Conservation Influencers

Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund


The Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund (JTEF) has been active since 2009. Its core mission is to protect tigers, elephants and Iriomote cats, a critically endangered subspecies of Asia’s leopard cat. Its programmes are financed by three separate funds which existed before JTEF did: one fund for each of the three species it exists to protect.

The work of JTEF is premised on three main considerations: preservation of habitats from human threats; education that encourages coexistence between people and wildlife; and awareness and policy recommendations designed to minimize harm to nature.

Outside of Japan, JTEF manages conservation activities that protect wild tigers and elephants in their natural habitats. Inside Japan, besides protecting Iriomote cats, JTEF plays a major role in supporting Western-based NGOs, not least the Environmental Investigation Agency, United States (EIA), in their effort to quash demand for wildlife products. 

For example, JTEF launched a petition on to pressurize Japan to close their domestic ivory market, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (now scheduled for July 2021). JTEF has also fully endorsed and become involved in campaigns orchestrated by US-based animal rights NGOs designed to force Tokyo’s Governor Yuriko Koike to close ivory markets: see ‘Tokyo urged to resurrect ivory trade assessment’ and ‘One Year Out from 2020 Tokyo, NGOs Appeal to Tokyo Governor to End Ivory Trade’. And before CITES’ CoP-17, JTEF published a 192-page report titled ‘Why Should the Japanese Domestic Ivory Market Be Closed?’. 


Masayuki Sakamoto, Executive Director. Kumi Togawa, Chairperson


There’s a four-person-strong Board.



About the directory

Conservation Influencers is a searchable directory of the animal activist, environmental and ecological lobby. It examines the history, mission, methodology and reputation of NGOs to assess their impact on the global conservation cause.


Franz Weber Foundation

From 1990 until 2015, Franz Weber Foundation (FFW) managed the Fazao-Malfakassa National Park in Togo, which was, according to an in-depth investigation by Duke University, ‘established by forcing the local communities off their land and without taking into consideration their point of view’. That same study cited convincing evidence from reports published in 1990, confirming that competition for land use was already ‘creating conflict between the local communities and park managers’. In 2015 Togo refused to renew FFW’s contract because, the report says, ‘local communities were still excluded from the management of the natural resources of their land’ and FFW had ‘failed to fulfil its contract’. Franz Weber Foundation plays a major role within CITES because it funds and manages from Switzerland the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), which represents 32 African range states, some of which have barely any elephants and others none at all. Contrary to the wishes of the range states in Southern Africa, which manage most of the world’s wild elephant populations, the AEC at CITES’ CoPs repeatedly tables proposals to put all of the world’s elephants in appendix I. And the AEC uses its voting power to keep in place prohibitions on ivory sales and all other trade in elephant-related derivatives, including skins and hair, which Southern African nations wish to legalise.