Elephant Crisis Fund Interim Report 2016


Save the Elephants

Date Published

While there are some early signs of hope for the future of Africa’s elephants, they are still facing a crisis. The high price of ivory continues to attract the attention of organized crime syndicates, inciting corruption and poaching that are driving declines in elephant populations across large swathes of Africa.

The Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF) is dedicated to ending this crisis. The ECF supports projects across Africa and in ivory consuming countries which aim to stop the killing of elephants, prevent the trafficking, and put an end to the buying of ivory. Funding is given with minimal bureaucracy and no administrative deductions to allow donors to have maximum impact, and for partners to act quickly and effectively. The Elephant Crisis Fund team—experts from Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network—provide strategic guidance, technical backing, and coordination with a growing alliance of organizations working together to end the crisis.

This report covers critical projects supported by the ECF between January and June 2016. It summarizes the situation, strategies, successes, and failures in anti-poaching, anti-trafficking, and demand reduction, followed by two stories highlighting specific places where ECF funding is at work. A full list of projects supported by the ECF to date is presented in maps and as an appendix.

The recent history of Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) exemplifies the challenge currently facing frontline elephant protection. African Parks Network, the ECF partner which manages Garamba, is fighting a war with a fraction of the resources an actual army would use. Currently they are losing both elephants and rangers at a shocking rate, but buoyed by new intelligence, technologies, and donor support, they are determined to keep this iconic wildlife area secure.

Organized crime syndicates and ivory traffickers have become more powerful and sophisticated, and the ECF and its partners have responded in kind. This year the ECF has focused on creating collaborative partnerships to capture and convict those who profit most from killing elephants. This report details the importance of the undercover investigations, vetted anti-corruption units, and courtroom monitoring to put criminals behind bars.

Positive steps have been made towards ending the demand for ivory that is driving poaching and trafficking. The U.S. government has enacted its pledge to close down trade at a federal level, and five states have also passed legislation. In support of China’s pledge to stop the trade, ECF partners have been working with the public and government to pave the way for a ban in China, while also building projects to stamp out the border trade emerging in neighboring countries.

To date the ECF has supported over 100 project grants and 39 grantees, each vetted for their efficiency and impact. With your continued generosity and commitment, the best ideas and most urgent actions to end the ivory crisis will receive the support they need so that Africa remains wild with elephants.

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