Fanny Minesi Wins McKenna-Travers Award
Fanny Minesi, general director of Friends of Bonobos of the Congo (ABC), was awarded the prestigious 2021 McKenna-Travers Award for Compassionate Conservation from the Born Free Foundation. The award honors "outstanding conservationists" who place a priority on animal welfare.
It includes a prize of £10,000 to support ABC's work to protect bonobos and their rainforest home.
"I am tremendously honored to be chosen for the McKenna Travers Award, and grateful to the Born Free Foundation for supporting of Friends of Bonobos of the Congo," Minesi said.
"We plan to use the award funds to acquire an island near Ekolo ya Bonobo, our release site for rehabilitated bonobos. This will be a place for bonobos who cannot return to the wild completely, because of injury or behavior, but who would do well in a more wild setting than we can offer at Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary.
"We have several islands in mind. The land will be set aside for conservation and the bonobos who eventually live there will be monitored and protected by staff hired from the local community.," she added.
As with all of ABC's work, local residents will be key partners on the project.
"We want to make sure they see direct benefits to protecting bonobos – this is the most successful strategy for long-term conservation," Minesi said.
About the award
The award is named in honor of Virginia McKenna OBE, her late husband Bill Travers MBE, and their eldest son, Will Travers OBE, who co-founded the charity that became Born Free in 1984.
“I hope this award will recognise, inspire and support outstanding individual conservationists, researchers and practitioners who place a very high priority on animal welfare while undertaking field conservation of species under threat, conservation policy or environmental education," says Virginia McKenna.