Since our beginnings, we have stayed true to our mission – effectively managing protected areas for the benefit of people and wildlife.
Twenty years ago, African Parks was created to set a new paradigm for protected area management. Since our beginnings, we have stayed true to our mission – effectively managing and protecting national parks for the benefit of people and wildlife. From Majete in 2003 to now 17 parks in 11 countries with over 13.3 million hectares under management, we have accelerated and scaled our work knowing that we are in a race against time. What is not well-managed today will be lost forever.
Our model ensures that effectively managed parks serve as a nucleus for a conservation-led economy, delivering a host of ecological, socio-political and economic benefits for people living in and around these landscapes. African Parks is one of the largest employers in every place we work, and tens of thousands of children have access to some form of education because of us. Our approach has been resilient to the changing nature of the threats this continent has faced, for wildlife and people, over the years. But the true test of a great model is not just in tackling the threats that are known, it is in its resilience in dealing with things we could never have imagined.
As a global pandemic sweeps across the planet bringing it to a virtual standstill, it has a profound social and economic impact on us all, especially for rural communities. COVID-19, like MERS and SARS, comes from nature, but it is the actions of people which unleashed it. The rise in habitat loss and exploitation of wildlife is undeniably linked to these epidemics. If there was ever a case for protecting nature, if we ever needed a reminder that our mission matters and that nature matters to people’s lives, it is now.
While what we are currently experiencing is unprecedented, we are confident that African Parks, our team, and our community, will withstand this extraordinary test. Our stories of hope, transformation and defying the odds from the last 20 years serve as a reminder – it is thanks to you, our bold and committed partners and funders that we have remained steadfast in changing the trajectory for paving a better way of life for humans and wildlife alike. As challenging as things will get, together we are walking the right path in protecting nature and reclaiming a sustainable future for everyone.
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At the close of 2019, African Parks had 17 parks under management in 11 countries, covering over 13.3 million hectares (51,352 square miles) and representing nine of the 13 ecological biomes on main land Africa. This is the largest and most ecologically diverse amount of land under protection for any one NGO on the continent.
2019: By the Numbers
Ecological: What is not protected will be lost
Functioning wild ecosystems provide life-altering benefits like clean air and water, and food security for millions of people, but they must be protected. Our Rangers provide security and create safe places so ecosystems can function and support people and wildlife. Once poaching and other illegal threats are prevented, wildlife numbers can rise and key species that were once lost, can be reintroduced.
Realising Hope in Malawi
Founded in 2000, it took African Parks three years of negotiations with the Malawian Government to secure a mandate for the first park - Majete Wildlife Reserve. With a 25-year management agreement in place, we overhauled law enforcement, initiated community engagement programmes and reintroduced over 3,200 animals from 16 different species to restore the reserve after decades of poaching. Pleased with Majete's transformation, the Government invited us to assume management of both Liwonde National Park and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in 2015. Since then we have progressed to managing four protected areas in Malawi, protecting 90% of it's elephants and 100% of its rhinos.
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