How African environmentalists are succeeding despite the pandemic
As a result of the pandemic, tourism practically came to a halt in Africa last year. The financial pressure on the travel industry has also been felt by conservation groups, who depend on tourism to increase traffic in parks, which can keep poachers away, and also to uplift local communities who might otherwise succumb to illegal hunting for bushmeat. A number of groups have set out to combat this. Wilderness Safaris, for example, delivered 6,000 food packages in 2020 to families in remote areas of Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
While the full impact of the pandemic on the illegal bushmeat trade and poaching is unknown, recent data for South Africa is surprisingly encouraging, showing a massive drop in rhino poaching. The Ministry of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries revealed that reported cases of rhinos killed for their horns were down 33% from the previous year.
This success is in part due to the wise deployment of new technologies. In March, Samsung teamed up with American internet media company Africam.com and the Black Mamba anti-poaching unit, an all-female patrol group, to launch Wildlife Watch. With handsets broadcasting live footage of Balule Nature Reserve, part of the Great Kruger National Park where poaching is rife, this initiative encourages people around the world to help the poaching unit by monitoring wildlife. online.
There was also good news for other conservationists on the continent, with the Whitley Fund For Nature providing Â£ 40,000 to three different initiatives. This will help rebuild the habitats of critically endangered people. Hirola (a species of antelope) in Kenya, chimpanzees in Nigeria and frogs in South Africa.