Conservation Partners

About Our Partners

Tembo Preserve Foundation is proud to partner with a select team of organizations whose tireless work researching, conserving, and advocating for Africa’s wild elephants is truly inspirational. Their extensive knowledge of wild elephant social behavior will serve as a guide to providing the most dynamic, stimulating and naturalistic experience for Tembo elephants.

Big Life Foundation

In urgent response to the dramatic escalation in poaching across much of Africa, photographer Nick Brandt and conservationist Richard Bonham founded the Big Life Foundation in 2010.

Using innovative conservation strategies and collaborating closely with local communities, partner NGOs, national parks and government agencies, Big Life Foundation seeks to protect and sustain East Africa’s wild lands and wildlife, including one of the greatest populations of elephants left in the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro ecosystem in East Africa.

The first organization in the region to have coordinated anti-poaching teams operating on both sides of the Kenya-Tanzania border, Big Life recognizes that sustainable conservation can only be achieved through a community-based collaborative approach, which is at the heart of Big Life’s philosophy: Conservation supports the people and people support conservation.

Today, Big Life employs hundreds of local Maasai rangers, with 31 outposts and 15 anti-poaching patrol vehicles, and has established an informer network on both sides of the border protecting 2 million acres of wilderness. Big Life’s ultimate vision is to establish a successful holistic conservation model in Amboseli-Tsavo that can be replicated across the African continent.

 “We at Big Life thank the Oakland Zoo, Roger McNamee and Dr. Ann McNamee for forming the Tembo Preserve Foundation, a new model for elephants in captivity.

By providing the Tembo elephants with close to 5,000 acres to freely roam and socialize, the Tembo Preserve will not only benefit the Tembo elephants but, by raising funds for conservation and educating visitors about their extraordinary attributes, will benefit their endangered African wild counterparts.”

—Nick Brandt, Big Life Foundation President and Co-founder

For more information visit www.biglife.org.


Amboseli Trust for Elephants

The Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE) is a non-profit founded in 1972 by Dr. Cynthia Moss and Harvey Kroze, whose work is focused in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park and the surrounding ecosystem.

ATE’s research arm, the Amboseli Elephant Research Project, conducts what is now the longest running study of wild elephants ever undertaken. Their observations of the social organization, behavior, demography, communication, genetics, and cognition of the some 1,500 elephants living in the Park has profoundly altered the way we think about, conserve and manage elephant populations.

The AERP research has highlighted the ethical implications of dealing with sentient, long-lived, intelligent and socially complex animals and the project’s knowledge base provides powerful and authoritative support to elephant conservation and advocacy campaigns worldwide.

ATE also works to ensure the long-term survival of the Park’s elephants by addressing the ever pressing issue of human-elephant conflict. With the expansion of settlement, agriculture, and livestock numbers, encounters between people and elephants are increasing. The ATE field staff maintains daily contact with the local Maasai community to ensure that landowners embrace tolerance of the presence and passage of elephants on their land. ATE also coordinates with the Big Life Foundation and the Amboseli-Tsavo Game Scouts Association to employ Maasai rangers to patrol the ecosystem surrounding the Park on foot, reporting elephant presence and signs, injured elephants and conflicts, as well as signs of poaching and the bushmeat trade.

For more information visit www.elephanttrust.org.


Dr. Cynthia Moss

96 Elephants

In September 2013, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) launched the 96 Elephants Campaign, an effort focused on securing a U.S. moratorium on illegal ivory, bolstering protection of African elephants, and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis.

On average, 96 elephants are killed every day in Africa due largely to the demand of elephant ivory. In many places, little stands between elephants and sophisticated criminal networks that will stop at nothing for their valuable ivory tusks.

96 Elephants dovetails with the Clinton Global Initiative plan: “Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants,” and brings together world citizens, partners, thought leaders, and change makers to leverage collective influence to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand for ivory. The campaign engages the public through a series of actions including online petitions and letter writing campaigns enhanced through social media. Additionally, 96 Elephants bolsters elephant protection in the wild by increasing support for park guards, intelligence networks, and government operations in the last great protected areas for elephants throughout the Congo Basin and East Africa.

