Find the latest press releases to download below:
Spreading awareness of the harmful impacts of plastic was at the heart of this year’s World Environment Day with thousands of people around the world taking part in events focused on the ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ theme. Elephant Family supported a number of events including one in Kaziranga, an important wildlife landscape in North East India, where five key elephant corridors have been secured and now provide connectivity for almost 2,000 elephants.
Organised by Elephant Family’s conservation partner the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the Green Corridor Champion Team, Duarbagori Cooperative Society Ltd. (DBCS) the event was attended by officials and local social workers along with the staff and students of Rangaloo LP School which lies in the fringe area of the Amguri elephant corridor.
Elephant Family to drive home awareness for Asia's endangered elephants with a cavalcade of colour across London this summer
Labelled ‘from India with love’ Elephant Family’s eclectic new fundraising campaign is set to throw a kaleidoscope of colour across the London this summer while driving home a strong conservation message for the protection of Asia’s endangered elephants.
A customised fleet of 12 Ambassador cars, 8 Royal Enfield motorbikes, 2 tuk tuks and a Gujarati Chagda will make up the ‘Concours d’éléphant’ - a cavalcade of designer inspired, quintessentially Indian vehicles – while 30 beautifully decorated sculptures from Elephant Parade® will stand sentinel across the capital, ambassadors for their cousins in the wild.
Elephant Family is delighted to announce a new corporate partnership with the Swiss-based luxury brand, CHARRIOL to raise funds and awareness for the conservation of Asia’s endangered elephants through the sale of two special edition Forever Bangles.
Launched to an enthusiastic audience at Baselworld in March, the bangles are an elegant homage to Asia’s elephants and are available in both rose gold and yellow gold. Adorned with delicately crafted elephants and lotus flower motifs set on CHARRIOL’s signature twisted steel cable they are finished with discreet hinge closures. The Forever Bangles are available here.
24 April, 2018
New evidence gathered in Myanmar and China by the UK-based conservation charity Elephant Family, has revealed an alarming escalation in the illegal trade in Asian elephant skin. The new report - ‘Skinned – The Growing Appetite for Asian Elephants’ - exposes the rise in poaching to feed a developing form of transnational wildlife crime, and those who are trading, promoting and profiting from elephant skin products. Following the trade chain from the forests of Myanmar into China, the report highlights worrying evidence indicating that skin products are being licensed for pharmaceutical use.
With an eye-witness report from the elephant ‘killing fields’ in Myanmar, and a unique profile of an elephant skin trader within China, the report provides a startling and comprehensive overview of this emerging, illegal wildlife trade.
“Asia’s elephant populations are becoming increasingly fragmented and fragile. A trade that targets any elephant, of any age, could spell disaster for this endangered, slow breeding species,” says Elephant Family’s Director of Conservation, Belinda Stewart-Cox, OBE. The first to investigate the elephant skin trade chain, Elephant Family has been studying the trafficking in Asian elephants since 2014 through research, analysis and field investigations.
“Initially monitoring live trade, we were alarmed to discover a marked increase in poaching in Myanmar. We also saw an increasing number of images of elephant carcasses found with strips of skin missing and, more recently, carcasses that had been entirely and surgically skinned,” adds Stewart-Cox.
Driven by concern for the welfare of Asia’s wild elephants the charity’s investigators began researching the illicit trade in elephant skin products both online and in physical markets and, in 2016, exposed the crime to the international conservation community at the 17th meeting of the Conference of Parties to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in Johannesburg, South Africa. While some of the recommendations from that report were adopted, ivory trade continues to dominate discussions on elephants and little has been done to address the emerging elephant skin trade.
The skin is used for two main purposes. One: dried and ground into powder as an ingredient for traditional medicine products that claim to cure stomach ailments or, mixed with elephant fat, to form a cream to treat skin infections. Two: the subcutaneous layers are dried and shaped into beads for bracelets and necklaces for traditional wenwan jewellery. Rectangular pieces of polished skin were also seen being sold as pendants.
“We are now seeing an increase in the illicit online advertising for sale of powdered elephant skin. The main source, at present, is from Myanmar where officials have identified a poaching crisis that has developed rapidly since 2010. Our research shows that urgent action is required to address this growing trend before it develops into yet another wildlife crisis,” adds Stewart-Cox.
