Within our lifetime one of the most iconic species on the planet may cease to exist. The tipping point is approaching fast.

This October Owen Wilson will bring together 25 of the world's top contemporary artists to power the work of Elephant Family and Space for Giants..



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Make Space

Ensuring the future of the elephant footprint...

The problem

The long-term survival of the Asian and the African elephant depends on mitigating conflict between man and wildlife, securing corridors for elephant migration, and working with local communities to create strategies for people and elephants to exist side by side.

Asia specific problem:
The Assam Corridor (or Kalapahar-Daigurung Corridor to give it its official title) is still relatively intact forest in northeast India. Of the approximately 1,700 elephants in the overall landscape, about 200 are thought to use it regularly throughout the year to eventually reach Kaziranga National Park. Along the way, they frequently feed on crops and sometimes damage property in the one village of 19 households that lies in the middle of the corridor – Ram Terrang – which was established in the name of the village head approximately 25 years ago. The potential growth and agricultural spread of this village threatens the long-term future of the corridor. Plans have been developed to secure the corridor through the voluntary resettlement of this community to an area outside the corridor.

The solution

Asia: Assam in India
Aim: To secure the Kalapahar-Daigurung Corridor within the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Landscape
Results: Work began to secure the corridor in 2013, in partnership with the Wildlife Trust of India. This will be a major undertaking for Elephant Family over the coming years, and will involve relocating the two villages, ensuring that those who currently live there benefit. The villagers are ready to move and are fully behind the project, as is the local council. As a first step, 15 acres of farmland have been purchased away from the corridor so that the villagers can grow their crops without the risk of them being eaten or trampled by elephants; they have already had a successful rice harvest.

Stop the Killing

Elephant numbers are dwindling due to human causes. They are being killed or removed from the wild at such a fast pace that they reproduce too slowly to replace their numbers.

It takes a long time to grow an elephant – only reaching sexual maturity around 20 years old, only having newborns every 3-4 years, and only giving birth after a 22 month pregnancy term. We need to stop the killing and the drain on the wild numbers before we've lost elephants completely.

They are being killed for their tusks for the illegal international ivory trade and being caught as babies to send into a captive life for our entertainment. In the past 15 years, the value of elephants has increased by more than fivefold. The current market value for a healthy baby elephant is more than USD 33 000.

The true scale of the trade is unknown, as are its indirect costs in security and political implications. What we do know is that it is a large contributing factor to Terrorism making this not just an issue for animal lovers but a security issue worldwide over.

Activity in the illegal ivory trade has more than doubled since 2007. Just one elephant tusk can sell for $66,139 per kilogram, more than the price of gold or platinum on the Chinese black market. All of this money finances the most horrific crimes. A prime example of this was the attack by terrorists on Westgate Mall in Nairobi. Income from illegal ivory trafficking is a substantial funding source for Al-Shabab, the group that claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Somalia-based wing of al Qaida, raises $600,000 a month from poaching to fund its activities. It has become a multibillion-dollar business, facilitated by the same sophisticated criminal networks that are dealing in drugs, taking hostages on the open seas, and financing illegal arms sales and terrorist groups.

Make Space

The long-term survival of Elephants depends on mitigating conflict between man and wildlife. Securing elephant corridors, which serve as elephant migration routes mean they can move within and between national parks and feeding grounds, whilst keeping out of harm's way and without being a menace to people.

When we leave enough space for elephants to serve a role as symbols of wild nature and wonder, in the process we also keep those same lands available for countless other species and services that those plants and animals provide to a healthy planet.

This in return protects the local villages and new strategies are being employed by the local communities to enable this. Elephant Family and Space for Giants are both helping to secure these corridors across Asia and Africa. Teaching and encouraging the locals to employ new techniques, such as cost-effective and natural deterrents, are protecting farms and cultivated lands, thus creating a harmony between man and the Elephants. These strategies however need to be employed in more areas across the continent and the world if Elephant numbers are to grow strong again.

Empower The People

Elephant Family and Space for Giants both believe that if conservation is to succeed and environmental degradation to be reversed, education is paramount. By communicating ideas on environmental issues, whether in the form of practical advice or demonstrating proven solutions, or through innovative curriculums in classrooms, much can be done at the local grass roots level to help reverse the loss of habitat, decrease the human-elephant conflict and stop poaching before it is too late.

It is THIS generations concerns which are worldwide and we need to act now and educate the next generation on how to keep this species from going extinct.

Educating locals on how to co-exist alongside elephants and disperse the myths of the medical benefits of ivory and animal trade as a commodity we can better educate a concerned generation.

