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#407566 - 05/12/11 02:46 PM Dr Rachel Graham awarded the Whitley Gold Award
Marty Offline

Scientist awarded for helping to make people love sharks

A scientist who has saved whale sharks in Belize from extinction has been honoured by the Princess Royal as the third woman in a row to win a prestigious prize for conservation.

Dr Rachel Graham was awarded the Whitley Gold Award by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne at the Royal Geographic Society in central London.

The £60,000 award, supported by Sir David Attenborough and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), will go towards further conservation work to try and save sharks and rays from overfishing off the coast of the Central American country.

Dr Graham has dedicated 20 years of her life to saving endangered species like the whale shark, a ‘gentle giant’ measuring up to 40ft long that feeds mostly on plankton.

The 43-year-old Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Programme, has won legal protection for the species in Belizean waters.

She also led innovative schemes to encourage people to protect rather than fear sharks by letting schoolchildren, students, planners and decision-makers see the gentle animals in the wild.

Dr Graham’s success is a further boost for women conservationists with last year’s Gold Award having gone to Angela Maldonado of Colombia for saving night monkeys and the 2009 prize to Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka of Uganda for her work with gorillas.

The same ceremony also saw the presentation of Whitley Awards worth £30,000 each in project funding to six other conservation leaders from Argentina, Croatia, India, Indonesian Borneo, Russia and Uzbekistan.

A short video about the work of each winner has been made with voice over from Sir David.

Georgina Domberger, Director of the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN), the UK-based charity behind the international awards scheme, said an increasing number of conservation projects in Eastern Europe are being rewarded for their efforts to help protect animals as the area develops.

Cave systems in Croatia, saiga antelopes in Uzbekistan and bats in Russia are being protected thanks to the award.

"The aim of the Whitley Awards is to identify and applaud inspirational conservation leaders, and support their efforts to make even greater use of their scientific expertise and local knowledge to deliver real and lasting benefits for people and wildlife and the places both share,” she said.

The Whitley Awards scheme is an annual competition, first held in 1994. In the 18 years since the scheme began, it has given grants worth more than £6m to support the work of conservation leaders in 70 countries.

The Gold Award 2011 is, for the first time, being sponsored by WWF-UK to celebrate its decade of support for the Whitley Awards, and acknowledge the golden jubilee of WWF-UK’s formation in 1961.

The Telegraph


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#407601 - 05/12/11 04:31 PM Re: Dr Rachel Graham awarded the Whitley Gold Award [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
I am so proud of my good friend whose efforts to study and save sharks for a more balanced marine environment have yielded benefits for us here at home and around the world. Congrats Rachel! Lucky us for having someone as dedicated in our waters.
_________________________
Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com
info@belize-trips.com

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#407622 - 05/12/11 07:51 PM Re: Dr Rachel Graham awarded the Whitley Gold Award [Re: Marty]
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
That is fantastic and a great global honor for Rachel Graham!

--Lan Sluder

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#407624 - 05/12/11 08:08 PM Re: Dr Rachel Graham awarded the Whitley Gold Award [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
Lan, next time you are here, I'll arrange for Rachel to take you out and introduce you to some of her favorite sharks....its alot easier to raise money for dolphin research than for sharks.
_________________________
Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com
info@belize-trips.com

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#407675 - 05/13/11 03:14 PM Re: Dr Rachel Graham awarded the Whitley Gold Award [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Royal Geographic Society in London awards Rachel Graham

Rachel Graham

Belize’s own Dr. Rachel T. Graham was presented with a prestigious conservation award by no less than Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, at the Royal Geographic Society in London. Graham saved whale sharks from extinction in Belize and her twenty years of work to preserve the Jewel’s underwater wildlife won her the coveted Whitley Gold Award for 2011. The award is given by the UK based charity, Whitley Fund for Nature, and this year it was sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund-UK as part of its fiftieth anniversary celebrations. Graham is the Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Program. She has been working to put in place a national action-plan to protect sharks, sting rays and other ocean species that attract tourists to our waters, but are threatened by overfishing. Along with a trophy, Graham was awarded just under two hundred thousand dollars in funding for her project.

This is the third consecutive year that the award was won by a female conservationist. Six other organizations from around the world also won funding for their projects.

Channel 5


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