Ending the Crisis

Photo: Frank af Petersens

The Elephant Crisis Fund is dedicated to ending the ivory crisis, and our work is already making a difference

There has been encouraging progress in China, the country where the demand is highest. In early 2017, the Chinese government implemented the first stage in its ban of the domestic ivory trade, which was announced at the end of last year. Twelve carving facilities were closed at the end of March 2017, and the rest of the retail outlets are due to close at the end of 2017. ECF partners were at the centre of efforts to assist China with this decision.

However with the loss of mainland China’s legal markets, we expect an increase in activity in neighboring countries (particularly Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Myanmar) where Chinese tourists and traders already buy ivory and smuggle it back to mainland China.

Photo: Lucy Vigne

Large amounts of ivory are still leaving the African continent, as shown by the seizure of 7.2 tons of ivory in Hong Kong in early July 2017. Improved law enforcement has reduced flows of ivory through Tanzanian ports over the last two years, but large shipments are still going through Mozambique. Additionally, a massive stockpile that had accumulated in Burundi since the 1980s has been pilfered and is now in trade.

Some recent successes have helped to disrupt trafficking networks. After the conviction and 20-year prison sentence of ivory trafficker Feisal Ali Mohamed last year, the Akasha brothers, believed to be senior members of his network, were sent to the U.S. for trial after two years of fighting extradition.

The world is united around a simple strategy to save elephants from the scourge of the ivory crisis: Stop the Killing, Stop the Trafficking, and Stop the Demand. The ECF has been a catalytic and deep investor in each component, providing timely funding to protect critical populations of elephants, dismantle poaching networks, and stop the demand for ivory. 

Photo: Jane Wynyard