For Africa’s Elephants, Bearing Witness Bears Fruit

In Tarangire, where WCS has worked in collaboration with the government, park officials and local people, elephant numbers have rebounded from the last poaching crisis of the 1980s by 7 percent per year. Photo: Charles and Lara Foley ©WCS.

By James Deutsch

For the past week Chelsea Clinton and her father President Clinton have been touring Clinton Foundation projects across Africa. In August 2013, as Executive Director of the Africa Program for WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), I had the great privilege of introducing Chelsea and her team from the Clinton Foundation to my WCS colleague Charles Foley and the work he and the rest of his staff based in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park were, and still are, doing to protect elephants.

Elephant populations have held steady or even increased in several areas of Africa where park management, support from communities, and income from tourism have been strong. Northern Tanzania is one such place. In Tarangire, where WCS has worked in collaboration with the government, park officials and local people, elephant numbers have rebounded from the last poaching crisis of the 1980s by 7 percent per year.

In Tarangire, where WCS has worked in collaboration with the government, park officials and local people, elephant numbers have rebounded from the last poaching crisis of the 1980s by 7 percent per year. Photo: Charles and Lara Foley ©WCS.

In addition to Tarangire, Clinton Foundation staff had the opportunity on that 2013 trip to visit the Sekute Conservation Area in the Kazungula Landscape – comprising parts of Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola – and to meet with members of a community trust working with the African Wildlife Foundation to maintain a primary school built among other reasons as an incentive to support a community-protected wildlife area.

The Clinton Foundation visited Tarangire and Sekute in part to learn about and publicize the dreadful ongoing slaughter of Africa’s elephants. Driven by a seemingly insatiable demand for ivory across the globe (and make no mistake – this is an international crisis), elephants have been —> Read More

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