Hooman Nouruzi

Head of Africa Communications

Guest blogger for FCDO Editorial

Part of Illegal wildlife trade UK in Botswana

29th March 2018 Gaborone, Botswana

The Giants Club Summit: 5 things you need to know

Ahead of a global conference on the illegal wildlife trade in London in October, Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin attended the the Giants Club Summit in Kasane in northern Botswana to show the UK’s commitment to protecting Africa’s elephants.

Here are 5 things you need to know about the summit, and the elephants that the organisers are determined to protect:

Alarming decline

Want an idea of how dramatic the drop in African elephant populations is? In 1979 there were 1.3 million African elephants. Today there are 415,000 left.

The main reasons? Human-elephant conflict and habitat loss are definitely factors, but poaching to feed the illegal trade in ivory is a huge threat. There are indications that the scale of poaching is going down in parts of east Africa. But still, across the continent more elephants are being killed than are being born each year – and that’s why action is needed NOW.

Committed members

The first Giants’ Club summit was held in Kenya in 2016. President Ian Khama of Botswana (who hosted this year’s summit) and the presidents of Kenya, Gabon and Uganda are the founding members of the Giants’ Club, which is part of the Space For Giants organisation. The aim of the Giants Club is to bring together elephant experts, leaders of elephant-range states and heads of business to properly protect at least 50 percent of the continent’s elephants by 2020.

We will only stamp out this terrible crime by taking global action and building consensus”, said Minister Baldwin on Friday.

Digital march for elephants

Mentioned by Minister Baldwin in her speech at the summit, this was a digital campaign to raise awareness of the elephant poaching crisis. Starting in Manchester, the elephants then went on a ‘world tour’, appearing on digital billboards in cities in France, Holland and Australia before ending up in Botswana for the summit. Elephant fans contributed £5 to have their own customised elephant put on the billboard, with all funds raised going to conservation charity Space for Giants. This was the second year the #MarchForGiants has been held.

A safe space for wildlife

Space for Giants already has three projects it’s working on in Kenya to maintain wild spaces for elephants to roam in.

What the UK Government is doing

Training anti-poaching rangers, strengthening law enforcement and helping communities in areas affected by the illegal wildlife trade to develop sustainable livelihoods: these are just some of the more than 47 projects the UK Government has been funding on the continent to help protect African elephants – and other threatened wildlife. The UK Government also announced last October proposals to ban local ivory sales. Elephants will feature high on the agenda of the global conference on the illegal wildlife trade that the UK Government is hosting later this year.

Watch Minister Baldwin’s video message from the summit:

What more do you think should be done to protect Africa’s elephants? Leave your comments below:

3 comments on “The Giants Club Summit: 5 things you need to know

  1. Thanks Hooman for this very important information and the 5 things about the summit that should need to know everyone. and i think this article will help to know every people 5 things about summit.

  2. Can anything be done to prevent the sale of live, wild elephants from Zimbabwe into captivity in other countries? Of particular concern are the young animals sold to China. Thank you.

Comments are closed.