In July 2015, the first class of dogs graduated from the African Wildlife Foundation’s (AWF) unique anti-trafficking program, the Conservation Canine Programme. The eight graduates are currently stationed in airports and seaports in Kenya and Tanzania, working closely with the wildlife authorities to diligently detect wildlife products bound for international travel. The enthusiastic canines sniff their way throughout these highly trafficked venues, searching high and low for contraband wildlife products.
Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains National Park is home to some of the world’s most unique and endangered wildlife, including one species of mountain goat (the Walia ibex) that is found exclusively in the park. Due to its exceptional beauty and endemic wildlife, Simien Mountains National Park was among the very first sites to be inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978. It stands with places like Yellowstone National Park and the Galapagos Islands as one of the world’s greatest natural treasures.
It was more than two years ago that AWF, through the African Apes Initiative, began reaching out to priority African great ape sites to offer our assistance in improving protection.
Africa is in a crisis that few would have anticipated, at least not the extent to which it is impacting the most visible symbols of conservation, the continent’s iconic species. Not only are current levels of illegal offtake unsustainable, but the species affected are also in much-reduced populations and ranges.
Since supporting the establishment of the College of African Wildlife Management (Mweka) on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 1963, AWF has continued to work with the government of Tanzania and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement conservation efforts in northern Tanzania. Together, we have delivered a legacy of conservation and development impact in the Maasai Steppe and Kilimanjaro landscapes.