Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation

7 June 2016

Categories: Homepage News, Primates Campaign News

Born Free Foundation’s Co-Founder and actress, Virginia McKenna OBE, has marked her 85th birthday by announcing that Neotropical Primate Conservation has been awarded the fourth Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation 2016.

The $1,000 award, sponsored by Born Free, provides support and recognition for researchers, practitioners, organisations and projects that promote and develop the consideration of animal welfare in conservation practice.

Neotropical Primate Conservation was set up in 2007 by Sam and Noga Shanee and Lizzie Cooke to target the illegal wildlife trade in Peru, working closely with regional and national wildlife authorities, police, public prosecutors and grassroots organisations. It also educates local communities about the pressures faced by wildlife from hunting, the dangers of keeping wild animals as pets, and illegal trafficking. Over the past nine years it has organised and participated in the confiscation and rescue of more than 3,900 wild animals. It has also created 11 community-run conservation reserves with local people.

Born Free Foundation Co-Founder and Trustee, Virginia McKenna OBE, said that she was delighted to announce the winner on her 85th birthday: “It gives me particular pleasure that Neotropical Primate Conservation has received this Award. It is always hard to choose a ‘winner’, as so many amazing people carry out challenging and often unrecognised work. But NPC’s canvas is all-inclusive, which is especially important. The environment, its vulnerable wild inhabitants and the world’s burgeoning human population, are all part of life on Earth, and NPC treats them with understanding and sensitivity. I hope that NPC and Born Free will spread our joint philosophy of Compassionate Conservation around the world – a world which needs it as never before.”

Neotropical Primate Conservation Co-Founder, Noga Shanee, said: It is a great honour to be recognised by the Born Free Foundation and receive the Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation. Our work is unique in its view that conservation, animal welfare and human rights are inseparable issues that interrelate and affect each other. We have often faced the criticism that conservation should only focus on species or habitats and ignore the bigger picture. Therefore, we are very happy to be recognised for our efforts to use an ethical, inclusive, compassionate and passionate approach in all aspects of our work. This generous award will help us to rescue more victims of the wildlife trade, while also working to protect their natural habitat.”

Past winners of the prestigious Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation include Shivani Bhalla, of the Ewaso Lions Project, for her work on human/lion conflict; Professor Anna Nekaris, of Oxford Brookes University and the Little Fireface Project, for her work on slow loris conservation and welfare; and last year’s winner, the Mad Dog Initiative - a project which aims to deliver conservation benefits to endangered species by humanely controlling domestic and feral dogs in and around Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar.

Nominations are already open for the Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation 2017. Candidates should send details to Chris Draper on

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

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