Elephant Response Units (ERUs) (aka CRUs) in Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra
International Elephant Foundation, Indonesia
The communities surrounding Way Kambas National Park in south Sumatra suffer from a high level of human-elephant conflict. Subsistence farmers will often wake to find their entire fields destroyed by elephants who have ventured out of the protected habitats in search of food. The ERU teams in Tegal Yoso, Margahayu, Bungur, and Brajo Harjosari patrol hot spots and vital border areas to herd wild elephant populations away from crop fields. ERU teams are composed of forest rangers, mahouts, and elephants from the Indonesian government’s elephant centers who are trained for forest patrol. Together they prevent HEC, monitor wildlife activity, address and stop forest crime, and protect valuable habitat for endangered species including Asian elephants, Sumatran tigers, Sumatran rhino, tapir and pangolin. The elephant team members serve as ambassadors for their species during community outreach, inspiring the people to have a vested interest in elephant survival and conservation. CRU teams also work with affected communities to facilitate community watch programs, encouraging the community to take an active role in conservation and their own protection.