What we do saves more than just Africa's wildlife

Wildlife Conservation

Protecting an astounding diversity of species. (Humans included.)

Africa is home to keystone wildlife species that are facing extinction, 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.

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Challenges

The survival of Africa’s 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 iconic 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.

Photo of traditional ivory carvings before historic ivory burn to stop illegal trade in wildlife products

Solutions

Our strategies to secure Africa's wildlife and wild lands are hands-on, up close, and personal.

Here are some of the ways the African Wildlife Foundation provides solutions that balance the needs of people and wildlife:

  • Equipping wildlife rangers, deploying sniffer dogs, and training law enforcement officers to stop wildlife crime.

    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.

  • Enabling conservation-friendly community empowerment.

    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.

  • Building conservation partnerships and spreading awareness across the continent — and the world.

    Not only do we nurture relationships with rural community leaders, 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 conservation 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.

  • Applying research to our conservation strategies.

    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 informs our conservation strategies so even remote landscapes are protected.

Projects

Our conservation solutions are helping wildlife thrive. These are just some of the projects threatened species benefit from:

  • Congo Shipping Project Charly Facheux
    Congo Shipping Project
    Growing the DRC's agricultural options

    Civil war has led to poverty and environmental degradation. 

    Following years of social turmoil and civil war, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was left without a...

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  • Bili-Uele Chimp Survey Cleve Hicks
    Bili-Uele Chimp Survey
    Protecting chimps in the Democratic Republic of Congo

    Humans remain a threat to chimps.

    The 60,000-square-kilometer Bili-Uélé Domaine de Chasse is the largest protected area in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and...

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  • Kitengela Mayu Mishina
    Kitengela Land Conservation
    Protecting habitat and communities near Kenya’s capital

    Human expansion is threatening wildlife outside of Nairobi, Kenya.

    For many years, local Maasai communities, their livestock, and wildlife comfortably shared the open...

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  • View of the mountains from Bale Mountain Lodge
    Bale Mountain Lodge
    Setting national standards for wildlife tourism

    Endemic species are under threat.

    Bale Mountains National Park, part of Ethiopia’s signature highlands, is...

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  • Bwindi Census Anna Behm Masozera IGCP
    Bwindi Mountain Gorilla Census
    Cataloging the critically endangered mountain gorilla

    Accurate population numbers are needed for gorilla conservation. 

    The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is home to approximately half of the world’s remaining...

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Get Involved

Become a member

Join African Wildlife Foundation as a member for just $25. Your partnership is vital to our mission to protect Africa’s most precious - and imperiled - creatures.

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