GWR: Ghanaian activist, Abubakar Tahiru sets record for hugging 1,123 trees

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Ghanaian student studying forestry and environmental activism has broken the record for the most trees hugged in an hour.

Abubakar Tahiru, 29, hugged 1,123 trees in total—nearly 19 every minute on average.

Abubakar developed a strong interest in the preservation of the natural world while growing up in a farming village in Tepa, Ghana.

Abubakar relocated to Auburn University in Alabama, USA, last year to start his master’s programme in forestry after completing his undergraduate studies in forestry at one of Ghana’s best universities. 

Tuskegee National Forest, one of four national forests in the timber-rich state of Alabama, was the site of his record attempt.

For the purposes of this record, a hug is described as a close embrace with both arms wrapped around a tree. The attempt is deemed invalid if a tree is hugged more than once or if any tree is damaged.

According to Abubakar, the hardest part of the record attempt was having to move quickly between trees while making sure that each hug met the requirements. He also discovered that the act of repeatedly hugging was very exhausting.

His attempt to break the record was made more difficult by the fact that he was fasting for Ramadan and therefore was not allowed to drink any water.

“Not being able to drink water throughout the attempt posed a significant challenge, especially given the physical exertion required,” Abubakar said.

“However, this also proved to be helpful in a way, as there was no need to pause for water breaks, allowing me to continue the attempt uninterrupted from start to finish.”

Abubakar easily beat the minimum requirement of 700 to become the first holder of this record, averaging one hug every three seconds.

“Achieving this world record feels incredibly rewarding,” he said.

“It’s a meaningful gesture to highlight the crucial role of trees in our ecosystem and the urgency of environmental conservation.”

Abubakar now intends to increase his involvement in forestry by working on the creation of sustainable practices and partnering with environmental organisations to support sustainable projects, following his achievement of this world record.

It is important to me to motivate young people in Ghana, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds like the one I grew up in, by demonstrating to them that it is possible to overcome obstacles and have a big impact. — Abubakar

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