Press Releases

elephants-sometimes-go-near-homes-to-eat-jack-fruit-from-neighbouring-trees_sreedhar-vijayakrishnan_gan0241Press Releases


Asian Elephants Receive New Safeguards at CITES Conference of the Parties

August 2019

At the 18th meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties held in Geneva 17-28 August 2019, the international community united to safeguard Asian elephants, adopting more robust measures to protect the species from trafficking. The need now is to turn these commitments into action.

Find out more here

Skin for Sale: An Update on the Trade in Asian Elephant Skin

August 2019

Elephant Family releases a new report following a further eighteen months of tracking the illegal trade in Asian elephant skin as it continues to expand and shift strategies and locales in response to enforcement measures.

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A new Ambassador joins the herd to champion Asia's elephants

March 2019

Actor, model and all-round influencer has joined Elephant Family as an Ambassador to help raise awareness for Asia's elephants.

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A spirited life - the story of Raja

March 2019

An orphaned elephant calf called Raja filled us with a sense of determination and of optimism that, however hard it gets, Asia’s elephants can survive as long as we, as a charity, can keep getting funds out to the field to help end conflict and raise awareness of how to best live alongside wild elephants.

Read Raja's story here

A new Ambassador joins the herd to champion Asia's elephants

March 2019

Elephant Family is delighted to welcome Conservation enthusiast and star of Made In Chelsea Tristan Phipps to the herd. He joins the charity as an Ambassador to help raise awareness for the plight of Asia’s elephants.

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Elephants and observations in human-modified landscapes

January 2019

Sreedhar Vijayakrishnan, is a research scholar in the Western Ghats whose PhD is being funded by Elephant Family. Recognised by the charity as a future innovator, Sreedhar’s research focuses on the behaviour of Asian elephants, especially in human-modified landscapes and conflict situations. Read more here

Elephant Family partners with Voices of Wildlife

January, 20019

Elephant Family has become the newest partner of Voices for Wildlife – the coalition campaign launched in response to the Myanmar elephant poaching and skinning crisis.

Find out more by clicking here

2018 Review of the Year.
The year we put Asian Elephants on the international stage

January 2018

One of Elephant Family's main goals is to raise awareness for the plight of Asia's elephants on the international stage and in 2018, with your help, we did that in style! With passion, creativity and hard work we shared the plight of Asian elephants to millions around a  world and helped change the law governing the protection of the species.

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From uneasy neighbours to more peaceful human-elephant coexistence

December 2018

Thanks to the amazing support of Elephant Family donors a ground-breaking project in southern India is providing a safer environment for people and elephants alike. Through the use of communication technology, community participation and early-warning systems there is a positive move from uneasy neighbours to more peaceful human-elephant coexistence as this latest update shows.

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Ensuring connectivity for Asian elephants

December 2018

25 million kilometres of new roads are being planned (circumnavigating the globe 600 times) mostly in developing countries, between now and 2050. Add to this the expansion of new and existing rail networks and we are looking at a landscape that will be interwoven with major hazards that will have a detrimental impact on a migratory species such as the Asian elephant. This rapidly expanding transport infrastructure is a direct threat to elephant movement and mortality with railways already accounting for a significant percentage of elephant deaths across Asia.

We caught up with Rob Ament, co-founder of the Asian Elephant Transport Working Group, to find out how Elephant Family funding can help find solutions to this emerging crisis.

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Report from the field: Visit to the front line of human-elephant conflict

November 2018

Elephant Family visited the state in Odisha to witness first hand the issues faced by wild elephants in the Indian state.  What they discovered was an urgent need to increase support for the protection the beleagured herds.

Read the full story here

Diwali partnership shines a brilliant light on Asia's forgotten elephants

November 2018

Elephant Family partnered with JKS Restaurants for an elephant-infused Diwali that brought Asia's elephants to the heart of London.

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Important victory for Asia’s elephants paves the way for increased protection

October 2018

Governments today (October 3) expressed overwhelming support to strengthen international laws that will help protect endangered Asian elephants.

The move comes following undercover investigation work carried out by UK charity Elephant Family that exposed an emerging illegal trade in Asian elephant skin. Alarmed by the discovery of skinned elephant carcasses in Myanmar, Elephant Family found that the skin is being turned into beads for jewellery and powder to treat medical conditions and sold online through Chinese language forums. The sharing of their findings today helped secure a much needed strengthening of the laws that protect Asia’s endangered elephants.

