Big Life's Richard Bonham Receives Royal Award

Big Life's Richard Bonham Receives Royal Award

Nairobi, Kenya

HRH The Duke of Cambridge presented Big Life Foundation Co-Founder and Director of Operations Richard Bonham with the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa at the 2nd annual Tusk Conservation Awards ceremony in London Tuesday night.

Bonham and his Kenyan-based NGO have long partnered with Kenya Wildlife Service and other groups, such as the African Wildlife Foundation, on anti-poaching and wildlife conservation efforts in southern Kenya. The Duke presented two awards—the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa and the Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa—to individuals who have made significant achievements in protecting endangered species and habitat, or promoting environmental education and community-driven conservation.

“This award is well-deserved in recognition of Richard’s tireless commitment to protecting Africa’s natural heritage,” said African Wildlife Foundation Kenya Country Director Fiesta Warinwa, who has worked with Richard for many years. “He sets the bar high for all conservationists working in Africa and we are thrilled to be a Big Life Foundation partner.”

African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Big Life Foundation support anti-poaching patrols by game scouts in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Last month, an elephant poacher arrested by Big Life scouts and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers was sentenced to seven years in jail. The magistrate who sentenced the poacher previously received training from AWF and KWS on Kenya’s new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, which allows for harsher penalties for elephant poachers.

Another AWF partner, Amy Dickman of the Tanzania-based Ruaha Carnivore Project, was selected as one of three finalists for the Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa. The award ultimately went to Herizo Andrianandrasana for his work integrating local people into conservation management and monitoring in Madagascar.

“I am thrilled to have been a finalist for a 2014 Tusk Conservation Award,” says Dickman. “These awards provide vital recognition for small, grassroots projects like the Ruaha Carnivore Project, and the nomination reflects the success of an extremely dedicated team, who work tirelessly to ensure long-term conservation of threatened carnivores by helping and empowering local communities.”

AWF is supporting Dickman’s carnivore work in southern Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park, which holds 10 percent of the world’s lions and one of only four large cheetah populations. It is also home to the third-largest population of endangered African wild dogs in the world. Dickman and her team have been working in Ruaha to reduce human–carnivore conflict; provide direct benefits to communities living with carnivores; raise public awareness about the plight of carnivores; and study carnivore movements through satellite-collaring, camera traps and direct observation.