We are pleased to announce that for the second year, Savitri have committed to sponsor a Whitley Award. This year our recipient is Olivier Nsengimana, a vet who now heads up the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association and with this award, will scale up his efforts to protect the endangered grey crowned crane in Rwanda.


A symbol of wealth and longevity, the grey crowned crane is emblematic in a country rebuilding after the devastating genocide of 1994. Globally Endangered, these birds have suffered a drastic decline over the last 45 years and now less than 500 remain in Rwanda.  These majestic cranes are threatened by capture for domestic and international trade as pets for the rich and by destruction of the wetlands they inhabit.

Olivier is determined to save these birds. His team have already registered all captive cranes in the country to ensure that no more are brought into captivity, and his veterinary skills are proving vital to re-rehabilitate these birds to the wild. Olivier’s project will:

Scale up outreach to reduce demand for illegal trade by raising awareness of the conservation status of cranes and the laws protecting them

Train a network of volunteers to help combat poaching and monitor crane populations across Rwanda

Restore roost sites, with communities planting over 500 native trees – as this is one of the only two crane species adapted to tree-roosting.

To find out more about this fantastic project, visit the Whitley Fund for Nature Winners Page

Olivier with our managing Trustee Devika at the 2018 Whitley Awards