We are so pleased to share our student volunteer’s blog, “Help Save the Enchanted Elephant.” Dhanvin is a grade 10 student attending Kwantlen Park Secondary School in Surrey. From his experience growing up in Asia, he has a keen sense of the need to protect this valuable species. We thank him for his time and efforts at promoting the work we do as an organization at his school.
(My teacher giving an info session on Effects of Elephant Poaching)
May 9th, 2022
Hi, my name is Dhanvin. I am a grade 10 student attending Kwantlen Park Secondary School in Surrey, BC, Canada. I have offered to volunteer with Elephanatics – an elephant advocacy organization based in Vancouver – to help spread awareness about the crises facing both the African and Asian elephant and the necessity to help save these majestic animals.
Growing up in Asia I have a deep connection with Elephants. I have admired these fascinating creatures since my childhood. Elephants play a significant role in my culture. I had the privilege to touch and ride on one. I vividly remember riding on a 20-year-old Asian elephant. It felt magical riding on this magnificent creature. Riding over 7 feet high through a thick green luscious forest gave me the opportunity to reflect and reconnect with nature. This is one of my favourite memories that I will cherish all my life. Little did I know at the time that riding elephants is not good for them and can cause unnecessary pain to their backs. After reading about unethical tourism, I realized I needed to make others aware that in order to ride elephants they have to go through a horrible procedure to become tame called, ‘Phajaan’ or ‘the crush’. It means to break their spirit and they are beaten to become domesticated. Unethical tourism is a big problem and needs to end.
African and Asian elephants are powerful, compassionate and magnificent animals. They are also ecosystem engineers, playing a critical role in shaping the natural environments where they live. Ecosystems are a complicated web where animals and plants depend on each other for survival. Ecosystems have been developing and evolving for eons. It is depressing to see humans wreck these fascinating systems in just a few decades. Disrupting the balance of ecosystems can threaten human life existence on earth. In spite of the efforts from some governments, the number of African forest elephants fell by more than 86% over a period of 31 years. The African Forest Elephant is Critically Endangered and the African Savannah Elephant is Endangered and on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The Asian Elephant is listed as Endangered because of a population reduction to be at least 50% over the last three generations. The biggest threat to Asian and African elephants now is habitat loss and fragmentation.
Some of the main reasons threatening the existence of elephants include:
Elephants are most vulnerable to poaching for ivory and bush meat. Unfortunately, many people take pride in hunting elephants. Over the past 200-years ivory has become increasingly valuable. At the beginning ivory was collected from dead elephants but it pains me to say that many innocent elephants are now killed to make jewellery. It is tragic that human greed kills these creatures. I feel great sorrow looking at the unfortunate poaching events involving elephants. Recent studies show elephants have begun evolving without their beautiful tusks. Approximately thirty thousand elephants are killed every year due to poaching.
Humans have become the most disruptive species on earth. With continuous expansion in human settlements there is a significant impact on our climate. Degrading climatic conditions are ruining the habitats of many animals and elephants are one of the most prominent species impacted. Their forests and grasslands have been cut down to expand cities and agricultural demands. Elephants are a keystone species and play a huge part in the worlds biodiversity.
Human Elephant Conflict
Expanding settlement boundaries have caused elephants to wander into human settlements. This has led humans to take drastic measure to protect their families and crops. According to WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) over 100 people and 50-80 elephants are killed in this conflict every year. It is upsetting to see humans disrupt the delicate balance and co-existence between all species.
It is not too late to stop this destruction. In my opinion education is the best way of spreading awareness. With education we can pass on a better world to our successive generations. Although I am unable to go and help the elephants in person myself, I want to sensitize others. I have been volunteering with Elephanatics for over three months. They have given me access to a wide variety of insightful learning resources. These resources have been invaluable in helping me spread awareness in my school community by distributing the lesson plans to my teachers. My social studies teacher loved the idea of including the lesson plan and he was able to share these insightful resources with his colleagues and present a lesson plan to his students.
I have tried to start a club and organize fundraiser, I was turned down by my school admin, but I did not give up and I tried by best to spread the awareness and encourage my peers in supporting this cause. I believe I can make a difference and give our future generation an opportunity to see these stunning creatures.
If you love elephants and want to help save them, please join me in spreading the word about the crises facing elephants by sharing Elephanatics petition to end the domestic trade of elephant ivory in Canada – over 687,000 people have signed this petition making it one of the largest petitions in Canada.
Thank you and I hope you will join me in trying to help these magnificent creatures.
You can contact me at:
or, feel free to contact Elephanatics at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Great news for captive animals!
On March 22, 2022, Senator Marty Klyne reintroduced the Jane Goodall Act to the Canadian Senate. Originally introduced by Senator Murray Sinclair in 2020, the proposed bill contains new legal protections for captive big cats, bears, wolves, seals, sea lions, walruses, certain monkeys, and dangerous reptiles, such as crocodiles and giant pythons. The bill would also phase out elephant captivity in Canada.
Our founder, Dr. Jane Goodall shared her thoughts on the bill: “Today is an important day for animals. “So many of them are in desperate need of our help and the Jane Goodall Act establishes protection and support for animals under human care. It is a monumental step forward for animals, people, and the environment. I am honoured to lend my name to this world-leading legislation that is supported by a wonderful coalition of government, conservationists, animal welfare groups and accredited zoos. Together we can and will provide a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves and put an end to the misery that is wildlife trafficking.”
Mara Elephant Project is excited to announce a new scholarship opportunity for a Kenyan student, The Fran Duthie African Elephant Conservation Scholarship. Fran Duthie and her husband Lorne are loyal supporters of Mara Elephant Project and Fran has served alongside Dr. Jake Wall as the co-founder of Elephanatics, a Canadian elephant advocacy organization. MEP with support from Fran is passionate about building local capacity to foster the next generation of Kenyan conservation heroes.
This scholarship is intended for students pursuing conservation or a related field. The goal of this scholarship is to provide financial support to Kenyan nationals acquiring a technical certificate, undergraduate or postgraduate (Masters or PhD) degree in an area related to conservation and the protection of wildlife. Alongside the financial support, this scholarship will provide practical experience to the scholar during the course of their studies by undertaking an internship with the Mara Elephant Project for at least one month during the scholarship period. The scholarship must be used at an accredited college or university in a subject area related to conservation and the protection of wildlife and their habitats. The scholarship may be used to cover academic tuition fees and associated living costs.
Applications are open March 1 – April 1.
Apply today -> https://lnkd.in/gNb-isnA
Human-elephant conflict is on the rise across Africa and is a major threat to wildlife conservation. Crops provide a highly nutritious food source, but elephants pursuing that source results in the destruction of farmer livelihoods, erodes human tolerance toward wildlife and manifests in retaliatory violence on crop-raiding elephants.
Crop conflict was assumed to be mostly carried out by a select few elephants, but managers have lacked the means to assess this at a detailed level. New research, however, offers a first look at long-term trends in crop-raiding behavior. Researchers found that habitual crop-raiding elephants are only a part of the problem.
The study was led by an international team of researchers from Colorado State University, Mara Elephant Project, Grumeti Fund, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Kenya Wildlife Service and Save the Elephants. It was published Nov. 2 in the Journal of Animal Ecology.
Researchers said that the findings could help conservationists better understand elephant behavior and develop new mitigation methods to reduce human-elephant conflict.
The team used the time spent in crops each year to classify the raiding elephants’ behavior as:
Sporadic and seasonal elephants made up two-thirds of the population and accounted for 67% of agricultural use, while habitual individuals made up just 9% of the population and accounted for 32% of crop-raiding. The choice of tactics was not constant over time and elephants frequently changed tactics between years, which showed how the animals must balance the mortality risks and nutritional benefits of crop use at both daily and yearly scales. Only five of nine elephants remained habitual raiders for consecutive years.
Patterns of elephants accessing agriculture as a food source ‘remarkably consistent’
“Elephants are incredibly unique animals and populations and individuals within those populations vary markedly in the extent to which agriculture is utilized,” said Kristen Snyder, a conservation scientist at CSU and the Grumeti Fund, and a co-author of the new study. “But the patterns of how agriculture is accessed — nocturnally, and while moving quickly — is remarkably consistent across individuals and populations.”
Traditionally, researchers and managers believed only a small contingent of elephants was responsible for the majority of crop raiding, and as a result, management strategies have been designed to thwart them, explained Nathan Hahn, a doctoral student in ecology at CSU and lead author of the study.
Hahn said that the team wanted to assess how that expectation aligns with actual elephant behavior.
