Space for Giants
Smiling Rocks Partners with Space for Giants
Space for Giants is an international conservation charity that protects Africa’s remaining natural ecosystems and the wildlife they contain while bringing major economic and social value to local communities and national governments. It is headquartered in Kenya, works in nine countries in Africa, and is registered as a charity in the UK and a 501c3 non-profit in the US.
2020 has brought us face to face with the stark reality that the well-being of humanity is tied to the well-being of the planet. The scientific consensus is that the emergence of COVID-19 was as a result of contact between a pangolin and the human population people in a wildlife market, which represents the latest and perhaps most devastating demonstration of the negative consequences of humanity’s unsustainable exploitation of wildlife. COVID-19 has killed over a million people around the world and has brought the global economy to its knees - we have all been affected by the virus.
Smiling Rocks is supporting Space for Giants’ Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade. Together with the Independent and the Evening Standard as partners to help stop the existing trade in illegal wild animals and illegal wild animal products for human consumption.
HUMAN ELEPHANT CONFLICT PROGRAM
Smiling Rocks is supporting Space For Giants' Fencing project in Uganda for building fences to protect communities and reduce the conflict between wildlife and humans.
With this, the results are:
- In Queen Elizabeth National Park HEC was a daily occurrence the fence appears to have reduced this pressure by around 90% resulting in improved crop harvests and more diversified crop planting. In so doing this has increased household incomes (as determined by increased harvests rather than by self-reporting). Furthermore, land values have increased which has increased household wealth.
- The area (Kyenzaza-Kagarama section bordering Kyambura Wildlife Reserve in Queen Elizabeth National park) has demonstrated that the fence has had a significant impact on the severity of elephant crop raiding activities. Prior to the fence over 75% of respondents experienced crop-raiding on a daily basis with an increasing trend in the last 12 months. Since the fence was completed 87% of respondents claimed to have had no conflict with elephants. This result is backed up by the fact that in the baseline survey 97% of respondents claimed to implement some type of mitigation measure but now that the fence is in place 88% report not using any mitigation measures to protect their crops.
- Reducing Poverty by the improvement of crop production - Over 90% of respondents claimed that their crop yields had increased to some degree. Crop cultivation is the main economic activity for 93% of the respondents that we did the survey on. Farmers are making savings as a result of the fence
- Attitude towards elephants - In the Baseline Survey conducted by Space for Giants with the communities, very diverse responses were recorded from appreciation for elephants to a desire to see them eliminated, often as a direct result of their crop-raiding behavior. In the Impact Survey overall 78% of respondents were positive about elephants. Since the fence just under 50% became more positive in their opinion while 44% changed their opinion from negative to positive.
An elephant stopped by the fences and moved away which reduces the conflict between the human and the wildlife - this was taken near Eastern boundary of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
Key campaign action points:
Action 1: Lobby Global Leaders to Improve International Policy
- Work with the global media, including ESI Media the owner of The Independent and London Evening Standard (with a global reach of 120 million readers), to create and publicise a steady drumbeat of news stories on 1) the relationship between the wildlife trade and the emergence of deadly diseases; 2) the global conservation crisis that is emerging (with a focus on Africa) as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic and; 3) the solutions for ending the illegal wildlife trade and protecting the key natural ecosystems that are so vital for the health of our planet /critical for the future of all life on earth, and which hold the wildlife that is most vulnerable to the illegal wildlife trade.
- Work with major global influencers to champion this cause and celebrity ambassadors from the worlds of film and fashion.
- Lobby governments in the lead up to major global events, including the United Nations General Assembly (20 of September 2020), G20 (21 November 2020, Saudia Arabia), The UN Convention on Biological Diversity Conference (17-30 May 2021, China) and the United Nations Climate Change Conference (1 November 2021, UK) to a) continue to build about Space for Giants previous work making achievable national commitments towards tightening international policy and legislation to make the commercial trade in wildlife far more difficult; b) scaling up funding for law enforcement in source and destination countries that will create a real deterrent to wildlife crime; c) scale up investment in the protection of the natural ecosystems that hold wildlife that is vulnerable to commercial exploitation, especially through commitments from corporations to offset their carbon emissions.
Action 2: Create a Deterrent for Wildlife Crime in key countries
- Recruit and employ world-class criminal trial barristers to act as wildlife justice advisors in key source and destination countries. These individuals will support national prosecution and law enforcement authorities to improve the criminal trial process both at policy and operational levels. This builds on the successful programme developed by Space for Giants that has contributed to conviction rates increasing from 27% to over 90% in Kenya.
- Support the wildlife rangers with salaries, training and equipment working in critically important the protected areas that are especially vulnerable to the downturn in financial security as a direct result of support caused by the Covid-19 crisis
Action 3: Protect Natural Ecosystems and make them Valuable
- Work with institutional partners to design and implement an emergency lifeline of financial support (grants, credit and equity) to the wildlife-based tourism industry to create resiliency and diversified income streams to ensure local communities can survive the Covid pandemic and mitigate the poverty and despair that so easily leads to poaching and instability. Reducing the risk of poaching, not only contributes to the protection of wild species and their habitats, but also reduces the dangerous exposure to wild animals that was the likely source of this pandemic.
- Support national governments to create an enabling environment for responsible investment into natural ecosystems including eco-tourism, carbon sequestration and the co-management of Protected Areas
- Work with global corporations to direct their payments for offsetting carbon emissions and environmental degradation into protecting and managing the protection and management of critical Protected Areas in Africa.
Smiling Rocks hopes to conserve and protect wildlife through the partnership with Space for Giants and their work. Wildlife are here to stay and their existence is ever important now. We need to take every step to protect life and landscape wildlife depend on in our planet.