11 December 2013 - During the recent African Elephants Summit, urgent measures were adopted to address the current mass poaching crisis that the African elephant (CMS Appendix II) is facing across the continent. Representatives of 30 countries participated in the Summit held 2-4 December in Gaborone, Botswana. The Government of Botswana and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had convened the conference. In 2012 alone approximately 22,000 elephants were illegally killed in Africa according to a study by the CITES programme on Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE).
Since 2010 the numbers of elephants being killed in the wild are no longer sustainable and the global population is starting to decline fast.
Especially in West Africa which is covered by a CMS MOU on African Elephants only a few fragmented populations of elephants remain totalling less than 10,000 individuals. CMS met representatives of range states and experts within the margins of the African Elephant Summit to discuss the requirements of elephant conservation in the region, with particular emphasis on transboundary corridor management. The key drivers for the current declines appear to be poverty and poor governance in elephant range states, coupled with growing demand for illegal ivory in south-east Asia, but also other countries such as the United States. In parallel to the measures targeting wildlife trafficking it is important to improve population management on the ground in range states, for example through improved law enforcement inside and outside of protected area systems and stronger emphasis on working with and through communities. Countries, IGOs and NGOs present at the Summit called for stronger engagement of “communities living with elephants as active partners in conservation by supporting community efforts to advance their rights and capacity to manage and benefit from wildlife and wilderness” (measure number 12) as one of the top three priority needs under the urgent measures adopted in Gaborone, Botswana.
Reacting to the outcome of the meeting, CMS Executive Secretary, Bradnee Chambers said: “There have been good international efforts to try and address the spike in global wildlife crime and elephant poaching. We must remain united to this cause and work with the countries to ensure that we conserve the African elephant. The CMS has a major role in the long term ensuring that strategies are in place and followed to avert future spikes and to ensure that the elephant remains a unique species for Africa’s present and future generations."
Last updated on 16 June 2014