Elephant Protection Initiative congratulates Chad on AU auspicious leadership win
The Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) reacted positively to the news of Chad's foreign minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat, successful election as the new African Union Commission chairperson.
Launched in 2014 by Chad, Tanzania, Gabon, Botswana, and Ethiopia at the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, the EPI is an African-led, results-oriented partnership initiative to stop the illegal ivory trade and to secure a future for elephants across the continent.
“Chad is one of the founding members of the EPI and strong government partner to the EPI secretariat. We are hopeful that elephant protection will be placed high on the African Union’s agenda. The aspiration of the EPI is to create stronger, coordinated and funded regional elephant protection plans. As a founding member of the EPI, Chad recognizes and values the importance of implementing elephant protection without delay.” said John Stephenson, CEO of Stop Ivory.
Between 2006 - 2008, Chad’s Zakouma park was hit with a horrific wave of elephant poaching which saw it lose a staggering 2,000 elephants, all killed by armed groups coming in from as far afield as the Darfur region of Sudan. In one reported incident, poachers mounted on horseback fired indiscriminately into densely packed elephant herds, resulting in a devastating massacre of up to 60 animals.
“That was a very dark time for us, losing our national elephant herd like that and that is why we had to be part of the founding team of the EPI. We committed to finding immediate solutions and since then have had positive impacts. In solidarity with our African counterparts and with comprehensive engagement with Stop Ivory and Conservation International, we have been able to bring the situation under control said Dr. Dolmia Malachie from Chad’s Ministry of Environment.
In 2014, Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) released a report from monitored elephant poaching sites across Africa. The report which showed an increase in poaching in some countries noted a 46% decline in elephant killings in Chad.African Parks which currently manages Chad’s national parks, has since reported that since 2014, not a single elephant has been killed in the country.
“Chad remains committed to protecting our country’s elephants. In 2014 we established a National Elephant Monitoring Centre to track and respond to threats to the country’s elephants. In the same year, we began implementing our National Elephant Protection Plan. We hope to use the leadership opportunity that Mr. Faki Mahamat’s election provides, to work together with all partners and other stakeholders to deliver cohesive plans that ensure the full protection for not only Chad’s elephant but for Africa’s as well, said Dr. Dolmia Malachie of Chad’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.
The African Union’s Vision 2063 Agenda, states that Africa will continue to strive and ensure that Africa’s unique natural endowments, its environment, and ecosystems, including its wildlife and wild lands, are healthy, valued and protected.
“We congratulate Chad on this auspicious accomplishment and as the EPI secretariat, we look forward to working closely with them to achieve Africa’s conservation aspirations as set out in Agenda 2063. The EPI deeply appreciates its close partnership with our Chadian colleagues and we look forward to working with them as they take the helm of the African Union Commission. Chad’s has demonstrated strong conservation leadership and commitment in the past and it is hoped that this will inspire and drive sold conservation measures that will lead to thriving elephant populations across Africa said. Keith Roberts, Conservation International.