WASHINGTON Annette Lanjouw, director of the International Gorilla Conservation Program, received the first National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in African Conservation. Lorivi Ole Moirana was also chosen for his successful conservation efforts in Africa.
Lanjouw is internationally recognized as a leading authority on the mountain gorilla. She has been instrumental in focusing attention on the gorilla's plight and in raising funds to ensure its survival. The focus of Lanjouw's work is conservation of the forest ecosystem that is the mountain gorilla's habitat.
Since 1995 Lanjouw has been director of the International Gorilla Conservation Program, working in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. The program is funded by a consortium of three conservation organizations: African Wildlife Foundation, Fauna and Flora International, and World Wide Fund for Nature.
Lorivi Ole Moirana, a member of the Maasai tribe, has dedicated his career to conservation. As chief warden of Tanzania National Parks, Ole Moirana is credited with turning the Kilimanjaro National Park into a showpiece of wilderness management and conservation.
His achievements include helping to control Mount Kilimanjaro forest destruction and the effective reduction of elephant poaching in Ruaha National Park, with support from the Friends of Ruaha Society, World Wildlife Fund and the Frankfurt Zoological Society.
The $25,000 Buffett Award was established through a gift from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. It will be presented annually by National Geographic in recognition of outstanding work and lifetime contributions that further the understanding and practice of conservation in southern and East Africa.
Nominations were considered by National Geographic's new Conservation Trust, a grant-making body established to support innovative conservation projects around the world. From the five finalists selected by the Conservation Trust, Howard G. Buffet and Trust members chose the two award recipients.
"Southern and East Africa is a region that I care deeply about," said Buffett. "Through this award and by working with National Geographic, we are able to honor those that may not have otherwise received recognition for their outstanding work in African conservation."
Buffett, son of multimillionaire Warren Buffett, is an Illinois agri-businessman and widely published agricultural and wildlife photographer who has traveled extensively throughout the Third World. His photographs have appeared in National Geographic magazine, and he is the author of "On the Edge: Balancing Life's Resources," a book on the world's population and what it means for food consumption.
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