Asia/Africa Range States Pledge Support for Elephants
The signing of the “New Delhi E-8 Recommendation for Global Elephant Conservation” in India today is a welcome step by countries with hitherto very different approaches to elephant management to collaborate to ensure the adoption of pragmatic conservation strategies for the long-term protection of elephant populations in the wild.
The self-named “E-8” represents four African and four Asian countries with wild elephant populations – Botswana, Congo (Brazzaville), Indonesia, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand.
“This is the first time ever that such an influential forum has departed from viewing elephants purely in economic terms, to one that puts their conservation and well-being as a first priority,” said Azzedine Downes, Executive Vice-President of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org). Downes represented IFAW as an observer at the gathering.
“There are 50 countries with wild elephant populations and thus communities that live with them, so the E-8 is to be applauded for recognising they have a shared goal in finding practical, sensible ways to solve the challenges that are common to all of them, these being loss of habitat, poaching for ivory and issues of human-elephant conflict.”
The Recommendation adopted by the E-8 today agreed that:
• All 50 elephant range states share the same concern for the conservation, management and welfare of elephants.
• The meeting of the E-8 was the first ever occasion that African and Asian countries had come together, and would pave the way forwards for a forum of all 50 range states to be held in New Delhi in early 2013; and
• That the cultural and ethical foundations of each country needed to be respected, and that Asia should draft an Asian elephant Action Plan, just as African countries had adopted an African elephant Action Plan at the last meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) held in Qatar in 2010.