Amboseli National Park in Southern Kenya is home to a little over 1500 African elephants. These elephants have been studiously observed, catalogued, and protected by the Amboseli Elephant Research Project (AERP) when internationally renowned researcher Cynthia Moss founded the project in 1972. Thus began what was to become the longest running African elephant field research project in the world. For the last four decades, Cynthia and her research assistants have identified and named every elephant in the park, following and recording each individual's social behavior, reproductive history, feeding habits, and communication with the herd. Because AERP is the longest-running elephant study in history, the base of information collected in their fieldwork represents a truly unique resource, valued by researchers and institutions around the world. In the absence of poaching and culling, the Amboseli elephant population has been increasing slowly since the late 1970s.
The Ivory Trade
Between 1973 and 1989, 85% of Kenya's elephants were poached for ivory. Ensuring the survival of the elephant in today's Africa is an increasingly complex problem. The ivory trade, both legal and illegal, has taken a serious toll. The ivory trade poses the most catastrophic threat to the African elephant.
The combination of growing human populations and resulting loss of wildlife habitat has exacerbated wildlife-human conflict, creating yet another threat to the future of the elephant. In 1979, there were estimated to be 1.3 million elephants in Africa; ten years later, there were only about 600,000. In Kenya, the elephant population plummeted from 130,000 in 1973 to less than 20,000 in 1989, a loss of 85%
Realistic solutions to the problems facing Africa's elephants can be developed only with the help of comprehensive long-term research studies. Studies in Amboseli have provided unique and critical information on elephant birth rates, death rates, ranging patterns and nutritional needs, illuminated by analyses of their underlying determining factors.
Help Eliminate the Ivory Trade
By not buying ivory products the trade demand for ivory will cease to exist, thus eliminating poaching of African elephants.
Outreach and Education
Get the word out about the plight of the African elephant and inspire a sense of pride in preserving this amazing species. Educate the public about the tragedy the purchase of ivory products causes. You can also spread the word by blogging, sharing links to the Amboseli Elephant Trust on Facebook and twitter and attending our annual fundraiser in May.
Through our Amboseli Trust for Elephants and public education of the Amboseli project, our support of the AERP helps to fund much-needed items like repairs to research vehicles, film, computers, and the salaries of the research assistants in Amboseli National Park.