There is no-one more passionate about the iSimangaliso Wetland Park UNESCO World Heritage site than its CEO, Andrew Zaloumis, who has dedicated many years to social upliftment and conservation in the area, so it was only fitting that he was recently awarded the WWF SA Living Planet 2015 Award.
At the awards ceremony at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton, Dr Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF South Africa said, “The WWF SA Living Planet 2015 Award is our premier award and Andrew is an immensely deserving.”
The WWF Living Planet Award is a symbol of recognition for individuals who make a meaningful positive contribution to the environment and Zaloumis’ dedication to creating meaningful development in the area has been – and continues to be – a long journey. He was lauded for his pioneering management approach for World Heritage Sites and his incredible dedication to the area.
On receiving the award, he said that every success in the area was due to a team effort and the result of much inspiration from family and colleagues. He said, “I would like to thank the WWF for this award. I would like to acknowledge my former ‘boss’, Valli Moosa, who was there at the start, the Ministry and Department of Environmental Affairs, and many others across all spheres of government who have supported this work. I would also like to thank all the people who have inspired me and worked alongside me to make this a reality, especially the staff at iSimangaliso Authority and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. A special thank you to my family, especially my father, who inspired my love for iSimangaliso.”
Zaloumis has certainly had a “bold and visionary approach” according to Valli Moosa, CEO of WWF South Africa, and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park continues to grow as a top eco-destination, attracting tourists from all over the world looking for an authentic African wildlife experience in one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in South Africa.