It’s easy to believe that Africa’s wildlife population is under threat. Mainly because it actually is. Poaching, human encroachment & environmental changes are affecting beloved creatures from rhinos to lions & cheetahs.

In fact, should current rates of decline among Africa’s wildlife continue, they’ll all be extinct within the next two decades.

‘Doom and gloom’ is one way to describe the situation in the Motherland, ‘hopeful’ is another.

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Image: Africa Albida Tourism/Facebook

There are dozens of on-the-ground organisations, resorts, and governments working hard to reverse the circumstances and grow their fast-diminishing wildlife numbers. And although it’s rarely ever reported, their work is already paying off.

Ross Kennedy of Africa Albida Tourism told attendees at a Bench Africa gathering in Sydney this week, that in certain countries and select parks, wildlife population is actually increasing.

He explained that there has been “more success than you think” in recent times, however, these positive changes can’t be made mainstream as it’ll alert poachers.

“Unfortunately, the baddies have more intelligence than we do. So, if we publicise that the lion population has  grown by 50 percent in a certain park, then the baddies will read it too and know where to target.”

Ross Kennedy, Africa Albida Tourism Chief Executive

“So, what happens is reverse PR where we don’t talk about those successes,” he added.

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Image: Jenman African Safaris/Facebook

Among the ways operators and governments are reversing wildlife decline is by working directly with communities and teaching them to love their animal neighbours.

One project, which started in East Africa and was later adopted by Zimbabwe and Bostwana, saw operators assist locals in shielding their cattle from lions, and in turn saving their income source.

Nicole Bowes of Jenman African Safaris said the project altered people’s perceptions of the big cat, while also improving the emotional wellbeing of cattle and fertilised crops.

“It’s important to work with communities on how they can co-exist with wildlife. There’s been some really amazing projects brought in.”

Nicole Bowes, Jenman African Safaris Marketing Specialist