On September 19th at the Zoological Society of London, Rebecca Moore from Google received the ZSL Award for Conservation Innovation and Emmanuel De Merode accepted the ZSL Conservationist of the Year Award on behalf of the Virunga National Park rangers.
These new high profile awards have been added to ZSLs traditional set of awards in recognition of the importance of highlighting and promoting strong leadership in conservation as well as individuals that are transforming the field of conservation science through innovation.
On the evening of the awards dinner, both recipients will gave talks on their areas of expertise. Rebecca explored opportunities for new technology to scale up the conservation response and Emmanuel discussed the challenges of conservation in conflict zones.
ZSL Award for Conservation Innovation
Rebecca Moore joined Google in 2005 where she conceived Google Earth Outreach, which enables non-profit organisations, communities and indigenous peoples to use Google's mapping tools to tackle the world's pressing problems. Rebecca also initiated and leads the development of Google Earth Engine, a new technology platform which supports global-scale data-mining of satellite imagery for societal benefit in areas such as environmental conservation, human rights and sustainability. These innovations provide highly versatile visualisation tools that are used to demonstrate the impact of political, environmental and social issues, to change community and policymaker opinion, and to make a positive impact in the world.
ZSL Conservationist of the Year Award
Emmanuel De Merode on behalf of the Rangers of Virunga National Park
Appointed Director of Virunga National Park in 2008, Emmanuel and his team of dedicated rangers protect 200 mountain gorillas (25% of the world total) and other threatened species in the Park. In addition to brutal civil war and political instability, there is continual threat from poaching and illegal timber extraction. In 2012 Mai Mai rebels attacked a ranger patrol in the Park, killing two rangers and a government soldier. Proliferating activities of armed militias have resulted in a growing number of attacks on staff and over 130 rangers have been killed in Virunga in the past decade, caught in the crossfire between poachers, rebels and the military. Security conditions remain precarious but Emmanuel, the Park rangers and local trackers are committed to their task. Remarkably, the mountain gorilla population has doubled since 1992, making the project in Virunga National Park one of the world’s most successful endangered-species programmes.