Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment (E.L.I.E.) is a registered local non-government organization based in Mondulkiri, Cambodia. ELIE’s aim is to improve the health and welfare of the captive elephants in Mondulkiri Province, work to conserve the wild elephants natural habitat and to support the local people who work with these magnificent creatures.
ELIE was founded in 2006 and started by providing veterinarian care and mahout-orientated education to the families and communities that owned captive elephants throughout Mondulkiri province. In 2007, the Elephant Valley Project was launched as an elephant sanctuary developed to create a home for injured and overworked elephants and is now ELIE’s centrepiece for elephant conservation, which is located within Putrom’s community land. ELIE is unique in terms of its primary source of funding, which comes directly from donations made by local and international visitors to the EVP. Since 2006 the NGO has evolved and grown, with the development of the EVP as a tourist attraction, providing a sustainable financing mechanism for funding all ELIE programs.
ELIE’s office is based in the town of Sen Monorom and located next to the lake on the north-west side of town.
To improve the captive elephant’s health and welfare situation by the development of an elephant sanctuary while providing province-wide veterinary care and associated social support programs for the Bunong people.
- To improve the health and welfare conditions of the captive elephant population of Mondulkiri
- To develop a sanctuary for working elephants to rest and retire to in Mondulkiri Province
- To conserve the wild elephants natural habitat
- To provide employment and job based training to the Bunong community and mahouts
- To support the local community to protect their forest and natural resources, the habitat of the elephants.
- To identify the main pressures on the community and their forest, and provide community support programs to alleviate these pressures.
A summary of ELIE programs are as follows:
1) Ecotourism ProgramElephant Valley Project
The Elephant Valley Project (EVP) is a sanctuary set up for elephant care, local employment and is an ecotourism site for international and local visitors.
2) Elephant Conservation Program
Elephant Rehabilitation & Monitoring Project
- Elephant Monitoring & Health Check
Trained staff visit communities around Mondulkiri who require vet assistant for their elephants. A veterinarian from the Agriculture department works with our team two days per week and is also available when needed. A database of all captive elephants, their owners and condition is also updated regularly.
- Elephant Rehabilitation
Elephants can come to the sanctuary on three programs for rehabilitation: short term rest and recuperation programs, long-term compensation programs, and retirement programs. Families come with their elephant to look after them, or mahouts are sourced and trained from the local community of Putrom, also creating more local employment.
Wild Elephant & Forest Protection Project (Natural Resource Protection)
There are estimated 140 wild elephants in the Seima Protected Forest that borders the EVP, and to help protect the species these wild elephants are the key! Working directly with the Forestry Administration and the Wildlife Conservation Society, ELIE supports teams of local rangers and forest police to patrol this protected forest and the local community area around the EVP.
3) Community Development Program
Community Land Titling Project
Helping the community to the secure their land for future generations is crucial for not only the community, but also to ensure protection of their forests and resources.
Community Health Care Project
Healthcare is one of the biggest costs for many people across Cambodia, which then puts pressure on the forest or elephants to pay for this. ELIE provides universal health care cover to the community members surrounding EVP, as well elephant owners and their families across Mondulkiri.
School Scholarship Project
Primarily providing scholarship support for students from Putrom Village to attend highschool in the provincial capital, Sen Monorom. Support packs also provided to the primary school students in all three Putrom villages.
Community Development Project
Providing support for smaller one-off projects to the most vulnerable members of the community for example housing support for poor families or protection and boundary marking of sacred sites such as grave and spirit forest.