The President of Liberia fights for forest elephants.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia has formally signed off on a National Elephant Action Plan (NEAP) – devised by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and partners with financial support from the EPI co-Secretariat – to help tackle the particular challenges faced by the country’s forest elephants.
Whilst complementing the broader African Elephant Action Plan, Liberia’s NEAP helps to identify specific actions and interventions for which targeted funding will be sought. This will place Liberia in a strong position internationally to attract much-needed support for elephant conservation.
A critical acknowledgement is that a lack of data on forest elephants, known for their elusiveness, is a barrier to their effective conservation. The NEAP therefore includes a nationwide baseline assessment of forest elephants – the first for Liberia.
It is clear that the challenges faced by Liberia’s elephants are significant. West Africa has lost more than 90% of its suitable elephant habitat over the last 35 years, as a result of logging, mining and agriculture. An escalation in poaching means that forest elephants are severely threatened, 62% of all forest elephants have been killed for their ivory in the last decade.
Despite this, Liberia and its elephant population are an important focus for our work; the country provides the largest forest cover out of the 8 African countries through which forest elephants roam.