Togo has become the 24th country to join the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI), a pan-African alliance of countries dedicated to the conservation of elephants and the harmonious co-existence of elephants and people.
Minister of Environment and Forest Resources, His Excellency Katari Foli-BaziI Photo credits: Site officiel du Togo, République Togolaise
Togo’s Minister of Environment and Forest Resources, His Excellency Katari Foli-Bazi is recognised for his commitment to the preservation of biodiversity, including the fight against illegal wildlife trade. Togo's membership of the EPI demonstrates the country's political will to conserve its remaining elephant populations.
The EPI Foundation serves as the secretariat for the EPI. Its CEO, John E. Scanlon AO, said, ‘We warmly welcome Togo as the 24th member of the EPI, with most of the countries on the coast of West Africa now being EPI member states. This facilitates efforts to coordinate regional interventions to achieve maximum impact. The EPI Foundation looks forward to supporting Togo’s government in achieving its elephant conservation objectives.’
The EPI Foundation will work closely with Togo by:
Helping to secure stockpiles of ivory and other wildlife products, through inventories and improved management.
Providing technical expertise in developing elephant action plans, managing human-elephant conflict (HEC)
Amplifying the voices of their conservation journalists, and other related support.
Elephants in Togo. Photo credits: USAID
Togo’s elephant population has been severely reduced in recent decades by poaching and illegal settlement in national parks. According to the 2016 African Elephant Status Report, there are very few elephants remaining in Togo.
Pictures taken in the Akodessewa market, Togo (from left to right: pangolin skins, President of the market and display of mainly primate skulls). Photos taken by Charles Mackay
According to the CITES National Ivory Plan for Togo, the country has also been identified as a country with a worrying involvement in the illegal wildlife trade, and the Togolese authorities have said they are determined the country should stop being used as a transit hub by traffickers who are trading ivory from other parts of Africa.
The EPI was founded in 2014 by the leaders of Botswana, Chad, Ethiopia, Gabon and Tanzania, with a commitment to shut down internal ivory markets, put national ivory stockpiles beyond economic use, maintain the international moratorium on the trade in ivory, and develop National Elephant Action Plans. Since 2014 the EPI has grown rapidly, and in 2021 the EPI Foundation unveiled a new strategy, ‘Vision 2030’, with an emphasis on mitigating and reducing the growing problem of human-elephant conflict, (HEC).