The ambition of South African based conservation organisation African Parks to upgrade Malawi’s national parks has received a huge boost from Wyss Foundation.
The foundation has committed $65 million to African Parks to secure protected areas in Africa and Malawi is one of the beneficiaries.
A statement by African Parks reveals that the money will support the protection and management of four existing parks in Rwanda and Malawi.
The funding will also enable the non-profit organization to conserve up to five new protected areas yet to be identified in other countries.
“The Wyss Foundation is partnering with African Parks to safeguard more large wild landscapes in Africa from poaching and destruction,” said Hansjörg Wyss, Founder and Chairman of The Wyss Foundation.
Wyss added: “African Parks has demonstrated success in cooperating with local leaders, communities and African nations in preserving ecosystems benefiting wildlife, while supporting local communities and populations. We are proud of our partnership with African Parks.”
The philanthropic commitment extends the Wyss Foundation’s existing support to African Parks for Akagera National Park in Rwanda, and Liwonde National Park, Majete Wildlife Reserve and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve all of which are in Malawi.
A previous grant from the Wyss Foundation, announced in 2015, has helped African Parks bring lions back to Rwanda after they had been hunted out of existence after the genocide 20 years ago.
Seven lions were reintroduced in August of 2015 and already seven cubs have been born, doubling the population and increasing tourism dramatically to the park.
The Foundation has also been a critical partner for African Parks in implementing one of the most globally significant elephant translocations in human history.
Up to 500 elephants are currently being moved from two parks with a surplus (Liwonde and Majete) to a third park (Nkhotakota) that until recently had been heavily poached but has since been secured and is poised to be restocked and revived as Malawi’s premier elephant sanctuary.
In addition to these elephants, more than 1,000 head of other animals, including sable antelope, buffalo, waterbuck and impala have also been reintroduced to Nkhotakota, re-establishing viable founder populations, and helping to restore the health of the park.
“It’s rare to find individuals who commit themselves so whole-heartedly and with such conviction and clarity in wanting to save Africa’s wildlife for the benefit of the people” said Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks.
He added: “Our vision is to protect 20 parks by 2020, bringing up to 10 million hectares of wilderness under our management. This historic gift, and the partnership forged with the Wyss Foundation, enables us to have a conservation impact at a scale which is globally significant. We couldn’t be more grateful for this inspiring and transformational commitment to the continent of Africa”.