Save the Rhino Trust CEO Honoured with Prestigious International Conservation Award!
23 November, London United Kingdom. Simson !Uri-≠Khob, Save the Rhino Trust Chief Executive Officer has been recognised for his lifetime commitment and contribution to African conservation. Mr !Uri-≠Khob has been awarded the Prince William Lifetime Achievement Award. The annual ceremony – now in its ninth year – was attended by TUSK’s Royal Patron Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge. Each year the awards recognise and honour the important work that African Conservationists perform to protect wildlife and biodiversity. Arguably one of the most prestigious conservation awards on the continent, the lifetime achievement award is a nod to Simson’s unwavering passion and dedication displayed over 30 years of protecting black rhinos in Namibia’s northwest.
The annual TUSK Conservation Awards were established in 2013 in partnership with the Duke of Cambridge and various sponsors to celebrate extraordinary achievements by individuals working to protect Africa’s irreplaceable natural heritage. The awards serve to bolster international recognition for the winners and the work they do. The three award categories are: The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa, a lifetime achievement award, won by Simson !Uri-≠Khob from Namibia; The Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa which recognises an emerging leader in conservation, won by Julie Razafimanahaka from Madagascar and the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award which recognises dedication and bravery of rangers work to protect wildlife won by Suleiman Saidu from Nigeria.
Simson has worked with Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) for 30 years, currently leading a team of 43 staff and 60 community rhino rangers from 13 conservancies spanning an area of 25,000 km² in northwest Namibia. When Simson joined SRT in the early 1990s, Namibia’s black rhino population, the largest free ranging black rhino population in the world, was just back from the brink of almost complete decimation after a terrible drought and surge of poaching in the 1970s and 1980s. Namibia’s successful rhino conservation efforts in the northwest region have been largely driven by engaging and empowering local communities in rhino protection. SRT, alongside with local partners, have spearheaded these efforts for nearly 4 decades. Today, rhino numbers have dramatically increased and conservancies are supported to employ locally-recruited rangers, provide education and health improvements and help for farmers. It is impossible not to feel Simson’s passion, commitment and honest, open heart for protecting his rhinos and ensuring his rangers are given the support they need and deserve.
After the ceremony Simson also thanked his team at Save the Rhino Trust Namibia: ‘My receiving of this award is thanks to the SRT team who support me at all times with commitment and dedication. Without their support this award would not have happened’’.
The impacts of biodiversity loss due to population pressure, climate change and COVID-19 means that now more than ever African conservationists like Simson should take centre stage. The Duke of Cambridge addressed the 2021 winners saying that the work they do has never been more important and that ‘’it is imperative that the natural world is protected not only for its contribution to our economies, jobs and livelihoods, but for health, well-being and the future of humanity’’.
During his acceptance speech Simson talked about the importance of future conservationists: