The finalists for the prestigious 2020 Rhino Conservation Awards have been announced, featuring several South Africans. The winners will be celebrated in a virtual event on World Ranger Day on 31 July. These conservation heroes comprise the people and organisations who work constantly to reduce the threats and increase the sustainability of conservation efforts in Africa.
Each organisation and individual that has been shortlisted has contributed in some way to a conservation success story. Such stories, which allow species to flourish in their natural environments, would not be possible without the conservation efforts undertaken by various organisations and individuals.
“The media tends to focus on the number of carcasses poached, but every day many species are protected thanks to the blood, sweat and tears of dedicated conservationists and rangers who deserve recognition,” says Andrew Campbell, CEO of the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa.
Prince Albert II of Monaco, who is committed to the protection of endangered species through the support of his Foundation, is the Patron of the Rhino Conservation Awards.
The Prince, who is married to former South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock, says the awards “pay tribute to the determination and the exceptional courage of those who are fighting, often putting their own lives at risk, to save, to give hope to our children and to enable the species under threat today to continue to contribute to the necessary diversity of nature.”
The Finalists for each category in the Rhino Conservation Awards 2020 are:
1. Field Ranger:
a. Julius Kaputo – Working in the Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia for Conservation Lower Zambezi.
b. Losas Lenamunyi – Working in the Sera Community Conservancy, Kenya for the Northern Rangelands Trust.
c. Samuel Loware – Working in the Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda for the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
2. Game Ranger:
a. Albert Smith – Working in the Kruger National Park, South Africa as Malelane Section Ranger for SANParks.
b. Benson Kanyembo – Working in the South Luangwa National Park, Zambia as Law Enforcement Advisor for Conservation South Luangwa.
c. Don English – Working in the Kruger National Park, South Africa as Marula South/Intensive Protection Zone Regional Ranger for SANParks.
2. Conservation Practitioner:
a. Eastern Cape DEDEAT Green Scorpions – Working as Environmental Management Inspectors in Eastern Cape, South Africa for the Department Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
b. Marula South (IPZ) Rangers – Working as a ranger team in the Kruger National Park, South Africa in the Marula South Region/Intensive Protection Zone for SANParks.
c. SANParks KNP Airwing – Working as pilots in the Kruger National Park, South Africa or SANParks.
2. Conservation Supporter:
a. Lynne Taylor – Director of ‘The Tashinga Initiative Trust’, Zimbabwe supporting rangers and their work in the entire Zambezi Valley region.
b. SANParks E&CI – The Environmental Crime and Corporate Investigations (E&CI) Unit of SANParks focus on the investigation and apprehension of organized crime syndicates across South Africa.
c. WWF-SA Wildlife Programme – A WWF-SA initiative working in Southern Africa and beyond to conserve rhinos and other endangered wildlife.
“It was good to see a variety of entrants for skills, community initiatives and hardcore conservation and wildlife management committed from across Africa, and this shows a community of people joining hands together for the better tomorrow for all,” says Eric Madamalala, Deputy Chairman of the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa.
This year, as it endeavours to make the rangers of Africa safer, the Rhino Conservation Awards will be sponsoring over 250 rangers with Ranger Protect insurance cover. This policy provides rangers with the necessary protection they need to comfortably and confidently perform their duties in the field and ensures the well-being of Africa’s rangers and their families is improved through the provision of adequate insurance cover in the event of injury or death.
These awards are hosted annually in collaboration with the non-profit Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA) and are made possible with the generous support of sponsors ZEISS and Chinese New Enterprise Investment (CNEI); and are endorsed by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).
The winners of each category will be announced across Rhino Conservation Award’s social media platforms over the course of World Ranger Day starting at 9am.