Fort Worth Zoo’s Remarkable Alliance with the International Elephant Foundation

Rangers stand in front of a thousands of snares at the Murchasion Falls National Park head quarters, Uganda.
Photo: Paul Hilton for Global Conservation 

Over 12 Tons of Deadly Traps Seized in Uganda in 2022

Zoos.com is thrilled to spotlight the Fort Worth Zoo, a global pioneer in wildlife conservation, for its enduring collaboration with the International Elephant Foundation (IEF). This partnership is making significant strides in the fight against poaching, particularly in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park, among other vital elephant conservation initiatives.

Founded in 1998 with the leadership of the Fort Worth Zoo, the IEF has been a beacon for elephant conservation worldwide. Michael Fouraker, the Zoo’s Executive Director, served as the inaugural president of IEF for nine years and continues to be an active member of its board, currently holding the position of board president.

A Year of Impactful Conservation

In the year 2022 alone, park rangers in Murchison Falls National Park have confiscated an astonishing 12 tons of leg-hold traps and wire snares. These cruel devices are not just a problem in Uganda; they are decimating wildlife populations across Africa and Asia. The traps are indiscriminate killers, posing a severe risk to all forms of wildlife, from the regal lions and elegant giraffes to the awe-inspiring elephants and robust buffalos.

The Struggle Captured

The evocative photo “Snare Mountain,” taken by renowned photojournalist Paul Hilton, offers a haunting glimpse into the ongoing war against poaching. The image reveals just a fraction of the snares collected, with estimates suggesting the actual number could be tenfold. The presence of these traps, each costing over $80, indicates the operation of well-funded poaching syndicates in the area.

United Against Poaching

The Fort Worth Zoo, in alliance with IEF, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), and the Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF), is bolstering anti-poaching measures. In Uganda, the Scouts Program, backed by all these organizations, is making a monumental difference. The program educates and employs young individuals previously involved in illegal activities, offering them a new direction in life. Their work ranges from removing snares to building ranger stations, and their dedication has been particularly noteworthy during the staff shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Commitment to Conservation

Mike Fouraker, the Executive Director of the Fort Worth Zoo and IEF board president, stated, “Our ongoing global conservation projects reflect our unwavering commitment to protecting wildlife and their natural habitats. By taking a stand against poaching, we are fulfilling our mission and contributing significantly to the conservation efforts at Murchison Falls National Park.”

Be Part of the Change

Join us and the Fort Worth Zoo in our shared mission to protect elephants and other endangered species. Your contribution can make a real and lasting difference. Let’s create a world where these magnificent creatures can flourish. To donate, visit Fort Worth Zoo’s Donation Page and become an essential part of this vital conservation initiative.

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