A Rwandan conservation leader working to save the endangered and symbolic grey-crowned crane was on Wednesday presented with the 2018 prestigious Whitley Award by HRH Princess Royal in London.
The Whitley Awards are prestigious international prizes presented to individuals in recognition of their achievements in nature conservation.
Olivier Nsengimana, the founder of Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA), received his award at the Royal Geographical Society, London at a ceremony attended by over 500 guests, according to a statement.
Nsengimana is among the six Whitley Award recipients recognised for their work with local communities to protect threatened wildlife and their habitat around the globe.
Each award winner received a prize worth £40,000 (Rwf34 million) in project funding over one year, according to a statement from the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN).
Trained as a vet, Nsengimana shunned practising and instead established his own NGO in 2014 after discovering that Rwanda’s grey-crowned cranes were in dramatic decline. With less than 500 remaining, these birds were in trouble.
Edward Whitley, Founder of the Whitley Fund for Nature, said in the statement that, “Olivier’s work has had an undeniable impact on the conservation of grey-crowned cranes in Rwanda. We’re thrilled to be able to support Olivier, especially during our milestone year as we celebrate our 25th anniversary. His efforts and approach to conservation will help to sustain this species for future generations.”