Prince Wil­liam salutes he­roes of con­ser­va­tion

The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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