Youth for Wildlife Conservation
Run by Youth, For Youth, Promoting Youth

Elephant Conservation

'The escalation of poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity are just some of the threats to both African and Asian elephants. Working towards better protection for wild elephants, improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, better treatment for captive elephants and, when appropriate, reintroducing captive elephants into natural, protected sanctuaries are the goals that numerous elephant conservation organizations are focusing on around the world.'

 

In the last decade countless elephants have been killed by poachers for their ivory, they suffer from habitat loss and face conflict in areas with high human populations. Around the world young people are working hard to conserve and protect them and their habitats,  with elephant populations in decline, millennials may be the last generation that can help save wild elephants. We need to work together with experts, local communities, and policy makers to engage all in effective elephant conservation initiatives.

 
 

You do not have to be an #elephant conservationist to help protect elephants. Poaching for #ivory is having a devastating impact on elephant populations, and yet still the demand is high. We can all help elephants by not buying any ivory products and encouraging friends and family around us to do the same.” Alfred Ole Mepukori

Probably one the most controversial wildlife issues in recent history, with global implications.

A pallet of seized raw ivory before being crushed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in November 2013.

A pallet of seized raw ivory before being crushed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in November 2013.

105 tons of ivory and 1 ton of rhino horn burn in Nairobi National Park on 30th April 2016. They were set ablaze by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the largest ivory burn in hisory.

105 tons of ivory and 1 ton of rhino horn burn in Nairobi National Park on 30th April 2016. They were set ablaze by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the largest ivory burn in hisory.

The consignment weighed around 15 kilos and contained several hundred carved items including bangles, beads, name seals and pendants. It was being smuggled from Nigeria to importers in Hong Kong and China. The consignment weighed around 15 kilos and contained several hundred carved items including bangles, beads, name seals and pendants. It was being smuggled from Nigeria to importers in Hong Kong and China.

The consignment weighed around 15 kilos and contained several hundred carved items including bangles, beads, name seals and pendants. It was being smuggled from Nigeria to importers in Hong Kong and China. The consignment weighed around 15 kilos and contained several hundred carved items including bangles, beads, name seals and pendants. It was being smuggled from Nigeria to importers in Hong Kong and China.

 

“Rangers routinely face death, injury or torture in the line of duty. Forget the ivory trinkets, these are the real cost of the illegal ivory trade” -Josephine Crouch.

To learn more about the plight of elephants and their protectors at  http://www.skinandbones.info/blog/2016/3/4/how-much-is-a-10-tonne-tusker-worth-part-2-supply


habitat loss and fragmentation.png

Human population has also grown incredibly, with almost 70% of the elephants range in the
Southern Africa being occupied by humans as it is outside protected area systems. The
growing populations have settled in areas previously meant for elephants and has led to
movement corridors being blocked. Elephants have got a long memory and can remember
their routes for generations. Having people settling in-between the protected areas has led to
conflicts and problems with elephants. Elephants would also be limited in abundance and
become susceptible to diseases as migration allows genetic exchanges.


What are some the ways we can reduce Human-Elephant conflict and allow communities and elephant populations to live peacefully?


 
 

"The air feels hot and heavy as we sway through the dusty paths of Chiang Mai – I let a small cry out, a nervous laugh, really, as the creature shakes its massive head – but we’re safe, seven – eight ? – feet above ground, on a large seat roped to the beast. That’s a lot of ropes – and, is that a pick-axe the handler is holding? A bullhook?, but – oh well. They’re such strong animals. Such thick skin. Time to tick off a wish from my bucket list.

That’s not my story. But it’s the story of thousands of people who go to elephant rides in the streets of Thai cities and neighbouring forests. Western culture, in its everlasting duality, stands as the main consumer of the elephant tourism industry alongside China, whilst also featuring at the forefront of vocal protestation against the exploitation of elephants through charities such as PETA and the likes which reject animal exploitation in bulk.

Y4WC Member Laura-Li, a student from France gave her opinion  

The air feels hot and heavy as we sway through the dusty paths of Chiang Mai – I let a small cry out, a nervous laugh, really, as the creature shakes its massive head – but we’re safe, seven – eight ? – feet above ground, on a large seat roped to the beast. That’s a lot of ropes – and, is that a pick-axe the handler is holding? A bullhook?, but – oh well. They’re such strong animals. Such thick skin. Time to tick off a wish from my bucket list.

That’s not my story. But it’s the story of thousands of people who go to elephant rides in the streets of Thai cities and neighbouring forests. Western culture, in its everlasting duality, stands as the main consumer of the elephant tourism industry alongside China, whilst also featuring at the forefront of vocal protestation against the exploitation of elephants through charities such as PETA and the likes which reject animal exploitation in bulk.

The report of the recent death of a mahout last year in Mae Wang, killed by an elephant, sparked many comments from Westerners, most of them effectively claiming « Score one for the pachyderms ! » or « Good for the elephant. » (Daily Mail). But the reality is hardly simple: mahouts heavily depend on the thriving tourism industry to survive. Most of them are migrants, ethnical minorities from war-ravaged Myanmar, underpaid, overworked: they are threefold victims of Western consumerization that allows the industry which put them at risk of physical casualties to bloom, of moral condemnation that cheers for their death, and of elephant owners exploiting them.

Yet, the unabashed cruelty of elephant tourism has to come to an end : from phajaan (« breaking » an elephant to tame it) to the exhaustion and the mental strain they face on a daily basis, there is nothing ethical about this type of tourism. Currently, releasing elephants in the wild isn’t a possible solution : as a result of massive deforestation, there would not be enough land to sustain the lives of the 3,000 to 4,000 of elephants used in tourism.

Earlier this year, a friend told me about her experiences riding elephants in Thailand. She looked for hours for a place that respected elephants as much as possible, and found it. The elephants work for a maximum of one hour per day (two 30-minutes walks), and, while on a walk with a passenger on their back, their natural rhythm is very much respected, and they can stop to eat whenever they feel like doing so. Young elephants are tamed by getting them used to sitting on their backs no more than a few minutes here and there. No seats were roped to the elephants for the comfort of tourists : they carried only two people – or one if their weight exceded 90 kgs –, bareback. So, on one hand, yes, coarse hair – very, unexpectedly coarse hair, she recalled – but on the other, a lesser risk of physical injuries for mahouts, respect for the elephants, and a prospective economic revenue for locals that allows them to own the elephants.

: As well as being #WorldElephantDay2017 it is also World #YouthDay. Youth around the world can make a huge difference for elephants by making smart choices in order to #BeElephantEthical. One easy way to do this is by avoiding places that use elephants as attractions, such as circuses and certain elephant encounters across the world, you are playing an active role in their conservation and wellbeing. @Elephanatics have a great list of ethical elephant encounters at https://elephanatics.org/asian-elephants/ethical-elephant-experiences/.