Introducing the ELAFI Awards…
What if we could work together, across the globe, to show politicians and local authorities in countries where animal rights are barely recognised, that the global conservation community is watching?
That’s exactly what Anna Georghallides, the woman behind Cyprus’ annual ELAFI Animal Welfare Awards wants to find out.
The ELAFI Awards aim to celebrate those dedicated to animal welfare, conservation and the environment — and also to encourage the government in Cyprus to improve animal welfare laws.
“As of now we still have one of the worst animal welfare records in Europe,” Anna explains. “Animal welfare is very low on the priority list of both the government and organisations who could influence change in Cyprus.”
“Justice is not handed down for abuse cases, the conditions animals live in — especially in our zoos — are, in most cases, appalling and wildlife and their environment is not respected.”
The awards aim to reward local authority and rescuers who fight to improve animal welfare — as well as international advocates and organisations, and foreign rescues — to show the powers-that-be that the international community is watching and improvements need to be made as soon as possible.
Through their official online magazine ‘ELAFI Animal Life‘, Anna also hopes to educate the public on animal care as a whole.
Kate on Conservation and the ELAFI Animal Welfare Awards
I’m delighted to announce that I’ve agreed to become an ambassador for the awards in their inaugural year.
The ELAFI, or Persian fallow deer, is now extinct in Cyprus. Used as the inspiration for these awards, the deer species is said to have reached Cyprus by swimming the Mediterranean; the head of each animal placed on the back of the deer in front of it.
The representation of that level of spirit and team work is not coincidental.
I can’t wait to see these awards build and grow, as I’m sure they will, into not just a platform for celebration of success, but a platform for change.
The ELAFI Award Design
The prestigious ELAFI trophies, which will be presented to the winners of each category (there are 15 in total) will each feature the ELAFI; the Persian fallow deer (Dama dama mesopotamica), which is now extinct in Cyprus and only 365 are thought to remain throughout the world.
The awards have been handcrafted by ceramic artist Vassos Demetriou and each will be hand drawn and hand painted, making it unique to the winner. A keepsake indeed for whoever is so lucky as to win one!
Winners are chosen through public vote, and nominations can be viewed online. Good luck everyone!
UPDATE: The ELAFI Animal Welfare Awards took place virtually in May 2020 — due to restrictions around Covid-19. You can watch the ceremony above.