The Tusk Awards Ceremony took place on 30th November 2016 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK.
[Image by courtesy of Tusk Awards/ Getty Images]
John was presented with the Prince William Award for Conservation, which was in recognition of his life’s work and his holistic approach to conservation with community.They showed a short film which explained John’s work and why he had been specially chosen by Prince William to receive this prestigious award.
Link to the film on You Tube: “Winner of the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa 2016, John Kahekwa”
[Image by courtesy of Tusk Awards/ Getty Images
THE PRINCE WILLIAM AWARD FOR CONSERVATION IN AFRICA
This is a lifetime achievement award, recognising an outstanding dedication and exceptional contribution to conservation in Africa.This prestigious award is sponsored by Investec Asset Management.A magnificent trophy specially designed by Tiffany is presented to the winner. John was presented with his award by Prince William.
[Image by courtesy of Tusk Awards/ Getty Images]
Prince William congratulating all the prize winners.
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!
John (right) and the other finalists with Sir David Attenborough and Prince William [Image by courtesy of Tusk Awards/ Getty Images]
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.
Last September, POPOF’s animators visited among communities of the KBNP mainly in Miti area. POPOF interviewed 456 people (men, women and young), 306 of them selected the tree seedlings to be planted again. The 150 people selected for animal breeding.
POPOF opted for the majority and bought seeds, materials for the nursery, 1 man from the community gave a contribution of his field to install the tree nursery which is a good thing.
POPOF Tree nursery September 2016
In the 1990s, POPOF used to work with villagers to grow seedlings, now things have improved from mid-2000 to today. Now POPOF has the pupils from its own Anga-POPOF-Miti Forestry School and these trained pupils from the 10th, 11th and 12th grades including the POPOF’s Global Friends Club can grow trees by planting and transplanting in the fields of inhabitants living near the Park.
The long-term goal of POPOF is to educate the new generation so they get familiar with the nature, love it and improve the life in communities around the park.
Anga pupils raising flag
So, it is our big pride to see these pupils of different age like this who participate this important activity. This is one of our strength for the conflict solution among locals who face the conservation issue of the natural resources of the DRC.
EQUATIONS TO DISTINGUISH GORILLA NESTS AND TO KNOW SIZE OF GORILLA GROUPS THROUGH DIRECT AND INDIRECT METHODS WHEN TRAINING TRACKERS IN THE KAHUZI BIEGA NATIONAL PARK (KBNP).
SOUTH KIVU PROVINCE, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC).
Long term observations by Author and trainer:
John Kahekwa Munihuzi
Four great ape species inhabit Africa and Asia. These are: Chimpanzees, Orangutans, Gorillas and Bonobos. With the exception of Orangutans, whose habitat is in Asia, the three other species live in Africa, with the largest populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The four species of great ape construct night nests; some members in the trees (upper) and other members on the ground (lower). This article is based on daily, long term observations focused on the nesting and the size of the groups of the Grauer Gorillas, (Gorilla beringei graueri) ranging in the Kahuzi Biega National Park (KBNP), particularly groups in the highland sector.