Elephants & Other Species


Did you know that many endangered and threatened species share their homes with elephants? Pangolins are the most illegally traded animal in the world. Their scales and skins are used for clothes, medicines, wines and ceremonies, and their meat is considered a delicacy. Most of the 8 different kinds of pangolin live alongside elephants in either Asia and Africa as do endangered tigers at our project sites in Sumatra, Nepal, and India. Each of the 5 remaining living types of rhino share home range with elephants. And there are so many more endangered and threatened plants and animals that benefit from protecting elephants and the land where they live. In protecting these homes we are also protecting the other amazing, irreplaceable creatures that make our world so special and unique. Elephants are truly the umbrella under which so many others enjoy protection.

Successes Bring Challenges in Nepal

Nepal’s Bardia National Park and the land surrounding it is seeing increasing incidents of human-wildlife conflict. Crop losses, property damage, and human deaths are creating an atmosphere of anger towards wildlife, especially elephants and tigers, often leading to people killing elephants for revenge.

There are approximately 120 elephants and 87 tigers living in Bardia National Park, and their numbers are rising. This conservation success should be celebrated, but is also a source of fear for neighboring communities. Recently, two tigers were repeatedly involved in human deaths and livestock killings which greatly frightened nearby villages. This year, IEF is supporting the “Behavior Change Conservation Campaign: Human-Wildlife Coexistence” project of the National Trust for Nature Conservation and Division Forest Office. This project is helping to protect wild elephants by promoting humans and elephants living together peacefully by using education programs, cameras to monitor wild elephants and tigers, and Rapid Response Teams to address conflict when it happens. Project personnel have also been following these two “problem” tigers and were able to safely relocate them further away from human settlements. One tiger was found to have a badly injured paw and needed medical treatment. This injury was the likely explanation as to why he was entering the villages to eat since livestock is easy prey.

Saving two tigers from revenge killing is just the beginning. To help lessen the human-elephant and human-wildlife conflict in this region and create a culture of living together in peace, this project will also monitor “problem” elephants and tigers using cameras mounted on trees. Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) will then help encourage wildlife to move away from human settlements. In addition a conservation education campaign dedicated to changing the attitudes and behavior of the villagers in order to protect wildlife will begin within the local communities.

Protecting both animals and people is the only way we can build a culture of living peacefully with wildlife, and therefore preserve it for future generations. Through important elephant conservation action this project takes a many sided, multi species approach and is already seeing success!

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