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Elephants: Conservation

Volume 475: debated on Monday 12 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what initiatives the Government (a) funds directly and (b) otherwise supports for the protection and conservation of elephants; and if he will make a statement. (204260)

Elephants are at risk from a number of factors including habitat destruction, poaching for ivory and human-elephant conflict. The UK supports several measures to tackle these threats internationally.

Through its membership of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) the UK works to protect endangered species of plants and animals at threat from trade by controlling and monitoring international trade in them. Since 2005 the UK has made payments to support the work of the Monitoring of the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) and has been funding the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) since 2003-04. These programmes will enable the international community to monitor whether the sale of legally stockpiled ivory has an effect on the amount of poaching and illegal global trade. Since 2003-04, the UK has also supported the work of the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group (AfESG) and in May 2007 allocated £10,000 to support elephant dialogue meetings.

In addition, DEFRA’s Darwin Initiative contributes to the conservation and sustainable use of the world’s biodiversity. Over the last five years to 2008 funding for the programme has increased from 3 million to 7 million per annum, we will be announcing a new Round soon. To date the Darwin Initiative has funded 464 projects in over 130 countries. A number of these have specifically focused on the protection and conservation of elephants, including building capacities for mitigating human-elephant conflict in Assam and Kenya.