Green Leaf Gorilla © David Yarrow

The Times & The Sunday Times Christmas Appeal

Times Christmas Appeal logo

Tusk was chosen as one of the three charities supported by The Times and The Sunday Times Christmas Appeal this year. Journalists from the two newspapers have been visiting projects and speaking to conservationists supported by Tusk around Africa and coverage of Tusk’s work appeared across the digital and printed editions of The Times and The Sunday Times from late November to the end of January to drive donations to the charity, which can still be read below.

All donations to Tusk through the appeal, up to a total of £150,000 have been very generously matched by the Nick Maughan Foundation, doubling their impact.

Lioness and Cub

How your generosity can help save lions in Zambia

Lion numbers have halved across Africa since The Lion King splashed over our screens in 1994, with only about 23,000 remaining in the wild. Listed as “vulnerable to extinction”, they now occupy as little as 8 per cent of their original range. The Zambian Carnivore Programme is one of several initiatives trying to protect lions, supported by Tusk, one of the three organisations in this year’s Times and Sunday Times Christmas Appeal. By Katherine Forster

Tusk Trust - Coaching for Conservation 20150701_100547

African children are having a ball learning about endangered species

A perfectly timed tackle from a surprisingly nimble black rhinoceros at centre back sparks a counter-attack. The ball is worked forward to a vulture in midfield, who uses her keen eyesight to spot the run of a cheetah on the wing whose pace terrifies the opposition defenders. This wildlife XI is actually made up of children who have been taught to mimic the posture, movements and talents of the animals that live alongside them while they kick a ball around the field. Teaching children to develop an affinity with and respect for their wild neighbours is a crucial early step in preventing conflict between humans and animals across Africa. By Kaya Burgess

CSL removed snares

Zambians are taken out on safari to save the elephants

Tensions over land and resources between Africa’s wildlife and its expanding human populations are being sorely tested by the pandemic, which has flattened the tourist industry and millions of jobs that rely on it. Before the pandemic, rangers in South Luangwa would find about 40 snares a month laid to catch bushmeat. That increased to more than 300 a month during the pandemic as people grew desperate for food. The crude traps, set down to catch small animals, end up snaring elephants and giraffes and pose a risk to lions and leopards, and teams of vets have to rescue the wounded animals. By Jane Flanagan and Kaya Burgess

Tusk Trust - Lamu Marine Conservation Trust Turtle Hatch

Discarded facemasks threaten rare turtles on Lamu island

Among the rubbish that washes up on Lamu island off Kenya are items that have travelled thousands of miles. But these — often beer bottles from India — have been joined by a new pollution menace. Each day, dozens of discarded facemasks and plastic gloves are found on the eastern coast of the kidney-shaped island, which is known for its laid-back lifestyle and rustic tourist development. The coronavirus-linked pollution has added to the threats to the area’s delicate ecosystem and one of its biggest draws: sea turtles. By Jeremy Kelly & Kaya Burgess

Vulture

Don’t be deceived — vultures are kind, gentle and in desperate need of help

Vultures are never going to vie with tigers or pandas as poster boys for conservation. Quite apart from their appearance, they have peculiar habits, such as projectile-vomiting partially digested carrion at intruders, and urinating down their legs to neutralise the bacteria occasioned by wading through rotting flesh every day. In general we seem to find vultures — like hyenas — sort of ignoble, because they do not kill their prey, but feast from the predatory heroics of other animals. It is a strange mindset. More to the point, though, these birds are disappearing. Of the 22 species of vulture, more than half are endangered or critically endangered. By Rod Liddle

Amos Gwema

Zimbabwe ranger protecting Africa’s wild animals by intelligence not force

Driving through the bush in his collared blue shirt and dark trousers, Amos Gwema appears an unlikely warrior on the front line of Africa’s war against poaching. His weapons of choice are not firearms and bullets but a coded list of the informants he has recruited and multiple mobile phones to manage their intelligence. Mr Gwema, 45, has little time for what he described as the “overmilitarised” strategy adopted by most African authorities to guard their endangered animals. By Jane Flanagan

Mountain gorillas

Gorillas face new danger from man in coronavirus

An invisible danger is stalking the forest home of mountain gorillas but their human guardians are fighting hard to protect them. Although conflict and hunting almost wiped out the animals from Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, coronavirus is now regarded as the single biggest threat to the gorillas’ survival. Conservationists have helped numbers bounce back to more than 1,000. But if Covid-19 spills over from humans to their nearest animal relatives, the result would be catastrophic. By Jane Flanagan

SAWC Dog Unit

Dog squads hounding out poachers

Using harnessed tracking dogs to pursue poachers through national parks is standard practice. In Kruger National Park, however, once contact with the poachers is made, it is the reserve’s unique airborne, free-running canine unit that is called in by helicopter to complete the pursuit. By Catherine Philp

Tusk Trust - Lion Landscapes Victoria

Trackers save lions and their lunch

As dusk falls over the plains, Josphat Ledra knows that somewhere beyond the fence of his cattle pen a pride of lions will be on the prowl. This knowledge used to strike fear into Mr Ledra, 52, a herder of cows, goats and sheep in Laikipia in central Kenya, who had grown used to losing up to ten animals in every lion attack. This was before he had access to data from satellites and a smartphone app to help him track the lions and protect his livestock, provided by Lion Landscapes with support from Tusk. By Kaya Burgess

Bwindi park boundary

Eyes on the prize for Ugandan poachers turned conservationists

Resisting the urge to hurl a spear at a passing bush pig or a buck is still a struggle for Petero Tibategeza. Hunting in Africa’s oldest rainforest was his life for half a century. Mr Tibategeza, 62, was finally persuaded to surrender his traps and snares four years ago by his local association of reformed poachers in Nkuringo, on the edge of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable national park. By Jane Flanagan

Hipolito Lima

When I saw the mother’s struggle, I knew I had to give my life to turtles

As a child on the tiny African island of São Tomé, the only sea turtles that Hipólito Lima knew were those that his father would bring home for the family to eat. The son of a leading turtle hunter, he grew up normalised to a trade in which gillnets were dragged for turtles, the nests were raided for eggs and turtle mothers were captured and killed as they left the water to lay eggs. By John Simpson

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