“With this report our intention is not to apportion blame but to turn the spotlight onto the escalation of this transnational crime and to call for the collaboration of governments, civil society and the wider public to tackle the issue before it threatens the survival of Asia’s elephants.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Please contact Vicky Flynn – Head of Communications, Elephant Family
M: +44 (0) 7980 135909
It’s hard to believe that a decade ago this peaceful gathering of wild elephants at a water-hole in Kerala may have been consigned to history. For centuries, thousands of wild elephant’s had plied this ancient migratory route through what is now known as the Tirunelli-Kudrakote elephant corridor in Kerala, southern India, moving between feeding and breeding grounds in the area.
It was the growing human population; the expansion of settlements, agriculture and indiscriminate developments resulting in the degradation and fragmentation of the habitat that threatened not only the survival of the elephants but also the people who had moved into and blocked the elephant’s route.
Securing this vital wildlife corridor, and the future of the world’s largest single population of Asian elephants, became an urgent conservation priority and work began to realise the dream in 2007.
With support from Elephant Family, a 2,200 acre corridor, providing a protected path for 1,400 elephants, was secured and, in 2015, the corridor received legal protection, meaning that the right of way for elephants was secured in perpetuity. Securing the area meant the voluntary relocation of 37 families from four settlements and purchasing 25.3 acres of land which was handed over to Kerala Forest Department to ensure its long-term conservation.
24 March 2018
The city of Mumbai came together on Friday 23, March 2018 to celebrate the closing ceremony and the final sale of gorgeous elephant sculptures for Elephant Parade India, officially launched last year on 12 August 2017 on the occasion of World Elephant Day 2017.
Surrounded by the iridescent creations and amazing people that have made this possible, the closing ceremony was hosted by Ruth Ganesh, Trustee, Elephant Family and patrons and supporters of Elephant family including Haseena Jethmalani, Akshay Chudasama, Alex Kuruvilla, Manish Malhotra, Sangita Jindal and Vikram Goyal.
Ruth Ganesh, Trustee Elephant Family, “Elephant Parade India has been truly supersonic. From a star-studded launch at the Gateway of India to overhearing 8 year olds talk intelligently about elephant corridors, it has succeeded on every level. We cannot thank the people of Mumbai enough for getting behind this campaign to raise awareness of India’s endangered elephants.”
Created as part of the UK India Year of Culture, Elephant Parade India is organised by Elephant Family in association with Good Earth and in partnership with the Wildlife Trust of India. Ms. Poonam Mahajan, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and National President of the Bhartiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha is the Parade Ambassador. 100% of the proceeds generated through the online auction will be used to secure 101 crucial elephant corridors in India, the pathways that elephants depend upon to get from one forest feeding ground to the next.
Weaving tribal inspiration into the protection of Asia's endangered elephants: Loomah bespoke carpets & rugs partner with Elephant Family
A new collaboration, inspired by the paintings of the Gond tribe of Madhya Pradesh, India, has created a unique collection of distinctive, one-off hand tufted wool rugs that will be sold in support of Elephant Family's work to save Asia's elephants. Based on original paintings by Gond artists Santosh Parte and Suresh Uikey, the rugs depict the Gond fascination with the interconnectedness of nature.
"Elephants are so much a part of nature, their perpetual movement through the forests of Asia helps shape the landscape and the lives of thousands of other animals, and humans too. Representing that interconnectedness in art, and creating this collection of exquisite rugs with Loomah to support Asian elephants, provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a truly unique piece of art that has conservation at its heart," adds Elephant Family trustee, Ruth Ganesh.
Elephants are well-known for their complex, multi-layered social networks led by an older female. Known as the matriarch, these wise female elephants carry with them a lifetime of inherited wisdom that helps the whole herd survive; where to find water, where to find food, when to avoid danger.
While studies of African elephants show the clear dominance of the matriarch in a herd, for Asian elephants the hierarchy appears to be a little more relaxed. Scientists suggest that this may be because Asian elephants live in more ecologically robust environments, where food and water is generally available and predators are few. Yet the importance of inherited wisdom remains critical for herd survival.
World Wildlife Day - 3 March 2018
This year's focus for World Wildlife Day on March 3 is 'Big Cats' so we thought we'd focus on elephants. Here's why...
For three millennia elephants have moved through the forests of Asia, forging passages through the landscape to connect one feeding ground to the next. Their perpetual processions clear old vegetation, make space for new growth and allow sunlight to dapple the forest floors to fuel new life. They disperse the seeds of the plants they eat through their dung, seeding and composting as they go, nourishing countless plants and insects on which a hundred other species depend; the herbivores and the carnivores that feed upon them.
Elephants are the architects of the forests and forests are vital to us all; we depend on forests for our survival, from the air we breathe to the wood we use. Besides providing habitats for animals and livelihoods for humans, forests also offer watershed protection, prevent soil erosion and mitigate climate change.
Across Asia, big cats rely on these forests too. As ambush predators, tigers and leopards depend on forest cover while the smaller cats find food and safety in the forest canopy or along the shaded forest floors.
While many of us empathize with the plight of the charismatic big cats and consider ourselves their protectors through our donations to the charities that protect them, this World Wildlife Day spare a thought for the animals that have been helping to protect the big cats and their forests for thousands of years – the Asian elephants – nature’s very own big cat protection team.
26 February 2018
Politicians, celebrities, artists and designers came together at the Gateway of India
Mumbai, where a stunning display of 101 artistic elephants were assembled to celebrate the launch of the first ever Elephant Parade India. The elephants will be paraded across the city in a series of public art exhibitions and simultaneously be sold at an online auction on Paddle8, online auction partner, going live on Wednesday 28 February 2018.
Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra inaugurated the parade with Smt. Maneka Gandhi, Hon'ble Minister of Women and Child Development & Founder, People for Animals and Smt. Poonam Mahajan, Hon'ble Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and Parade Ambassador.
The inauguration was attended by key supporters of Elephant Family including Natasha Poonawalla, Vikram Goyal and Beenu Bawa along with artists, designers and celebrities including Rohit Bal, Ashiesh Shah, Michelle Poonawalla, Aradhana Seth, Mozez Singh, Mehr Rampal, Dhruvi Acharya, Pranab Das, Jennifer Winget and Sehban Azim . Dr Sandeep Kr Tiwari, of the Wildlife Trust of India - Elephant Family’s biggest conservation partner and the organisation pioneering the 101 corridor solution for India’s elephants also attended.
Ruth Ganesh, Trustee Elephant Family said: “We dreamed of the Gateway of India to launch our herd and never quite believed it would come true. Today made us feel like children in a sweetshop on a sugar high. Thank you and get ready Mumbai - these elephants will bring you so much joy.”
Poonam Mahajan, Parade Ambassador added: “Having worked as an environmentalist and animal lover for so long, I was thrilled to be approached by the Elephant Family to support the same cause which we have been working on with People for Animals for Asiatic Elephants. It’s important to us as over the past 100 years we’ve lost 90% of Asian Elephants, and now as nature, the environment and human beings all co-exist together, awareness is now coming, and it is time for action. By showcasing these beautifully painted 101 elephants by renowned artists and designers all across the city of Mumbai we are bringing everyone together to increase that awareness. Through this initiative we’d like to raise significant funds to help India’s 101 corridors for elephants, and build the crucial rescue centres around the forests that are so needed. This wonderful art exhibition we have launched is the first step and the exhibition is open to all Mumbaikars .”
Aamchi Mumbai to welcome 101 artistic elephant sculptures as the city launches the first ever Elephant Parade in India
February 2018: 101 gorgeous elephant sculptures by leading artists and designers including Amitabh Bachan, LN Tallur, Princess Pea, Christian Louboutin, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Masaba Gupta are scheduled to come to Mumbai for 3 weeks of public display for Elephant Parade India.
