Home > Stories > Announcing CEPF's 2024 Photo and Video Contest Winners
Sirebe PA on right side of Kolombangara river and Padezaka PA further upstream in the background.
Sirebe Protected Area (PA) on the right side of Kolombangara river and Padezaka PA further upstream in the background.
© Douglas Pikacha Jr

Announcing CEPF's 2024 Photo and Video Contest Winners

Winners include images from the Solomon Islands and Cambodia, and video from Jamaica.

We’re celebrating International Day of Biological Diversity by announcing the winners of CEPF’s 2024 grantee photo and video contest!

For the first time, this year’s contest opened submissions for video as well as still images, and awarded prizes to the winners. So now we have even more ways to celebrate the amazing work our grantees are doing to conserve species and ecosystems in biodiversity hotspots around the world.

The theme of the International Day for Biological Diversity this year is “Be part of the Plan”—a call to action to encourage governments, Indigenous peoples, local communities, nongovernmental organizations, lawmakers, businesses and individuals to highlight the ways in which they are supporting the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The projects highlighted by this year’s contest submissions demonstrate that partnering with and supporting civil society has always been at the heart of CEPF’s approach to protecting biodiversity.

Congratulations to this year’s contest winners and a huge thank you to all of our grantees who participated!

First-Place Winner


Sirebe Protected Area (PA) on the right side of Kolombangara river and Padezaka PA further upstream in the background.
Sirebe Protected Area (PA) on the right side of Kolombangara river and Padezaka PA further upstream in the background.
© Douglas Pikacha Jr

The Island of Choiseul is home to some of the most diverse forests within the Solomon Islands archipelago, supporting incredibly diverse flora and fauna, including the highest number of bird species recorded on a single island in the Solomons (124). It also hosts around 50% of all 24 known mammal species, 21 of the known 24 frog species and around 25 of the reptile species found in the country. Endemic and threatened animals found here include: the Critically Endangered Poncelet’s giant rat (Solomys ponceleti), the crocodile skink (Tribolonotus choiseulensis) and various frog species such as Cornufer heffernani and Litoria lutea.

CEPF funded a project implemented by the Natural Resources Development Foundation (NRDF)—a local nongovernmental organization—from 2019 through to 2022 through through the fund's investment in the East Melanesian Islands Biodiversity Hotspot. The project supported customary landowners to bring approximately 4,500 hectares of rainforest on Choiseul Island under formal protection to prevent logging and to support the establishment of a “payment for ecosystem services” forest carbon project using the Nakau Methodology—a unique toolkit that guides Indigenous and customary landowners to establish their forest and land stewardship as a pathway to producing carbon credits. Two years on, 6,863 hectares of rainforest within the Mount Maetambe to Kolombangara River corridor (the Babatana conservation area) has been successfully protected with the Sirebe Tribe—the first tribe on Choiseul and in the Solomon Islands—to establish an official terrestrial protected area. They are also the first tribe to benefit from carbon trading, creating a blueprint for the rest of the country.

“Facebook Favorite” Photo


Sarus cranes with garganey flying in the background.
Sarus cranes with garganey flying in the background.
© Chhoeurn Socheat

The winning photo was taken inside a dike that was built by Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) as a part of grassland restoration efforts at Boeung Prek Lapouv (BPL) Protected Landscape. The goals of the project included providing food and water sources, shelter and breeding grounds for sarus cranes (Grus antigone)—listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened species—and many other wild water bird species, as well as habitats for various species of aquatic vegetation and fish.

“Cambodia’s remaining wetlands are among the world’s most valuable ecosystems, supporting a wealth of wildlife and providing food, water and livelihoods to local people," said Tomos Avent, head of international programs at WWT. "Each year, they’re visited by flocks of the world’s tallest flying bird—the sarus crane—that gather to feed on the local wetland plants after spending the breeding season in northern Cambodia.”

“Sadly, the Cambodia-Vietnam population of sarus crane—such as those you see in the winning photograph—is at real risk of extinction, and the natural resources available to local people are less secure than ever. With vital support from CEPF, we at WWT are working with the local communities to restore 200 hectares of degraded wetland, prevent the loss of crane habitats and improve the suitability of the feeding and roosting grounds so that these iconic species do not disappear forever,” said Avent.

CEPF's support to WWT is provided through its investment in the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot.

Chhoeurn Socheat, who took the winning photo, works as a ranger in the Boeung Prek Lapouv Protected Landscape in Cambodia. “This is the first time I have seen the Threatened sarus crane staying longer in Boeung Prek Lapouv,” said Chhoeurn.

"Facebook Favorite" Video

The Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA) is Jamaica’s largest protected area and contains nearly 400 plant and 18 animal species, seven of which are endemic. The area hosts extensive dry forest, wetland and marine habitats, and diverse species. The focal portion of the PBPA—the CEPF-funded Hellshire Hills program—is arguably the largest intact old growth tropical dry forest in the Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot, and is often referred to as a hotspot within a hotspot of biological diversity. Further, given that tropical dry forests are considered one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world, protecting this area is of critical importance. 

“The Jamaican Iguana was once thought to be extinct but it is now well on its way to recovery thanks to the generous support of CEPF,” said Stesha Pasachnik, co-chair of the IUCN Iguana Specialist Group and International Iguana Foundation program manager. “Their support has allowed the program’s capacity to grow, awareness to be further raised, protection and monitoring of the Jamaican iguana and its habitat to increase and improve, and conservation action planning for the future to take place.”

Although this program focuses on the recovery of the iguana, a multitude of other species, found within the PBPA benefit from this additional management, conservation, and protection.

Check out the video here!


You can view all the incredible entries from this year’s photo contest in the CEPF 2024 Photo and Video Contest album on Facebook.