German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Project profile Anti-Poaching in Africa

Biosphere Reserves as Model Regions for Anti-Poaching in Africa (BRAPA)
Flanking Germany-supported nature conservation activities in Africa


Anti-poaching constitutes a current focus of German-African cooperation on nature conservation. An emphasis is put on large mammals such as elephants and rhinos. However, poaching on a wider range of species, partly for subsistence, further contributes to biodiversity loss to a not yet quantified extent. Previous approaches to combat poaching led to both successes and failures. In the course of international measures against poaching, the importance of the local population becomes more and more apparent and a long lasting solution of the local problems is, in general, only possible in close collaboration with the people. Approaches to be successful in the medium to long term therefore have to be considered in the context of poverty reduction and the generation of alternative food and income sources.

Subject and objectives of the project

Poaching on vertebrates in sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on subsistence poaching and livelihood alternatives (income and food) constitutes the project subject. The topic shall be addressed exemplarily in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in order to build on their impact as model regions.

The project aims to analyse the situation of poaching of vertebrates in sub-Saharan Africa in detail and to sustainably optimise measures against poaching. For this purpose, the project shall

(1) provide an overview on the situation of poaching on vertebrates and the efforts to combat against it in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in sub-Saharan Africa (affected species and extent; reasons; subsistence poaching and/or poaching for illegal trade; solution approaches and research demand),

(2) analyse and compare case studies from these areas and examine good/bad practices of anti-poaching involving students from African universities, derive recommendations for action, and

(3) build up technical capacities on anti-poaching, mainly for biosphere reserve managers (workshop with scientists and practitioners, development of a policy brief).

The results shall be published finally and presented to the scientific community. The project shall generate a sustained impulse toward anti-poaching activities and the conservation of biodiversity in sub-Saharan Africa in the long run.

Project details

The Illustration shows the Logo of the African Wildlife Foundation

Duration: December 2015 – November 2018 (3 years)

Programme: research and development project within the Environmental Research Plan 2015

Project region: Biosphere Reserves in sub-Saharan Africa

Implementer: African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) - Nathan Gichohi (project manager)

Members of the Project Advisory Group: AfriMAB; BMU; CSRS; FAO; FZS; GIZ; IUCN; Lusaka Agreement Task Force; UNESCO; WWF.

Project schedule

The project was presented by BfN at the 4th AfriMAB General Assembly in November 2015 in Accra (Ghana). On 1 February 2016, the project inception meeting between the contractor and the contractee was held in Bonn.

A survey among the managers of Biosphere Reserves in sub-Saharan Africa will be conducted in April/May 2016, in order to provide an overview concerning poaching.

Based on these findings, five pilot sites will be selected for case studies to be carried out in 2017 by students from local universities identifying factors of success and failure in anti-poaching measures. Ensuing recommendations for action shall be derived from these studies for Biosphere Reserves managers.

A workshop for students, university professors, Biosphere Reserves managers and further experts will be organized in 2018 in order to elaborate a policy brief on anti-poaching (in English and French), inter alia.

The results of the project will be finally published and presented in Bonn.

Project management at BfN

Division I 2.3 International Nature Conservation
Kontakt: Dr. Bettina Hedden-Dunkhorst

Last Change: 11/03/2020