African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on direct responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of protected areas in partnership with governments and local communities. We currently manage ten parks in seven countries: Chad, Central African Republic (CAR), Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia – covering an expansive six million hectares.
Founded in 2000 in response to the dramatic decline of protected areas due to poor management and lack of funding, African Parks utilises a clear, business approach to conserving Africa’s wildlife and remaining wild areas. While securing vast landscapes and carrying out all activities needed to protect the parks and their wildlife, we maintain a strong focus on economic development and poverty alleviation of surrounding communities in order to ensure our ultimate goal: that each park is ecologically, socially, and financially sustainable for the long term.
By 2020, our goal is to manage 20 parks and protect more than 10 million hectares. Because of the geographic spread and representation of different ecosystems, this will be the most ecologically diverse portfolio of parks under one management across Africa.
Watch a short film about Our Story here.
We are facing a conservation crisis in Africa in which national parks and protected areas are being lost.
Although there are more than 1,200 designated protected areas in Africa, many are just ‘paper parks’ and given current trends, it is unlikely that more than 60 parks larger than 100,000 hectares each will remain intact in the next 20 years. This is why the time is now to secure these critically threatened areas under the unique model of African Parks, to ensure that Africa’s wildlife and wild landscapes can survive long into the future.
Africa’s wildlife and wild areas are under threat largely due to three main reasons: habitat loss and fragmentation due to the growing needs of the increasing human population; the illegal wildlife trade, a multi-billion dollar a year industry, driving the harrowing decline of elephants, rhinos and other species which is increasingly being carried out by well organised and heavily outfitted crime syndicates and even terrorist groups; and human-wildlife conflict which escalates as natural habitats are converted for development or agriculture.
The degradation of these landscapes means that the ecosystem services on which humans depend are being lost forever. Competing forms of land use for an expanding human population, compounded by climate change, means that wildlife and their natural habitats are under serious threat and depend on well protected landscapes in order to survive.
Mandate to Manage: 100% Accountability
African Parks is unique in that we are the only non-governmental organisation in Africa, and possibly the world, that takes on direct responsibility for the management of these critical ecosystems. This is achieved through entering into long-term agreements, usually for 20 years, with governments to manage and finance their national parks. By management, we mean taking on the direct day-to-day responsibility for the entire area including all the activities required to preserve and sustain the park.
What Makes African Parks Unique?
African Parks maintains razor-sharp focus on our very clear mandate: the direct responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of protected areas. In a relatively short period of time, we have established proof of concept and have maintained a solid, and growing track record. We have:
African Parks’ objective is to become the leading player in protected area management on the African continent by being the benchmark of management excellence and park sustainability. By 2020, African Parks aims to have responsibility for a portfolio of 20 parks covering an area of 10 million hectares. Because of the geographic spread and representation of different ecosystems, this will be one of the most ecologically diverse portfolio of parks in the world.