8 Oct 2008

Belgian conservationist working in New Caledonia awarded posthumous honour

11:00 am on 8 October 2008

A conservationist who helped manage the Mont Panié Special Botanical Reserve in New Caledonia, has been honoured posthumously with the Fred Packard Award from the World Commission on Protected Areas.

Henri Blaffart, who was swept away by the flooded Tiendanite River in March this year, was one of seven people honoured with the Packard Award for their outstanding service to protected areas.

A native of Belgium, Mr Blaffart also worked in Samoa and Papua New Guinea.

He had been working on the Mont Panié reserve project and was made project chief there in 2006.

Blaffart was travelling in Province Nord, where he worked with the Kanak communities on management of the Mont Panié reserve, when he drowned.

The Mont Panié region of New Caledonia is rich in unique biological diversity depended on by people living in the region.