Abercrombie & Kent: Taking the Lead in Wildlife Preservation

AF PG 74 lion cub
A lion cub relaxes after a long day on the Masai Mara, Kenya.

The Abercrombie & Kent group of companies are fully committed to responsible travel that conserves the natural environment and sustains the well being of local inhabitants.  Through the Abercrombie & Kent Global Foundation (A&KGF), the A&K group addresses the issues raised by non-sustainable use and loss of habitat and the need for education regarding natural resource management in many tourist destinations.  The Foundation’s focus is on the preservation of our natural heritage through the unification of environmental and economic goals.  It provides long-term support for existing natural ecosystems to ensure the successful survival and co-existence of human populations, flora and fauna.

A regal African secretary bird ambles through the grasslands
A regal African secretary bird ambles through the grasslands

 

A&K believes that areas throughout the world which are supported by active tourism can best develop and inspire sound conservation practices while working in conjunction with local peoples and often with regional Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s).  The Foundation links commercial tourism to local conservation programs by providing financial assistance and other tangible support for Reserves and Parks, and their surrounding communities.

AF PG 73 masai mara
Sun sets on the Masai Mara, Kenya.

 

The 42 A&K offices around the world help identify preservation challenges in their local communities, find organizations that are making a difference, and help monitor A&K sponsored projects.  In many cases, guests can actually visit sites, providing a unique opportunity for meaningful contact between travelers and residents.

Through the Olonana camp, on the western edge of the Masai Mara in Kenya, through an innovative “Olonana Forestry Initiative,” A&K works closely with the local Masai for better conservation of endangered forest resources.

A tranquil herd of water buffalo clustered at the edge of the Serengeti
A tranquil herd of water buffalo clustered at the edge of the Serengeti

 

When man-made disasters occur, A&K gives immediate assistance to local organizations trying to cope with the environmental consequences.  This is best illustrated by A&K’s reaction to a massive oil spill off the western cape of Africa.  The Foundation was one of the first to step forward with monies to support the South African National Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds in their efforts to clean, feed and ultimately return more than 5,000 African penguins to the wild.

In Jordan, A&K supports the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve’s Arabian Oryx Breeding Project, by providing funds for food, water, veterinary care and staff support for a herd of 14 oryx.  These beautiful animals were almost extinct in the Arabian Peninsula, their native habitat, in the 1960s.  A founder herd was brought to Shaumari from a small group in Eastern Aden and from several international parks.  With care and special attention, the oryx are now breeding well at Shaumari Reserve and are slowly being translocated to other neighboring countries to serve as breeding herds there.

A femaleRhino and her two-month old calf share a quiet moment - Masai Mara, Kenya.
A femaleRhino and her two-month old calf share a quiet moment – Masai Mara, Kenya.

 

A&K has also sent immediate funding to Thailand to provide for an enclosure for a Malayan Sun Bear that was found in urgent need of rescue and rehabilitation.  This enclosure will also serve as an eventual quarantine area to fit into the overall plan for the proposed 8,000 sq/m Bear Sanctuary in Petchaburi.  Sun Bears are one of Thailand’s greatly endangered species and the 12 bears, proposed to be moved to Petchaburi, have been rescued from stressful and harmful situations around the country.

On the home front, A&K has provided funding for the study of samples taken from netted Pacific harbor seals in south-central Alaska to characterize the health, condition and reproductive status of the animals.  Some of the populations have continued to decline following the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  A larger study of the populations will provide considerable scientific, conservation and training benefits based around this interesting sea mammal and help to provide reasons for their decline as well as other valuable information on environmental conditions.

In 2000 alone, A&K donated over $600,000 in cash and “in kind” services to charities and conservation projects in 38 countries on all seven continents.  Their continued wide-reaching assistance will have positive repercussions well into the future.

 

To learn more about the Abercrombie & Kent Global Foundation or to make a tax-deductible donation to a project, please write to us at 1520 Kensington Road, Suite 201, Oak Brook, IL 60523 or via email at: info@akglobalfoundation.org.

 

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