GHANA: Conservation International Announces Winners of 2003 Biodiversity Reporting Award

8/13/2003

Kwaw Appiah Kubi Densu Takes Top Prize

Accra, Ghana - Kwaw Appiah Kubi Densu of The Daily Dispatch won First Prize in Conservation International's 2003 "Biodiversity Reporting Award" with his in-depth look at primate conservation in Ghana. The article was published on April 30, 2003 under the title "Ministry Treats Wildlife Safety as Monkey Business." The award ceremony, which took place in Accra was organized by Conservation International (CI).

"Ghana is globally recognized as a stronghold in monkey preservation. The country is home to globally endangered species such as the chimpanzee, white-naped mangaby and olive colobus," wrote Mr. Densu. " Given the country's worldwide recognition - and the national policy to encourage community participation in nature conservation - the success story of the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary and its influence on neighboring communities make it the focal point of the national effort."

The Second Prize was given to Edmund Smith-Asante for his article "30% of Game Killed in Ghana Through Chemical Poisoning," about commercial wildlife or "bushmeat" hunting practices. "Ghana, which became the first country in colonial Africa to gain its independence, has with the bushmeat initiative also become the first nation in the region to seriously confront the bushmeat crisis that is threatening the environment and it's cultural heritage," Smith-Asante wrote in The Independent.

Emmanuel Kojork Warteng's article titled "Facts and Amazing Things About Bats" took third place. The article was published in The Daily Graphic.

"The fact that we received so many powerful, diverse and qualified entries in this year's Biodiversity Reporting Award is a sign of Ghana's growing environmental awareness," said Conservational International-Ghana Director Okyeame Ampadu-Agyei. "I commend all journalists who participated in this year's contest."

This year's First Prize winner will attend the annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) to be held September 2003, in New Orleans, USA. The second and third prize winners received cash awards of �2,000,000 Cedis and �1,000,000 Cedis, respectively. All three winners received a plaque and a professional resource kit from the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).

"This contest, in its third year in Ghana, has been generating incentives to engage journalists in the coverage of biodiversity," said Haroldo Castro, CI's Vice-President for International Communications and Executive Director of the Award. "This year 10 journalists submitted 28 articles addressing crucial biodiversity issues. These articles have contributed to raise awareness about the importance of protecting Ghana's natural resources."

Honorable Mentions went to Dzifa Azumah for "The Golden Cat Found at Afadjato," which appeared in the Accra Daily Mail; Joseph Mensah for "Bushmeat Under Threat in Ghana ," published in The Daily Guide; and to Gordon Deku Zaney for "Conserving Biological Diversity for the Survival of Humanity," published in The Ghanaian Times.

The "Biodiversity Reporting Award" in Ghana is an initiative of CI, in collaboration with the ICFJ and the IFEJ, to recognize the work of journalists covering the environment and stimulate their continued efforts. Articles on issues such as scientific research and findings, eco-tourism development, and other economic alternatives to the destruction of biodiversity, as well as the threats to the conservation of Ghana's natural heritage, are all invited to participate in the contest.

Started in 1999, the Award was first launched in Guatemala and Guyana. In 2000, it was expanded to include Colombia; in 2001, Bolivia, Brazil and Ghana entered the competition. This year, the contest was held in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Peru and Ghana - the sole African country to be included.

A jury comprised of five people, including representatives of the IFEJ, ICFJ and CI, reviewed the articles and selected the winners. All articles will be reproduced on the contest's homepage at: www.conservation.org/award/journalism.

The Biodiversity Reporting Award was made possible through the support of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), the Virginia W. Cabot Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

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