A wildlife photo contest organized in honor of former Tanzanian President, Benjamin Mkapa, produced a potpourri of multi-national winning entries.
Riccardo Marchegiani, from Italy has emerged the overall winner in the inaugural Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards, courtesy of a wildlife a picture which he snapped in Ethiopia.
The Contest, organized by African Wildlife Foundation was launched in March 2021, honoring the former Tanzanian Head of State, Ben Mkapa, who died in 2020.
The late Benjamin William Mkapa is being described as an iconic conservation leader and one of AWF’s longest-serving board members.
Mkapa served as the President of Tanzania for two consecutive terms running between November 1995 and December 2005.
As it happens, the Italian photographer, Riccardo Marchegian, born in 2001, when Mkapa was just starting his second term of presidency, won his Photo Contest and received a cash prize of US$ 5,000.
Marchegian was also presented with a large Shona elephant sculpture for his winning photo entry, ‘Gelada and Baby,’ which he had shot in the Simien Mountains National Park of Ethiopia.
James Lewin from Kenya was the category winner under the theme ‘Coexistence and Conflict,’ featuring ‘Elephant Orphans from Reteti Elephant Sanctuary,’ at a Painted Rock in Samburu, Kenya.
Jen Guyton from Germany was another category winner themed, Conservation Heroes: featuring an entry photo named ‘Veterinarian with Rescued Pangolin,’ which was taken in Mozambique.
A winning video which made it into the list ran under the theme, Africa in Motion. It was produced by Olli Teirilla from Finland. He titled his video, “Magical Maasai Mara,” a Kenyan Reserve, where he recorded footages of the spectacular wildlife in action.
There was a wining photo from Tanzania as well, under the theme Art in Nature. It was however shot by Paul McKenzie from Hong Kong. It is called ‘Galaxy – Lesser Flamingo,’ as taken at Lake Natron, near the Volcanic Oldonyo Lengai peak. As can be seen below:
The Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photo Contest produced 79 winning entries that will be on display at the Nairobi National Museum, in Kenya between October 2021 and Late January 2022.
“The Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition launched with the announcement of the Grand Prize Winner and 16 category awardees. The global competition received close to 9,000 entries from 50 countries worldwide, including 10 countries in Africa”African Wildlife Foundation
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of Wildlife and Tourism, Najib Balala lauded the awards.
“With initiatives such as the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards, organizations such as AWF and Nature’s Best Photography are actively encouraging both international and domestic tourists to visit these unique landscapes and tell authentic stories,” Balala stated.
Speaking during the Awards Giving Ceremony, which went in sync with the launcing of African Wildlife Foundation’s 60th year anniversary, the AWF Country Director, Kenya, Nancy Githaiga said:
“Our 60 years in conservation have shown us just what success can look like. We have seen the continent weather the worst poaching crisis of our lifetime and come out on the other side bruised but still fighting.”
Nancy pointed out that conservation interventions have brought back key wildlife species from the brink of extinction, including the black rhino and the elephant.
“…And helped to raise awareness for struggling species such as the giraffe which is often overlooked but has been disappearing before our eyes.” She stated.