SOS is delighted to share news of another SOS grantee being recognised for their contribution to conservation action. This time it was the turn of the Endangered Wildlife Trust's (EWT) Skills Development Programme (EWT-SDP). The programme, managed by Adam Pires scooped a Kudu Award during the prestigious South African National Parks 2015 Kudu Awards ceremony held on 16 October 2015 in Midrand, Johannesburg.
The award, presented by the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa, was in recognition of the EWT's sterling efforts to build capacity among law enforcement officials to tackle illegal wildlife trade.
The annual Kudu Awards recognize individuals and groups that have contributed to the conservation of nature. "This award is a great achievement for EWT and shows our ongoing commitment to fight illegal wildlife trade", said the EWT's Skills Development Programme Manager, Adam Pires.
The EWT's Skills Development Programme is all about nurturing and upskilling people who are involved in the protection and conservation of biodiversity. Since 2011, the programme has implemented 25 critical wildlife trade enforcement training programmes targeting close to 500 enforcement officials representing the South African Police Service, the South African Revenue Service, provincial conservation agencies, and the State Security Agency.
These training programmes have provided critical skills and knowledge, as well as intra-agency networking opportunities, to fight the trafficking of wildlife. "Our current focus is on catalysing law enforcement officials to do their work more effectively." explains Pires.
SOS began supporting the EWT's conservation work in southern Africa with the funding of a Dugong protection project in Mozambique's Bazaruto Archipelago. Since then, SOS has funded a further four projects concerned with freshwater fish in the Cape Floristic Region as well as cycad anti-poaching work.
The award was for two training programmes one being the cycad training that helps authorities to identify and distinguish protected Cycad species using on-site training and supporting manuals and identification guides.
The second aspect of the project focused on supporting the judiciary in prosecuting cases. One significant success in 2015 was the sentencing of one poacher to ten years for his role in taking wild plants for resale in Johannesburg. To learn more about the project please use the link on the right hand side of this page.
Meanwhile, well done Adam Pires and the whole EWT team! This is another inspiring story that conservation action can bring results while highlighting the value of recognising the hard work our conservation heroes perform in the struggle against the extinction of our wild heritage.