SANParks Celebrates Conservation Heroes at the Annual Kudu Awards 2022

South African National Parks (SANParks), supported by TotalEnergies and First National Bank (FNB), recognised deserving conservationists at this year’s Kudu Awards ceremony held at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on 24 November 2022. The awards were made possible thanks to forward-thinking and progressive partners who together, recognised internal and external stakeholders that have demonstrated exceptional commitment to sustainability, improving livelihoods, achieving real change on the ground in our national parks.

The Kudu Awards and the Chief Executive Awards recognise SANParks employees as well as multiple stakeholders and disciplines who play a pivotal role in strengthening conservation in South Africa. According to Property Mokoena, SANParks Acting CEO, “Awareness of conservation issues is of vital importance and if we want to better protect our national parks either through anti-poaching efforts or finding solutions to climate change we need to educate and inform the public. Our stakeholders such as the media are key in this goal. We honoured several media contributors who are leading the way in informing the world about the various conservation efforts around the country.”

Tackling environmental issues is not always easy but the winners under the media category faced that challenge and highlighted the importance of informing the public about these issues. Guy Rogers, from the Herald has not only brought to light the environmental challenges facing the eastern cape but has also showed the softer side of environmental issues and won the award for Best Print Journalist.

Anti-poaching is one of the toughest challenges facing conservation today and every effort is made to ensure that SANParks and the world at large can tackle wildlife crime head on. Yusuf Abramjee from eNCA’s Crimewatch took an in-depth look at rhino and elephant poaching in South Africa.

eNCA journalist Silindelo Masikane proved that her tireless research and reporting on tourism and environmental stories were a winning combination. She highlighted some of the under-reported stories to the eNCA audience.  SABC journalist Ulrich Hendriks won an award for his coverage of the Augrabies falls and plant poaching in the Northern Cape.

The Lifetime Achievement award went to Romeu Mulhovo, for 50 years of service.  Mr Mulhovo started working for SANParks in 1972 as a general worked and retired recently as a Field Ranger. His devotion and commitment to SANParks is commendable and will be remembered by all those he worked with.

“Congratulations to all the nominees and winners in this year’s SANParks Awards. TotalEnergies is delighted to be associated with these prestigious awards.  This year marks 64 years of partnering with SANParks in caring for the environment.  As TotalEnergies, we continuously place the environmental performance at the heart of our projects and operations.  We believe that preserving biodiversity, protecting water resources and practicing circular resources management is critical in our efforts towards saving the planet for future generations.  This firm believe in the protection of our environment further drives our ambition to be a major player in the energy transition. We remain committed to the provision of energy that is even more affordable, clean, reliable and accessible to as many people as possible”, says TotalEnergies Managing Director and CEO, Mariam Kane-Garcia

Sipho Silinda, CEO of FNB Public Sector Banking, says, “The conservation of wildlife feeds directly into the tourism sector, an industry that is currently recovering from the pandemic, remains vibrant, and is a significant contributor to the country’s economic growth. Conservation is one way to ensure the tourism sector can continue contributing to economic growth through job creation. Moreover, our partnership with SANParks has taught us that environmental awareness is a journey rather than an event. As a result, we understand that we have a responsibility to conserve and protect the environment by actively getting involved in initiatives that are contributing to this cause.  It’s all about accountability – one of the core values of FNB.”

The Awards evening which also included the Chief Executive Awards recognized dedication and selfless efforts of SANParks employees towards achieving the goals of SANParks’ mandate. Over 30 Chief Executive Awards were given out this year ranging from the Shield Award, Best Customer Service, Best Constituency Builder, Best Ranger Post, Best Performing Camp, Best Performing Park of the Year, Best Performing Entrance Gate/ Reception, Excellent Performance in the workplace, Best Performing Division and Best Leadership Award. “Congratulations to all the winners from the Kudu Awards, may we all continue to shine the light on conservation and make people aware of the importance of the environment,” concluded Mokoena.

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