Mr. Ofir Drori - Champion Saving Endangered Species
Mr. Ofir Drori, a 30-year-old Israeli, is on a mission to save endangered animals. He and Israeli conservation colleagues founded an organization called The Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA), which helps to protect endangered animals in Cameroon's rich equatorial forests.
LAGA resulted from the realization that urgent action is required to prevent the great apes of Africa from becoming extinct. It is a field-based organization that seeks to encourage local law-enforcement efforts and apply the local law to put an end to the crisis. It has been so successful that now Mr. Drori is opening centers in two more countries.
"I believe that defending wildlife from extinction is our moral obligation, and a cause worth dedicating one's life to; one that would take much dedication, devotion, and innovation to fulfil," said Ofir Drori.
Many commendations and praise from the international community have been bestowed upon LAGA for its noble efforts to end the killing of our animal co-habitants. The Government of Cameroon is one of the few parties of CITES (the UN Convention on Trade in Endangered Species) to include a non-governmental organization such as LAGA, on the delegation and further nominated LAGA for the 2007 Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Awards.
In August of Golden Year 4 (2007), Supreme Master Ching Hai, through a letter of appreciation, awarded the prestigious Shining World Compassion Award to Mr. Drori in recognition of his dedication to rescue animals and generate public awareness about wildlife conservation. Upon receiving Supreme Master Ching Hai's letter, Mr. Drori wrote, "I am grateful for this recognition of my work, which I can call - my mission." He also thanked the people who have supported him and encouraged him to continue his work.
Furthermore, Supreme Master Ching Hai awarded Mr. Drori and LAGA US$5,000 to help with their compassionate activities. Mr. Drori was delighted and grateful, especially since the funds arrived just in time for some critical operations in Cameroon.
Association members from the United Kingdom traveled to Israel to present the Shining World Leadership Plaque to LAGA. Although Mr. Drori, due to his heavy schedule, could not attend the presentation, he requested the Award be presented to his mother on his behalf. Thus, on October 29, Golden Year 4, Association representatives presented the plaque to Mrs. Kathy Drori, who according to Ofir is a spiritual lady and an inspiration for his work. Mrs. Drori stood with tears in her eyes as she felt honoured and happy to receive this beautiful award on behalf of her son. She said, "Thank You, Master Ching Hai, for recognizing my son's effort and hard work."
We wish Mr. Drori and LAGA all heavenly assistance in their endeavors to save animal lives.
Letter of Appreciation from Mr. Ofir Drori
Dear Supreme Master Ching Hai,
I wish to thank You for choosing me to receive the Shining World Compassion Award, I am grateful for this recognition of my work, which I can call - my mission.
When taking up such a cause, hard moments of broken spirit are many. But going in this path was made possible by sporadic encouragements that outweighed the negative. Concerned humans who gave their good energy, expressed their spirit of solidarity or shared a smile gave me the energy to continue.
This experience taught me that the strength of an activist in such a multinationals-dominated world is in ideals and values and the good number of people who shared them. This explains an added significance I see in receiving this award.
I will be honored to receive the Shining World Compassion Award by Your representative.