Four African conservation heroes recognised at UK charity awards
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CAPE TOWN - Four African conservation heroes have won awards for their efforts to protect wildlife and natural environments at the UK charity Whitley Fund for Nature’s (WFN) awards.
The Whitley Awards support grass-root conservationists from the global south who are leading impactful projects in their home countries, according to a statement issued by the charity on Thursday.
After an international search, in 2021 they recognised work to safeguard sea turtles (Kenya), southern ground hornbills (South Africa), hooded grebes (Argentina), Lahille’s bottlenose dolphins (Brazil), bats (Nigeria), Amur falcons (India) and elephants (Kenya).
This year’s top gold award of £100,000 (about US$140,000) in project funding was awarded to Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu for her outstanding leadership of Africa’s conservation movement and support of her outstanding work to secure justice for wildlife and citizens in the fight against ivory trafficking and habitat destruction.
Kahumbu said: “I want to see a global shift in the narrative where Africans are the storytellers about African wildlife and assume the lead in efforts to protect it.”
Three other African conservationists were awarded £40,000 (about US$56,000) in project funding.
The winners included Lucy Kemp from South Africa for “A community-based approach to conserve the southern ground hornbill”.
Iroro Tanshi from Nigeria was recognised for “Bats from the brink: participatory action to save the short-tailed roundleaf bat”.
Sammy Safari from Kenya was recognised for “Transforming the future of sea turtles through coastal stewardship”.
Since the charity was founded in 1993, WFN has given £18 million to more than 200 conservationists, benefiting wildlife, habitats and communities in more than 80 countries.
The awards ceremony was held virtually on Thursday and hosted by WFN ambassadors Tom Heap and Kate Humble.