Yao Ming Stands Tall for Rhinos

Taking advantage of retired NBA star Yao Ming’s incredible worldwide popularity—and in recognition of World Rhino Day on September 22—AWF and partner WildAid kicked off a multimedia public awareness campaign against rhino poaching with a billboard ad featuring the Chinese former basketball player. The campaign will raise awareness of the effects of poaching and aims to curb demand for rhino horn—especially in China, one of the main importers of illegal rhino horn. During our emergency Rhino Summit this spring, stakeholders identified the need to reduce demand of rhino horn as a key step in ending poaching in Africa.

Curious About Carnivore Counts?

The numbers are in! AWF scientists are still analyzing the data, but initial results from a landmark cross-border carnivore census in our Kilimanjaro Heartland—conducted with Kenya Wildlife Service and the Tanzanian National Parks Authority—indicate that hyenas pose the biggest threat to the region’s pastoralists. (Wild dogs and leopards, in contrast, are the rarest carnivores in the ecosystem.) Though research shows that drought accounts for the highest number of livestock loss, census results will help AWF develop strategies to reduce livestock losses due to predation. The census will also serve as a baseline to establish a long-term carnivore-monitoring program in the ecosystem.

// Check out the new AWF/WildAid video

// See our carnivore photo gallery on Facebook

‘An Epic Elephant Slaughter’

AWF Remembers Founder

Travel the Serengeti with AWF

AWF Trivia

Elephant poaching has escalated in the past year. As the New York Times recently reported, “Africa is in the midst of an epic elephant slaughter.” The ivory trade has entered an era of organized crime, much like Sierra Leone’s infamous blood diamonds. AWF continues to support community scouts, who are often on the front lines in the fight against poachers—but given the scale of the problem, we’ve also identified a number of regions where we hope to soon increase our elephant work.

AWF remembers environmental visionary and AWF co-founder Russell E. Train, who died September 17 at the age of 92. Train, who later served as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, founded AWF in 1961 to build the capacity of Africans to steward their own natural resources and served as AWF president until 1969. Under his leadership, AWF helped found the College of African Wildlife Management, which today is a leader in wildlife management training in Africa. 

February is an exciting time to be in the Serengeti, at the height of the wildebeest calving and zebra foaling season. AWF’s initial members-only safari offering to the Serengeti has already sold out—but due to overwhelming popular demand, we’ve added another trip! This AWF safari takes place Feb. 8–19, 2013, and will include time with our lion researcher and a visit to AWF’s flagship conservation projects in our Maasai Steppe Heartland. All AWF safaris are led by a knowledgeable AWF guide.

Leopards have unique spot patterns on their flanks and face. But even on a single animal, patterns are different on each flank. If a camera trap photographs a single leopard, but captures one flank the first time and the other later, scientists can’t determine if it’s the same individual, increasing chances of overcounting. What, then, is the best solution for estimating a leopard population, as AWF is doing in our Limpopo Heartland? First person with the correct answer wins a fleece AWF blanket!

// Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for continued updates

// Read about Train's contributions to conservation

// Sign up for the safari today!

// Answer on Facebook

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Please visit www.awf.org to learn more.

© Photo Credits:AWF/WildAid, Billy Dodson, Craig R. Sholley, Manyara Ranch Conservancy, AWF