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African Conservation Awards announces winners at African Ranger Congress

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  Africa s conservation heroes were honored at the prestigious 2022 African Conservation Awards at the African Rangers Congress in Botswana on Saturday 17 September The Awards are an annual celebration to honor the brave men and women who are committed to protecting Africa s wilderness and in doing so raise awareness of the critical and diverse work they do to ensure that our wildlife and places wild are protected for generations to come Now in its 11th year the awards were held once again after a 2 year hiatus due to the pandemic at an in person event as part of the African Ranger Congress The event was organized by the Game Rangers Association of Africa in Kasane Botswana where game rangers from across Africa came together to share experiences His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco who is the sponsor of the Africa Conservation Awards reminded us of the threats and dangers facing this selfless group of individuals when referring to the assassination of Best Ranger Award finalist Anton Mzimba in a video message He reminds us of the importance of his profession the risks he faces on a day to day basis but also the determination and dangerous nature of those he faces and often faces alone I applaud the fact that you are now honoring all the heroes of biodiversity beyond the rhino You are the fighting vanguard of a global movement that we must all promote encourage support and prolong Every organization and individual that has been shortlisted has shown a remarkable determination to succeed when the odds have often been stacked against them and the African Conservation Awards provide the platform to ensure they get the recognition they deserve The winners The winners selected by evaluating the work done over the past 12 months beginning in July 2021 were announced as follows BEST FIELD RANGER Winner NDOUROU Boris Harding Manovo Gounda St Floris National Park Central African Republic As Head of Sector Boris leads a team of 80 rangers and ensures tactical advice on operational deployments where he leads anti poaching and biomonitoring activities Until 2019 this park was subject to poachers illegal wildlife traders and armed groups but Boris took the initiative to relaunch operational activities in the park resulting in an increase in wildlife To date Boris anti poaching operations have deterred 147 poaching violators and seized 41 hunting weapons He has also reached 258 transhumance herders through outreach activities and helped divert 23 000 head of cattle from the national park Boris has been committed to the conservation mission since 2008 and works alongside the Wildlife Conservation Society team 1st Runner up KITITCHA Jacques Pendjari National Park Benin 2nd Runner up KILOLO MAKWAYA Eric Salonga National Park Democratic Republic of the Congo BEST GAMING RANGER Winner Anton Mzimba posthumous Chief of Ranger Services Timbavati Private Nature Reserve South Africa Anton began his career at Timbavati Private Nature Reserve as a general laborer in the mid 1990s where he patched roads built gabions maintained fences and completed the daily tasks required of a general laborer He always strove to be a ranger and over the next 25 years Anton rose through the ranks going from ranger to corporal sergeant and eventually chief of ranger services Apart from the many accolades and press Anton s greatest gift was his ability to lead and inspire the people of the local communities bordering the Kruger National Park Anton led by example working to change the stigma that conservation was a privilege of a wealthy minority and instead the birthright of all humanity from all backgrounds races and cultures He believed in developing his team and wanted both local men and women to have the opportunity to rise through the ranks into leadership positions On July 26 2022 Anton was killed outside his home by three gunmen allegedly linked to poaching syndicates paying the ultimate sacrifice for being a ranger and a leader on the front lines of the rhino poaching war 1st Runner up tied Colin Rowles Warden Klaserie Private Nature Reserve South Africa 1st Runner up tied Leonardo Gungalo Field Ranger Support Manager Oceans Without Borders Mozambique BEST CONSERVATION TEAM Winner Simba Community Wildlife Scouts Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust Kenya Simba Scouts is a conservation team working within the Kuku Group Ranch in southeastern Kenya They include a dedicated team of 18 Maasai warriors Moran who day in and day out monitor GPS collared lions and other wildlife which is a very important measure to mitigate human wildlife conflict within the local communities of Maasai Another impact of Simba Scouts has been the influence of the community on the adoption of conservation Before becoming Simba Scouts some members of the team were renowned warriors who led lion hunts However they have become the guardian lions of the ecosystem which is a testament to their good work 1st Runner up Mount Kenya Trust Kenya 2nd Runner up Nigeria National Park Service Management Team Nigeria BEST CONSERVATION SUPPORT Winner Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association Kenya Over the past four decades Kenya has lost more than 68 of its wildlife The Kenya Wildlife Conservation Association KWCA was established to address this problem KWCA has mobilized a membership of 174 primarily community based conservancies to take a holistic approach to addressing the biodiversity crisis and addressing the complex problem of habitat loss Today the network of more than 215 conservancies in the country is a celebrated success as the organization celebrates its 10th anniversary The network of conservation areas has more than doubled the area under conservation from 8 of the country s land mass to 20 adding 7 2 million hectares of conserved land today mainly due to the enabling policy environment and incentives negotiated through the KWCA 1st Runner Up Britius Munkombwe Community Outreach Manager Game Rangers International Zambia 2nd Runner Up BirdLife South Africa Landscape Conservation Programme South Africa In these dark times of unchecked human overpopulation causing climate degeneration and the destruction of life around the world our conservation heroes are the last hope The murder of Anton Mzimba and the deaths of hundreds of his fellow conservation heroes around the world underscore the crisis Please join me in congratulating all the winners and finalists of the African Conservation Awards 2022 We are incredibly grateful to you Dr Larry Hansen Founder of the African Conservation Awards Each Field Ranger and Game Ranger finalist will receive Jim Green African Ranger boots and membership in the GRAA which includes medical evacuation accidental death and disability insurance coverage Zeiss also supported the selected winners with binoculars Uniting to Support Africa s Rangers On the morning of the awards wildlife ranger teams came together for the 2022 Wildlife Ranger Challenge a half marathon taking place around the world with one goal raise money to support the men and women on the front lines of Africa protected areas 94 ranger teams have registered for the 2022 Wildlife Ranger Challenge from 21 different countries Attendees at the Rangers Congress in Kasane attempted the fastest known time in Kasane over 21 km with 22 kg As well as raising money for frontline conservation efforts this pan African sporting event aims to raise awareness of the increasingly diverse role of wildlife rangers at a time when resources are scarcer than ever The African Conservation Awards are organized annually by the Game Rangers Association of Africa GRAA and are made possible through the generous support of sponsors Chinese New Enterprise Investment CNEI and backed by the Department of Environmental Affairs DEA His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco who is committed to the protection of endangered species through the support of his Foundation is the Patron of the African Conservation Awards
African Conservation Awards announces winners at African Ranger Congress

1 Africa’s conservation heroes were honored at the prestigious 2022 African Conservation Awards at the African Rangers Congress in Botswana on Saturday 17 September.

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2 The Awards are an annual celebration to honor the brave men and women who are committed to protecting Africa’s wilderness and, in doing so, raise awareness of the critical and diverse work they do to ensure that our wildlife and places wild are protected for generations to come.

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3 Now in its 11th year, the awards were held once again after a 2-year hiatus due to the pandemic, at an in-person event as part of the African Ranger Congress.

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4 The event was organized by the Game Rangers Association of Africa in Kasane, Botswana, where game rangers from across Africa came together to share experiences.

5 His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, who is the sponsor of the Africa Conservation Awards, reminded us of the “threats and dangers facing this selfless group of individuals” when referring to the assassination of Best Ranger Award finalist Anton Mzimba, in a video.

6 message; “He reminds us of the importance of his profession, the risks he faces on a day-to-day basis, but also the determination and dangerous nature of those he faces and often faces alone.

7 .

8 I applaud the fact that you are now honoring all the heroes of biodiversity beyond the rhino.

9 You are the fighting vanguard of a global movement that we must all promote, encourage, support and prolong.”

10 Every organization and individual that has been shortlisted has shown a remarkable determination to succeed when the odds have often been stacked against them and the African Conservation Awards provide the platform to ensure they get the recognition they deserve.

11 The winners The winners, selected by evaluating the work done over the past 12 months, beginning in July 2021, were announced as follows: BEST FIELD RANGER Winner: NDOUROU Boris Harding, Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park , Central African Republic – As Head of Sector, Boris leads a team of 80 rangers and ensures tactical advice on operational deployments where he leads anti-poaching and biomonitoring activities.

12 Until 2019, this park was subject to poachers, illegal wildlife traders, and armed groups, but Boris took the initiative to relaunch operational activities in the park, resulting in an increase in wildlife.

13 To date, Boris’ anti-poaching operations have deterred 147 poaching violators and seized 41 hunting weapons.

14 He has also reached 258 transhumance herders through outreach activities and helped divert 23,000 head of cattle from the national park.

15 Boris has been committed to the conservation mission since 2008 and works alongside the Wildlife Conservation Society team.

