Prince William salutes heroes of conservation
dedicated to championing the cause.
Three pioneering Africans were nominated for this year’s Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa, sponsored by Land Rover, which offered an overall prize of £20,000 and runners-up grants of £7,500 each. All hailed from tourism destinations and their work has played a significant role in conserving endangered environments and species.
The winner was Vincent Opyene, who, since establishing Uganda’s National Resource Conservation Network, has led investigations into wildlife trafficking and corruption, resulting in significant prosecutions. He was presented with his award by the Duke, who was accompanied by the Duchess of Cambridge, during a ceremony at the Banqueting House, Whitehall, in London on Thursday.
The Duke also presented the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa – a lifetime achievement award supported by Investec Asset Management – to Dr Pete Morkel, one of the world’s foremost wildlife veterinarians. The award comes with a grant of £40,000. Meanwhile, the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award recognised the leadership of Ugandan ranger Julius Obwona, whose team risk their lives to track elephant poachers. The award comes with a £10,000 grant.
The Duke offered a stark warning on the need to protect wildlife and the environment: “Whether we are living in an urban or rural environment, nature matters to us all. We have a responsibility and an obligation to the next generation to reduce drastically the extent to which we plunder the planet’s natural resources.”
Charlie Mayhew, Tusk’s chief executive, said: “Without the bravery and selfless dedication of the remarkable people we are honouring tonight, it would be an uncertain future for Africa’s iconic wildlife and the communities to whom it belongs.”