Why What We’re Doing Is Important
By directly funding conservation initiatives such as ForRangers, partnering with businesses who share our ethos and reducing the gap between tourism generated profit and the important work that is being done to protect it - we will create an identifiable relationship between consumer spending and areas with a notable and successful commitment to conservation. Our aim is to eventually increase the economic value of protected areas in Africa through tourism. We hope that by doing so governments and private investors will have a financial incentive to set aside and protect more land for wildlife to occupy, creating jobs for local communities and protecting Africa’s natural heritage.
In a 2017 study carried out by the McKinsey & Company, Credit Suisse and the World Wildlife Foundation concluded that global conservation funding would need to reach $200 - $300bn per annum in order for global conservation to yield sustainable longterm results. To achieve this would require both philanthropic and government funding of conservation to double and investable cash flow to increase 30-fold. To put these numbers into perspective, on a global financial scale $300bn ( was roughly only 0.0035% of global GDP in 2018 (based on a global GDP of $86 trillion as listed by the World Bank).
That same year (2018) a separate report by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) concluded that 96% of the protected areas (PAs) in Africa in which lions are found are underfunded in conservation. An undeniable factor in Africa’s declining lion population. The report claimed that an annual nvestment $1.2 to $2.4 bn was required to sustain the PA’s but that there was a deficit of between $0.9bn and $2.1bn in investment. One year later, the World Travel and Tourism Council reported that wildlife tourism generated $120bn worldwide. The report also noted that travel and tourism as a whole contributed $2,751bn 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 created a Megafauna Conservation Index to establish relative efforts of countries to conserve the world’s megafauna. According to the study, sub-Saharan African countries made up the top 5 performing countries for available habitat – 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.
When assessed by the proportion of wildlife areas that are classified as protected and the financial contributions made to conservation, only one African country appears in the top 5 of either list (Namibia, 4th in financial contributions). Since 1998, Namibia has implemented a tourism model that has included the creation of more than 80 protected conservancies. The conservancies generate employment for roughly 9% of the country’s entire population.
In summary, not enough investment is being made into wildlife conservation in Africa for it to be sustained despite significant profiteering from travel and tourism to Africa being made. According to Credit Suisse, the primary reasons why conservation projects are under invested in include:
The monetary and conservation benefits of conservation programs are not sufficiently well identified or standardised.
The environmental benefits are, without regulatory intervention, often externalities for the investors involved.
The conservation projects are not set up with the same focus on return/impact maximisation and replication as are traditional business models.
By directly funding conservation initiatives such as ForRangers, partnering with businesses who share our ethos and reducing the gap between those passionate about African wildlife and the important work that is being done to protect it - we will create an identifiable relationship between consumer spending and commitment to conservation. We aim to eventually increase the value of protected areas in Africa to their national governments through revenue growth created by conservation-tourism. Our hope is that by doing so governments and private investors will get a financial incentive to set aside more land for wildlife to occupy, creating jobs for local communities and protecting Africa’s natural heritage.