African Elephant Summit

From the 2nd - 4th December 2013, government representatives and elephant experts gathered in Gaborone, Botswana, to attend the African Elephant Summit, convened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Government of Botswana. The purpose of the Summit was to discuss the current serious crisis facing Africa's elephants - it is estimated that some 35,000 elephants a year are being poached for their tusks, while some put that figure as high as 50,000. The situation is extremely alarming.

The actions required to address this threat are clearly laid out within the African Elephant Action Plan (AEAP), a comprehensive plan that was agreed by all 38 African countries with elephants back in 2010. What is urgently required now is the funding to enable this plan to be put into action so that this crisis can be addressed.
In Gaborone, the experts adopted a number of urgent measures that support implementation of the AEAP, and some countries declared their intention to provide financial backing for these urgent measures.  The largest of these commitments came from the European Union with a €12.3 million contribution, specifically targeted towards a programme called MIKES, which primarily monitors the illegal killing of elephants.

Time will tell whether these discussions and commitments lead to clear protection for elephants on the ground. Much, much more is needed if all 38 African countries with elephants are to be provided with the necessary capacity to adequately protect their elephants. Will the international community step up with the cash to implement real change on the ground, or will it continue to watch elephants dying? Let's hope they step up, for all our sakes.

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