Charly Facheux is African Wildlife Foundation’s Vice President, Conservation Strategy, Knowledge Management & Impact. Driven by his desire lớn build the bridge between conservation and development for local communities, he joined the organization in 2009 as Senior Program Officer for the Congo ... More


As global weather patterns continue to shift và human population growth rates rise, water scarcity is fast becoming one of this century’s most complex challenges. More than 4 billion people across the world face severe water scarcity due khổng lồ the withdrawal of more water than is sustainably available. In Africa, this reduced access lớn clean water sources not only impacts human welfare in urban và rural areas, it is also claiming wildlife species, fragile ecosystems, và the communities that depend on them.

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Water-dependent mammals like the elephant và rhino — already decimated by poaching — also contend with changes lớn their habitats. In eastern Africa, rainfall is projected to lớn increase, but a significant decrease is expected in the south. Across the continent’s rapidly industrializing landscapes, the risk of flash floods & harsh droughts is high.

In Western Africa, the biodiversity haven of Regional Parc W received only two-thirds of its usual rainfall in 2012. The transboundary protected area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring diverse vegetation from savannah woodlands khổng lồ riparian forests and flooded plains. It is also home to the largest concentration of elephants in the region as well as significant numbers of big cats and the rare West African giraffe — threatened species forced to lớn roam outside their usual range in tìm kiếm of water.

Smaller species struggle to lớn adapt khổng lồ the drastic reduction in rainfall và drying up of water holes. Larger mammals lượt thích elephants are often forced khổng lồ dig in dry stream beds. While they may strike low water tables, the hole creates a trap for buffalos và antelopes making them an easy target for lions and leopards on the hunt.

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Permanent water sources for wildlife

For human populations neighboring national parks and reserves, wildlife moving outside of their usual territory threatens their livelihoods at a time when they are unstable due to water shortages and reduced harvests. Khổng lồ keep their homesteads and farmlands from wandering wildlife, local communities have adopted wildlife-friendly mitigation techniques, but many wild animals still fall victim to retaliatory killings.

Coupled with the ecological disturbances brought about by climate change, tương tác with other species outside of protected areas is causing a spike in infectious diseases among both wildlife & livestock. Until wildlife management authorities & research institutions conduct extensive animal disease surveillance, events lượt thích the mass death of flamingos in Kenya’s Lake Nakuru National Park are a reality for the remaining species.

A recent study on river unique and human welfare in the Chobe National Park landscape shows that when wildlife has access only to lớn rivers during periods of drought, the health of local communities suffers. The depletion of other surface water resources during dry seasons pushes animals lớn forage near rivers which impacts the quality the river as it travels downstream where humans use it. Conservation planning & preventing wildlife habitat loss will also minimize the concentration of animals in riparian corridors và ensure surface water resources are not degraded.

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Mitigating the impacts of climate change through reforestationprojects in the Mau Forest ecosystem in Kenya’s Rift Valley region has helped secure a vital source of water for the country. Increasing demographic pressure & unsustainable agricultural practices are also driving the breakdown of landscapes across the continent. African Wildlife Foundation empowers communities in southern Tanzania to monitor river health and engage in conservation-friendly agriculture practices. Not only are they maintaining critical habitats for the landscape’s wildlife, but they are also building their resilience to lớn climate change through strategic conservation.

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