honoured Awards
Photo Credit: Peter Chadwick

Anton Mzimba was tragically assassinated in July of this year for being a game ranger facing up to anti-poaching in South Africa; he has been honoured for his life’s work and named the Game Ranger of the year.


Kasane, Botswana (21 September 2022) – This month marked the 11th annual African Conservation Awards and the first time since the pandemic, that the event took place as a live event. This year’s celebration of these conservation heroes was tinged with sadness as South African game ranger, the late Anton Mzimba was honoured for his work.

The event was hosted by the Game Rangers Association of Africa in Kasane, Botswana where rangers from across Africa gathered to share their experiences. These men and women dedicate their lives to keeping our natural spaces and wildlife protected.

His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, who is the Patron of the African Conservation Awards, reminded the event attendees of the ‘threats and dangers this selfless group of individuals face’ by referring to the assassination of Best Game Ranger Award finalist Anton Mzimba in a video message;

‘It reminds us of the importance of your profession, the risks you face on a day to day basis but also the determination and dangerous nature of those you confront and whom you often face alone. I applaud the fact that you are now honouring all the heroes of biodiversity beyond the rhino alone. You are the fighting vanguard of a global movement which should be promoted, encouraged, supported and prolonged by all of us.’

The event welcomed nominations in August, and after careful consideration, looking at the work done over the last 12 months, starting in July 2021, they selected the following winners.

  • BEST FIELD RANGER Winner: NDOUROU Boris Harding, Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park, Central African Republic.
  • BEST CONSERVATION TEAM Winner: Simba Community Wildlife Scouts, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, Kenya.
  • BEST CONSERVATION SUPPORTER Winner: Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, Kenya

The award for the “Best Game Ranger” was awarded to the late Anton Mzimba (posthumous), Head of Ranger Services, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, South Africa.

Anton worked at Timbavati for over 25 years; he started as a general worker but always dreamt of becoming a game ranger. He never gave up on that dream and once he reached it, he went beyond that and progressed from ranger to Corporal, Sergeant, and finally, became Head of Ranger Services.

According to those who knew him, his greatest gift was his ability to lead and inspire the people from the local communities that border Kruger National Park. Anton led by example, working to change the stigma that conservation was a wealthy minority’s privilege, and instead a birthright to all of humanity, from all backgrounds, races and cultures. He believed in developing his team and wanted both local men and women to have the opportunity to climb the ranks into leadership roles.

Sadly, on the 26th of July 2022, Anton was assassinated outside his home by three gunmen alleged to be linked to poaching syndicates, paying the ultimate sacrifice for being a ranger and a leader on the front lines of the rhino poaching war.

His legacy will live on at Timbavati, and throughout Africa, where game rangers work tirelessly to end poaching.

“In these dark times of unchecked human overpopulation, which causes climate degeneration and destruction of wildlife and the natural world, our conservation heroes are the last hope! The assassination of Anton Mzimba and the deaths of hundreds of his conservation hero colleagues worldwide emphasises the crisis. Please join me in congratulating all of the winners and finalists of the African Conservation Awards 2022! We are incredibly grateful to you” – Dr Larry Hansen, Founder of the African Conservation Awards.

Each Field Ranger and Game Ranger finalist received Jim Green African Ranger boots and membership to the GRAA which includes medical evacuation, accidental death and disability insurance cover. Zeiss also supported selected winners with binoculars.

The African Conservation awards are hosted annually by the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA) and are made possible with the generous support of sponsors Chinese New Enterprise Investment (CNEI) and are endorsed by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

Sources: Love Africa Marketing 
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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