Springing from Dja Faunal Reserve’s dense rainforest, Bouamir is one of the largest and most iconic outcrops in this 5,260 sq. kilometer protected area in southern Cameroon. It is also home to the landscape’s great apes, so when a baby chimpanzee was discovered alone in an abandoned house in the nearby village of Nemeyong she was named after the great rock Bouamir as a symbol of her resilience.
The population of the world’s tallest land mammal is shrinking. Over the last three decades, giraffe numbers have dropped 38 percent — from 157,000 in 1985 to an estimated 97,500 in 2015. This decline led the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2016 to heighten giraffes’ conservation status from “least concern” to “vulnerable.” More recently, IUCN uplisted multiple giraffe subspecies even further: The Kordofan and Nubian giraffes, who together have around 4,500 mature adults, are now classified as critically endangered, while the reticulated giraffe is classified as endangered.
The Virunga Massif is a vestige of Central Africa’s tropical biodiversity but myriad threats are placing the region’s critical ecosystems and species at risk. Spanning Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park, the massif is home to the endangered mountain gorilla, one of the world’s largest and most threatened primates. Though their habitats are protected within national parks, these great apes have historically been killed by poachers, threatened with human encroachment into protected forests, and have been threatened as civil strife uprooted the dynamics of its landscapes. In the early 1980s, mountain gorilla numbers in the Virunga Massif area (not including the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest populations) were as few as 230 individuals.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (or CITES) is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from August 17-28, 2019. African Wildlife Foundation’s Vice President, Species Conservation and Science Dr. Philip Muruthi has attended every meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES since 1997. He explains why bringing together wildlife range States, wildlife conservation organizations, and community groups from across the world is so important for the sustainable conservation of Africa’s wildlife species.
In the last decade, international wildlife trade records have traced new routes and demand centers for lion commodities. Export data shows a shift in how the iconic big cat species move across the globe — hunting trophies, once the principal lion export, are not the only lion product leaving range states in Africa. Lion skeletons, bodies, and bones are increasingly reaching countries in Southeast Asia, where lion bone items have never been used before.