U.S. President’s Trip to Africa Good for Its People and Its Wildlife

President Obama’s recent trip to Africa was good news for the African people, but it was also good news for African wildlife.  The President brought attention to the continent’s strong economic growth and called for investment in energy and other infrastructure to keep the economy growing. While in Tanzania, he pledged $10 million in training and technical support to combat wildlife poaching and to develop a national strategy on African wildlife trafficking by the end of the year.

Why the focus on wildlife?

In a series of recent blogs, Aid for Africa highlighted the devastation to the African elephant and rhino populations in the last few years. Global crime syndicates sell rhino horn and ivory to satisfy the unproven medicinal and cultural needs of the expanding Asian middle class. Experts say that the rampant illegal trade in rhino horn and ivory for Asian markets fuels trade in guns and drugs throughout the continent.

Can a focus on wildlife trafficking help stem the growing menace of these crime organizations as they spawn new illegal activities?  The U.S. hopes so.

Aid for wildlife could not come at a better time, not only for the rhino and elephant, but also for Africa’s other endangered wildlife, particularly the lion. Panthera, an Aid for Africa member, reports that the lion is the latest species to be swept up in wildlife trade for Asian medicinal markets. Lion breeders in South Africa are selling lion bones to Asian markets, so wild lions now look valuable to local people. Population growth is also leading to a loss of lion prey and habitat adequate to keep the species viable.

Africa’s economic rise is good for its people.  It should also be good for its wildlife. Saving Africa’s wild species not only requires scientific understanding of the problems and solutions from organizations like Panthera and the political will of African governments, but also the attention of the U.S. and other countries that can provide the resources to tackle illegal poaching. The U.S. initiative on wildlife trafficking in Africa is a good start.

Learn what Aid for Africa members Panthera, Wildlife Conservation Network, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, and others are doing to combat wildlife trafficking.

Aid for Africa is an alliance of 85 U.S.-based nonprofits and their African partners who help children, families, and communities throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Aid for Africa’s grassroots programs focus on health, education, economic development, arts & culture, conservation, and wildlife protection in Africa.

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

Rebecca G.
Rebecca G3 years ago

It boggles the mind that in the 21st century some people are so stupid to think that bones, horns, organs etc from these magnificent animals will cure cancer, give them better sex, and all the other stupid things they claim. Yes, there is corruption, but at least it's good to know that someone is trying to save these wonderful creatures. As for taking care of us first, crime is universal, enforcement agents are killed her also, not just in Africa. Call me extreme, but I think poachers should be shot on sight, not waste the time and money to lock them up, most of them will not change anyway, no matter how long they are in jail. The money is too good for the crimes they commit.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G3 years ago


William Eaves
William Eaves3 years ago

Well done. It is comforting to know that at least one American politician is not stupid.

B Jackson
BJ J3 years ago

IMO, Obama should FIRST take care of US problems before he pledges $$ to other countries.

Barbara V.
Barbara V3 years ago

THAT remains to be seen.

GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSiteIssues D3 years ago

Time will tell whether or not this is a good thing. If the money will trickle down and actually go to where it's supposed to and not line the coffers of corrupt govt officials there.

Mike Kelly
Mike Kelly3 years ago

Yea! Finally an adult in the White House doing something with our money to benefit the Planet and its inhabitants, all of them.

The absurdly and obscenely wealthy dodge $150 BILLION in taxes every year. Filling the trough where the absurdly wealthy gorge themselves is not in the interest of the Earth and its life forms. Corporations are hiding ONE TRILLION DOLLARS overseas to dodge the taxes they owe their country, yet as sure as they have a legal matter to settle, they do it under U.S. law in U.S. courts.

$150 billion and $1 trillion are amounts that clearly dwarf the gobble-di-gook distractions put up by the reich wing.

Numerical chaff: "Don't pay any attention to the good that our President is doing for our family in the animal kingdom. Look over here instead. Numbers! Paragraphs and pages full of numbers ... blah, blah, (insert talking point here) blah ... ad infinitum."

Does anyone else remember the photos of Donald Trump's two, ne'er-do-well sons posing with the giraffe, zebra, leopard and various other victims of their slaughters which the absurdly wealth refer to as "hunting"?

Thank you Mr. President. Give some thought to putting your drone program to work zapping the poachers.

Jenevieve P.
Past Member 3 years ago

Avril,.. if you think about it,.. I have a funny feeling the African government is holding something over Obama, in retrospect to the known IC3 figures. You gotta get that Obama must know something, quietly, as conversations have been shared. The media has made mention of his visits and who he chatted it up with, and why..(??)
I have never heard of an American president making a trip to Africa. not even for a safari vacation!
I'm sorry, there's more to this story!