The winners of the first Rhino Conservation Awards recognising those people who dedicate themselves in the fight against rhino poaching in Africa, have been announced and honoured at an event recently held in Pretoria, South Africa.
The annual Rhino Conservation Award has been initiated in 2012 by the Swedish camera manufacturer Hasselblad via its Chairman and CEO, Dr. Larry Hansen and Ms Xiaoyang Yu, founding partner of China New Enterprise Investment, a China focused growth capital fund, with the intention to raise awareness of what is being done in the fight against rhino poaching in South Africa and to recognise role players, who make a significant contribution.
In cooperation with the Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) and the Department of Environmental Affairs of South Africa, the primary objective of the awards programme is to motivate involved role players to keep fighting to ensure the rhino’s survival.
The award ceremony was attended by a cross section of stakeholders with conservation, media and judicial backgrounds and acknowledged awardees in the following five categories: Best Conservation Practitioner; Best Judicial System & Policing; Best Media and Journalism; Best NGO and Best Technology Invention/Application.
Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs in South Africa, welcomed the initiatives taken by all stakeholders to partner and support the government in fighting this scourge, acknowledging that government alone can’t overcome this threat to conservation.
Dr. Larry Hansen, who also founded the still ongoing Carl Zeiss Tiger Conservation Award in India fourteen years ago, emphasised in his speech at the award ceremony: “I am delighted with the number and quality of nominations received for this award. All nominees and winners often do selfless, unrecognised work to save a heritage that could be lost forever. Sometimes this happens in the face of physical danger, political opposition and financial constraints. These factors make the contribution of each role player even more worthy of recognition.”
The Award winners are:
Don English – Regional Ranger, Marula South Region, KNP
Adv. Antoinette Ferreira – Senior State Advocate NPA Free State
Jenny Griesel – Marketing Manager, Jacaranda FM
Elise Daffue – Founder of www.stoprhinopoaching.com
Dr. Cindy Harper – Geneticist, Onderstpoort Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
South Africa protects around 80% of the world’s total rhino population, and rhino horn is currently exported at a rate that puts the survival of both the black and white rhino in jeopardy.