Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

The Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation

Presented by the Born Free Foundation, on behalf of the Compassionate Conservation Network. 

The Born Free Foundation has, at its heart, the interface between animal welfare and conservation, and is keen to promote its agenda of Compassionate Conservation, where the welfare of individual animals is a central consideration in conservation actions. 

The Award of US$1000 is made annually by the Born Free Foundation, in consultation with the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) and the Compassionate Conservation Network, on the basis of applications submitted for review. 

The award, sponsored by the Born Free Foundation and named after its iconic founder Virginia McKenna OBE, Hon. Dr. of Science, is intended to provide support and recognition for researchers, practitioners, organisations and projects that promote and develop the consideration of animal welfare in conservation practice. 

 

Past winners

Project Integrating Biodiversity Conservation and Dog Welfare in Madagascar Wins 3rd Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation

Virginia McKenna award for Compassionate Conservation

The Born Free Foundation is delighted to announce that the 3rd Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation has been awarded to the Mad Dog Initiative, a project aiming to protect Madagascar’s rare and endemic wildlife through a targeted, compassionate program to control domestic and feral dogs in and around Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar.

The ultimate goal of the project is to understand and diminish the threat posed to endemic wildlife from domestic and feral dogs within rainforest habitat, employing spaying/neutering, vaccination and adoption programs for feral dogs, alongside wildlife monitoring, and extensive survey and educational programmes. The project will have wide-ranging impacts on conservation while also promoting and developing animal welfare across this biodiversity hotspot, benefitting wild animals such as carnivores, lemurs, and small mammals, the welfare of feral dogs, and the conservation and governmental organizations working towards wildlife conservation and improving the livelihoods of local people across this region.

Virginia McKenna OBE, founder of the Born Free Foundation, who met with Zoavina Randriana from the Mad Dog Initiative to present the Award, said: “I am so pleased that the Mad Dog Initiative has won this award.  It embodies so much of what we regard as central to Compassionate Conservation. What I particularly admire about this project is that it is inclusive.  It benefits wild animals, domestic dogs and people, and I hope will be an inspiration for others to follow.”

The award, sponsored by the Born Free Foundation, is intended to provide support and recognition for researchers, practitioners, organisations and projects that promote and develop the consideration of animal welfare in conservation practice. Previous recipients of the award include Shivani Bhalla, of the Ewaso Lions Project for her work on human / lion conflict and Prof. Anna Nekaris of Oxford Brookes University and the Little Fireface Project for her work on slow loris conservation and welfare.

The Born Free Foundation has, at its heart, the interface between animal welfare and conservation, and is keen to promote its agenda of Compassionate Conservation, where the welfare of individual animals is a central consideration in conservation actions.

Find out more about the Mad Dog Initiative on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MadDogInitiative

 

Slow Loris Champion Wins 2013 Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation

2nd Compassionate Conservation Award

We are delighted to announce that Professor Anna Nekaris of Oxford Brookes University and the Little Fireface Project has been awarded the Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation for 2013.

Prof. Nekaris was selected to receive the award for her work in exposing the cruel and destructive trade in slow lorises as pets in South East Asia, and for raising awareness of the plight of these secretive and fascinating animals through academia, the media and field work.

The Little Fireface Project (LFP) began officially in December 2011, building on work carried out by the Nocturnal Primate Research Group at Oxford Brookes since 1993. In response to a burgeoning demand for illegally traded wild slow lorises as pets, fuelled by YouTube videos, LFP launched a formal programme to halt this trade. The Project initiated the first long-term field study of Javan slow lorises, providing vital data to rescue centres to improve success of reintroduction of ex-pet trade victims. It provides training materials and workshops on taxonomy, helping to reduce reintroduction of non-native loris species; conducts market surveys and reports illegal loris sales to authorities; operates a community-based conservation project in Garut, with conservation education and training schemes for trackers, enforcement officers and students; provides alternative incomes to villagers producing loris handicrafts; and actively uses social media to promote its activities, resulting in the removal of the ‘notorious’ Tickling Slow Loris video from wired.com in 2012.

Virginia McKenna OBE, founder of the Born Free Foundation, who met with Prof. Nekaris in Oxford to present the Award, said “I am so delighted that Anna has won this award. I think her work has brought international attention to this little-understood species and her commitment to the individuals she encounters is exactly what Compassionate Conservation is all about. “

Prof. Nekaris intends to use the Award funding to produce an information book in Bahasa Indonesia to educate and empower local people to save slow lorises.

Find out more about the Little Fireface project here www.nocturama.org 

First Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation Announced

Shivani Bhalla of the Ewaso Lions Project  was  awarded the first Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation in 2012 Shivani was selected to receive the award for her work with local communities to conserve lions and other large carnivores in northern Kenya by reducing conflict and helping them understand the importance of lions and other wildlife.

The Ewaso Lions project recognises the critical role people play in wildlife conservation and has important community outreach and education programmes that encourage people to learn about the local wildlife. As well as working with schools, the project engages with Samburu warriors and utilises their important knowledge of wildlife issues. The warriors are provided with training so they can collect data and respond to overriding community issues like livestock depredation. The project encourages communities to not harm and persecute lions; instead they encourage deterrents such as the use of guard dogs, noisemakers and lights to dissuade any nuisance animals from attacking their livestock. These deterrents are not only extremely effective, but also prevent the lion or any other predator from being harmed by farmers protecting their livestock.

The project also undertakes important research into lion behaviour in order to formulate strategies to apply to long-term lion conservation.  Their research includes conducting a census to identify the size of the lion population in Samburu, and then looks on a closer level at the prides and individuals within the population. Research also focuses on working to reduce human-predator conflict and studying lion behaviour using camera traps, Radio/GPS tracking and scat analysis.

“I could not be happier that Shivani and the Ewaso Lions Project are the first recipients of this award,” said Virginia McKenna OBE, co-founder and trustee of the Born Free Foundation. “She and her team face many challenges, but they are true champions of lions and their survival in Kenya. I send my warmest congratulations and feel sure they will be an inspiration to many.”

Find out more about the Ewaso Lions Project here www.ewasolions.org

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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