IUCN event | 14 Feb, 2024

Room to Roam for Elephants: Conservation and Connectivity in Africa and Asia

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Photo: © Aniruddha Mukherjee | WTI

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework calls for protecting the integrity, connectivity and resilience of 30% of land, inland waters by 2030. However, the transboundary movement of elephants is getting increasingly difficult as the established protected areas are not well connected. Deforestation, linear infrastructure and poor connectivity across boundaries has resulted in elephants residing in small fragmented pockets and elevating the risk of human-elephant conflict. To protect Asian and African elephants, the elephant range countries must protect and restore ecological connectivity between elephant habitats and accelerate transboundary conservation through international cooperation.

IUCN SSC AsESG and IFAW have been working with the elephant range countries to promote transboundary cooperation and protection of long – range movement of the species. Also, one of the nine targets outlined in the Kathmandu Declaration signed by all Asian elephant range countries in 2022 is to “Develop bilateral transboundary agreements, protocols, or understandings in relevant countries to ease movement of Asian Elephants through appropriate corridors and transboundary protected areas”. The African Elephant Action Plan also highlights the need to establish fora for exchanging information between and among range states for better monitoring of transboundary movements of elephants and outlines the critical need for transboundary movement. Taking the way forward, the side event envisages bringing together the Asian and African range countries and experts to discuss ways to protect, restore and connect elephant habitats locally, regionally and continentally to facilitate unhindered elephant movement, increase genetic diversity and help in meeting the 30% conservation target.