As we climbed out of Kigali on to one of the ridges leading north-west to the Volcanoes National Park area I was surprised to see the lush, green landscape spreading out across the ridges and valleys way into the distance. This landscape contrasted dramatically with northern Botswana where I have just spent three weeks—where it is dry, dusty and sandy with sparse vegetation except along the rivers.
AWF looks at how its efforts mirror those of an organization launched to secure Africa's future.
The African continent is home to some of the world’s most amazing wildlife and natural wonders. Yet rural communities see little value in their wildlife neighbors, as growth in human population and changing climatic conditions place increasing strain on the continent’s natural resources.
To some African communities, the presence of wildlife is perceived as a threat to their livelihoods. Elephants are crop eating, water tank tipping nuisances. Lions are cattle attacking predators. Routine chores involve the added danger of stumbling upon a hippo or crocodile at the riverbank.
To others, where there is wildlife, they see opportunity. For many African nations, tourism is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors. In fact, Tanzania’s earnings topped 1.88 billion US Dollars in 2013, superseding gold as their number one foreign exchange earner.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the African Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) brown bag meeting on the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) African Great Apes Program—you can see that we love acronyms in conservation—on AWF’s behalf.