The Duke joined the latest in a series of online forums, hosted by Tusk to facilitate cooperation, mutual support and knowledge exchange.
On the forum panel were eight of Tusk’s project partners, spanning the continent and representing projects ranging from species protection to conservancy management and law enforcement. Along with Tusk’s CEO Charlie Mayhew and Director of Programmes Sarah Watson, they discussed initial reactions and responses to the pandemic, the adaptation and innovation demonstrated by the projects on the ground and the current shift in operations toward recovery. The Duke heard how projects are now looking forward and planning for reopening, rebuilding and preparing for the future.
All partners have seen drastic losses in income due to the cessation of tourism and significant reductions in project funding. Ensuing salary cuts, resource and staffing reductions have placed further strain on the projects’ operations.
Social distancing and movement restrictions have posed additional challenging, resulting in the halting of education programmes and a reduction in capacity for community engagement work.
But the Duke also discussed with the panel how projects are adapting and innovating, and are now in the process of implementing permanent changes to their practices, including modifying tourism models, exploring carbon credit systems and implementing solar farms.
Throughout the discussion the dedication shown by these conservation leaders to their projects was evident. Even under intense levels of stress, projects are adapting, innovating and planning for a very uncertain future.
Pictured clockwise from top left are: Charlie Mayhew, CEO Tusk; Mark Saunders, CEO Malilangwe Trust, Zimbabwe; Benson Kanyembo, Law Enforcement Advisor & Rachel McRobb, CEO Conservation South Luwanga, Zambia; Tom Lalampaa, CEO Northern Rangelands Trust, Kenya; Edward Ndituru, Head of Anti-Poaching Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya; HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Royal Patron Tusk; Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, CEO Conservation Through Public Health, Uganda; Olivier Nsengimana, CEO Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association, Rwanda; (centre) Theresa Sowry, CEO Southern African Wildlife College, South Africa.
The Duke of Cambridge became Royal Patron of Tusk in 2005 and has been a powerful advocate for Tusk’s work to support conservation, education and community development across Africa ever since.