Last year, after meeting the wonderful Nancy Abrahams, we were invite to recommend candidates for the Abrahams Foundation conservation awards. The Alexander Abraham Foundation based in the United States, recognizes people in defence of the natural resources of the DRC, in particular the natural parks which contain many rare and endangered species. It was a no brainer fur us, we nominated the men who had put their necks on the line and risked everything to save Virunga National Parks endangered mountain gorillas at a time when nobody else dared.
We nominated Paulin, who risked his life by exposing the link between the illegal charcoal trade, corruption and the gorilla killings. Paulin ultimately paid the price with his position in Virunga and now works in Salonga National Park.
We also nominated Innocent and Diddy, two rangers who represent so many other dedicated rangers, were also nominatd. Their diarise on WidlifeDirect raised global awareness about the unfolding situation. Ending up on the BBC and appearing in numerous publications including the book Looking for Miza, Innocent and Diddy have come to symbolise the hope that we can all believe in.
Innocent and Diddy are the hero’s of this true story
Despite the fame, they have retained their personal dedication and continue to conserve wildlife in the Virunga National Park. We congratulate Innocent, Diddy and Paulin for recognition well deserved.
It was such a big event that even Alan Doss of MONUC attended and made a speech. He said that these people should be considered “heroes,” considering the various threats and daily violence they face to protect the parks and the territories of the country.
He compared their work to that of the United Nations Blue Helmets in the DRC “who give their all to protect thousands of civilians against acts of violence in the northeast of the country.”
Everyone at WildlifeDirect is very proud that our nominations were considered and that these three wonderful men and two others have received the reconition that they deserve. We congratulate the team at ICCN in Virunga for these awards.