Giants Club Summit: A Historic Gathering to Save Africa’s Elephants


The Independent

Date Published

Leading conservationists and illegal wildlife trade experts will use
The Giants Club Summit to call for urgent interventions from African
presidents heading the forum to expand proven ways to protect
elephants from poachers and loss of habitat.

Between them, the initial Giants Club member countries – Kenya, Gabon,
Uganda, and Botswana – together hold more than half of Africa’s
remaining elephants. Actions agreed at the Summit will give those
populations the greatest chance to thrive for generations to come.

The three-day Summit, hosted by Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta,
opens on Thursday April 28 and aims to launch new Africa-led
interventions that will:

Kitili Mbathi, Director General of the Kenya Wildlife Service, will
attend as part of the Kenyan governmental delegation. Each of the
remaining Giants Club member states will attend with their leading
expert conservationists as part of their official national

Andrew Seguya, Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority,
will lead Ugandan conservationists, Lee White, Executive Secretary of
ANPN, heads Gabon’s conservation contingent, and Botswana’s
representatives include Mike Chase, director and founder of Elephants
Without Borders, who recently completed the Great Elephant Census.

Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants, the Kenyan charity that helped
found The Giants Club, said: “It is no mystery to us how to protect
elephants and their landscapes. It takes robust frontline protection,
investment to reduce the cost and increase the benefits to local
people of conserving elephants, and global efforts to cut demand for

“Yes, ending the demand is absolutely key. But we don’t know how long
this will take. We are already losing tens of thousands of elephants a
year, from a population of perhaps less than 400,000, and we
desperately need a holding position. At the Summit, Space for Giants
and our conservation partners will be asking the Giants to do more of
what we know works to protect elephants today. That gives us that
holding position to keep the remaining populations safe, and buys us
some time to work to end the demand.

“We’re confident we can do that. What’s equally important – and not
enough people are thinking about this – is what next? When we beat
poaching, elephants still face enormous threats from habitat
destruction and from conflict pressure from with growing human
populations. We will all also be asking the Giants to commit to plans
that will make sure we have the money to deal with those future
challenges, so we can continue to protect elephants forever.”

Among the world’s leading anti-poaching and conservation experts
attending the Summit are:

Richard    Leakey,    Chairman,    Kenya    Wildlife    Service
Kitili Mbathi,    Director    General,    Kenya    Wildlife    Service
Lee    White,    Executive    Secretary,    Agence    Nationale    des
   Parcs Nationaux,    Gabon
Andrew    Seguya,    Executive    Director,    Uganda    Wildlife    Agency
Mike    Chase,    Director,    Elephants    Without    Borders;
Coordinator,    Elephant    Census
Marco    Lambertini,    Director    General,    WWF
Matt    Brown,    Director    of    Africa    Conservation,    The
Nature    Conservancy
Rian    Labuschagne,    Director    for    African    Parks,
Zakouma    National    Park
Edward    Ndiritu,    Head    of    Anti-Poaching,    Lewa    Wildlife
Josephine    Ekiru,    Peace    Coordinator,    Northern    Rangelands    Trust
Azzedine    Downes,    President    and    CEO,    IFAW
Ian    Craig,    Director    of    Conservation,    Northern
Rangelands    Trust
Iain    Douglas-Hamilton,    CEO,    Save    The    Elephants
Richard    Vigne,    CEO,    Ol    Pejeta    Conservancy
Tom    Lalaampa,    Chairman,    Kenya    Wildlife    Conservancies
Vivek    Menon, CEO,    Wildlife    Trust    of    India
Lt    Gen Ivan    Koreta,    Chair,    Uganda    Conservation    Foundation
Elisifa    Ngowi,    Executive    Secretary,    Serious    Crimes
Investigation    Unit,    Tanzania
Ali    Kaka,    Trustee,    Stop    Ivory
Mary    Rice,    Executive    Director,    Environmental
Investigation    Agency
Jorge    Rios,    Chief    of    Wildlife/Forest    Crime,    UNODC
Rudi    Van    Aarde,    Chair,    Conservation    Ecology    and
Director    of    CERU,    Uni.    of    Pretoria
William    C.    Woody,    Chief    of    Law    Enforcement,    US
Fish    and    Wildlife    Service
Paula    Kahumbu,    CEO,    WildlifeDirect
Peter    Knights,    Executive    Director,    WildAid
Shamini    Jayanathan,    Director    of    Legal    Strategy,
Space    for    Giants

During a series of Summit sessions on Friday April 29, the
conservationists will lay out the practical detail of what works to
protect elephants now and in the future. Immediately afterwards, the
Giants Club presidents and their delegations led by President Uhuru
Kenyatta of Kenya will publicly announce interventions they will make,
and invite pledges from philanthropists, institutions, bilateral
donors, and partners, so the work can begin at once.

Key influencers from the worlds of music, cinema, business, and
conservation, led by Evgeny Lebedev, owner of the British Evening
Standard newspaper and Independent digital news platform and patron of
The Giants Club, will convene for the Summit’s final sessions on
Saturday April 30. They will discuss how best to add the weight of
their followers to accelerate implementation of the Summit
interventions. The Summit ends immediately before President Kenyatta
leads the destruction of Kenya’s stockpile of seized ivory, in
Nairobi, the afternoon of April 30.