Protecting an astounding diversity of species. (Humans included.)
Africa is home to some of the world's most endangered species, including the mountain gorilla, Grevy’s zebra, and Ethiopian wolf. To protect populations from further decline, our on-the-ground safeguards involve training rangers and using sniffer dogs to stop wildlife traffickers. Wildlife must survive in their natural habitats, so we empower local communities through conservation-friendly development and work with international agencies to protect Africa’s natural resources.
Critical to protecting these vital ecosystems are people. Sharing land across the continent, local communities and wildlife often live alongside each other, leading to struggles for space and water. If people and wildlife learn to live together — inside and outside of protected areas — the future for all will thrive.
The survival of Africa’s endangered species and other wildlife depends on its relationship with people.
Whether it is humans poaching wildlife or wildlife attacking people’s livestock, the problem cuts both ways: the needs of people and wildlife are not in harmony. As human populations grow with the development of industry and infrastructure, our programs balance multiple priorities to mitigate the threats facing endangered species and historic wildlife habitats.
The illegal wildlife trade grows increasingly sophisticated.
Anti-poaching initiatives to stop the slaughter of wildlife within Africa’s protected areas have saved some species from further decline. However, to destabilize the international trade that has decimated populations over the last few decades, we need to combat wildlife trafficking and strengthen the prosecution of wildlife crimes in strategic wildlife crime hotspots. Meanwhile, in demand centers where ivory is carved while rhino horn and pangolin scales are wanted as traditional medicine, many consumers are unaware that the products are ineffective and in fact destroying Africa’s valuable ecosystems.
Providing wildlife rangers with anti-poaching equipment and training prevents the killing of wildlife in protected areas, but to disrupt illegal wildlife trade we deploy trained Canine Detection Units along trafficking channels to intercept wildlife contraband. Located at major seaports and airports in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Mozambique, the robust sniffer dog and handler teams stop illegal wildlife products such as ivory, rhino horn, pangolin scales — as well as the smugglers and poachers behind the killing. With additional training in the enforcement of wildlife laws, national agencies ensure these criminals are prosecuted without slipping through legal loopholes.
We understand specific community needs and work closely with members to make sure they get direct benefits from conserving wildlife and protecting natural habitat. While our education outreach programs help locals to reduce human-wildlife conflict, we also implement projects that create a positive impact for the entire community. AWF has helped communities lease their land to develop conservancies or wildlife management areas. We also help farming communities explore sustainable agriculture, growing their income and reducing pressure on living and natural resources.
Not only do we nurture relationships with rural community leaders, but we also represent Africa’s wildlife and wild lands as the continent strives to meet sustainable development goals. We are working closely with the African Union to ensure that wildlife conservation and biodiversity is central to progress over the next few decades. Outside the continent, we have launched successful public awareness campaigns in China and Vietnam informing consumers about the brutal truths behind the global wildlife trade. We also advocate for governments and protection agencies to ban international trade in wildlife parts like ivory and introduce stiffer penalties for criminals.
We match our decades worth of experience on the ground with pioneering scientific research to add a new dimension to our work across the continent. GPS collars on priority populations of elephants help us identify which land must be conserved while radio collars on lions allow us to track population trends, seasonal movement patterns, and mortality. Incisive geographical information systems and mapping inform our conservation strategies so even remote landscapes are protected.
South Africa is one of the world’s most diverse countries.
The Republic of South Africa is in the southernmost region of the continent. Its long coastline stretches along the South Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean for more than 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles). While its coastline is lush, the rest of its geography is vast, flat, sparsely populated, and dry. More than 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) south of the mainland lie the Prince Edward Islands, a small sub-Antarctic archipelago.
Copper isn’t Zambia’s only rich natural resource.
The Republic of Zambia is located in Southern Africa. Its name comes from the Zambezi river, which flows through parts of the country and also forms its southern border. Zambia has a tropical climate, high plateaus, broad plains, and river valleys.
In Kenya, conservation is a cornerstone of the economy.
Kenya is a country of diverse, rich habitat. The humid broadleaf forests along the coast of the Indian Ocean give way to lush grasslands and savannas. The Kenya Lake System of the geologically dramatic Great Rift Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And, Mount Kenya — the nation’s namesake — is the second-tallest mountain on the continent.
Zimbabwe is facing food and water insecurity.
Officially called the Republic of Zimbabwe, this Southern African country is located between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. Home to 350 species of mammals, more than 500 birds, and 131 fish species, Zimbabwe is mostly grassland, but its mountains give way to tropical and hardwood forests. Zimbabwe supports the second largest population of elephants, important and growing populations of lion and wild dogs, and was once the agricultural breadbasket in Africa.