I first met Lisa two years ago, at the Lupani Community School in Zambia. A shy, intelligent fifth grader, she was working hard to keep up with her studies. Now, in grade 7, Lisa has just won first prize in a district-level social studies competition and is traveling to the provincial capital to represent her district at the regional level.
As AWF Trustee Myma Belo-Osagie wrote in her International Women’s Day blog post at the beginning of the month, women in Africa must step up and engage in conservation on the continent. Without their involvement on today’s most pressing matters—such as sustainable development and economic growth, and how conservation fits into these contexts—she argues that Africa risks being left behind the rest of the world.
When, on Dec. 30, 2016, the Chinese government made public that it would halt its legal domestic ivory trade by the end of the coming year, it immediately attracted the attention of conservationists and the global media alike. As AWF and other conservation groups see it, the single announcement has the potential to completely upend the illegal wildlife trade.
While poaching often receives more attention in the news, habitat destruction represents a more serious, persistent threat to wildlife. Species from elephants to egrets need adequate space and healthy land to thrive.
Some might argue that being on the front lines of today’s poaching crisis is a man’s game—far too dangerous for “the fairer sex.” But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. At all levels, women are occupying—and pioneering—critical roles in the fight against wildlife crime.