In the Shona language there is a proverb Kutsva kwendebvu varume vanodzimurana which translates into, “Men extinguish each other`s burning beard.” It means that sometimes situations arise in life when we need help from other people. I rearticulate this as the more commonly recognized, “No man is an island.”
Whether you connect with the beautiful tribal cadence from our friends in sub-Saharan Africa or the more Western metaphor, it means we as humans depend on each other and community is what enables mankind to thrive. Despite the irony that we are physically being told to isolate right now, we have an obligation to each other not to shut ourselves off from the surrounding world.
It is this essential concept that everyone is part of society and therefore part of this world, that brings us to share with you the plight of the men and women on the front lines of wildlife conservation in Africa with ENDANGERED RANGERS. Things are certainly tough in our own backyards right now, but these challenges are not limited by geography. Due to the collapse of tourism, the infrastructure established to protect wildlife – the rangers, scouts, field officers, and forest guides – is fragile. Jobs are being lost, the supply networks that bring food, equipment, and medical services has weakened if not completely shut down, and now poachers have the edge. Already emboldened, these poachers literally now have field advantage over reduced patrols and enforcement.
There is an enormous cascading effect that this fundraising event is established to mitigate. Africa’s tourism industry is vital to conservation efforts as park and safari fees support the hundreds of human eyes and ears on the ground. But now, as parks shutter and private reserves who act as sanctuaries for many threatened species lose the revenue, the damage to an already threatened ecosystem is catastrophic.
We were already on track to lose key species in the next few decades. The Black Rhino population has declined 97.6% since 1960 and the lion population is down 43% in just the last 20 years. On average according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, about 35,000 elephants are killed annually. Or, to make the point clearer, an elephant is killed every 15 minutes (about 100 per day). Per the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), 90% of the African elephants have been wiped out in the last century with just over 400K left in all of Africa.
The pandemic has accelerated these timelines and while we and other conservation committed entities from the non-profit world to the technology companies innovating on anti-poaching solutions continue to navigate around this new reality we must help the people still on the ground holding the line.
ENDANGERED RANGERS is our way of bringing awareness and immediate help to these noble men and women in the form of salaries, supplies, and hope. It is also an effort to bring them the ingenious, effective, and scalable technology tools to reinforce their boots on the ground efforts. The funds raised by ENDANGERED RANGERS are being distributed across multiple beneficiaries whose transformative anti-poaching programs are designed to be shared with the entirety of the conservation community. From the education of the rangers to the training of the canine units to the deployment of the preventative suite of anti-poaching tech, it is urgent we don’t miss a beat in this constant conflict with poachers.
The event on December 13th will give you a glimpse into this world and here on the site we hope to share more stories of the people and programs having a game-changing impact. Together we can affect what is being affected. By helping the rangers you help the animals. Helping the animals saves the planet. A ripple can have a big effect and we thank you in advance for your precious time and support.
Jamala yako haipotei. Your kindness will not be lost (Swahili Proverb).
Jenna is the co-founder of Zambezi Partners whose mission is to eradicate poaching in our lifetime with investment and technology.
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