Currently, 96 Elephants has more than 175 partners including 125 zoos; Oakland Zoo among them. Through the campaign, more than 770,000 individual actions have taken place on behalf of elephants.

For more information visit www.96elephants.org.



Joyce Poole has studied the social behavior and communication of African elephants for four decades and has dedicated her life to their conservation and welfare. She began her work with elephants at the age of 19 in Amboseli National Park studying under mentor, and Director of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project, Cynthia Moss. Working under Richard Leakey from 1990-1994 she headed the Elephant Program of Kenya Wildlife Service and was responsible for elephant conservation and management throughout Kenya.

Since 2000, she has continued her elephant communication and conservation work with husband and colleague, Petter Granli. Together they founded ElephantVoices in 2002 with the mission to inspire wonder in the intelligence, complexity and voices of elephants, and to secure a kinder future for them through research and the sharing of knowledge. The organization heads two elephant field projects, a citizen science conservation project in Maasai Mara, Kenya and a comprehensive study of the elephants of Gorongosa, Mozambique.

In 2008, they initiated The Elephant Charter, a set of guiding Principles intended to promote scientifically sound and ethical management and care of all elephants, providing guidance to law and policy makers, enforcement agencies and the courts, organizations, institutions and international bodies, as well as to managers of wild and captive elephants. In 2013, the couple co-founded the Global Sanctuary for Elephants whose mission is to facilitate the well-being of captive elephants through the global development and support of progressive, expansive, socially dynamic and physically stimulating natural-habitat sanctuaries. Development of the first Sanctuary, located in the lush, undulating terrain of Brazil, is currently under development.

“Elephants belong in the wild. They have evolved over tens of millions of years to live in space stretching as far as the eye can see and beyond. Everything about elephants, their physique, social structure, foraging, reproductive behavior, communication and even their cognitive abilities, is adapted to moving through space on the order of landscapes. To meet the physical and psychological needs of elephants held captive we have long advocated for facilities to mimic these wild expanses. Tembo Preserve is leading the way by providing space for elephants on the order of square miles rather than square feet. We value our conservation partnership with Tembo Preserve in which the true nature of elephants is respected, our experience from the wild is appreciated and our work for elephants is supported.”

—Joyce Poole & Petter Granli, ElephantVoices

For more information visit www.elephantvoices.org.



Petter Granli and Joyce Poole

Utopia Scientific

Utopia Scientific is a non-profit organization with a primary mission to promote an awareness of the importance of science, public health and conservation through research, education and community development. For over 20 years, Utopia Scientific founders Caitlin O’Connell, PhD and Timothy Rodwell, MD, PhD, MPH have been conducting ongoing elephant behavioral and conservation research in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

Over the course of the field season from June to August every year, Utopia Scientific researchers monitor the social interactions of over 200 known bulls and approximately 15 different family groups. Utopia Scientific research has both basic and applied components with the goal of understanding elephant society and their communication strategies as well as learning new mechanisms to remotely monitor movements and mitigate potentially negative interactions with farmers.

“Male elephants are more difficult to house in captivity than females and many facilities within the U.S. are not set up to do so. A confounding factor is that most male elephants in captivity are housed in isolation of other elephants, thereby denying them of socialization.

Tembo Preserve provides a critical habitat for male elephants, not only in terms of space, but in terms of the ability to socialize, while the long term goal is to afford captive elephants, both male and female with social opportunities that reflect, as closely as possible, what they might experience in the wild.

I am thrilled to be a conservation partner and look forward to working together to provide the best experience possible for Tembo Preserve elephants, as well as facilitate opportunities to learn from and improve the captive elephant experience, informed by our research on wild elephant social behavior. Tembo’s support of our elephant conservation research at our long term study site at Mushara waterhole within Etosha National Park, Namibia, as well as our education outreach is vital to our ongoing efforts and very much appreciated.”

