The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) will invest $25 million over the next four years to support efforts by African governments and local communities to protect wildlife and wild lands on the continent.
Making the pledge last month at the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) conference in London, AWF President Kaddu Sebunya said poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products poses an acute threat to Africa’s rich heritage of natural wealth that is critical to the continent’s development prospects.
“We are seeing recovery and stabilization of some critical wildlife populations. We know what is working and it’s time to scale up the investment to combat this serious threat,” said Kaddu in a statement.
Soaring demand for illegal wildlife products is emptying forests and savannahs of key species, undermining efforts to put in place good governance and sustainable development. The London conference is a good starting point for strengthening partnerships across borders to collectively combat the illegal wildlife trade.
The money pledged by AWF will be used to support programs implementing the priorities coming out of the 2018 conference. This includes:
Building African leadership and ownership of the IWT agenda on the continent.
Protecting habitats and key populations of rhinos, elephants, great apes, large carnivores and giraffes.
Enhancing detection of wildlife crimes, and strengthening prosecutorial and judiciary capacity to put perpetrators behind bars where they belong.