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Anti-poaching challenges during lockdown, and beyond.

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There are justifiable fears of an upsurge in poaching activity in Africa’s conservation areas in the wake of Covid-19. The link is direct. The disease-related lockdowns have dealt a massive body blow to tourism and the cash flows that derive from it. In most game reserves, whether state, community, or privately owned, revenues from tourism literally finance everything, including the salaries of the men and women who are the front-line defense against poaching.

To prevent wholesale poaching and wildlife trafficking in the wake of Covid-19, it is imperative that anti-poaching teams are kept operational and at full strength. Image, Wikimedia Commons

Lodges can be mothballed, and hospitality staff can be furloughed until the world re-emerges. But if the people who protect the land and the wildlife are removed from the equation, the doors are opened up to infiltration by desperate, hungry people and the avarice of poaching bosses who use them as their foot soldiers. It is imperative, therefore, that anti-poaching teams everywhere are kept at full strength and wholly operational. Also, the best possible relations must be fostered with rural communities alongside game areas. They are a vital link in the anti-poaching chain.

Ironically, some consequences of the lockdown seem to have worked against trafficking criminals. With citizens forced to stay at home and army and police patrolling the highways and byways, it has arguably become more difficult for poachers and middlemen to carry on their nefarious business.

Other opinions suggest that poaching pressure continues unabated. In Botswana, for instance, rhinos are being evacuated because officials are increasingly concerned that poachers have become emboldened by the absence of safari tourists. The full picture, like so many aspects related to the coronavirus pandemic, will only emerge over the months to come. We do know from bitter experience, however, that criminal syndicates are resourceful. There can be little doubt that they are already probing new strategies to source “product”. With such large money flows at stake, it wouldn’t be surprising if government and private stockpiles of ivory and rhino horn were to become an increasing focus of attention.

South Africa has just completed a full six weeks of one of the strictest lockdown protocols imposed on the people of any country. Coronavirus infections and deaths have been kept reassuringly low. And there are now signs of relaxation and a welcome, gradual reopening of economic activity. The social and financial wounds left by the disease are, however, still a long way from scarring over, let alone healing. Sadly, tourism will probably be one of the slowest sectors to recover. It could be 2023 before tourism shows meaningful recuperation. And in that context, the cost of having maintained the integrity of anti-poaching networks for the initial six weeks or so of lockdown could prove a mere bagatelle in relation to future financial challenges.

If recovery from the knock-on effects of Covid-19 were the only serious challenge facing the protection of our wild places, it would be bad enough. But we also need to keep a very watchful eye on developments in northern Mozambique. This huge country lies along a 2,800-mile (4,571-kilometer) very porous border to the east of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania.

On Tuesday this week, Andrew Harding, the BBC’s correspondent for Africa, wrote of the “simmering Islamist” rebellion in Mozambique’s remote far northern province of Cabo Delgado. The conflict has already caused thousands of villagers to flee their homes in terror. And now, there is gruesome video evidence of greater organization and purpose on the part of the insurgents known locally as al-Shabab.

There are no known links between the Mozambican rebels and the Somali-based, al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabab group who have carried out attacks in East Africa. But there is compelling evidence, however, of the jihadists in Cabo Delgado claiming allegiance to Islamic State.

This is bad news on so many levels. For the people obviously—some 200,000 souls have already been displaced—but also the wildlife. The links between fundamentalist insurgents and wildlife exploitation are well documented, although perhaps somewhat overstated, as a significant source of conflict funding. As Vanda Felbab-Brown of the highly respected Brookings think-tank says, “…most poachers are not terrorists, and most militants and terrorists are not poachers.” But there can be no denying that one way or another conflict is socially and environmentally devastating. The world has no shortage of evidence of such tragedies.

Even if the consequences of civil strife in Mozambique were to have only a small impact on the wildlife security of its game-rich neighbors, for anti-poaching resources already weakened by the financial hardships brought on by Covid-19, the results could be devastating. It behooves the countries most likely to be affected to face up to this potential threat sooner rather than later.

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The safari industry is no stranger to hardship, but what will it take to recover now?

By Tourism No Comments
Stacey Lastoe, CNN | April 22, 2020

Read the original story here.

The last Hippo Creek Safari was cut short — in mid-March, the veteran tour operator’s guest flew out of Botswana several days early once news of impending lockdowns hit. She never made it to Rwanda.

