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When COVID-19 struck, tourists stopped coming to Africa and the once-thriving industry ground to a sudden halt. Floundering tourism business and loss of employment in the industry was instant, but the hidden side to the lack of tourists was the effect of their absence on wildlife and conservation. As tourism money dried up, funds for anti-poaching patrols and other conservation activities evaporated.
Watching this unfold, two photographers from Austria and the Netherlands decided to get involved. Marion Payr and Pie Aerts joined forces and launched ‘Prints for Wildlife’, a fundraiser to support people and wildlife in parks managed, in partnership with local governments, by African Parks.
“In safe places, magical things can happen.”
African Parks, an NGO, was founded in 2000 in response to poor management and lack of funding for protected wildlife areas throughout Africa. African Parks currently manage 19 national parks and protected areas in 11 countries. They protect and manage over 36 million acres in Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe; the largest amount of area under conservation by anyone NGO in Africa. Their goal is to manage 30 parks by 2030.
“The key to conservation is putting people at the heart of the solution. This is done through community programs supporting health, education, job security, and sustainable livelihoods. African Parks, and their community-first approach to conservation, is ensuring that the protected areas under their management are safe places where wildlife ‘and’ people can flourish. And in safe places, magical things can happen. Therefore, choosing African Parks as our partner for this campaign was a no-brainer.” – Pie Aerts (Co-Founder Prints for Wildlife)
“Even in times of crisis – humanity can come together to spread hope and do good for our planet”
Last year, the inaugural edition of Prints for Wildlife raised over US$660,200. 100% of the proceeds (after printing and handling) were donated to African Parks. The funds were spent on a myriad of projects: over 100,000 people gained access to healthcare projects, more than 100 schools were built, 750+ scholarships were funded, and 3,219 full-time staff and 1,064 rangers were employed. Specifically in response to COVID-19 135,800 people were targeted by health campaigns, 65,000 masks were donated, 5,000 litres of soap were distributed, and 630 handwashing stations were installed.
“Last year’s incredible success of Prints for Wildlife came as a much-needed reminder, that – even in times of crisis – humanity can come together to spread hope and do good for our planet. Wildlife conservation has now found a place in the hearts of people and with the stunning art of all the generous photographers at the walls of thousands of homes across the globe. That’s why we decided it’s time to come back and create even more awareness and joy, while COVID-19 is still putting a lot of pressure on Africa’s conservation efforts.” – Marion Payr (Co-Founder Prints for Wildlife)
Whilst the world is opening up for some, Africa’s tourism industry is still floundering and the revenue it generates remains limited. Whilst last year 100 wildlife photographers from around the world came together, offering their art for sale, in an unprecedented fundraiser, to support local communities and wildlife in some of Africa’s most special protected areas. This year over 170 acclaimed international wildlife photographers have donated a stunning selection of incredible wildlife photography to Prints for Wildlife to raise funds for African Parks.
“We are beyond excited to be entering into a second Prints for Wildlife print sale to benefit our work at African Parks” said Andrea Heydlauff, CMO of African Parks. “Prints for Wildlife is a unique endeavour, that sees some of the world’s leading wildlife photographers come together in an inspiring and energetic fashion. They are able to mobilise their own networks and give people the chance to really make a difference, by purchasing extraordinary prints while raising significant funds for people and wildlife across Africa.” – Andrea Heydlauff (Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for African Parks)
Prints for Wildlife is a unique print sale. Only 100 prints of each image will be available to purchase. Each image is just $100 (excluding shipping), and 100% of proceeds (after printing and handling) goes directly to African Parks. 150 images are currently available, and new works will be added weekly until the sale closes on the 11th of August.
Click the link to visit the print gallery now, and browse the prints for sale that will benefit African Parks!
Prints for Wildlife https://www.printsforwildlife.org/
African Parks https://www.africanparks.org/
Cover Photo by Rahul Sachdev