Habitat Loss and Destruction

An expanding human population is causing us to lose vital natural habitats through destruction and fragmentation at a rapid rate.

Across the planet, wild animals are losing the battle for territory through rampant habitat loss.

Destruction of habitat is one of the greatest threats to the world’s wildlife. As human development encroaches on natural areas, wildlife is squeezed into smaller and smaller areas, reducing movement and affecting natural migrations, reproduction and behavior. This in turn leads to human-wildlife conflict with devastating consequences for wildlife survival.

Creating and protecting habitats for wildlife is essential for their survival… and ours.

Habitat destruction is driving mass extinction. Over one million species have been declared at risk of extinction, of which habitat loss is the major cause.

Habitat loss devastates human lives too. We cannot live without healthy ecosystems that provide our basic necessities: clean air, clean water and food. Protecting habitats is vital to saving animals and preserving biodiversity, which in turn sustains all life on Earth.

Our lakes, swamps, forests, plains, and other natural habitats are disappearing as we use them for our own consumption, making way for agriculture, housing, roads, pipelines and other industrial development. Without a commitment to create and extend protected areas, vital ecological habitats will be gone forever.

Today, half the world’s original forests have disappeared, yet they are still being removed at a rate 10 times higher than the rate of regrowth.

Nearly half of humanity lives within 60kms (77 miles) of coastal areas. Human dependence on marine coastlines is contributing to the degradation of marine habitats and the destruction of the species that rely on them to survive.

What we are doing to help preserve and safeguard habitats from destruction.

At ASI, we are committed to helping mitigate the effects of habitat destruction and fragmentation.

South Africa  Habitat Loss

In 2021, we relocated several giraffes, zebras and 50 wildebeest in the Eastern Cape who risked being killed by trophy hunters when their game sanctuary was turned into a commercial farming concern. Through the support of our donors, we were able to undertake this delicate, large-scale translocation and successfully transfer the animals to a lush, sprawling nature reserve in the Western Cape.

We also supported the rehabilitation of seven barn owl chicks found alone and starving in a nest in South Africa’s St Helena Bay. Barn owls do not desert their young so the breeding pair most likely met their demise as a direct or indirect result of human encroachment.

This year, we have raised money to relocate another group of giraffes living on a totally unsuitable piece of land. They will be transferred to a sanctuary with sufficient space and vegetation to support their continued survival and reproduction.

We also helped to fund two tracking collars for a critical cheetah breeding pair at the Mountain Zebra National Park (MZNP). Cheetahs are currently listed as ‘Threatened’ and face multiple, and mounting, threats to their survival every year: being poached for their skins; sold into the exotic pet market as cubs; being killed by trophy hunters and losing their habitats due to human encroachment. The collars enable the cheetahs to be tracked and their health carefully monitored, so that they can have the best chance of procreating.

A cheetah is sedated and collared.
Animal Survival International financed the relocation of a breeding pair of cheetahs to the Mountain Zebra National Park (MZNP) ASI’s Tayla Lance ensuring the health of one. Both were successfully relocated.

Madagascar Habitat Loss

The island country of Madagascar is the native home of the critically endangered indri lemur – a uniquely evolved mammal closely related to the primate. Deforestation has destroyed a staggering 80% of lemurs’ natural habitat and a significant portion of their population. These animals are found nowhere else in the world, except small neighboring islands near Madagascar.

This year, we joined forced with local partners to help protect a critical lemur breeding pair, who have been relocated to a protected area after slash-and-burn farming (cutting and burning plants in a forest or woodland) destroyed their home. They are monitored and protected by a forest guard unit that patrols for illegal activity and protects the forest against slash-and-burn farming. We also continue to work with partners on long-term deforestation solutions and to help mitigate the effects of widespread habitat loss.

An endangered indri lemur
The endangered indri lemurs are under threat due to deforestation in Madagascar. Animal Survival International has been supporting local partners in the relocation, monitoring and protection of an indri lemur breeding pair.

Globally Habitat Loss

Over and above our efforts on the ground, we work to defend and expand existing habitats to help wildlife populations. Through sound information, fundraising and networking, we raise awareness about habitat destruction around the world so that we can instil change before it’s too late.

Changing the way we live on the planet is the only way we can stop destroying natural habitats and preserve wildlife.

This means putting pressure on the authorities to pass and enforce environmental legislation; reclaiming habitat areas and returning them to the wild so that biodiversity can thrive; safeguarding the existing wild areas and making conscious choices about what we eat and consume.


An expanding human population is causing us to lose vital natural habitats through destruction and fragmentation at a rapid rate.

Please support us

Your donations help us do our vital work to protect and save animals around the world!