Covid-19 had arrived in Africa, restricting travel in and out of the continent.

The restrictions spell trouble for Africa, both its people and its animals, the bread and butter of safari travel.

Daniel Saperstein, owner of Hippo Creek Safari, said it was a “scramble” working to get the guest out on a flight before flights filled up. His team worked overnight facilitating the departure of the safari guest.

Original photo as published by CCN. Elephants roam around Xakanaxa in the Moremi Game Reserve. Courtesy Laurie Newman

Meanwhile, Laurie Newman was on safari with nascent operator Brave Africa. She ended up on a private safari with Tabona Wina, one of the company’s co-owners. Isolated in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Newman extended her trip but made it out of the country — and Africa — and back to the United States before it would become impossible to do so.

“She successfully made it home on the last flight out of the country,” says Colorado-based Kelly Vo, who along with her husband, Patrick Vo, co-own Brave Africa with Wina.

As Covid-19 escalated, reaching South Africa and eventually Botswana and other African nations, safari operators and tour companies focused on rescheduling, postponing, deferring and sometimes refunding most of a party’s planned safari as the industry went dark nearly overnight.

“Coronavirus has put a stop to everything,” says Patrick Vo.

“I have not had a new safari booking since this started,” says Betty Jo L Currie of Currie & Co. Travels Unlimited in Atlanta.

Currie, who also consults for luxury travel adviser Virtuoso, finds herself — like the Vos and Saperstein — in a holding pattern, at the mercy of things she cannot control.

Several months into the pandemic, with lockdown restrictions in place around the world, the safari has literally been canceled. While the virus had run loose for months, the pandemic wasn’t officially declared until March 11, creating a kind of panic for those traveling, especially internationally.

It’s neither clear when safari travel will return nor what it will take for it to recover.

Once travel resumes, and in some parts of the world, that’s already starting to become a reality, it’s possible the safari’s recovery will lag behind other industries. Patrick Vo expresses concern about the potentially slow recovery, especially as it relates to poaching.

“The longer we are not out in the wild, the longer the poaching can be without any type of constraint or without any opposition, so to speak.”

Keeping Calm and Carrying On?

In spite of the uncertainty, the empty lodges, the grounded flights and the increase in poaching according to a report in “The New York Times,” industry leaders express optimism about the safari’s future.

Saperstein says the vast majority of his company’s clients are looking forward to traveling as soon as it is feasible — whether that translates to as early as this summer or in the fall.

“A few have indicated that they would like to wait until vaccines are available, which is completely understandable as well, and we have already moved several trips into next year to support that (and have agreements with the camps that will allow further postponements if it’s still not medically safe for those particular travelers to be in Africa by then).”

Although the safari is no stranger to tragedy and upheaval — Ebola outbreaks and the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, two examples cited by Currie and Saperstein, respectively — the current issues are what Saperstein, an industry veteran, calls “unprecedented.”

As such, companies such as Hippo Creek and Brave Africa are trying to be as flexible as possible as the situation evolves.

Wina notes that many of Brave Africa’s guests who were supposed to be on safari now have opted to postpone rather than outright cancel.

April safaris have been moved to September and beyond.

Nicole Robinson, chief marketing officer for luxury safari company andBeyond, says they are also seeing postponements instead of cancellations: “Ninety percent of our guests opted to postpone travel instead of canceling.

“We’re preparing for a slow recovery. What we’re hearing from our key markets is that local travel will most likely pick up first.

“We’re also hearing, something very encouraging to us, that travelers are more likely to be interested in travel to explore nature and turning to more meaningful, purposeful travel experiences.”

Patrick Vo says: “If our guests can get to Africa, we can take them out on an amazing safari.”

Waiting for Takeoff

But until international travel resumes, no one can go on safari, making “the safari as good as dead,” according to Wina, and underlining the industry’s dependence on outside factors, namely flights.

If you can’t get people to Africa, you cannot get them on safari.

Saperstein views the early African precautions as going a long way toward things getting up and running again. He’s based in the United States and says Africa’s “much more stringent lockdown” has him feeling “hopeful that they can reopen quickly when it is safe to do so.”

Even though there’s no date on the calendar which you can look to and say “this is when safaris will be back in session,” Wina nonetheless encourages booking: “You can book for end of this year” with the option to defer if travel to Africa does not resume. But of course, Wina and the other operators are eager for the safari’s recovery; it’s directly related to their livelihood and to the protection of the animals.

