Events: African Parks’ Annual Management Meeting was hosted in Akagera, Rwanda, from September 5th to the 9th at Karenge Bush Camp. Thirty-two members of staff were present, including all Park Managers, who came together to discuss both institutional and individual park management strategies and objectives for the next five-year cycle. Discussions included what “optimisation” of a park means given external and other extenuating factors, many of which are specific to each park; what is a realistically achievable desired state of that park, and how to get there. Discussions were lively and lessons learned were shared across parks; and concrete ideas were put forward as to how we can be better in every way in what we do.
African Parks was present as an exhibitor at the CITES CoP17, which took place in Johannesburg between 25th September and 3rd October. The conference was the largest of its kind for wildlife drawing attendance from 183 parties and more than 3,000 delegates including Ministers and government representatives from member countries, representatives from intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, civil society and other stakeholders. The convention provided a useful opportunity to convene multiple valuable meetings with government delegations from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Ethiopia, among others. It additionally served as a useful interface to engage members of the public and the local and international press, including the BBC, SABC, ITV and The Times. Our staff participated in numerous side events hosted by Vulcan Ltd., EIA, and on the last evening, our fallen rangers from Garamba (11 from 2015-2016) were recognised among other wildlife heroes with the Clark R. Bavin Award, which honours wildlife law enforcement officers.
Communications: After several months of development, African Parks’ website went live with a soft launch on October 11th. Many sections have been added including a new Newsroom where all of our press coverage will be searchable and archived along with multi-media resources; Visit the Park information was added (for each park, with visitation details, lodging options, and online booking forms). Other features such as park sign-up lists, a revised donate platform, a new menu, fixed navigation, search functions and social media links have all been included along with a host of other things. Please feel free to explore the revised site: www.african-parks.org.
We are pleased to share a short, one-minute teaser from 500 Elephants, which can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/187819485. We also look forward to sharing additional content over the next month from the translocation.
Recruitment: The Human Resources Committee of the Board met on the 20th and 21st September and we are now in the final stages of recruitment for an Operations Director and Fundraising Director based in Johannesburg.
Fundraising: The USAID cooperative agreement was signed for Garamba and Chinko, committing US$10 million for a period of five years.