The Duke of Cambridge presents The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa.

Last Tuesday, the Duke of Cambridge attended the Tusk Conservation Awards 2014 at Claridge’s. As patron of Tusk, he presented awards to two leading conservationists for their outstanding work in Africa.

The prestigious Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa, sponsored by Investec Asset Management, was given to Richard Bonham in recognition of his lifetime contribution to wildlife and the Maasai community in Kenya. The judges applauded him for his steadfast and lifetime commitment to the promotion of wildlife conservation in Kenya and mitigation of human wildlife conflict.

Charlie Mayhew MBE, CEO of Tusk, said, “Richard is one of Africa’s true unsung heroes of conservation. His greatest challenge has been, and remains, to sustain the vast ecosystem of Amboseli and Tsavo in Kenya through a holistic approach – addressing the major threats to the Maasai community and their way of life, the fragile wilderness, and its wildlife. He is the person who changed perceptions in the tourist industry and showed how eco-tourism could meld wildlife conservation with community development in Kenya.”

The Tusk Award for emerging leaders in conservation, sponsored by Land Rover, was presented to Herizo Andrianandrasana, from Madagascar. Having witnessed first-hand the huge environmental challenges facing his country, his response has been to pioneer the empowerment of local communities to conserve the natural environments they depend on, leading programmes across seven globally important conservation areas, with a combined surface area of 3,500 km2.

Closing the ceremony, the Duke said, The work of this year’s finalists serves to illustrate some of our greatest conservation challenges: dramatic loss of lion; poaching of elephant and rhino; deforestation; and the critical need for community involvement.”

He also took the opportunity to announce a new award for 2015, “which will recognize the extraordinary bravery and commitment of Wildlife Rangers. These are the men and women at the frontline of the battle – and it is a battle – to save some of the world’s most iconic species.”

He went on to stress that “these people cannot face the bullets and the threats alone. It is up to governments and intra-national bodies to unite behind them, and to play a meaningful part in ensuring that their efforts on the ground are fruitful.”

Tusk has been working since 1990 to build a sustainable future for the African continent and its wildlife. HRH The Duke of Cambridge became the Royal Patron of Tusk Trust in December 2005.