Earlier this year, Tusk launched its Crisis Appeal in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the unprecedented impact it was having on our project partners across Africa. The collapse of tourism due to the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the virus meant a severe loss in revenue for many conservation initiatives, leading to drastic budget cuts, reduced salaries and staff redundancies. In many cases this has resulted in project partners being unable to carry out their full operations. At the same time, communities have suffered lost livelihoods, school closures and limited access to healthcare.
We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took part and raised much needed funds through the Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon, the Wildlife Ranger Challenge and Ride 4 Rangers. The response to all these events exceeded our expectations, with the funds raised providing a much-needed lifeline to the men and women on the frontline of conservation across Africa.
Nevertheless, even with hopes of an end to the pandemic in sight, it will take a very long time for local economies and tourism to recover, and Tusk’s project partners are still fearing that 2021 could be their hardest year yet. We would therefore also like to thank everyone who has given so generously this year, particularly in response to the Crisis Appeal, with the latest round of funding now on its way to 34 of our project partners across the continent. This will make all the difference in maintaining their most important initiatives next year, including, for example, the following:
- Big Life Foundation (Kenya): Community rangers will continue to receive the basic needs required to operate, through support for salaries and rations, as well as for equipment such as thunder flashes and torches for preventing human-wildlife conflict.
- Conservation Lower Zambezi (Zambia): Tusk’s support will greatly assist in continuing essential law enforcement support through the K9 Unit and Rapid Response Unit.
- CLAWS Conservancy (Botswana): The Lion Alert Programme can be strengthened to pre-Covid 19 capabilities, covering the cost of more satellite collars, including a trial of three solar-powered collars. Tusk’s support will also help to improve community outreach, increased conflict reporting and information sharing, essential for improved human-lion coexistence.
- Conservation South Luangwa (Zambia, pictured above): Tusk’s funding can guarantee that all CSL’s community scouts remain employed in order to carry out their critical work in the field. Funds will also go towards fuel and rations to support CSL’s human-wildlife conflict teams which help to protect community crops during the farming season from January to May.
- Global Animal Health Tanzania: Ongoing support from Tusk has enabled GAHT to carry out mass dog vaccination programmes across the Serengeti for years, to ensure that rabies is not transmitted to wild dog populations. Continued support will see that field teams have access to remote areas to ensure vaccination levels remain sufficiently high next year.
- Lamu Marine Conservation Trust (Kenya): As well as ensuring adequate and effective sea patrols are maintained to protect Lamu’s sea turtle populations, Tusk’s support will improve the supply of materials for their education and creative arts programmes throughout the Lamu archipelago.
- Mali Elephant Project: Training in anti-poaching will be provided to increase the number of people available for this work, to take over from soldiers when the security situation has calmed in the region. The anti-poaching unit will also be trained in how to manipulate drones and wider navigational tasks.
- Malilangwe Trust (Zimbabwe): Funding from Tusk will allow the Trust to continue delivering on its key programmes and research such as the resumption of the cadet ranger programme which is vital to bringing conservation messages to local communities, as well as their PhD study on the feeding habits of black rhino.
- Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association: Tusk’s funding will help towards the salaries of key members of the team, fuel for project vehicles, and operating costs for working in the field monitoring and protecting grey crowned cranes.
- VulPro (South Africa): VulPro will be able to revert back to proactive methods of protecting vultures, rather than reactive surveying that has occurred as a result of the Covid pandemic. Tusk’s support will contribute to their rescue and rehabilitation programmes, as well as their efforts to supplement dwindling wild vulture populations using captive breeding and release programmes.