3 Reasons Why You Should Love the African Wildlife Foundation

Posted By on Jul 2, 2014 | 0 comments

3 Reasons Why You Should Love the African Wildlife Foundation

Posted By on Jul 2, 2014 | 0 comments

Although a lot of news about elephants is desperately grim these days, I don’t despair. Yeah, I’ve learned a ton recently about the vicious wildlife trafficking industry that killed 35,000 elephants last year — things I wish I didn’t have to learn.

But in the process, I’ve also learned that there are countless dedicated people out there working to stop it. One of the fantastic organizations helping to fight elephant poaching is our Biking for Elephants and Climate Ride fundraising beneficiary, the African Wildlife Foundation, or AWF.

Here are 3 reasons why AWF is awesome (and why you should support them by supporting our biking fundraiser with a donation!).


1. AWF Works to Get Local Communities on Board With Wildlife Conservation

Stopping elephants from being poached isn’t a simple task in regions where poverty is rampant, and where an elephant’s tusk can fetch $1,000 per pound on the black market. Sadly, there are a lot of complex socioeconomic and political forces at play that elephants barely stand a chance against.

AWF knows that empowering local communities through education and job opportunities protects wildlife, because it gives people more options to live their lives in peaceful coexistence with elephants and other species. AWF has helped build schools, they’re a big promoter of sustainable tourism (which creates jobs and the incentive to protect the wildlife tourists come to see), and they offer scholarships and training for Africans to pursue careers in conservation. It’s all good stuff.

One of AWF's conservation lodges, in the elephant-full countryside of Zambia. Wistful sigh...

One of AWF’s conservation lodges, in the elephant-full countryside of Zambia. Wistful sigh…

2. AWF Has Helped Create Some Killer Outreach Campaigns to Reduce Demand for Wildlife Products

Fighting wildlife trafficking is multi-pronged effort. It’s going to continue to be really difficult to stop elephant poachers when the demand for ivory products is still high, particularly in Asian countries including China and Thailand.

But raising public awareness has been proven to make a difference in reducing that demand. AWF’s co-sponsored Say No public awareness campaign in China has signed on some major celebrities and is reaching some major audiences — a really important step in turning the tide for the elephants and other endangered species.

From the Say No campaign. Don't buy ivory or rhino horn! It's not worth the price.

From the Say No campaign. Don’t buy ivory or rhino horn! It’s not worth the price.

3. AWF Is Helping Anti-Poaching Efforts With a Key Resource: Technology

One of the fiercest forces working against elephants right now is the fact that modern poachers are wielding scary modern weapons and technologies… which give them the power to decimate whole herds en masse. Backed in part by wealthy criminal syndicates and terrorist groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army and al-Shabaab (which use illegal ivory to fund their own criminal activities), today’s poachers have night-vision goggles, low-flying helicopters, AK-47 rifles, and powerful poisons in their arsenal. How do you save elephants when they’re facing all that?

It’s a tough question. It’s a scary question. And we lose more elephants each day while we try to find the answer. But it’s a question that AWF is asking and working towards — and that’s a really good thing. For example, AWF provides technical assistance, equipment, monitoring systems, and other resources to help rangers who risk their lives to stop poachers in Cameroon. Other technological efforts are in the works too.

Let's protect this guy, ok? Whatever it takes.  (Photo by Billy Dodson for AWF.)

Let’s protect this guy, ok? Whatever it takes. (Photo by Billy Dodson for AWF.)

But Know What the Real Secret Weapon Is? (hint hint)

This is just a sampling of the work AWF does, and a lot of other excellent organizations are doing their part as well. It’s really inspiring. But you know how they get it all done, right?

Yep… with donations from all of us.

I believe in this cause and in the work AWF does so much that I’m biking from New York to DC to prove it, and to try to get all of you to believe in it too.

Your support would mean the world to me. Please donate to my fundraising goals today!

Donate Today!

[Credits: Cover photo by Billy Dodson for AWF]

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Audre is a writer, elephant advocate, and brand-new cyclist who's training to bike 300 miles in September to raise funds for the African Wildlife Foundation. Yes, she really is that crazy about elephants! Learn more and donate today.
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