Yet, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Currie hasn’t had a new safari booking Covid-19 was declared a pandemic. For now, she’s just actively rescheduling and hoping that the demand will be there when it’s safe to travel again.

Safaris are often planned quite far in advance since lodges, especially in the luxury category, are small and fill up quickly; Brave Africa has inquiries for safaris in 2021 and in 2022.

Currie has faith in would-be safari-goers: “And if you care about conservation and sustainability and wildlife and cultural and communities, then clearly that deposit is going to go toward that effort.”

Still, cost combined with a deep uncertainty about whether that scheduled flight will take place as planned (among myriad other concerns) might deter some people from booking a safari, often considered a bucket-list trip because of its high price tag.

Budget, DIY safaris exist, but guests have less protection and assistance if they choose to go this route.

Newman, having gone through a safari operator, had help getting out of the country and continent.

“There is an eight-hour time difference between Botswana and Colorado, so Patrick and I would be on the phone at 2 a.m. onward to give updates on the progress of the pandemic and to ensure Laurie could make informed decisions about how to continue her journey in Africa after her Brave Africa safari was completed or to start making her way home to the US,” Kelly Vo explains.

As for future safari travel? Currie believes if you have the means, you should want to go on safari.

The Vos loved their first safari so much, they went on another one. It was during the second safari that they hatched a plan to launch a business with their guide at the time, Wina.

Cheetahs, leopards, elephants, rhinos and lions: Patrick and Kelly were hooked after seeing the animals in the wild interacting with each other.

The Poaching Problem

Add the increase in poaching to the devastating list of Covid-19 side effects, and you can see why the safari is in a different kind of danger.

It is most definitely a concern, say many industry experts. With countries on lockdown and stay-at-home orders in effect in much of Africa, official anti-poaching efforts have largely been abandoned.

In some South African lodges, where safari guides live on-site, there’s a continued lookout for illegal activity.

To wit: Michel Girardin, general manager of Djuma Private Game Reserve in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa, says there hasn’t been a “major increase” in poaching, and that he’s heard of “a drop in the incidents of poaching being reported.”

Yet a lack of reporting and a lack of poaching are two different things.

Typically, explains Kelly Vo, safari guests and staff can be counted on to report bad or illegal behavior.

In Botswana’s bush, far more remote and hard to get to than Sabi Sands, no one is out there enforcing anti-poaching laws, according to Patrick Vo.

Map Ives, director of Rhino Conservation Botswana disputes the claim that anti-poaching efforts have stopped; in fact, Ives says his organization has actually increased their aerial presence considerably.

Wina, however, speaks to what he views as a decrease in vehicular monitoring: “When everything is up and running, you have so many vehicles driving around there. You have camps, you have guests all the time and you get these guys driving in the park in an out and it keeps the poaching very low.”

“The challenge, though, is that’s a drop in the bucket,” Patrick Vo says of the efforts of some South African lodges, adding that in the past couple of weeks in “the northwest corner of South Africa, already nine rhinos have been poached in the last week.”

Poaching is “big, big, big business,” Currie says.

“Killing the rhinos is driven by big syndicates out of Asia and possibly other places,” she adds.

But will severe travel restrictions hurt the poachers’ supply lines? If they can’t get illicit goods out of Africa, is there a chance poaching will become less lucrative, less of a lifeline for the sellers?

It may slow things down, Kelly Vo says, but ultimately, “we have no idea.”

“Africans in Africa, they have zero use for ivory,” Patrick Vo adds.

Safari on Sale?

Travelers are unlikely to see a significant decrease in the cost of a safari, which varies widely but is rarely considered budget-friendly.

A 10-day, low-budget safari, not including flights to or within Africa or a slew of other amenities, can start at about $3,000 a person, according to Currie. But for this relatively low-cost safari, the conservation component may be absent, says Currie, and the guides may not be as outstanding as the ones leading a more expensive trip.

But a five-star luxury safari can cost well beyond $10,000 a person, with add-ons such as massages and top-shelf alcohol coming at a premium.

Gratuities, at $25 to $50 a day, are another additional expense.

A fraction of the price for accommodations, which run the gamut from rustic raised tents in the remote bushlands to upscale enclosed lodges with private butler service, often goes toward conservation efforts.

