The African population has tripled since 1950, according to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). This beautiful continent is economically and ecologically reliant upon its abundant landscapes and wildlife for future prosperity. By ensuring African wildlife endures forever, African communities can drive economic evolution. Safeguarded habitats and species promise a bright future for African communities, and it's effective conservation that helps Africa embrace change. Africa's wildlife, land and economy are all inextricably linked, and without wildlife preservation, vibrant communities and villages suffer.
In lieu of presents this holiday season, consider making a donation to an African wildlife conservation effort or adopting an animal in the names of your friends and family. Check out the following conservation organizations that could use your holiday donations. Not only can you help fund wildlife protection, you can also plan a volunteer trip for 2014 and start the new year by taking a charitable adventure.
Elephant – African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)
Photo by Brian Snelson via Wikimedia Commons
AWF partners with the people of Africa to ensure African wildlife and landscape not only survive, but thrive. As part of its mission, AWF welcomes support to protect African elephants and their migration routes. Poachers hunt elephants for ivory, and the elephant population struggles to withstand this poaching because of its slow and small reproduction rates. AWF works to reserve large sections of land (or wildlife corridors) where elephants can safely roam. Training community members to be wildlife scouts who care for elephants also helps conserve the elephant population. Through donations, you can help protect the remaining 300,000 elephants roaming in Southern African Heartlands.
Lion – Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
Photo by wwarby via Wikimedia Commons
Protecting the earth's iconic creatures and biodiversity describes the mission of the Wildlife Conservation Society. The organization's commitment to saving wildlife includes the lion, an endangered species losing its natural habitat because of farming and livestock production. Diminishing wild prey as well as herdsmen who hunt lions for killing their livestock contribute to the dwindling lion population. In collaboration with grassroots projects, WCS strives for lion tolerance. Conservation efforts include helping herders protect their livestock, tracking lion habits using GPS and building lion-proof enclosures.
Rhino – Thanda Private Game Reserve
Photo by ryan harvey via Wikimedia Commons
The Thanda Private Game Reserve is dedicated to social responsibility by partnering with African Impact for African sustainability. The Thanda Private Game Reserve is also a founding member of Project Rhino KZA, which joins the forces of various organizations to support rhino anti-poaching advocacy, conservation interventions and the security of White and Black rhinos in South Africa. Plan a volunteer trip as a 2014 bucket list adventure, and you'll contribute to the Thanda Foundation's research efforts by monitoring and observing rhinos in Kwazulu-Natal. As a volunteer, you'll gather information in the bush, capture data from the field and participate in other conservation initiatives.
Chimpanzee – Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage
Photo by lilghtmatter via Flickr
Located in central Zambia, Chimfunshi is a nonprofit refuge for orphaned chimpanzees. Chimfunshi also teams up with African Impact to care for chimps and spearhead behavioral research, enrichment activities, developing infrastructure and farming efforts. Volunteers will experience the beautiful African way of life while assisting in the rehabilitation of this endangered species and the maintenance of the sanctuary. Immersed in the Zambian culture, you'll provide hands-on help for chimpanzee conservation. You can also participate in Chimunshi's adopt-a-chimp program for $100.