Summit Calls to End Rhino Slaughter

Africa’s rhinos are nearing extinction, with over 1,000 poached in the past three years. This year has already seen 210 poached in South Africa alone (as of last week). Rhino horn is coveted by some Asian countries as a “miracle” cure for various diseases, a myth that has led to devastating losses in Africa’s rhino population. Recently, AWF and Kenya Wildlife Service convened a Rhino Summit to develop hard-hitting solutions for the rhino. It was the first gathering of stakeholders from Africa’s key rhino range states, and the first involving wildlife authorities, private reserves, and nongovernmental organizations. Stay tuned for more on what we will do to save the rhino.

Fool's Day Surprise on Poachers

Wildlife poaching incidents rarely come with good news, but AWF recently enjoyed an anti-poaching success story in our Kazungula Heartland. Throughout March, the community scouts trained and supported by AWF in the Sekute Conservation Area had been monitoring the movement of suspected elephant poachers in the Sekute Chiefdom. They gathered enough information to inform Zambia Wildlife Authority of the poachers' location, leading to the April 1 arrest of several poachers. The ivory of more than 20 elephants from Botswana and Zimbabwe was also recovered during the sting, showing just how vital community participation is in species conservation.

// Do your part to help the rhino, and donate!

// Learn more about the Sekute Conservation Area

Lion Ambassadors

Where Livestock and Agriculture Intersect

Letting Communities Drive Development

AWF Trivia

Africa's lion population has declined by up to 50 percent in the past two decades, largely due to habitat loss and human conflict. In the Samburu Heartland, AWF helps support Ewaso Lions, a lion research and conservation project headed by former Charlotte Fellow Shivani Bhalla. Ewaso Lions works with local communities to mitigate human-lion conflict; it will soon launch the Wazee Watch program ("Wazee" means "elder" in Swahili), where elders will be recruited to work as community ambassadors for lion conservation.

Many in West Africa depend on livestock and agriculture for their livelihoods. AWF, with support from the African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources, is working with communities in our Regional Parc W Heartland to adopt better livestock and cropland management practices. Among other initiatives, AWF is assisting pastoralists and farmers to implement grazing planning for pastures to improve soil health and ecosystem diversity, and lessen dependence on chemicals to improve cropland fertility.

To catch a glimpse of the endangered mountain gorilla, tourists are paying top dollar to stay at Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, a community-private collaboration fostered by AWF partner the International Gorilla Conservation Program. Ownership of the lodge puts the local Nkuringo community in the "driver's seat" of their development and conservation needs; the community decides what lodge revenues will be used for. In 2011, the US$42,000 from the lodge funded teacher housing and a health center.

One reason Africa's rhinos have had trouble recovering from staggering poaching rates is the species' extremely slow reproduction rate. While some species produce multiple young at one time and experience gestation numerous times throughout their lifetime, the rhino does things a bit… slower. How long does a black female rhino carry a calf, and what is the average time between gestation periods? The first person to answer correctly on our Facebook page will receive a rhino plush and AWF fleece blanket!

// Read about the Ewaso Lions Project

// See wildlife that share land with people in West Africa

// Learn more about Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

// Answer on Facebook

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© Photo Credits: Paul Thomson, Jones Masonde, Billy Dodson, Daniel Cornelis, James Kemsey, Singita Game Reserve