Brave Africa, for example, gives $5 a night per guest toward conservation funds, according to Kelly Vo, and she points out that many, if not most, safari companies practice this distribution.

Of course, there are plenty of conservation efforts individuals wanting to protect the animals can contribute to now. Brave Africa, for example, in partnership with Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit set up a GoFundMe to assist with the effort to protect wildlife;

Currie credits philanthropists with helping as well and explains the mission of many luxury operators: “It’s part of the larger intention on the part of these companies to protect wildlife, to protect sustainability, local community, land preservation and all of that will continue to happen regardless of this virus, at least for the foreseeable future.”

These protection efforts, along with salaries for safari staff — especially those on the ground — come at a cost.

Brave Africa’s Botswana staff took a voluntary pay cut, Patrick Vo says, making 50% of what they were making when safaris were in session.

“The truth of the matter is that this team cares about each other so much that everyone is pitching in so that no one has to be let go,” Patrick Vo says and Kelly adds: “Well, if you care about the animals, too, you have to care about the people.”

While Currie isn’t expecting a steep increase in all-inclusive lodging in the 2022 rates (which won’t be released for another year), she’s also not predicting a price decrease.

Saperstein agrees, though he says maybe you’ll see a special here or there (book five nights for the price of four or along those lines).

If what andBeyond’s Robinson is hearing is accurate — “travelers are more likely to be interested in travel to explore nature and turning to more meaningful, purposeful travel experiences” once they are free to roam — the safari may rebound as quickly as any other niche travel industry.

“Africa,” says Patrick Vo, “is the least scripted.”

“You wake up every morning, you have no idea what you’re going to see. You don’t really need a plan. You just go out there and you see what nature is going to show today.”

Can tourism reverse the impact of poaching in Zambia and Zimbabwe?

By Antipoaching, Conservation, Tourism No Comments
Tamsin Wressell, National Geographic | April 21, 2020

Read original story here.

The sun yawns over the land, vast savannahs stretching until they blur into the horizon. I can see elephants stomping up dust storms and hippos smacking their tails on muddied banks. I’m in a hot air balloon with Eric Heseman, owner of Namib Sky Balloon Safaris, watching a new day come to life. It’s a peaceful morning on Zambia’s Busanga Plains: the only sounds come from the fire bellowing above our heads and the distant growls of hyenas.

“Look at all this land and not a single person in sight,” Eric says, echoing what’s in my head. “This is the wildest safari I’ve led in Africa. If this was the Okavango in Botswana, we’d have passed at least three camps by now.”

Below us, antelopes leap over a trickle of a river, a barely perceptible waterway clawing its way through parched earth. In the 11 years Eric has worked here, this is the most brutal drought he’s witnessed. The resulting lack of vegetation has made it difficult for conservationists like Eric to safeguard the wildlife: poachers can now spot patrols a mile off and thus evade capture.

Busanga Plains in the north of Kafue National Park, which is Zambia’s oldest and largest park, stretches out for 8,500 square miles. Yet with growing funding concerns, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) has just three cars to patrol it. Eric runs these balloon tours to support the organisation. “People come and pay $200 (£150) for a ride and that all goes back into conservation. Plus, the more tourists we can get here in the sky, the more eyes we have on the poachers,” Eric says.

Original photo as published by National Geographic. A white rhino roams the wilderness in Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe.

“All parks are struggling,” Ben Goodheart, field ecologist in the Luangwa Valley Team at the Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP), tells me over dinner that evening. “People come to Busanga because they can see lions, wild dogs, cheetahs, hyenas and leopards,” he says, adding that these plains have 21 species of antelope — the highest diversity of antelope anywhere in Africa. One mammal the area doesn’t have, however, is white rhino: poaching on Busanga was so intense between the 1960s and 1980s that every last one was killed. “Once you start losing animals to poaching, travellers lose interest in the area and the economy suffers.”

A lot of the poaching here, Ben tells me, is for the bushmeat trade. It’s a big commercial operation and, for conservationists, a big problem. Wire snare traps are hidden in the bushes and hooked on trees to catch animals like buffalo and wildebeest. In some cities, like Lusaka and Solwezi, bushmeat has become a delicacy. “I hear it tastes terrible, but there’s a demand for it,” Ben continues. “Guys come in, illegally, six at a time, shoot everything they see and set hundreds of snares. They can end up with hundreds of kilos of meat.”

