African Wildlife Poaching: The Forgotten Ones

Game reserves, national parks and protected areas play a critical role in the protection and conservation of vulnerable species, especially those that are in high demand amongst illegal poaching rings. In 2017, official statistics released in July by the Department of Environmental Affairs showed a decrease in the number of rhinos poached compared to the same time in 2016- a positive sign.

However, with the focus being primarily on rhino poaching in the last few years, there are a number of other animal populations that are being targeted without restraint. Animals such as lions, elephants and pangolins are also under threat from poachers. These creatures generally don’t get the media attention that they deserve.

Elephant poaching has occurred for centuries. However, rates have dramatically increased in recent years, with most elephant tusks ending up in Asia and the Middle East on the black market. With this rise in demand for elephant tusks, various national parks and private reserves have taken up commendably strong initiatives to help protect these gentle giants and bring a halt to the illegal ivory trade. Sadly, many parks and reserves do not have the funding needed to support a cohesive anti-poaching effort, and these incredible creatures are getting slaughtered every day.

Even the King of the Jungle is not safe…

Despite an increase in awareness and conservation efforts, lion populations are still dropping. Without urgent intervention, the lion could be extinct by 2050. There do exist, however, shining beacons of hope in organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund and African Parks. These organisations not only do fantastic work in creating awareness and raising funds to conserve lions, but they are also actively involved in the management of areas where lions are found. A great example of this can be seen in Zambia‘s  Liuwa Plains National Park, where lions have been successfully reintroduced and the population is re-establishing itself. Then there is the much-anticipated arrival of lions in Malawi‘s Liwonde National Park,  where the big cats were wiped out by man 20 years ago.

The fascinating pangolin is another wild creature that is currently at risk. One of Africa’s most elusive nocturnal creatures, the pangolin  is  currently the most trafficked animal specie in the world. This is due to the demand for its unusual scales (modified hairs), which are ground up and consumed as a medicine. Several organisations are doing wonderful work in the effort to ensure the survival of the pangolin. These include  and Now-or-Never-Africa.  Game reserves are also doing their part for the pangolin. Tswalu Game Reserve in the Kalahari provides a safe environment for these rare creatures, and is one of the best places in Africa to see the pangolin in its natural habitat.


Although the situation may seem dire for many of Africa’s magnificent creatures, there are many people, organisations and parks in Africa that are doing great things to ensure that the continent’s incredible wildlife species survive for future generations to see and enjoy. You can do your bit by creating awareness, supporting conservation initiatives, contributing to fund-raising efforts, or simply just by visiting one of these parks on a safari holiday. As long as parks and reserves generate revenue from people wanting to see the wildlife, there will be an incentive to preserve them!



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