The official inauguration of the parade in Mumbai will be on Sunday, 25th February 2018 at the Gateway of India in the presence of Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Hon'ble Chief Minister of
Maharashtra, Shri Sudhir Mungantiwar, Hon'ble Minister of Finance, Planning and Forests
and Smt. Poonam Mahajan, Hon'ble Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and Parade
Following the inauguration, the elephants will be displayed in herds at prominent Mumbai locations to be photographed, hugged and kissed by an admiring public as part of what has become recognised as the world's biggest public art event. Each elephant will be for sale to raise funds for their endangered wild cousins and their forest homes. Created as part of the 2017 UK India Year of Culture, Elephant Parade India is organised by Elephant Family in association with Good Earth.
21 April 2017
KOTA KINABALU: A controversial plan to build a RM220 million, 350-metre bridge spanning Kinabatangan in Sukau has been scrapped by the state government.
The landmark decision was announced by the Sabah Forestry Department's Chief Conservator of Forests, Datuk Sam Mannan, when speaking at the Southeast Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP) dinner in London, yesterday.
The project stoked controversy when environmentalists, including famed English naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, raised concerns over the environmental impact such a bridge would have on wildlife there.
Attenborough said it would threaten one of the last sanctuaries of the Bornean pygmy elephant.
"In making this decision, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman has taken into consideration all the concerns and opinions expressed related to the bridge, including those from Sime Darby, Nestle, scientists and non-governmental groups, and also the opinion of someone who knows the territory better than anyone else – Sir Attenborough," Sam said.
He added that Attenborough's comments “broke the camel's back” and made the Sabah government understand that the issue does not just concern Sabah, but the world.
7 March 2017
The initiative in Thailand promises to help crack down on smugglers who take elephants from the wild
It is illegal to traffic wild elephants into captivity, but where money is to be made that doesn’t stop people trying. Thailand has a new national DNA database of all captive elephants. It has shown its worth this week by proving two young elephants in a Thai tourist camp often frequented by UK tourists in southern Thailand are not in fact the offspring of captive elephant parents as claimed.
This significant finding proves that the DNA registration system is working and could be the first of many incidents of this nature now that Thailand has bowed down to pressure from NGO Elephant Family and other partners and put this protection system in place.
“With the new DNA registration system properly in place, we can finally start to close these loopholes and crack down on smugglers who are taking elephants from the wild, ” says Ruth Powys, CEO at Elephant Family.
Last October, Thailand introduced a new law for all elephant owners to adopt a DNA Registration System. The system will help better track captive elephants and prevent elephants being smuggled from the wild and disguised as captive elephants, fuelled by the lucrative tourist industry.
To date over 3,440 captive elephants - almost 99% of the animals’ total documented population in Thailand – have already been registered for DNA checks to help verify their identity and origins, with the remainder of captive elephants to be completed by the end of this month.
With less than 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild today, this crucial milestone will help protect both captive and wild elephants and ensure that the wild population doesn’t continue to be further fragmented.
30 December 16
China has announced a ban on all ivory trade and processing activities by the end of 2017.
Conservation groups hailed the decision as "historic" and a "game-changer" for the future of elephants.
The move follows a resolution at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) in South Africa in October.
China has the biggest ivory market in the world - some estimates suggest 70% of the world's trade ends up there.
The commercial processing and sale of ivory will stop by 31 March, and all registered traders will then be phased out, bringing a full halt to the market by the end of the year.
While the international market in ivory has been closed since 1989, legal domestic markets have continued in many countries around the world.
China had backed the Cites resolution in October, surprising participants with the strength of its support for a ban.
Some delegates said Beijing had wanted an even stronger resolution.
5 October 2016
Under new laws, the genetic code of all captive Thai elephants will have to be recorded to help distinguish them from their wild counterparts.
Thailand has just announced a new law for all elephant owners which required them to adopt a DNA Registration System to keep track of all captive elephants. This comes in response to a number of investigations carried out by NGO Elephant Family and mounting pressure from the conservation sector.This important step will ensure that captive-bred elephants can be easily distinguished from their wild counterparts. The news comes during the 17th Conference of the Parties for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in South Africa.
“In order to save our wild elephants, we need to properly monitor the population of captive elephants,”said Adisorn Nuchdamrong, the Deputy Director General of the Department of National Parks in Thailand.
