Tusk and ACCF will host fundraiser at Aspen Meadows for African conservation efforts
Prince William won’t be there himself, but the foundation involved in African conservation he’s a patron of will host a fundraiser next week along with another group at the Aspen Meadows Resort.
“Africa accounts for 25% of the world’s global biodiversity. That just accentuates how important preserving Africa’s biodiversity is to us all,” said Charlie Mayhew, the CEO and co-founder of Tusk. “We really feel that conservation is ultimately about people, and that the long-term success of preserving this natural world and natural heritage really depends on the the relationship with the communities that live alongside Africa’s megafauna.”
To promote those efforts, the African Community & Conservation Foundation and Tusk will host a cocktail fundraiser — the second annual “Karibu Africa” — on Wednesday, March 15.
Special guests will include photographer David Yarrow and four-time heavyweight champion boxer and ACCF Ambassador and board member Evander Holyfield.
“A champion shows what they do in and outside of the ring. I’m excited to help ACCF knock out poverty, poaching, and promote the prosperity of the people in Africa,” said Holyfield.
Tusk and the African Community & Conservation Foundation share a similar DNA in their conservation goals and efforts in Africa, — their three pillars of focus being community development, conservation, and anti-poaching.
The African Community & Conservation Foundation is a relatively younger organization than Tusk, which has been in operation for 32 years and has raised over $130 million for conservation and community livelihood programs and amplifies the work of more than 50 initiatives, increasing protection for over 70 million hectares of land and more than 40 threatened species.
Founded in July 2018 by founding chairman Paul Tudor Jones, the African Community & Conservation Foundation identified the need for a gateway platform to connect people all over the world with the strategic and sustainable community and conservation programs underway in Africa.
“Paul Tudor Jones has been very supportive of Tusk over the years, said Brady Forseth, CEO, and co-founder of ACCF. “We originally started off with one of the pioneering foundations that Paul started: the Grumeti fund in Tanzania. And then it started to grow. We thought coming together made sense. You can only do so much alone, but together we can make a difference. So we saw this as a perfect collective impact partnership”
For both organizations, while conservation is the goal, community efforts and initiatives are a top priority. This became especially crucial during the early lock-down days of the COVID-19 pandemic when resources gained from tourism dried up.
“A lot of the support that both organizations focus on is putting boots on the ground; the rangers you know, they are nature’s garden guardians,” said Mayhew. “During the pandemic, they were hit hard because so much of the revenue from tourism just dried up overnight, and that was underpinning their salaries. We launched an initiative called the Wildlife Ranger Challenge, a pan-African initiative. It’s raised over $16 million in the last three years working with ACCF, as well as others. And that was very much an initiative that was a response to the COVID to ensure that we kept Rangers on the ground operational on the front line.”
Another way organizations like ACCF and Tusk have been able to reduce the impact of illegal wildlife hunting and trade in several African countries is through community engagement and empowering the people who live along side these animals.
“It’s absolutely at the heart of all of this is that it’s been able to demonstrate to communities that they don’t need to turn to poaching, and that there are a lot of other nature-based enterprise that can be put in place that can support them, said Mayhew. “What we find in most of the areas that once the community can see a flourishing tourism entity they understand, respect it, and know that their livelihoods depend on it.”
Illegal poaching remains an issue, but due to population growth a new challenge has arisen: human and wildlife conflict.
Because of a growing human footprint, there are now more incidents of elephants trampling crops; lions, hyenas, or leopards eating livestock, among other incidents. The challenge then becomes to educate communities on how to deal with these conflicts in a way that’s safe and productive for both human and animal populations.
Mayhew and Forseth are looking forward to bringing their message to Aspen next week for the second year in a row and said they are grateful for the support of The Aspen Institute and other local partners.
The après-ski cocktail reception will include hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, and the opportunity to learn more about the work of the ACCF-Tusk partnership in Africa.
David Yarrow Photography has donated two fine-art items from his collection, including one shot in Africa, for the live auction to support fundraising efforts.
“Aspenites have always encouraged enlightened debate on relevant subjects, he said. “This may be the most glamorous of ski resorts, but it is so much more than that. A love of art and a great empathy for nature are core to the town’s values. There are so many reasons to look forward to this event and support ACCF and Tusk.”
What: ACCF and Tusk host “Karibu Africa” fundraiser
Where:Aspen Meadows Resort, The McNulty Room – 845 Meadows Road, Aspen
When: Wednesday, March 15, 5:30-8 p.m.
Tickets: $500 — one.bidpal.net/karibuaspen/welcome
More Info: africanccf.org/events/karibu-aspen/ and one.bidpal.net/karibuaspen/browse/featured
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