Elephants face a double threat, but you can double efforts to save them!

It isn’t too often that you get something for nothing in this world, and it isn’t too often that you can double your £20 into £40. But, just like Christmas, there’s something special that happens each December – and IFAW is part of it once again. You can also be a part of it: the Big Give Christmas Challenge!

On Friday 4th and Saturday 5th December, from 12 noon on each day, all you animal lovers around the globe have a chance to double your impact, double your support, and have your kind donation doubled. This is to help IFAW’s work to save elephants around the Amboseli National Park region in Kenya.

I visited Amboseli for the first time this year, and it truly is a wonderful place; the flora and the fauna leave you breathless. Wherever you look, there’s magnificent wildlife wandering under a canvas of a huge African sky. There’s nothing quite like seeing a family of elephants walking together across the savannah, a mother watching her young as they inquisitively explore the new terrain. There is also something touching about simply seeing ivory on an elephant, right where it belongs, rather than as a macabre piece of jewellery or pointless trinket.

That very beauty brings home something more sinister.

Each and every day in Africa, an average of 96 elephants are killed for their tusks. That’s one every 15 minutes. Every 15 minutes! It totals around 35,000 per year. Protecting elephants is critical, their populations cannot survive this rampant and barbaric destruction, and time is against us.

But, poaching isn’t the only issue. There is another threat, habitat destruction, which is also a massive issue across elephant ranges, including those in the Amboseli area. It isn’t just the things that we may think of as destructive (such as roads, power lines, big new settlements); sometimes it is smaller things like fencing, agriculture or individual houses that have a massive impact. Elephants need to be connected to each other and they need to have free access to wide reaching areas for water, food and to maintain stable populations. In the past this wasn’t really a problem, but with rapid human population growth now they need dedicated ‘elephant corridors’ to ensure they can get from A to B in safety.

Clearly it’s wrong to deny local people the chance to make money or to provide food for their family, and it is wrong to assume that local communities wouldn’t feel threatened by elephants in their space (they are big daunting animals after all, and they can cause a lot of destruction to crops and subsequently livelihoods). But, of course that doesn’t mean it’s ok to block the elephants’ natural corridors, or worse, to harm or kill the elephants. Instead, the key is working with communities – empowering them to find win-win solutions that work for them and work for wildlife.

That’s exactly what IFAW is doing in Amboseli. Our African elephant project involves a web of local activities that support all of the community (including the elephants!).

I’ve met people in the local community in the bordering Kitenden area and the 60 scholarship students whose education is paid for by IFAW so that in the future they can provide for themselves and their families. I’ve met the community wildlife scouts, proud in their uniforms and happy that they are keeping their land safe from poachers. I’ve seen the potential for sustainable, community-benefiting tourism that IFAW is supporting, and I’ve delightedly seen the elephants – young and old, blissfully unaware of the hard work that is going on within IFAW and within the Kitenden Community to keep them safe. They were healthy, content and seemingly happy. It is our desperate wish to keep them that way.

The Big Give Christmas Challenge is a once a year, golden opportunity for IFAW supporters to really make a difference. It is an opportunity to make your kind donation really count. If you aren’t able to give a donation as often as you’d like then this is the perfect opportunity to make yours go further. Whether you can spare £5, £100 or £1000 it doesn’t matter, as everything counts and everything helps us towards our target of £85,000 to help us maintain and expand this critical community-led elephant protection program.

Please support our Big Give Christmas Challenge. Here’s how – you need to go online at 12 noon on Friday 4th or Saturday 5th December here.  The special doubling fund is first-come first-served and it will run out, probably very quickly, so please act fast and have your card details and your verified online payment details ready. Every minute counts and the quicker you are, the bigger the chance of having your donation doubled, having double the impact and helping us reach our target and helping us save the Amboseli elephants.

Thank you.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Pauline Verheij, Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Country Representative, Germany
Country Representative, Germany
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy