Finalists revealed for Rhino Conservation Awards

01 July 2020 - 07:00 By ERNEST MABUZA
The winners of the Rhino Conservation Awards will be announced on World Ranger Day on July 31.
The winners of the Rhino Conservation Awards will be announced on World Ranger Day on July 31.
Image: 123RF/Jacoba Susanna Maria Swanepoel

Judges for this year's Rhino Conservation Awards on Wednesday released the names of the finalists for each category ahead of the virtual ceremony, which will coincide with World Ranger Day on July 31.

The awards aim to celebrate people and organisations working hard to reduce the threats and increase the sustainability of conservation efforts in Africa.

The organisers said each organisation and individual that has been shortlisted has contributed in some way to a conservation success story.

They said 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,” said Andrew Campbell, CEO of the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA).

Eric Madamalala, deputy chairperson of the association, said it was good to see a variety of entrants for skills, community initiatives and hard-core conservation and wildlife management committed from across Africa.

The finalists for each category are:

Field Ranger:

  • Julius Kaputo (Zambia) — working in the Lower Zambezi National Park for Conservation Lower Zambezi;
  • Losas Lenamunyi (Kenya) — working in the Sera Community Conservancy for the Northern Rangelands Trust; and
  • Samuel Loware (Uganda) — working in the Kidepo Valley National Park for the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Game Ranger:

  • Albert Smith (SA) — working in the Kruger National Park as Malelane section ranger for SANParks;
  • Benson Kanyembo (Zambia) — working in the South Luangwa National Park as law enforcement adviser for Conservation South Luangwa; and
  • Don English (SA) — working in the Kruger National Park as Marula South intensive protection zone (IPZ) regional ranger for SANParks.

Conservation Practitioner:

  • Green Scorpions  (SA) — working as environmental management inspectors in the Eastern Cape for the department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism (Dedeat);
  • Marula South IPZ rangers (SA) — working as a team in the Kruger National Park in the Marula South region for SANParks; and
  • SANParks Airwing (SA) — working as pilots in the Kruger National Park for SANParks.

Conservation Supporter:

  • Lynne Taylor (Zimbabwe) — director of the Tashinga Initiative Trust, supporting rangers and their work in the entire Zambezi Valley region;
  • SANParks Environmental Crime Investigation (ECI) unit (SA) — focuses on the investigation and apprehension of organised crime syndicates across SA; and
  • WWF-SA Wildlife Programme — A WWF-SA initiative working in Southern Africa and beyond to conserve rhinos and other endangered wildlife.

Prince Albert II of Monaco, the patron of the Rhino Conservation Awards, said the awards paid tribute to the determination and exceptional courage of those who are fighting to save species under threat today, often putting their own lives at risk.

The winners of each category will be announced on the Rhino Conservation Award’s social media platforms over the course of World Ranger Day, starting at 9am.