Chronic under-funding is the greatest challenge to wildlife conservation in developing countries where most of the world’s biodiversity resides, but where government funding for environment is understandably limited. In many African and developing countries elsewhere, wildlife and habitats are being destroyed at unprecedented rates. Rivers are polluted, lakes overfished and swamps drained. These problems affect humans who also depend on these ecosystems for their daily sustenance. And the problems are being made worse by the impacts of climate change.
Unless we take decisive action, future generations will lose the world’s greatest reserves of biological wealth and diversity. Having spent a lifetime creating protected areas, and fighting poaching and habitat destruction, I am convinced that it is inadequate funding that is the major challenge that we must overcome in order to secure the world’s endangered species and wilderness places.
To achieve this, we invite the world to help.
Using the internet, we bring supporters and conservationists together through online diaries or blogs to enable individual donors around the world to communicate directly with the people that they are funding. This is what makes WildlifeDirect unique and I believe that by making these connections we are transforming the nature of charitable giving by enabling anyone anywhere to participate, while providing real time transparency and accountability.
Through WildlifeDirect we aim to reach a global community of people concerned with the survival of wildlife in Africa, and other tropical regions. The goal is simple, to support field conservation by enabling an enormous community of people around the world to learn about the challenges and support projects of their choice with just a little bit of money. We encourage our online community to support basic field costs through donations. From rangers’ boots to their food rations; from food for orphaned chimpanzees to purchasing patrol vehicles; you can give funds for anything that directly contributes towards conservation.
The beauty of it all is that the total donation, net only of bank fees, will go directly to the project that you donated to. These funds directed through WildlifeDirect reach a community of highly competent and professional conservationists on the ground in different parts of Africa and elsewhere making it one of the most cost effective mechanisms for funding conservation.
We started off in Africa where we have made great contributions towards protecting the gorillas in the Virunga National Park and towards addressing a funding crisis in the Masai Mara. In less than one year we have grown to more than 80 blogs from around the world, making WildlifeDirect the largest and most important network of field conservation bloggers in the world.
Our aim is to create a multimillion person community of supporters that can respond to any conservation emergency anywhere swiftly and efficiently. It will comprise vast community of people ready to respond when called upon in a time of crisis, for example to save a forest from being destroyed, a park from poachers, or preventing a disease from wiping out the last mountain gorillas. Imagine the power of just one single dollar, if one million people each gave this amount!
Join us at WildlifeDirect to secure the future of wildlife in Africa, Asia and elsewhere.
Dr. Richard Leakey