The Imperial Eagle is benefiting from the work of 2014 Whitley Award Finalist, Stoycho Stoychev of Bulgaria

The Imperial Eagle is benefiting from the work of 2014 Whitley Award Finalist, Stoycho Stoychev of Bulgaria

The Whitley Fund for Nature today [1 April 2014] announced the shortlist of eight finalists for the annual Whitley Awards. This prestigious international prize honours exceptional individuals working in grassroots nature conservation in the world’s developing countries, and who often face humanitarian, environmental and political challenges in the projects they undertake.

Selected from a field of 170 applicants from around the world, the eight wildlife conservationists shortlisted this year for the chance to win an award and a share in funding worth £280,000 are:

Shivani Bhalla - Warrior Watch: Creating coexistence between people and lions in Northern Kenya

Monica Gonzalez - Community conservation of the long-wattled umbrellabird and its disappearing habitat in Ecuador

Luis Torres - Building a national movement to protect Cuba’s amazing plant life

Fitryanti Pakiding - Uniting coastal communities to secure the last stronghold of Pacific leatherback turtles in the Bird’s Head Seascape of West Papua, Indonesia

Marites Gatan Balbas - Taking local action to save the world’s rarest crocodile in the Philippines

Melvin Gumal – Protecting Borneo’s iconic great apes: Conservation of orang-utans in Sarawak, Malaysia

Stoycho Stoychev - The Imperial eagle as a flagship for conserving the wild grasslands of South-eastern Bulgaria

Paula Kahumbu – Hands off our elephants: Delivering African leadership to address Kenya’s poaching crisis

The charity’s patron HRH The Princess Royal will announce the final results at a special evening ceremony hosted by television presenter Kate Humble on Thursday 8th May at the Royal Geographical Society in London. HRH The Princess Royal will also present an additional prize, the Whitley Gold Award worth up to £50,000, to Jean Wiener, who has worked tirelessly over the last 25 years to protect the mangroves and coastal marine environment of his native Haiti from human exploitation and economic development, in what is regarded as one of the world’s poorest countries.

During their trip to London, the finalists will have the opportunity to meet WFN Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, network with the other finalists, attend receptions with leading conservation organisations and academics, meet Whitley Fund for Nature donors and participate in professional development training.

The Whitley Awards Ceremony takes place on Thursday May 8th at London’s Royal Geographical Society. Attendance is strictly by invitation only. Please visit the Friends section of the website to learn how you can donate and become a Friend of WFN, and gain the opportunity to attend future Whitley Award Ceremonies and other WFN events.