Which elephant is that?

Thanks to our donors, the International Elephant Project supports the dedicated team at Sumatera Hijau Lestari (SHL) who are striving toward the long-term goal of revitalising the Sumatran elephant population in Langkat Regency, Sumatra.

A resident elephant recently photographed using a strategically placed camera trap

Focusing primarily on the buffer zone of the Gunung Leuser National Park, where human-elephant conflict is a threat, this project is dedicated to mitigating the risks faced by both elephants and humans through comprehensive intervention strategies.

Central to their efforts is the meticulous monitoring of elephant populations. Collaborating closely with the SHL team, our Elephant Project Manager spearheads an innovative elephant identification project by using a combination of direct observations and strategically placed camera traps. To ensure effectiveness, camera traps are deployed in areas exhibiting fresh signs of elephant activity and are regularly monitored to prevent theft or damage.

An SHL ranger installing a motion detection camera trap

Despite being in its early stages, the project has already yielded significant results. Ten elephants have been successfully identified, including four females, one adult bull, three dispersal bulls, and two younger bulls. Utilising unique identifiers such as ear shape, tail length, and distinctive markings, each elephant is carefully distinguished. Recently, an enchanting video captured by a camera trap showcased a close-up encounter with two elephants.

Looking ahead, our aim is to expand our database to encompass a significant portion of the adult elephant population in the region. This comprehensive dataset will enable us to monitor their movements closely, gaining crucial insights into population dynamics. From understanding sex ratios to tracking the movement of elephants between herds, this information equips us with the tools to implement effective management strategies and address emerging challenges proactively.

Ongoing donor support is pivotal in driving forward these critical conservation efforts to safeguard the future of Sumatra's elephants and the ecosystems they inhabit.

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