• Don Lichterman

World Elephant Day, Poachers fear special agents, CITES, Serengeti, Holly, Elephant in The Room

Today is World Elephant Day. And it’s a very important time for elephants. Their future is hanging in the balance.

“We are honored to partner with Discovery Channel on their innovative new show, “Serengeti.” The series aligns closely with our mission at Ivory Ella: To help secure a future for elephants through education and empowering the next generation to get involved and take action. This 6-part series conveys the raw beauty and harsh reality that our beloved elephants and their fellow animals of the Serengeti face in their native environment today. We admire the bold, compelling and humanizing way in which the team at Discovery brings these stories to light. We hope this will lead to increased awareness, understanding and empathy for the other species we share our planet with. And, most importantly, increased support for elephant conservation as well as preservation of their environment. Tune in August 4th at 8PM for this epic family event.”

The devastating impact of the poaching crisis cannot be overstated. All three types of elephants — Asian, African forest, and African savannah—are listed as Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation RIGHT NOW to help ensure the future of elephants and other wildlife.

The challenge is real. WCS-led research showed that between 2002 and 2013, the Central African forest elephant population dropped 65% and its habitat range shrank by 30%. That’s just over ten years. And some populations of savannah elephants have suffered similar major losses.

But we know how to fight back. In Nouabale Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo, for example, under the management of WCS, we have been able to protect forest elephants and hold populations stable over the past decade even though poaching pressure has increased. This year, WCS and partners reported an astounding success, registering zero instances of elephant poaching for the past 12 months in Mozambique’s Niassa Reserve, a massive protected area plagued by rampant wildlife crime just a few years ago.

Help protect elephants in honor of World Elephant Day right now

It’s a fact, Don: together we have the power to protect elephants. In early 2018, to fight elephant poaching head on, we partnered with the Government of Mozambique and the Niassa Conservation Alliance to implement a coordinated anti-poaching strategy. This strategy included airplane and helicopter support to transport scouts and supplies to remote poaching locations, deploy response teams when poaching was detected, as well as aerial surveillance. These have collectively proven to be an effective poaching deterrent.

Measures like these are highly effective, but carry a financial cost - and that’s why we need you to help us protect them.

Successful strategy and hard work helped us defeat poachers in Nouabale Ndoki and Niassa. They are huge wins, but we need more than two wins to secure elephants’ survival. If we want future generations to live in a world where elephants thrive we must:

  • Increase aerial surveillance in elephant strongholds.Train and deploy more rangers in the protected areas where WCS works.

  • Supply new rangers with equipment.

  • Assist the authorities in tracking and shutting down ivory trafficking networks.

  • Grow our community development programs to help people better co-exist with wildlife.

Poachers can't pass this smell test. Poachers fear our special agents.

The world responded to this captive elephant's plight. Now he has a new life.

Today, Gluay Hom, a young, suffering elephant in Thailand, starts a new life. When I first saw him in June 2018, he'd been living for years under a performance stadium at Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo outside Bangkok. His feet were tightly chain. See the PetitionView the full article

There's nothing like a lazy Summer day, but with a mission like ours, those lazy days don't come around often. But we don't mind being busy, when the payoff is helping wildlife. To get a sense of our daily tasks at the elephant rescue center, and see some beautiful photos, be sure to click through to A Day in the Life, a magazine feature in Atlas by Etihad Airways. And read on to see what else we've been up to...

Sweet Dreams, Holly. When Holly was rescued, our veterinary team determined that she had stiff joints and arthritis in her back legs. For the 8 months she's been with us, poor Holly has not been able to lie down to rest or sleep. But now, thanks to treatments you make possible, this sweet girl is finally getting the kind of slumber she deserves. Read More

A Win for Wild Elephants. Imagine you're walking through your neighborhood, when a herd of elephants suddenly comes charging through! Now imagine that you'd received a text message warning you in advance of their imminent arrival. Big difference, right? Our new project helps wild elephants and people to co-exist peacefully. Read More

Free Lammie the Elephant at Jo'burg Zoo petition to Johannesburg City Council now has 18,341 signatures!

Lammie the elephant has been in captivity at the Johannesburg Zoo for the past 32 years.  A male elephant named Kinkel who was Lammie's companion died recently due to "unconfirmed causes".

This is not the first tragedy that captive-born Lammie (or the other animals at the Johannesburg Zoo) have endured.  Both her parents, Jumbo and Dolly, who were captured from the wild in the 1970's, died at the Zoo within a year of each other.  Lammie's brother, who was also born at the zoo, died shortly after being sold to a French zoo.