—Caitlin E. O’Connell-Rodwell, Ph.D., Co-Founder Utopia Scientific

For more information visit www.utopiascientific.org.


Caitlin E. O’Connell-Rodwell

Beneficiaries Program

Save the Elephants

Founded in 1993 by Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, CBE, Save the Elephants (STE) works to secure a future for elephants in a rapidly changing world. Leaders in elephant conservation, STE provides cutting-edge scientific insights into elephant behavior, intelligence, and long-distance movement and applies them to the long-term challenges of elephant conservation. The core of STE’s work focuses on northern Kenya in an area called Samburu. Combining GPS radio tracking, pioneered by the organisation, and world-leading scientific minds with the unrivalled experience and deep, intuitive knowledge of local people, STE is intimately acquainted with over 1000 individual elephants, their relationships and movement. Through this, STE’s Samburu elephant study has become one of the premier sites for educating policy makers, conservation scientists and the public.

STE's efforts in Samburu allows them to interpret what is happening to elephants across the continent. As a result STE was able to sound the first alarm on the elephant crisis that swept into East Africa in 2008, shining a spotlight on the gravity of the situation with the heart-stopping estimate that 100,000 elephants were killed across Africa for their ivory between 2010 and 2012. Factual insight of the situation is ammunition in the battle against the current surge in ivory poaching and as of October 2015 the Elephant Crisis Fund (founded in 2013 by STE and San Francisco based charity Wildlife Conservation Network) is supporting 52 projects with 37 of the most effective global partners to stop poaching, thwart traffickers and end demand for ivory.

For more information about Save the Elephants, please visit the website www.savetheelephants.org.


Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton


Tembo Preserve Foundation Beneficiaries Program

Due to their outstanding work on behalf of African elephants the Tembo Preserve Foundation supports the work of the following organizations through our Beneficiaries Program:

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was founded in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne Shledrick D.B.E. in honor of her late husband, David Sheldrick, famous naturalist who was the founding Warden of Tsavo East National Park.  DSWT was born from one family’s passion for Kenya and its wilderness and is today the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world, and one of the pioneering conservation organizations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa.

The DSWT supports conservations efforts inclusive of Community Outreach Programs, anti-poaching efforts, and the well-known, Orphans’ Project.  Community Outreach Programs build sustainable relationships with the local communities bordering Kenya’s National Parks and include: Desk and Sports Equipment donations to local schools; Wildlife Shows consisting of mobile cinema units to show wildlife and anti-poaching films; Field Trips to Tsavo Parks; Tree Nurseries that provide local peoples with native saplings; and Adopt-a-School programs.  In support of anti-poaching efforts, DSWT purchased fuel for anti-poaching ground patrols and surveillance aircraft in both Tsavo and on private land where a few rhino remain. The Orphans’ Project pioneered methods to hand-raise over 150 orphaned, infant elephant, and has successfully re-integrated many back into the wild herds of Tsavo.

For additional information about The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, please visit the website www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org.


March for Elephants

March for Elephants is a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting global awareness of the elephant crisis, advocating for cessation of poaching in all regions where elephants live, fiercely working to shut down the ivory trade, and raising the level of human consciousness to embrace the lives of elephants with reverence and humility. They uphold the belief that elephants are a nation unto themselves. Their lives reach beyond ours, and have meaning only they can comprehend.

March for Elephants strives to provide useful information and tools to enhance ownership and motivation for individuals who seek to carry out actions on behalf of elephants. For those who do, and for those who wish to learn about elephants, this is your community, an opportunity to find your herd. It is their fondest hope that you will join with them in their actions. March for Elephants need nothing less than an army of people participating in the fight for survival of our beloved elephants. It will require sacrifice and generosity if we are to save these incredible beings.

March for Elephants is a 501c3 nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers.

For additional information about March for Elephants please visit the website www.marchforelephants.org.


Tembo Preserve staff and volunteers on the march, San Francisco March for Elephants 2016

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