Space for Giants Founder and CEO Dr Max Graham looks back on 2016.
Thank you all for your incredible support during what has been another incredible year for Space for Giants.
Against the tragic background of elephant decline recorded in the Great Elephant Census, we were pleased to see that the survey shows that the North Kenya elephant population, where we and our partners have invested so much effort over the last five years, is stable.
This suggests that where the political will and technical capacity exists, frontline protection can stop elephant populations going into decline. So it is possible to stop the supply, if not the demand, for ivory, in the short term. This will be particularly important over the next few years because at the recent CITES conference elephants were not given the highest possible protection level. In my view this sends an ambiguous message to the market that ivory may still, one day, be traded, internationally. So the battle on the frontline will sadly continue, necessitating sustained investment along the criminal trial process until China and indeed the UK and many other countries, ban the domestic trade in ivory.
Fortunately, through the Giants Club, we are scaling up our investment in the courtrooms and among the rangers on the ground to help get us through this tense and difficult period. And we have had an incredible few months of progress with building electrified fences to stop Human-Elephant Conflict in Gabon and Kenya, and with planning new investment in Uganda’s protected area network. And more than ever before there are opportunities for you to work directly with us on this cause, from joining the online petition to ban domestic trade in ivory in the UK, to investing in one of our transformative Giants Club projects. I hope you feel as enthusiastic as I do about the future. We are changing the situation on the ground with your help.