At a ceremony attended by many of Tusk Trust’s high profile supporters – including Ronnie Wood, Deborah Meaden, Katherine Jenkins and Bear Grylls – the great and the good came together for an awards ceremony headed by HRH The Duke of Cambridge and the charity’s CEO Charlie Mayhew.
The Duke honoured the extraordinary lives of five men and women dedicated to the survival of Africa’s endangered wildlife at the fourth annual Tusk Awards with Sir David Attenborough, announcing the winners of three of the conservation world’s most prestigious accolades. With the addition of a surprise award, the Prince turned the tables on Sir David, offering the legendary natural history broadcaster heartfelt thanks for his “immense contribution” to conservation and for inspiring generations around the globe to care for the natural world.
The Duke revealed he had been “humbled by the sheer dedication and commitment” of the nominees, noting that “the number and quality of the nominations this year once again shines a spotlight on some remarkable people working across Africa as unsung heroes in their field. Their work is dangerous but vitally important – and we are immensely grateful for it.” He added that “for conservation to succeed, [the Awards’ nominees] need help. They must be supported by a highly effective and well-funded chain of command and a system of integrated management that ultimately binds the work of the rangers on the ground with their senior wildlife managers, the vets, the scientific researchers, community development officers and law enforcement agencies. And it does not stop there – we must have the support of the judiciary and of Government if we are to succeed. If that sounds complicated, let’s remember that the illegal wildlife trade is the fourth-biggest illegal trade in the world after drugs, weapons and human slavery.”
In a ceremony hosted by presenter Kate Silverton, Sir David declared Angola’s Manuel Sacaia the winner of the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award, in recognition of his fearless dedication to protecting the critically endangered giant sable antelope from extinction.
The Tusk Award For Conservation In Africa, sponsored by Land Rover, also presented by Sir David, went to Cathy Dreyer from South Africa, for her remarkable success in protecting black rhino, work vital to the survival of this iconic species.
The Prince William Award For Conservation In Africa, sponsored by Investec Asset Management, was presented by The Duke to John Kahekwa from the Democratic Republic of Congo for a life lived in pursuit of a future for the Grauer’s gorilla within the Congo’s war zones.
Tusk’s CEO Charlie Mayhew said that “whilst the illegal wildlife trade continues to flourish, we must not lose sight of the remarkable achievements of these five extraordinary men and women, whose lives are threatened daily on Africa’s conservation front line.” Investec Asset Management’s CEO Hendrik du Toit added that “over the last 40 years, the world’s wildlife population has decreased by more than half and some of the planet’s most iconic species, many of which count the continent of Africa as their home, are on the brink of extinction. Now is the time to act if we are to reverse this. The Awards are not only a celebration of the achievements of the nominees; they are also about inspiring all of us for the ongoing battle to preserve our natural heritage for the generations to come.”