SANParks' Kudu Awards
South Africans are passionate about their national parks, and South African National Parks (SANParks), the custodian of South Africa's protected areas, pays annual tribute to external stakeholders who champion conservation, putting it at the forefront of the public's focus.
The SANParks' Kudu Awards, running for the fifth year, recognise external stakeholders for their efforts towards conservation. While initially these contributions were made in respect of national parks under SANParks' wing, they have grown to encompass a wider sphere. SANParks Chief Executive, Dr David Mabunda, noted at the 2009 awards ceremony in June: "From the first Kudu Awards when we honoured people who had contributed to conservation but with more of an emphasis on SANParks, to today when we are honouring people from all over South Africa, including the two provinces we do not have a footprint in, KwaZulu-Natal and the North West province, the bar is consistently being raised."
He also observed that winners of this local conservation award were not only from affluent projects, but some were involved with grassroots interventions with little resources.
Among the winners of these awards for contributing to local conservation are:
- Corporate Contribution to Conservation Award (Individual): Dr Ian Player and Professor Kevin Rogers of University of Witwatersrand
- Corporate Contribution to Conservation Award (Non-Profit): George Municipality, Western Cape
- Business Partner of the Year: Ilanga Travel
- Concession Partner of the Year: Jock Safari Lodge, Kruger National Park
- Community contribution to conservation award - Honorary Ranger Region of the Year: Lowveld Region
- Community contribution to conservation - Project of the Year: African Penguin Project
- Environmental Education/Capacity Building (Group): Greater Taung Municipality, North West.
- Environmental Education/Capacity Building (Individual): Merit Award to Elliot M Mokatsane
A Lifetime Contribution Award was presented to 79-year-old Sergeant Charlie Nkuna who spent 41 years as a Kruger National Park employee and was involved in key projects such as the apprehension of poachers and research.
An internal SANParks award, the Division of the Year, was awarded to SANParks' Business Development Unit (BDU), which has contributed to job creation; skills transfer and environmental benefits. SANParks' association with FIFA-appointed MATCH Hospitality for the 2010 World Cup accommodation programme has been driven by the BDU.