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  • Saturday, January 1, 2000

For more than 35 years AWF has initiated or contributed to scores of model conservation programs--large and small--that have yielded new knowledge about wildlife and effective ways to assure its survival. Some current projects:

In a mutually beneficial partnership, AWF works with the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in its efforts to protect the 13,000 cheetahs remaining in the world. In its Namibia program, CCF seeks peaceful ways to resolve conflicts between livestock owners and cheetahs, primarily with livestock guard dogs. Last March AWF sponsored a presentation by CCF director Laurie Marker for Kenyan researchers and farmers, who face predator problems similar to those in Namibia. AWF also assists CCF's community outreach and education programs--the fund reached 12,000 Namibian school children in the first half of 1999 alone.

AWF has been active in rhino conservation in Kenya for 15 years and more recently in Namibia and South Africa. In 1999 it provided funds to the free-release site--recently named in tribute to rhino conservationist Michael Werikhe who died last summer--in Kenya's Tsavo East National Park for vehicle repair and construction of ranger housing and a dam. At the request of the Kenya Wildlife Service, AWF is supplying radio collars (designed and tested with AWF support in South Africa in 1996 and 1997) and assisting with the transfer of more rhinos to Tsavo East. AWF also continues to aid the Ngulia rhino sanctuary in Tsavo West National Park, where the rhino population has risen to 45 since the sanctuary opened in the mid-1980s. New communications equipment was purchased with AWF funds at Waterberg Plateau Park in Namibia to help monitor the 100 rhinos there.

New populations of Ethiopian wolves, one of Africa's most endangered species, have been discovered recently in Ethiopia's mountains. AWF is supporting an Ethiopian student who is working with a scientist from the Zoological Society of London and other researchers to identify factors that threaten the wolves and ways to protect them.

In a unique exploration of the powerful effects of culture on conservation, AWF's Mark Infield has collected data needed to assess the impact of grazing by Ankole longhorn cattle in and around Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda. He is doing extensive research on the interactions between wildlife and the Ankole cow, a revered animal central to the culture, even to the identity, of the Bahima pastoralists in the region.

Of special note is the new partnership formed between an international ecotourism company and a village community near Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. AWF's Conservation Service Center mediated the landmark agreement under which the Ololosokwan Village Community retains the right to graze cattle and other benefits from the 25,000 acres of land it owns between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara in Kenya. The South-Africa-based Conservation Corporation of Africa, with a 15-year lease, has exclusive rights to run tourist facilities and game drives on the land.

AWF's Conservation Service Center team completed the "AWF Handbook for Assessing Economic and Livelihood Impact of Wildlife Enterprises in Africa." The procedures spelled out in the manual, methods have already been used to assess two community-based businesses in Kenya, the Il Ngwesi Lodge in Laikipia and the Kipepeo butterfly farm in the coastal Arabuko Sokoke Forest.

AWF also completed a case study on the Rocktail Bay and Banzi Safari Lodges, community-based businesses in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. The report is part of AWF's larger effort to share experiences of model wildlife enterprises with others across southern and eastern Africa.

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Denis Galava
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Grace Wairima
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Additional Information