One of the things I did after my first safari was join several organizations engaged in African wildlife conservation. It seemed a meaningful way to maintain some sort of connection with a place and an experience I was certain would live with me forever. I knew little about any of them at the time. I just wanted to help. Since then, I have sought and gained some understanding of the workings of each, and have narrowed my allegiance and support to those organizations I consider the most vital. At the top of my list is the African Wildlife Foundation.

First and foremost, the African Wildlife Foundation has long understood that wildlife conservation cannot flourish in a vacuum. The needs of African wildlife must be addressed in concert with the needs of the African people. Like many conservation groups, the African Wildlife Foundation had its origin outside the continent it sought to serve. But today, nearly a half-century later, AWF conservation projects and field offices are run principally by dedicated Africans – many with advanced degrees financed by AWF – and the organization has, in recent years, named an African woman as president and moved its world headquarters to Nairobi.

As might be expected, the African Wildlife Foundation funds a range of studies and programs designed to benefit individual species, endangered and not. On a broader front, it conducts joint ventures with African governments and other conservation groups, and is the driving force behind the creation of eight African Heartlands designed to link and restore wildlife ranges and migration routes formerly disrupted by private and political boundaries. AWF also works with rural communities to develop conservation enterprises, such as community-owned lodges and camps, to help bring tourism revenue to local people and inspire them to protect and preserve the animals in their midst.

A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the African Wildlife Foundation. I make this pledge knowing that every dollar will be put to exceptionally good use. I invite you to learn more about this worthy organization and become involved in the future of Africa.