For over a decade, ElefantAsia has employed a pragmatic approach to elephant conservation, actively listening to mahouts, elephant owners and conservationists in order to better understand and appreciate the challenges of elephant conservation in Asia. Click on the picture to learn more.
ElefantAsia is a multi-sector conservation organisation:
• Policies and lobbying
• Population management
• Socio-economic alternatives
• Awareness raising
Elephants are special. They stand at the crossroads between natural and cultural heritage. They are both an endangered species and a cultural icon; their fate lies entwined in environmental, social, economic and political issues. As such, the ways to protect them are many, requiring knowledge that reaches far beyond mere species conservation issues.
Captive and wild elephants share the same genetics. They are the SAME animal. Elephants have not transformed in captivity. This makes the captive population an important reservoir for the species, especially as wild populations are being increasingly threatened, due mainly to deforestation and poaching. This captive gene pool must be kept healthy and must reproduce, thus creating a need for our welfare, veterinary care and breeding programmes.
Elephants in captivity belong to private owners. It is therefore vital to maintain good relationships with the individuals or organisations that possess captive elephants. Supporting mahout and elephant owners community, helping them to find alternatives forms of employment for their elephants, accompanying them into new vocations such as ecotourism, helping them to initiate a reconversion from the logging industry into other less dangerous and more humane activities forms an integral part of ElefantAsia's work.
Teaching the youth about the importance of biodiversity protection and wildlife habitat conservation is also of major importance. The youth we meet and teach today will grow to be the next generation responsible for the protection of Asia's elephants. ElefantAsia runs several awareness raising and media campaigns in Laos and beyond to inform the public, and the youth in particular, about the benefits of species and habitat conservation.
Community-based participation in elephant conservation efforts can also have positive influence on policy making. Using a bottom-up approach, ElefantAsia pushes for welfare policies at district, provincial and national levels that will act to safeguard the health and wellbeing of elephants in captivity.
Wild elephants are not forgotten either. ElefantAsia undertakes anti-poaching campaigns and organises workshops at national and regional levels to address human-elephant conflict issues.
Finally, ElefantAsia always uses the existing respect local communities have for elephants and the association 'cultural' reverence people throughout Asia have for the species to undertake special cultural projects, bringing the elephant and its mahout back to prominence.