Covid-19 has had a catastrophic effect on conservation in Africa. With tourist lodges closed, there is widespread unemployment. With no alternative source of income, poaching for bushmeat is on the rise. Despite the pandemic, the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) continues to flourish. It's the fourth-largest organised crime in the world with revenues over $200 billion/year. Few people realise that 96 elephants are poached each day. At this rate, they will be extinct in the wild within a decade.
Anti-poaching teams are considered an essential service by the governments of Zimbabwe and South Africa. These all-female teams have continued their patrols to protect the wildlife throughout the pandemic despite serious funding shortages. To continue their vital work, these women need essential supplies, such as masks, torches, binoculars, sanitary products, mosquito nets, boots, uniforms, station rations, fuel, and ongoing patrol vehicle maintenance etc.
The positive impact of employing local women as wildlife rangers has been immense. With a regular income and new skills, these women can support themselves but their families too. Empowered women benefit the community tenfold; Children can stay in school, family planning is supported, health care is improved. Poverty and life expectancy is increased, plus, the risk of rape and sexual assault is lowered. The female ranger model is proving successful and is fully scalable.