Previously just 4% of suspects in wildlife cases went to jail and maximum fines for ivory possession were only $350. A new watchdog system, supported by Elephant Crisis Fund, in Kenya’s courtrooms has now led to multiple life sentences and fines up to $225,000.
Elephant Crisis Fund is a joint initiative between Save the Elephants (STE) and Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) focused on ending the ivory poaching crisis by bringing diverse partners together to strategically address the crisis. ECF identifies and funds high-priority and catalytic projects to stop poaching, trafficking, and end the demand for ivory across a broad coalition of NGOs, institutions, media, opinion makers, scientists, and governments.
Poaching elephants for ivory has risen to historical levels over the last several years. In 2013 alone, at least 33,000 elephants were illegally killed, equating to one elephant every 16 minutes. At these rates, a world without elephants in our lifetime is a possibility. ECF is making proven and powerful impacts by stopping poachers, dismantling smuggling rings, and ending markets for ivory. The ECF’s unique, no-overhead conservation model fuels the most effective partners doing important work, no matter their size, and multiplying their power through collaboration. After just three years, the fund has supported 35 different partners to execute 52 projects.
Specifically, ECF supports field projects in three areas critical to long-term protection of elephants:
- Anti-Poaching: Reduce poaching of elephants across Africa through deployment of anti-poaching teams, providing supplies and transport to support these teams in the field, and innovative community engagement to support anti-poaching efforts and catalyze interest in elephant conservation.
- Anti-Trafficking: Reduce trafficking of ivory at national, regional, and global scales through judicial reform and anti-trafficking tools such as detection dogs and forensic technologies. Success requires creating close alliances with domestic and international law enforcement and policy makers.
- Demand Reduction: Decrease demand for ivory in Asia through targeted media outreach to consumers, international and national policy work, and by influencing key government decision-makers.