IFAW and WTI partner with Sri Lankan government on Asian Giants Conference

IFAW and WTI partner with  Sri Lankan government on Asian Giants Conference
Tuesday, 6 September, 2016
HONOLULU, HAWAII

Sri Lankan Delegate to IUCN announces Asian Elephants & Whales Conference to take place September 2017

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), today announced they will be serving as technical partners to the Asian Giants Conference that is set to take place September 2017 in Sri Lanka. The announcement was made at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, currently taking place in Hawaii, during a meeting of the IUCN Asian Elephant Specialist Group.

The conference will give government, NGO, private sector and scientific stakeholders a unique opportunity to share data, expertise and lessons learned in order to develop integrated regional strategies they can use to protect elephants and whales throughout Asia.

“I congratulate Prime Minister Wickremesinghe for his farsightedness in hosting this conference.  As the largest species of the sea and land, whales and elephants play critical roles in their ecosystems, and taking a regional approach to their conservation will greatly improve our odds of success,” said Wildlife Trust of India Executive Director Vivek Menon.

The conference comes as a result of talks IFAW had with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in May on the importance of conservation and working regionally to achieve positive outcomes.

“It was my great pleasure to visit Sri Lanka in May to meet with the Prime Minister and have been incredibly impressed with his commitment to conservation,” said Azzedine Downes, President and CEO, IFAW. “We at IFAW are proud to serve as a technical partner in the Asian Giants Conference – which will be a powerful platform for regional collaboration to protect elephants and whales.”

Habitat destruction and fragmentation pose the biggest threat to wild elephant populations in Asia. IFAW and WTI have worked to protect critical elephant habitats by improving park security, securing linkages that connect parks, mitigating human-elephant conflicts, encouraging communities to realize the benefits from non-consumptive alternative livelihood opportunities – such as ecotourism – and involving communities to be part of solutions.  This work has included protecting the last 400 remaining wild elephants in China, tripling the size of India’s Manas National Park and creating the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC), the leading wildlife rehabilitation facility in India.

Numerous whale populations are under threat - from commercial whaling, entanglement, ship strikes, and ocean noise. IFAW’s network of whale experts includes leaders in conservation science, research and policy advocacy.  Experience in coastal regions of the US, Caribbean, Iceland, Australia and Japan has demonstrated that whale watching, a non-consumptive sustainable use of whales that generates several billion dollars annually in revenues, can provide sustainable economic development opportunities in coastal regions.

More information about the Asian Giants conference will be revealed in the coming months.

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About WTI

Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) is a leading Indian nature conservation organization committed to the service of nature. Its mission is to conserve wildlife and its habitat and to work for the welfare of individual wild animals, in partnership with communities and governments. IFAW and WTI have been working towards a common goal through joint strategies on multiple fronts for over 15 years.

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Dr. Joseph Okori
Regional Director, Southern Africa and Program Director, Landscape Conservation
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation