Southern Senegal. We are on the border with Guinea, in a gallery forest, tracking chimps. We hear a branch break in the distance and move in that direction.
The following is an excerpt from "Habitat Loss: Wildlife's Silent Killer and the Central Role Protected Areas Play on Biodiversity Protection in Africa," a chapter written by AWF's Vice President of Conservation Strategy, Kathleen Fitzgerald, in Island Press' new book Protecting the Wild: Parks and Wilderness, the Foundation for Conservation.
Have you ever visited an elephant graveyard?
There is a rhinometer in the local newspaper. It tracks the number of rhinos killed. It is the kind of thermometer you see when people are fundraising, where you want the red to reach the top, signifying your fundraising target. Yet with the rhinometer the red symbolizes the blood of rhinos, you pray it does not keep rising.
More than five years ago, African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) began our Conservation Lease program, with the goal of protecting land for wildlife while also maintaining considering interest of the communities that own the land. Most recently, AWF signed more than 500 new leases with the local Maasai community to protect more than 5,000 acres of critical wildlife habitat.