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Whitley Awards 2016. Who won the Green Oscars

Seven conservationists have been honoured by the Royal Geographic Society in London for their successful conservation efforts.

With less than 100 individual surviving in the wild, the Sumatran rhino is likely to disappear. Tigers could become extinct in a decade, while Lonesome George, male Pinta Island tortoise that was the last known individual of the subspecies, died 2 years ago.

Leopardo delle nevi
Snow leopard (Panthera uncia). Doctor Muhammad Ali Nawaz was honoured for his efforts to protect this species from extinction in Pakistan

We are witnessing animal and plant species disappearing at an alarming rate, so much so that scientists defined this phenomenon as the “sixth mass extinction” in history. Some species, with their peculiar beauty, are lost and gone forever and will only be admired in biology books. However, something could be done for other species.

The Whitley Awards

Luckily, some people decided to dedicate their life to protecting endangered species, including those less known to the general public. To honour their essential work aimed at safeguarding this precious, common heritage, the Whitley Awards have been established in 1994. They are often referred to as the Green Oscars for nature conservation.

They are organised by the Whitley Fund, UK-based non-profit organisation that supports conservation projects worldwide. The awards ceremony was held on the 27th of April at the Royal Geographic Society in London and the prizes were given by the Princess Royal, Anne. Seven conservationists, chosen from a pool of over 120 applicants from 53 countries, have been honoured for their “innovative conservation projects”.

Farwiza Farhan - Whitley Awards
Farwiza Farhan, from Indonesia, is one of the winning conservationists of the 2016 Whitley Awards. She was honoured for a project aimed to protect the livelihoods of the Leuser Ecosystem’s local populations and iconic species

The winners

The winners of the 2016 Whitley Awards are Gilbert Baase Adum from Ghana, Farwiza Farhan from Indonesia, Makala Jasper from Tanzania, Karau Kuna from Papua New Guinea, Muhammad Ali Nawaz from Pakistan, Alexander Rukhaia from Georgia, and Juliette Velosoa from Madagascar. They received £35,000 in project funding.

The seven winning conservationists work to protect a wide range of species and habitats, including the Matschie’s tree-kangaroo, the snow leopard, the Giant Squeaker Frog from Ghana, coastal forests, birds of prey, and a long-necked turtle of the family of Chelidae.

“Whitley Award winners are simply exceptional people – passionate individuals who are committed to achieving positive environmental impact and long-term conservation and community benefits,” said Sir David Attenborough, renowned English broadcaster and naturalist.

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