While Lammie languishes alone since the death of Kinkel, elephant experts are calling for her release from Johannesburg Zoo to a sanctuary, saying the captive elephant's overall well-being is being compromised.  Worse, the Johannesburg Zoo has confirmed that they plan to acquire another cow to keep Lammie company, but animal welfare and elephant experts have objected, saying that the lone elephant should be released into a wild reserve where she can roam free and bond with a herd.

As sentient beings reliant on family bonds, elephants in captivity display behavioral abnormalities, suffer from diseases, disabilities and have notably shorter life spans.  Due to high infant mortality rates, no or minimal conservation value has been ascribed to captive elephant breeding programs.

In addition, South Africa's Elephant Norms and Standards prohibit the capture of elephants in the wild for permanent captivity.  According to Dr. Gay Bradshaw, a trans-species psychologist who researches the effects of violence on elephants and other animals, the death of an individual has a large impact on the family and within the community. 

Furthermore, repeated losses in the absence of the traditional healing structures of the elephant family and culture cause sustained psychological trauma.

For 32 years, Lammie has been confined in a restrictive and very limited space.  For 32 long years, the Johannesburg Zoo has profited from Lammie and her family and  it is about time for the Zoo to set him free to enjoy the freedom that all other elephants or wild animals enjoy!

Born Free USA believes that every individual animal matters, but there are two species that we hold especially close to our hearts – lions and elephants. With World Lion Day and World Elephant Day coming up on August 10 and August 12, we are reminded that the plight of Elsa, the lioness, and Pole Pole, the elephant, were the inspiration for the founding of Born Free. And now, 35 years after Born Free began, we continue to work to protect these species. 

In two weeks, Born Free USA will do just that on a global scale at the CITES Conference of Parties (CoP) in Geneva, Switzerland, where we will be pushing hard to ensure greater protections for lions and elephants and many other threatened species

What is CITES?

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten species' survival. As of 2018, around 5,800 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants are regulated by CITES and listed in CITES Appendices I, II, or III. CoPs (Conferences of Parties) happen every three years and allow member States and other stakeholders to review progress in species conservation and adopt or amend proposals related to species protection. 

What will Born Free do at CITES CoP18?

CoPs offer advocate organizations like Born Free the chance to push for stronger protections for imperiled species. This year, at CoP18, Born Free USA will actively work to increase international protections for African wildlife threatened by unsustainable and illegal trade, including lions and elephants.


Recommendation: To transfer the populations of African Elephants in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe from CITES App. II to App. I

Right now, the African elephant is listed in CITES Appendix I in some countries and Appendix II in others. This puts the species at ongoing risk, complicates enforcement, maintains market demand and commercial international trade, confuses consumers, and undermines the effectiveness of CITES regulations for African elephants. Notoriously, the illegal poaching of elephants and the trafficking of their ivory threaten the survival of the species. CITES measures proposed to strengthen trade regulations for certain African elephant populations, including limiting trade in live animals, coupled with guidelines for the management and disposal of ivory stockpiles, and for the closure of remaining legal domestic ivory markets, should improve the chances of survival for this iconic species.

Elephant in The Room

"Corporations Are People Too My Friends."
Our companies are known for creating products that enhance people's lives.  Through Sunset Corporation of America and its companies, we’re equally dedicated to improving lives.  Our commitment extends to helping local communities, fostering better educational systems, supporting the arts and culture, helping disadvantaged youth, protecting and improving the environment, animal welfare, wildlife issues and encouraging employee volunteerism.

Our companies are known for creating products that enhance people's lives.  Through Sunset Corporation of America and its companies, we’re equally dedicated to improving lives.   Our commitment extends to helping local communities, fostering better educational systems, supporting the arts and culture, helping disadvantaged youth, protecting and improving the environment, animal welfare, wildlife issues and encouraging employee volunteerism.

Activism and Sustainability:

  • Gun Safety & Gun Laws

  • Cruelty Free

  • Death Penalty

  • Demand Action

  • Sustainable Action Network

Fairness and Equality:

  • Grammy District Advocacy

  • Privatization

  • Voters Issues & Gerrymandering

  • Private Prisons & the War on Drugs

  • Finance, Housing & the Economy Corporate Responsibility:

  • Candidates, Bills, Laws & Protections

  • Wildlife & Oceania

  • Labeling & Transparency

  • Comprehensive Captivity & Hunting Results Databases