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Kenyan conservationist Lalampaa wins global environmental prize | Coastweek

Tom Lalampaa, a Samburu who became a community development manager for the Northern Rangelands Trust, is now a key player in efforts to protect Kenyan wildlife and improve the lives of his people. PHOTO – COURTESY: AMI VITALE []

Kenyan conservationist Lalampaa wins global environmental prize
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Tom Lalampaa, a 43-year-old Kenyan conservationist, was on Wednesday named the winner of a prestigious environmental prize worth 100,000 U.S. dollars for his pioneering work in restoring degraded landscapes in the country’s northern frontier.

Lalampaa became the first African to scoop the Bright Award offered annually by the American Stanford University’s Law School to individuals with a proven track record in advancing protection of local ecosystems.

According to a statement from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), an international charity, Lalampaa will be rewarded for promoting communal harmony and ecological protection in northern Kenya.

"The award recognizes the impact of our work in northern Kenya where communities have joined forces to advance prosperity and peaceful co-existence through ecosystems restoration," Lalampaa said.

He is a currently a senior programs officer with Northern Rangeland Trust, a community-based conservation group based in northern Kenyan county of Isiolo that is supported by The Nature Conservancy, a charitable environmental organization headquartered in Virginia of the United States.

Lalampaa and his 17 siblings were raised by cow herders near Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya.

He holds a post graduate degree in projects management and has been at the forefront in promoting community-led habitats restoration projects.

At the Northern Rangelands Trust, Lalampaa has mobilized pastoral communities to be part of an innovative conservation model that integrates wildlife, people and ecosystems.

This conservation model ensures nomads benefit from wildlife conservation, ecologically sustainable businesses and responsible tourism.

Likewise, it has demonstrated to pastoralists the benefits of eschewing conflicts that are to blame for abject poverty in northern Kenya.

Lalampaa noted that community-led conservation projects in northern Kenya have reduced poaching of giant mammals while stimulating growth of tourism.

"Our pioneering work has improved peace and security in a region renowned for cattle rustling and ethnic conflicts. As a result, wildlife is stabilizing or increasing in this region," said Lalampaa.

He disclosed that elephant poaching has declined by 53 percent in northern Kenya since 2012 while conservation of the black Rhino has been strengthened.

Lalampaa is married with five children and sits on the board of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

Conservationists lauded him for winning the prestigious environmental prize, saying it reaffirms the potential of community-led interventions to reverse ecosystems degradation and improve livelihoods.

"Lalampaa depicts in true shades what the philosophy of conservation through people means.

"This school of thought and approach to conservation is unparalleled in Kenya currently," remarked Charles Oluchina, Director of field programs in Africa at the Nature Conservancy.




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