APA-Johannesburg (South Africa) Conservationists from Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe have been honoured for their contributions towards protecting Africa’s natural heritage.
According to the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA), the conservationists were recognised during the 2023 African Conservation Awards that took place on September 16 at the Southern African Wildlife College in Greater Kruger, South Africa.
The award for Best Field Ranger was won by Nkateko Letti Mzimba of South Africa’s Olifants West Nature Reserve for her commitment “as a vigilant guardian of rhinos and other endangered species” by removing snares set by poachers.
The winner of the Best Game Ranger award was Amos Gwema from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
Gwema is a dedicated wildlife protector in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland province which is notorious for wildlife poaching.
His jurisdiction includes Hwange National Park, Zambezi National Park and Matopos National Park, which is renowned for its high rhino population.
He is credited for contributing to the reduction in elephant and rhino poaching rates while achieving an impressive 95 percent conviction rate for poachers.
Malawi’s Wildlife Action Group, Thuma Forest Reserve and Dedza Salima Escarpment Forest Reserve were named the Best Conservation Team for their “vital role in reviving wildlife populations, preventing elephant poaching for five years, restoring 7,000+ hectares of degraded forest, reducing human-wildlife conflicts, and educating local schools about conservation.”
The Best Conservation Supporter award went to the producers of wildlife documentary Rhino Man.
Rhino Man sheds light on the courageous South African rangers who risk everything to protect rhinos from extinction.
The documentary honours these unsung heroes, showcasing their relentless dedication and the rigorous selection process they undergo.
“The 2023 African Conservation Awards celebrated these exceptional individuals and organisations for their unwavering commitment to preserving Africa’s natural heritage,” GRAA said in a statement late Sunday.
It added: “They inspire us all to work toward a sustainable and harmonious future for our continent and its incredible wildlife.”
The African Conservation awards are hosted annually by GRAA, with His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco being the patron of the awards.