Ghanaian activist hugs over 1,100 trees in an hour to set record

By Sanj Atwal
split image of Abubakar hugging trees

An environmental activist and forestry student from Ghana has set a new world record for the most trees hugged in one hour.

29-year-old Abubakar Tahiru hugged a total of 1,123 trees, averaging almost 19 per minute.

Abubakar grew up in a farming community in Tepa, Ghana, where he developed a keen interest in nature and its conservation.

After completing his undergraduate degree specializing in forestry at one of Ghana’s top universities, Abubakar moved to Alabama, USA, last year to begin his master’s degree in forestry at Auburn University. 

His record attempt took place at Tuskegee National Forest, one of four national forests in the timber-rich state of Alabama.

For the purposes of this record, a hug is defined as both arms wrapped around a tree in a close embrace. No tree may be hugged more than once, and no damage can be caused to any tree or else the attempt is disqualified.

Abubakar hugging a tree and smiling

Abubakar says the hardest part of the record attempt was having to move quickly between trees while ensuring that each hug met the required standards. He also found the repetitive hugging motion to be quite tiring.

What made his record attempt even harder was the fact that he was fasting for Ramadan thus could not consume 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 hugging a slim tree

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

“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.”

After setting this world record, Abubakar now plans to deepen his involvement in forestry by working on the development of sustainable practices and by collaborating with environmental organizations to promote sustainable projects.

It's important to me to inspire the youth in Ghana, especially those from less privileged communities like the one I grew up in, showing them that it's possible to rise above challenges and make a significant impact. - Abubakar

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