Location & dates Virtual 4 - 5 Nov 2020
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Pope

Frank Pope
Save the Elephants, Kenya

Extinction - the elephant's tale

Abstract

Elephants. They dominate the forests and savannahs where they still exist, and shape the environment around them. Storytellers & artists love them, and corporations take them for their mascots. But despite the importance and popularity of elephants, demand for their ivory has wiped them out from huge areas of their former range in Africa. Elephants have become emblems of the disappearing natural world.

But the charisma of elephants has helped to mobilise a global movement in their defence. Behind the advocacy, science has played a key role in fighting the ivory trade, and is now core to an even thornier long-term challenge: how can humans and elephants coexist in harmony in an increasingly crowded continent?

At the heart of the question is our relationship with the living planet that birthed us. Through research we are opening a window onto the world of elephants and their society, how they make decisions and how they see the landscape. This understanding is bringing solutions, but also something deeper and more fundamental: empathy.

From the pedestal on which we put them, elephants have a story to tell about people, nature, and the ongoing extinction crisis. It is a tale of horrific loss and of grinding compromises, but also one of harmony - and hope.

Biography

Frank Pope is the Chief Executive Officer for Save the Elephants, a Kenya-based organisation that combines research into elephants, their behaviour and their society with creating solutions to secure them a future.

With a BSc in Zoology from University of Edinburgh, Frank spent ten years working at sea before serving as the inaugural Ocean Correspondent for the Times of London to help raise awareness of the challenges facing the marine environment.

Frank joined Save the Elephants (STE) in 2012, as the ivory poaching crisis was peaking in Africa. Beyond working with STE’s Kenya team, he co-founded the Elephant Crisis Fund (a joint initiative between Save the Elephants & the Wildlife Conservation Network), which has since dispersed over $24 million to more than 84 different partner organizations across Africa and the world to conduct over 300 projects aimed at ending ivory poaching, trafficking and trade.

He has presented three documentaries for the BBC, and published two non-fiction books, Dragon Sea & 72 Hours.