In Malawi in southeastern Africa, the association “Rettet die Elefanten Afrikas e.V.” (Save the Elephants of Africa) is committed to the protection of a forest area with the support of the animal protection foundation Wolfgang Bösche.
About the association Rettet die Elefanten Afrikas e.V. (R.E.A. e.V.)
When ivory hunting reached its peak in the 1980s, the now deceased Hamburg publisher and animal rights activist Hans-Helmut Röhring founded the association “Rettet die Elefanten Afrikas e.V.” (Save the African Elephants) in 1989 as the first and only species protection organization in Germany dedicated exclusively to the protection of the African elephant.
Immediately after its foundation, the association received spontaneous support (donations, memberships and sponsorships) from well-known celebrities such as Johannes Mario Simmel, Tomi Ungerer, Judy Winter and Will Quadflieg.
In addition to membership and sponsorship fees, the association is financed by donations in cash and in kind.
Aims of the association
- The donations are used to fund elephant conservation projects and anti-poaching campaigns.
- Intensive educational work informs about the African elephant and the problem of its existential threat.
- With the R.E.A. e.V. campaign “My godchild is called Jumbo” a project of Daphne Sheldrick in Kenya (rearing and reintroduction of elephant orphans) is supported and
- the call for a permanent, worldwide elephant boycott is strongly supported.
Die Jagd nach dem „Weissen Gold“
Although the international ivory trade has been banned in most countries since 2001 under the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, elephants continue to be poached for subsequent processing into jewelry, piano keys, etc., primarily in Japan, the Middle East, the United States and Europe.
According to a 2002 census study, at least 400,000 elephants remain on the African contingent. Not enough, according to elephant researcher Joyce Poole, who spent years studying elephant reproductive behavior.
There are good reasons for this: Elephants reproduce very slowly; a cow gives birth to a calf only every 4 to 5 years.
In addition, elephant cows do not accept all sexually mature bulls as mating partners, but only those that are at least 20 to 25 years old. And it is precisely these bulls that are increasingly shot, as they bear the largest tusks due to their age.
On the other hand, due to the shooting of elephant cows, many of the youngest members of the herd are also condemned to death: Baby elephants under the age of 2 cannot survive without their mothers.
An ivory boycott, which only curbs poaching in the short term, is therefore of no use.
The forest protection project in Dezda-Salima (Malawi)
Poaching in Malawi is unfortunately still part of the daily routine.
The project “Dezda-Salima Forest Reserve” is about the protection of a forest area and therefore also the protection of the elephants and other animal species living there in Malawi.
This area borders south-east on the forest area “Thuma Forest Reserve”, which is already protected by the Wildlife Action Group (WAG) and financed by R.E.A. e.V. as a species protection organization.
WAG is a non-governmental, non-profit organization in Malawi since 1994.
The main tasks of this organization are the protection of the Malawian flora and fauna and the animals living there in cooperation with the surrounding population.
WAG supports the government of Malawi in the protection of national parks, wildlife and tree stands.
However, the size of the Thuma forest area alone is not sufficient to accommodate the larger number of elephants living there, so it is necessary to additionally include the Dedza area.
After merging, both areas cover a habitat of about 600 km².
Thus, a population of about 200 to 250 elephants can be secured.
The tasks for the implementation of the Dedza project, which will be realized in several successive steps, include
- the establishment of a permanent presence of WAG in Dedza
- the reinforcement of the area control by 4 scouts and 2 workers
- equipping the new scouts with uniforms and other necessary equipment
- providing WAG with ongoing financial resources for the vehicle fleet,
- and organizing joint patrols between WAG scouts and armed government rangers.
REAeV founder Hans-Helmut Röhring (1939-2004, r.) with elephant experts Elke Reif and Peter Möller with rangers in Kidepo Valley National Park / Uganda
How the Animal Protection Foundation helps Wolfgang Bösche
During the preparatory phase, a suitable site has already been found for the construction of a new base camp from which all activities will be managed.
The costs for this were completely taken over by the animal protection foundation.
The homepage of the association “Rettet die Elefanten Afrikas e.V. (www.reaev.de) will report continuously about the Dezda-Sailma project, which is managed by Mr. Albert Schenk (project manager on site), who also works for the WAG and administers the funds.
Photos: Save die Elefphant e. V.