Press release by Tusk
“Every creature in this world has a purpose and a positive one. We should strike a balance living in harmony with them. These resources must be protected!” Julius Obwona – Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award Winner 2018 The annual Tusk Conservation Awards, in partnership with Investec Asset Management, celebrate extraordinary people, whose work and lives might otherwise go unnoticed outside their fields. Their work with wildlife and communities in Africa safeguards the future for us all. The Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award gives international recognition to the men and women who face danger every day to protect Africa’s wildlife. Rangers often work for little reward, risking and even losing their lives to protect the world’s wildlife and its fragile ecosystems.
Julius Obwona joined the then Uganda National Parks in 1995 as a ranger, rising through the ranks to become Assistant Warden and then Warden in Charge of Law Enforcement. Much of his operational experience was gained when the Lord’s Resistance Army were very active in the Murchinson Falls Conservation Area. Julius worked with the Ugandan army to counter and remove the rebel group. Julius now supervises over 300 staff.
Since 2014 Julius has trained over 600 rangers, now widely deployed throughout Murchinson. He headed up the creation of the Marine Ranger Unit and was integral in planning the location of the seven new Ranger Posts. This is even more impressive, considering that in 2013 there was only one working vehicle in Murchinson and all operations were done on foot.
Over the past 18 months his leadership has led to the prosecution of 720 suspects involved in wildlife related crimes, 620 being successfully convicted. Fourteen were notorious, heavily-armed elephant poachers. His efforts have led to major reductions in elephant and bushmeat poaching.
Julius and his teams of rangers have confiscated over ten metric tonnes of snares, reducing the three elephants a day formerly being seen in traps to around three a month. Julius has shown exceptional leadership qualities, investigation acumen and intelligence gathering skills. He has developed a remarkable ability in working with poachers and local communities, to help break the poaching cycle whilst still promoting livelihoods, and such is held in high esteem by everyone he works with.
“Julius is a most deserving candidate and receipt of such an accolade will help cement his standing as a future leader in fighting wildlife crime,” said Lt Gen Ivan Koreta, Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) The Duke of Cambridge, Tusks Royal Patron says: “These awards which mean a great deal to me personally, play a huge part in our mission to preserve Africa’s precious wildlife for its people. It is vital that we recognise the dedication of these unsung heroes and the bravery of rangers risking their lives, day and night, on conservation’s frontline. We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
The Duke of Cambridge, Tusks Royal Patron says: “These awards which mean a great deal to me personally, play a huge part in our mission to preserve Africa’s precious wildlife for its people. It is vital that we recognise the dedication of these unsung heroes and the bravery of rangers risking their lives, day and night, on conservation’s frontline. We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
To read more about Julius’ incredible work visit tuskawards.com.