The African Wildlife Foundation recently helped launch another first in Africa. In keeping with its longstanding commitment to train African conservationists, AWF helped create a new distance-learning program in which students can earn a master's degree in protected-area and community conservation without leaving home or work.
The discovery that a presumably ordinary lion rescued from a bankrupt traveling circus is in fact a rare, black-maned Barbary lion has caught scientists at South Africa's Hoedspruit Research and Breeding Center for Endangered Species by surprise, according to a report in the newspaper East African.
The Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) was once common across the whole of North Africa. The male differs from its cousin, the African lion, by the unusually long, full black mane that runs the length of the body.
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:
AWF has named four Charlotte Conservation Fellows for 1999--2000. The fellows program was founded in 1996 in memory of Charlotte Kidder Ramsay, an AWF supporter who believed deeply in encouraging young African professionals to work in conservation. This year's Charlotte Fellows include:
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).