“It turns out crop-raiding is a lot more prevalent in the study populations than we knew previously,” he said. “In addition, patterns of conflict are complex because we saw that individuals frequently changed their agricultural use between years.”
The research team analyzed nine years of GPS tracking data from 66 collared elephants —32 male and 34 female — in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service and the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute in the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem. This ecosystem is a vast network of wildlife reserves, parks and community conservancies that straddles the Kenya-Tanzania border.
The GPS data was used to determine the extent to which each individual elephant used agriculture and assessed the animals’ perception of risk based on the raiding tactics they employed in comparison to their daily movement patterns.
A ‘silver bullet’ approach is elusive for a complex species
Jake Wall, director of research and conservation for Mara Elephant Project and affiliate faculty at CSU, said that by using GPS tracking coupled with remote-sensing agricultural spatial information, scientists now have a method for characterizing crop-raiding behaviour within a given elephant population.
“This in turn should help improve elephant crop-raiding mitigation strategies by wildlife managers,” he said.
Snyder said that the study’s findings can identify crop-raiding mitigation strategies that could have an impact and, just as importantly, eliminate those that do not suit the local context.
“In the western Serengeti, the high prevalence of agricultural use among the study population indicates that strategies targeting individual problem animals are unlikely to significantly reduce crop damage,” she explained.
Individual or small-scale approaches will make little difference if 80% of the local elephant population regularly utilize agriculture as a food source.
“Instead, solutions that prevent elephant access to farms across broad scales are required,” said Snyder.
CSU Professor George Wittemyer said that elephants employ complex, adaptive movement that balances their desire to access resources while avoiding threats. He is a senior author of this study and also serves as chairman of the scientific board for Save the Elephants.
“This research shows how that perceived balance differs between individuals, but also shifts over time for a given individual,” Wittemyer said. “This variation underpins the difficulty in solution oriented human-elephant coexistence measures. As we often find, a silver bullet is elusive for a species as complex and clever as elephants. We must be as adaptive as they are when trying to solve these problems.”
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation. Permissions for the Tanzania elephant collaring, and research were granted by Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority and Tanzania National Parks, and in Kenya by the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Journal of Animal Ecology, (author note): “Risk perception and tolerance shape variation in agricultural use for a transboundary elephant population” https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2656.13605 DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.13605
Journal of Animal Ecology published by the British Ecological Society features the best animal ecology research that develops, tests and advances broad ecological principles. Visit https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/13652656 to learn more.
Olchoda: Meaning “disturber” in Maa, Olchoda was collared in November 2016 by Kenya Wildlife Service and Mara Elephant Project in response to conflict in Pardamant Conservancy, a high conflict area. Photo Credit: Mara Elephant Project
Caroline Collaring: The collaring operation for Kenya Wildlife Service and Mara Elephant Project elephant Caroline in May 2018. Photo Credit: Mara Elephant Project
Fitz Collaring: The collaring operation for Kenya Wildlife Service and Mara Elephant Project elephant Fitz sponsored by the Angama Foundation in the Nyakweri Forest in August 2019. Photo Credit: Mara Elephant Project
Fred: Kenya Wildlife Service and Mara Elephant Project collared elephant Fred; a large male that has been continuously tracked since 2012. Photo Credit: Mara Elephant Project
Ivy: Kenya Wildlife Service and Mara Elephant Project collared elephant Ivy; a habitual crop raider that has been continuously tracked since 2011. Photo Credit: Mara Elephant Project
Lucy: Kenya Wildlife Service and Mara Elephant Project collared elephant Lucy who was collared in April 2015 and monitored until September 2017. Photo Credit: Mara Elephant Project
Colorado State University
Colorado State University
Mara Elephant Project
Kristen Denninger Snyder
Mara Elephant Project
Head of Communications
Save the Elephants
+254 (0) 708669635
Science Writer and Senior Public Relations Specialist
Colorado State University
A BIG Congratulations to Dr. Rene Beyers and Professor Tony Sinclair on their recent publication of “A Place Like No Other” by Princeton University Press.
“A Place Like No Other” is Anthony Sinclair’s firsthand account of how he and other scientists discovered the biological principles that regulate life in the Serengeti and how they rule all of the natural world. Co-authored with Dr. Rene Beyers.
