Huggard Togatule the conservation and biodiversity officer of the Department of Environment is awarded the 2020 Pacific Invasive Species Battler of the Year Award.
The award was announced last week at a side event during the 10th Pacific Islands conference of nature conservation and protected areas of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program.
The thirty-two-year-old Togatule told BCN news that he was surprised to learn of the award and paid tribute to his colleagues at the Environment department and his family, especially his younger brother who is often out there in the field with him. (pictured with Huggard)
Huggard was awarded the Battler of the Year award recognising the wide range of work he is doing to battle invasive species in Niue. Humbled to receive this award saying that he is lucky to be working in a field with such passionate and dedicated colleagues who all deserve to win this award. He says that the recognition of what he and his team have achieved rather than what he has achieved as an individual because invasive species management is everyone’s responsibility.
One has to be physically and mentally fit to take on this type of work which includes culling the invasive pigs on the island which is something he enjoys doing, says Huggard.
He is also recognised for their efforts to eradicate invasive plants such as the wide-spread weed the taro leaf vine including the community awareness activities.
Huggard Togatule is only the third recipient of “The Battler of the Year award” which was launched in 2017 and is awarded to Pacific invasive species field-based practitioners who have worked at the grassroots level and achieved outstanding outcomes for biodiversity from the use of minimal resources.