Kenyan conservationist feted in London
Prince William and his wife Kate on Thursday led the world in celebrating a Kenyan’s work on conservation efforts that has boosted peace in the bandit-prone Northern Kenya.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the inaugural Tusk Conservation Awards at The Royal Society in London where Tom Lalampaa was given the The Tusk Award for Conservation.
Mr Lalampaa, was celebrated for his outstanding work of brokering peace through conservation amongst feuding tribal groups in northern Kenya.
His efforts led to the establishment of 18 community conservancies and 2 million acres under conservancies in an ambitious integrated project that allows wild animals and livestock graze side by side.
Mr Lalampaa is a Community Conservation Manager with Northern Rangeland Trust, an umbrella lobby bringing together the 18 conservancies with a membership of over 150,000 people.
He was appreciated for his role where NRT is a leading model for community conservation in Kenya – and increasingly across Africa – with a proven impact on peace, livelihoods and conservation.
Prince William, who has previously ‘tasted’ Kenya’s pristine tourism products said there was so much good conservation work going on which should be celebrated.
Make a difference
“I think sometimes, as we sit here, we can feel a little powerless to make a difference for species that we desperately care about.
The focus that these Tusk Awards bring on a diverse group of brilliant conservationists provides a means of channelling our longing to help,” he said.
The ceremony was also the first outing for the Duke and Duchess since the birth of their first child, Prince George and was attended by a congregation of businessmen, politicians and ardent wildlife conservationists.
The award winners will receive substantial grants of between Sh2 million and Sh4 million in recognition of their work and also help them develop their projects.
Charlie Mayhew, Tusk’s co-founder and CEO, said the winners had made immense contribution in their respective roles in African conservation over many years.
Since its formation in 1990 Tusk Trust has raised over Sh250million for a wide range of projects across Africa.
These projects help to protect wildlife, particularly endangered species, and also alleviate poverty through sustainable development and education amongst rural communities who live alongside wildlife.
Elephants and rhinos are among Africa’s most endangered animals.
Africa’s elephant population stood at 1.3milion in 1979 and reduced to 600,000 in 1989.
Today the population is estimated to be as low as 400,000.
The black rhino population in Africa stands at approximately 4,800 with the white rhino numbers totalling about 20,000.
Prince William who became the Royal Patron of Tusk in December 2005 has been an active supporter of the charity’s work.
Mr Lalampaa is a Samburu community member from the West Gate Community Conservancy.
He started off as the Trust’s Community Development Assistant in April, 2006 rising to his present position as the Community Conservancy Manager.-nation.co.ke