Fanny Minesi, General Director of Friends of Bonobos of the Congo, was awarded the main prize in 2021, for her work to protect bonobos and their rainforest home in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Led by Fanny Minesi, Friends of Bonobos are on a mission to save bonobos and their rainforest home. They do this through rescue, sanctuary, and rewilding, and working with local people to tackle root issues that threaten bonobos’ survival.
Friends of Bonobos rescue individual bonobos orphaned by the illegal trade in wildlife. They give these rare apes essential care and sanctuary, releasing them back to the rainforest when possible.
Born Free is proud to support their mission – some of the most effective and comprehensive bonobo conservation work on the planet.
READ MORE ABOUT FRIENDS OF BONOBOS
DR OLIVIER NSENGIMANA
Dr Olivier Nsengimana was awarded the MTA in 2020 for his work to combat the illegal trade in grey crowned cranes, which are classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List.
Dr Olivier Nsengimana is Founder & Executive Director of the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA), a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing sustainable solutions to critical wildlife conservation issues in Rwanda and the East African region using a holistic and multi-disciplinary ‘One Health Approach.’
Led by his determination to make a difference for his country, having witnessed the horrors of the 1994 genocide as a nine-year-old boy, Nsengimana set out to stop individual animal suffering and save and protect his country’s grey crowned cranes.
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DR JAMARTIN SIHITE
Dr Jamartin Sihite was awarded the MTA in 2019 for his tireless work to protect the Bornean orangutan and its habitat. As CEO of the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation in Indonesia, Dr Sihite manages three orangutan reintroduction forests in Borneo, a 309,000-hectare peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan which provides habitat to over 2,500 wild orangutans, a network of orangutan pre-release islands, a long-term orangutan sanctuary at Salat Island and two rescue and rehabilitation centres.
Virginia McKenna said: “For more than 12 years Dr Jamartin Sihite has worked tirelessly for protection of the orangutans in Borneo and their fragile forest homes. Over 800 animals have been rescued and cared for, and now half of these have been introduced back to the wild.”
VISIT BORNEO ORANGUTAN SURVIVAL’S WEBSITE
Shivani Bhalla of the Ewaso Lions Project was awarded the first MTA 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.
Virginia McKenna said: “I could not be happier that Shivani and the Ewaso Lions Project are the first recipients of this award. 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.”
VISIT EWASO LIONS PROJECT’S WEBSITE
PROFESSOR ANNA NEKARIS
Professor Anna Nekaris of Oxford Brookes University and the Little Fireface Project was awarded the MTA in 2013. Professor 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 their plight through academia, media and field work.
Virginia McKenna 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.”
VISIT LITTLE FIREFACE PROJECT’S WEBSITE
MAD DOG INITIATIVE
The third MTA was awarded to the Mad Dog Initiative, a project aiming to protect Madagascar’s rare and endemic wildlife through a targeted, compassionate programme to control domestic and feral dogs in and around Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar.
Virginia McKenna 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.”
VISIT MAG DOG INITIATIVE’S WEBSITE
NEOTROPICAL PRIMATE CONSERVATION
Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC) was the 2016 winner of the MTA. Since it was set up in 2007, NPC has targeted Peru’s illegal trade in wildlife by partnering with wildlife authorities, police, public prosecutors and grassroots organisations.
Virginia McKenna said: “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.”
VISIT NPC’S WEBSITE
Jackson Mbeke, Director of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE), won the sixth MTA for Compassionate Conservation.
Virginia McKenna said: “Jackson’s unswerving dedication should be an inspiration to all. Together with everyone at Born Free, I am determined that by supporting outstanding individuals such as Jackson and his team – with both recognition and resources – we can help make the natural world a more compassionate and safer place.”
READ MORE ABOUT JACKSON MBEKE