Only one Namibian conservation group made it to the finals in this year’s Rhino Awards
The Rare and Endangered Species Trust (REST) is the only Namibian conservation group featuring in this year’s Rhino Awards. REST, represented by its founder and director, vulture lady Maria Diekmann, received the silver in the category: Endangered Species.
The first place in this category went to Amos Gwema for his role in fighting wildlife crime in Zimbabwe. In the third sport is Craig Reid, a field ranger from Liwonde National Park in Malawi.
The awards were conferred in Johannesburg by His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco, assisted by the main sponsor’s representative, Gail Giordani, the Managing Director of Zeiss SA.
The Rhino Conservation Awards were founded by Dr Larry Hansen and Miss Xiaoyang Yu in 2011 and have been hosted annually in collaboration with South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs and the Game Rangers Association of Africa. Prince Albert is the awards’ patron.
The 2019 Awards ceremony was sponsored by ZEISS and China New Enterprises Inc.
Chief Executive of the Game Rangers Association, Andrew Campbell, said anti-poaching measures have proved effective to some degree, for instance reducing South Africa’s poaching rate by 25% in 2018. A remarkable increase in rhino numbers has also been seen.
“Such successes are not easily achieved, they require sacrifice, dedication and hard work. These conservation efforts, undertaken by individuals and organisations, need to be recognised,” he said adding that the awards honour the tremendous effort of these modern heroes.
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself,” he said.
The other award winners in their respective categories, are the following:
Field Ranger Award: First place was a tie between Lance Corporal Samuel Ndlovu from the Kruger National Park and Senior Sergeant Nderu Loormuyeni from Chyulu Hills in Kenya. Second Place went to Francis Mpigwa from Uganda.
Conservation Practitioner Award: First place went to Markus Hofmeyer for his work on the Rhino Without Borders initiative in Botswana, second place went to the Southern African Wildlife College K9 Unit and third place was awarded to Endri Steyn from the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve.
Rhino Conservation Supporter Award: First place was awarded to Rhino 911 for their work supporting rhino conservation in South Africa’s North West Province, second place to Nicholas Duncan from Save the African Rhino Foundation and third place went to SANParks Project Embrace.
Political/ Judicial/ Investigative Support Award: First place was awarded to SANParks Environmental Crime Investigators for fighting organised wildlife crime in South Africa, second place to the investigative rhino poaching documentary, Stroop, and third place went to the Honourable L.O Mabuyane, the Premier of the Eastern Cape Province.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to recognise just some of the men and women across Africa who are making a positive difference in the conservation of endangered species. With such dedicated people involved in conservation we look forward to more progress in the year ahead,” concluded Campbell.
Caption: Maria Diekmann (centre left), the founder and director of Namibia’s Rare and Endangered Species Trust, Jeremy Hancock (second from left) of African Parks who received the award on behalf of winner Craig Reid from Malawi, and Amos Gwema (centre right) from Zimbabwe. These are the award winners in the category Endangered Species Award. On the left is well-known conservationist Peter Mills and on the right Ms Gail Giordani, the Managing Director of the sponsor Zeiss Optics, and His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco.