Somalia joins the Elephant Protection Initiative
September 14th 2016 – The Federal Republic of Somalia makes historic move and signs on as 14th Member State to growing African-led elephant protection initiative.
Nairobi, Kenya. September 14, 2016 – Charting a new path for conservation, Somalia today announced it has signed to join The Elephant Protection Initiative, an African-led and African-founded program to end the ivory trade and stop the eradication of the continent’s increasingly threatened elephant populations.
Becoming the 14th African nation to sign on to the EPI since its inception in 2014, Somalia’s Minister for Livestock and Pasture, Said Hussein Iid said, “Somalia’s rich environmental history has for long been overshadowed by the long-drawn out civil war. However, it is our hope that by joining the EPI, we can work to slowly rebuild this history and join together with other African nations to stop the harrowing consequences that elephant poaching and trafficking is bringing to our continent. As the leaders of Africa, we must unite and commit to protecting our wildlife for the future generations.”
In March this year, Morgan, a radio collared elephant bull in his 20s, marched hundreds of kilometers and briefly crossed into Somalia from Kenya where he forms part of an ongoing study lead by Dr Iain Douglas-Hamilton’s Save the Elephants. Speaking at the time, Ian Craig, Chairman of Stop Ivory said “A mature bull like Morgan is not wandering aimlessly. He’s likely following a route that he learnt earlier in his life, one that has been used by elephants for generations.”
Somalia, which was once known as a place of rich biodiversity has seen its wildlife populations decline rapidly with only small pockets of wildlife roaming freely in some parts of the country.
Constant pressures from overgrazing, charcoal production, poaching and an open ivory market, coupled with a 20-year civil war, have created a conservation wilderness in a region that was once said to host one of Africa’s largest wildlife populations.
“Somalia has emerged from its complicated past and the time is right for them to join the EPI, said John Stephenson, CEO, Stop Ivory. “It is crunch time for Africa’s elephants and without a stop to the poaching, killing, trafficking and trade, their populations will continue to fade. Somalia’s joining the EPI also shows the growing strength of Africa’s voice in taking a stand against illegal wildlife trade and trafficking.”
Poaching is a pervasive global problem with a profound effect on Africa. The international demand for ivory and rhino horn is fuelling cataclysmic declines in the elephant throughout Africa. In 1979, approximately 1.2 million elephants roamed the continent, but by 2012 as few as 500,000 African elephants remained in the wild.
Poachers kill an estimated 25,000 African elephants every year with some evidence suggesting that that if poaching and trade persists at this level, most African elephant populations will disappear in the next decade.1
“This is a momentous occasion for the EPI and for Somalia, especially as we move towards the CITES COP 17 in Johannesburg. The EPI has come a long way in a short time in preparation for this event and Somalia joining us recognizes the commitment and attention that African leaders are giving to ensuring the protection of the continents’ elephant populations and to putting a stop to the trade that is fuelling the poaching crisis. We are honoured and keen to work with President Mohamud and his government to further amplify this voice together with the other EPI African member states and partners.” said Keith Roberts, Executive Director for Wildlife Trafficking at Conservation International.
The EPI was launched by leaders from Botswana, Chad, Ethiopia, Gabon and Tanzania during the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade in February 2014, with the support of the British Government and the UK-registered charity Stop Ivory. Uganda, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Angola, Congo and the Gambia have since also joined.
Note to Editors
Elephant Protection Initiative
In February 2014, leaders from all four regions of Africa: Botswana, Chad, Gabon, Ethiopia and Tanzania: galvanised a crisis response to implement the African Elephant Action Plan through the creation of the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI).
The EPI is the Heads-of-State initiative which is African-led, Partnership based and Results oriented. The EPI calls for elephant range states, partner states, Non-Governmental Organisations, International Government Organisations, private citizens and the private sector to work together to:
Maintain the international ban established by CITES in 1989 for a minimum of 10 years and thereafter until African elephant populations are no longer threatened
Close domestic markets where they are still operating
Put ivory stockpiles beyond economic use
Provide both immediate and longer-term funding to address the Elephant Crisis through full and timely implementation of the African Elephant Action Plan through both public and private sector support
Stop Ivory and Conservation International
Stop Ivory and Conservation International (CI) serve as the joint-secretariat to the EPI. Stop Ivory is an NGO aimed at protecting elephants and stopping the trade in ivory by providing technical and financial support to countries to implement the African Elephant Action Plan under the EPI framework. Stop Ivory works with governments and a wide range of NGO, IGO and private sector partners to deliver these aims. For more information visit www.stopivory.org and www.elephantprotectioninitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @stopivory.
Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity. CI is committed to taking a lead role in combatting the illegal wildlife trade, focusing on its mandate to link community-based conservation and sustainable development with regional policy initiatives, For more information visit www.conservation.org and follow us on Twitter @conservation.org
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