Stop the Killing

The Ivory and Wildlife trade is the 4th most lucrative illegal industry after human trafficking, drugs and arms dealing bringing in an estimated $10-20 billion a year.

The problem

The Asian elephant is threatened both by poaching of males for ivory tusks and by the illegal capture of baby elephants for domestic use. The population of Asian elephants living in the wild has decreased to less than 35,000, with groups of elephants living in fragmented and isolated groups making it difficult to breed and causing complicating and devastating genetic issues in the remaining population. With over 30% of the remaining Asian elephants living in captivity, the future of the species is threatened and at the current rate, elephants will be extinct in the wild within our lifetime.

The solution

Elephant Family is fighting to STOP the systematic removal of baby elephants from their forest homes. In order to fuel the tourist industry in Thailand, baby elephants are being captured and subjected to a horrific 'domestication' process, before winding up at elephant camps where tourists pose for pictures with them, unaware of the elephant's tragic story. Right now our campaigns team is lobbying the Thai government to stop the illegal trade. Our campaign is already seeing amazing successes. But to get to where we need to, we urgently need to expose the full extent of the problem and how it is devastating wild populations. Only when we are armed with information on trade routes, capture hotspots, and the numbers of elephants crossing borders each year can we equip governments with the intelligence they need to enforce the law and stamp out corruption.

Empower The People

We have 5 years to do something before this irrevocable damage cannot be reversed.

The problem

In the next 5 years we need to educate and inform not only our current generation but the next generation of conservationists to be aware of what needs to be done in order to have any chance of keeping the elephant from extinction. This is THIS generations concerns which are worldwide and we need to act now and educate the next generation on how to keep this species from going extinct. By educating locals on how to co-exist alongside elephants and disperse the myths of the medical benefits of ivory and animal trade as a commodity we can better educate a concerned generation.

Elephant Family and Space for Giants both believe that if conservation is to succeed and environmental degradation to be reversed, education is paramount. By communicating ideas on environmental issues, whether in the form of practical advice or demonstrating proven solutions, or through innovative curriculums in classrooms, much can be done at the local grass roots level to help reverse the loss of habitat, decrease the human-elephant conflict and stop poaching before it is too late.

The solution

Elephant Family/Asia example model project:
Through Elephant Family's work in research, education and training, we are developing a better understanding of how people's beliefs, perceptions and experiences can influence conservation. We can then contribute to in-country conservation movements that are empowering local people with innovative solutions that will enable them to live side-by-side with elephants and reduce conflict. Opportunities are being sought and developed to encourage new thinking and merge ideas from relevant social and cultural disciplines with the more conventional approaches of ecology and conservation biology. In doing so, Elephant Family also looks to perform with even greater effect, and to develop a more sustainable solution for Asian elephant conservation in the longer term.

Example of this is:
In the Ulu Masen Landscape in Aceh Province, Sumatra, A conservation drone is a low-cost, unmanned aerial vehicle for surveying and mapping forests and biodiversity. Each flight can be programmed to follow a defined route of more than 50km for up to 50 minutes. This makes it possible to cover all prime elephant habitat in the lowlands and hills, increasing the surveillance and protection of this vitally important area. As well as monitoring forest cover, the drones will be able to pick up illegal logging inside the forest, and crop-feeding elephants outside. The project also has the potential to support emergency relief efforts, especially when flooding events destroy roads and isolate villages. This would help strengthen relationships with communities living near elephant forest habitat. However, the project is underway, but extensive training is required before the drones can be fully operational.

Make Space

Ensuring the future of the elephant footprint...

The problem

Eighty per cent of the continent's elephants range outside protected areas, over large tracts of land increasingly occupied by farmers and other land users. Human-wildlife conflict, in particular crop damage by elephants, can cause an immediate subsistence crisis, creating enormous resentment and anger among rural people. Elephants and other wildlife are injured and killed in retaliation and it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to implement conservation projects under these circumstances. Human-wildlife conflict is not easy to solve and requires large investments of time and resources to simply reduce it to levels that local people can tolerate. So the best thing we can do is prevent human-wildlife conflict from occurring in the first place. Sadly, in many places it is already too late.

The Solution

Space for Giants is addressing human-elephant conflict through several approaches. We invest in sound land-use planning and habitat protection that prevents human-elephant conflict from occurring in the first place. For example, we developed the first county-level conservation strategy in East Africa, the Laikipia County Wildlife Conservation Strategy, identifying key actions that would help to prevent the conservation landscape from becoming fragmented. We also invest in projects that prevent critical elephant habitat from being fragmented, such as the creation of the Loisaba Conservancy, East Africa's most significant conservation investment of 2014. Space for Giants, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy, acquired 56,000 acres of prime elephant habitat, thereby preventing its sub-division and associated human-elephant conflict. Space for Giants has more than 15 years of experience managing human-elephant conflict and we help to inform best practice globally, through direct projects, training and literature. Our interventions include simple farm-based deterrents that enable smallholder farmers to keep elephants out of their crops, to more sophisticated interventions such as electrified fences.

