Elephants – as few as 450,000 remain in the wild

Elephants are the world’s largest living land-based mammal and are recognised for their long trunks and ivory tusks. As herd animals, elephants are most often found in female-led groups and are hugely sensitive to the wellbeing of all their members. Elephants are currently found across Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia and South East Asia.

The single biggest threat to elephants is the illegal trade in ivory.

Every year, tens of thousands of elephants are slaughtered for their tusks, fuelled by an insatiable demand from consumer countries. In 2017, the Great African Elephant Census estimated that 144,000 elephants were killed across 15 African countries in only 6 years. More recent reports also highlight a disturbing increase in the trade in elephant skins directly threatening Asian Elephants.

Why are elephants endangered?


“Over 30,000 elephants are killed each year in Africa alone for their ivory. While legal domestic Ivory markets remain open they are fuelling a growing and devastating illegal trade which is threatening the future of the species and driving elephants ever closer to extinction. If we do not act now to close down all markets and strengthen law enforcement efforts around the world, we will witness the disappearance of one of the world most iconic, and sentient animals’ “
Georgina Lamb, DSWF Head of Programmes & Policy

DSWF Working to Protect Elephants

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) works at all levels of the illegal wildlife chain across source (countries of species natural origin), transit (countries through which a wildlife product is trafficked through) and demand countries (the ultimate destination for the consumptive use of a wildlife product) to protect elephants in the wild and to fight for their survival.

Our work ranges from engaging in the international policy arena to fight for the toughest legal protection for elephants to funding ground-based conservation projects to ensure elephants remain in their natural habitat.

Protecting elephants


Learn More About elephants

Native to Africa and Asia, Elephants are large mammals famous for their long trunks, their teeth which grow into tusks and their huge ears which they flap to keep cool. They live in herds which consist of 8-100 individuals, and are led by females. Elephants within herds are very closely bonded and raise their young together. 


How to Help elephants

Please help us protect elephants: