Mali Elephant Project

The Mali Elephant Project is supporting government and empowering local people to stand up to international poaching networks and protect one of the last of just two remaining desert elephant herds. 

The MEP approach to anti-poaching:

  • Create a government anti-poaching unit, trained in a doctrine adapted to the conditions of insecurity, which thwarts the techniques used by poachers and traffickers and supports local people.
  • This is particularly effective when balanced with an approach that provides local benefits from elephant conservation and engages people in the conservation effort. READ MORE


Community benefit – here’s how it works:

  • The Mali Elephant Project (MEP) empowers local people to reverse habitat degradation by uniting multiple ethnic groups to jointly manage the land for the benefit of people and elephants.
  • Through the facilitation of an Elder Council, local people set priorities for land use that encourages the long-term presence of elephants.
  • Patrols of young men provide oversight of the land and watch over the elephants.
  • The MEP provides training in resource management (e.g. building fire-breaks, book-keeping, harvesting and marketing wild products sustainably) where necessary to ensure that people have the skills for sustainable resource management.
  • The MEP works with the national government in Bamako to fight against poaching and ensure the safety of elephants.
  • The MEP relies on the compassion of the international community to create a desert environment safe for people and elephants in Mali.


Without the Mali Elephant Project, the elephants of Mali might already be locally extinct. Join an international team that is working to ensure the future of our planet includes this rare and magnificent herd.


Donate to the Mali Elephant Project

Why the Mali Elephant Project is unique:

  • The Mali Elephant Project is led by Dr. Susan Canney, an Oxford zoologist with decades of experience working at the nexus of international development and conservation.
  • All of our field staff is from Mali. Nomba Ganame, our field manager, hails from the Dogon tribe in the elephant range, and is a 2016 Disney Conservation hero of the year!
  • The Mali elephant range is the longest of any elephant migration route, encompassing 8 million rugged acres, a region almost the size of Switzerland! This means more than 50 villages in the area must work together to help protect this rare and magnificent herd.


Where to find more about the Mali Elephant Project:

Did you know?

The MEP is an initiative of the WILD Foundation and the International Conservation Fund of Canada. It is a Priority Project of, and receives support from, Wilderness Foundation Global, as its ForeverWild Elephant program. Our partners at Chengeta Wildlife and Action Against Poaching provide on-the-ground anti-poaching support for our field rangers.


Dr. Susan Canney, Project Leader: susan.canney (at)