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Blood beads: the trade that could tip Asia’s elephants toward extinction

New pictures found online this September by the UK-based conservation charity Elephant Family reveal the continuation of a gruesome trade that could – if left unchecked – signal the extinction of Asia’s endangered elephants. We call for better protection of Asia's elephants at CITES and the IWT meetings in October.

The impact of plastic waste on Asian elephants 

We take a look at the impact of plastic waste across the Asian elephant's 13 range states and find that it is a growing menace for the world's largest land mammal.

The Illegal Wildlife Trade conference must shine a spotlight on the plight of Asian elephants

The burgeoning illegal skin trade means we must act now to save this seriously endangered species - read our Op-ed that appeared in The Independent newspaper.

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Jumbo donation is a real life-saver

A sizeable donation from Animal Friends Pet Insurance is helping to ensure a safer future for endangered Asian elephants and the people sharing their landscape in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

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Hell is Here: Legal petition launched against hulla parties at Indian Supreme Court

The photo of elephants being driven away with inflammable missiles by hulla parties (elephant squads) in south Bengal triggered Elephant Family to commission a report into the escalating conflict in the state, and yesterday (July 30) a group of conservationists moved the Indian Supreme Court against the use of hulla parties.

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Elephants in Assam enjoy their ancestral right of passage

July 2018

Carving out space for wildlife in an increasingly crowded human landscape is a real challenge that requires creative solutions. Together with our field partner the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) we collaborated with local communities living alongside a crucial elephant corridor in Assam’s Kaziranga Karbi-Anglong landscape to secure the voluntary relocation of 100 villagers to a new location.

These families now enjoy newly built brick houses, their own agricultural land (1.3 acres per family) and new cooking equipment that has already reduced their consumption of firewood by 27%.

But it’s not just the villagers that are enjoying a wonderfully productive new life – the elephants are too.

Read more here

Cambodia update:
Snares push up calf mortality

July 2018

Camera traps funded by Elephant Family, to help monitor population size and trends among elephants in the Cardamom Mountain Landscape in Cambodia, have revealed calves with severe injuries caused by wire snares.

Read more here

Thank you London for your awesome support for Asia's elephants

It's been an extraordinary summer in the city for Elephant Family and the Elephant Parade herd - read more here

HRH the Duchess of Cornwall launches the Elephant Family’s Concours d’éléphant

HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, Joint President of Elephant Family, officially launched the Concours d’éléphant at the Oriental Club in London’s West End today, Thursday 21st June. The cavalcade of traditional Indian vehicles will tour London to raise awareness of the charity’s work to protect the Asian elephant ahead of a gala dinner and auction at Royal Hospital Chelsea on 28th June.

The Duchess was welcomed by Patrick Mark (Elephant Family trustee) and Mark Stewart (Elephant Family ambassador) and met with other Elephant Family supporters and ambassadors including actors Waris Ahluwalia and Olivia Grant, Jodie Kidd and Levison Wood before officially launching the start of the cavalcade.

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Spreading environmental awareness in key elephant corridors on World Environment Day 2018

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.

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Elephant Family to drive home awareness for Asia's endangered elephants with a cavalcade of colour across London this summer

May 2018

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.

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Charriol ‘Elephants Forever’ partnership

May 2018

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.

For more click here

A new investigative report turns the spotlight onto the escalating trade in Asian elephant skin

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.dominate discussions on elephants and little has been done to address the emerging elephant skin trade.

Click here to read the full report

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Kerala Update: Corridor Conservation in Action 

April 2018

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.

Read the full story here

The city of Mumbai came together for a final hurrah to the herd

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.

Read the full report here

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.

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They say that nothing is more important to an elephant than family

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.

Read more about elephant families

Protecting big cats comes naturally

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.

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Jumbo welcome: 101 artist designed elephants enter the City of Mumbai through the Gateway of India

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 .”

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Aamchi Mumbai to welcome 101 artistic elephant sculptures as the city launches the first ever Elephant Parade in India

February 2018

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.

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Plans for a bridge in a critical wildlife area in Borneo have been scrapped 

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.

New DNA system helps combat wild elephant trafficking

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.

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.

Elephants in Thailand to have DNA registered

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."

Royal Family joins hands with Elephant Family

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.”

Elephant Family and Quintessentially Foundation announce the launch of ‘TRAVELS TO MY ELEPHANT’

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 – / +44(0) 207 291 5299 or Clementine Churchward – / +44(0) 207 291 5285

International Action Taken to Tackle the Illegal Trade in Live Asian Elephants

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,

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.

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