Community Conservation

Building better ranger forces for wildlife conservation

Consider the African wildlife ranger’s job — the long periods away from family and home, low pay, challenging physical conditions, and significant risk of armed confrontations. In 2018, more than 50 African rangers died in the line of duty, killed by poachers, elephant attacks, snakebites, and a myriad of other causes. The International Ranger Federation’s annually released roster of fatalities paints only a sliver of the picture, omitting the many rangers who suffered severe injuries during the year.

Celebrating Zimbabwe’s community wildlife scouts on World Ranger Day

Wildlife in Zimbabwe roams outside protected areas, crossing communal areas as populations migrate across the country’s rich natural landscapes. In Zimbabwe’s northern district of Mbire, situated in the Mid-Zambezi Valley and bordering Mozambique and Zambia, the increased interface between people and wildlife raises various risks for communities, wildlife populations, and entire ecosystems.

Rafiki: Slain silverback is the hero of mountain gorilla tourism in Uganda

As the leader of the Nkuringo mountain gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Rafiki was the gentle giant who protected his family of 17. He was speared and killed in an act of self-defense after accosting four poachers. They were in the park illegally to hunt bush pig, according to the official statement released on June 12, 2020 by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

A conservationist helps DRC’s forest communities fight COVID-19

For Dodo Tshidinda, a typical day at work looks nothing like what you might expect. Traversing hundreds of kilometers on a motorcycle deep in the Congo Basin rainforest is par for the course for Dodo, African Wildlife Foundation’s Program Officer in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So are days with no internet connectivity or phone signal.

As most of the world currently works from home and shelters in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, 36-year-old Dodo has not slowed down but redoubled his efforts in service to his community.

Wildlife and communities flourish on Kenya’s Olderkesi Conservancy

Developing: As I was writing about the incredible community conservation program at Olderkesi, the COVID-19 crisis was just developing. Now, as I finish this piece, unfortunately, much of the work outlined here is in great threat as tourism comes to a grinding halt in the wake of the pandemic. Cottar’s Safaris find themselves in the same position as most safari outfits. Tourism revenues have plummeted, threatening the wildlife living on this critical conservancy in the Mara and the livelihoods of the Maasai families who work at — and receive economic benefits from — the lodges.

Blazing a trail for woman-led wildlife conservation in rural Zimbabwe

For the first time ever, women will join the forty-plus team of community scouts patrolling Mbire district in Zimbabwe’s wildlife-rich Lower Zambezi Valley. For Country Director Olivia Mufute, who leads African Wildlife Foundation’s community conservation and wildlife protection programs in Zimbabwe, adding female scouts to the force is not a minor achievement. In fact, it marks the beginning for the country's rural women striving to create a new future by taking up active roles in biodiversity protection.

Women-led enterprises are driving sustainable forest management in DRC

The dense tropical rainforests of Maringa-Lopori-Wamba — a biodiversity hotspot in the Congo River Basin and critical habitat for endangered bonobos — are also a valuable income-generating resource for communities. Displaced by years of political instability, people settled in the remote landscape are some of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s poorest. To scrape a living, locals clear small sections to expand their farms or cut trees to make charcoal and sell firewood. Some even resort to hunting as the illicit trade of bush meat grows.

Protecting forests by working with the people who live near them

Photo of rural settlement structures in forested areas near Lake Natron in Tanzania
    

Forest loss and degradation take various forms across the continent’s landscapes. Industrial logging, mining, and agriculture consume forests to meet the development goals of growing economies. They contribute to climate change and further degrade the forest’s health, resilience, and the services they provide.