Zambezi Elephant Fund (ZEF) is the sole beneficiary of this year’s annual Saving the Elephants Run/Walk, which is taking part in Central Park, New York on 17th November. Just three years ago, John Stevens, a renowned safari guide and his wife, Nicci, formed the Zambezi Elephant Fund with a group of like-minded friends to help put an end to elephant poaching in the Zambezi Valley of Zimbabwe.

Here, in this spectacular and truly wild part of the country, is Mana Pools, a World Heritage Site and part of the longest contiguous wilderness area in Southern Africa.

“All of its occupants are global treasures and deserve centre stage in the combination of conservation efforts around the world. We simply cannot stand by and watch whilst the very existence of these gentle giants that have roamed the face of Africa for many years is threatened.” John Stevens

Though the country is home to one of Africa’s remaining elephant strongholds, with the second largest population after Botswana, Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley has lost 40% of its elephant population in the last 15 years. But since its inception in 2015, the Zambezi Elephant Fund has helped to resource impactful organisations working in support of Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) and is successfully containing the crisis.

An elephant feeding at Mana Pools (pic by John Stevens Safaris)

This collaborative effort between the private sector and ZimParks is a unique conservation model, built on relationships, trust and a common desire to protect the world’s natural heritage for future generations. It has turned a crisis into an exercise of containment – one of the few success stories for African elephants.

“By registering for this year’s event or by becoming a fundraiser or donor, you can show your support for the protection of these majestic creatures.”

John Stevens will be joined by his family, some ZEF team members and over 400 other participants (and still counting) in Central Park at the 10-kilometre walk/run event.

“You can run, jog or walk your way around beautiful Central Park, as we unite together to help keep the hope for Zimbabwe’s elephants alive. Those who raise the most funds are in the running for some fantastic safari prizes, too!”

For those who cannot make it to New York, the Zambezi Elephant Fund is holding a similar event in unity with Central Park – Zimbabweans will be marching for elephants at Harare’s Mukuvisi Woodlands on the same day at a fun and relaxed event covering 3, 5 or 8-kilometre routes in beautiful bush surrounds.

Throughout Africa, elephant populations are being decimated at an alarming rate and fundraising activities such as these can play a huge role in the protection of Africa’s elephants and their habitats.

With its implementing partners, ZEF’s activities and achievements include anti-poaching ranger training and deployments, aerial surveillance and monitoring, support for a community-based reward system focused on illegal wildlife crime, technology and radio systems for anti-poaching operations, the construction of a well equipped, strategically located, anti-poaching rapid response base and the development of rangers’ recreation facilities.

Funds raised in Central Park will go directly towards on the ground conservation activities that help to keep the hope alive for Zimbabwe’s elephants alive.

Find out more about ZEF’s projects.