Why What We’re Doing Is Important
Our primary goal is to generate vital funding for ranger welfare through tourism. How we decide to do that can do more still, here's how...
Through considered planning of our holidays, our goal is to create an identifiable relationship between consumer spending and areas in Africa with a notable commitment to conservation. Simply put - we want to support those trying to do good. In order to do this, we're partnering with businesses who share our ethos and who are committed to conservation and sustainability where possible. We hope to connect tourism generated profit with conservation funding and increase the economic value of protected areas in Africa through tourism.
The Numbers Bit – The State of Current Conservation Funding
A 2017 study carried out by the WWF, Credit Suisse and McKinsey & Company concluded that global conservation funding needs to reach $200 - $300 billion per year to yield sustainable long-term results. To achieve this would require both philanthropic and governmental funding of conservation to double, and investable cash flow to increase 30-fold. To put these numbers into perspective, on a global financial scale $300 billion was roughly only 0.0035% of global GDP in 2018 (based on a global GDP of $86 trillion as listed by the World Bank).
A good example of the effect this is having can be found in the 2018 report by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). The report concluded that 96% of the protected areas inhabited by lions were underfunded. An undeniable factor contributing to the decline of this big cat population in Africa. The report claimed that an annual investment of up to $2.4 billion was required to sustain these areas and that the deficit at the time was $0.9 - $2.1 billion. One year later, the World Travel and Tourism Council reported that wildlife tourism generated $120 billion worldwide. They also noted that travel and tourism as a whole contributed $2,751 billion to global GDP that year – five times the value of the illegal wildlife trade.
In 2017 a study, published in the Global Ecology and Conservation Journal a Megafauna Conservation Index was created to chart the efforts of countries conserving the world’s megafauna. According to the study, sub-Saharan African countries made up the top five spots for available habitat – these were Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Zambia. African countries actually took the top 22 spots for these criteria and 70% of all African countries scored above the global average for areas in which large animals existed in the wild.
However, when assessed by the proportion of wildlife areas that are classified as protected and the financial contributions made to protect them, only one African country appears in the top five – Namibia, which is 4th for financial contributions. Since 1998, Namibia has implemented a tourism model that has included the creation of more than 80 protected conservancies, which now generate employment for around 9% of the country’s population. This is an approach that needs to be adopted by more African countries but will only be possible through targeted investment.
Simply put Africa has more wilderness and wildlife remaining than any other continent on earth. It's just not getting the funding to protect it.
Why is Conservation Underfunded?
According to Credit Suisse, the primary reasons why conservation projects are underinvested include:
The financial and ecological benefits of conservation programmes are not sufficiently identified or standardised.
Without regulatory intervention, the environmental benefits are often not top priorities for the investors involved.
The conservation projects are not set up like traditional business models, so return on investment and impact maximisation is not the sole focus.
So What Does All This Mean?
In a nutshell, these figures emphasise that not enough investment is being directed into sustainable wildlife conservation in Africa, despite significant profits being made from travel and tourism across the continent. Environment and travel are intricately connected, so it’s time to bridge the gap.
At For Rangers Adventures, we’re going to set the wheels of change in motion by making direct contributions to conservation initiatives and ranger training programmes. Our aim is to divert more tourism cash into wildlife and habitat protection projects, to preserve Africa’s wilderness and restore the balance between visiting travellers and local environments.
Ultimately, we hope to create financial incentives for investors to come on board, in the drive to protect the continent’s diverse ecosystems and the people who call Africa home.