7 June 2022


On the 91st birthday of our beloved Co-Founder Virginia McKenna OBE, we are delighted to announce that applications for the McKenna-Travers Award for Compassionate Conservation (MTA) 2022 are now being accepted.

Named in honour of Virginia McKenna OBE, her late husband Bill Travers MBE, and their eldest son, Will Travers OBE, who co-founded the charity that became Born Free in 1984, the award will not only raise the professional profile of the winner, but offers a substantial project grant worth up to £10,000 to help the first prize winner implement their Compassionate Conservation project.

In addition, a £5,000 People’s Choice award will be decided by the public and three Highly Commended awards of £1,000 will be allocated. 

Compassionate Conservation puts the welfare of individual wild animals at the heart of effective conservation actions. Entries should highlight the positive welfare impacts of their conservation achievements and how their proposed conservation programme significantly reduces any negative impacts on the individual animals involved.

Virginia McKenna stated: "I hope this award will recognise, inspire and support outstanding individual conservationists, researchers and practitioners, who place a very high priority on animal welfare and who incorporate a compassionate approach to the field conservation of species under threat, conservation policy or environmental education.”

2022 is the tenth year that the award will recognise individuals across the globe, with previous winners including:

  • Fanny Minesi, General Director of Friends of the Bonobos of the Congo for her outstanding work to rescue, rehabiliate and protect these rare apes.
  • Jackson Mbeke, Director of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) for his work with critically endangered eastern lowland gorillas
  • 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
  • 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
  • Neotropical Primate Conservation in Peru, which tackles illegal wildlife trade by partnering with wildlife authorities, police, public prosecutors, and grassroots organisations
  • Dr Jamartin Sihite of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation for his work reintroducing over 400 rescued orangutans back to their natural habitat.

The application period for the 2022 McKenna-Travers Award is now open and the deadline for applications is 26th August 2022. The winner will be announced on 17th October 2022.




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