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Nigeria’s Nachamada Geoffrey was finalist as Prince William salutes Africa’s wildlife heroes at Tusk Awards

Rian Labuschagne

Paying tribute to the extraordinary achievements and ‘unrelenting dedication and commitment’ of Africa’s wildlife heroes, Tusk’s Royal Patron, Prince William addressed via video an audience gathered in Cape Town for the annual Tusk Conservation Awards.

Nigeria’s Nachamada Geoffrey was a finalist at the awards.

With climate change and the increased pressure on land brought about by the growing human footprint, the threats to wildlife and wild areas are considerable.  The Prince said, I worry a great deal that our generation is not meeting our moral obligation to leave this planet in better shape than we inherited it.  Our children and grandchildren will not thank us if we fail in our duty to reverse the decline in so many species.”

At the ceremony held in Cape Town, Archbishop Desmond Tutu presented The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa to Rian Labuschagne. This prestigious award sponsored by Investec Asset Management, goes to a man who has dedicated his life to the preservation of some of the world’s most endangered species and important wildlife reserves.

Tusk CEO, Charlie Mayhew said, “Thanks to Rian, Chad has witnessed one of conservations’ great success stories unfold with the revival of Zakouma National park and its decimated elephant population.”

Rian at work in Chad

The Land Rover sponsored Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa was presented to Brighton Kumchedwa by Nelson Mandela’s widow and former first lady, Mrs Graça Machel. The award recognizes his ground-breaking work in Malawi, one of southern Africa’s major illegal wildlife trade routes.

The Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award, introduced in 2015, and particularly close to Prince William’s heart, this year jointly honours the bravery and dedication of two men leading teams risking their lives day and night, on poaching’s front line.

Former South African President, FW de Klerk presented the award to Solomon Chidunuka, based in Zambia’s Northern Province and to Lucky Ndlovu from Kruger National Park, South Africa.

In closing the ceremony, the former South African President FW de Klerk said, “Africa, indeed the whole world, owes them (the finalists) a huge debt of gratitude.

Hendrik du Toit, CEO of Investec Asset Management, the headline partner of the Tusk Awards, added “We congratulate each and every nominee for their outstanding achievements. Only by celebrating the successful efforts of these individuals will we inspire many more to join the struggle for the very survival of our planet as we know it.”

Tusk has been working since 1990 to build a sustainable future for the African continent and its wildlife. Since its formation in 1990 Tusk Trust has raised over £35m for a wide range of projects across Africa, which not only work to protect wildlife, particularly endangered species, but also help to alleviate poverty through sustainable development and education amongst rural communities who live alongside wildlife.

The Duke of Cambridge became Royal Patron of Tusk Trust in December 2005 and he has actively supported the charity’s work both privately and publicly on many occasions. The Tusk Awards, which were devised with the personal involvement of the Duke, were first held at the Royal Society, London in September 2013 and became the focus of the TV documentary, “Prince William’s Passion: New Father, New Hope” broadcast by ITV and CNN around the world.

The recipient of The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa, sponsored by Investec Asset Management, is a lifetime achievement award, given to a distinguished individual for their outstanding dedication and exceptional contribution to conservation in Africa. The award will be announced at the ceremony and comes with a Tusk grant of £40,000 and a stunning trophy.

The Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa, sponsored by Land Rover, is for an individual who is judged to be an emerging leader in conservation and in recognition of their outstanding success shown in their chosen field. This award comes with a Tusk grant of £20,000.

The Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award gives international recognition to the men and women who work in the field protecting wildlife in Africa on a daily basis. The award is being generously sponsored by a private US foundation.  The winner receives a Tusk grant of £10,000.