Threats to Africa’s elephants grow despite momentum against poaching, Space for Giants says as Botswana announces it will host Giants Club Summit 2018
STOPPING POACHING AND WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING THROUGH STRENGTHENED CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEMS, A COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE ICCF GROUP, SPACE FOR GIANTS AND STOP IVORY
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.
Gabon’s President Ali Bongo launches Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation Strategy in his role as a founder of the Giants Club
LIBREVILLE, GABON (9 August 2016) – The President of Gabon, one of the founding members of the Giants Club conservation initiative, today demonstrated his commitment to his people and conservationists globally by officially launching the first elephant fence in Gabon.
Aviva Premiership trophy to be taken to the summit of Mount Kenya by champion rugby players to raise funds for elephant conservation
Five Saracens players will be climbing Mount Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa, carrying the Aviva Premiership trophy which was won by Saracens this season, in an effort to raise awareness of the poaching crisis and funds for elephant conservation charity, Space for Giants. Saracens, who are based in North London, are the reigning champions of the Aviva Premiership and the current holders of the European Rugby Champions Cup.
Former Namibia captain and Saracens flanker, Jacques Burger, who has recently retired from professional rugby, will be flying over Mount Kenya on the 11th June as the players reach the summit at close to 5,000 meters. The other Saracens players involved in the climb include Jim Hamilton, Mike Ellery, Rhys Gill, Nils Mordt and Ben Ransom.
“This is an opportunity for me to make a difference in my country and Africa as a whole, protecting something I feel strongly about. Nature is a part of who I am and I want my kids to be able to see wild elephants for themselves when they’re grown up,” said Burger. “The biggest challenge in protecting elephants is combating the poaching crisis and we need to address this urgently.”
Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants, added “this is about the ‘giants of rugby’ protecting the ‘giants of Africa’. Having these formidable and inspiring players take on the challenge of climbing one of the highest mountains in the world, carrying a symbol of their recent achievement, takes us one step closer to achieving our goal – a world where elephants and the landscapes they depend on are protected forever.”
In April, Space for Giants hosted the Giants Club Summit in partnership with the Kenyan Government. The aim was to bring together African heads of state, business leaders, key influencers and conservation experts for the purpose of ensuring a future for elephants and the landscapes they depend on, forever. The summit was an historic moment in the world of global conservation with four Giants Club Presidents of Kenya, Gabon, Uganda and Botswana announcing major conservation interventions for the protection and management of their elephants.
Funds raised from the climb will go towards implementing these conservation interventions, which include the protection of elephants in the wild, the management of human-elephant conflict, and smart new ways to fund the maintenance of key elephant refuges – a ‘toolkit’ of methods pioneered by Space for Giants alongside partner organisations.
“Our aim is to unite many otherwise separate groups of people who together can accelerate progress in protecting Africa’s remaining elephants,” said Graham. “We need key influencers, such as these world-class rugby players, to see what we are doing and why, and then to spread the word about what they’ve learned to their followers. We are incredibly grateful to Saracens and the players for their support.”
Notes to Editors
For further information, email email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter @SpaceForGiants, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SpaceForGiants. Social Media #TRYHarder #MakeSpaceForGiants
The Giants Club is an exclusive forum that brings together African Heads of State, global business leaders, and elephant protection experts to secure Africa’s remaining elephant populations and the landscapes they depend on. It was established by Space for Giants and its founding members are the Presidents of Kenya, Gabon, Botswana, and Uganda and Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of the ESI media group www.spaceforgiants.org/giantsclub
Space for Giants is an international conservation charity with more than a decade of experience facilitating the conservation and management of African elephants. Headquartered in Kenya, the charity focuses on developing and implementing front-line anti-poaching initiatives, securing protected landscapes for elephants, tackling human- wildlife conflict, providing local training and education for the next generation of conservationists and raising international awareness of the threats facing elephants today. “It is our mission to secure a future with elephants and the natural landscapes they depend on, for people, forever”: Max Graham, CEO, Space for Giants www.spaceforgiants.org
Saracens are the current Aviva Premiership and European Champions and are based at Allianz Park in North London. For more information please visit www.saracens.com
President Kenyatta to host the inaugural ‘Giants Club’ summit to tackle the elephant poaching crisis
President Kenyatta to host the inaugural ‘Giants Club’ summit to tackle the elephant poaching crisis
- Kenyan President to stage international wildlife summit in Laikipia on 29th and 30th April.
- Heads of State from around Africa to gather in Kenya to combat illegal-ivory trade.
- Event is one of the biggest government-led conservation conferences in Africa’s history.
- Leading CEOs, philanthropists, conservationists and celebrities among those invited.
- Event to be followed by burning of all Kenyan Government ivory stocks at 3pm on the 30th.
