Washington, DC – With a new $6 million commitment to wildlife conservation in Eastern Africa, the Wyss Foundation today joined a growing local, regional, and international effort to combat poaching and wildlife trafficking that is decimating wild elephant and rhino populations.
The Foundation is providing grants to local and international non-governmental organizations that are working to combat poaching efforts in Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Mozambique.
“The explosion in the illegal ivory trade is not only pushing elephant and rhino populations toward extinction, but it is threatening the economic futures of local communities across eastern Africa,” said Hansjörg Wyss, who started the Wyss Foundation in 1998. “We are proud to support local and international efforts to protect the beautiful and immense parks of eastern Africa so that future generations can experience the elephants, rhinos, and natural wonders that draw visitors from around the world.”
The grants announced today include support for African Parks to help stop poaching in Akagera National Park in Rwanda and to implement a plan to save Malawi’s last remaining elephants in Liwonde National Park and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
The Foundation is also expanding its support for the Frankfurt Zoological Society’s (FZS) work to protect wilderness lands in North Luangwa National Park in Zambia, home to Zambia’s only black rhinos and its largest and most stable elephant population. This grant supplements the Foundation’s previous support for FZS’s partnership with the government of Tanzania to combat poaching in the Serengeti National Park and the Selous Game Reserve.
“As I highlighted during our recent event in the Selous, international support such as this commitment from the Wyss Foundation is critical in helping to turn the tide in the battle against poaching, in Tanzania and throughout East Africa,” said U.S. Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania, Mark Childress, during the week of World Wildlife Day.
According to recent studies, the illegal trade of ivory has more than doubled since 2007, and it is estimated that more than 25,000 elephants were poached across the African continent in 2011. In Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve alone, a wildlife census found that elephant numbers declined from over 39,000 in 2009 to just over 13,000 in 2013.
The grants announced today include support for the Wildlife Conservation Society for park protection in Ruaha National Park in Tanzania, Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, and Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique and to the Tsavo Trust in Kenya to support wildlife, habitat and communities in southern Kenya’s Greater Tsavo Ecosystem. The International Fund for Animal Welfare, WildAid, and C4ADS are also receiving grants that are aimed at strengthening enforcement of wildlife trafficking laws, building public awareness about ivory poaching, and reducing demand for ivory.
Founded in 1998, the Wyss Foundation has long supported locally-led efforts to conserve open lands and wildlife habitat in the American West. In 2014, the Foundation made its first major philanthropic investments in ocean conservation. Today’s announcement is the Foundation’s first major, multi-grant commitment to wildlife conservation in Eastern Africa.
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