Crisis appeal – elephants are being killed right now

posted 22nd June 2020 by Danica Wilson in Wildlife

We share with you a heart-breaking letter from Damien Mander, Founder and CEO of The International Anti-Poaching Foundation.


This is one of the most important requests I have ever had to write. 

The conservation industry has had a worrying 2020 so far. When COVID-19 began spreading across the world, none of us could have predicted the unimaginable consequences it would have for wildlife. Conservation is facing an unprecedented financial crisis combined with a global economic downturn. We now find ourselves having to deal simultaneously with a downturn in funding and an upswing in poaching. The decisions that we make now will impact wildlife, with tens of thousands of vulnerable animals and their habitats under immediate threat if we are not able to act quickly enough.

I hope that you, your family and friends are as safe as possible right now. And I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this. 

Across Africa, the tourism industry has completely collapsed due to COVID-19. For non-profits and conservation organisations that rely on income from tourism, this is having devastating consequences. Without the resources to operate, many have been forced to reduce operations and send rangers home for the foreseeable future.

Anti poaching graph ivory related arrests


We are now seeing a surge in elephant poaching and ivory trafficking in the wake of these industry shutdowns.

As you can see above, there has been an alarming spike in the rate of ivory-related arrests by our team already this year.

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With valuable ecosystems around us now left without protection, poaching syndicates are free to target elephants for their ivory. This is a serious threat that needs our attention now.

IAPF can fill a large void left by this industry downturnand this is why I am reaching out for your help.

Already in the past 2 months, the efforts of IAPF rangers have resulted in a sharp increase in the number of arrests and ivory-related prosecutions.  

The economic situation is seriously challenging our ability to raise funds to continue to protect wildlife. With more work to do, we now need help to stretch our limited resources even further.

We stand strong in our commitment to patrol the vast wilderness areas we are entrusted with and protect those that can’t fend for themselves against poachers. But we do need to do much more right now.

If the current situation continues to deteriorate, years of conservation efforts will be undone.

IAPF has a strong track record in being an effective force against poaching and trafficking when we expand into new areas. Our Akashinga rangers have played a role in achieving an 80% downturn in elephant poaching in Zimbabwe’s Mid-Lower Zambezi Valley since 2017, as depicted in the graph below. The areas we protect have proudly recorded a 399% increase in wildlife encounters since we began our operations in the region. Put simply, where IAPF protects, the wildlife returns.

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With your vital help, IAPF can continue to fight the good fight and be the first and last line of defence protecting wildlife and their habitats.

We are seeking your financial support to equip our rangers with the resources they need to be able to travel further afield to protect wildlife from poachers.

Protecting wildlife is more important than ever and your donation will make a direct difference to our on the ground services immediately.

We are urgently seeking to raise USD$280,000 by 30 June so that the IAPF can expand and ensure the survival of wildlife across the region while also targeting illegal wildlife trafficking networks.

You are the reason that IAPF exists. Your support has a direct impact on empowering rangers to be on the frontline of wildlife conservation. As long as we have your support we will never give up on our shared vision.

Please will you consider donating now to help us to fill this void in the industry and replicate the immense successes we continue to demonstrate in other areas.

For the natural world,


Southern Africa Safari Summer Gen Thurgood
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Danica head of Marketing and African safari specialist at Encompass Africa on a Zambia safari
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Thanks to the team, guests and camps for these great photos of elephants.