Kampala- “Every creature in this world has a purpose and a positive one. We should strike a balance. These resources must be protected,” says Mr Julius Obwona, a wildlife ranger.
For his efforts, over the years, he has been recognised and awarded the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award, an international recognition to the men and women who face danger every day to protect Africa’s wildlife.
When this newspaper spoke to Mr Obwona, he was elated that the world is finally recognising the efforts rangers put to conserve wildlife.
“It is very interesting to realise that the entire world is recognising the efforts ranger put in terms of conservation in Africa. It motivates the entire ranger force to take conservation at heart given that they work under difficult conditions. They dedicate their lives in difficult conditions,” he says.
For three decades, the Tusk award has promoted successful conservation action in Africa, by protecting wildlife, empowering communities and advancing the frontline in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.
Along with the award, Mr Obwona will receive grant of £20,000 (about Shs90m) and a trophy at a colourful ceremony on November 8. Two runners-up will each receive a grant of £7,500 (aboutShs32.5m).
He says because his work involves trading off career development and family, he plans to use the money he will receive to ensure his children go to school.
His effort has not gone unnoticed. “Julius is a most deserving candidate and receipt of such an accolade will help cement his standing as a future leader in fighting wildlife crime,” Lt Gen Ivan Koreta.
The annual Tusk Conservation Awards, in partnership with Investec Asset Management, celebrate extraordinary people, whose work and lives might otherwise go unnoticed outside their fields.
The Duke of Cambridge, who is the Royal Patron of Tusk, Prince William, says: “These awards which mean a great deal to me personally, play a huge part in our mission to preserve Africa’s precious wildlife for its people. It is vital that we recognise the dedication of these unsung heroes and the bravery of rangers risking their lives, day and night, on conservation’s frontline. We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”