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Wolves, Okapis and Painted Dogs – Oh My!

Wolves, Okapis and Painted Dogs – Oh My!

African wildlife often conjures images of rhinos, zebras, or elephants, but there are hundreds of animal species that call Africa home. For instance, did you know that wolves are native to parts of Africa? Or that the okapi is a relative of the giraffe, but has the stripes of a zebra? As we observe World Environment Day this month, let’s remember that truly healthy environments have many kinds of wild biodiversity, including the lesser-known species of fauna and flora.

Several Aid for Africa members support wildlife preservation of well-known and lesser-known species. The Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) supports independent conservationists who work actively with local communities to protect endangered wildlife and preserve their natural habitats. It supports on-the-ground conservation efforts for iconic lions, elephants and cheetahs, but also for the painted (wild) dog, the Ethiopian wolf and the okapi.

What’s an okapi? It’s the only surviving relative of the giraffe,and lives only in the forested areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. WCN supports efforts to protect the okapi that are focused on communities living near okapi habitat. These efforts include identifying better farming practices that maintain healthy ecosystems and educating community members about biodiversity conservation. For example, to reduce hunting pressure on okapis, new fish-farming programs supplement animal protein in local diets.

The Ethiopian wolf is the only species of wolf in Africa, as well as the rarest and most endangered canine in the world. Only about 500 Ethiopian wolves remain in the rugged Ethiopian highlands. WCN supports protection efforts that include monitoring wolf populations, vaccinating domestic dogs that spread disease and educating local residents and school children through school environmental clubs, tree planting and camping trips.

The WCN uses innovative strategies to protect native species on the ground by involving local community members in their projects. Ultimately, their conservationists want to be able to withdraw from the regions where they now work. This will require developing the capacity of local communities to carry on their conservation work using strategies that are culturally compatible and meet the evolving needs of all concerned, including the wolves, okapis, and painted dogs — oh my!

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7:47AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

interesting article, thanks for sharing :)

7:51AM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

To love something is to want to protect it. Things we fear, we won't protect. Get to know all animals for the beauty they possess, even the lowly Dung Beatle has a right to remain on this earth.

3:28AM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

"Die Größe eines Volkes und seine moralischen Fortschritte können daran gemessen werden, wie es seine Tiere behandelt."

Those who are cruel to animals cannot be righteous human beings.

Wer gegen Tiere grausam ist, kann kein guter Mensch sein.

2:52AM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

These animals need protecting. Ban animal watching tourism. We can look at pictures, theres many other ways to see animals, we don't actually need to touch them or even smell them! By observing we become part of the experiment and unduly influence the results.

7:20PM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

Save the animals its people that are the sickness !!!

3:22AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012


11:07PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

A very good suggestion Ricola. If they did that all these beautiful animals in Africa and the world over, would stand a chance of increasing their species instead of the human species! They deserve to be on earth just as much as we do.

9:48PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

Virginia G - good idea , perhaps we should give voluntarily sterilised people or the childless tax breaks !

9:45PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

My bucket list - seeing a herd of the African painted dogs !!
This is all good work but so many smaller animals , insects , plants and reptiles go extinct and we never notice..

2:45PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

Sad but true, in a near future many species will be extinct or endangered, so glad to hear they are efforts to stop this process, hope the african communities learn how to interact with nature and learn how to control their birth rate and how to generate a sustaintable development.

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