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Green "Oscars," the Whitley Awards, Funds Wildlife Causes

Apr 29, 2016 09:55 AM EDT
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Whitley Awards give funding to environmental causes in developing countries
(Photo : Volker Hartmann/Getty Images)

The red carpet, celebrity-flocked Oscars awards night found its match with the Green "Oscars." But instead of honoring the performance of actors and the people behind the scene, the green Oscars gave funding to films by deserving environmentalists. The annual Whitley Awards is the most awaited yearly event of environmentalists and conservationists worldwide.

The annual Whitley Awards 2016 is funded by the Whitley Fund for Nature for the last 23 years. According to Discover Wildlife, the organization supports the cause of conservation leaders and their projects aimed to protect the endangered wildlife.

The sought after award is one of the most prestigious environmental prize thus the name "Green Oscars". This year, 120 applicants from 53 countries vied to receive awards or funding for their projects.

Discover Wildlife said "Each winner also needs the skill and tenacity to highlight and combat challenges such as exploitation of natural resources, bureaucratic inertia, human-wildlife conflict and habitat destruction." To be able to get an advantage in winning the awards the contestants must be good in highlighting their projects in their film entries,

The Whitley Award is a UK-based organization that aims to fund grassroots conservation leaders in developing countries. In order to do that, they initiate a film contest for environmentalists to present their projects. The winners receive funding from the organization instead of a trophy.

Sir David Attenborough, Trustee of the Whitley Fund for Nature said that "Whitley Award winners are simply exceptional people - passionate individuals who are committed to achieving positive environmental impact and long-term conservation and community benefits." Like the Oscar's they aim to recognize exceptional individuals, by presenting their film about the cause they would like to protect, this time the films were judged not by the technicalities but by the content and nature of the project.

And just like the Oscar's, the environmentalists deserve their red carpet moment, too. From the photos posted by the organizers, the awards night was attended by world environment leaders.

The winners were awarded and chosen during the awards night. The winners are championing causes such as safeguarding of leopards, orangutans and lesser-known animals such as tree kangaroos, side-necked turtles and giant square frogs.

The Whitney Awards released the winners of this year's "Green Oscars":

Gilbert Baase Adum, Ghana Saving Ghana's frogs: a giant leap forward for biodiversity conservation

Farwiza Farhan, Indonesia Citizen lawsuits: defending local livelihoods and Sumatra's iconic species in the Leuser Ecosystem

Makala Jasper, Tanzania Forest stewardship: community conservation of coastal forests in the greater Selous Ecosystem, Tanzania

Karau Kuna, Papa New Guinea Tree kangaroos as a flagship to protect Papua New Guinea's spectacular wildlife

Muhammad Ali Nawaz, Pakistan Snow leopard conservation: a landscape-level approach in the mountains of northern Pakistan

Alexander Rukhaia, Georgia Magnificent migrants: safeguarding birds-of-prey negotiating the Batumi Flyway, Georgia

Juliette Velosoa, Madagascar Saving the Critically Endangered side-necked turtle and its freshwater habitat, Madagascar

A Whitley Gold Award winner was also recognized and will receive £50,000 funding. This year, the Whitley Gold Award winner is the Hotlin Ompusunggu Dentistry and reforestation: scaling up models to protect orangutans and improve health in Borneo.

These real-life celebrity-slash-environment heroes deserve the recognition and the red carpet treatment, being the stars they are to the causes they support.

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