The Wyss Foundation has announced grants totaling $6 million to local and international nongovernmental organizations working to end the poaching and trafficking of elephants and rhinos in Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Mozambique.
The grants include support for African Parks to help eliminate poaching in Akagera National Park in Rwanda and implement a plan to save Malawi's remaining elephants in Liwonde National Park and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. Additional grants were awarded to the Frankfurt Zoological Society, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Tsavo Trust, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, WildAid, and C4ADS.
According to recent studies, the illegal trade of ivory has more than doubled since 2007, and it is estimated that more than 25,000 elephants were poached across the African continent in 2011. In Tanzania's Selous Game Reserve alone, a wildlife census found that elephant numbers declined from more than 39,000 in 2009 to just over 13,000 in 2013.
"The explosion in the illegal ivory trade is not only pushing elephant and rhino populations toward extinction, but it is threatening the economic futures of local communities across eastern Africa," said Wyss Foundation founder Hansjörg Wyss. "We are proud to support local and international efforts to protect the beautiful and immense parks of eastern Africa so that future generations can experience the elephants, rhinos, and natural wonders that draw visitors from around the world."