NAIROBI, February, 2016 The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, is to convene a summit of African Heads of State, corporate leaders, philanthropists and conservation experts in April to develop a continent-wide response to the trade in illegal-wildlife, it was announced today. Prof Judi Wakhungu, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities, said the two-day event, which is being staged in partnership with the Kenya-based wildlife charity Space for Giants, will occur on 29th and 30th April in Laikipia.
It will address the elephant poaching crisis in Africa and to work towards a lasting solution for the conservation of the continent’s wildlife, the Cabinet Secretary said. To demonstrate its zero tolerance to the illegal ivory trade, the Kenyan government will follow the summit by burning 120 tonnes of ivory at 3pm on 30th April in Nairobi national park, the largest stockpile to be burned by any country in one go.
Eight African heads of state have been invited to the summit to discuss the multi-national problem and they will be joined by the leadership of many of Africa’s largest corporations, including Olam and De Beers, as well as conservation experts. Corporate titans like Richard Branson and XIX Entertainment head Simon Fuller are also assisting. The event is being supported by Kenya Airways and will feature musician Eric Wainaina performing. On the afternoon of the 30th they will attend the burn to demonstrate their unity in facing the illegal poaching threat and as a fitting end to the summit’s two day agenda.
Announcing the event in a statement, President Kenyatta said that he and his fellow African leaders “will use this opportunity to underline the global intent to put an end, once again, to the butchering of elephants and rhinos by selfish criminal gangs.” He continued: “I am delighted to host the inaugural Giant’s Club Summit in Kenya. Together we will all play our part in preserving the planet’s greatest animals.” Prof Wakhungu said: “As a country, we are demonstrating our longstanding commitment to put ivory beyond economic use.”
The Giants Club was founded by President Kenyatta with the presidents of Botswana, Gabon, Kenya and Uganda, with support from Space for Giants and its patron, Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of The Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers. The body was formed to combat the poaching crisis by bringing together visionary leaders who can work together to provide the political will, financial resources and technical capacity required to protect Africa’s remaining elephant populations.
In the last three years 100,000 elephants have been killed across Africa to supply ivory to illegal markets. Proceeds from this illegal trade are being used to support criminal activity, armed conflict and terrorism. Frontline conservationists have been injured and killed in their hundreds. Dr Max Graham, founder of Space for Giants, said: “I strongly believe that by bringing together many of the world’s most powerful individuals to focus not just on the immediate poaching crisis, but also on the longer term challenge of ensuring Africa’s conservation estate is sustained, forever, President Kenyatta and the Giants Club will achieve something extraordinary and unprecedented.”
The summit is to be staged at Mount Kenya Safari Club. Delegates will also be invited to visit local conservation projects to see practical examples of Kenya’s leadership in the area of wildlife protection. Attendance is by invitation only. Together those present will:
Announce binding commitments by Giants Club members; Deliver specific wildlife frontline protection projects financed by the corporates and philanthropists; Support Giants Club member states to identify and resource the protection of Africa’s most significant wildlife refuges.
The event is being supported by a number of other charities, including the anti-illegal wildlife charity organisation WildAid.
Evgeny Lebedev, Space for Giants’ patron, said: “I have loved conservation and Africa throughout my life, but only in recent years have I seen how urgent is the work needed when combining the two. Many of the continent’s most iconic species face extinction. That is why I am delighted that President Kenyatta is hosting the inaugural summit of the Giants Club.
“My hope is that, together with corporate donors and other leaders across the continent, we can make an immediate impact, and so improve the prospects for some of the most beautiful landscapes, and animals, on Earth. Time is short – but this summit is exactly the right way to address this critical situation, and I am hopeful for its outcome.”
The burn of the country’s ivory stockpile, much of it seized from illegal poaching, follows the personal directive of President Kenyatta on 3 March 2015. The burn marks Kenya’s commitment to the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI), which it signed to on its joining of the Giants Club. The EPI requires that domestic ivory markets be stopped and that ivory stocks are put beyond economic use.
The burn, which is eight times the size of any ivory stockpile destroyed so far, is being organised by the Kenya Wildlife Service, supported by the EPI’s secretariat Stop Ivory.
The EPI is an Africa-led initiative to save the elephant, which has put in place a framework including stock pile inventory and National Elephant Action Plans (NEAPs). The Giants Club is an initiative led by a group of leading EPI members, in partnership with Space for Giants, to raise funds, secure sustainable investment and provide technical capacity for activities included in NEAPs, as well as to collaborate on and lobby for the conservation of elephants and the landscapes they depend on.
Alex Rhodes, the CEO of Stop Ivory, said: “In two short years, and in the face of a bloody crisis, the world has come together and agreed to end all trade in ivory. Kenya is leading the way in making sure that that promise is delivered whilst at the same time building a sustainable framework for elephants and the communities they live alongside.
“Stop Ivory is delighted to be working with the Giants Club and other partners from across the NGO and private sectors, to support the Government of Kenya through the Elephant Protection Initiative. The future of the elephant will be determined this year. Burning the ivory leaves no question that it can leak into criminal hands. There can be no stronger statement that true value is in the elephant.”