In just 4 years, the EPI has grown to 20 member states, all committed to meet the EPI’s actions to secure the survival of African elephants and their habitats.


Much of Angola’s wildlife, including its elephants, was destroyed during the long civil war that finally ended in 2002. Miraculously, a few thousand elephants did survive, mostly in the remote south-east, in the region the Portuguese colonialists called ‘as terras do fim do mundo’, or 'the lands at the end of the earth'. Angola’s Government is now committed to restoring wildlife reserves, and joined the EPI in 2015.



Botswana has by far Africa’s largest elephant population, and is one of the few countries in Africa where elephants are expanding their geographical range. The majority of Botswana’s elephants are in the North and have historically migrated to and from neighbouring Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Botswana was a founder member of the EPI in 2014.



Chad was a founding member of the EPI in 2014. Chad’s elephant population has been badly affected by poaching and habitat loss, but has stabilised in recent years. The most important remaining population is in Zakouma National Park, now managed by EPI partner African Parks Foundation.


Republic of Congo

The Republic of Congo has Africa’s second largest population of forest elephants, mostly in the far north. Poaching and habitat loss have severely impacted elephant populations in other parts of the country. Congo joined the EPI in 2016.

Côte d'Ivoire

The country’s name evokes a time when elephants were plentiful, but today they are found in isolated and precarious populations. Conservation efforts were hampered by the prolonged period of political insecurity and conflict that began with the military coup at the end of 1999. Today, Côte d’Ivoire may have only a few hundred surviving elephants. The government signalled its determination to protect them by joining the EPI in 2017.



Ethiopia was a founding member of the EPI in 2014. It’s elephant populations are small and scattered, including one which migrates across the border to neighbouring Eritrea.

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Eritrea has one of Africa’s most northerly and isolated elephant populations. It is the latest country to join the EPI, becoming the 20th member in 2019.



Gabon, a founding member of the EPI in 2014, has the largest intact surviving forests of central Africa, and the largest surviving population of forest elephants. Gabon established a network of 13 National Parks in 2002 to protect its natural heritage. Despite this, about one third of Gabon’s elephants have been killed in the past 15 years.


The Gambia

Gambia, the smallest country on the African mainland, does not have any surviving elephants. It joined the EPI in 2015, signalling a welcome commitment to join in conservation efforts on the continent, including the ending of illegal wildlife exports.


Guinea has one of Africa’s most precarious elephant populations. There is thought to be only one surviving population, in the upland forests of the Ziama Reserve on the border with fellow EPI member, Liberia. Guinea joined the EPI in 2017.



Kenya is world famous for its wildlife, including its elephant population, although this was affected by an upsurge in poaching between 2008 and 2012. The largest numbers of elephants are in the Tsavo National Park. Kenya joined the EPI in 2015.



Liberia’s wildlife was plundered during the civil war of the 1990s and early 2000s. The peace the country has enjoyed since 2003 has brought renewed optimism for conservation in a country rich in biodiversity, although its forests are under threat from logging and plantations. Liberia joined the EPI in 2015.


Malawi’s elephants are all in protected areas, often surrounded by farmland with large human populations. By far the largest elephant population is in Liwonde National Park, at the southern tip of Lake Malawi. Malawi joined the EPI in 2015.



Mali has Africa’s most northerly elephants, a single population of a few hundred in the Gourma region who migrate large distances and are well adapted to the arid conditions of the Sahel. They are threatened by political insecurity, poaching and agricultural expansion. Mali joined the EPI in 2017.



Nigeria joined the EPI in 2018. Nigeria has only a few hundred surviving elephants. The largest herd is in Yankari National Park, with smaller relict populations in the forests of southern Nigeria and the savannah of northern Nigeria.


Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone joined the EPI in 2016. Just as in neighbouring Liberia, its wildlife was severely affected by civil war in the 1990s. Four small elephant populations are believed to have survived.



Somalia has suffered war and instability for more than a quarter of a century and during that time its once plentiful wildlife has been destroyed. Elephants are reported to occasionally cross the border from Kenya, but there are no reliable surveys. Somalia joined the EPI in 2016. We hope this signals a new era for conservation after decades of tragic loss.


South Sudan

South Sudan became independent in 2011, and although a surprising amount of wildlife survived earlier conflicts, there’s fear of widespread elephant poaching since a new civil war erupted in 2013. The largest remaining herds are in the Sudd swamplands of the White Nile. South Sudan joined the EPI in 2016.


Tanzania’s fabulous wildlife heritage is admired across the world, but its elephant population may have declined by as much as 60% during the poaching upsurge of the past decade. The worst of the poaching has been in the south and west of the country, with the Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve both badly affected. Tanzania was a founder member of the EPI in 2014.


Uganda’s elephants suffered severe poaching during the political instability of the 1970s and 80s, but have slowly recovered in numbers since. The largest populations are in the Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks. Uganda joined the EPI in 2015.

Today I call for other countries and organisations to join with us by becoming members of the Elephant Protection Initiative”
— H.E. President Ali Bongo of Gabon