How can we help save Asian elephants?
Working with local partners, Fauna & Flora has been at the forefront of Asian elephant conservation since 1995, focusing on Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and, more recently, Myanmar. The Asian Elephant Conservation Programme has worked in partnership with governments, communities and local NGOs to increase understanding of the species’ needs, safeguard its habitat and reduce human-elephant conflict.
A successful elephant landscape conservation programme in Aceh – Indonesia’s westernmost, biologically rich province on the island of Sumatra – led to Fauna & Flora being invited by the Indonesian government to help put together a national elephant conservation strategy for the Sumatran elephant, a critically endangered subspecies of the Asian elephant.
In 2001, Fauna & Flora convened a historic bilateral conference between the governments of Vietnam and Cambodia – the first ever on elephant conservation. This resulted in an official transboundary cooperation agreement to protect one of Southeast Asia’s last remaining tracts of dry deciduous forest, a vital refuge for Asian elephants and other threatened species.
The Cambodian Elephant Conservation Group, established in 2005, aims to conserve the country’s Asian elephants by bringing together governmental and NGO wildlife managers and forest communities. In 2020, this coalition was formally strengthened with the launch of Cambodia’s first national Asian Elephant Conservation Action Plan, which was prepared with technical support from Fauna & Flora. If successful, the plan will not only safeguard the elephants themselves but also help restore the health of their forest habitat, benefiting hundreds of other species in the process.
Fauna & Flora was among the many organisations that called on the UK government to introduce a domestic ivory ban to help safeguard both Asian and African elephants from poaching. We need other countries – particularly in Southeast Asia – to follow the UK’s example. In the meantime, Fauna & Flora is continuing to support anti-poaching, conflict mitigation and awareness-raising activities in Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia.