Saturday 12th October in San Francisco was a big day for wildlife lovers in the US. More than a thousand wildlife aficionados from across the continent congregated at the annual WCN Expo to meet conservationists who are working around the world to save the animals they love.
Jane Goodall set the 2013 Expo off to a flying start with a wonderfully moving talk about the importance of hope. A short film about her returning an orphaned chimpanzee to a wild island sanctuary had the entire audience in tears.
Iain Douglas-Hamilton took the stage next. He sketched the story of his groundbreaking study of wild elephants and then the wave of killing that saw African elephant populations halve in two decades. This historical holocaust puts the current ivory poaching crisis in perspective. Beyond the horror it shows that with concerted international action, the slaughter can be ended. The international ivory trade ban that was put in place in 1989 held fast for 20 years.
The New Elephant Crisis
The new elephant crisis is too big for any one organization or government to resolve. The only hope is a coordinated response from a coalition of effective organizations to develop and deploy well-funded, strategic and efficient actions to address poaching, trafficking, and demand for ivory.
To this end we and our trusted partners WCN are creating the STE / WCN Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF). The initial target is $5 million to be deployed over the next three years to selected projects in the three target areas of anti-poaching, anti-trafficking and demand reduction.
The Wildlife Conservation Network’s proven efficiency, flexibility and responsiveness in support of field-based conservation projects will enable Save the Elephants to leverage its unrivalled contacts to partner with the most effective organisations to tackle the highest priorities.
How the Fund Works
The ECF is intended to jumpstart and scale up immediate strategic interventions by rapidly deploying financial resources to field partners. The fund is also a key element of a broader effort to expand investment by private individuals, foundations, nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies to reduce elephant poaching.
The initial investment was a $1 million contribution from WCN through a gift from the Sidney Byers Charitable Fund, which will be used to match contributions from individual donors and foundations and so double their impact. Donors will be able to choose into which of the three areas they wish to invest.
The ECF’s first intervention was made within 24 hours of hearing the news that the world’s most celebrated sanctuary for forest elephants, the World Heritage Site of Dzangha Sangha, had fallen to a rebel militia. A grant of $100,000 was made to the Wildlife Conservation Society to enable Mike Fay and WWF’s Richard Ruggiero to stage a successful intervention. Other projects being supported in the first phase are WildAid’s continued demand reduction programme, investigations in Tanzania and judicial reform in Kenya to combat trafficking, and anti-poaching support in Gabon and Mozambique.
Making Your Donations Count
Donations to the Elephant Crisis Fund can be made here, and be directed towards anti-poaching, anti-trafficking and demand reduction, or be left undesignated for the Fund to decide on the highest priority.
Private donations are tax-deductible and will be matched by the Fund, doubling the impact of your donation.