The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is celebrating its 60th year anniversary with a photogrpahy awards exhibition celebrating AWF’s decades of conservation work in Africa.

The Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition was launched with the announcement of the Grand Prize Winner and 16 category awardees. The global competition received close to 9,000 entries from 50 countries worldwide, including 10 countries in Africa.

16 photographers from across the world attended the ceremony held at the Nairobi National Museum. They received honorary certificates and awards for their photographs and videos in the global competition that received almost 9,000 entries from 50 countries worldwide, including 10 countries in Africa.

The Grand Prize winner, Riccardo Marchegiani, from Italy received a cash prize of Ksh. 555,476 (USD 5,000) and a large Shona elephant sculpture. Riccardo emerged winner for his photo titled Gelada and Baby shot in the Simien Mountains National Park in Ethiopia.

For his win, Marchegiani will also be featured in Nature’s Best Photography magazine, as well as a feature in a special edition devoted to the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards.

Receiving his award, an excited Marchegiani had this to say, “It gives me great pleasure to accept this award that is a true testament of the hard work and dedication put throughout the years. I believe that the art form of photography expresses my vision and sensitivity to the beauty of nature. My objective is to raise awareness and encourage conservation in a more sustainable lifestyle.”

The inaugural photography competition was launched earlier this year to honor the former Tanzanian President, H.E. the late Benjamin Mkapa as an iconic conservation leader. The primary goal of the Awards is to engage and involve photographers from Africa and around the world to share stories from the field that inspire and encourage new advocates for conservation.

Other category winners each received prize money of Ksh. 111,095 (USD 1,000) and a Shona elephant sculpture. They will also be featured in the Nature’s Best Photography special edition.

The list below includes the categories and winners for the awards.

Co-existence and Conflict category winner: James Lewin from Kenya for Elephant Orphans from Reteti Elephant Sanctuary at Painted Rock in Samburu, Kenya.

Conservation Heroes category winner: Jen Guyton from Germany for Veterinarian with Rescued Pangolin, Mozambique.

Wildlife at Risk category winner: Ingrid Vekemans from Belgium for White Rhinoceros Battle,” Solio Game Reserve, Kenya.

Fragile Wilderness category winner: Anette Mossbacher from Switzerland for Ruacana Falls, Namibia.

African Wildlife Behavior category winner: Buddhilini de Soyza from Australia for Cheetahs Swimming across Talek River, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

Africa in Motion category winner: Olli Teirilla from Finland for his video, Magical Maasai Mara, National Reserve.

African Wildlife Backyards category winner: Javier Lobon-Rovira from Spain for Farmer with Green Frog in His Hands, Anja Community, Madagascar.

African Wildlife Portraits category winner: Kevin Dooley from the USA for African Savanna Elephant, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa.

Art in Nature category winner: Paul McKenzie from Hong Kong for Galaxy – Lesser Flamingoes, Lake Natron, Tanzania.

Youth International category winner: Zander Gallie from the USA for Mountain Gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.

Youth in Africa category winner: Cathan Moore from South Africa for Wildebeest, Timbavati Nature Reserve, South Africa.

The 79 winning images will be displayed at the Nairobi National Museum through mid-January 2022 in a bid to capitalize and engage Kenyan audiences and visitors.

The collection will also be published in a special edition of Nature’s Best Photography magazine and will be featured in a year-long traveling exhibition through Africa, North America, Asia, and Europe.