who is judged to be an emerging leader in conservation and in recognition of their outstanding success shown in their chosen field.
- Winner: John Kamanga (Kenya), South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO) – Executive Director. John is one of Kenya’s foremost grassroots conservation leaders who has dedicated his career to developing a vision for the co-existence of pastoralists and wildlife. In Kenya, where 68% of wildlife resides on community land, supporting the ability of people and wildlife to co-exist is central to the future of wildlife conservation.
- Finalist: George Owoyesigire (Uganda), Uganda Wildlife Authority – Deputy Director for Community Conservation.
- Finalist: Ian Stevenson (Zambia), Conservation Lower Zambezi – CEO.
- Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award, sponsored by The Nick Maughan Foundation – this award gives international recognition to the men and women who work in the field protecting wildlife in Africa on a daily basis.
- Winner: Amos Gwema (Zimbabwe), Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority -Principal Intelligence Officer. Amos is a dedicated individual who has changed the way intelligence work contributes to the protection of Zimbabwe’s wildlife. Over the last 15 years he has convicted the highest number of poachers of any officer in the parks authority, all of whom are currently serving prison time. His greatest achievement has been the massive reduction in elephant poaching in Hwange National Park. Through his work poached elephant numbers have declined from over 300 in 2013 to 25 in 2019.
On hearing the news of his success, Tusk Conservation Award winner John Kamanga said: “I feel grateful that I have been able to come this far, that we have people out there in the world who are watching, that the little things we do come to be appreciated and that the efforts we are making are saving our wildlife and wild spaces.”
Speaking about the three category winners, Charlie Mayhew, CEO of Tusk said: “As the future of the natural world is brought into even sharper focus, it is fantastic that the recipients of our awards can continue their vital work thanks to this much needed boost to grant funding. I am very pleased today to award three exceptional leaders within their fields.”
The three winners have each received a trophy specially crafted by Patrick Mavros. Additional support for the 2020 Tusk Conservation Awards has been received from ISPS Handa, Mantis Group, Fortemus Films and Maia Films, EJF Philanthropies and Shelton Fleming.