The African Wildlife Foundation, together with the people of Africa, works to ensure the wildlife and wild lands of Africa will endure forever.

For more than 40 years, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has focused exclusively on the continent of Africa. Through these years AWF has played a major role in ensuring the continued existence of some of Africa’s most rare and treasured species such as the elephant, the mountain gorilla, rhinoceros and cheetah. AWF has invested training and resources in African individuals and institutions that have gone on to play critical roles in conservation. We have significantly increased scientific understanding of Africa’s extraordinary ecosystems through research. We have pioneered the use of community conservation and conservation enterprise to demonstrate that wildlife can be conserved while people’s well being is also improved. We have provided crucial assistance to national parks and reserves and promoted international cooperation to protect important sites and populations that stretch across national boundaries.


African Heartlands Program

The essential need to conserve Africa’s remaining vital ecosystems inspired AWF to mark a new era in African conservation by establishing the African Heartlands Program in 1998. Heartlands are large, cohesive conservation landscapes which are biologically important and have the scope to maintain healthy populations of wild species and natural processes well into the future. They also form a sizeable economic unit in which tourism or other natural resource-based activities can contribute significantly to the livelihoods of people living in the area. Most of the African Heartlands include a combination of government lands (like national parks) community-owned lands, and lands owned by individuals or the private sector.

Education and African Leadership Program

From the beginning, AWF has believed that Africans are the ideal stewards of Africa’s natural resources. This core belief led AWF to found the first school to train African wildlife managers in Tanzania in 1961. During its early decades, AWF helped to establish and support wildlife clubs in several African countries to help raise the awareness and interest of a new generation in the importance of conservation. AWF has also provided scholarships and educated hundreds of Africans in conservation studies to assure the survival of Africa’s wildlife heritage.

Critical Species Research and Conservation Program

Over the past four decades, AWF has supported some of the most respected and important research projects on the continent including those of Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall and Cynthia Moss. AWF continues its tradition of support to important research with an emphasis on research projects which directly address conservation management problems and human-wildlife conflicts.

Conservation Enterprise

AWF has established strategically located Conservation Centers throughout Africa. Staffed with an unparalleled team of enterprise specialists, these specialists offer expertise in business planning, law and community development. Overall, AWF specialists assist rural communities who live with wildlife to establish enterprises related to conservation. Wildlife then becomes a welcome asset rather than a costly nuisance to local people.