Oxperkers won the environmental journalism category at the CNN Africa Journalism Award on October 15, 2016.
The winning story, “Caught in the crossfire: how cattle and Chinese mining interests are killing off Namibia’s black rhino” is a 10-month-long investigation that uncovers the political and commercial agendas driving the world’s largest black rhino population towards extinction. Following the trial of four alleged rhino horn traffickers in Namibia, the team paid a visit to their home villages in China to examine their backgrounds. This investigation looked into rhino and elephant poaching in Namibia in 2015, uncovering Asian syndicates operating on the ground in Namibia with links heading back to China and Vietnam. This resulted in the arrest of a former Namibian policeman involved in smuggling, and in the Vietnamese government warning the tourism industry, for the first time, not to support illegal traders.
Fiona Macleod bio: Fiona Macleod is founding editor of Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism, Africa’s first journalistic investigation unit focusing on environmental issues. Oxpeckers combines traditional investigative reporting with data analysis and geo-mapping tools to expose eco-offences in Southern Africa. Macleod is recipient of the 2014 SAB EnviroMedia Award, and the prestigious Nick Steele award for her contributions to environmental conservation through her pioneering reportage. Prior to founding Oxpeckers, she served as environmental editor at the Mail & Guardian newspaper for 10 years. She is also editor of the M&G Greening the Future and the M&G Investing in the Future CSI/R programmes.
John Grobler bio: John Grobler is a Windhoek, Namibia-based freelance journalist from where he has been plying his craft for the past 20 years as an investigative reporter with a specific interest in the intersect between organised crime and natural resource exploitation. Currently, he is working on internationally syndicated rhino poaching. He was born in Windhoek and educated at the Universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch, and has been writing for major news outlets such the New York Times, The Guardian and the major news services.
Congratulations to these eco watchers.