Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Donates $1 Million to Elephant Crisis Fund
The Elephant Crisis Fund, a joint initiative created by Wildlife Conservation Network and Save the Elephants, is thrilled to announce a $1 million grant from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. The grant will be used to save elephants from the current ivory poaching crisis by funding on-the-ground projects that stop poaching, trafficking, and demand for ivory.
The grant was announced at a gala in Malibu in support of the Elephant Crisis Fund. With the Leonardo DiCaprio Fund grant, the evening raised more than $2 million, all of which will be sent directly to anti-poaching, anti-trafficking and ivory demand reduction projects on the ground. The gala also honored Save the Elephants Founder and CEO Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton for his lifetime of work protecting elephants in Africa.
“Elephant poaching is a brutal crisis, with more than 30,000 elephants killed last year alone,” said Leonardo DiCaprio. “The decimation of these animals is something we have the power to stop, and the Elephant Crisis Fund is a crucial part of the solution. I am honored to support them and recognize Dr. Douglas-Hamilton for his lifelong commitment to protecting this species.”
The Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF) directs 100% of donations to global anti-poaching, anti-trafficking and ivory demand reduction actions on the ground. The poaching crisis is now too big for any one organization or government to solve, and so the fund supports a coalition of organizations that are tackling the issue from many angles. The fund has an initial target of $5 million over three years.
Projects supported by the Elephant Crisis Fund so far include an airplane that flies over Tsavo National Park in Kenya to detect poachers, and sniffer dogs trained to find ivory at ports. The fund has also supported public service announcements in China, the world’s largest ivory market, featuring celebrities asking consumers to not purchase ivory products.
"The only future for elephants is for governments, organizations, and individuals to join together in their support. What we have seen in Los Angeles has given us greater hope than ever, as a generous donation by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation was matched by this astonishing community," said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save The Elephants.
“The intensity of the current poaching crisis requires a coalition of individuals and organizations to join together to save elephants. The Elephant Crisis Fund was created to support that coalition by funding the most urgent, strategic and innovative projects,” said Charles Knowles, Executive Director of the Wildlife Conservation Network. “We are grateful to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for their leadership in building and funding collaborations to save elephants and other wildlife.”
A new website has been launched in support of the Elephant Crisis Fund that allows users to easily make donations to the fund and share the site with others via social media and email. The new site can be found at www.elephantcrisisfund.org.