Wyss Foundation Commits $65 Million to Conservation in Africa

Wyss Foundation Commits $65 Million to Conservation in Africa

Photo credit: Vyskah R. Nambiar

The Wyss Foundation has announced a $65 million commitment to African Parks, a South Africa-based conservation organization, to maintain and expand protected areas across the continent.

The multiyear funding will support the protection and ongoing management of four parks in Rwanda and Malawi and enable the organization to secure up to five new parks. Founded in 2000, African Parks takes on the direct, long-term management responsibility of national parks and protected areas in partnership with governments. The organization currently manages ten parks in seven countries accounting for some six million hectares of protected wilderness. To support the development of new parks — for which the organization is developing proposals for the governments of Chad, Kenya, Mozambique, and Benin and negotiating with the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia — the Wyss Foundation is awarding challenge grants designed to raise funds for their long-term stewardship.

In addition, a $6 million grant awarded by the foundation to the organization in 2015 has helped restore lions to Akagera National Park in Rwanda after they had been hunted out of existence in that country. And in Malawi, five hundred elephants are being moved to the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, which had been heavily poached but has since been secured.

"It's rare to find individuals who commit themselves so whole-heartedly and with such conviction and clarity in wanting to save Africa's wildlife for the benefit of the people," said African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead. "Our vision is to protect twenty parks by 2020, bringing up to ten million hectares of wilderness under our management. This historic gift, and the partnership forged with the Wyss Foundation, enables us to have a conservation impact at a scale [that] is globally significant."