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Friends of Conservation
101 St Martin's Lane
London, WC2N 4AZ
Tel: 020 3667 7017

Conservation Issue

As a result of intense poaching of elephants for their ivory many countries experienced serious declines in elephant populations. Although once abundant, the African elephant is thought to have declined to around 600,000 animals. 

Elephants also face significant threat from the reduction of habitat available to them in the face of expanding human populations. We are delighted to have been able to support the work of Living with Elephants (LWE) in Botswana which is dedicated to relieving conflict and competition between the African elephant and human populations in Botswana, which has the largest remaining free range African elephant population. 

If you would like to help to support this work to protect the African elephant, please click here.


Elephants are a symbol of African wilderness. They are the world's largest land mammals, weighing up to 7,500kgs, and live for up to 70 years in units of six to 70 members, led by a female. A few hundred years ago, African elephants roamed savannahs and forests south of the Sahara Desert. Sadly, elephants have suffered dramatic population declines in Africa as a result of increasing demand for ivory. Human population growth and the conversion of elephant habitat to agricultural land have caused human-elephant conflicts to increase where elephants trample crops and damage infrastructure in search of food.
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Elephants play an important role in the environments in which they live. Many plant species are dependent on passing through an elephant's digestive tract before they can germinate. By browsing on vegetation, elephants also affect the composition of habitats and influence bush fire patterns. Because of this impact and influence over ecosystems, elephants are vital to the long-term survival of the habitats in which they live.


LWE works in partnership with villagers who share environments with the African elephant. The increasing number and severity of encounters between elephants and humans is has caused concern, locally, and internationally. LWE is exploring and researching why, how, where and when conflict occurs. By understanding more clearly how increasing human pressures alter elephant activity and how negative elephant encounters impact humans, effective mitigation strategies and techniques can be developed.
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