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.
In this Heartland, on the vast expanses of the Laikipia plateau in north central Kenya, a great diversity of wildlife thrive in the semidesert conditions. The pastoral Samburu people herd their goats, sheep, cattle and camels in the shadow of Mt. Kenya, a crucial source of water for humans and animals alike.
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.
The African Wildlife Foundation ended the 20th century by ushering in sweeping changes that will transform the way wildlife and the wilderness are protected in Africa in the next century. The most far-reaching change is AWF's expansion of its focus to larger, biologically rich landscapes, where wildlife and people coexist. We call these regions African Heartlands.