Despite a unanimous vote granting all eight species of the African and Asian pangolin the highest possible protection against illegal trading in late 2016, this scaly animal still bears the unfortunate record as the world’s most illegally trafficked mammal.
As more countries recognize wildlife poaching and trafficking as serious crimes run by organized syndicates, they turn to the legal system to protect wildlife. Not only is legislation being strengthened across eastern Africa, but the capacity of law enforcement officers, investigators, and prosecutors is also strategically enhanced.
A vital home for critically endangered great apes, the Dja Faunal Reserve benefits from a community-centered conservation strategy as development stems an upswing in human activity around the protected area and buffer zones.
Following years of social turmoil and civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, people living along the banks of the Congo and Maringa Rivers had few economic opportunities. When African Wildlife Foundation began working in the Lomako landscape in 2003, the organization prioritized local livelihood improvement via sustainable agriculture production as a critical necessity for conservation.
Not only are carnivores critical to the long-term viability of ecosystems, their presence is also a strong indicator of healthy prey populations. As they face a combination of threats — retaliatory killings by livestock keepers, declining prey base, habitat decline and human conflict — conserving ecologically viable and functional populations of large carnivores in their natural habitats is paramount but challenging.