African Wildlife Fund’s three-pronged strategy — Stop the Killing, Stop the Trafficking, and Stop the Demand — fights poaching from every angle. Direct species protection work includes training and equipping rangers, community scouts, and eco-guards to monitor and protect elephant and rhino populations, deploying dog-and-handler units to track down poachers, helping governments manage protected areas, and conducting wildlife censuses.
Results have been heartening. Among the 11 rhino populations AWF supports, all are stable or increasing; among 14 elephant populations, 11 are stable or increasing. In Kenya’s 50,000-sq.-kilometer Tsavo-Mkomazi ecosystem, the elephant population grew by 14 percent between 2014 and 2017.
On average, elephant poaching has declined consistently in the last three years, though there are regional differences across the continent. In the southern landscapes where AWF works, elephant populations are increasing. As for rhinos overall, although there is good news in some areas where poaching dropped in 2017, there were sharp poaching increases in other areas. In all, South Africa, which holds about three-quarters of the African rhino population, had 1‚028 rhino poached in 2017.