The elephant is an icon of the animal kingdom and one of the world’s most intelligent, emotionally complex living creatures, forming close family ties. Poaching of elephants for ivory has risen to historic levels, with elephant populations declining by about 30% -- equating to hundreds of thousands of individual animals.
Right now, particularly in parts of Central and West Africa, elephants continue to be killed, even in national parks and protected areas. Continued unabated, this could mean a world without wild elephants within our lifetime—a tragic failure of humanity. There are some signs of hope for the future of Africa’s elephants – especially in southern and eastern Africa, where poaching rates have fallen significantly in the last few years, but they are still facing a crisis.
The Elephant Crisis Fund works to reverse the loss of elephants by identifying and supporting high-priority and catalytic projects across a broad coalition of NGOs, institutions, media, decision-makers, scientists, and governments working to reduce both the supply and demand for ivory. In the Central Afrotropics region, the organization focuses on:
- Anti-Poaching: Reduce poaching of elephants across Africa. Includes deployment of anti-poaching teams, supplies and transport to support these personnel, and innovative community engagement with clear anti-poaching outcomes.
- Anti-Trafficking: Reduce trafficking of ivory and national, regional, and global scales. Includes judicial reform and anti-trafficking tools and requires creating close alliances with domestic and international law enforcement and policymakers.
One example is the Ruvuma Elephant Project (REP) in the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania, led by PAMS Foundation. Through investments in the region, there has been a reduction in poaching, but there is still heavy pressure from the south of the reserve. ECF support has enabled the establishment of a semi-permanent tented scout camp and an airstrip in the area, increasing much-needed anti-poaching coverage. The camp, called ‘Machonda Camp’, was equipped with a tent compound and vehicles needed to support field activities and provide the necessary backup for the scouts and rangers.
Further support for the Elephant Crisis Fund can help them to expand operations in the Central Afrotropics, providing urgent support to projects in the savanna landscapes of Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, and Botswana.