At the beginning of 2020, Africa’s tourism industry looked set for another successful year. The continent had the world’s second-fastest-growing tourism industry and was projected to rake in billions of dollars. But when COVID-19 struck, tourists stopped coming and the industry ground to a halt. The hidden side to the lack of tourists was the direct effect their absence had on wildlife and conservation across the continent. Money from safari bookings and national park fees suddenly dried up, and without tourist dollars coming in, money to fund anti-poaching patrols and other conservation activities were in short supply.
Watching all 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 by the non-profit organization African Parks, which works in partnership with various African governments.
African Parks was founded in 2000 in response to poor management and lack of funding for protected wildlife areas throughout the continent. African Parks currently manages 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. It’s the largest area under conservation by any one NGO in Africa, and African Parks’ goal is to manage 30 parks by 2030.
According to Aerts, photographer and co-founder of Prints for Wildlife, “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.”
Last year, in the inaugural edition of Prints for Wildlife, 100 acclaimed international wildlife photographers from around the world came together, offering their art for sale in an unprecedented fundraiser that supported local communities and wildlife in some of Africa’s most special protected areas. The sale raised over $660,200 USD; selling over 6,500 unique wildlife prints in just 30 days. One hundred percent of the proceeds (after printing and handling) were donated to African Parks, and these critical funds went to support a myriad of projects.
- 108,579 people gained access to healthcare initiatives
- 105 schools were built
- 752 scholarships were funded
- 3,219 full-time staff and 1,064 rangers were employed
And, more specifically, in response to COVID-19, 135,800 people were given access to health awareness campaigns, 65,000 masks were donated, 5,000 liters of soap were distributed, and 630 handwashing stations were installed.
Prints for Wildlife co-founder and photographer Payr said, “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.”
While the world is opening up for some, Africa’s tourism industry is still floundering and the revenue it generates remains limited. After the incredible success of last year’s efforts, this year, over 170 wildlife photographers have joined forces with Prints for Wildlife and donated a stunning selection of outstanding prints for sale.
Andrea Heydlauff, African Parks’ chief marketing and communications officer, shared that the organization is “beyond excited to be entering into a second Prints for Wildlife print sale to benefit our work at African Parks.”
“Prints for Wildlife is a unique endeavor, that sees some of the world’s leading wildlife photographers come together in an inspiring and energetic fashion. They are able to mobilize 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,” she said.
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 percent of the proceeds (after printing and handling) goes directly to African Parks. Currently, 150 images are available, and new works will be added weekly until the sale closes on August 11.
You can view the print gallery here. We hope you’ll browse the prints for sale and find something you fall in love with, knowing all purchases will help an incredible cause. For more information, visit African Parks’ homepage and follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Inspired by these beautiful animals and their African homes? Consider all our safari coverage here.