EPI Foundation's Statement on the Situation in Babile Elephant Sanctuary
Babile Elephant Sanctuary in eastern Ethiopia
The Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) Foundation expresses its strong support for the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) in its attempts to ensure the protection of the Babile Elephant Sanctuary in eastern Ethiopia.
‘We’ve learnt with dismay that hundreds of hectares of land within the Babile Elephant Sanctuary have been allocated to agricultural investors without EWCA's approval,’ said the EPI Foundation’s Director of Programmes, Greta Iori.
‘Babile’s ecosystem is under grave threat from the expansion of agricultural investment, encroachment, and the pressure caused by illegal land occupations and vulnerable people. We call on the regional and national authorities to heed the concerns of EWCA, the EPIF and protect this reserve before it suffers irreparable damage.’
Elephants in Babile
Babile, which straddles the Somali and Oromia regions of Ethiopia, is home to the last remnants of the Somali elephant race, which once roamed across the Horn of Africa. Babile’s resilient elephant population is currently estimated to be 200-300 animals but is declining rapidly. Around 35,000 people, with 150,000 grazing animals, live within the sanctuary without authorisation. Many of these people suffer from poverty, and political and climate instability.
Ethiopia was one of five founding members of the Elephant Protection Initiative in 2014. The EPI now has 23 African member states with common policies on elephant conservation, and the EPI Foundation serves as the secretariat for these member states. The EPI Foundation works closely with the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority on securing ivory stockpiles and helping influence policy and action to mitigate human-elephant conflict, (HEC).
If you wish to watch EPI's 2021 film about the crisis in Babile, click here.