Examples of how money raised could be spent

Mt Kenya – Aberdare Corridor: The movement of elephants between the forested massifs of Mt Kenya and the Aberdares has long held the imagination of local conservationists. While movement between Kenya's two most important water towers would have been unimpeded 100 years ago, today, rapid population growth, land subdivision and economic development have almost severed the corridor. This doesn't stop elephants from trying to use it! Space for Giants and its partners are working to secure this corridor before it is lost. So far we have helped to identify the land parcels and associated ownership within the area of interest. With funding, we will negotiate with these landowners to establish what options are available to secure free movement of elephants and other wildlife across their lands.

Completion of the West Laikipia Fence: The West Laikipia Fence was built in 2012 to complete a 163km stretch of electrified fence that separated Laikipia's vast elephant range to the east and north from land used for smallholder cultivation to the south and west. However, with persistent fence-breaking by elephants and pastoralists illegally grazing within ranches and conservancies, the fence has failed along certain sections to prevent elephant movement and conflict has resulted. With funding, Space for Giants and local partners now aim to upgrade the fence to an improved design and introduce standard maintenance protocols as well as a comprehensive fence and elephant monitoring system. We will also be working to develop mutually beneficial grazing rights between ranches/conservancies and pastoralists; increase penalties for acts of fence vandalism; and develop a clear strategy for how best to deal with persistent fence breaking elephants (e.g. translocation to other areas).

Empower The People

We have 5 years to do something before this irrevocable damage cannot be reversed.

The problem

The human population is estimated to reach 10.5 billion by 2050. Much of this growth will occur in Africa. We currently use, either directly or indirectly, an estimated 40% of terrestrial primary production and our activities have disturbed more than three quarters of the habitable surface of the earth. Many of the last remaining intact natural ecosystems occur in Africa, providing critical habitat for elephants. It is these places that are facing massive change in the next few decades. Here, in these last wild places, if people do not value wildlife, then wildlife will have no future.

The solution

Space for Giants believes that conservation can only be effective through engaging and creating solutions with people who share landscapes with elephants. There are three approaches we use to give elephants a value. First, we support community-owned wildlife conservation areas, enabling local people to secure direct benefits by conserving wildlife on their lands - our local partners in Northern Kenya established 27 community owned conservancies, encompassing 32,000 km2, supporting 250,000 people. Second, we support conservation-compatible livelihoods. Space for Giants, together with our partners, is supporting a livestock-to-markets programme, providing a value added market for livestock that come from communities in North Kenya who look after their lands and people, with a proportion of the revenue generated going directly back to conservation. This is driving good rangeland management across 1.25 million acres. Additionally, together with our tourism partner Elawana, we are employing hundreds of neighbouring community members and providing direct community benefits in the form of education bursaries and primary healthcare. Third, we provide conservation education at several levels. We have a community outreach programme that uses interactive drama performances to explore issues of poaching, conservation and human-elephant conflict through entertainment and laughter. We engage local people in a relaxed setting to help them understand the value of elephants and to encourage them to actively participate in wildlife protection. We also provide training through formal courses, internships, "on the job" mentoring and formal scholarships, helping to create local conservation leaders amongst the next generation.

Example of how money raised could be spent

Nagum is an area of land in north-west Laikipia County in Kenya that forms a critical corridor for elephants between Mt Kenya and the Great Rift Valley. However it is competed over by pastoralists, leading to conflict and insecurity for both wildlife and people. As a consequence the area is increasingly a wildlife sink - a place where traversing animals are killed for meat or their parts. Here we are looking to create a new community conservancy, putting in place governance that will support people, livelihoods, wildlife and land.

We support the next generation of conservationists through scholarships, internships and mentoring. For example Tobias Ochieng had been actively involved in human-wildlife conflict in northern Kenya for a decade when we supported him to secure a full scholarship to go to Cambridge University where he gained an MPhil in Environment & Development and retuned as Project Manager for Space for Giants. He is now pursuing a PhD and plans to return to East Africa afterwards to share his skills and expertise. Over the next year Space for Giants aims to support children in families that have been seriously affected by human-elephant conflict to go to school (one primary and one secondary), one university scholarship and one Space for Giants intern.

Stop the Killing

The Ivory and Wildlife trade is the 4th most lucrative illegal industry after human trafficking, drugs and arms dealing bringing in an estimated $10-20 billion a year.