Elephant Family an NGO dedicated to saving the Asian elephant, has been instrumental in exposing the illegal trade which sees wild baby elephants captured and passed as captive-born for the lucrative tourism and entertainment industry. At present, Thailand’s 3,500-4,000 captive elephants are registered by means of a microchip or photo identification which can be easily swapped and forged. This allows room for wild elephants to be smuggled into tourist camps and disguised as captive elephants. Elephant Family will now provide financial and technical assistance for the implementation of the DNA registration system and will be discussing this with other range states.
“We will now start collecting the DNA of all captive elephants through blood samples which we plan to complete within six months,” said Nuchdamrong. “We aim to have all elephant camps adopt the new DNA registration system within one year.”
To date, elephant camps are only required to register their elephants at eight years of age. This coupled with poor registration systems allows for a loophole in the illegal trade in trafficking of wild elephants. Over the next few months, Thailand’s captive elephants are to be registered within 90 days of birth using the DNA registration system.
“A complete DNA register for all Thailand’s captive elephants is a milestone move for both wild and captive elephants across Asia,” said Ruth Powys, CEO of Elephant Family. “What happens next is, however, key: the registration of all captive new born elephants within 90 days of birth. The enforcement of this new law will close a loophole that currently enables wild elephants to be passed off as captive. Elephant Family will now support other range states in following Thailand’s landmark footsteps.”
Elephant Family will be working with TRACE Wildlife Forensic Network to develop a suitable DNA registration system for other range states that allows rapid and robust testing of domestic elephants to prevent illegal trade. “DNA testing is becoming an invaluable tool to aid the prosecution of wildlife crime, or in this case, to ensure legal compliance with the national legislation of Thailand,” said Dr Ross McEwing, Director of the UK based TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network.
Elephant Family & Quintessentially Foundation win Fundraising Event of the Year at the Third Sector Awards for Travels to my Elephant
15 September 2016
Awarded to a fundraising event that used an original or inspiring approach to secure donations
Travels to my Elephant was set up to raise awareness of the plight of the Asian elephant. It also generated funding to mitigate the problems between elephants and villagers in India's north-eastern state of Assam, where elephant habitat is fragmented and many local people live in fear of being attacked as they encroach more and more on the animals’ territory.
Inspired by the book Travels On My Elephant by the conservationist Mark Shand, Travels to my Elephant came to life through a series of five events that took place throughout 2015. It was launched in June by the actress Goldie Hawn and began when 20 rickshaws decorated with elephants took over the streets of London before being auctioned at an event hosted by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
In another event in November that year, 80 people raised at least £10,000 each to participate in a 500-kilometre rickshaw race across India. At the end of the trip they were greeted by Tara, the elephant that featured in Shand’s book.
The event attracted £184,000 in sponsorship from the department store Selfridges and the baby equipment brand Maclaren, with miniature elephant sculptures celebrating the event being sold in Selfridges and other London retailers.
Travels to my Elephant raised more than £2m, surpassing its net target by more than 70 per cent. The funds have safeguarded the lives of 1,700 endangered Asian elephants and 120 people living in Assam, with a further 100 people set to benefit over the coming year. The events had a total media reach of 915 million people, a Facebook reach of 370,000 and more than 100,000 Twitter impressions.
What did the judges say?
Scott Clarkson, deputy director of supporters and communities at Save the Children, said: "What an impressive list of achievements. It sounds like each part of the campaign was a success."
15 April 2016
Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Kaziranga marked the launch of Elephant Parade in India, a public art event that will take place in 2017, the year of India-UK culture. A call to artists from across India is being made to participate in creating a visually stunning herd of painted model elephants, similar to the ones their Royal Highnesses saw during their visit to Kaziranga.
Elephant Family cares for both elephant and human families, funding pioneering solutions such as elephant corridors. Born from the success of its predecessor in London, the Elephant Parade in India will generate vital funds to help secure 100 elephant corridors across India for the endangered Asian elephant who faces risk of displacement through fragmentation of habitat and human disturbances. Crucial sponsorship will also facilitate the voluntary relocation of communities living on elephant corridors to safer areas.
