The first annual Steve H. Taylor African Conservation Award, created last year by the Cleveland Zoological Society in honor of retiring Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Director Steve Taylor, has been awarded to George Owoyesigire, a senior wildlife officer for the Ugandan Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities.
Owoyesigire, who is traveling to the United States to attend a conservation conference in Iowa, will make his first-ever visit to Ohio next week to receive the award in person. The Zoo and the Zoo Society will host Owoyesigire at the Zoo from July 15-19 to work on conservation issues such as mitigating human/animal conflict in Africa, creating local awareness about conservation and promoting enterprises that help communities in Africa manage sustainable uses for wildlife. Owoyesigire will receive the award and present a �brown bag� lecture at the Zoo on July 16.
�The Zoo is thrilled to be able to present the first Steve Taylor Award to George Owoyesigire, one of our longtime field conservation partners,� said Zoo Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar. �We are doubly thrilled that we'll be able to present it to him personally. He is an extremely talented and dedicated agent for conservation and we're proud to play a role in his work.�
Owoyesigire began his conservation career as a receptionist and part-time ranger at Kibale National Park in Uganda. His dedication, intelligence and enthusiasm were soon noticed by researchers from the Jane Goodall Institute who recruited him for a chimpanzee project. Believing that Owoyesigire had not yet reached his full potential, the Institute reached out to the Zoo and Zoo Society to help fund his professional development. Owoyesigire went on to earn a bachelor's degree in environmental management from Nkumba University in Uganda, and a master's degree in primate conservation from Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom.
The Steve H. Taylor African Conservation Award celebrates Steve's two great professional passions: the conservation of African wildlife and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The award will make it possible for a conservation partner working in Africa to attend an AZA conference or other professional development opportunity that enhances long-term capacity for successful field conservation initiatives in Africa. Recipients will be selected on the basis of alignment with the Zoo's mission, conservation philosophy and field conservation priorities.
Northeast Ohio's most-visited year-round attraction, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with hours extended to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission is $12.25 per person, $8.25 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children younger than 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 90 and 480.
For more information, visit clemetzoo.com or call (216) 661-6500.