The problem

Driven by the unprecedented demand for illegal ivory in Asia, 100 elephants are killed every single day in Africa, fuelling war and terrorism across the continent. Forest elephants, far rarer than their cousins of the savannah, have been particularly badly affected, down by 75% in the last decade. Unbelievably, the thriving population of 10 million African elephants in the 1930s has been decimated to just 400,000 today, and the future of the species lies in the balance. Unless urgent action is taken, they will disappear from most of their range within the next 10 years and could be extinct within our lifetimes.

The solution

Space for Giants is working on the ground every day to protect elephants from poachers. We have created a highly trained Rapid Response Team of Kenyan Police Reservists (KPR), with access to aerial support, who respond to poaching threats and security incidents across Northern Kenya. Our networks of community scouts and cutting edge technology such as GPS tracking of elephants helps the team to identify potential threats and respond immediately. Space for Giants has also invested heavily in building the capacity of the judiciary in Kenya to take wildlife crimes seriously, resulting in new legislation that has the strictest penalties anywhere on the continent and now acts as a real deterrent to poachers. Our strategies are working – there has been a 74% decline in the illegal killing of elephants in the last year in Northern Kenya, compared to 2012.

Example of how money raised could be spent

Our Rapid Response Teams and support to the judiciary has ensured that elephants are safe in the areas where we work. We are now scaling up this frontline protection work to the most vulnerable elephant populations across Africa. To do this we have created the Giants Club, an exclusive forum of African leaders. They are providing the political will to enable appropriate frontline protection interventions to be put in place within their respective countries. We have locked in the best wildlife protection experts in the world to provide the training, mentorship and equipment that frontline rangers and judicial personnel need. It costs us on average $100 per annum per elephant to provide this support and our target is to provide effective protection to 40,000 African elephants by 2020.

The Presidents of Kenya, Gabon and Uganda have joined the club and we are in advanced discussions with the leaders of Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania and Sierra Leone and expect them to join the club in 2015. We are developing projects in each of these countries, with their leaders, and with your help can deliver the essential protection that is needed to ensure elephants are safe, forever.

TWO NGOS. ONE GOAL. ​ELEPHANTS EVERYWHERE. ELEPHANTS FOREVER.

Everyone wants to see NGOs work together and now they are: Elephant Family and Space for Giants have joined forces in a bid to raise more funds and more awareness than they could do on their own. Elephants exist in the wild on only two continents - Asia and Africa. In these vastly different landscapes Space for Giants, an innovative African wildlife conservation organisation, and Elephant Family, the leading Asian elephant NGO, are pursuing the same three goals: Stop the Killing. Make Space. Empower the People.

  • Stop the Killing
  • Make Space
  • Empower the People

Make Space

Ensuring the future of the elephant footprint.

Click for more info

Illegal Trade

The Ivory and Wildlife trade is the 4th most lucrative illegal industry after human trafficking, drugs and arms dealing bringing in an estimated $10-20 billion a year.

Click for more info

Empower The People

We have 5 years to do something before this irrevocable damage cannot be reversed.

Click for more info

Make Space

Ensuring the future of the elephant footprint.

Click for more info

Empower The People

We have 5 years to do something before this irrevocable damage cannot be reversed.

Click for more info

Stop the Killing

The Ivory and Wildlife trade is the 4th most lucrative illegal industry after human trafficking, drugs and arms dealing bringing in an estimated $10-20 billion a year.

Click for more info

the Elephants forever Auction

NYC the 27th of October 2015

To raise the funds critical in preserving natural habitats of the wild elephant as well as funding innovative anti-poaching initiatives we will be auctioning the art together with Owen Wilson on the 27th of October at Sothebys in NYC.

Elephants forever Exhibition

NYC the 22nd of October 2015

The Exhibition will be held in NYC on the 22nd October, showcasing one of a kind contemporary works by world-renowned artists. Cutting edge technology will create an interactive augmented reality, designed to enhance the viewing experience.

The following artists are contributing


  • Urs
    Fischer

  • Julian
    Opie

  • Tracey
    Emin

  • Fred
    Tomaselli

  • Walton
    Ford

  • Domingo
    Zapata

  • David
    Yarrow 

  • Albert
    Oehlen

  • Ernesto
    Neto

  • Petroc
    Sesti

  • Abdullah
    Qandeel

  • Santiago
    Montoya

  • Carl
    McCrow

  • Mr
    Brainwash

  • Marc
    Quinn

  • Y Z
    Kami

  • Ann
    Hamilton

  • Tom
    Sachs

  • Daniel
    Richter

  • Rob
    Pruitt
  • © 2015 Elephant Family - made by Most Studios - photo by Frank af Petersens