As a corporate sponsor of the International Elephant Foundation, The Elephant Pants donates a portion of every sale to help create a sustainable future where elephants thrive. Through global projects focusing on wildlife/habitat protection, reducing human-elephant conflict, and advancing knowledge to cure elephant diseases, IEF is on the ground wherever there are elephants. While each region poses its own unique challenges, they all require the same thing : humans working together. Since its inception, IEF has supported over 120 annual and long-term projects focused on the fight to save elephants.
The Mounted Horse Patrol Anti-Poaching Unit for Mount Kenya (MHPT)
An African elephant is killed every 15 minutes. Between 2010 and 2012 over 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory. Today’s poachers are not what they once were. Many are trained, equipped, and funded by criminal organizations that are looking to profit from the consumption of illegally obtained ivory. The Mounted Horse Patrol Anti-Poaching Unit for Mount Kenya (MHPT) secures the area between Meru and Sirimon in the Kenyan National Reserve, removing snares, finding poacher camps, attending to injured wildlife, and stopping wildlife crime. With the help of IEF, locals are equipped and trained by wildlife experts on how to best approach handle the situations that tend to arise in their specific locations. These patrolmen risk their lives to keep animals and the surrounding communities safe. Aside from keeping elephants safe, the information they collect is critical to having an effective strategy to stop poachers and their work has proved vital to changing local attitudes towards elephants and conservation.
The Sumatran Conservation Response Units
With less than 3000 left in the wild, the Sumatran elephant is critically endangered. Their lush habitat, (shared by other endangered species including Sumatran rhinos, Sumatran tigers, tapirs, pangolin, and orangutan) is being taken over by humans. Conflict ensues and the elephants, and other wildlife, lose. The Sumatran Conservation Response Units (CRUs) program features wildlife officers, mahouts and elephants already in human care to protect vital habitat, catch and prosecute poachers, and herd wild elephants away from human settlements. For over 20 years the government sanctioned program has been on the front lines of the battle to ensure harmony between elephants and humans in sumatra and has been vital in changing local opinions about elephant interaction. The elephants that participate in the program come from a wide range of places, some having been rescued from logging camps or other unethical practices. The CRU base camps are also used by both the National Park Tiger and National Park Rhino Protection Units, making the Sumatran Elephants CRUs valuable to the entire ecosystem.
The EEHV Viral Genomics and Pathogenesis Project
For an endangered species like the elephant, every baby is a warrior in the fight against extinction. Elephants are pregnant for nearly two years, so imagine the horror when one of those babies becomes sick. This long gestation period coupled with the fact that they typically have only one baby at a time makes each loss of a baby elephant especially devastating to the elephant population. Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus, also known as EEHV, affects 1 in 4 baby elephants and there is currently no cure or vaccine. The virus affects elephants both in the wild and in human care. Within 72 hours of symptoms, the baby elephant is lost. Since the first documented case in 1995, IEF has worked tirelessly to fund research to learn more about EEHV and made it a priority to identify its different strains, test treatments, and bring experts together to work collaboratively and find a cure. With the EEHV Viral Genomics and Pathogenesis Project and the Expanded and improved EEHV Genome Analysis Project, great strides have been made in sequencing 11 different strains and several sub-strains, but more work needs to be done. Happy, healthy, and safe baby elephants are crucial to rebuilding the world’s elephant population.
Nkala Game Management Area Project
In Zambia the HEC in Nkala Game Management Area Project effectively employs elephant deterrent measures to protect farmlands, while working on land-use planning and finding alternative livelihoods for community members.
The Integrating Human Elephant Coexistence Endeavors Through Street Plays Project
In India, HEC has become a ever present problem. The Integrating Human Elephant Coexistence Endeavors Through Street Plays Project has identified high-risk villages and provided them with targeted HEC mitigation techniques in an accessible, dynamic and informative way. Street plays help locals learn the issues related to the endangered species, how to stay safe, and most importantly the need for coexistence.
Generating Support for Elephant Conservation Among Local People Project
A huge challenge when fighting HEC is changing local attitudes towards elephants and wildlife. When the only interaction people have with an animal is when that animal destroys their farm, home, or village, people tend to work to harm the animals instead of protect them. In Tanzania the Generating Support for Elephant Conservation Among Local People Project is working to change that with comprehensive conservation education both in local schools and in town meetings. This instruction coupled with day trips into national parks to see wildlife is helping to meaningfully engage locals and change attitudes from those of dislike and fear to those of pride and love.