Wild elephant conservation in Thailand
In and around Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary, we work on improving the forests, and on cultivating green corridors, hence creating and sustaining a more suitable habitat. A more suitable habitat for elephants makes elephants want to stay in the protected areas, and will diminish the human-elephant conflict. The educational programs connected to this are essential to secure the future of elephants and their habitat. We work closely with local communities, so the villages get the resources they need to live in harmony with the wild elephants. Instead of the inconvenience the elephants caused in the past, they will now be a benefit. The villagers will benefit from our project by taking care of logistics and catering of the projects, homestay, growing seedlings and maintaining trees, construction jobs, selling local products, and everything we need locally to execute our projects. Only through a holistic approach we can mitigate human-elephant conflicts effectively. Besides reforestation, increasing water and mineral supply in the forests, and educational activities, we also support the rangers at the National Parks for protecting elephants. Thousands of people participate in our work; people we inspire to protect elephants and nature as well. These people include the rangers, villagers, local schools, international schools, partner organizations, companies, and all of the volunteers who help us every month with practical jobs.
In 2015, we worked with different volunteer groups in order to on improving the habitat of the wild elephants of Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary. Thanks to funding from Banrock Trust / Accolade Wines we were able to plant 8,000 trees, including six experimental plots to compare the success rate in different conditions.
Drought is a serious problem in Kanchanaburi and results in, causing a lack of drinking water for animals. In the dry season, wild elephants search for drinking water outside the sanctuary, resulting in the increase of increasing human-elephant conflicts. Check dams are an effective way to improve the watershed conditions inside the forest.
Thanks to the dedications of many volunteers, we could convert a sugarcane plantation back into a natural forest in July 2015. The plantation is located at the border of the protected area and is often destroyed by wild elephants. The abbot of a local temple convinced the owners to give the land back to nature and to create a buffer zone for wildlife. We hope that this initiative will be followed by many more land-owners and that so we can convert all the plantations along the border of Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary back to their natural state.
Wild elephant conservation on Borneo
On Borneo we work with local partners (Hutan, Mescot, Danau Girang Field Centre, and the Sabah Wildlife Department) for more living space for a rare subspecies of the Asian elephant: the endangered Borneo elephant. In areas where migration routes have been destroyed by logging or palm oil plantations, we are planting green corridors and restoring biodiversity. Since 2008 the research station Danau Girang Field Centre has been researching the demands of elephants on their environment.
Bring the Elephant Home helps to translate research data into action to prevent extinction. Besides increasing biodiversity and food supply for the elephants, the project is also aiming to improve local economies.
Read this paper for Miami University by Antoinette van de Water about this project: Creating corridors to enlarge elephant habitat.