It is so easy to get terribly despondent about the state of our planet, but every now and again you come across a good news story that restores hope.
I got the October copy of Africa Geographic in my post box yesterday. Although one distressing article focuses on the rather precarious situation in the rainforests of Gabon, there was one that deserves a mention, just because it is overwhelmingly positive and it gives a refreshing perspective on conservation in Africa today.
It is not all bad out there!
The article entitled ‘life, death & resurrection’ by Dale Morris, talks about the remote Liuwa Plain in Zambia. This area, as he put it, ‘flatlined’ after poachers and hunters had their way for decades. This once glorious wilderness area in the western part of the country would have teemed with wildlife just a century ago.
In 2003, it was quite literally devoid of all life. This is when the African Parks Network took control. The Liuwa Plain National Park is, as Morris puts it, like the proverbial phoenix that has risen from the ashes.
Today poaching has come to a standstill and animal numbers are increasing steadily. Zebra and Tsessebe populations are healthy again and the population of Lechwe has stabilised. Wild dog, cheetah and leopards are also making a comeback and buffalo and lion have been brought in and are thriving. What a wonderful good news story to take you into the long weekend!
The African Parks Network is a private sector park management institution that manages parks in public-private partnerships with Governments on a long term basis. It does so by combining world class conservation practice with business expertise. AFP believes that if managed properly and where leveraged responsibly for tourism and associated private enterprise, parks can make a significant contribution to a country’s economy. By making parks socially and economically relevant, it is our belief that this will contribute to their survival. Similarly, by treating parks as individual business units with retention of all income at the park level, AFP also aims to ensure their long term financial sustainability.