PRESS RELEASE: Bringing poachers to justice


The ICCF Group, conservation charity Space for Giants and the Elephant Protection Initiative’s implementation charity Stop Ivory have agreed to work together with host governments to strengthen criminal justice systems in elephant-range states in order to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade.

Under the agreement the three organisations will work together to:

Harmonise national policies and laws relevant to conservation and management of African elephants within and across range states where possible.

Strengthen the laws relevant to conservation and management of African elephants.

Strengthen the enforcement of laws relevant to conservation and management of African elephants.

The work is in support of the Elephant Protection Initiative, which seeks to implement the African Elephant Action Plan. The partnership follows the pledge to collaborate to stop poaching and wildlife trafficking through strengthened laws and their improved application made by Stop Ivory and the ICCF Group at the inaugural Giants Club summit in Kenya in May 2016.

This summit was convened by Space for Giants and hosted by the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta. It was attended by African presidents, philanthropists and conservation experts from around the globe. The goal of the Giants Club is to effectively protect some 200,000 elephants – 50% of the continental total – by 2020.

John Stephenson, head of Stop Ivory, said: “This is an exciting project which represents significant support for the Africa-led Elephant Protection Initiative. The only hope for elephants is that we work together and we work effectively. This collaboration will make a significant contribution to the increasing harmonisation of effective laws throughout elephant-range states and to the enforcement of those laws. The outcomes of the collaboration will be the production of significant tools for the implementation of the National Elephant Action Plans.”

Under the agreement, The ICCF Group and Stop Ivory have committed a combined $110,000 toward legal support, and The ICCF Group is covering an additional $150,000 in costs for regional training and coordination. Space for Giants has committed a further $128,950. Its Director of Wildlife Protection, Shamini Jayanathan, is to deliver the legal work, in collaboration with the ICCF Group and Stop Ivory, with the potential to loop in other partners.

The work includes analysing prosecution laws and policies in Giants Club countries, developing training materials, facilitating regional workshops, and researching and developing model sentence guidelines. 

This work complements The ICCF Group’s work with parliamentary conservation caucuses in 10 countries across Africa to strengthen laws and policies aimed at combating wildlife crime and advancing natural resource conservation.

Ms Jayanathan said: “This MOU harnesses the strengths of all three organisations in their aim to work with countries to deliver strategic criminal justice solutions.”

The partnership is the latest in a series of conservation projects following the Giants Club summit. This includes the commencement of work to construct specialist fences to mitigate human-elephant conflict in Gabon and Kenya, as well as training workshops in Uganda.