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Please Help Elephants

Please help save elephants. They are undoubtedly among the most iconic creatures on the planet, and yet they are being slaughtered at a terrifying rate.

For millennia after millennia, they have lived safely in the wild. No predator could threaten them, due to their immense wisdom and sheer size.

But today humans have bullets.

And bullets find as much resistance ripping through those adaptations as your boot would find as it stomped on a big, grey puddle. They’re struggling to cope. Poaching is running rife due to a vast market hungry for their tusks, meat and skin and their numbers are falling.

But there is still time.

If we act now and we can put rangers in place to stop the poaching and their numbers can stabilise.

That’s why we’re asking for donations that could help keep them safe. We need to equip rangers, and your donation today could be a crucial step in doing that. Only by stopping the immediate poaching can we buy ourselves enough time to fix the problem in the long term – stopping the demand in their body parts.

Protecting the world’s largest land mammal

Elephant conservation – in Asia as well as Africa – has featured prominently throughout FFI’s long history. In addition to securing the landscapes and corridors of habitat that these massive mammals require, and defusing the conflict between people and elephants that may arise when their worlds collide, we are also addressing the issue of ivory poaching and its devastating impact on elephants.

The ivory trade isn’t a recent phenomenon – witness the naming of Côte d’Ivoire by French merchant explorers as long ago as the 15th century. Not long after FFI was first established in 1903, its founding fathers were already pressing the colonial authorities for an increase in the minimum permissible weight of any tusk intended for sale, saying it would be ‘a disgrace to our age to allow such a fine and noble animal as the African elephant to perish’.

Those words are equally applicable today. The difference is that we’re rapidly running out of elephants to protect. The poaching epidemic – fuelled by rocketing demand for ivory from an affluent and rapidly expanding group of consumers in countries such as China – continues to take a heavy toll. A wave of assaults by heavily armed poachers linked to increasingly sophisticated trafficking networks is posing an unprecedented threat to the future of the world’s largest land animal.

Demand for ivory is by no means the only threat to the African elephant’s survival; habitat loss, hunting for bushmeat and revenge killing in retaliation for crop raiding all contribute significantly to the downward trend. But ivory poaching is without doubt the main driver of the current crisis.

The senseless slaughter of a magnificent tusker for its super-sized incisors is all the more sickening once you gain an insight into the beast behind the ivory. Elephants have the largest brain of any terrestrial mammal, a memory impressive enough to have inspired a proverb, and a complex matriarchal social structure that creates powerful family bonds – they even appear to mourn their dead.

Their awesome physical attributes include a multi-purpose trunk with over 40,000 muscles. This built-in toolkit is capable of plucking a berry from a bush or uprooting a tree. It’s a water detector, power shower, snorkel, drinking straw, extendable arm, trumpet, early-warning system, hand of friendship and defensive weapon all rolled into one.

Saving African elephants – and their Asian counterparts – is not just a moral imperative. The ecological and economic arguments for protecting them are equally persuasive. As a keystone species, they play a unique role in shaping their ecosystem by, for example, maintaining grassland habitat, creating waterholes and dispersing seeds.

So please, help save these marvellous creatures and donate. They really need it right now.

Who are FFI?

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is the world’s oldest conservation charity. Over the last 100 years, we have literally saved species from extinction and even – with the help of our vice-president, Sir David Attenborough – helped bring mountain gorillas back from the brink. We work to protect plants and animals around the globe, and spend 94% of our income on charitable activities.

Thank you.

If you value the natural world – if you think it should be protected for its own sake as well as humanity’s – then please support Fauna & Flora International.
Sir David Attenborough OM FRS Vice-president and FFI member since 1959

How to help save elephants

A monthly donation of £5
could help pay for one rangers daily rations
A monthly donation of £10
could go towards the upkeep of vehicles - essential on the rough roads
A monthly donation of £20
could help keep medical kits stocked - vital for keeping rangers safe
A one-off donation of £15
could help purchase a sleeping bag for a ranger on patrol
A one-off donation of £50
could help buy a rucksack for a ranger, essential for carrying supplies
A one-off donation of £200
could help buy one month's fuel for law enforcement patrol deployment - making a monumental difference to the team's chances