Lion populations once stood at over 100,000 but have dwindled to less than 25,000. African Wildlife Foundation protects large carnivores and the communities that live near them.
Already vulnerable to a number of natural predators, the kudu now faces loss of habitat due to habitat destruction and poaching. When you support African Wildlife Foundation, you support local communities’ efforts to protect wildlife habitats.
The hippo has two habitat requirements: waters deep enough to cover them entirely — their thin epidermis and lack of sweat glands expose them to rapid dehydration out of water — and nearby grasslands where they can graze. With the rising demand and competition for water resources, plus land conversions to provide space for infrastructure development, human settlements, and intensification of agriculture, the hippo is in a very vulnerable position.
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.
The shutdown of ivory sales on Rakuten-Ichiba, one of Japan’s largest e-commerce platforms, in August 2017 blazed a trail for other online shopping sites selling and auctioning ivory. Some mall retailers even revised their policies to close shops trading ivory, but few online shopping sites have taken the same path as Rakuten — most notably Yahoo! Japan.
In 1900, cheetahs thrived across Africa and parts of Asia. Today, that picture is vastly different. Africa’s cheetahs occupy a thin slice of their former habitat and number only 6,674. This vulnerable big cat has lost 89 percent of its historic range — and the remaining habitat falls outside of protected areas. The reasons for the crisis include human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss and fragmentation, loss of prey, and a lesser-known threat: the underground pet trade.
Wild lands across Africa are home to rare, threatened, and endangered species of immense value to conservation, contributing to the common heritage of humanity. Recognizing their extraordinary value and to preserve their ecological wealth for future generations, some of these gems of biodiversity are conferred with World Heritage Site status. However, a robust international trade in illegal wildlife parts is decimating keystone wildlife populations while rapid industrialization and climate change are negatively impacting the ecological integrity of these crucial landscapes.
Almost 200,000 lions roamed Africa one century ago, but recent studies show that the species is extinct in 26 countries across the continent and occupies a fraction of its historical rangeland. With lion populations plummeting by a staggering 43 percent in just the last two decades, the King of the Jungle is now a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List.
Across the continent, national parks, reserves, and conservation areas have access to a meager total of US $381 million per year to safeguard lions and other wildlife. A landmark analysis of 282 protected areas with lion populations pegs annual resource needs at a minimum of US $1000 - US $2000 per square kilometer. The financial deficit facing Africa’s protected estate is staggering and urgent — wildlife management authorities require approximately US $1.2 to $2.4 billion to adequately secure lions.
The energy, food and financial needs of our species pit us against various flora and fauna in our complex ecosystems. But human encroachment on habitats and migration routes is not the only way we are facing off with wildlife. Humans are also actively wiping out iconic species like the elephant, lion, and rhino by turning them into commodities.