Southern Africa Success
I've been fortunate enough to make three trips to Southern Africa (mostly in Namibia). I was there as a photographer, as well as working on my own non profit projects (Wheels of Change), and recently on conservation projects with the World Wildlife Fund, Africa Wildlife Foundation, and others. While there's a long way to go in conservation, the success stories continue to inspire me.
Perched high on the Klip River Canyon is the Grootberg Lodge. Grootberg is located on the Khoadi-//Hôas Conservancy and is success story in community based conservation.
98% of the lodge employees are members of the local community. The community is educated on why conservation is vital to tourism and to the economy of their local communities. Grootberg is setting trends in wildlife conservation and wildlife numbers are on the rise while many areas of Africa are seeing declines in wildlife (scroll) Guests at the lodge are given the opportunity to track rare wildlife such as desert elephants and black rhino while learning the importance of wildlife conservation. These are some images I captured.
In 1982 there was an estimated only 30-40 black rhino remaining in Damaraland, Namibia. Because of the work done at these conservancies numbers are on the rise
Wildlife conservation has always and will always come down to the people (in all communities, not just Africa). It is vital to show people that having wildlife around for tourism can benefit them far greater than poaching the wildlife. Organizations in Africa have started working with former poachers to help stop current poaching. Because (scroll) who knows poaching strategies better than former poachers?
Game guards put their lives on the line to protect wildlife and the future of Africa. These are the real heros.
It's not just Grootberg lodge leading the way in conservation, conservancies are popping up all over Southern Africa. I was also able to work with the Save the Rhino Trust to track black rhinos while working with my friends at Wilderness Safaris. Here are some of my favorite images from my last trip to Namibia and Botswana.
The success stories are what continue to inspire me, but there is still a long ways to go. As wildlife numbers increase in Namibia so will the opportunity for poachers. The work of the AWF is vital to the future of wildlife conservation.
To learn more about how you can have an impact on conservation, visit: awf.org/conservation-story
If you want to know more about the non profit I helped start, Wheels of Change, and our work empowering African communities through bicycles please visit: WOCinternational.org
You can find prints of the images in this story at: AndyAustinPhoto.com/adventuretravel Follow my adventures: Instagram.com/andyaustinphoto Twitter.com/andyaustinphoto Facebook.com/andyAustinphoto