The Elephant Protection Initiative is born
On the occasion of the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade on 13 February 2014, African Leaders from Botswana, Chad, Ethiopia, Gabon and Tanzania, with support from Rwanda and Uganda, launched the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI), which recognizes that the security and survival of African Elephants requires urgent, collaborative intervention to tackle the poaching crisis and address its causes.
The EPI is an African-led initiative to stop the scourge of the illegal killing of elephants and to secure their long term protection.
The Initiative is unique. Led by African Heads of State representing all four regions of the continent, it focusses on a collaborative approach to address the common causes of the elephant crisis through support for existing agreements and structures. It seeks to align domestic legislation with the international ban implemented through CITES in 1989, thereby removing the ambiguity about the status of ivory as an illegal product, to ensure that ivory stocks are put beyond economic use and to secure and disburse critical funding for the protection of elephants through the implementation of the African Elephant Action Plan.
The EPI acknowledges that the ivory trade is now being orchestrated by organized criminal networks, and that consequently, boots on the ground without significant political support and public awareness to close the trade can no longer ensure the safety of elephants in the wild.
The framework was crafted in a collaborative process which included range State Governments, leading conservationists and business leaders. It’s proposal is based on economic and legal analysis as well as extensive consultation with conservationists and wildlife managers across the continent.