The inaugural Esmond B. Martin Royal Geographical Society Prize will be presented this evening to Dr Paula Kahumbu at an event at the Society celebrating the life and work of renowned geographer and conservationist Esmond Bradley Martin, whose generous bequest created the Prize.
Dr Paula Kahumbu is a Kenyan biologist and ecologist, and an inspiring and committed advocate for international wildlife conservation in Africa. For over 35 years Paula has shown outstanding achievements in the application of innovative conservation practice, knowledge and education, with far reaching impact across Africa. Her vision is to change the narrative, so Africans become the primary storytellers about African wildlife and the future of community conservation.
Currently CEO of WildlifeDirect, a Nairobi based environmental NGO, Paula is the producer and presenter of Wildlife Warriors, Africa’s first wildlife documentary series made by Africans, which seeks to transform the conservation literacy in Africa by shining a light on the continent’s front-line conservationists and their work.
On being awarded the Prize, Paula said: “Like many conservationists I admired Esmond deeply for his commitment to uncovering the details of the global ivory trade. Receiving this award is hugely humbling and I hope that I live up to his legacy.”
The Society’s President and Chair of the awarding panel, Nigel Clifford, said: “Esmond was a long-time supporter of the Society, and we are honoured to be able to continue his legacy by celebrating outstanding achievements in wildlife conservation by others following in his footsteps. Paula’s leadership, pioneering conservation work and inspiration as a role model for future conservation leaders in Africa make her an impressive recipient of the inaugural Prize.”
The Society’s Monday night lecture this evening, Monday 3 April 2023, will honour Esmond’s achievements in addition to presenting Paula with the inaugural Prize. The lecture, chaired by Gillian Burke and with panellists Dr Chris Thouless, Professor Bhaskar Vira and Dr Lucy Vigne, will explore Esmond’s conviction that data are essential to wildlife protection.
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For further media enquiries, images, or requests to interview Dr Paula Kahumbu, please contact the Society’s Head of Communications, Caitlin Watson on +44 (0)77 1478 3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Prize and Esmond Bradley Martin: The Esmond B. Martin Royal Geographical Society Prize was created thanks to a generous bequest to the Society by the renowned geographer and conservationist, Esmond Bradley Martin, following his untimely death. The Prize recognises outstanding achievement by individuals undertaking research into wildlife conservation and environmental studies, reflecting Esmond’s tireless work for the protection of wildlife and our natural environment. Esmond dedicated his life’s work to the investigation of the illegal trade in rhino products and ivory, and to efforts to end their use. He was United Nations Special Envoy for Rhinos in 1992-1993, and subsequently worked in dangerous markets monitoring the illegal trade in wildlife commodities. His pioneering work helped China to ban their domestic rhino horn trade in 1993 and their ivory trade in 2017. Esmond championed the importance of data for wildlife protection and undertook extensive fieldwork investigating the illegal trade in rhino horn and ivory – providing countries with the data required to shut down illegal markets. He believed that through a combination of strong governance, robust law enforcement and effective management, the long-term protection of wild populations of rhinos, elephants, and other species, as well as their natural habitats in Africa and Asia, could be realised.
The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) is the learned society and professional body for geography. Formed in 1830, our Royal Charter of 1859 is for 'the advancement of geographical science'. Today, we deliver this objective through developing, supporting and promoting geographical research, expeditions and fieldwork, education, public engagement, and geography input to policy. We aim to foster an understanding and informed enjoyment of our world. We hold the world's largest private geographical collection and provide public access to it. We have a thriving Fellowship and membership and offer the professional accreditation 'Chartered Geographer’. www.rgs.org