The Rhino Conservation Awards acknowledge those that fight for rhino conservation.
His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, Patron of the Awards, delivered the keynote address at the event and was presented with the Grand Patron Award.
The Awards were held in the same week as World Ranger Day, which is celebrated on the 31st of July.
- Best Field Ranger: Patrick Mwita. With intense knowledge of the black rhino population in the Southern Serengeti, Patrick effectively monitors the animals and has also bravely averted armed poaching attempts.
- Runners Up: William Ndobe (local legend in the Kruger National Park [KNP] with 31 years of service) and Jeoffrey Kubayi (KNP field ranger, dog handler, tracker and poaching incursion detector).
- Best Conservation Practitioner: Black Mamba APU. This Anti-Poaching Unit, which consists of 26 women, focuses on educating the communities surrounding the Balule Nature Reserve in the benefits of conservation and rhino protection.
- Runners Up: Don English (in charge of general conservation as well as rhino protection in the KNP) and Bruce Leslie (Regional Ranger Special Operations, revolutionising tactical rhino anti-poaching operations in the KNP).
- Best Political & Judicial Support: His Majesty King Mswati III, the King of Swaziland. Swaziland’s anti-poaching success rate is incredible in the current climate with only three rhinos lost since 1992, and none in the last 12 months.
- Runners Up: Adv Isabet Erwee (national record for the highest sentence ever handed down in a rhino poaching matter) and Adv Ansie Venter (appointed as one of the Specialised Prosecutors, Organised Crime, Mpumalanga responsible for prosecuting rhino poaching cases). The third place in the category was awarded to Mario Scholtz (responsible for the investigation of rhino poaching related aspects in SANParks).
- Best Science, Research and Technology: Dr Jacques Flamand. Dr Flamand heads up the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project, which aims to increase growth and numbers of black rhino, working with a diverse group of land-owners to secure the necessary sites for translocation. The project is largely responsible for black rhino numbers in KwaZulu-Natal increasing by 49%.
- Runners Up: Dr Johan Marais (responsible for performing surgery on poached rhino to save their lives by creating mask moulds for the exposed nasal cavity) and Piet Beytell (Principle Conservation Scientist for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism [MET], Namibia).
- Best Awareness, Education or Funding category: Elise Daffue, founder of StopRhinoPoaching.com. Elise
- Runners Up: Unite Against Poaching (a fundraising initiative established by Unitrans Volkswagen through its participating dealerships) and the Peace Parks Foundation (PPF works closely with the South African Government, SANParks and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife as part of its multifaceted Rhino Protection Programme).
- Special Youths: Alyssa Carter; Calvin Erasmus; Kirsten Everett; and Kelsey Hunt.