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  • Writer's pictureEPI Secretariat

Elephants and People; What does Coexistence look like?

Updated: Apr 12, 2023


From left to right: Loki Osborn, Ramesh Pandey, Greta Francesca Iori, Sylvia Museiya, Celmira da Silva and Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz. Photo Credit: IUCN SSC HWCC Specialist Group and Ed Nix Photos.

The EPI Foundation was delighted to send a team to the IUCN conference on human-wildlife conflict and co-existence in Oxford, England, which bought together over 500 delegates from more than 70 nations around the world. The EPI Foundation’s Director of Programme Development, Greta Francesca Iori, who is also a member of IUCN’s specialist group on human-wildlife conflict and coexistence, said, ‘the event was truly inspiring, bringing together a diverse range of perspectives from conservationists around the world to address this urgent issue. The confluence of ideas and insights presented was remarkable and provided valuable opportunities for learning and collaboration going forward.’


Greta co-moderated a panel on what the future of elephants and people in Africa and Asia may look like in the long term. Other panellists included Sylvia Museiya from Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife & Heritage, Mozambique’s Director General of the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) Celmira da Silva, Ramesh Pandey, from India’s Ministry of the Environment, Forest & Climate Change, as well as experts on the subject; Loki Osborn, based in Zimbabwe and Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, based in China.

From left to right: Celmira da Silva, Mozambique’s Director General of the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), Sylvia Museiya from Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife & Heritage and Ramesh Pandey, from India’s Ministry of the Environment, Forest & Climate Change. Photo Credit: IUCN SSC HWCC Specialist Group and Ed Nix Photos.

Some of the key points raised by panellists in the session included the need to;

- Champion and engage governments in land-use planning at the highest level and across continents.

- Educate new generations on coexisting with wildlife.

- Integrate elephant corridors into human settlements and possibly even rethink where human populations should be concentrated, while managing viable elephant populations in sustainable habitats, through effective spatial planning.

- Raise sustainable and adequate financing for reparations.

- Share knowledge between Africa and Asia, learning from failures and building on success.


Attendees used the Menti “word” cloud to execute a visioning exercise and share thoughts on key words and themes around human and elephant coexistence. These ranged from the optimistic; ‘tolerance’, ‘respect’, ‘love’, ‘empathy’, ‘equitable’, ‘compromise’, to the less hopeful; ‘bleak’, and ‘uncertainty’.

Attendees discussing the future of African and Asian elephants in breakout groups. Photo Credit: IUCN SSC HWCC Specialist Group and Ed Nix Photos.

Greta said ‘We hope this event lays the foundation for a much-need Human-Elephant Conflict & Coexistence conference, which brings together all 50 elephant range states in Asia and Africa, so that we can confront these challenges together in more depth.’


The IUCN SSC guidelines on human-wildlife conflict and coexistence can be downloaded here.


Read the EPI Foundation’s Human-Elephant Conflict Strategy: A Path to Harmonious Coexistence here.


For more information, comment, etc please contact the EPI Foundation’s Director of Communications, Barnaby Phillips bphillips@elephantprotectioninitiative.org

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