Elephants are among the world’s most intelligent, sensitive animals and possess both empathy and self-awareness – an elephant is one of the only animals that can recognize itself in a mirror. Elephants live in complex social groups led by a matriarch, and their family ties are strong.
These close family groups are now being torn apart by a new wave of poaching that has swept across Africa. As demand for ivory has risen among China’s growing middle class, elephants are being slaughtered to meet the demand. Over 30,000 African elephants were killed last year.
Save the Elephants, led by renowned elephant expert Dr. Iain-Douglas Hamilton, serves as a long-term protector of elephants and as their voice and advocate on an international stage. As the poaching crisis has taken hold, STE has led the charge to save Africa’s elephants both in Kenya, where they are based, and across the world. Save the Elephants has partnered with WCN to launch the Elephant Crisis Fund, which funds action-oriented partners who are tackling the supply of, demand for and trafficking of ivory.
"Our research which records the births and deaths of all elephants is a particularly sensitive barometer and alerted the world to what is happening with poaching. We reached a tipping point in 2009 where deaths outnumbered births."
- Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton
A Unique Conservation Approach
Save the Elephants closely studies elephants in order to understand their complex behavior and protect them. Information about elephant behavior is used in education and conservation messaging. STE pioneered GPS tracking collars of elephants and now have collars on over 100 elephants to capture data on elephant movements. This information is crucial to understanding which areas elephants use most, and thus where protection efforts must focus.
The STE anti-poaching team works closely with Kenya Wildlife Service and other teams to protect elephants in STE’s core northern Kenya area of operations. The new Save the Great Tuskers initiative extends STE’s work into Tsavo and aims to prevent the loss of the last of the iconic bull elephants. STE gathers and maintains an extensive database of elephant mortality information that serves as the scientific basis for anti-poaching advocacy efforts.
Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton has become a voice for elephants internationallyn and has testified in front of the US Congress about poaching. Save the Elephants is tackling demand in China by creating outreach campaigns with high-profile Chinese stars such as basketball player Yao Ming and actress Li Bingbing. STE is also a key contributor to international conferences that determine global policy on the ivory trade and poaching.
Elephants tracked by STE across Africa. Tracking protects these elephants and plans for their survival.
students are currently being sponsored through school or university by STE donors
Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton
Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton’s groundbreaking study of elephant behavior in Tanzania in the 1960’s paved the way for elephant research and conservation today. Intrigued by their intelligence, protection became Iain’s passion. In chronicling the sharp decline of elephant populations in the 1980’s, he was the first to alert the world to the poaching crisis and helped bring about the world ivory trade ban.
Iain is respected as one of the world’s principal authorities on the African elephant. He and his wife Oria have co-authored two award-winning books, Among the Elephants and Battle for the Elephants, and have made numerous films to make the world aware of elephants’ intelligence. Iain himself is an award winner, having received the Indianapolis Prize, one of conservation’s highest lifetime honors, the Order of the Golden Ark conservation award from the Netherlands, and the Order of the British Empire.
How You Can Help
Anti-poaching in Samburu
$1,000 can help provide volunteer scouts with paramilitary training and technical equipment to expand STE’s anti-poaching unit.
$3,000 will purchase an elephant monitoring collar, allowing STE to remotely monitor and protect individual elephants across Kenya.
A donation of any amount can help build the capacity of a Mobile Education Unit, which shows conservation films in remote areas of northern Kenya.
When you designate your donation to a specific species, 100% of your donation will go directly to the field to support this species.