Tusk’s projects provide greater protection for more than 40 different threatened species and many more that share the same landscapes. As well as protecting African elephant, rhino and lion, Tusk’s projects are playing a critical role in the survival of cheetah, chimpanzee, eastern lowland and Cross River gorilla, painted dog, Grevy’s zebra, giant sable, Cape vulture, Alaotran gentle lemur, hawksbill turtle, and many more, some of which are described further below.
In keeping with Tusk’s overall philosophy these projects are often not solely focused on wildlife, instead they take an integrated approach to conservation working hand in hand with local communities and combining the protection of wildlife with the management and sustainable use of natural resources.
Tusk is also on the frontline of efforts to tackle poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, and supports rangers in ten different countries. Read more here.
African Elephant – Vulnerable
The African elephant is still found across much of sub-Saharan Africa, but with an increasingly fragmented range. The population has crashed from 1.3million in 1979 to approximately 400,000 today. On average, one elephant is killed every 15 minutes with a devastating impact throughout the continent. Tusk supports the anti-poaching patrols of 450 game guards across 30 community-led initiatives from Mali to Zimbabwe, successfully overcoming the poaching threat in many of these areas.
Tusk’s partners protecting elephants include: Big Life Foundation (Kenya); Mali Elephant Project; Mkomazi National Park (Tanzania); Mount Kenya Trust; Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust (Kenya); Northern Rangelands Trust (Kenya); Save the Elephants (Kenya); Savé Valley Conservancy (Zimbabwe); Space for Giants (Kenya); and Uganda Conservation Foundation.
Black Rhinoceros – Critically Endangered
From being the world’s most abundant rhino at the start of the twentieth century, with an estimated population of 850,000, numbers plummeted through poaching to fewer than 2,500 by the mid 1990s. Sustained conservation effort saw populations recover to almost 5,000, but the latest upsurge in poaching is once again pushing them towards extinction. Tusk invests in the monitoring and surveillance of important black rhino populations, protecting them from poaching and maintaining populations at stable levels in many areas. Tusk’s support of the Lewa Wildlife Conservany has helped it save the black rhino in Kenya, with their population recovering to such an extent that they have been able to reintroduce them to former parts of their range.
Tusk’s partners protecting black rhino include: Big Life Foundation (Kenya); Borana Conservancy (Kenya); Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (Kenya); Mkomazi National Park (Tanzania); Save the Rhino Trust (Namibia); Save the Waterberg Rhino (South Africa); Savé Valley Conservancy (Zimbabwe); and Sera Wildlife Conservancy.
African Lion – Vulnerable
Lions today occupy little more than 10% of their historic range having suffered from habitat loss, declines in their prey, and retaliatory or pre-emptive killing to protect life and livestock. There may be as few as 20,000 remaining in the wild, and more recently they have been targeted for traditional Chinese medicine, with their bones serving as a substitute for tiger bones. As well as protecting some of their greatest strongholds in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, Tusk invests in a number of initiatives to change pastoralists’ attitudes towards lions and to help them protect their livestock.
Tusk’s partners protecting lions include: Africat (Namibia); Big Life Foundation (Kenya); Botswana Predator Conservation Trust; Central Kalahari Research Group (Botswana); Ruaha Carnivore Project (Tanzania); Serengeti Rabies Vaccination Project (Tanzania); and Savé Valley Conservancy (Zimbabwe).
Painted Dog – Endangered
The painted dog is the most social member of the dog family and is an extremely effective and organised hunter. They also happen to be the most endangered carnivore in the world, with as few as 5,000 remaining in the wild, as a result of habitat loss, conflict with human activity, and infectious disease. Tusk’s project partners work with local communities to alert them to the problems facing painted dogs
Tusk’s partners protecting painted dog include: Africat (Namibia); Big Life Foundation (Kenya); Botswana Predator Conservation Trust; Central Kalahari Research Group (Botswana); Ishaqbini Community Conservancy (Kenya); Mkomazi National Park (Tanzania); Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust (Kenya); OlareOrok Conservancy (Kenya); Sera Wildlife Conservancy (Kenya); Serengeti Rabies Vaccination Project (Tanzania); and Savé Valley Conservancy (Zimbabwe).
Mountain Bongo – Critically Endangered
Only small remnant populations of this subspecies survive in a few locations in central Kenya, totaling approximately 100 individuals; the rest lost to poaching and human pressure on their habitat. Tusk is supporting efforts to protect their habitat and engage local communities in their protection.
Cross River Gorilla – Critically Endangered
With only 300 remaining in 11 isolated pockets of forest across the Cameroon-Nigeria border, the Cross River gorilla is one of the world’s 25 most endangered species. Tusk’s investment in Cameroon’s Lebialem Highlands has helped save an important population of up to 30 gorillas in unprotected forest, by working with logging companies to protect gorillas in their concessions, and providing alternative livelihoods for those farming in gorilla habitat.
Tusk’s partner protecting Cross River Gorilla is: Cross River Gorilla Project (Cameroon)
Cape Vulture – Vulnerable
The Cape vulture is southern Africa’s only endemic vulture species and with only 3,700 breeding pairs are a conservation priority. They and other vultures are facing an unprecedented onslaught from human activities such as electrocutions and collisions with electrical structures, poisoning, land-use changes, a decrease in food availability and exposure to toxicity through veterinary drugs. Tusk’s support has helped transform the image of this unloved and misunderstood group of birds through education campaigns and talented use of media. More than 230 injured vultures have been rescued, and lobbying success has had dangerous power lines converted to ‘bird-friendly’ structures, and has had the veterinary drug diclofenac banned in South Africa because of its toxicity to vultures.
Tusk’s partner protecting the Cape Vulture is: VulPro (South Africa)
West African Chimpanzee – Endangered
Recognised as one of four subspecies of chimpanzee, there may be as few as 22,000 West African chimpanzee left in the wild as a result of habitat loss or degradation, disease, and poaching for meat, the pet trade, medicinal purposes or in retaliation to crop loss. Tusk is supporting efforts to return confiscated, illegally-caught chimps to the wild in their greatest stronghold of Guinea.
Tusk’s partner protecting the West African Chimpanzee is: Centre de Conservation pour Chimpanzés (Guinea)
Hawksbill Turtle – Critically Endangered
Turtle populations off the Kenyan coast are of global importance, and all five species are seriously threatened. With an 80% population decline within ten years, the hawksbill turtle has suffered the most. Tusk has been helping change attitudes and behaviours in Kenya: fishing and cultural practices have improved, and fishermen that used to sell turtles accidentally caught in their nets now help return them to the sea.
Partner: Lamu Marine Conservation Project (Kenya)
Rothschild Giraffe – Endangered
Reduced to a wild population of fewer than700 by the break-up and loss of habitat, unintentional snaring, and conflict with people, the Rothschild giraffe is the world’s rarest giraffe and is restricted to Uganda and Kenya. Tusk has helped reintroduce them to parts of their former range in Kenya, while Tusk’s partners in Uganda are helping remove snares set for other animals and providing veterinary treatment to injured giraffes in their greatest stronghold.
The conservation challenges are greater than ever before, but we continue to be inspired by the achievements and extraordinary efforts of our project managers and the courage of the game rangers who put their lives on the line every day.