Elephants, the largest land mammal on earth, are known for their intelligence, complex communication and close family units, these powerful giants are also the engineers that maintain many of Africa’s and Asia’s diverse habitats and contribute to a stable global climate. A keystone species on which many plants and animals indirectly depend, they are found in forests, maintaining tracks through the otherwise impenetrable undergrowth and dispersing seeds, while also being the iconic symbol of the African savannah, sometimes gathering in their thousands to feed and drink. Many forests in central Africa and Asia depend on elephants for seed dispersal and to create open spaces through which seedlings can grow, these are forests which sequester carbon and release water and oxygen, therefore playing a key role in global climate control.
Fighting the ivory trade is a constant challenge as those who wish to sell ‘white gold’ put elephants under further pressure. So Born Free’s support for anti-poaching continues in Kenya, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, not only against well-armed poachers, but in an effort to hold back the tide of deadly wire snares that are indiscriminately wiping out wild animals in their hundreds of thousands.
Where humans and elephants come into conflict, Born Free tries to find ways to create tolerance, which sometimes means relocating individual elephants from places of danger to safety. With our support, orphaned elephants in Sri Lanka are cared for at the Elephant Transit Home’s intensive care unit and ultimately returned to the wild. And, of course, Born Free continues to oppose the keeping of elephants in captivity in zoos and circuses, their capture from the wild and their exploitation as diplomatic gifts.