The last London Elephant Parade, which took place from May to June 2010, became London’s biggest public art exhibition with more than 250 brightly painted elephants located across central London. With an audience of 25 million, the campaign raised over £5 million for the endangered Asian elephant.
The 300 painted model elephants on parade across Delhi and Mumbai in 2017 will create a striking spectacle of colour and showcase the nation’s most creative artists and emerging talents; whilst celebrating India’s national heritage animal.
Having supported Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to secure an elephant corridor in Kerala in the past, Elephant Family is currently working with WTI in Assam to help secure the Kalapahar Daigurung corridor through voluntary village relocation. Since 2004, Elephant Family has invested heavily in conservation projects spanning the length and breadth of the country; and will continue to secure corridors for elephants with valued support from its corporate partners, including PWC India.
Ruth Powys, CEO of Elephant Family, said, “We are thrilled their Royal Highnesses were able to join Elephant Family and WTI at Kaziranga Discovery Park in Assam to see first-hand the important animal conservation work that goes on here. The royal visit also marks Elephant Family’s call to India’s creative artists to participate in creating the Elephant Parade 2017.”
26 March 2015
The Elephant Family charity and Quintessentially Foundation today announced the launch of ‘Travels To My Elephant’ – a once-in-a-lifetime rickshaw race taking place in India in November 2015 to help save the Asian elephant from extinction. The venture was officially launched today at Clarence House at an exclusive reception hosted by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, joint presidents of Elephant Family.
Inspired by Elephant Family’s late founder, the passionate conservationist Mark Shand, whose rescue of an Asian elephant, Tara, is recorded in his best-selling book ‘Travels on my Elephant’, ‘Travels To My Elephant’ will see a fleet of 30 rickshaws race 500km in an epic Indian adventure across Madhya Pradesh to Tara’s home at Kipling Camp.
Journeying through some of the country’s most colourful and awe inspiring countryside, from the erotic sculptures at Khajuraho to the tiger reserves of Bandhavgarh National Park, teams of two from all corners of the globe will take on the unique challenge. Actress Susan Sarandon, models Yasmin and Amber Le Bon and Quintessentially Foundation principal Ben Elliot are just some of the many racers taking part, with each team pledging to raise £10,000 for Elephant Family, supporting its goal of funding a future for the Asian elephant.
To launch ‘Travels To My Elephant’ in the UK, 20 rickshaws will be transformed into extraordinary pieces of mobile art individually designed by a host of international artists, milliners and fashion houses including Diane von Furstenberg, Manish Arora, Carolina Herrara, Philip Colbert and The Rodnik Band and Nicky Haslam. From 1st June, this beautiful collection of rickshaws will grace the streets of London, offering the public a unique chance to join the conservation journey and contribute to the charity campaign by riding the rickshaws in magical tours of the city. With the fine art logistics expert Cadogan Tate providing support throughout the event, the rickshaws will then be auctioned by Sotheby’s at Lancaster House on 30th June.
‘Travels To My Elephant’ is a true modern day adventure and a fitting celebration of the life of Mark Shand, one of the world’s greatest adventurers. The campaign aims to raise a total of £1 million for the Elephant Family charity, and a chance to carry on Mark’s passion and dream of saving the magnificent Asian elephant from extinction.
Today’s launch event at Clarence House was attended by Elephant Family supporters, donors, rickshaw artists and racers, and provided a preview of all 20 artistic rickshaw designs. Guests included the Indian High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr. Ranjan Mathai, artists Rebecca Campbell and Simon Emery, Dame Zandra Rhodes, Nicky Haslam, Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor, Joanna Lumley, Yasmin and Amber Le Bon.
The rickshaw race begins in India on 1st November 2015.
For further details on the Travels To My Elephant campaign, imagery and interview requests, please contact Quintessentially & Co: Zafar Rushdie – email@example.com / +44(0) 207 291 5299 or Clementine Churchward – firstname.lastname@example.org / +44(0) 207 291 5285
10 July 2014
Yesterday at the CITES* meeting in Geneva, governments from around the world agreed that urgent action must be taken to prevent the illegal trade in live Asian elephants, an issue that could wipe out Myanmar’s last remaining elephants and has been the focus of Elephant Family’s campaigning. It was decided that CITES officials will now investigate how countries involved are tackling this issue, thereby ensuring they to do more.
