Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Princess Anne presents conservation award to Oxford Brookes PhD graduate

Friday, 11 May 2012

On Wednesday 9th May, HRH The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) presented a Whitley Award for inspirational conservation leadership to Oxford Brookes PhD graduate, Josia Razafindramanana of Madagascar for her work to protect a rare lemur recently found living at scattered sites in the island’s central highlands. Josia, 28, of the Malagasy Primate Working Group completed her Anthropology PhD Research Degree at Oxford Brookes in 2011. She received the honour during a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London, hosted by Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) – a UK-based charity which organises the international awards scheme. Her Whitley Award comprises a project grant of £30,000 - donated by The LJC Fund, in memory of Anthea and Lindsey Turner - an engraved trophy, membership of the influential network of past Whitley Award winners and career development training. The award recognises Josia’s efforts to build a better future for one of the most elusive of Madagascar’s unique lemurs - the crowned sifaka – while also improving living standards for the communities who share its home amid fragments of forest. Congratulating Josia on her success, WFN’s Acting Director, David Wallis, said: "The aim of the Whitley Awards is to identify and support conservationists from around the world who are inspiring real and positive change for people and wildlife and the habitats they share. In Josia’s case the judges were particularly impressed by how she is getting local people involved in caring for this special animal and their forests, and for encouraging people to livemore sustainably, to the advantage of the sifaka and themselves.” The presentations were watched by a 350-strong audience, including embassy representatives, Whitley Fund for Nature donors and leading environmentalists. As part of the ceremony, The Princess Royal and other guests watched a series of short films showing finalists at work. The screenings included a film about Josia’s project , narrated by the distinguished wildlife broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough, a Trustee of WFN. To learn more about the Whitley Fund for Nature see: www.whitleyaward.org.