BTEH’s statement on partners and funders

Bring The Elephant Home contributes to preventing the extinction of elephants by the preservation of wild elephants and the restoration, expansion, connection, and protection of habitat in collaboration with local partners. We foster strong and meaningful partnerships with communities, funders, NGOs, universities, and other relevant stakeholders who align with our vision. A united effort has advantages in the form of diverse perspectives on conservation strategies, of strengthening support for our projects and ensuring their long-term sustainability. Collaboration will help us to contribute significantly to the well-being of elephants, communities, and the environment. Our projects are strictly research-based and firmly integrated in the scientific conservation community, as well as in the local communities where our initiatives are situated.

Approved by the board on December 8, 2023

Organisations working with captive elephants

A special concern regarding partners and funders relates to organisations working with captive elephants. Following the IUCN/SSC African Elephant Specialist Group (AfESG), we do not endorse the removal of elephants from the wild for any captive use, as it is well-documented that elephants adapt poorly to captivity. We are committed to safeguarding wild elephants and preserving their natural habitats; moreover, we support the gradual discontinuation of keeping elephants in captivity solely for entertainment purposes. Consequently, we oppose the breeding of elephants in such facilities, recognizing that this does not contribute to the prevention of wild elephant extinction. Organisations working with captive elephants can however contribute to conservation through science, education, awareness building and fundraising . Therefore, we are open to establishing research connections or other forms of partnerships with captive elephant organisations; provided they adhere to the following criteria:

Captive elephant organisations should:

  • maintain ethical principles and management methods that fulfill the psychological and physical needs of elephants, as determined by the most recent findings of both captive and wild elephant research. At a minimum, we advocate for elephants living in multi-generational groups in spacious enclosures that mimic their natural habitat and facilitate natural behaviour. The organisations should minimise the selling and moving of elephants, and avoid disruption of social and familial connections. The facilities should ensure that elephants have the freedom to select social partners and have foraging options. Bring The Elephant Home advocates a strict observation-only policy and protected contact management for visitors of captive elephant venues. We firmly opposes the use of elephants for entertainment purposes. Consequently, we will not accept financial support from venues that permit and/or provide direct-contact activities, source elephants from the wild, or have no legal documentation specifying their origin.
  • contribute to public education and awareness about the importance of elephant conservation, demonstrating through their visitor engagement activities that the elephants’ presence is for conservation education and not for entertainment (no rides, visitor interactions, posing for photos, or elephant performances).
  • contribute to in situ elephant conservation. Potential partner venues must view it as their responsibility to make significant contributions to the conservation of wild elephants and their habitat, and to the welfare of human communities coexisting with elephants. This commitment should be robustly demonstrated through the allocation of substantial resources and concerted efforts towards these goals, ensuring that the extent of funds and resources corresponds adequately to the revenue generated through activities involving elephants. They also must actively contribute and conduct research on captive and/or wild elephants that aim to promote wild elephant conservation. Importantly, their research should prioritise methods that minimise invasive interventions on elephants, aligning with a sustainable and ethically responsible approach to wildlife conservation.

Other potential partner organisations and funders

  • Bring The Elephant Home will not accept financial support from companies engaged in activities that cause environmental harm, such as excessive natural resource extraction and wildlife exploitation. Similarly, we reject funding from organisations involved in social harm, including racism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of discrimination.
  • We actively seek financial support from organisations that support environmental conservation, human and non-human rights and the protection of in situ endangered species and their habitat. We will seek examples of the organisation’s practice regarding these goals, to ensure that they are actively contributing to conservation equitably and sustainably. In partnerships we prioritise shared values and aim to partner with organisations that share our vision and values that center around fostering an inclusive work environment, diversity, equality, compassion, and empowerment of people.
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