As many as one third of the elephants that roamed Africa’s savannahs in 2007 have since been killed for their ivory: something like 145,000 individuals. Not since the slaughter of the 1970s has Africa lost so many elephants, so fast. The good news is that the world has reacted: China is closing its ivory market, laws across Africa are being strengthened, international criminals running poaching find their business ever riskier.
Space for Giants celebrates this progress, but we’re not complacent. In northern Kenya we helped drive an 84% drop in illegally killed elephants, but we know without vigilance, that could spike again. There, and in Botswana, Gabon, and Uganda, we are working with both wildlife law enforcement and national judiciaries to make deterrents against poaching as ferocious as we can.
Our Projects include:
Mobile + Rapid Response Teams
Space for Giants is training and equipping Rapid Response Teams of specialist wildlife rangers in Kenya, Uganda, and Botswana. Wildlife territories in these countries can be enormous, making it critical that law enforcement can reach the site of a suspected incident quickly to have the greatest chance of intercepting poachers. Units help with other security issues, too.
Space for Giants is working with magistrates, prosecutors and wildlife crime investigators in Botswana, Uganda, and Kenya to build capacity along the entire criminal trial process, from the scene of the crime to the courtroom and then the conviction. We also advise governments on how they can strengthen wildlife crime legislation to act as a greater deterrent to poaching.
Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE)
In Laikipia and Samburu in Kenya, we work closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service and conservation partners to monitor the illegal killing of elephants as part of a continentwide programme. The data illustrate poaching hotspots over time, directing us where to use our resources cost-effectively in reducing poaching and human-elephant conflict.
Hard-working judiciaries in many African countries are up against an extraordinary case load. Amid that backlog, files are misplaced, witnesses relocate, or momentum is lost. In Kenya, and soon in Botswana and Uganda, Space for Giants specialists monitor wildlife crime trials to do what they can to keep the wheels of justice moving, and to keep track of court outcomes and sentences.