Barcelona, Spain - Henri Blaffart, a spirited and devoted conservationist who helped manage the Mont Pani� Special Botanical Reserve in New Caledonia, has been honored posthumously with the Fred Packard Award from the World Commission on Protected Areas (WPCA).
Blaffart, who was swept away by the flooded Tiendanite River on March 21, 2008, was one of seven people honored with the Packard Award for their outstanding service to protected areas. The award was presented by the WPCA at its meeting prior to the IUCN World Conservation Congress.
A native of Belgium, Blaffart worked in Africa, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia after receiving his degree in agronomy, with a focus on water and forests, from the Faculty of Agronomic Science of Gembloux, Belgium. He graduated with great distinction in 1990.
He had been working since 2002 with the CI-funded Mont Pani� reserve project, and formally joined CI in 2006 as project chief at Mont Pani�. Blaffart was traveling in Province Nord, where he worked with the Kanak communities on management of the Mont Pani� reserve, when he drowned.
The Mont Pani� region of New Caledonia is rich in unique biological diversity depended on by people living in the region, and Blaffart worked with the Province Nord government, the Caledonian Institute of Agronomy, the Dayu Biik Association of local tribes and other scientific, academic, government and environment organizations in helping protect such an important nature area.
�Henri was a truly devoted professional as well as a joyous and wonderful human being,� said Thomas Brooks, CI�s Vice President for Conservation Priorities and Responses, who joined Blaffart�s mother, Madeleine, in accepting the award on his behalf. �He will be remembered as a true conservation warrior, working under the hardest of conditions for the mission of CI.�
Other winners of the award for 2008 were:
Ernesto Enkerlin of the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) in Mexico
Moses Mapesa of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)
Maria Tereza Jorde Padua of the Brazilian Institute of Forest Development (IBDF)
George Wallace of Colorado State University in the United States
Robert Cartagena of CIDOB, the national organization of indigenous people in Bolivia
Muslih Al-Juaid of Saudi Arabia�s National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development
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