The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated Africa's national parks and local communities. With most of Southern and East Africa on lockdown, tourism and local revenue is plummeting. During this time of financial hardship, national parks across Africa are seeing a rise in poaching events and wildlife crime. Animals like elephants, giraffes, and zebras need our rangers now more than ever. IFAW-supported rangers in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia are on the frontlines, protecting wildlife during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are the first line of defense against poachers, ensuring that Africa's beautiful national parks remain safeguarded and rich with biodiversity.
View photo stories from rangers in the field.
team Lioness is one of Kenya’s first all-women wildlife ranger units. As Community Wildlife Rangers (CWR), the women help protect nearly 150,000 acres of traditional Masaai community lands that encompass Amboseli National Park in Kenya. COVID-19 has brought new challenges to team Lioness. As essential workers, the rangers are quarantined and separated from their families during these challenging times. The drop in tourism has led to limited resources and revenue, causing many areas to see an increase in poaching and illegal activity. team Lioness continues to remain on the frontlines, playing a critical role in the protection of Africa's wildlife.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for elephant handlers and Forestry Commission rangers at the IFAW-supported Panda Masuie Release Project near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Here, a herd of 14 rescued and rehabilitated elephant orphans are learning to live as wild elephants. In a partnership between Wild is Life-ZEN, Zimbabwe’s only elephant rescue centre, and IFAW, these young elephants are learning to integrate with wild herds in a vast protected forest reserve. With Zimbabwe on lockdown and local tourism halted, Victoria Falls has been hit hard with financial hardship and poaching events are on the rise. At the Panda Masuie Release Project, the health of the elephants and surrounding forest reserve remains the top priority for handlers and rangers. Self-isolating away from family and operating under these difficult circumstances is challenging, yet the team continues to give their everything to the animals who need them most.
During these challenging times, we can't forget about the wellbeing of animals around the world. Our rangers are working around the clock to ensure that parks and wildlife remain protected from the threat of poaching. With your support, we can continue to build a future where animals and people thrive. Will you join us?