The Houston Zoo Wildlife Warrior Award

The Houston Zoo created a new program called Wildlife Warriors to honor the outstanding heroes from developing countries protecting their local wildlife.  Wildlife Warriors are awarded with an a educational experience (training course, exchange to another related conservation project, etc.) of their choosing and a $500 donation to their conservation program efforts.

These brave individuals are on the front lines protecting lemurs, tapirs, lions, gorillas and other wildlife in harsh landscapes.  They are over coming all odds to save species from extinction and we want to make sure their efforts are recognized.

Meet our outstanding candidates for the Houston Zoo 2015 Wildlife Warriors!  Our selection committee had a hard time selecting the winners, but stay tuned to see who fit the criteria for the award the best.


Ayubu Msago is saving lion and other wildlife in Africa.

Msago was born in Tanzania and works for the Ruaha Carnivore Project in Tanzania.  He heroically saved the life of a villager who was being attacked by a lion, at extreme risk to his own life. Msago has helped establish school scholarships for children, developed a program to link village schools with international schools, and implemented Tanzania’s first specialized livestock guarding dog program for locals to live peacefully with lions.

The Houston Zoo Wildlife Warrior award would enable Msago the opportunity to go to the Niassa Lion Project in Mozambique to learn from their programs to save lions.

Gabriel Massocato

Gabriel Massocato is saving giant armadillos and other wildlife in Brazil.

Gabriel was born in Brazil and started working for the Giant Armadillo project in Brazil in 2011. Gabriel´s progress as a field biologist has been outstanding. He has excellent field skills, loves to share his knowledge with trainees, is a great project spokesman and is easily able to convey his passion for our work to local people.

The Wild Warrior Award could enable Gabriel to take an English course.

weGeorge Kayisavira is saving gorillas in Africa.

George was born in Democratic Republic of Congo and has worked with GRACE gorilla project since 2008.  George led a massive construction initiative to build the world’s largest forest enclosure to give orphaned gorillas an area to recover in until they can be reintroduced into the wild. George’s team employed over 200 people from local communities.

The Houston Zoo Wildlife Warrior award would give George the opportunity to take a computer training course in Rwanda to improve his abilities to communicate and share his talents.


Ewaso Lion3_photo Tony Allport

Jeneria Lekilele saving lions and other wildlife in Africa.

Jeneria grew up in Kenya and works for Ewaso Lions in Kenya.  He often intervenes and risks his own life to protect lions. He created an idea called Warrior Watch. Warrior Watch encourages locals to become wildlife protectors in their communities. He trains and manages the warriors to track lions and watch over the lions.  coordinating their work based on lion movements.

The Houston Zoo Wildlife Warrior award would enable Jeneria to participate in a leadership course that would strengthen his peacemaking skills to encourage peaceful solutions for local people living with lions.


jose Ralison

José Ralison saving lemurs and other wildlife in Africa.

José was born and raised in Madagascar and is currently a technical coordinator within the GERP association (an organization for primates’ study and research).  José is always providing training for the local communities so that they can protect plants and wildlife.  He has published lemur conservation articles in both national and international journals.  Jose listens to local people to empower them to assist with conservation efforts.

The Wildlife Warrior award could give Jose training in communication skills.



Valerie Akuredusenge is saving gorillas and other wildlife in Africa.

Valerie grew up in Gakenke District in the Northern Province of Rwanda and is the Program Director for Conservation Heritage – Turambe.  She has taught over 3,200 children in communities bordering Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park about how to maintain healthy lives for the health of the local communities and the local gorilla population.  She is creating the next generation of Rwanda’s wildlife conservationists by inspiring local students to care about their natural resources, and act on behalf of wildlife and habitats.

The Wildlife Warrior award could give Valerie the opportunity to visit other conservation organization’s education programs.



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