By: BONIFACE MWANGI
A Kenyan ranger from a conservancy in Laikipia has won the inaugural Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award by Prince William for his war against poaching.
The head of anti-poaching unit at Lewa and the Northern Rangelands Trust, Mr Edward Ndiritu, received the prize from His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge in London last week.
He beat several nominees from across Africa to the award.
Judges said Mr Ndiritu stood out for his vigilant leadership, bravery and inspiring commitment to the protection of wildlife and communities across the northern Kenya landscape.
Prince William handed Mr Ndiritu the award during the World Ranger Day celebration on November 24.
“Leading a team fighting the war against poaching, the award recognises the extraordinary bravery and commitment of 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,” Prince William said during the event.
The Prince who is also the Royal Patron of Tusk Trust congratulated Mr Ndiritu and his team for the ‘extraordinary contribution’ they have made towards both the protection of wildlife and increased security for rural communities in the region
Mr Ndiritu acknowledged the contribution of his team saying: “I recognise it is not just my efforts that have made a difference, but the efforts of the entire team.”
“When I made a commitment to become a ranger and protect wildlife as a 23-year-old, I never imagined it would lead me here. To all rangers across Africa risking their lives daily to protect endangered species, I hope this award motivates you all to know that the world appreciates our work and sacrifices,” said Mr Ndiritu.
He added: “I would like to thank my team back at Lewa and the Northern Rangelands Trust for this award. Were it not for them and their bravery, I would not be standing here today. This award is not mine but ours. I would also like to thank my family for their endless support and faith in me. I would also like to thank Tusk Trust and the Duke of Cambridge for creating this award to honour wildlife rangers across Africa.”
Mr Ndiritu, becomes the first one to win the award created by Prince William as part of the annual Tusk Conservation Award.
The prize recognizes the dedication and bravery of rangers working to protect Africa’s increasingly endangered wildlife.
Mr Ndiritu said while it is rewarding to protect wildlife, the job has its own set of challenges and is often a dangerous job.
In 2014, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and the Northern Rangelands Trust brought their anti-poaching operations under a centralised command.
This has enabled more effective responses to incidents and better sharing of intelligence.
It has also allowed community conservancies to benefit from Lewa’s anti-poaching resources.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION