NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Tom Lalampaa, a 43-year-old Kenyan
conservationist, was on Wednesday named the winner of a
prestigious environmental prize worth 100,000 U.S. dollars for
his pioneering work in restoring degraded landscapes in the
country’s northern frontier.
Lalampaa became the first
African to scoop the Bright Award offered annually by the
American Stanford University’s Law School to individuals with a
proven track record in advancing protection of local ecosystems.
According to a statement from The Nature Conservancy (TNC),
an international charity, Lalampaa will be rewarded for
promoting communal harmony and ecological protection in northern
"The award recognizes the impact of our work in northern
Kenya where communities have joined forces to advance prosperity
and peaceful co-existence through ecosystems restoration,"
He is a currently a senior programs officer with Northern
Rangeland Trust, a community-based conservation group based in
northern Kenyan county of Isiolo that is supported by The Nature
Conservancy, a charitable environmental organization
headquartered in Virginia of the United States.
Lalampaa and his 17 siblings were raised by cow herders near
Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya.
He holds a post graduate degree in projects management and
has been at the forefront in promoting community-led habitats
At the Northern Rangelands Trust, Lalampaa has mobilized
pastoral communities to be part of an innovative conservation
model that integrates wildlife, people and ecosystems.
This conservation model ensures nomads benefit from wildlife
conservation, ecologically sustainable businesses and
Likewise, it has demonstrated to pastoralists the benefits of
eschewing conflicts that are to blame for abject poverty in
Lalampaa noted that community-led conservation projects in
northern Kenya have reduced poaching of giant mammals while
stimulating growth of tourism.
"Our pioneering work has improved peace and security in a
region renowned for cattle rustling and ethnic conflicts. As a
result, wildlife is stabilizing or increasing in this region,"
He disclosed that elephant poaching has declined by 53
percent in northern Kenya since 2012 while conservation of the
black Rhino has been strengthened.
Lalampaa is married with five children and sits on the board
of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
Conservationists lauded him for winning the prestigious
environmental prize, saying it reaffirms the potential of
community-led interventions to reverse ecosystems degradation
and improve livelihoods.
"Lalampaa depicts in true shades what the philosophy of
conservation through people means.
"This school of thought and approach to conservation is
unparalleled in Kenya currently," remarked Charles Oluchina,
Director of field programs in Africa at the Nature Conservancy.