Ruth Powys, CEO of Elephant Family, said: “This is very welcome news for the endangered Asian elephant. So many CITES discussions concern ivory and what is happening to the African elephant, and the rarer Asian elephant often gets overlooked; but not now. Elephant Family has been leading the charge to put an end to the illegal trade in live Asian elephants that are being ripped from the forests; and now we are one step closer.”
Although illegal, the capture of wild elephants continues, and these days calves and young females in particular are traded for use in the ever-growing tourist and entertainment industries in Asia. Several family members may be killed when capturing one calf. It is also thought that two out of every three elephants taken from the wild will die from injury or stress in halfway camps during the brutal ‘domestication’ process. Not only is this practice abhorrent, but information already available suggests that it is a significant threat to remaining wild populations of Asian elephants.
There are reports of this trade occurring across much of the Asian elephants’ range, and the trade between Myanmar and Thailand is a particular cause for concern. Earlier this week, An Assessment of the Live Elephant Trade in Thailand was released by TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network. This report was prepared on behalf of Elephant Family, an organisation dedicated to the conservation of Asian elephants, and provides details of between 79 and 81 wild elephants illegally captured in the wild for sale into the tourist industry in Thailand between April 2011 and March 2013. Of 53 cases for which the origin of the elephants is known, 92% were captured in Myanmar. These reports have since been confirmed by Myanmar government, which has pointed out that unrest in their country has been exploited by smugglers.
This latest progress under the framework of CITES builds on that made last year at its conference in Bangkok, when the issue was first added to the key resolution on “Trade in Elephant Specimens”, which governs international efforts to protect both Asian and African elephants. This had previously focussed almost exclusively on efforts to overcome the illegal trade in ivory and how it is affecting African elephants.
China initially opposed the request for this issue to be investigated further, arguing that it only concerns Thailand and Myanmar, and that they should resolve it between them. However, there are numerous reports of other States’ involvement in the trade – including China – and the request was upheld. The measures being called for – including the early registration of captive-born elephants, backed up by a robust DNA database – would not only help to curb the international illegal trade in live elephants, but would also protect Asian elephants where illegal domestic trade is a problem.
For further information, please contact:
Alejandra De La Puente, Head of Relationship Management, Elephant Family, email@example.com
Tel +44 20 7251 5099, Mob +44 7739 900758. 17-18 Hayward's Place, London, UK EC1R 0EQ
About Elephant Family
Elephant Family was set up to halt the massive decline in numbers of the endangered Asian elephant. In the past 100 years it is estimated the world population of Asian elephants has declined by up to 90%, down to a population of 40,000-50,000. With a corresponding loss of up to 95% of their available habitat over the same period, people and elephants have been forced into the same areas, creating intense conflict between them. Elephant Family are working on the ground with local communities, finding solutions for both wildlife and people. Working where it matters most, tackling the greatest threats to Asian elephants from loss of habitat, the brutality of poaching, and illegal capture from the wild. The Asian elephant is a flagship species and other extraordinary wildlife flourishes in its habitat, including tigers, orangutans and rhinos.
* CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The 65th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee is taking place in Geneva this week.
- Thailand must act to prevent resurgence of illegal wild elephant trade - 06 July 14
- Deutsche Bank Staff Vote: A Victory for Wildlife - 31 May 13
- The Animal Ball - 13 May 13
- International Pressure Builds to Stop Trains Killing Elephants - 13 May 13
- UK Tourists Fuel Endangered Baby Elephant smuggling in Thailand - 23 July 12
- First Steps taken to Protect Orissa’s Elephants - 06 July 12
- World’s Biggest Easter Egg Hunt Set to Take Over Capital - 01 February 12
- Scotland’s Biggest Outdoor Art Event ‘Jungle City’ Unveiled in Edinburgh - 19 April 11
- Hilary Benn and Others Call For Coordinated Government Efforts to Save the Asian Elephant - 04 October 10
- Elephant Parade London - 05 April 10
- Ivory Ban - 22 March 10
- Elephant Parade Schools Launch - 21 January 10