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“Pandemic Threatens Decades of Wildlife Conservation Efforts in Africa” – NGO

“Pandemic Threatens Decades of Wildlife Conservation Efforts in Africa” – NGO

The covid-19 pandemic has caused pressures on Africa’s wildlife reserves that threaten to undermine the success of decades of conservation, says a Tusk and Natural State survey of 60 organisations in 19 African countries.

“African wildlife and forest rangers are overstretched and continue to see drastic cuts in the resources available for their work and an increase in poaching due to the devastating economic impact of covid-19,” the non-governmental organisation (NGO) said in a statement released this Wednesday.

Wildlife wardens do not envisage “any relief” as “the covid-19 pandemic continues to impact Africa’s communities and wildlife”.

“The pressures on Africa’s protected areas threaten to undermine the success of decades of development and conservation,” Tusk warned.

The organisation explains that the covid-19 crisis has removed essential funding for wildlife protection that comes from tourism.

In 2018, the global wildlife-related tourism economy generated over $100 billion and provided nine million jobs, worldwide.

Covid-19 has resulted in the radical elimination of cross-border travel, severely affecting countries dependent on tourism revenues as a significant part of their Gross Domestic Product.

The pandemic’s impact on tourism revenue generation “was so severe that almost half of protected areas across Africa reported that they could only maintain basic operations for a period of three months if the restrictions imposed to combat covid-19 continued to apply,” says Tusk, which cites a July 2020 study.

The economic pressures imposed by covid-19 on communities, and the reduced presence of wildlife wardens, have resulted in an increase in poaching, but the threat is expected to increase further if capacities to combat criminal practices remained low and as international borders are opened.

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“Such difficulties place major additional pressures on protected areas as communities increase their use of natural resources to survive,” the statement warned.

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