Ultimate Wildlife Adventures is focused on sustainable tourism and has a strong conservation ethos. We like to view ourselves as one of the good guys in the ongoing battle to protect wildlife from decimation and in some cases species extinction.
The Plight of Africa’s Wildlife
Many of Africa’s iconic and lesser known species face a perilous battle for survival in this time of human population growth and competition for land and space. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) paint a disturbing picture for the future. All of Africa’s iconic big cats, the lion, leopard, and cheetah are listed as vulnerable with population trends decreasing. The African wild dog is endangered with already low population numbers continuing to decrease. The great apes, the mountain gorilla and chimpanzee, are both listed as endangered, whilst the black rhinoceros is critically endangered. Elephants remain vulnerable and the white rhinoceros remains near threatened. Of the smaller guys the Cape pangolin, the world’s most trafficked animal, is vulnerable with an alarming reduction in numbers. The Grevy’s zebra, a sub-species of zebra, is recognised as endangered, as is the Ethiopian wolf and African penguin.
Astonishingly, the demise of these species’ populations has come in the last half century and coincides with industrial development which has seen an unprecedented growth in the human population and inevitably our needs for ever more resources. This necessity has led to conflict with animals through direct competition for land and water. Loss of available land renders animals requiring large distributions vulnerable to conflict as they venture outside protected areas. Human settlements and fences often impede migratory animals as they attempt to travel along historic migratory routes. This wildlife-human conflict is undoubtedly the biggest threat facing wildlife today. Whether conflict arises from human’s poaching wild animals for food or to illegally traffic on the black market, predators killing livestock or herbivores eating crops, or animals such as the wild dog catching diseases from domesticated dogs, it is undoubtedly wildlife who suffers as a result of this conflict.
Research overwhelmingly suggests the key to successful wildlife conservation is to develop local bespoke strategies to integrate wildlife, land, and local human populations for the benefit of all concerned. Many organisations believe the key is to actively include local people in conservation so they are able to feel tangible benefits from sharing land with wild animals. Only when humans see the value of conservation as a long-term economic benefit can they treat wildlife as assets and allies rather than enemies and consumables. There have been many heart-warming success stories where these ideas have worked to the benefit of all. The classic example being the Laikipia Plateau in Northern Kenya. Charities, local tour operators, and local communities worked together to develop private game reserves on the land of cattle farmers. Local people are heavily involved in the project whether through employment as guides or staff at the various lodges or by claiming a rent from the land they voluntarily passed over. The land is protected, cattle continues to graze allowing communities to preserve their cultural identity, and wildlife numbers and diversity prosper in contrast to most of the continent.