African Parks Rangers Honoured by the 2018 Inaugural African Ranger Awards
Four African Parks rangers are among fifty finalists recognized by the first African Ranger Awards for their outstanding commitment to the protection of Africa’s wildlife and wilderness areas
Johannesburg, South Africa: African Parks is proud to announce that four extremely dedicated rangers from Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi, Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia, and Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are winners of the 2018 inaugural Paradise Ranger Awards. Paul Kumwamba, Tizola Moyo, Voster Mweene, and Kasereka Kisuki Alexandre were four of fifty finalists recognized for their exceptional commitment to the protection of wildlife. Established by the Alibaba Foundation, Paradise International Foundation and the Founder of Alibaba Jack Ma, the Ranger Award pays tribute to the indispensable contributions made by Africa’s rangers to the conservation of our collective natural heritage facing a myriad of threats. African Parks has the largest ranger team for any one NGO in Africa, with 1,000 rangers in nine countries working on the frontline to provide safety and security for the wildlife and people living in and around each of the fifteen parks under its management.
“Rangers are the frontline defense against the intense and ever-present risk of poaching in Africa’s critical conservation areas. Conducting tens of thousands of patrols across park terrain and intercepting threats year-round, often as the only ready security force, their efforts are building a future in which people and wildlife can benefit from stable and ecologically functioning landscapes” Said African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead. “We simply could not protect the millions of hectares of intact African wilderness without them, and are profoundly grateful for their extraordinary dedication. The Paradise International Foundation, Alibaba Foundation and founder Jack Ma have been visionary in their establishment of this award, helping to shine a light on the critical security rangers provide for countless species and millions of people. We extend our congratulations to all of the award finalists and our sincere thanks to the Foundation and Jack Ma for honouring them”.
Paradise International Foundation announced in July last year the establishment of a ten-year award programme to support 500 wildlife rangers in Africa, given annually to fifty rangers to illuminate their role in conservation. The 2018 recipients were selected based on the challenges they have had to surmount, the impact they have made, and the commitment, leadership and inspiration they have given to their team over the course of service. As finalists, these exceptional qualities are exemplified in Paul Kumwamba of Nkhotakota and Tizola Moyo of Majete in Malawi, Kasereka Kisuki Alexandre of Garamba in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Voster Mweene of Liuwa Plain in Zambia. Each recipient receives a grant of US$3,000 in support of their overall efforts.
About the Rangers:
Paul Kumwamba, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Paul Kumwamba has dedicated 22 years to conservation in Malawi, where he worked for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in two other parks before joining Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve’s law enforcement team in 2013. Mr. Kumwamba has shown true leadership and worked with unflinching integrity to achieve remarkable results throughout his extensive career in conservation. He is particularly credited for his acts of courage, including providing life-saving support to his colleagues faced with threats in the field, and his extraordinary professional record, in which he single-handedly apprehended five armed poachers while on patrol. The Park Manager of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve Samuel Kamoto said “With his passion, dedication, and exemplary nature, Mr. Kumwamba has won the absolute respect of his colleagues, both peers and supervisors alike”, he continued “At a recent meeting, the entire team expressed that he is the best example of a true and committed park ranger”.
Tizola Moyo, Majete Wildlife Reserve
Tizola Moyo has made a significant contribution to wildlife conservation in Malawi over the course of a lengthy 27 years. Initially employed by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, his experience and profound potential led to his recruitment by African Parks in Majete Wildlife Reserve when they assumed management in partnership with the Government of Malawi in 2003. Under African Parks’ employment, he excelled in formal leadership training at the South African Wildlife College, and has become an expert tracker and mentor in Majete’s black rhino tracking programme. Mr. Moyo has been the Deputy Law Enforcement Officer in the reserve since 2006, and with his skilled leadership and commitment has helped to ensure that not a single rhino or elephant has been poached in fifteen years of management. “Mr. Moyo and his fellow rangers have played an instrumental role in securing Majete, eliminating poaching threats and enabling African Parks to translocate more than 2,500 animals to restock the reserve, which today is thriving with over 12,000 animals,” Said Majete Wildlife Reserve’s Park Manager Craig Hay. “Overcoming several remarkable challenges, his dedication to conserving his country’s natural heritage has contributed to a truly successful story of restoration”.
Effective law enforcement is essential to the long-term sustainability of conservation areas in Africa, which are the last islands of protection for most of the world’s remaining populations of large emblematic mammals. Rangers across the continent are the bedrock of efforts to secure them from escalating pressure arising from poaching, which in many areas is being carried out by increasingly sophisticated and militarized groups, the illegal wildlife trade, and demand for land and resources. African Parks is fully responsible for the law enforcement of 15 parks it manages in partnership with governments, providing rigorous training to a team of 1,000 rangers helping to protect 10.5 million hectares of land. In 2017 alone, 549 rangers were trained, and rangers across the parks confiscated over 54,000 illicit items, removed over 48,000 wire snare traps, effected 555 arrests, and conducted 113,000 patrol days, contributing to the security and persistence of these valuable landscapes.
Vital support for African Parks’ work in Malawi is provided by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, The Wyss Foundation, WWF-Belgium, the People’s Postcode Lottery and Stichting Dioraphte.
Globally over the past decade, almost 1,000 rangers have lost their lives countering the myriad threats on the frontline of conservation. The African Ranger Award provides needed recognition for the critical work that rangers carry out to protect our common heritage.
About African Parks: African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. With the largest counter-poaching force and the most amount of area under protection for any one NGO in Africa, African Parks manages 15 national parks and protected areas in nine countries covering over 10.5 million hectares in Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia. For more information visit www.africanparks.org,Twitter, Instagram and Facebook