Hollywood stars, billionaire producers and a pod of California Grey Whales all made appearances at the Sundown Gala in Malibu on 10th May, an event to raise money for the STE/WCN Elephant Crisis Fund. By the end of the evening a stunning $2.1 million had been raised to combat poaching, thwart trafficking and reduce demand for ivory. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, co-host of the event, announced a $1 million donation and launched a fundraising microsite for the Fund, while Ryan Kavanaugh of Relativity Media bought a luxury safari at auction for $400,000.
While the security landscape has improved in some areas of Kenya, in others the killing of elephants continues. In May we received the devastating news that one of Africa’s best-known elephant characters, Mountain Bull, had been speared on the slopes of Mt Kenya where he spent much of his time. Obituaries have flooded in, including one from a long-term STE researcher and another from a much-moved intern. The BBC also covered his loss. Meanwhile Iain Douglas-Hamilton used a talk in London to raise funds for a new collaborative project to reinforce security forces on the mountain.
Momentum for closing down domestic ivory markets around the world is building, and the Elephant Crisis Fund continues to play its role in catalyzing this. Hong Kong burned the first part of its stockpile and the three biggest retailers have removed ivory from their shelves.
Matt is the biggest bull we track in Kenya’s northern rangelands. Following his movements help us plan for the future of his species as well as to help protect him when he enters high-risk regions. But building a collar strong enough to withstand his power is proving a challenge.
The STE/WCN Elephant Crisis Fund is one year into its three-year mission. Powerful projects are underway and the global coalition is building. Despite enormous challenges ahead we see glimmers of hope on the horizon. Read more about the work funded so far.
STE researchers have pioneered the use of smartphone technology to save elephants. This month they published some of their results showing how complex algorithms can – amongst other things – generate rapid responses from anti-poaching units.
Our Mission: To secure a future for elephants and sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live, to promote man’s delight in their intelligence and the diversity of their world, and to develop a tolerant relationship between the two species.
ATCNews : Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome is the publisher of ATCNews, Eastern Africa’s leading aviation, tourism and conservation news blog of its kind. Wolfgang has over 45 years of experience in the tourism, aviation and conservation fields in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, covering all aspects of safari operations, hotel operations and air operations. Since 1992 he resides in Uganda, previously living for 17 years in Kenya.