1. Get ahead of cheetah extinction.

The world’s fastest land mammal is close to being gone forever. The beautiful cheetah has more failed hunts than successful ones, and only half the cubs will live to see their first year. Join the Cheetah Conservation Fund in protecting this unique species through donations, volunteering, and spreading awareness. The CCF says, “securing a future for the cheetah means securing the future of the people who live in cheetah country,” because cheetahs will only survive in an ecosystem that works for everyone and everything in it. National Geographic also has a Big Cats Initiative which supports cheetah conservation.

2. Save the remaining ring-tailed lemurs.

Photo: Eric Kilby

Madagascar is an island of unique species, but its most notable character, the ring-tailed lemur, has experienced a 95% reduction in population in only 16 years, leaving as few as 2,000 individuals in the wild. It’s possible that they will not survive at the current rates. What they need is aggressive action: 1) do not buy or condone these animals as pets; 2) support Lemur Love in their mission to spread awareness about the disappearing primates; 3) Contribute to Mad Dog Initiative’s mission to manage the island’s feral dog population, which creates a healthier overall ecosystem.

3. End the ivory and rhino horn trade.

Elephants are killed for their ivory tusks while rhinos are slaughtered for their horns. Poachers make a tremendous amount of money taking the lives of these animals, and they will continue their dirty work as long as a market exists for these “products.” While not everyone is cut out to be a ranger on the ground, everyone can do their part by not buying ivory or rhino horn, and alerting the authorities when they see it being sold. Mother Nature Network has good tips for how to help curb the ivory trade, while Save The Rhino has a huge list of ways to get involved.

4. Protect the painted dogs (African wild dogs).

A lesser known African predator is becoming lesser known by the day. The unique mammals are killed in silence by disease and traps, and intentionally through fear and poaching. Painted Dog Conservation seeks to educate locals about the fact that these animals pose no risk to humans while actively performing anti-poaching and rehabilitation conservation. Like the others, donations and education will be key to the survival of this one-of-a-kind species.

5. Be there for our primate relatives.

Gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos: these species are the closest links we have to a shared common ancestor, and all of them are either endangered or critically endangered. The African Wildlife Foundation has an African Apes Initiative that is focused on using technology to enhance conservation efforts while addressing the immediate needs of these animals’ habitats. They need money. Donate, get friends to donate, and spread the word. Check out Jane Goodall’s organization while you’re at it.
 

This just scratches the surface of African mammals in need, not to even mention the other animal classes. Zebras, lions, giraffes, hippos, leopards, all sorts of antelope — the list of wildlife in need is nearly endless. Ultimately if we want to see them continue to roam our shared planet, then they all require the same thing: awareness, empathy, and financial support.