William praises ‘fantastic' conservationists during awards ceremony

The Tusk Conservation Awards recognise the work of individuals protecting Africa's iconic animals and habitats.

The Duke of Cambridge was joined by a host of famous faces to celebrate the achievements of “fantastic” conservationists in Africa during a virtual awards ceremony.

William paid tribute to the winners in the Tusk Conservation Awards supported by Dragons’ Den judge Deborah Meaden, adventurer Bear Grylls and natural history presenter Liz Bonnin.

The honours recognise the work of those trying to safeguard some of Africa’s most notable animals and habitats. They were presented by Tusk, a conservation organisation working in Africa, which the duke supports as patron.

William has praised the nominees and winners of this year's Tusk Conservation Awards. Toby Melville/PA Wire
William has praised the nominees and winners of this year’s Tusk Conservation Awards (Toby Melville/PA)

William said he hoped the “wonderful talent” recognised by the honours would inspire the next generation, during the pre-recorded ceremony.

And in a video call speech he said: “What a fantastic bunch of people doing tremendous work across the continent of Africa.”

He added: “The work of Tusk is hugely important, particularly now with everything that has gone on this year.

John Kamanga (centre) with colleagues, winner of the Tusk Conservation Award (Sarah Marshall)

“The pandemic has decimated the tourism industry in Africa as a whole and I think now more than ever, the work that Tusk does is so needed.”

Amos Gwema, from Zimbabwe – the principal intelligence officer of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, was named winner of the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award.

The dedicated ranger has convicted a large number of poachers during the past five years but his greatest achievement has been reducing elephant poaching in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

Amos Gwema, Ranger Award Winner (Sarah Marshall)

He said: “I feel grateful that I have been able to come this far, that we have people out there in the world who are watching, that the little things we do come to be appreciated and that the efforts we are making are saving our wildlife and wild spaces.”

The winner of the conservation award, a prize awarded to an individual who is judged to be an emerging leader in conservation, was John Kamanga, one of Kenya’s foremost grassroots conservation leaders.

While Hipolito Lima who has dedicated his life to turtle conservation in his homeland – the two-island nation of Sao Tome and Principe in the Gulf of Guinea – received a lifetime achievement award.

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