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Blue Ventures receives royal approval at the inaugural Tusk Conservation Awards ceremony

13th September 2013, London - Blue Ventures' work in Madagascar received royal endorsement last night at the inaugural Tusk Conservation Awards, held at the Royal Society in London and attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Dr Alasdair Harris and HRH the Duke of CambridgeThe Tusk Conservation Awards have been created to recognise outstanding individual contributions to the field of African conservation. As Royal Patron of the Tusk Trust, Prince William presented the awards and gave an impassioned keynote speech about his personal commitment to conservation, saying:

"There is so much good work going on which we can celebrate and get behind. I think that sometimes, sat here, we can feel a little powerless to make a difference for species that we desperately care about. The focus that these Tusk Awards bring on a diverse group of brilliant conservationists provides a means of channelling our longing to help."

The Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa was presented to Tom Lalampaa for his groundbreaking work brokering peace through conservation among tribal groups in northern Kenya. Lalampaa has played a key role in creating a conservation area of 3 million acres with the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), benefiting over 150,000 people to date. The NRT approach has been heralded as a leading model for community conservation in Kenya – and across Africa – with a proven impact on peace, livelihoods and conservation.

Blue Ventures' founder and executive director Dr Alasdair Harris was highly commended by the judges for his work nurturing locally led marine conservation in Madagascar. 
HRH the Duchess of Cambridge talks to the Tusk Award finalists"We're thrilled that the critical importance of marine protection is being recognised in this way," says Dr Harris. "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are both keen SCUBA divers, and are concerned about the grave threats facing Africa's coasts and oceans today. Needless to say, I emphasised the importance of Prince George learning to dive – preferably in Madagascar – as early as possible!"

Finalists for the awards were shortlisted from 50 nominations by an expert panel of judges including Nigel Winser, Simon King OBE, Dr Karen Ross, Dr Rob Brett and Ali Kaka.

The other shortlisted nominees were Kerri Wolter, Vulture Protection (VulPro); Edwin Kinyanjui, Mount Kenya Trust; and Josia Razafindramanana, Crowned Sifaka Conservation Project.

A television documentary 'Prince William's Passion: New Father, New Hope' featuring coverage of the awards will be broadcast on ITV on Sunday 15th September from 6pm to 7pm.

Editors Notes:

The Tusk Conservation Awards have been developed in partnership with global investment firm Investec Asset Management. They aim to highlight the outstanding achievements of individuals working within the field of conservation.

Blue Ventures has transformed how coastal communities in Madagascar relate to their marine resources, catalysing a sea change in sustainable fisheries management, nurturing lucrative aquaculture businesses and creating the largest locally managed marine protected areas in the Indian Ocean.

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