• Spread the word

Where Africa's Wildlife Stands After 2016

  • Thursday, January 26, 2017
  • Nairobi, Kenya
Elephants on the savanna

How is Africa’s wildlife faring? Last year there were a number of significant actions taken on behalf of, and new data released about, many of Africa’s iconic species. What follows is a brief summary of these developments.


Only an estimated 415,000 elephants remain, the IUCN announced last year through its “African Elephant Status Report.” The report combines data from a variety of sources, including the Great Elephant Census and numbers provided by AWF.


In September, the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) upheld the international ban on rhino horn trade—a welcome move, with only an estimated 20,000 white rhinos and 5,000 black rhinos remaining on the continent.

Great apes

While they may not have received as much press in 2016, the survival of Africa’s great apes remains tenuous. IUCN moved the Eastern gorilla from an “endangered” designation to “critically endangered.” All four of Africa’s great ape species are either endangered or critically endangered.


With as few as 20,000 lions remaining in Africa, hopes were high that CITES would vote in favor of listing the lion in Appendix I. Unfortunately, the parties could not agree on this proposal, and instead compromised by banning the international trade in lion bones, claws and teeth.


A new study found that as few as 7,100 cheetahs remain in the wild, with these big cats being driven out of 91 percent of their historical range. 


The IUCN changed the conservation status of Africa’s giraffe from “least concern” to “vulnerable,” after evidence of an astonishing 40 percent decline in their population over just three decades. Current estimates indicate that less than 100,000 giraffes remain in the wild.


The pangolin remains the most trafficked mammal in the world. Encouragingly, CITES voted in 2016 to place all pangolin species in Appendix I, recognizing their future as threatened by extinction

Learn more about the wide variety of species AWF works to protect

  • Spread the word
An African pangolin in the savannah
Scale Back the Trafficking

Demand for their scales is pushing pangolins to extinction. Protect them by sending a message to China's FDA.

> Add your name

General Inquiries

1100 New Jersey Ave SE, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20003, USA

Media Inquiries

General Media Inquiries

Denis Galava
Director, Media Relations & Advocacy
Tel +254 720 947612

United States, Europe
Christine Maxfield
Media Relations Manager
Tel +1 202 991 7501

Grace Wairima
Tel +254 722 890551

Additional Information