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Introducing the third cohort of National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellows

By on March 11, 2020 in News

The National Geographic Society and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) are pleased to announce the third cohort of National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellows. These 12 conservationists will work with Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species in Africa featured in the Photo Ark to help bring them back from the brink 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 turtleDermochelys 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.

Africa Cohort 2020
© Lindsay Anderson, National Geographic Society.

To kick off their training, the Fellows attended a ZSL-led four-week Conservation Tools training course in South Africa from mid-January to mid-February 2020. Through a series of lectures, hands-on practical’s and assessments, ZSL scientists taught participants four core areas: the principles of conservation biology, ecological monitoring, social science surveying techniques and applied conservation action. These essential skills will enable EDGE Fellows to undertake effective conservation projects. In addition the training included a National Geographic Sciencetelling Bootcamp where the participants learned from world-class National Geographic photographer Thomas Peschak and other National Geographic storytelling experts. The participants learned how to showcase their work through the power of engaging storytelling, captivating photography and compelling videos.

Visit for updates on the program.