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FZS congratulates project leader and conservation partner on winning Tusk Awards

Arusha, 5 October 2017 – Yesterday, the 2017 winners of the Tusk Conservation Awards were announced in Cape Town. Rian Labuschagne, project leader of Frankfurt Zoological Society’s Serengeti Conservation Project wins the Prince William Award. Solomon Chidunuka, Senior Wildlife Warden for Muchinga Province in Zambia with the North Luangwa National Park under his supervision is the joint winner of the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award.

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Rian Labuschagne
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Tusks Royal Patron says “These awards which mean a great deal to me personally, play a huge part in our mission to preserve Africa’s precious wildlife for its people.  It is vital that we recognise the dedication of these unsung heroes and the bravery of rangers risking their lives, day and night, on conservation’s frontline. We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

The Prince William Award for Rian Labuschagne is a lifetime achievement award, recognising an outstanding dedication and exceptional contribution to conservation in Africa. A trophy is presented to the winner as well as a grant of £40,000 towards their work, sponsored by Investec Asset Management.

Rian has been leading Frankfurt Zoological Society’s flagship project in Serengeti since February 2017. In the 1990s, he and his wife Lorna worked for Frankfurt Zoological Society supporting the Ngorongoro and Serengeti Rhino Projects. They implemented an entirely new anti-poaching and monitoring systems in both areas including mobile foot patrols in the rhino zones, observation posts, translocation of two rhinos from RSA to Ngorongoro, and transmitter implants in all rhinos in Moru Kopjes, Serengeti. Before they joined FZS again early this year, they worked in Zakouma National Park, Chad, for African Parks where they lowered levels of elephant poaching and established the park back on the international circuit.
Solomon Chidunuka is the DNPW Senior Wildlife Warden for Muchinga Province in Zambia. (Photo: Ed Sayer)
Solomon Chidunuka
Solomon Chidunuka has jointly won the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award with Lucky Ndlovu, who has been working as a field ranger in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. The award honours their work for protecting wildlife and fragile ecosystems in the face of danger. Rangers often work for little reward, risking and regularly losing their lives. The winners share a grant of £10,000 and are presented with a bronze medal. 2017 is the second year of this award, which is sponsored by a private US Foundation.
Solomon Chidunuka is based in the Muchinga Province of Zambia and is currently Senior Wildlife Warden for the Province after serving the Lower Zambezi National Park for thirteen years. Under his leadership, the Lower Zambezi area saw the lowest poaching levels on record. North Luangwa National Park is now under Solomon’s supervision. The park holds the only population of black rhinos in Zambia. He works in close collaboration with our North Luangwa Conservation Programme. No rhinos have been poached under his watch.

The award finalists have been recognised at a gala ceremony in Cape Town on the 4th of October. Rian Labuschagne received his award from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Solomon Chidunuka was presented his award by the former President of South Africa Frederik Willem de Klerk.

Tusk is an organisation initiating and funding conservation, community development and environmental education programmes across Africa. Since its formation in 1990, Tusk has invested more than £30 million into field projects in 19 African countries. HRH the Duke of Cambridge became the charity’s Royal Patron in 2005 and has been a proactive supporter of Tusk’s work ever since.

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