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National Geographic and the Zoological Society of London Announce Africa Cohort of National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellows

The latest cohort of conservationists is working to protect some of the most unique and lesser-known species in Africa.

Marking a successful three-year partnership, the National Geographic Society and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) are excited to announce the 2020 Africa cohort of National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellows. The 12 fellows will work with Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species in Africa featured in the National Geographic Photo Ark to help bring them back from the verge of extinction. 

The National Geographic Photo Ark is a multiyear effort, led by photographer Joel Sartore, that aims to document every species living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, inspire action through education and help save wildlife by supporting conservation projects.

The National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellowship is an important on-the-ground conservation effort that leverages the power of Sartore’s portraits while simultaneously reducing human threats to wildlife, protecting critical habitats and creating lasting impact for species at risk.

The following 12 candidates based in Africa received the 2020 National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellowships due to their track records and demonstrated commitments to species conservation:

  • Victor Agyei, Ghana: Leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea (IUCN Red List: Vulnerable)
  • Michael Akrasi, Ghana: Togo slippery frog, Conraua derooi (IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered)
  • Rotsinomena Andriamisedra, Madagascar: Aye-aye, Daubentonia madagascariensis (IUCN Red List: Endangered)
  • Tsigereda Dessalegn, Ethiopia: Hooded vulture, Necrosyrtes monachus (IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered)
  • Kudzanai Dhliwayo, Zimbabwe: Lappet-faced vulture, Torgos tracheliotos (IUCN Red List: Endangered)
  • Rio Heriniaina, Madagascar: Indri, Indri indri (IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered)
  • Christine Kouman, Côte d’Ivoire: West African slender-snouted crocodile, Mecistops cataphractus (IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered)
  • John Lyakurwa, Tanzania: Turquoise dwarf gecko, Lygodactylus williamsi (IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered)
  • Lotanna Micah Nneji, Nigeria: Cameroon slippery frog, Conraua robusta (IUCN Red List: Vulnerable)
  • Maholy Ravaloharimanitra, Madagascar: Madagascar big-headed turtle, Erymnochelys madagascariensis (IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered) 
  • Sidney Shema, Kenya: Secretarybird, Sagittarius serpentarius (IUCN Red List: Vulnerable)
  • Samson Zelleke, Ethiopia: Egyptian vulture, Neophron percnopterus (IUCN Red List: Endangered)

As part of their commitment to helping the global extinction crisis, each Fellow will undertake a two-year project on their focal species. ZSL and the National Geographic Society will provide ongoing mentorship and support.

To kick off their training, the Fellows attended a month-long Conservation Tools training course led by ZSL on the essential skills needed to undertake effective conservation projects. The training included a National Geographic Sciencetelling Bootcamp where the Fellows learned from world-class National Geographic photographer Thomas Peschak and other National Geographic storytelling experts. The candidates learned how to showcase their work through the power of engaging storytelling, captivating photography and compelling videos.

Visit for updates on the program. To learn more about EDGE species and ZSL’s EDGE of Existence program, go to

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