On Wednesday, January 10, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) received a property that will help increase the size of Africa’s oldest park – Volcanoes National Park. Established in 1925, the park is home to mountain gorillas, the world’s most endangered ape, and is situated in the north of Rwanda bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) commends China for the implementation of the domestic ivory ban. China has made good on the commitment it made to the African Union and the African States during the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit to work with Africa in curbing elephant poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products.
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is tentatively encouraged by developments over the weekend regarding the importation of elephant and lion hunting trophies. President Trump’s statements show that he is listening to the public outcry on this issue. We await President Trump’s final decision, which he indicated would be announced this week.
In a Tweet the evening of November 17th, U.S. President Donald Trump appears to have bowed to pressure from the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and the global conservation community, stating: “Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke.”
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) confirmed that it intends to lift the ban on importation of elephant and lion trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe. While the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) acknowledges that well-managed hunting can play a role in financing conservation, we are opposed to the hunting of elephants, lions, and rhinos due to the ongoing poaching crisis and plummeting population numbers. Africa’s elephant population has declined by 30 percent in seven years, and according to the IUCN Red List there could be as few as 20,000 lions.