With the overall population trend of Asian elephant having been in decline for centuries and the number remaining worldwide unknown, the future of these highly intelligent animals is uncertain. Elephants are social animals that form close bonds and family units with a strong hierarchy. Herds follow seasonal migration routes, with the eldest female leading the way from memory. They even exhibit behaviors of grief, learning, mimicry, selflessness, cooperation, language, memory, and compassion. Since 1986, the Asian elephant has been classified as Endangered, declining by at least 50% over the last 30 years.
The Cardamom Rainforest Landscape, located in the Indo-Burmese biodiversity hotspot, provides critical continuous forest cover for elephant populations. Unfortunately, most Asian elephant habitats and corridors, particularly in Southeast Asia, have been fragmented into forest islands. In these locations, elephants struggle to find enough food and water in the habitat that is left. As a result, more and more elephants seek food in villages surrounding these islands, thus causing human-elephant conflict. In addition, the lack of connectivity between elephant populations represents a considerable threat to reproduction and genetic sustainability of Asian elephant populations over the long term.
The Asian elephant population in the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape was under considerable pressure prior to Wildlife Alliance’s crisis intervention in 2002. As a result of our rigorous and effective ranger intervention, we were able to bring elephant poaching under control and prevent forest cover loss. We have seen zero elephants poached since 2006 and we are happy to witness the population rebounding.
But the threat is not gone. Without Wildlife Alliance’s intervention, poachers would return and the elephants’ rainforest home would disappear. The only way we can expend our elephant conservation is with your help. Hurry and make a tax-deductible gift today so that elephant populations can continue to recover in 2019.