A CONSERVATION EXPEDITION
By Michelle and Grant at Wild Wonderful World
In 2017/18, fuelled by the desire to do more to help save wildlife, Michelle and Grant spent 393 days on a conservation expedition in Africa.
Michelle and Grant’s aim was to gain a better understanding of conservation in African and what was required in order to make a meaningful contribution, going forward.
Top 5 facts about Michelle and Grant's expedition...
1. The journey saw them drive over 19,040km from South Africa to Uganda.
2. They passed through 10 African countries documenting wildlife and helping with conservation projects as they went . The countries travelled were - Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
3. They volunteered for many number of different projects to protect wildlife including - anti-poaching units, wildlife rehabilitation centres, conservation education and community initiatives.
4. During their expedition, they lived and camped in their Land Rover Defender, which they nicknamed “Kuhanya” which means survivor!
“Although we had heard stories, it is fair to say now that we never realised the scale of the threats facing wildlife in Africa. When people say that natural spaces are disappearing, it means driving through a country that once used to be all rainforest and is now 90% farmland!
What stood out to us more than anything on our expedition were the incredible people we met; people who are truly making a difference to the conservation of wildlife in Africa. Their resilience and passion for continually fighting to save wildlife is nothing short of inspiring.
They taught us that if everyone fights a corner, supports just one project that protects one area, then we stand a chance in saving our endangered species.”
“If everyone fights a corner, supports just one project that protects one area, then we stand a chance in saving our endangered species."
SO WHAT ARE THE THREATS TO AFRICA'S WILDLIFE?
Climate change, loss of habitat, human-wildlife conflict and poaching are some of the most serious threats to wildlife in Africa.
The most well-known threat to wildlife in Africa is poaching, especially for ivory, Rhino horn and endangered animals like Pangolin. These animals are poached either for their body parts for use in traditional medicines or for the illegal pet trade. Poaching is serious organised crime and is conducted on an international level.
Another serious problem today is human wildlife conflict. In many communities in rural Africa, people are dependent on small scale farming for their income and to feed their families. As these communities grow over time, natural wild spaces are reduced, leaving people and wildlife to compete for space, food and water. As people take over wild spaces, food for wild animals is reduced, which is why when an Elephant see’s a tasty field of crops, he will help himself!
An Elephant can eat one farmer’s entire crop in one night, and when this happens it makes the farmer very cross because now he has no food to feed his family. The cross farmer takes revenge on the Elephant and kills it so that it won’t happen again – this is human wildlife conflict and it can have deadly results and lead to these becoming endangered animals.
Find out more about Wild Wonderful World and how you can help their conservation efforts via the links below:
The IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) continue to produce the world's most comprehensive and trusted guide to the world's most endangered animals and plants. They have a scale that each living thing is categorised against from Least Concern all the way up to Extinct. Take a look to the right to find out more.
Extinct - No known individual is left in the world.
Extinct In The Wild - No longer living in the wild.
Critically Endangered - Extremely high risk of extinction.
Endangered - Very high risk of extinction.
Vulnerable - High risk of extinction.
Near Threatened - Possible risk of extinction.
Least Concern - Little risk of extinction. Numbers high.
Find out about some of the world's most endangered animals by clicking the buttons below.