Conservation efforts are typically driven by passion. Long hours with early mornings and late nights; sleeves rolled up and hands dirty; large distances covered, and funds stretched. This underpins the work that Wildlife ACT does – driven by a team that puts huge effort into their everyday jobs.
This year, 2020 – the year of COVID-19 – sees Wildlife ACT reflecting on a dozen years of conservation impact. This is not a year synonymous with rejoicing, but, considering the immense efforts put in by Wildlife ACT’s dedicated team, partners and supporters, to keep crucial conservation work going during this global pandemic, it is a perfect time to look back on those past significant achievements worth celebrating – to inspire all of us as we collectively move into this uncertain future.
Twelve years ago, a chance meeting of three individuals – two conservationists working in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and one working in advertising in Cape Town, resulted in a conversation on the subject of biodiversity conservation efforts and the increased challenges being faced in Africa. These challenges included diminishing conservation budgets, impoverished rural communities side-lined by historic conservation initiatives, increases in poaching and shrinking protected areas. This discussion resulted in the formation of Wildlife ACT.
The reality of the conservation landscape discussed at that stage, shaped the vision of the organisation, knowing that information is crucial to manage wildlife and protected areas effectively, and that collaboration is key to achieve impact and consistency.
“Information is key – you cannot conserve what you don’t know – and it is through this lens that Wildlife ACT works to implement strategic monitoring and research to inform and enable effective conservation management of wildlife”, says Wildlife ACT’s co-founder and Director of Species Conservation, Chris Kelly.
Video credit: The Safari Media Co. with Love Africa Marketing
Wildlife ACT has achieved a number of milestones over the past 12 years, including:
- 9 different species monitored
- Over 3 500 volunteers
- 815 tracking devices fitted
- Over 800 animals relocated
- Rescuing and treating over 145 snared or wounded animals
- 209 508 monitoring and field hours in vehicles, in the air, and on foot.
But Wildlife ACT’s impact does not stop there. Their educational Kids Camps, in-school conservation lessons, conservation ambassador club programme and community game drives, have reached over 82,000 local children and adults – inspiring a new generation of conservationists.
Today, 12 years later, the organisation continues to grow and thrive, held up by dedicated staff, a global network of ambassadors and strong, committed partners. “We are extremely proud of what we have achieved in the past 12 years, and look forward to many more years of success in the conservation sector in Africa”, says Wildlife ACT’s Managing Director, Mark Gerrard.
“The COVID pandemic has had a significant impact on us as an organisation, however, taking the positives out of the situation, it has forced us to use our strengths and be innovative. It has strengthened partnerships and collaboration in the region, and it will hopefully build our resilience as we put our heads forward to tackle the global good that is wildlife conservation.”