But the traps are catching more than just prey species. On a game drive, I spot Queen, leader of a 16-strong pride of lions. My guide, Lazarus, tells me about her: Queen got trapped in a snare in 2013. Every lion on this plain is descended from her, and without anti-poaching efforts to free her from the trap, the plains would be a very different place: with no lions, the entire ecosystem could crumble.

“Kafue is the second-largest national park in Africa — it should be a crown jewel, but because of traps, it’s severely depleted,” Ben later tells me. We’re eating dinner at Shumba Camp and have the place to ourselves. “Without big herds of prey, there’s a lack of carnivores, and tourists just aren’t coming. That’s why anti-poaching is such an important operation. More tourists would be the solution to more infrastructure and income for locals,” he adds. “And there would be more eyes on the poachers and more funding to stop them.”

Return of the Rhino

The next morning, I travel south to Toka Leya, a camp that sits on the banks of the Zambezi in the diminutive Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. Turning off the main road, I drive between spindly parched trees to meet Bazel, one of the four rangers assigned to watch over the rare white rhinos in this park.

“We protect these rhinos 24/7,” Bazel tells me as we carefully approach a four-month-old white rhino. The youngster stands statue-still next to its mother while she grazes on small patches of sprouting green grass. “We even plant grass for them because of the drought.”

Rhinos were completely wiped out in Zambia in 1989 as a result of poaching (the keratin from their horns is erroneously considered to be an aphrodisiac in a number of foreign markets, including China). Four were reintroduced in 2008 by the DNPW, and the herd today numbers 10. They’re not in their best habitat: while black rhino are searchers and feed off trees, white rhino are grazers who like to roam, and the grass here is in short supply. The rangers tell me they’d like to introduce them to more areas, but it’s once again a question of funding and having the bodies to watch and look after them. Local organisations and farmers support the rangers’ efforts, and Wilderness Safaris — one of Africa’s foremost ecotourism operators, which has been bringing travellers to this area since 2006 — provides additional supplies, fuel and logistical support.

I leave the rhinos and head to catch the sunset on a boat ride along the Zambezi with Arnold Tshipa, the Zambezi Environmental Officer for Wilderness Safaris. The eyes of numerous crocodiles linger on a hippo carcass; nearby, an elephant bathes in mud on the shores. We pause to soak in the scene before conversation turns to the topic at hand.

“I believe poaching is fuelled by three things: corruption, greed and poverty,” says Arnold. “The people who poach, their food security isn’t as high as yours in the Western world. The cost of living is increasing, so they’re more willing to put themselves in danger to feed their families. In Zambia and Zimbabwe, you get nine years in prison for stealing a cow, but for crimes against wildlife, people are getting away with bail or community service. That’s something the DNPW is hoping to change.”

Africa’s population is projected to double in size by 2050, and with growing habitat fragmentation, habitat loss and poaching, the future for wildlife looks bleak when conservation is taken out of the equation. Effects are far-reaching: with the gene pool depleted, animals’ genetic structures are changing. But Arnold can see progress.

“One solution is for tourism to be conscious rather than voyeuristic,” he says. “Any tourism that doesn’t include locals will quickly be undermined by locals.” Wilderness Safaris, he tells me, has developed an effective model that combines conservation with park collaborations and community work. All these cogs are working together to create change that will, Arnold hopes, stick.

Tourism for Change

A thousand pearl black eyes are on me, unsettling my stomach. I’m in a car in the pitch black of night in Hwange National Park, having crossed the border into Zimbabwe, and we’re surrounded by a herd of buffalo.

“They say buffalo look at you as if you owe them money,” Livingstone, my guide, says. “A lone buffalo is more dangerous than an angry crowd. When they get old, they separate and parasites set in. They see humans and think we’re the cause, so they attack.” We’re not the cause of this particular problem, but we’re causing other issues: namely, climate change. “I haven’t seen the ground this dry in a long time,” Livingstone laments.

In 2019, Hwange saw its worst drought in nearly 30 years. “The Western world wants to have all these big talks about climate change, but if I ask for funding to remove snares, I’m not going to get it — it doesn’t sound sexy enough. But we need to be acting on the day-to-day issues facing conservation, away from trending topics and buzzwords, if we’re really going to address climate change and conservation on a larger scale,” Arnold tells me.

