While there is no sign that the killing of elephants across Africa is slowing, political momentum to end the ivory poaching crisis has been mounting steadily over recent months. That individuals, scientists, NGOs and governments themselves are coming together to take united international action to save elephants is cause for hope.
The importance of such coalitions cannot be overstated. For while most of the killing of elephants takes place deep in the wilds of Africa the causes are global. Without a globe-spanning alliance, Africa’s wild elephants could disappear within our lifetimes.
In late September, seven African heads of state joined the major NGOs and organisations beneath the banner of the Clinton Global Initiative to launch the Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants. This came hot on the heels of Britain’s Prince William & Prince Harry bringing seven leading NGOs into an alliance called United for Wildlife.Next month brings more such opportunity at a Heads of State conference being held in Botswana.
With the major NGOs all pulling in the same direction their power is greatly increased. All of that power will be needed to secure the changes that are needed to stop the poaching, thwart the traffickers and end the demand for ivory.
Setting aside differences and rivalries and presenting a united front allows strong action at the very highest political levels. Only this can hope to disrupt the growing involvement of organized crime in the ivory trade and counter the spectre of terrorists profiting from ivory.
Crushing the Ivory Trade
Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network have launched our own Elephant Crisis Fund, aimed at leveraging our own expertise to inject fast, catalytic finance into partner projects that most need it. We hope that this will also help bring elephant actors together, both on the ground in Africa and working in nations where demand for ivory is high.
The US ivory crush, delayed by the US government shut-down, has been rescheduled for the 14th November. This represents a significant opportunity for more unity, this time around the need for domestic moratoria on ivory sales. For as long as a market for ivory exists, the world’s remaining wild elephants will be in peril.