Asia’s Impact on the Future of Africa’s Wildlife and Wild Lands
Evening Presentation by Dr Patrick Bergin, CEO, African Wildlife Foundation
Drink Reception at 6:30pm
Presentation at 7:00pm
Close at 8:00pm
The continent of Africa has an extraordinary wildlife resource. In its magnificence, diversity and scale, Africa’s wild lands and wildlife—from elephants and rhinos to big cats and great apes—are a global treasure. Stark choices, however, now face the continent as it rapidly modernizes. Six of the world’s eight fastest growing economies are in Africa, and much of the economic growth is being driven by investment and trade with Asia, and China specifically. As the ties between Asia and Africa tighten, the distance between Africa’s wildlife and Asian markets for wildlife products—namely ivory and rhino horn—shorten, with devastating results. Rhinos are now poached for their horn at a rate of three per day to satisfy demand in Vietnam and other countries, while between 25,000 and 35,000 elephants are poached every year to supply ivory markets. What role can countries like China and the United States play in helping Africa realize its economic potential while also ensuring its extraordinary wildlife resource remains intact?
Dr Patrick Bergin is CEO of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), with over 25 years’ experience in Africa. He spent six years working inside Tanzania National Parks, one of the leading national wildlife conservation agencies on the continent. Dr Bergin first joined AWF as a field-based community officer and served in a number of roles before becoming CEO in 2002. Under his leadership, AWF has evolved into a pan-African organization now operating in more than 18 African countries. Dr Bergin fosters partnerships with African governments and their respective protected area authorities to help shape policy as it relates to wildlife protection while supporting authorities’ efforts to enforce those policies. He has an intimate knowledge of the global forces fueling the illegal wildlife trade and is involved in multiple efforts with partners to stop widespread poaching of Africa’s treasured wildlife and curb consumer demand for illicit wildlife products. In 2013, Dr Bergin was appointed to the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, established by President Obama to provide guidance on a new national strategy to combat the illegal wildlife trade.