Since inception, Elephant Family has achieved dozens of conservation milestones that are helping safeguard the lives of the endangered Asian elephant. From exposing illegal trade in elephant calves to stopping developers in their tracks, Elephant Family’s success represents new hope for Asia’s elephants, their habitat and communities living alongside them.
Following Elephant Family’s ground-breaking report on the illegal trade in Asian elephant skin, governments at the October meeting of CITES in Sochi expressed overwhelming support to strengthen international laws that will help protect Asia’s endangered elephants.
UK announces ban on trade in all ivory
As a result of lobbying from NGOs including Elephant Family, the UK’s ban on ivory has been expanded to cover all ivory, regardless of antiquity.
Months of undercover investigation paid off when Elephant Family released a report that brought the trade in elephant skin to global attention. Over 75 media outlets picked up the story, and at an Asian Elephant Specialist Group meeting, Elephant Family was able to speak directly with the Chinese delegation, and agree next steps in a collaborative approach to resolving the trade.
Politicians, including the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Parade Ambassador Poonam Mahajan, celebrities like Liz Hurley, artists and designers such as Christina Louboutin, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Manish Arora all came together with the people of Mumbai to support the creation and auctioning of 101 decorated elephant sculptures. 100% of the proceeds from the auction went to support Elephant Family’s conservation work, and 50% of that will support the preservation of crucial elephant corridors.
Elephant Family commits to fund ten new conservation projects
In addition to its ongoing work, Elephant Family has committed to the support ten new projects in 2018. These projects span five countries and focus on innovative and impactful initiatives to secure the Asian elephant’s future. Projects include saving the last 100 elephants in Vietnam, funding an IUCN working group to oversee infrastructure development across the Asian elephant range, and removing invasive weeds from elephant habitat and using them to create sculptures to fundraise for further conservation work.
85 adventurers drove a fleet of Royal Enfields, Gujarati Chagdas and Ambassador cars across Rajasthan, northern India, raising a gross profit of almost a million pounds for Asia’s endangered elephants.
Conflict combatted in Valparai, Tamil Nadu
Elephant Family and its field partner, Dr Ananda Kumar of Nature Conservation Foundation, are mitigating human-elephant conflict through the use of low cost, accessible technology which warns people when elephants are in the area. Based on mobile phone technology a series of message boards along key stretches of road and text messages inform people of elephant activity, enable them to avoid an unexpected elephant encounter. The system has seen a 100% success rate in Valparai, Tamil Nadu, and will be expanded to Hassan by the end of 2017.
Plans for Sukau Bridge in Sabah, Borneo, scrapped
Elephant Family has been funding elephant movement across Sabah, Borneo, since 2010 to show the importance of elephants’ and other wildlife’s existing habitat. The findings have been crucial in the landmark decision to scrap the bridge planned to be built in the middle of an important wildlife corridor. The decision was announced by the Sabah Forestry Department’s Chief Conservator of Forests, Datuk Sam Mannan on April 21st.
Following pressure from Elephant Family, more than 3,440 captive elephants – over 98% of the total documented elephant population in Thailand – have been registered for DNA checks to verify their identities and origin with the remainder to be registered by March. This new system will help prevent the illegal trade in baby elephants.
Elephant Family supports the framework for first Myanmar Elephant Conservation Action Plan
The country’s first-ever plan for elephant conservation culminated in a workshop last week in Naypyitaw, driven by eight government departments and agencies and supported by Elephant Family and other international NGOs. The plan outlines ten-year priorities to safeguard these iconic animals for future generations, including engaging the public in the control of illegal poaching, trade and consumption of elephants and their parts.
The Animal Ball raises £1.6m to protect endangered species across the globe
Elephant Family, in partnership with Selfridges, hosted The Animal Ball in London which raised £1.6 million to help solve human-elephant conflict and secure the future for Asian & African elephants, lions and lowland mountain gorillas.
As a result of a series of investigations funded by Elephant Family and mounting conservation pressure, Thailand announced a new law for all elephant owner to adopt a DNA Registration System. The system will help keep track of all captive elephants and ensure that wild elephants are no longer smuggled from the wild to meet a growing demand in the Thai tourist market. Elephant Family will now be working with four other elephant range states to ensure that by June 2018 they too follow in Thailand’s landmark footsteps.
Success at CITES CoP17
Elephant Family funded a review that was put forward at CITES to help combat illegal wildlife trade in Asian elephants. The decisions were successfully passed at CITES CoP 17 this month in Johannesburg with all Asian elephant range states agreeing to take the necessary steps to implement the recommendations put forward.
NGOs call for total ivory ban in UK
Elephant Family joined forces with other NGOs and marched to Downing Street to hand over a letter calling on Theresa May to ban ivory sales in the UK. The march saw ministers announce a ban in the UK on ivory younger than 70 years old. Our next step is to lobby for a complete ban across the UK.
Elephant Family has funded one of the first ever undercover investigations in elephant skin across Myanmar and China. The investigation has unravelled the growing trade in skin which is believed to ‘cure’ a number of physical ailments. The skin is also being turned into beads for jewellery with elephant skin sourced from Myanmar and sold in China.
Hilary Benn and Others Call For Coordinated Government Efforts to Save the Asian Elephant
At the Labour Party Conference yesterday, Hilary Benn MP expressed his very strong support for the campaign that Elephant Family is waging to save the Asian elephant, and spoke of the need for a more joined up government response to the problems facing the world. He was speaking at a fringe debate organised by Progress (the New Labour pressure group) on behalf of Elephant Family, which examined the increasing threats to the Asian Elephant and what can be done to help them, particularly by governments.
Borneo drop plan to plant palm oil plantation in main elephant corridor
The Malaysian state of Sabah announce the decision to establish a 68,000-hectare rainforest that houses elephants, orangutans, and clouded leopards, among countless other species, following a campaign supported by Elephant Family. The area serves as a critical habitat for wildlife and connects two world-renowned protected areas – Maliau and Danum Valley – providing a vital corridor in a landscape that has been widely cleared for palm oil plantations.
EU labelling changes force industry action on palm oil
Elephant Family was one of the driving forces behind the Clear Labels, Not Forests campaign, which called for the clear labelling of palm oil use in food products, and advocated to stop palm oil from remaining a ‘hidden’ ingredient. 500 million consumers will now be aware that palm oil is in their food thanks to the success of this campaign.
Elephant Family formed the backbone of a report on illegal live elephant trade released by TRAFFIC. The report, An Assessment of the Live Elephant Trade in Thailand, provides details of 79-81 wild elephants that were illegally captured from the wild and sold into the tourist industry in Thailand between April 2011 and March 2013 with at least 60% of these elephants trafficked from Myanmar. The report is one of the few in-depth publications about the trade and recommends for captive elephants to be DNA registered.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall become Elephant Family’s Joint Royal Presidents
This month Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, are appointed Elephant Family’s joint royal presidents. Their presence, motivating speeches and encouragement have made a marked difference to Elephant Family’s impact and we are extremely fortunate for all their support.
A Significant Step Forward
At the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Geneva this year, Elephant Family took the next significant step in stopping this horrific practice for good. As a result of our campaign, governments from around the world have agreed that urgent action must be taken to stop this horrific practice. CITES officials will now investigate how countries involved are tackling this issue, requiring them to do more.
First Measures taken to Protect Orissa’s Elephants
First steps towards protecting Orissa’s elephants from electrocution by power lines were achieved in a meeting held in New Delhi. With representation from Reliance Infrastructure, who own a 51% share in three of the four power distribution companies of the state, together with senior representatives from the Ministry of Environment and Forest and the Government of Orissa, the meeting aimed to develop a workable solution to the problem.