A released elephant will have little fear of people and will start to raid crops endangering its life as people retaliate with guns and traps.
Elephant conservation in Cambodia is a complicated issue. We don’t support the capture of wild elephants and the Bunong people who are native to this region of Cambodia don’t support the breeding of elephants. Therefore the current captive elephant population will probably be the last Mondulkiri has. The aim is to ensure that this last generation is able to live out its life with as much dignity as possible.
The wild population of elephants in Cambodia is hugely threatened by loss of habitat. The sanctuary protects an area of forest from destruction to ensure the conservation of the traditional habitat for the Bunong people, elephants and the huge variety of other creatures in the forest.
Recent surveys have put the wild elephant population in Seima Protected forest (within which the elephant sanctuary is located) in Mondulkiri at over 140, making it the largest in Cambodia and therefore one of the most important to protect.
The project uses 20% of the funds from volunteer donations as part of the volunteer placement fee to fund a Wild Elephant Protection Team. Their main tasks involve protecting the Seima Protected forest by preventing illegal activities such as illegal logging, hunting, trapping and land clearance.
The Seima Protected Forest is one of the most important areas for Asian Elephant conservation with a breeding population of over 140 head in 300,000 hectares of natural elephant habitat.