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story.lead_photo.caption Ben Radke, center, is shown in this photo released by the National Wildlife Foundation.

Ben Radke, 12, of Ozark is the winner of an all-expense paid trip for three to Abu Camp in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, for his "Elephant Pride and Bus Rides" entry in a national Every Elephant Counts Contest.

National Wildlife Federation and Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Productions asked students ages 9 to 18 to develop ways to promote the conservation of African elephants in light of the reported loss of 25,000 to 30,000 elephants a year, leading to a 30 percent loss of the African savanna elephant population in less than seven years.

Radke's idea called for publicizing information about elephants on the minibuses that are commonly used by Botswanans for transportation.

"If we put pictures of elephants, and facts about them, that would reinforce pride in how amazing African elephants truly are," Radke was quoted as saying in the announcement of the award.

National Wildlife Federation and Arkansas Wildlife Federation staff members surprised Ben in his sixth grade social studies class at Ozark Middle School to announce his award.

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