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National Geographic awards 3 African scientists for their work in the wild

A shark in Mossel Bay, Western Cape. Picture: Instagram

A shark in Mossel Bay, Western Cape. Picture: Instagram

Published Jun 5, 2022


Three African explorers were honoured with the National Geographic Wayfinder Award, for pushing the boundaries of science, exploration, education and storytelling.

Each year, the National Geographic Society recognises and elevates people who are leading a new age of exploration through science, education, conservation, technology, and storytelling.

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This year’s proud recipients are Resson Kantai Duff, Zoleka Filander and Gibbs Kuguru, who have proven themselves as the next generation of influential leaders.

Their work has inspired people to learn about, care for and protect the world.

The recipients of the 2022 Wayfinder Award are engaged in groundbreaking work that challenges the most entrenched stereotypes in the animal kingdom to focusing on inclusive and community-based conservation, social justice work that blends with ecological scientific research, and work that promotes racial literacy in education.

They also use new technology, research, photography and impactful storytelling to advocate for and protect the wonder of our world.

Resson Kantai Duff is the deputy director of Ewaso Lions, an organisation dedicated to helping people and lions coexist in northern Kenya.

Resson Kantai Duff. Picture: Supplied

The Kenyan conservationist is passionate about decolonising conservation and works to renew Kenyans’ sense of ownership over their wildlife, culture, and land.

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Zoleka Filander is a South African deep-sea researcher, who identifies and documents seabed species in South Africa’s uncharted oceans.

Zoleka Filander. Picture: Supplied

Her findings have contributed to assessments of South Africa’s biodiversity and ecosystem classification maps and helped lay the groundwork for the establishment of a network of offshore marine protected areas.

While the third recipient, Gibbs Kuguru, is a Kenyan scientist who studies the DNA of sharks.

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Gibbs Kuguru.

Kuguru is using his genetic research to better understand the unique DNA elements that shape the populations of sharks in the blue wilds of the world.

The Wayfinder Award recipients join the National Geographic Society’s global community of National Geographic Explorers and will each receive a prize to continue conducting their work.