Camera-trap footage from Nigeria of Okomu National Park’s elusive elephants.
The forests of southern Nigeria, much reduced in size, still contain some small elephant populations. Okomu National Park, in Edo State, comprises some 200 square kilometres of forest and swamp, under heavy pressure from illegal logging, settlement, hunting and even oil smuggling. The rangers are poorly armed, and visitors are few and far between. In Benin City, only some 50 kms away, few people are aware that elephants still survive in Okomu. They are shy and elusive, which is probably just as well. A casual visitor has no chance of seeing them. But their existence is undeniable…take a look at this camera-trap video supplied by the Nigerian National Park Service (nb the date-code at the bottom of the film is incorrect). Okomu is also home to buffalos, chimpanzees, rare monkeys and fabulous birdlife. We hope that as Nigeria’s engagement with the EPI deepens, we can work together on a National Elephant Action Plan, to secure the future of Okomu and other forests.
The EPI Consultative Group meeting at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference 2018
African Presidents past and present, as well as First Ladies, the UK government and HRH The Duke of Cambridge, pledge support to the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI), London, October 2018. The EPI is an alliance of 19 African countries with common policies on elephant conservation.
The EPI and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)
Françoise Clottes of the Global Environmental Facility says Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) countries should apply for GEF funding for their National Elephant Action Plans (NEAPs). She was speaking in London in October 2018 at the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) conference.
Ministers from across Africa speak in support of the EPI
Ministers from several of the 19 African countries of the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) stress their commitment to that organisation and elephant conservation in London, October 2018. Includes clips with ministers from Angola, Tanzania, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Republic of Congo, Guinea, and the former President of Botswana.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) promises support for EPI member countries
Adriana Dinu of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) promises support for countries of the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) as they try to fund long-term National Elephant Action Plans (NEAPs). She was speaking in London in October 2018 at the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) conference.
The Elephant Crisis
The iconic African Elephant, our largest land mammal, has long been one of the planet’s most celebrated species. It plays a critical role in the biodiversity of its own habitat, while its remarkable intelligence gives it a unique appeal that draws admirers from all over the world. This benefits the communities and economies of the countries that form part of its range. The poaching of elephants and the trafficking of ivory is largely controlled by organised crime and is out of control across much of Africa today. An estimated 100,000 elephants were killed in Africa in the last 3 years alone. This does not just pose a threat to elephant populations; it threatens the integrity of whole ecosystems, as well as local livelihoods, national economies and regional stability. The Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) was launched by Tanzania, Gabon, Botswana, Chad and Ethiopia in February 2014. It calls for elephant range states, partner states, Non-Governmental Organizations, International Government Organizations, private citizens and the private sector to work together to deliver a comprehensive, cohesive response to the Elephant Crisis.