African Parks will receive $65 million from the Wyss Foundation to bolster conservation efforts in Rwanda, Malawi, and beyond.
The funds will go toward African Parks’ management of Liwonde National Park, Majete Wildlife Reserve and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in Malawi; Akagera National Park in Rwanda; and five still-to-be-identified protected areas in other countries.
African Parks privately manages protected areas, effectively taking over operations traditionally managed by governments.
African Parks, a South Africa-based organization that manages six million hectares across ten protected areas in seven African nations, will receive $65 million from the Wyss Foundation to bolster conservation efforts in Rwanda, Malawi, and beyond.
According to statement released by Wyss, the funds will go toward African Parks’ management of Liwonde National Park, Majete Wildlife Reserve and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in Malawi; Akagera National Park in Rwanda; and five still-to-be-identified protected areas in other countries.
“The Wyss Foundation is partnering with African Parks to safeguard more large wild landscapes in Africa from poaching and destruction,” said Hansjörg Wyss, Founder and Chairman of The Wyss Foundation, said in a press release. “African Parks has demonstrated success in cooperating with local leaders, communities and African nations in preserving ecosystems benefiting wildlife, while supporting local communities and populations. We are proud of our partnership with African Parks.”
The donation builds on a 2015 grant from Wyss that enabled African Parks to reintroduce lions to Rwanda after they had been driven to extinction during the genocide of the mid-1990s. That lion population has since doubled.
African Parks and Wyss are also collaborating on a massive translocation of animals to Malawi’s Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
“Up to 500 elephants are currently being moved from two parks with a surplus (Liwonde and Majete) to a third park (Nkhotakota) that until recently had been heavily poached but has since been secured and is poised to be restocked and revived as Malawi’s premier elephant sanctuary,” the statement said. “In addition to these elephants, more than 1,000 head of other animals, including sable antelope, buffalo, waterbuck and impala have also been reintroduced to Nkhotakota, re-establishing viable founder populations, and helping to restore the health of the park.”
African Parks is developing proposals for the other five new protected areas in Chad, Kenya, Mozambique and Benin that could receive support in the form of “challenge grants” if matching funds are raised. The group, which privately manages protected areas from top to bottom, says it is also in discussions with the Governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia as part of its goal to manage 20 parks by 2020.
“Our vision is to protect 20 parks by 2020, bringing up to 10 million hectares of wilderness under our management,” said Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks. “This historic gift, and the partnership forged with the Wyss Foundation, enables us to have a conservation impact at a scale which is globally significant.”