Human-Elephant Conflict

Many forest edge communities we work with experience conflict with Critically Endangered Sumatran elephants. Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) have lost over 70% of their habitat and half their population in one generation, forcing them into smaller fragments of forest and into conflict and competition with humans. Buffer zones should enable greater protection of the conservation area within but around the Leuser Ecosystem there is often conflicting land use right up and into the forest. Elephants frequently crop-raid and are often poisoned or shot in retaliation. We work with the International Elephant Project's team of elephant conflict specialists, to assess our most affected communities and provide long term recommendations for the mitigation and ultimately prevention of further human-elephant conflict, keeping both elephants and people safe. Recently, the anti-poaching team have been successful in driving elephants back into the forest from community land. They also utilize and provide other non-lethal deterrents to discourage elephants into the community. More recently, the team have been involved in data collection to assist the Sumatran Elephant Project with a population census of elephants in North Sumatra. Very little is known about this species in this area and Sumatran Ranger Project regularly monitors a relic herd that we are happy to report is breeding.