Just outside Upington, South Africa, the slender grey tower shimmered in the distance like a heat mirage. You can be driving down empty highway roads for hours, passing nothing but dust devils and quiver trees, when suddenly, signs of Africa’s rapid growth and development appear in front of you.
“AWF approaches conservation at a large-landscape scale.”
How many times have I heard that said about our work? How many times have I written that myself, when writing about AWF’s approach to conservation?
Tall trees, year-round warmth, friendly faces…and bonobos as far as the eye can see. This could be the front cover of a flyer pitching a world-class holiday destination. Behind the large, stylishly designed text in Times New Roman or Verdana sits a unique photograph: an upward camera shot of a clear, blue sky beyond a dense canopy, with streams of sunlight reaching through the thickness.
If you haven’t seen our “Tools of the Trade” video, you’re missing out. Action star and activist, Jackie Chan, fights off an arsenal of deadly weapons—the kind of weapons poachers use against our treasured wildlife—as he explains the horror of the wildlife trade.
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.