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.
Driven by international poaching syndicates as well as local bush meat hunters, the illegal killing, trading, and trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products keep African species at risk. Learn from Didi Wamukoya, African Wildlife Foundation’s Senior Manager, Wildlife Law Enforcement, why the continent needs watertight investigative, prosecutorial, and judicial processes — coordinated across regions — to adequately protect its wildlife.
Humanity’s remarkable ability to self-destruct is one of the most inexplicable yet enduring paradoxes of life. We are perhaps the only species endowed with the capacity to understand nature yet so desperately poor at managing it.
Though rooted in the ancient traditions of hunters and gatherers, CyberTracker has changed the face of conservation science. The field data collection tool is free, open-source, and compatible with an accessible and powerful software to manage law enforcement monitoring data — the Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool (or SMART). Equipping wildlife management personnel with these tools is at the center of African Wildlife Foundation’s strategy to improve protected area management and sharpen conservation planning — here is why.
Africa’s wildlife-rich ecosystems extend outside of protected areas. Similarly, the socioeconomic and cultural conditions driving species loss in these expansive landscapes are not easily contained. To expand protections for these ecosystems, the U. N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization upgrades their status to biosphere reserves.
Nature photographer Billy Dodson, who has been donating images to African Wildlife Foundation for years, has compiled his stunning wildlife and landscape images into a new book. From Desert to Desert: A Journey Through the Heart of Southern Africa is a personal memoir and photographic study of six distinct countries and regions in sub-Saharan Africa: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Zambezi River Valley, and Namibia. AWF sincerely appreciates that Billy is donating proceeds from the sale of the book to support our work. Read AWF’s Q&A with Dodson.
There are about 25,000 rhinos in all of Africa today. This number becomes more meaningful — and painful — when you consider rhinos’ former strength on the continent. Black rhinos once numbered in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps up to 850,000, while southern white rhinos were widespread in their range south of the Zambezi river.
People often ask why a conservation organization builds schools. For me, it’s an easy answer. Education is one of the primary ways to develop consciousness about how our actions impact the environment — both locally and globally. It is one of the most important means of empowering youth, engaging communities, fostering concern for wildlife and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources.
Botswana’s Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act (or the Wildlife Act) enforces the protection of wild species and natural habitats, with a particular focus on keystone species slaughtered for the illegal trade in wildlife products. Offenses against rhinos attract both the highest fine — BWP 100,000 ($ 10,000) — as well as the longest prison term of 15 years. Other offenses involving the illegal killing of wildlife, hunting without permits, trade in wildlife and wildlife products, and dealing in wildlife trophies carry high prison terms ranging from five to 10 years.
Botswana is indeed one of the success stories in wildlife conservation on the continent. It has the largest population of elephants in Africa with about 200,000 individuals. To protect this large herd, along with other iconic wildlife species, the government has put in place strong measures to protect wildlife against criminal threats such as poaching and trafficking. As African Wildlife Foundation’s Wildlife Law Enforcement team prepares for the Wildlife Judicial and Prosecutorial Assistance Training in Botswana from June 5-7, 2018, we recognize the strides that the southern African country has made to protect its wildlife. For example, the Botswana Defence Forces are committed to protecting wildlife and fighting poaching in protected areas.