Coronavirus isn't just affecting people. COVID-19 is threatening to undo decades of wildlife conservation progress in Africa
For 30 years, Tusk has supported some of the most successful conservation projects across the African continent. We are incredibly proud to celebrate their achievements and to highlight their extraordinary dedication to conservation.
But this year our partners are facing an unprecedented threat to their work. The fight against the Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything - its economic shockwave wreaking havoc across Africa. The consequences for Tusk's projects are profound. Their work is now set against a backdrop of uncertainty for the future.
Countless African species are at risk, from iconic savanna-wandering elephant and wild dog to elusive forest-dwelling okapi and mountain gorilla. If we don't act now to ensure our conservation partners can hold the front line, a future for wildlife in Africa hangs in the balance.
We will not stop in our efforts to protect decades of work and investment and we need your help. Donate now to build a future for wildlife conservation in Africa.
A message from our Royal Patron, HRH The Duke of Cambridge:
"Conservationists have been speaking out for many years about the threats posed by the illegal wildlife trade... but never before have the possible health risks come into such sharp focus. So now is the time to act...We must seize the moment to end the illegal wildlife trade for good, both to protect our precious wildlife, and to protect communities all around the world."
"Decades of conservation progress in Africa are at risk... To safeguard our conservation gains, we must ensure that African conservationists can hold the front line and maintain their work in anti-poaching, human-wildlife conflict mitigation, species protection and habitat restoration that is so vital to Africa's economy, people and wildlife."
"Please support this remarkable charity and its vital work. Thank you for making a real difference, especially at this time when your support is needed the most."
The Duke of Cambridge joined leading African conservationists from Tusk-supported projects to discuss the impacts of the covid-19 pandemic on the sector.
Covid-19 has created a crisis in wildlife conservation across the world - but non more so than in Africa.
Although the devastating consequences that Covid-19 will most likely cause in Africa is still unknown, the collapse in tourism and the wider economy is threatening rural livelihoods and conservation efforts, with fears that this will lead to an increase in poaching and further habitat loss.
A loss of livelihoods will have a devastating impact on entire communities. We have already heard of large-scale redundancies within the conservation and tourism sectors. This loss of income will severely affect whole families and their ability to fund their basic needs.
An increase in poaching is expected. The loss of livelihoods is already driving an increase in illegal bushmeat hunting as a way for people to feed their families and earn an income. The fear is that there will also be a new upsurge in poaching of rhino and elephant as people become more desperate, and the ability to protect the parks is being compromised.
Tusk's fundraising events have been cancelled due to Coronavirus. But we must continue to support our long-standing partners as they need funding more than ever this year. We are facing a large loss in income due to fundraising losses so we have launched the Tusk Crisis Appeal to ensure that our project partners can carry on their essential work and survive this challenging time.
Charlie Mayhew, CEO of Tusk's recent interview on BBC News, 7th May 2020
The impact of COVID-19 threatens to undo years of conservation progress across the entire African continent. The collapse in tourism and the overall economy is already seriously affecting rural livelihoods and conservation efforts.
At Tusk, we support over 50 conservation programmes across the African continent that protect more than 40 threatened and endangered species
We believe strategic conservation can empower local communities and improve livelihoods. We support and promote effective environmental education designed to provide a more sustainable future for the next generation.
It’s an approach that works. Through our partnerships, we continue to witness very significant progress, providing greater protection for over 70 million hectares of land and more than 40 different threatened species, while benefitting more than 7,500,000 people.
Through this appeal we aim to raise funds so that we can protect the jobs and livelihoods of those men and women on the frontline of conservation in Africa and ensure they continue with their critically important work.
As a charity, we're lucky to be supported by some incredible patrons, including Deborah Meaden, Katherine Jenkins OBE, Levison Wood, and our Royal Patron HRH The Duke of Cambridge
Supporting local partners makes a real, effective difference to conservation success across the African continent
Maintaining our support to salaries and operating costs of our Project Partners is the greatest priority.
Tusk supports a broad network of effective and impactful conservation projects across the African continent. A donation to Tusk is the most effective way to make a real, targeted difference to the jobs and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands in more than 20 countries.
We remain in regular contact with our partners in Africa, many of whom continue to struggle with the effects of the Covid-19 crisis. The loss of tourism and donor income has impacted many of them in their ability to carry on their essential work during this crisis. Here are some reports from the field:
Malilangwe Trust, Zimbabwe
“We were in line to have the best year ever tourism-wise, and that has now gone to zero for the moment. Our budgets are impacted, and we have put some developmental projects on hold. Approximately 50% of our staff are not working, although we are fortunate that our anti-poaching and security teams are working at full capacity. Several of our community-based projects are also on hold, because of travel restrictions, school closures etc.”
Conservation South Luangwa, Zambia
“Tourism, like everywhere else has come to a grinding halt and it is going to remain like this for a long time. At this uncertain time when the lodges are quiet or closed, staff have been laid off, people are hungry, we are likely to see a big increase in poaching any day.”
VulPro, South Africa
“All volunteers have gone home and no further volunteers will join us until such a time the virus has been controlled, this is placing huge pressure on full time staff as they are already stretched. We are on lockdown to protect all we can and we are deeply concerned about staff and bird security at this time.”
Tsavo Trust, Kenya
“From a wildlife conservation perspective and focusing on Tsavo, tourism has collapsed overnight. This has meant that the mainstream revenue for Kenya Wildlife Service is no longer flowing. We will still operate, but at 50% capacity if we are to continue all the work that has so painstakingly taken to deliver over the last seven years.”
Painted Dog Conservation, Zimbabwe
“Cuts to our staff and salaries is the last thing we will consider. We employ 67 people, all from the local communities and it’s unthinkable that we would add to their struggles by reducing staff numbers or salaries. We will continue to play our part in supporting the local clinics, which play a vital role in disseminating information as much as anything else.”
Conservation Lower Zambezi, Zambia
“Tourism here plays a vital role to providing jobs and income to the very low-income community members. We worry that we may now begin to see a rise in poaching that we have been fighting hard to bring down.”
CLAWS Conservancy, Botswana
“Our primary worry during this time is poaching. With all of the tourist lodges closed and no staff patrolling the area, the furloughed and unemployed are home without easy access to food – so we are expecting a significant increase in poaching.”
Local Ocean Trust, Kenya
“We’re seeing COVID-19 having a big impact on increased pressures on the marine environment as people have lost jobs and will not be returning to jobs, as a result, there has been a massive influx of new persons now participating in fishing (legal and illegal) activities.”
On behalf of all of our partners on the ground, thank you for your incredible support in this difficult time - and for helping us to protect African wildlife for 30 years
Our Crisis Appeal is raising funds to ensure that vital Tusk funded programmes are able to survive the extreme challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis. Please help us by donating what you can to protect the jobs and livelihoods of those on the frontline and ensure they can continue their critical work.
Your support means so much to us, not just now, but over the last 30 years of fighting for wildlife conservation. With your help we'll keep fighting for animal conservation across Africa
From all of us at Tusk,