A must read and a wonderful gift for the holiday season ahead!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
More than 40 NGOs call for ban on elephant ivory trade in Canada to help save African elephants
Tens of thousands of concerned Canadians and international stakeholders participated in public consultation on possible trade prohibitions
MONTREAL (Sept. 27, 2021) – As the Canadian government’s public consultation on elephant ivory trade comes to an end, Humane Society International/Canada, Elephanatics, and more than 40 Canadian and international NGOs, together representing tens of millions of supporters globally, have signed on to a letter calling on the new Canadian government to take urgent action to prohibit elephant ivory trade.
Environment and Climate Change Canada launched the public consultation to hear feedback on proposed measures to restrict or end elephant ivory trade on July 23, 2021. During the 60-day consultation period, Canadians and individuals around the world voiced their support for ending Canada’s role in the elephant ivory trade.
Kelly Butler, the wildlife campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada, stated:
“Canadians have made it clear that there is no place for elephant ivory trade in Canada. We are now calling on the newly elected Canadian government to listen to the overwhelming number of Canadians and international stakeholders who supported strict elephant ivory trade prohibitions and implement these measures urgently. Elephants do not have another four years to wait.”
Tessa Vanderkop, vice-president of Elephanatics, stated:
“The African elephant population has declined by a staggering 96% in the last century alone and the species is at risk of going extinct in the wild within the next few decades without global intervention. The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and leading conservation organizations including the African Elephant Coalition have called for countries to close their legal elephant ivory markets in order to curtail poaching and save African elephants from extinction. Experts around the world agree that it’s beyond due time for Canada to close its elephant ivory market.”
The NGO-led sign-on letter calls on the Canadian government to implement the strictest measures that were proposed in the consultation, including prohibitions on importing elephant ivory for commercial purposes or as hunting trophies and is signed by:
African Conservation Foundation, Animal Defenders International, Animal Justice, Animals Asia Foundation, BC SPCA, Big Life Foundation Canada, Born Free Foundation, Bring The Elephant Home, Canopy, CATCA Environmental and Wildlife Society (CEWS), Earth League International (ELI), Elephanatics, Elephant Listening Project, Elephant Reintegration Trust, Family and Animal Wellness Inc, Fondation Franz Weber, For the Love of Wildlife Ltd, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, Humane Canada™, IFAW Canada, Insure Our Future, International Animal Rescue, Mara Elephant Project, Member of this planet, National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. New Zealanders for Endangered Wildlife founder, No Whales In Captivity, NRDC, Nsefu Wildlife Conservation Foundation, NSPCA, Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Pro Wildlife, Rhino & Elephant Defenders (RED), Save Elephant Foundation, SEEJ-AFRICA (Saving Elephants through Education and Justice), Shark Research Institute, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Species Survival Network, Standfast Developments Ltd, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, Two Million Tusks, WildlifeDirect, World Animal Protection Canada, World Animal Protection International, World Elephant Day, and Zoocheck Inc.
· Every year, as many as 35,000 elephants die at the hands of elephant ivory poachers in Africa.
· In March of 2021, the International Union for Conservation of Nature updated the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and declared the African forest elephant to be Critically Endangered and the African savanna elephant to be Endangered.
· Canada’s top trading partners, including the United States, China and the United Kingdom have closed their elephant ivory markets in response to declining elephant populations.
· In addition to elephant ivory trade, Canada allows the import of elephant tusks and parts from trophy hunts. Approximately 300 African elephant tusks – representing 150 elephants – were legally imported into Canada from 2010-2018.
· Repeated government seizures of elephant ivory in Canada are irrefutable evidence of illegal ivory trade in this nation. While such seizures may intercept some of the illegal trade that is occurring, it is conservatively assumed that customs intercepts just 10% of all contraband ivory.
· In June, an open letter calling for an end to elephant ivory trade in Canada was signed by notable Canadians including David Suzuki, Robert Bateman and Bryan Adams.
· According to a 2020 poll by Insights West, 94% of Canadians support an elephant ivory trade ban. A public petition calling for a Canadian ban on elephant ivory trade has amassed over 600,000 signatures.
For interview requests, please call or email media contact below.
Media Contact: Michael Bernard, deputy director, HSI/Canada, cell: 613-371-5170 email: email@example.com.
Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its partners, constitutes one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at http://www.hsicanada.ca