Africa is home to a great variety of animals, many of which are endangered or on the verge of extinction. The following, closely linked factors are critical to the success of every project.
In 2007, a wave of poaching began reminiscent of the tragic 1970s and 80s when, according to conservative estimates, up to 100’000 elephants were poached annually and the elephant in Africa was almost entirely eradicated. Today, it is the area of southern Tanzania (Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park) that is most severely affected: 60% of the elephant population has been wiped out in just a few short years. Africa loses five elephants every hour.
Rhinos are no better off, particularly in South Africa, where thousands have been and are being slaughtered for their horns. Estimates suggest that one rhino is killed every nine hours.
In addition to this, the lion population has declined by 95% in the last fifty years. If this continues, it is estimated that the lion will be extinct within 10-15 years.
We support general anti-poaching measures and projects that remove animals from areas where they are threatened to areas where they are safe. If you consider that the $ 30 billion-a-year illegal trade in bushmeat, animals and animal products is now equivalent to that of global drug trafficking, then it becomes clear that only a collective, highly-focussed global effort will counter this impending catastrophe.
National parks are not usually fenced, meaning wildlife is free to cross the boundaries of these parks into other areas at will. Animals travel great distances along traditional routes to find food and water, usually during the dry season. In addition to parks, it is also crucial to define protection zones and transnational corridors to allow for this migration.
We support projects that better protect or aim to extend or connect existing wildlife parks.
It is never easy when humans and wild animals cohabitate. Fields are trampled flat by elephants and predators feed on cattle. In order to counter this problem, hunters lay traps and farmers extend their fields into protected areas. Think of the wolves and the bears that have reappeared in Switzerland in recent years, and the turmoil that ensues when one or the other does turn up – imagine the outcry if our national park was full of wild animals wanting to take a little excursion every now and then ...
We concentrate on projects that avoid or find solutions to conflicts between local communities and wildlife, as well as promote the economic importance of nature and wildlife to local communities.
When large expanses of land are designated conservation areas, locals must be given an alternative way of generating income for their families. Wildlife parks in Africa are magnets for visitors from around the globe and generate up to a third of the national revenue for several countries – they are of tremendous economic importance.
It has been shown that the operation of high-quality eco-lodges within park boundaries is a forward-looking model that not only creates jobs at the lodges and within the supplier industry, but also prevents poaching and land grabbing inside the parks themselves thanks to the permanent presence of staff and guests. Participants of a photographic safari thus contribute directly to protecting and sustainably preserving the wildlife parks they visit. Local operators are in direct competition with the providers of hunting safaris or the industrial use of land. All good operators work closely with local communities and employ people from areas surrounding the camps. This strengthens awareness among the younger population in particular that the protection of nature is both important and future-orientated.
SwissAfrican Travel Service
is the foundation’s economic pillar and has been organising exceptional journeys and safaris to Africa since 2009.