Preserving the remarkable wildlife of Africa depends upon many hundreds, indeed thousands, of acts of charity from individuals and support from foundations and governments.
Such help is the lifeblood that enables groups like AWF to act, and every gift and every grant is important. Thus it is with some trepidation that I single out one particular contribution of the last year for the lesson it contains. This modest grant, from the U.S. Agency for International Development, supports a project known mainly by its acronym: ABCG (the African Biodiversity Collaborative Group).
ANNUAL HIGHLIGHTS OF 1999
(African Wildlife News - Winter 2000)
Because migrating wildlife in this region often cross national boundaries, the Amboseli-Longido Heartland straddles the border of two countries. It encompasses Amboseli National Park and ranch lands in Kenya and, to the south, the lower slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the semi-arid savannas of Longido in Tanzania. Much of the region is home to Masai pastoralists who tend their cattle on dusty plains shared with zebra, buffalo, giraffe and the world's most stable and storied elephant population.
Southern Africa is richly endowed with wildlife. AWF increasingly is collaborating with parks and conservationists in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and other countries in the region to help protect their priceless resources.
Much of this Heartland embraces mountainous rain forests and beautiful crater lakes in the adjoining countries of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. The region has been caught up in recent years in human battles that have not only taken a severe toll on people but have continuously threatened the mountain gorillas and other rare species living there.
Composed primarily of savanna, lakes, swamps and flood plains, the Tarangire-Manyara Heartland includes Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks, the Marang Forest, a large area of the Masai Steppe and small urban areas. Much of the land outside the parks is used for ranching or agriculture. It is in this Heartland that Tanzania National Parks and AWF pioneered community conservation, encouraging park authorities and local people to address wildlife issues together.