On Tuesday, April 5 Corneille Ewango (Congo-Kinshasa) and Ofir Drori (Cameroon) were awarded the Future for Nature Award 2011. This year’s finalists were selected from a field of nearly 150 entries by an international jury that consist of an independent, international committee of experts.
The Future for Nature Award is a prestigious international award, which celebrates tangible achievements in protecting wild animal and plant species.
The Future for Nature Award honours creativity, leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of species protection and conservation. Award winners receive €50.000 and a sculpture as a contribution to their excellent species conservation work.
The ceremony was attended by about 500 invitees, and the winners had the opportunity to give a presentation. Ofir Drori: “I hope that the award, the forth in connection to LAGA’s work, will give more credibility to and acceptance of our message and help us in our long term quest to affect conservation in a meaningful way.”
Ofir Drori (34), born in Israel, lost his heart to Africa when he travelled as a photographer, journalist and adventurer through the more remote parts of the continent. He became involved in Africa’s social problems and became an activist “in an attempt to give something back to the continent that has given me so much.”
Ofir set up the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA), the first organisation in Cameroon fighting against the illegal wildlife trade. LAGA brought real change: there are now about three hundred traffickers arrested and prosecuted and the penalties range from three years imprisonment, the maximum penalty, to fines of $35,000.
The Congolese botanist Corneille Ewango (46) risked his life to protect the flora and fauna of his country. As a manager and researcher of the Okapi Faunal Reserve in the vast Ituri Forest in north eastern Congo, he committed to protecting the forest and the local population during the period (1998-2003) in which civil war raged in his country and rebel militias began a campaign of robbing, rape, and murder throughout the Ituri forest.
Botanical research is of great importance for the protection of wildlife. Corneille Ewango: “Protection of endangered species can only be successful if we save their habitat and protect the plants they feed on.”
For more information about the Future for Nature Award, please visit: