Last week saw the great and the good from the world of wildlife protection converging on Claridge’s in Mayfair for the Tusk Conservation Awards 2014.

Established by the charity Tusk Trust in partnership with its royal patron, The Duke of Cambridge, the annual awards highlight inspirational conservation work in Africa – ranging from the protection of endangered species and threatened habitats to the promotion of environmental education and the development of community-driven conservation.

The awards took place last Tuesday evening, with the Duke of Cambridge in attendance. A total of two awards were handed out on the night; the first of which was the Tusk Conservation Award, sponsored by Land Rover.

The Tusk Conservation Award is given to an emerging leader in their field whose work is judged to have already made a significant impact. There were three nominees this year…

• David Kuria – together with KENVO, the community-based conservation forum he helped set up, David is a leading authority on the rehabilitation of indigenous forest in southern Kenya
• Amy Dickman – through her organisation, the Ruaha Carnivore Project, Amy has worked with local Tanzanian tribespeople to reduce rates of carnivore-killing
• Herizo Andrianandrasana – based in Madagascar, Herizo’s work centres on conservation management and monitoring

And it was Herizo who was named as this year’s winner of the Tusk Conservation Award, receiving his award from the Duke of Cambridge.

The second award was The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa (Tusk’s lifetime achievement award), sponsored by Investec Asset Management, and given to an individual deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to conservation in Africa.

A man who has made just such a contribution is Richard Bonham, through his work addressing threats to the Masaai community and its wildlife, and he was announced as this year’s winner of The Prince William Award. Again, he was presented with his award by the Duke of Cambridge.

As the first part of a year-long programme of work on behalf of Tusk, Spectrecom filmed with David, Amy, Herizo and Richard to create four individual documentary profiles ranging in length from 3-5 minutes which were shown during the awards ceremony.

This was a major international project for Spectrecom Films, requiring excellent organisation from producer Arthur Briggs and plenty of hard work and ingenuity from director Matt Farman and cameraman James Adair, who travelled to Madagascar to shoot with Herizo and Kenya to shoot with David and Richard. Amy had only recently given birth, so we were able to film with her in the UK.

With its extensive work supporting communities, promoting education and protecting wildlife in Africa, Tusk is a cause Spectrecom Films is delighted to be able to lend its support to – a point our Managing Director, Andrew Greener, is keen to emphasise:

“With all the growing pressure on Africa’s wildlife and its habitats, Tusk’s conservation work is absolutely invaluable. These nominee profile films represent the culmination of three months’ hard work and we’re very proud to have played a part in bringing the stories of these inspiring conservation heroes to a wider audience.”

Tusk were delighted with the films Spectrecom produced, with the efforts of the team drawing high praise from Tusk Trust Chief Executive Charlie Mayhew MBE:

“Working with Spectrecom on this year’s Tusk Conservation Awards has been an absolute joy. Nothing has been too much trouble or effort and yet we threw their film crew into some of the remotest parts of the African bush to capture the incredible stories of this year’s nominees.”

“The results were fantastic and impressive. We cannot thank Arthur, Matt and James enough for their extraordinary commitment to this project.”

To find out more about Tusk and its conservation projects, visit www.tusk.org.

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