Sunday
May 03
2015
May 3, 2015

We Can Save Africa’s Elephants

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This story has been adapted from its original form. The full version can be found at africa.clintonfoundation.org

Not too long ago, a gravely wounded elephant named Hadija arrived at the Save the Elephants Research Camp in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya. She had been shot many times in a failed poaching attempt, and she was lucky to be alive. We worked quickly to treat her wounds, and she recovered fully. Before we released her back into the park, we placed a collar with GPS tracking technology on her neck, so that we could follow her movements and look out for her well-being.

Just a few weeks later, Hadija was shot again – only this time, she did not survive. The poachers, recognizing the GPS device, also put bullets in her collar and buried it, hoping this would prevent us from finding the body. But because the tracking collars report their position to our server once an hour, we knew where Hadija had last been located, and we were able to find her body and collect evidence. Though Hadija’s story ended sadly, had we not been tracking her, we might not have known her fate for some time.

Organized crime, rebel militias, and terrorism networks are trafficking the ivory along with other illegal wares and profiting from its sale. Research STE has funded shows that unworked tusks are now worth upwards of $2,100 a kilo, and markets for ivory, particularly in East Asia, are thriving. The resulting rise in poaching has put Africa’s elephants in crisis. 

The assault on elephants is complex and global and must be addressed on that basis. What Save the Elephants is trying to do, along with a coalition of 25 partners that have come together through the Clinton Global Initiative, is address the problem on three fronts: stop the killing of elephants on the ground, stop the trafficking of ivory by organized criminals and terrorist organizations, and stop the demand for ivory by shutting down the markets that are driving poaching in the first place. It’s something no one organization or nation can do alone, but together, sharing resources and ideas, we can begin to take action to ensure that the next generation isn’t the first to live on a planet without elephants.

See more of Hadija's story and explore how CGI members are taking action at africa.clintonfoundation.org/elephants