Habitat destruction and fragmentation pose the most significant threats to elephant populations in the wild in both Africa and Asia.

Through a landscape-level approach, IFAW is working to protect critical elephant habitats by improving park security, securing linkages that connect parks, mitigating human-elephant conflicts, encouraging communities to realise benefits from non-intrusive alternative livelihood opportunities and involving communities to be part of solutions.

IFAW believes in a comprehensive policy approach to elephant habitat protection, not only protecting individual landscapes or parks.

Through Prof. Rudi van Aarde’s research at the University of Pretoria’s Conservation Ecology Research Unit (CERU), IFAW is studying elephant populations in southern Africa to establish an objective, scientific basis for landscape management and conservation policy decision making. CERU assesses populations and studies how spatial dynamics and population variables (births, deaths, growth rates, etc.) change over time, as well as how elephants interact with human populations and biodiversity.

CERU’s work has provided a firm foundation for the protection of elephant habitats, as has research being done by other renowned scientists, including Cynthia Moss and Vicki Fishlock in Amboseli National Park in Kenya.

Through Dr. Moss’s behavioral studies, IFAW is in a much better position to work with the Kenya Wildlife Service to promote ethically sound management approaches in the Amboseli landscape.

In partnership with the School for Field Studies and the Kenya Wildlife Service, IFAW also monitors landscape movements of Amboseli elephants using satellite collars. The data provides valuable information about critical wildlife corridors and dispersal areas outside the park that need to be secured in order to ensure the long-term viability of Amboseli’s elephants.

Read more about our projects:

Kenya’s Amboseli National Park

India's Manas National Park

Liwonde National Park in Malawi.

Take action to support greater protections for elephants

If you've already taken our elephant action, please take a moment to sign our petition to list Pangolins as "Endangered."

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is considering our petition to list African elephants as “Endangered” under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA). In March, the petition passed the first hurdle by receiving a positive 90-day finding from FWS. But now, the US government is conducting a comprehensive investigation to decide if elephants will receive full “Endangered” status. Currently, African elephants are only listed as “Threatened,” which sets a lower bar for protective measures.

That elephants need our help is clear. African elephant populations have declined dramatically in the last decade due to extremely high levels of poaching. It is estimated that an elephant is killed every 15 minutes, on average, for its ivory tusks – that is 96 animals a day! At this rate, some regional populations of elephants may be wiped out in the next decade.

Trophy hunting – overwhelmingly conducted by wealthy Americans – is another inhumane threat to these magnificent animals, because hunters target the healthiest animals and destroy their tight family bonds. An “Endangered” listing would be a huge step towards stopping trophy hunting and the trade of elephants in the US once and for all.

The Fish & Wildlife Service needs to improve protections for elephants as soon as possible. You can help by signing our petition showing support for listing elephants as “Endangered.” All we need is for you to fill out the form here, and we will submit this letter with your signature. Make your voice heard!

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