African Wildlife Foundation Launches Virtual Safaris This Month To Help With The Loss That Tourism In Africa Is Suffering Due To The Pandemic

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has been closely monitoring the difficult situation for safari operators in Africa since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic when travel bans and government closures began impacting protected areas and local communities on the front lines of wildlife conservation.

In April, AWF convened a meeting of 12 CEOs of leading safari companies operating in Africa to update the impact that COVID-19 was having on their core business operations, as well as the threats to wildlife conservation areas. The goal was to determine the best ways for organizations, like AWF, to assist the tourism industry in order to help keep wildlife protected and communities afloat that rely on tourism.

An overarching concern during the pandemic is that people in wildlife communities, who typically gain from tourism dollars, will loosen their commitment to conservation behaviors as they seek alternatives to provide for their families, and that three decades of conservation progress may now be threatened.

“During our process of identifying how to assist our partners in the safari industry, we recognized the opportunity to share the information with donors through virtual safaris,” said AWF Safari Program Manager Carter Smith in a statement. “Many tourists have been introduced to the concept of virtual safaris, to experience wild animals and wildlands from the comfort of an arm chair. Our blue print was to reverse-engineer events to help both the safari-goers, who are grounded from international travel, and the communities in Africa on the front lines of wildlife conservation.”

The virtual safaris need to give participants an insider’s view into the wildlife conservation work on the ground, and introduce them to the heroes who are working tirelessly to defend Africa’s wildlife and wildlands. By pivoting to virtual safaris, wildlife tourists have a chance to hear stories of perseverance, develop meaningful connections, and learn how they can support the communities and field programs protecting wildlife directly.

AWF is engaging its donors through virtual safari offerings and tangible takeaways as to how their donations support wildlife and livelihoods. The virtual safari-goers can go on a wildlife drive and chat with their guide or meet a ranger on patrol with one of their sniffer dogs. This is an enriching cultural experience, which is also informative and entertaining.

“We are designing virtual safari series around our 2021 safari portfolio to showcase our group safaris that will launch in October. Our guests will be transported to safaris in Uganda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. There will be local guides on each safari, as well as our Country Directors to speak about the programmatic and emergency response work we are doing in each country,” concluded Smith.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

More on this topic

Popular stories

WAN’s South African Correspondent Delves Deep Into The Many Serious Life & Death Issues Wild Animals Face In Zoos

The zoo has always been a fascinating place for kids and adults alike, but all is not as it seems behind the curtain of...

Alley Cat Allies Calls On The Australian Government To Stop Their Plan Of Killing Two Million Cats By 2020; Sign Petition!

Alley Cat Allies calls on the Australian government to end its war on cats, through which it has empowered countless vigilantes to slaughter cats...

Breaking! High Fashion Brand Valentino To Go Fur-Free By 2022 & Will Also Be Closing Down Their Fur Subsidiary, Valentino Polar

Iconic Italian fashion designer Valentino is the latest major fashion house to eliminate fur from its collections. The company will phase out fur by the...