Africa is full of biodiversity and gorgeous wildlife that is in dire need of protection. Thankfully, there are many organisations dedicated to the research and implementation of conservation projects, allowing the populations of endangered animals to increase steadily. Here are a few great projects we’ve pinpointed from around Southern Africa…
Wildlife ACT, South Africa.
Their mission is to help save the country’s endangered wildlife and habitats from extinction through various projects. Johan Maree, Chris Kelly and Dr Simon Morgan are three individuals determined to help conserve wildlife. They’ve been ensuring sustainable, long-term monitoring and conservation projects since 2008.
Photo Source: wildlifeact.com
Wildlife ACT assists game reserves who do not have the funds or capacity to run their own wildlife conservation projects by providing tracking and monitoring services. They will either initiate conservation projects at these game reserves, or they will take over existing monitoring projects that the game reserves can no longer afford or manage.
And just when you think they can’t get any better, you’ll be impressed even further by the fact that they perform their services for these game reserves free of charge! In fact, Wildlife ACT relies heavily on volunteer work in order to support the work they do. Wildlife ACT is 100% reliant on their volunteers, who help in the daily tracking and monitoring of endangered wildlife species such as African Wild Dogs, Cheetah and Black Rhino, as well as priority species such as Elephant, Lion, Leopard and many more.
Botswana Predator Conservation Trust
The Botswana Predator Conservation Trust (BPCT) has been working to study and preserve wildlife in Africa for nearly thirty years. It started off as the Botswana Wild Dog Research Project and is now BPCT, one of the longest running conservation projects on the continent. The organisation researches and protects all the large carnivore species in Botswana. Their protection covers wild dogs, lions, leopards, cheetahs and spotted hyaenas, as well as their habitats.
Photo Source: www.bpctrust.org/gallery
As a core project over the past nearly thirty years, The Botswana Predator Conservation Trust has maintained a field research site on the edge of the Moremi Game Reserve. In that time, they have developed a unique data set documenting the life histories of cheetahs, leopards, spotted hyaenas, lions and wild dog packs. They have the only laboratory in Africa dedicated to chemical signalling. It’s called the Paul G Allen Family Foundation Laboratory for Wildlife Chemistry (PGAFFLWC), located in Mau. This is where all of the analytical work is carried out.
Underwater Africa Volunteer Program, Mozambique
The Underwater Africa Volunteer Program is a marine volunteer expedition programme based in picturesque Tofo, Mozambique. Their mission statement is, “we aim to harness the power of our volunteer researchers to elicit real and meaningful changes to Mozambique’s incredible ecosystems through pioneering research and conservation.”
Those who volunteer for this cause participate in a range of field work including taking identification photo’s, observing environmental conditions, changing out and deploying reef camera traps, checking acoustic listening stations, studying plankton, monitoring protected areas, and measuring ocean giants.
Photo Source: www.underwaterafrica.com/diving-expeditions/what-youll-do
From entire coral reef systems, and from the largest marine animals to the smallest, The Underwater Africa Volunteer Program’s research spans all of these topics. They believe that in order to solve the huge problems that these animals face they must gain a full understanding of each species. The research then informs their conservation practices, which then empowers them to protect these animals.
The N/a’an ku sê Foundation, Nambia
With the aim of conserving the land, cultures and wildlife of Namibia, Dr Rudie and Marlice van Vuuren along with other founding members, founded the N/a’an ku sê Foundation in 2006. This is a conservation organisation that sustains its projects through non-governmental funding and responsible conservation tourism.
Photo Source: naankuse.com
They run several projects to improve the health and well-being of the ancient yet marginalised San Bushmen of Namibia, provide a second chance to countless orphaned, injured and/or conflict animals, work to prevent land degradation, and stand at the forefront of the human-wildlife conflict mitigation by undertaking critical conservation and research projects to ensure a thriving future for Namibia’s majestic wildlife.
Their vision is seeing humans and wildlife living and thriving together in Africa. Their mission is to conserve the land, cultures and wildlife of Namibia and rescue species threatened by an ever-shrinking habitat.
Zambian Carnivore Programme
The Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP) is a non-profit Zambian-registered trust. They work closely with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and are dedicated to conserving large carnivores and the ecosystems they reside in. They do this through three approaches: Conservation Science, Conservation Action, and Conservation Capacity.
The success of this work lies on the shoulders of their diverse collaborations with local, national and international partners, agencies, organizations and institutions that collectively provide the expertise, resources and energy to address the myriad conservation challenges facing Zambia and the region.
Photo Source: www.zambiacarnivores.org
It is common for local communities not to be involved in research and conservation efforts. ZCP helps ensure sustainability by training, educating, sponsoring, and employing young Zambian wildlife professionals from the secondary school level through to international graduate programs.
This way, Zambia’s most equipped and intelligent have the chance to contribute their talents to wildlife conservation both now and in the future.
Bumi Hills Foundation, Zimbabwe
As one of Zimbabwe’s conservation projects, The Bumi Hills Foundation aims to reduce poaching and restore the ecology of the Lake Kariba and Charara South Safari area by having the game to return to the area. Volunteers camp out in remote areas of the park to monitor areas of high poaching and remove snares and traps.
Volunteers check for evidence of poaching, monitor known herds of big game, look for signs of animal activity, and map the locations of snares and poaching activity. The organisation has six main objectives: anti-poaching, human-wildlife conflict, wildlife research, healthcare, education and economic empowerment.
Photo Source: www.bumihillsfoundation.org
For the anti-poaching objective, they aim to win the war on poaching. Where the wildlife-human conflict is concerned, their approach is to provide long-term relief and uplift both humans and wildlife. The Bumi Hills Foundation believes that knowledge is power, thus by carrying out extensive research on wild flora and fauna, they will save vulnerable species from extinction. In terms of healthcare, they believe that it is crucial that adequate healthcare is provided to any community in order for it to thrive.
Through education programmes that are focused on curriculum enhancement, teacher support, infrastructural development, and logistical assistance, they will be able to create more successful and environmentally conscious future generations. Lastly, Bumi Hills aims for economic empowerment. They will provide the necessary tools, skills and financial support in order to enable independence and sustainability among the local community.
Conservation organisations from Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are all working hard to ensure a better and brighter future for their wildlife. All of these organisations are positively impacting their communities. If you wish to get involved, visit their websites to find out more.