African Elephants

The greatest challenge to both forest elephants and savannah elephants today is illegal killing to feed the ivory trade. Between 2007 and 2016 alone, some 100,000 were poached across the continent. In some parts of Africa, habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation are also threats, as is human­-elephant conflict.

Our Goal

A world where people and ecologically functioning populations of wild African elephants can co-exist and thrive across the elephants' range.

How will we get there?

We strive to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand. We do this by:

Why WCS?

28 percent

WCS sites and landscapes cover 28% of the African forest elephant population.

14 percent

WCS sites and landscapes cover 14% of the African savannah elephant population.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

On Our Strategies

Protect Elephants and Their Habitat

We support rangers and help government agencies better manage rangers' patrols using SMART (the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool). In addition, WCS helps protect elephants at key sites through the use of intelligence networks and aerial surveillance.

Build Capacity in Range States

WCS has helped or is currently helping develop and implement National Elephant Action Plans and Strategies with a number of countries, including Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Uganda.


In Action

For decades, WCS has helped to strengthen and secure elephant strongholds throughout the Congo Basin. In areas where WCS has supported ranger patrols with our SMART program, elephants are seven times more abundant when compared to unpatrolled forest areas. While elephants in many parts of Africa continue to be slaughtered by well-armed, criminal gangs of ivory poachers, elephant populations in the Republic of Congo are stable in all areas managed by WCS.

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12 countries

WCS works in 12 of the 37 African elephant range states.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Monitor Elephant Numbers

For African savannah elephants, WCS is a key partner in the Great Elephant Census, a Paul G. Allen Project, leading the counts in 11 countries, including Mozambique, Uganda, and South Sudan.

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