Tusk Conservation Awards – shining a spotlight on Africa’s conservation heroes

The devastating economic impact of the pandemic meant that 2020 presented many challenges to the extraordinary men and women living on the frontline of African conservation. The 2020 Awards ceremony celebrated all that can be achieved against the odds.

Feb 23, 2021

4 minutes

The devastating economic impact of the pandemic meant that 2020 presented many challenges to the extraordinary men and women living on the frontline of African conservation. The 2020 Awards ceremony celebrated all that can be achieved against the odds.

In 2013, Ninety One established the Tusk Conservation Awards in partnership with Tusk Trust. These awards celebrate the achievements of the extraordinary people whose work protecting Africa’s irreplaceable natural heritage might otherwise go unnoticed.

The 2020 Awards ceremony was, for the first time, a purely virtual event, on account of the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Previously hosted as an awards dinner for 700 people, the virtual ceremony attracted more than 9 000 viewers.

The last year has been exceptionally difficult for the extraordinary men and women living on the frontline of African conservation. Drastic cuts in salaries and resources due to the devastating economic impact of the pandemic have threatened to undo their years of conservation work across the continent.

The event celebrated all that can be achieved against the odds, showcasing films of the five finalists in Africa and interviews with them and the TUSK patrons, including HRH the Duke of Cambridge, who said: “These awards, which mean a great deal to me personally, play a huge part in our mission to preserve Africa’s precious wildlife for its people.  It is vital that we recognise the dedication of these unsung heroes and the bravery of rangers risking their lives, day and night, on conservation’s frontline. We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

As Hendrik du Toit, CEO of Ninety One, added: “Africa is a very special place. It is one of the few places in the world with a vast amount of unspoilt nature left, and if we don’t protect it, if we don’t support the interaction between communities and wildlife that it sustains, I fear we are in danger of losing it forever. COVID-19 has only added to the urgency of conservation efforts. These awards not only acknowledge the contribution made by exceptional individuals towards conservation in Africa, but they also aim to raise global awareness of the significant and immediate challenges faced by the natural world.”

We salute the winners and finalists, and thank them for their selfless contribution to securing a sustainable future for our natural world.

Tusk initiatives over 30 years:

Tusk Initiative Numbers

The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa

The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa is a lifetime achievement award, which recognises outstanding dedication and exceptional continued contribution to conservation in Africa.

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.

Hipólito Lima

Tusk Conservation Award in Africa

Awarded to an individual judged to be emerging as a leading conservationist, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to conservation and considerable success shown in their chosen field.

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.

John Kamanga

Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award 2020

An award to recognise the dedication and commitment of an individual who works in the field on a daily basis to protect Africa’s wildlife.

Amos Gwema – Zimbabwe

(Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority -Principal Intelligence Officer)

Amos 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.

Amos Gwema

Watch the 2020 Tusk Awards replay:

Do you know someone who deserves recognition for outstanding conservation work in Africa? Nominate them for this year’s Tusk Awards here:
https://www.tuskawards.com/nominate-now/

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