Donation of $100 million to African Parks aids wildlife conservation

Posted on 16 September 2021 By David Henning

The Rob and Melani Walton Foundation has made one of the largest ever donations for conservation in Africa with a $100 million pledge to African Parks. This donation will bolster Africa’s target of protecting 30% of the continent by assisting with park management.

Elephants moving across a plain in Garamba National Park, one of the parks under African Parks protection. Picture: Terese Hart/ Flickr Commons

This endowment will help in expanding African Parks’ impact in managing 30 parks over the next decade, preserving a significant portion of Africa’s biodiversity for the benefit of local communities.

In a statement from Rob Walton, he commented on the urgency of the current climate crisis and the need to act promptly;

‘The impacts of the climate crisis are undeniable, and we must act swiftly and boldly to protect communities so that people and nature can thrive together. In Africa, part of the solution is conserving more parklands to protect biodiversity and ensure communities receive the health and economic benefits these areas can provide when well-managed.’

African Parks was founded in 2000, mandated to ensure the long-term management of protected areas in partnership with the government. It is also involved in the restoration of landscapes and ensuring sustainable livelihoods for local communities.

The NPO currently manages 19 parks accounting for 14.7 million hectares. These include the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo and Iona National Park in Angola.

They take on complete responsibility and accountability for all aspects of the protected area management, including conservation, law enforcement and community development to name a few.

African Parks has identified 161 ‘anchor areas’ in Africa harbouring significant biodiversity that has the greatest chance of being viably functioning and sustaining their flow of benefits to the people.

If all 161 areas receive effective management solutions, it will be a massive step towards African Parks’ broader vision of safeguarding 30% of Africa for nature.

The big donation is greatly welcomed, as the African continent has been very much hit by the effects of Covid, with the continent’s tourism industry losing 7.2 million jobs and national parks a significant portion of their income, suffering disproportionally more than other regions.


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