This week marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! While we may not have been able to celebrate with festivals in parks and benefit concerts, it’s still worth celebrating in the little ways we can.

In early February, the world was a lot different from how it is today. Before the days of social distancing, 9-year-old Reece Roberts and his father Steve embarked on a hike to show their love for elephants and conservation. Inspired by having recently learned about the plight of African elephants on a television documentary, Reece sprung into action and started to plan his expedition!

Hiking along an ancient route called the South Downs Way (in Sussex, United Kingdom), Reece and Steven started very early in the morning, braving frigid but eventually sunny weather. They walked about 10 kilometers, encouraging friends and family to sponsor their efforts, afterwards donating the funds to the International Elephant Foundation. You can see Reece on Trig Point (triangulation pillar) found on the top of a hill, letting his explorer nature shine through!

Investigating and caring for our world is now more important than ever. Earth Day reminds us that we should be good stewards of our planet. We are inspired by Reece and his family! We look forward to many more expeditions on behalf of elephants!

Note: Reece’s father, Steve works in the health care and social sector so obviously heroism runs in the family. Our deepest admiration and best wishes goes out to all healthcare professionals! Remember to keep following the expert guidelines to stay safe at home and slow the spread of COVID-19.

#AskAConservationist with Dr. Paul Ling

Last week we were lucky enough to sit down with Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) Researcher and professor Dr. Paul Ling for a fascinating interview about EEHV, conservation, the importance of partnerships with elephants in human care, and even some speculation about elephants and COVID-19.
Watch It Here

Update from the Mounted Horse Patrol Team in Mount Kenya

“Our teams have been conducting normal patrols amid the pandemic crisis as they are all in relatively remote regions. We are following all Government of Kenya’s guidance and advice on keeping our team safe. There are already worrying upward trends of illegal activity in the forest. With uncertainty and job losses across the country, our protected areas will be more at risk, our stakeholders and partners will need more support than ever.”

Caught in a snare:
The Mounted Horse Patrol Team discovered three wire snares recently.

How the CARES Act Affects Charitable Giving

COVID-19 has created a challenging time for the International Elephant Foundation and elephant conservation worldwide by reducing the ability of some donors to give, while increasing the potential of wildlife crime as livelihoods in elephant range countries are lost.

Our legislators recognize the importance of charitable giving both at home and abroad. To encourage more charitable giving in 2020, the recently enacted United States government stimulus bill (the “CARES Act”) provides two new 2020 federal Tax Benefits to Donors:

Universal Deduction for Donations Up to $300
The CARES Act will allow individual taxpayers who do not itemize their charitable giving to deduct up to $300 ($600 married filing jointly) in addition to the standard deduction.

Raising the Charitable Giving Deduction Cap
For those donors who itemize their deductions, and therefore directly write off gifts to charity, the current deduction cap is suspended making all monetary contributions fully deductible.

Donors can take advantage of these changes through December 31, 2020.