Six African Parks Rangers Announced as Winners of the 2019 African Ranger Awards
African Parks is proud to announce that six of its rangers have been named winners of the 2019 African Ranger Awards. Daoba Dieudonne Komerewa of Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Benito Willie of Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi, Forment Kalaba Chisala of Bangweulu Wetlands in Zambia, Dari Narakoua of Pendjari National Park in the Republic of Benin, Leonidas Mpumuje and Anthony Nzuki both of Akagera National Park in Rwanda were among fifty finalists selected from 17 countries across the continent. Established by the Alibaba Foundation, the Paradise International Foundation, and the Founder of Alibaba Jack Ma, the Awards recognize the rangers’ extraordinary contribution to the protection of Africa’s wildlife and conservation areas.
African Parks has the largest ranger team for any one NGO in Africa, with 1,000 rangers in nine countries working on the frontline to provide safety and security for the wildlife and people living in and around each of the fifteen parks under its management. “Effective law enforcement is critical to the long-term conservation of parks in Africa, which are the last islands of protection for most of the continent’s biodiversity. Rangers underpin our efforts to secure these areas from escalating global pressures, enabling people and wildlife to benefit from stable and ecologically functioning landscapes” Said Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks. He continued, “The African Ranger Awards provide important recognition of the work that rangers carry out to protect the world’s natural heritage. We extend our congratulations to all of the award finalists and our sincere thanks to the Foundation and Jack Ma for honouring them”.
2019 marks the second session of the African Ranger Awards, a ten-year award programme which will be given annually by the Alibaba Foundation and the Paradise Foundation, a Chinese not-for-profit environmental conservation organization. The awards aim to illuminate the role of rangers in nature conservation and provide them with more financial support. An international panel of judges reviewed all the 115 entries based on their dedication, contribution, threats and challenges overcome, as well as leadership and inspiration. A ceremony will be held in November this year to honour the recipients.
“I’m deeply moved and inspired by the rangers’ sacrifices. We hope more people will pay attention to rangers, pay attention to wildlife preservation, and pay attention to the preservation of our natural environment.” Said Jack Ma, Alibaba Group Executive Chairman and the Paradise International Foundation Co-Chairman.
Globally, over a thousand rangers lost their lives in the line of duty over the past ten years, while up to 25,000 carry out their work in the face of immense challenges. African Parks is fully responsible for the management of 15 parks it manages in partnership with governments, providing rigorous training and resourcing 1,000 rangers who help to secure 10.5 million hectares of land across the continent. In 2018 alone, the teams confiscated 59,200 illicit items, removed over 16,800 snares and effected over 790 arrests, and four African Parks’ rangers were recognized by the inaugural 2018 African Ranger Awards.