Wayne Lotter, a renowned South African conservationist, has been awarded a posthumous 2018 Global Ranger Award by International Ranger Federation (IRF).
The anti-poaching activist was shot dead aged 51 in Tanzania last year.
He has won the IRF Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts to stop the poaching of elephants and trafficking of its ivory in Tanzania and Africa.
Lotter was a director and co-founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO that provides conservation and anti-poaching support to communities and governments in Africa.
For his work, he had received opposition and death threats since he set up PAMS in 2009.
The Foundation finances Tanzania’s elite anti-poaching National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU), which was responsible for arrests of major ivory traffickers including Yang Feng Glan known as the ‘Queen of Ivory’ and several other notorious elephant poachers.
NTSCIU has arrested more than 2,000 poachers and ivory traffickers and has a conviction rate of 80 per cent since 2012.
Lotter believed the unit’s work had helped to reduce poaching rates in Tanzania by at least 50 per cent.
He attributed PAMS’ success to the work of the communities and agencies they worked with.
The threats to Africa’s elephants range from habitat loss, human encroachment and farming, climate change and militarised poaching.
Lotter, who was born in Johannesburg, began his wildlife conservation career as a ranger in South Africa. He rose through the ranks to become a leading conservationist and served on the boards of several conservation groups. He was also the vice president of the International Ranger Federation.
The prestigious annual Global Ranger Awards recognise the passion shown by rangers and frontline conservationists who have dedicated their lives to the protection of the wildlife.
The awards “highlight rangers’ passion and dedication for conservation and represent the heart and hard work of rangers who give so much of themselves to conserve the world’s wildlife and wild places,” said IRF president, and founder of The Thin Green Line Foundation, Sean Willmore.
Commenting on Lotter’s win the IRF said that he was: “Such a deserving recipient of this award. Wayne’s fight lives on.”
A court in Tanzania in February 2018, charged eight people with the murder and conspiracy to murder Lotter.
He left behind his wife Inge, daughters Cara Jayne and Tamsin, and parents Vera and Charles Lotter.
Other winners are Tatiana Espinosa Quiñones of Peru who will receive the 2018 Dr Jane Goodall Hope and Inspiration Ranger Award; and Dode Heim Myline Houehounha of Benin and Remmy Papae of Solomon Islands who are the joint winners of The International Young Conservationist Award.
The three winners along with a PAMS Foundation representative will accept their awards during a ceremony at the 9th World Ranger Congress to be held on November 11 to 17 in Sauhara, Nepal.
The congress brings together rangers from around the world for an opportunity to share knowledge, learn new skills and create partnerships. It is held every three years in different countries.