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Wildlife at Risk category: Ingrid Vekemans from Belgium for “White Rhinoceros Battle,” Solio Game Reserve, Kenya

Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards make stop over in Harare

Exhibition aims to engage new audiences using new platforms

HARARE – The Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards Exhibition are making a stop over in Harare after initially being held in Kenya in a bid encourage new advocates for positive conservation change.

The photography exhibition, opened in Harare on May 12 2022, and will run until June 30 2022, after which it will be displayed in Arusha, Tanzania.

It showcases photographs of Africa’s diverse ecosystems and aims to engage creatives and encourage young Africans to become advocates for conservation and sustainable development.

“We launched the Mkapa Awards competition in March last year to mark AWF’s 60th anniversary,” said Olivia Mufute, Country Director of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).

“By the time the deadline closed three months later, we had received nearly 9000 entries from 50 countries with representation from at least 10 African nations. After two months of long hours and judicious scrutiny, our prestigious judging panel carefully picked 79 images –these 79 image are the foundation of the Mkapa Awards Exhibition being shown at this gallery today.”

Mufute described the winning images as breathtaking in their beauty and scope, “and we hope that as many people as possible get to see them.”

The Harare exhibition is being hosted by the AWF in partnership with Nature’s Best Photography at the National Gallery, in celebration of AWF’s 60th anniversary

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said the competition enhances the visibility of African wildlife.

“The exhibition was initially held in Kenya in 2021 and has now travelled to us in Zimbabwe. I would like to express my gratitude to the African Wildlife Foundation for bringing this exhibition to our backyard,” he said in a speech read on his behalf.

“It depicts some of the challenges that we encounter in our conservation journey such as poaching, human wildlife conflict, climate change, illegal wildlife trade, and trafficking of wildlife products, among others. In so doing, it provokes thoughts and ideas of potential solutions and policy responses to these conservation challenges.”

The nearly 9,000 images submitted from nature photographers from 50 countries worldwide, including 10 countries in Africa, in Mkapa Awards inaugural year, were judged and reviewed by an international, recognized and experienced panel.

Category winners were then revealed and celebrated on October 28, 2021 at the Nairobi National Museum in Nairobi, Kenya.

In a statement, the AWF said the photographic competition intended to engage global audiences in documenting and conserving wildlife and wild lands in modern Africa.

“Through the art of photography and video, the primary goal of the Mkapa Awards is to engage, inspire, and involve photographers from Africa and around the world at all levels of experience so that they may share stories from the field and inspire an appreciation for Africa’s unique natural resourcesand encourage new advocates for conservation change,” the AWF said.

The Mkapa Photo Awards are named to honor Benjamin Mkapa who served as President of Tanzania from 1995 to 2005.

Mkapa began his career as a journalist, understanding the importance of educating the public on important conservation topics.

Mkapa Awards KevinDooley Winner Wildlife Portraits Elephants
— African Wildlife Portraits: Kevin Dooley from the USA for “African Savanna Elephant,” Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

The various categories in the competition are as follows:

• African Wildlife Behavior- Behavior of wildlife found within Africa’s native habitats. Includes interaction between animals, courtship, territorial battles, nesting, feeding, adults with young, young with young, etc., between mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, fish, and other non-mammals.

• African Wildlife Portraits- Striking portraits of wildlife made within Africa’s native environments. Includes mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, fish, and other non-mammals.

• Wildlife at Risk- Animals listed as Threatened, Endangered, or Critically Endangered Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

• Fragile Wilderness- Dramatic landscapes and unusual perspectives of Africa’s diverse habitats providing expansive views of wild lands, as well as close-up images of plant life such as flowers, trees, and other botanical subjects. Include panoramic scenes. Include savannas, forests, deserts, mountains, freshwater, rivers, lakes, wetlands, tide pools, coastal areas, and seascapes.

• African Conservation Heroes- Focus on environmental or conservation efforts and projects. Images (or a series of images) that document a conservation story, current environmental issues, such as pollution, climate change, loss of habitat, etc., and the conservation groups and caretakers of the environment who are working in the field.

• Africa’s Urban Wildlife- Wild animals living within or alongside urban environments, in or near African villages and cities, backyards, local parks and gardens.

• Wildlife in Modern Africa: Coexistence and Conflict- Depicts how Africa’s wildlife coexists with modern cultures, and how species are affected by conflicts like poaching, bush meat trafficking, etc.

• Art in Nature- Naturally occurring artistic compositions (colors, forms, textures, etc.) found in African nature, including black and white compositions and drone photography.

• Africa in Motion/Video- High-definition video is an important tool in recording and sharing the wild. Videographers and filmmakers enter views of natural wildlife behavior and outdoor experiences in wild lands.