He’s brought me to the Scorpion Anti-Poaching Unit, an eight-person response team set up in 2011 to tackle increases in bushmeat and ivory poaching in Hwange National Park. The results of their efforts are notable. Columns of gnarled and rusted snares decorate their base camp, some of the 2,500 the team have found in the park. They’ve noticed the use of snares drop massively since the project began. Now, they tend to find older snares rather than fresh ones.

“The situation is currently under control, but we can’t relax,” Tyrone, one of the Scorpions, tells me. The unit spends a lot of time telling nearby communities that keeping animals alive, rather than resorting to illegal poaching, is good for tourism, which in turn creates jobs. “It strains us, but with passion in our heart, we keep going and we try hard.” They also work with Children in the Wilderness, a programme that educates young students about conservation. “They go home and spread the message to their family and friends. It’s definitely changing perspectives,” Tyrone explains.

“We’re thinking of our future leaders. We want to see them be eco-conscious and responsible,” Moyo, head teacher at Ngamo Primary School, explains to me later. “They see the world is using up its natural resources, but we still have our wildlife here — and that’s a resource we can use. For one person to poach an animal, only they benefit from that. But to keep it alive means the whole community can build on an economy from tourism and create funding to build schools and farm crops.”

The importance of conservation has never been something locals have disregarded, as Mr Johnson, a resident in Ngamo village, argues: “Some people say our ancestors were the roots of this problem but, if you know our history, hunting bushmeat was careful and seasonal. It was only for the winter months when the meat wouldn’t rot, and they knew when these animals were breeding and gave them time in order to keep numbers high. The knowledge of conserving is within us. It was only when the white men came that they took that away; they didn’t have the same mindset and came with greed,” Mr Johnson explains.

It was this style of hunting that caused an imbalance in the ecosystem, to the point where it’s now so fragile, Mr Johnson continues to tell me.

As I go to leave, Mr Johnson adds a final comment: “The eco-safari camps here have made local people and tourists connect in a healthy way. If it wasn’t for the wildlife, we wouldn’t have tourism. And because of that we now have good schools and community development. We’re better off than any other area in Zimbabwe, so all the credit goes to our wildlife. That’s something worth saving.”

Reintroducing Endangered Animals 

Black Rhino 

Black rhinos were reintroduced into Chad in 2018. Wild black rhinos had been wiped out by poaching 50 years earlier, but a collaboration between the governments of South Africa and Chad, as well as conservation non-profits SANParks and African Parks, enabled six rhinos to be securely translocated from South Africa to Zakouma National Park. africanparks.org

African Wild Dog 

The first ever African wild dog introduction happened in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park in 2018, after 25 years of local extinction. The project was spearheaded through conservation group partnerships, including KwaZulu-Natal Wild Dog Advisory Group and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. The South African state of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has protected the largest population of wild dogs outside of Kruger National Park and is now a key player in redistributing the species into their historic range.

White Rhino 

White rhino became locally extinct in Zambia in 1989. In 2008, the Zambia Wildlife Authority successfully reintroduced four white rhino from South Africa into a secure section of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (Victoria Falls), creating a protected population on the north side of the Zambezi. After a number of births, the herd’s population was up to 10. Tragically, in February 2020, two were killed after being hit by a truck.

Pangolin 

With increasing demand for its meat and scales on the black market, the pangolin is believed to be the world’s most trafficked mammal. A reintroduction programme in South Africa, announced in February 2020, aims to reverse Phinda’s local extinction. &Beyond has partnered with the African Pangolin Working Group, Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital and the Humane Society International-Africa to launch the programme.

Addax 

Once roaming in their thousands in North Africa, poaching and industrialisation pushed the African population of the critically endangered antelope to just a handful by 2016. In 2019, 15 addax were brought over to Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Achimal Wildlife Area in Chad from Abu Dhabi where they were acclimatised before being reintroduced into the wild. africageographic.com.

How to Do It 

Africa Odyssey and Wilderness Safaris offer two nights at Wilderness Safaris’ Shumba Camp, Zambia, and three nights at Linkwasha Camp, Zimbabwe, with a night in between at Toka Leya at Victoria Falls, from £6,200 per person. Includes all flights, transfers, game drives and activities including a tour of Victoria Falls, all-inclusive.

Published in the May 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)