On Thursday, 3rd December 2020, Ilala Lodge in collaboration with SAVE the African Rhino Foundation and Bhejane Trust, hosted an evening event to celebrate Amos Gwema, the Principal Investigation Officer responsible for Wildlife Intelligence in Zimbabwe under the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, as he was announced as the winner of this year’s TUSK Wildlife Ranger Award, sponsored by the Nick Maughan Foundation.
A dedicated, diligent, hard-working, individual who has changed the way intelligence work contributes to the protection of Zimbabwe’s wildlife. Over the last 15 years Amos has convicted the highest number of poachers of any officer in the parks authority, all of whom are currently serving prison time. His greatest achievement has been the massive reduction in elephant poaching in Hwange National Park. This 14,500 km2 reserve is home to 35,000 elephants with fewer than 50 active rangers, however through Amos’ work, poached elephant numbers have declined from over 300 in 2013 to 25 in 2019.
“I am so delighted to have received this prestigious award which to me is a recognition of not what l have stood for as an individual but rather a reflection of Zimbabwe’s collective effort in conserving our treasured wildlife resources,” said Amos.
Australia-based Save African Rhino Foundation President, Nicholas Duncan, who was amongst those who gathered to witness the ceremony, said the award is a clear testimony of Zimbabwe’s unparalleled dedication to wildlife conservation. “This award has resulted in so much kudos for the department of National Parks. To have one of their own men in Western Zimbabwe to come out with the Tusk Wildlife Ranger of the Year Award for the whole of Africa is history making for Zimbabwe” he said.
The Tusk Conservation Awards, in partnership with Ninety-One, celebrate African-based conservation leaders and wildlife rangers, and their significant impacts in the field.