The issue

Wild elephants – and especially African elephants – are in urgent danger! For example, the Great Elephant Census of 2016 concluded that one third of African elephants were wiped out within seven years. The biggest threats to elephants are:

Around 30,000 elephants are slaughtered in Africa for their ivory – every year. Poaching has reached a level of intensity unseen for 40 years.

The loss of their habitat
Humans continue to ruthlessly encroach on untouched nature without creating protected areas for wild animals.

The trade in live elephants – especially baby elephants – for zoos and circuses around the world
Since 2012, more than 80 elephants have been captured in Hwange, Zimbabwe’s largest national park, and sold by the government to zoos around the world, including China. For one, the conditions under which elephants are captured and transported are cruel, but also their natural needs cannot be met in any way in zoos and circuses.

If we do nothing to counter these threats to the gentle giants, African elephants could be completely extinct in the wild in less than ten years!

Our project

For over 40 years, Fondation Franz Weber (FFW) has been fighting on the front line to protect the African elephant and ensure its survival. This can only be achieved by implementing a complete trade ban on ivory. Since 1989, FFW has held observer status at the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In addition, the team of experts at FFW supports the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), which unites 30 African member states with the goal of achieving a healthy, viable elephant population without threats from the ivory trade.

With the project “EleWatch”, Fondation Franz Weber is working on an incentive programme for the African “elephant states” to increase the value of live elephants through tourism. The aim is to show that a live elephant is worth far more, year after year, than the one-off proceeds from the ivory sale of a dead elephant, which is taken out of the country anyway by poachers and traders.

Fondation Franz Weber is working to bring this despicable issue to public attention and to vigorously rebut the excusatory claims of those responsible. Our criticism is directed not only at those who capture wild elephants, but also the zoos and circuses that act as buyers. Fortunately, public opinion has changed in the light of scientific knowledge over the last three decades. Today, it is generally understood that animals – especially elephants – are sentient beings and suffer deeply in captivity.

With the project “ELE“, Fondation Franz Weber is vehemently committed to relocating elephants kept in zoos or circuses to protected areas in order to finally guarantee them a dignified life.

Our goals

  • Global trade ban on ivory
  • Comprehensive international protection of all wild elephants
  • Ban on the capture and trade of live elephants
  • Ban on wild animals in circuses


Facts and Figures


0 to 30000 elephants
get killed in Africa - every year!
0 per cent
of elephant populations have declined between 2007 and 2014
0 years
of FFW's commitment to protect elephants
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