Game Rangers International (GRI) has announced that Cosmas Mumba, Project Manager for GRI-Zambia Primate Project (ZPP), was one of three finalists in the prestigious Tusk Conservation Award supported by Prince William of the United Kingdom.
Mr Mumba is the first Zambian conservationist ever to be short-listed for this award.
Under Cosmas’s careful stewardship, and in collaboration with Zambia Wildlife Authority, over 500 yellow baboons and vervet monkeys have been successfully rescued from illegal captivity, rehabilitated and given a second chance at life back in the wild.
Mr Mumba was born in Petuake to a rural family with a strong passion for nature and wildlife.
In 2002, he was asked to help release rescued primates back into the wild as part of the pioneering animal welfare project ZPP, established with critical support from the Born Free Foundation in the UK.
Starting as a casual labourer, Mr Mumba has been working his way up through the ranks to his current position of Project Manager.
ZPP has grown to become one of Africa’s most established and successful primate release programmes.
Managed by Game Rangers International and with the ongoing support of the Born Free Foundation, its mission is to rescue and rehabilitate injured, orphaned and illegally held vervet monkeys and yellow baboons for release back into the wild in Zambia. Primate survival rate 12 months post-release currently averages a remarkable 95%.
President of the Born Free Foundation in the UK, Will Travers OBE said “Cosmas is one of Africa’s unsung conservation heroes. His extraordinary work in remote parts of the Zambian bush rescuing and returning primates to the wild is not a job for the faint-hearted and speaks volumes about his dedication and commitment to the cause. I am delighted, on behalf of Born Free, which has supported him and GRI-Zambia Primate Project for thirteen years, that he has now received due recognition for all his effort and I hope he will inspire others around the world. We can all do something and Cosmas has shown us how.”
Mr Mumba attended the glittering award ceremony on November 24th at Claridges in London.
The overall winner of the award was Emmanuel De Merode for his work with protecting Virunga National Park in DRC.
Mr Mumba and the two other finalists had the great honour of meeting Prince William, a well-known advocate for conservation and patron of the Tusk Conservation Award, in two private audiences prior to the ceremony to brief him on their Projects.
Also present during the awards ceremony were, amongst others, comedian Rory Bremner, famous entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, TV presenter Kate Silverton and Bafta winning actress and founder of the Born Free Foundation Virginia McKenna.
During the award ceremony, Cosmas reflected over what the nomination means to him: “Growing up in a rural Zambian village I never dreamed that one day I would be meeting the future King of England to talk about my work rescuing primates in Zambia. Things like this don’t happen to people like me I thought. Being a finalist in the Tusk Conservation Awards 2015 is really humbling and will raise awareness of the bushmeat and illegal pet trades in primates in Africa.”
The world-renowned Tusk Conservation Awards, developed by Tusk Trust, celebrate excellence in conservation and highlight inspirational conservation work in Africa – ranging from the protection of endangered species and threatened habitats, to the promotion of environmental education and the development of community driven conservation. The awards are sponsored by Investec and Land Rover.