The International Elephant Foundation has been in contact with our many in-country project partners internationally and each is reporting they are practicing social distancing as required by their individual country’s government and therefore the education and conservation programs that involved the gathering of larger numbers of people, young and old, have been put on hold. Each project is reporting devising alternative strategies to accomplish their goals during this time of sheltering in place such as revising education curriculum and organizing elephant ID records and crop-raiding data, etc.

As Reported by the 2020 IEF Funded PEACE (People and Elephants Amicably Co-Existing) Conflict Mitigation Program, Namibia:
“We go into lockdown tonight for 3 weeks, I expect it will go on for longer. We are only on our 8th case but the last was a local infection so I suspect it will spread as it has in other countries. So far it is only two regions that have to go into lockdown but I think it will go across the country. A few weeks ago the Government had already asked for no mass gatherings to take place, and seeing as we were having crowds of more than 45 at a lot of Shannon and Hendricks seminars, we decided to stop.

What we have been able to do is send our Field Manager Markus to the field for 3 weeks or more. He will check on the elephants, there is ID work he needs to do and we know there were 2 heavily pregnant cows we want to check on. I am not sure if you were aware…but all the new born calves for the Ugab population die within a few days of birth and he will be able to check on the people and respond to any problems. Luckily we also have the amazing elephant guard network so they will be available during this period of time. We are also putting announcements on the radio about safety and also with the elephant guards cell numbers.

Hendrick has also reached out to communities in the further north west of the country and has also been doing radio interviews. We will see how long this carries on for and we will keep you up to date. – RACHEL”

Covid-19 is impacting conservation programs of elephant range countries of Africa and Asia due in-part to the complete collapse of the tourism industry which is a primary source of income for many. It is very possible that one byproduct of the Covid-19 is an increase in wildlife crime. The temptation to fall back into poaching and the illegal wildlife trade will increase as alternative livelihoods are lost. Our outreach efforts and the gains we have made to educate and promote coexistence in range countries, build communities around conservation, and provide security are threatened. The current economic condition worldwide is also causing a reduction in much needed donations we need to fulfill our mission as well as to provide emergency funding for ranger support, anti-poaching patrols, and elephant rescue.

Ultimately it is most critical that we all do our part in defeating Covid-19 and reverse its devastating effect as soon as possible by staying at home and practicing social distancing. Together we can make a difference!

Stay safe and healthy,
Deborah Olson

Free Stuff for Kids!

Our Conservation Coordinator did a Facebook Live video talking about all of the cool, free resources IEF offers to help kids learn about elephants and be entertained. There are elephants masks, coloring pages, a 12-lesson educational curriculum, and temporary tattoos!

Watch Here!