16 1st Runner-up: KITITCHA Jacques, Pendjari National Park, Benin 2nd Runner-up: KILOLO MAKWAYA Eric, Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo BEST GAMING RANGER Winner: Anton Mzimba (posthumous), Chief of Ranger Services, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, South Africa: Anton began his career at Timbavati Private Nature Reserve as a general laborer in the mid-1990s, where he patched roads, built gabions, maintained fences and completed the daily tasks required of a general laborer.

17 He always strove to be a ranger, and over the next 25 years, Anton rose through the ranks, going from ranger to corporal, sergeant, and eventually chief of ranger services.

18 Apart from the many accolades and press, Anton’s greatest gift was his ability to lead and inspire the people of the local communities bordering the Kruger National Park. Anton led by example, working to change the stigma that conservation was a privilege of a wealthy minority and instead the birthright of all humanity, from all backgrounds, races and cultures.

19 He believed in developing his team and wanted both local men and women to have the opportunity to rise through the ranks into leadership positions.

20 On July 26, 2022, Anton was killed outside his home by three gunmen allegedly linked to poaching syndicates, paying the ultimate sacrifice for being a ranger and a leader on the front lines of the rhino poaching war.

21 1st Runner-up (tied): Colin Rowles, Warden, Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, South Africa 1st Runner-up (tied): Leonardo Gungalo, Field Ranger Support Manager, Oceans Without Borders, Mozambique BEST CONSERVATION TEAM Winner: Simba Community Wildlife Scouts, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, Kenya: Simba Scouts is a conservation team working within the Kuku Group Ranch in southeastern Kenya.

22 They include a dedicated team of 18 Maasai warriors (Moran), who day in and day out monitor GPS-collared lions and other wildlife, which is a very important measure to mitigate human-wildlife conflict within the local communities of Maasai.

23 Another impact of Simba Scouts has been the influence of the community on the adoption of conservation.

24 Before becoming Simba Scouts, some members of the team were renowned warriors who led lion hunts.

25 However, they have become the guardian lions of the ecosystem, which is a testament to their good work.

26 1st Runner-up: Mount Kenya Trust, Kenya 2nd Runner-up: Nigeria National Park Service Management Team, Nigeria BEST CONSERVATION SUPPORT Winner: Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, Kenya – Over the past four decades, Kenya has lost more than 68% of its wildlife .

27 The Kenya Wildlife Conservation Association (KWCA) was established to address this problem.

28 KWCA has mobilized a membership of 174 primarily community-based conservancies to take a holistic approach to addressing the biodiversity crisis and addressing the complex problem of habitat loss.

29 Today, the network of more than 215 conservancies in the country is a celebrated success as the organization celebrates its 10th anniversary.

30 The network of conservation areas has more than doubled the area under conservation from 8% of the country’s land mass to 20% (adding 7.2 million hectares of conserved land) today, mainly due to the enabling policy environment and incentives negotiated through the KWCA.

31 1st Runner Up: Britius Munkombwe, Community Outreach Manager, Game Rangers International, Zambia 2nd Runner Up: BirdLife South Africa Landscape Conservation Programme, South Africa “In these dark times of unchecked human overpopulation, causing climate degeneration and the destruction of life around the world, our conservation heroes are the last hope!

32 The murder of Anton Mzimba and the deaths of hundreds of his fellow conservation heroes around the world underscore the crisis.

33 Please join me in congratulating all the winners and finalists of the African Conservation Awards 2022!

34 We are incredibly grateful to you” – Dr. Larry Hansen, Founder of the African Conservation Awards.

35 Each Field Ranger and Game Ranger finalist will receive Jim Green African Ranger boots and membership in the GRAA, which includes medical evacuation, accidental death and disability insurance coverage.

36 Zeiss also supported the selected winners with binoculars.

37 Uniting to Support Africa’s Rangers On the morning of the awards, wildlife ranger teams came together for the 2022 Wildlife Ranger Challenge, a half marathon taking place around the world with one goal: raise money to support the men and women on the front lines of Africa.

38 protected areas.

39 94 ranger teams have registered for the 2022 Wildlife Ranger Challenge from 21 different countries!

40 Attendees at the Rangers Congress in Kasane attempted the “fastest known time” in Kasane over 21 km with 22 kg.

41 As well as raising money for frontline conservation efforts, this pan-African sporting event aims to raise awareness of the increasingly diverse role of wildlife rangers at a time when resources are scarcer than ever.

42 The African Conservation Awards are organized annually by the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA) and are made possible through the generous support of sponsors Chinese New Enterprise Investment (CNEI) and backed by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

43 His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, who is committed to the protection of endangered species through the support of his Foundation, is the Patron of the African Conservation Awards.

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