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The Effects of COVID-19 on Africa’s Wildlife

Game scout and dog patrolling wildlife.
Game scout and dog patrolling wildlife. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

Every day we are reminded of how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our everyday lives and the lives of our loved ones. Our focus is on masks, social distancing, washing hands, canceling holiday travel and gatherings. Around the world, people are dealing with COVID fatigue as we wait for a vaccine.

In Africa, the effects of COVID-19 paint a much different picture. The ripple effects of the pandemic which include a decrease in tourism and job security, increased travel restrictions, as well as less presence within the protected areas, could impact conservation negatively. Endangered animals are already at risk from poaching and climate change. With the decline of visitors to Africa, comes more opportunity for poachers … and increased pressure on the game Scouts to protect wildlife. And now, the economic effects of the pandemic endanger the lives of the people who live there, including the anti-poaching Scouts (a.k.a. Rangers) who work tirelessly to protect endangered species and provide for their families.

African Community & Conservation Foundation (ACCF), one of Vista’s conservation partners, supports anti-poaching efforts including raising awareness and funds that will go directly to the immediate needs on the ground to equip anti-poaching game scouts with gear and tools. With the pandemic, the stakes have been raised and the need is even greater – not only to save the animals – but to sustain the livelihoods, supplies and services of the rural communities and their people.

In addition to its many good efforts to affect change, ACCF is holding a virtual fundraising event, Endangered Rangers, to share the stories and raise awareness of the courageous men and women on the front lines of anti-poaching. The live event hosted by Josh Duhamel, ACCF Ambassador, on Dec. 13. At 5 p.m. CST.  Don Felder (Eagles) will be playing music and many other influencers and world changers will be participating and supporting this event.

Game scouts removing wire traps set by poachers.
Game scouts removing wire traps set by poachers. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay