AWF has historically used its own, donor-driven capital to support the development of conservation tourism in key areas under threat. While this strategy has proved successful, it also has its limitations.
I am amazed at how many people still turn their heads to the poaching crisis. Why should we care if elephants fall of the face of the earth? Just one more species bound for extinction...that's life. Survival of the fittest, right? Wrong!
When I heard about the news that China for the first time crushed 6.1 tons of ivory in public, I was just back from three months' field investigative reporting in Africa on Chinese involvement in wildlife trafficking—essentially focused on ivory and rhino horns. I was glad to see tangible action being taken in addition to general embassy announcements stating "Chinese always care about environment and wildlife." Finally, I feel that, we have something solid to show to the world. However, I also deeply understand that this big crush is not enough.
When AWF helped the women of Kijabe Group Ranch start up a financial services organization back in 2009, little could we have predicted the immense impact the bank would have on the entire community. In 2007, we’d helped open The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille, a high-end lodge that provided community employment and income, after the community had set aside some communal lands for conservation.
In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a terrible epidemic of poaching in Africa. That’s when AWF did our “Only Elephants Should Wear Ivory” campaign, and we found a way to slam the brakes on this poaching.