SANParks Celebrates Conservation Heroes at the Annual Kudu Awards 2022
SANParks Celebrates Conservation Heroes at the Annual Kudu Awards 2022. Photo supplied

South African National Parks (SANParks) supported by TotalEnergies and First National Bank (FNB) recognised deserving conservationists at this year’s Kudu Awards ceremony held at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on 24 November 2022.

The Kudu Awards and the Chief Executive Awards recognise SANParks employees as well as multiple stakeholders and disciplines who play a pivotal role in strengthening conservation in South Africa.

According to Property Mokoena, SANParks Acting CEO, “Awareness of conservation issues is of vital importance and if we want to better protect our national parks either through anti-poaching efforts or finding solutions to climate change we need to educate and inform the public. Our stakeholders such as the media are key in this goal. We honoured several media contributors who are leading the way in informing the world about the various conservation efforts around the country.”

Tackling environmental issues is not always easy but the winners in the media category faced that challenge and highlighted the importance of informing the public about these issues. Guy Rogers, from the Herald, has not only brought to light the environmental challenges facing the eastern cape but has also shown the softer side of environmental issues and won the award for Best Print Journalist.

Anti-poaching is one of the toughest challenges facing conservation today and every effort is made to ensure that SANParks and the world at large can tackle wildlife crime head-on. Yusuf Abramjee from eNCA’s Crimewatch took an in-depth look at rhino and elephant poaching in South Africa.

eNCA journalist Silindelo Masikane proved that her tireless research and reporting on tourism and environmental stories were a winning combination. She highlighted some of the under-reported stories to the eNCA audience.  SABC journalist Ulrich Hendriks won an award for his coverage of the Augrabies falls and plant poaching in the Northern Cape.

The Lifetime Achievement award went to Romeu Mulhovo, for 50 years of service.  Mulhovo started working for SANParks in 1972 as a general worker and retired recently as a Field Ranger. His devotion and commitment to SANParks is commendable and will be remembered by all those he worked with, said SANParks.

“This year marks 64 years of partnering with SANParks in caring for the environment.  As TotalEnergies, we continuously place the environmental performance at the heart of our projects and operations,” says TotalEnergies Managing Director and CEO, Mariam Kane-Garcia

Sipho Silinda, CEO of FNB Public Sector Banking, says, “Our partnership with SANParks has taught us that environmental awareness is a journey rather than an event. As a result, we understand that we have a responsibility to conserve and protect the environment by actively getting involved in initiatives that are contributing to this cause.”

Over 30 Chief Executive Awards were given out to SANParks employees this year ranging from the Shield Award, Best Customer Service, Best Constituency Builder, Best Ranger Post, Best Performing Camp, Best Performing Park of the Year, Best Performing Entrance Gate/ Reception, Excellent Performance in the workplace, Best Performing Division and Best Leadership Award.

“Congratulations to all the winners from the Kudu Awards, may we all continue to shine the light on conservation and make people aware of the importance of the environment,” said Mokoena.