12 Jul 2018 Featured Article Environmental rights and governance

African rangers to receive first international award for protecting wildlife

Many of Africa’s wildlife species have declined dramatically in recent years, mainly due to poaching, habitat loss, and illegal trade, according to Chinese conservation non-profit Paradise Foundation International.

African elephants are no exception. While some populations are mostly safe and expanding, primarily in southern Africa, others are declining rapidly, particularly in Central Africa and parts of East Africa. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) estimates that only 415,000 elephants are left on the continent, where the species is considered vulnerable, while some populations are on the brink of being poached to extinction.

In 2017, at the initiative of Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba and co-chair of Paradise International Foundation, an international award programme was created to grant US$3,000 to up to 50 African wildlife rangers every year for the next 10 years. Rangers operate in extreme environments and sometimes risk their own lives to protect wildlife and the habitat in which they thrive. Paradise International and UN Environment took this opportunity to join forces to enhance their activities in support of conservation and protection of wildlife on the continent.

UN Environment, through the African Elephant Fund- a funding mechanism for implementing the African Elephant Action Plan (AEAP) across the African Continent – is proud to take part in this important award for excellence as a member of the judging panel. The 2018 Paradise Foundation International Awards received a total of 138 nominations for outstanding service in protecting and conserving wildlife. The 50 finalists, representing 17 African countries, demonstrated exceptional passion, commitment, and dedication, combatting poaching, habitat loss, and the illegal trade in wildlife.

The international awards ceremony will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, on the 7th of August 2018.

To learn more, please visit:

For more information, please contact Mamadou.Kane [at]un.org or Dorris.Chepkoech [at] un.org.