Virunga collaring
 Saving the Last of Virunga's Elephants  

The elephants of Congo’s Virunga National Park have suffered from the conflict that has plagued the area. Of the 8,000 present in 1980, only around 400 remain. At the request of park director Emmanuel de Merode, STE launched a mission to help his team secure a future for these elephants. A crack team overcame tough conditions to collar 15 individuals. We found fractured, terrified family groups, and herds seeking safety in close proximity to ranger posts. But we also saw hope in the inspiring spirit, commitment and capability of the park’s ranger force. With their work, this legendarily beautiful park may one day be full of elephants again.

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 The Hong Kong Ivory Loophole 

STE’s new report into Hong Kong's ivory market is already making waves. Authors Esmond Martin & Lucy Vigne found that more pieces of ivory are on sale in the city than anywhere else in the world. 90% of the ivory is being bought by visitors from mainland China, who smuggle it illegally back across the border. Released in a joint Nairobi-Hong Kong press conference in collaboration with WildAid and WWF, the report has already been presented to Hong Kong's Legislative Council and has found support across the political spectrum. STE’s Resson Kantai Duff was in Hong Kong to present the findings and help seek an end to the trade.

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 STE in the US Senate 

STE’s George Wittemyer testified at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on wildlife trafficking this month.  George summarized the ivory poaching situation as revealed by our research, highlighting the population decline over the past 5 years as well as the factors that have led to success in some landscapes, including northern Kenya.

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Taking Stock

Kenya has signed up to the Elephant Protection Initiative, putting the nation among those leading the fight against trafficking. STE, the Kenya Wildlife Service and Stop Ivory are conducting a comprehensive inventory of Kenya’s ivory stockpile, establishing critical transparency for one of the world's biggest ivory stockpiles.

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Obama in Kenya  

President Obama took the opportunity to meet with Kenyan conservationists during his recent visit, boosting awareness of US efforts to combat ivory poaching. Shortly after his visit, during international uproar over the killing of Cecil, an iconic lion in Zimbabwe, by an American dentist, five elephants were killed near Tsavo National Park.

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ECF Gala
Leonardo for Elephants 

 Leonardo DiCaprio held his second annual fundraiser in St. Tropez and raised a record of more than $40m for conservation. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is a key supporter of our Elephant Crisis Fund, and we were honoured to send STE’s David Daballen and Saba Douglas-Hamilton there to fly the flag for elephants.

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