On November 30th, 2016 John Kahekwa received Prince William Award of Tusk Conservation Awards 2016. It was a historical moment for all the POPOF members and collaborators in both local and international communities. This gives us a lot of encouragement to move forward towards our goals!
We present here John’s speech for Tusk Conservation Awards at Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Your Royal Highness, Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It really is a great honor to receive this Prince William Award for Conservation, and thank you to Tusk for this recognition.
It is fantastic to be surrounded by people who have a passion for conservation and working hard to protect our most precious wild life.
The award comes at a vital time for the Grauer gorillas, which have recently been added to the IUCN Red List of Critically Endangered Species. And it comes at an important time for my country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Few visitors come to the Congo, either unable to get a visa or afraid of the violence they see on the news. But this is not the country I see. Where others see misery, I see hope. Where others see desperation, I see a generation ready to rise.
I want to ensure that my children will have the opportunity to experience, as I do, the magic of spending time with the gorillas. And now I hold the same hope for the Prince’s children, too-that in a decade to come, the Congo and the Gorillas will be safe enough for them to visit and see the fruits of their award.
I dedicate this award first to my colleagues, the rangers who remain active in the field, and second to my partners within the Pole Pole Foundation with whom I have worked for two and half decades. Lastly I must dedicate the award to my wife Odette, who works so hard to assist me in everything I do, and to my children, who are studying to becoming conservationists so that they may take over the helm to protect the Grauer gorillas, in the coming decades.
I am sure that this award will play a great role in supporting our projects so that we may continue to protect our beloved gorillas for future generations.
Merci Beaucoup et que Dieu vous bénisse tous.
Tusk Conservation Awards 2016 Highlights
Please also see,
Tusk Conservation Awards
Speech by Prince William/ The Telegraph