Overview and Vision
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) envisions a world where the world’s most threatened species, including elephants, rhinos, orangutans, and beluga whales, are protected, recovered, and thriving throughout their natural ranges. Since its founding in 1984, EIA has been dedicated to protecting the world’s wildlife. We pioneered the use of undercover investigations to expose corrupt and illegal activities and create lasting, systemic change for some of the world’s most iconic and endangered species. We use information gathered from our investigative work together with scientific research and trade analytics to advance policies and actions to protect threatened and endangered species. EIA’s Wildlife and Ocean Team works with partners and allies on the ground to stop the illegal and unsustainable killing of, and trade in, elephants and rhinos, and to instigate meaningful protections for marine species like beluga whales and orangutans and their habitat.
EIA’s ocean campaign work focuses on securing protections for beluga whales across their range, with a special focus on Alaska’s critically endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales. Cook Inlet (CI) beluga whales are in peril and remain at continued risk of extinction within our lifetime. EIA proactively engages federal elected officials and regulators on implementing stronger protection measures to reduce cumulative threats and promote population recovery. EIA collaborates with partners on research and advocacy to highlight the plight of CI beluga whales. EIA is also pursuing new global policies to reduce underwater noise from commercial shipping. Underwater noise poses a serious threat to marine life, including for the Arctic’s beluga whales. Currently, commercial shipping noise is almost entirely unregulated and is growing at an alarming rate and EIA is working to advocate for the adoption of meaningful noise reduction policies within the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
EIA has been at the forefront of the global battle to stop the poaching of elephants and trade in ivory for more than three decades. Africa’s elephants are once again in the midst of a global poaching crisis with thousands of elephants being killed annually, fueled by the global demand for ivory. EIA strives to eliminate illegal ivory trade and increase enforcement to protect elephants, both in elephant range states and ivory consuming countries. While the international trade in ivory is banned and many countries have closed their domestic ivory markets to protect elephants from the trade, Japan’s domestic ivory market remains open for business. Japan’s pro-ivory trade position and legal market pose a significant threat to the efforts of the international community to eliminate demand for and trade in ivory. To permanently and meaningfully protect elephants from the threat of trade, EIA campaigns for the closure of Japan’s market, including within the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). EIA is also pursuing new opportunities to expand our elephant campaign portfolio to stop poaching, end illegal trade, and ensure a lasting future for African elephants.
Rhinos are being hunted for their horns in a poaching crisis that has lasted nearly two decades. Rhinos will continue to be poached as long as the demand for their horns continues and organized criminal networks remain able to smuggle rhino horns across oceans and national borders to consumers. Inadequate enforcement in range, transit, and consumer countries, often combined with entrenched corruption, continues to undermine global efforts to safeguard rhinos in Africa and Asia. EIA campaigns to uphold the international rhino horn trade ban within CITES and for countries, like South Africa, Botswana, China, and Vietnam, to implement and enforce laws to dismantle the organized criminal networks controlling transnational rhino horn trafficking. EIA is pursuing new opportunities for on-the-ground investigative work related to the illegal rhino horn trade.
Orangutan populations are plummeting due to the destruction of their habitat across Borneo and Sumatra to make way for monoculture agriculture and timber plantations, logging, mining, infrastructure, and hydroelectric power projects. Closely linked to habitat destruction, the illegal killing of orangutans is also a key driver of orangutan population decline. Fire-setting to clear land for agricultural production often results in out-of-control wildfires that burn in and around orangutan habitat that directly and indirectly cause orangutan deaths. EIA’s orangutan campaign goal is to secure the protection and recovery of orangutans and their habitat in Indonesia. EIA campaigns to persuade the Government of Indonesia to protect all remaining orangutans and their habitat through legislative changes and improved enforcement, and to support and work with local partners in Indonesia, like the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program. EIA aims to bolster on-the-ground programs that safeguard existing protected areas where orangutans are found, establish new protected areas in orangutan habitat, and improve enforcement of orangutan-related crimes. EIA is actively searching for the right candidate to lead the orangutan campaign and refine and execute a strategic path to protect orangutans from habitat loss, illegal killing, and wildfires, including by pursuing collective advocacy efforts with identified NGO partners to influence policy makers in the United States regarding orangutan conservation and U.S.-Indonesia relationships.