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An African Success Story: Alliance of Elephant Range States Celebrates a Decade of Progress in Conservation

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Nairobi, Kenya - 23rd April 2024: The Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI), an alliance of African countries formed in 2014 in response to the elephant ivory poaching crisis, celebrates its first decade at a special event in Nairobi on May 9th 2024. “The EPI was formed at a bleak time in elephant conservation”, says Sharon Ikeazor, former Federal Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment, former Federal Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Nigeria, and incoming chair of the EPI’s Leadership Council. From 2010-2012, an estimated 100,000 elephants were illegally killed for their ivory. “Today the picture is more hopeful. While we have not stopped elephant poaching, we have turned the tide, and many key elephant populations are stable or even growing. The EPI is an African success story.”

The EPI was formed by five countries but has grown rapidly and today consists of 24. Most of Africa’s surviving elephants are in EPI countries, which include Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. During the last 10 years EPI countries have campaigned successfully to maintain the ban on international commercial ivory trade and close domestic ivory markets in many African countries as well as Canada, China, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The EPI’s secretariat, the EPI Foundation, has helped secure ivory stockpiles in 15 countries, inventory almost half a million kgs of ivory, and train more than 1,000 wildlife officials in stockpile management. 

As it enters its second decade, the EPI is increasingly focused on the mitigation and management of human-elephant conflict, (HEC).  “Success brings new challenges”,, says Sharon Ikeazor. “Today we worry a little less about criminal ivory poaching cartels, and more about how elephants coexist with our farmers and pastoralists. If people who live close to elephants do not benefit from their conservation, they will be less likely to support us, and our efforts hitherto will have been in vain.” 

The CEO of the EPI Foundation, John E. Scanlon AO, said, “In our second decade, we must better recognise how elephant conservation can help us to address the intertwined crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and match this with funding. By doing so we can achieve our ambition of the harmonious coexistence of elephants and people, as is laid out in our strategy, Vision 2030.”

The EPI Foundation and the Global Wildlife Programme (GWP), which is funded by the Global Environment Facility and led by the World Bank, will be bringing leading wildlife officials from across Africa to Nairobi from May 8th-10th, to discuss HEC and the future of African elephant conservation. The EPI’s 10th anniversary event will take place at Hemingway’s, Karen Mbagathi Ridge, 100 Mbagathi Ridge, Nairobi, on May 9th. 

Our anniversary video captures the essence of the work we have done for the past 10 years and shares a glimpse into where our focus for the next decade will be. 

For details and interviews, including with Ms. Ikeazor, other members of the EPI Leadership Council, John Scanlon AO, or the rest of his team, contact our Senior Communications Advisor, Barnaby Phillips or our Digital Communications Manager, Clara Rincuni   


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