The Society was founded in 1961 when the Wildlife Societies of Tanzania and Kenya – both founded in 1956 – together with Ugandan wildlife enthusiasts joined hands. In the half century of its existence, the Society has become a household name and the leading voice of conservation in the region.
Our members are committed to conservation and communities living side by side with wildlife. We don't do it for them: we do it with them. EAWLS stands for sound governance of our dwindling natural resources, for rational policies that promote best practice and to defend the wildlife and habitat of East Africa.
EAWLS has been at the forefront of efforts to protect endangered, rare or threatened species and habitats in East Africa. In the 1980s, EAWLS was instrumental in initiatives for the conservation of elephants and the establishment of rhino sanctuaries in Kenya. It was again instrumental in advocating for the establishment of a quasi-government institution to run the National Parks and Reserves in Kenya during the same period. This effort resulted in the establishment of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
Since then, EAWLS and KWS have been complementary in their high echelons of conservation and leadership. This relationship has significantly contributed to building the Society into a recognised and reputable conservation organisation globally.
The mission of the Society is to promote the conservation and wise use of the environment, especially wildlife, by advocating for rational policies and appropriate resource management regimes, together with promoting best practice and good governance.
EAWLS runs diverse conservation projects within the following programme areas, which form an integral part of Society projects:
• Forests: We engage local people in developing forest management and conservation practices that will improve the status of the regions forests and increase benefits from them.
• Marine and Coastal Areas: With coastal people, we work to ensure that coastal and marine biodiversity is protected and used wisely in order to provide social and economic benefits while maintaining ecological integrity.
• Wetlands: We support conservation and wise use of wetlands and freshwater ecosystems.
• Drylands and Biodiversity Conservation: We endeavour to ensure that key elements of dry land ecosystems and biodiversity are brought under appropriate conservation regimes.
• Conservation Education and Research: Through community initiatives, public discussions and dissemination of educational material we inform the public on conservation issues to help them make informed decisions.
• Advocacy: Our key strength lies in advocating for environmentally sound policies and legislation in East Africa.
In all its initiatives, EAWLS works with local communities, organisations and governments to ensure that conservation of wildlife and the environment is a main component of the development agenda.