Dr. Aristide Takoukam Kamla

Source: Wildlife Conservation Network
By Bwalya Kampamba

In a world facing pressing environmental challenges, individuals like Aristide are beacons of hope, weaving together the diverse threads of conservation, mentorship, and sustainable practices. Aristide, a dedicated marine conservationist and founder of the Africa Marine Mammal Conservation Organization in Cameroon, recently added another feather to his cap by winning the prestigious 2024 Whitley Award for Nature.

The Whitley Award recognizes outstanding leaders in conservation, and Aristide’s achievement underscores his commitment to protecting marine ecosystems. He and his team have managed to restore freshwater in Lake Ossa by reducing the occurrence of Salvina Molesta, a pollutant and invasive species which was threatening the life of African Manatees. However, his journey doesn’t end there; it’s a testament to the interconnectedness of conservation efforts and the transformative power of mentorship.

Aristide’s career trajectory was shaped significantly by his participation in the WCN Career Program, where he found guidance and inspiration from one of the program’s key offerings—mentorship. At the Whitley Award ceremony, his mentor from the program, James Acworth, stood proudly by his side, symbolizing the continuity of support and knowledge transfer.

Aristide and his mentor James at the Whitley Awards.

Following the ceremony, Aristide had a unique opportunity to deepen his understanding of sustainability beyond marine conservation. James invited him to his farm for a practical workshop on sustainable farming and carbon credits. This experience was nothing short of transformative, as Aristide delved into the intricacies of eco-friendly agricultural practices and their role in mitigating climate change.

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