Turn human-elephant conflict in and around conservation areas into human-elephant co-existence by raising awareness, changing attitudes and effecting collaborative conservation action whilst sharing lessons learned and best practice with others also tackling conflict.
Western Forest Conservation Complex, Kanchanaburi, west Thailand
The largest land mammal in Asia, this intelligent, highly social animal lives in family groups of related females and their offspring, led by a dominant female. It can eat up to 150kg of food every day, and has a taste for crops like banana and sugarcane which can be problematic for farmers. This elephant can live up to 70 years, and it plays a crucial role in its forest ecosystem, helping to open up forest clearings and distribute seeds. It can provide water for other species by digging holes in dry riverbeds and may help create paths between forest patches which can act as firebreaks.
Habitat loss has been a primary factor in the decline of the Asian elephant, caused by human population growth. Logging and agriculture have left elephants increasingly isolated in habitat patches as ancient migratory routes have been cut off. As their feeding grounds disappear they are increasingly coming into conflict with local people, and retaliation killing of elephants by villagers may now be the main cause of death.
1. Understand human-elephant conflict (HEC) past, present and future around and inside the conservation areas through monitoring and surveys
2. Mitigate HEC (present, future) around the conservation areas by facilitating crop-protection and corridors and inside the conservation areas by improving protection
3. Reduce HEC (future) by facilitating Human-elephant coexistence at local level through awareness and training and at provincial/national levels through law and policy improvements
An Asian elephant is caught on camera
Belinda Stewart-Cox looking for elephant prints near a watering spot
Mapping signs of elephants with rangers
Discussing a HEC mitigation plan with villagers
Elephant and human conflict will continue to be an issue as Thailand's population grows
Minister Barry Gardiner and Belinda Stewart-Cox inspect elephant dung in a raided field