Voting in our David Shepherd Conservation Award is now CLOSED!

Thanks to everyone who took part – we had thousands of votes! The winner will be officially announced at DSWF’s Winter Wildlife Ball at London’s The Dorchester on Friday November 9.

The ‘David Shepherd Conservation Award’ was launched last year in memory of our Founder, David, to commend remarkable contributions to conservation. This year we’re celebrating ‘Conservation Champions’ around the world!

Our finalists are just a few of the incredible, unsung conservation champions working at David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) funded projects. They were nominated by their project, shortlisted by our panel of independent judges and then you voted and helped us choose the winner!

The ‘Conservation Champion’ 2018 will receive a specially designed award trophy plus an iconic David Shepherd print and their project will also receive £1,000.

The ‘Conservation Champion’ prize is kindly supported by Helen Clifford in memory of her father who loved David’s work and was passionate about wildlife.

Here are the nominees:


A vet working alongside the Uganda Conservation Foundation for the past 15 years, Eric has worked around rebel activity, with no resources and managed to save large numbers of animals from snares and traps. He’s also removed dozens of dangerous problem animals from communities.

Nominators Uganda Conservation Foundation said:

“Eric has coped through extreme and dangerous circumstances to save hundreds of animals. The Rothschild giraffe population, of which two thirds are in Murchison Falls, is now recovering due to law enforcement and Eric’s team saving so many. With inadequate kit, he has managed to deliver incredible results. His exemplary contribution to conservation and his service as a wildlife vet needs to be recognised.”


For the last 25 years Lesley has worked as Director of Field Operations for Save the Rhino Trust, protecting and conserving black rhino in the Kunene Region of Namibia.

Nominators Save the Rhino Trust said:

“Since 2015, patrol efforts and rhino sightings have increased by 254% and 185% respectively. Lesley has played a key role in achieving these results, through his adaptive operational strategy and by encouraging teamwork. Despite only completing a Grade 10 education, Lesley’s work requires him to use some of the latest innovations in digital tools and software. His courage and willingness to learn and ability to combine all these skills and duties has made him a role model for many other young dis-advantaged Namibians.”


Now working as Release Site Manager, Mamadi began working with the Chimpanzee Conservation Centre in Guinea as a boat driver/tracker back in 2009. He now manages the team of trackers monitoring the released chimpanzees.

Nominators Chimpanzee Conservation Centre said:

“Since 2009 Mr Camara has stayed at our release site, which is extremly isolated, and learned everything in telemetry techniques, use of GPS, compass, etc. He’s trained a lot of colleagues as trackers and has always been excellent at managing people. He knows the released chimpanzees very well and he is key to the success of the release project. He works extremely hard, far from his family that he barely sees, always with a smile.”


A herder and gardener with the Snow Leopard Trust in Mongolia for the past 18 years, Surenkhuu is a passionate activist and leader for her community’s snow leopard conservation programmes.

Nominators Snow Leopard Trust said:

“Surenkhuu led her community during the campaign to make Tost Mountains a National Park. She organised local petitions and met with local government on behalf of her fellow herders. She is always looking for opportunities to improve local people’s livelihoods while protecting the environment. She is very hard working and a quick learner. She is also a brave woman who has been willing to stand out and speak publicly for her lands and people.”


Since creation of the “Namba” eco-centre in 2003, Valeria has led outreach classes, which focus on Amur tigers and leopards in Russia. These lessons involve local people in tiger conservation actions and promote the importance of nature conservation.

Nominators Phoenix Fund said:

“Thanks to her hard work, Valeria has managed to significantly increase the level of environmental awareness among local people. Her eco-lessons have reached over 20,000 children and adults, involving them in Amur tiger conservation actions. Valeria teaches them to be gentle, to protect nature’s fragile creations, conduct environmental protection activities, and to value and safeguard their small homeland. Her work is highly valued and recognised by local authorities and fellow countrymen.”