Wildlife Conservation | African Wildlife Foundation

What we do saves more than just Africa's wildlife

Wildlife Conservation

Protecting an astounding diversity of species. (Humans included.)

Africa is home to certain species that are facing extinction, including mountain gorillas and Grevy’s zebras. By putting safeguards in place like training rangers, using sniffer dogs, and empowering communities, we’re helping to ensure all of Africa’s wildlife survives.

Critical to protecting Africa’s wildlife are the local people. Sharing the land, often alongside each other, can lead to struggles for resources and deforestation. If people and wildlife learn to live together—inside and outside of protected areas—the future for all will thrive.

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The survival of Africa’s wildlife depends on its relationship with people.

Whether it’s humans poaching wildlife or wildlife attacking people’s livestock, it’s a problem that cuts both ways: one of the biggest challenges is reducing conflict between people and wildlife. Our programs can, and must, serve both.



Our solution to the wildlife conservation crisis is hands-on, up close, and personal.

Here are some of the ways the African Wildlife Foundation provides solutions that balance the needs of people and wildlife:

  • Using sniffer dogs to help prevent poaching.

    By providing funding to organizations like Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), sniffer dogs are trained to detect illegal animal products such as ivory and rhino horns. In some cases, sniffer dogs are also used to locate poachers.

  • Creating community conservancies.

    Working directly with communities—and making sure members get direct benefits from conservation efforts—creates a positive impact for all. For example, in Zambia, elephants and other wildlife roam freely outside of protected areas, but development was threatening these historic wildlife habitats. At the same time, communities were having a hard  and sometimes attack livestock belonging to pastoralists. AWF has helped communities create conservancies or wildlife management areas where locals agree to protect the natural resources

  • Implementing community projects that benefit both people and wildlife.

    With a better understanding of specific community needs, we are implementing projects like rainwater tanks, which are deterring people from going into forests to collect water and causing deforestation. 

  • Applying research to all AWF work.

    We are putting our research to the test in all of our work. Some efforts include putting GPS collars on elephants in northern Tanzania so we can identify which land must be conserved. We also attach radio collars to lions in order to track population trends, seasonal movement patterns, and mortality.


Many of our conservation solutions have helped wildlife thrive, big and small. These are just some of the projects threatened species benefit from.

  • Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
    International tourism put to work for mountain gorillas

    Mountain gorillas are in danger of extinction.

    In the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda, tourists pay top dollar for the privilege of tracking mountain gorillas. Mountain...

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  • Ilima Primary School
    Going beyond the building to provide a holistic education in DRC

    In a remote part of rural DRC, AWF built a different kind of primary school.

    When AWF arrived in Ilima, the local school was a ramshackle building that failed to serve the...

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  • Iyondji Community Bonobo Reserve
    A new community reserve for the endangered bonobo

    Bonobos in danger. 

    One of the greatest threats to wildlife in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is loss of habitat due to land conversion, human encroachment,...

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  • Ngoma Lodge
    Incentivizing conservation through ecotourism

    A national park too small to house African wildlife.

    Chobe National Park in Northern Botswana is densely populated by wildlife and boasts a large elephant population...

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  • Save Valley Rhino Conservancy
    Protecting rhino populations in Zimbabwe

    Zimbabwe’s rhinos are disappearing fast. 

    Zimbabwe’s current population of rhinos is estimated at approximately 430 black rhinos and 290 white rhinos. In the past...

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