A South African has been shortlisted for the world’s most high profile conservation award.
Commonly known as the “Green Oscars”‚ Dr Ian Little of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) stands to win £35‚000 in project funding from the Whitley Fund for Nature at a ceremony in London later this month. Little‚ senior manager of the habitats programme at the EWT‚ was one of six selected from 169 applicants worldwide.
The six nominees include a Philippines project that entails partnering with prisoners to safeguard the critically endangered Philippine cockatoo; and an Indian project working on reducing deforestation in Karnataka’s tiger corridors.
Little has been selected for his work as a custodian of South Africa’s threatened grassland biodiversity Should he not take home an award‚ Little will not return empty handed. Whitley will present him with a documentary on the work of the EWT‚ narrated by veteran broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough. The documentary will be available on Youtube following the award ceremony.
Sir David is a Trustee of the organisation.
The awards are presented by the organisation’s patron‚ Britain’s Princess Anne.
Little said that although he felt he was “standing on the shoulders” of the many others who had worked alongside him‚ the prize was an opportunity to meet influential people in the world of conservation. “Even if I don’t win‚ the link to the Whitley network will help us find key donors and give us more clout at home.”
The Whitley Fund for Nature gives ongoing support to outstanding nature conservationists around the developing world. The charity aims to find and fund the most effective grassroots conservation leaders committed to precipitating long-lasting conservation benefits on the ground and who have a track record of success.
The project being assessed by Whitley for the award is the EWT’s biodiversity stewardship programme where landowners with intact habitat voluntarily enter their land into a protected area network which will be managed for biodiversity. The process is a legally binding agreement with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
“The award money will be used to help create a corridor joining the existing protected areas along the Drakensberg escarpment all the way to the Maluti in the Free State‚” said Little.
The event takes place at an evening ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London on Thursday May 18.
– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE