The Elephant Valley Project currently has 10 beautiful elephants residing at the project, each with their own stories and personalities. These elephants are retired from work and make up the heart of our beautiful Cambodian elephant sanctuary.
Captive Elephants of Mondulkiri
There are estimated 76 captive elephants in Cambodia of which 48 live in Mondulkiri Province. Across the forests of Cambodia, there are approximately 400 elephants of which 250 reside in the vast protected areas we have in the province here. They are also under great threat from poaching.
The Asian Elephant is an important part of the Bunong (the indigenous people here in the Mondulkiri highlands) people’s culture and belief system. They are an important connection to the spirits that the Bunong believe live in the forests, mountains, and houses in the villages. However, at the same time, they are highly endangered.
Our Stance on Elephant Captivity
Here at ELIE we take the stance that elephants don’t belong in captivity, they belong in the wild. They are wild animals that need vast tracts of grassland and forest to roam across and exist in. Catching an elephant in the wild is enormously destructive to their existence as a rare, unique and highly endangered species.
We work primarily with elephants that are in captivity (we don’t say domesticated elephant as the vast majority of elephants that are in private ownership have been caught from the wild) and in the process of which sponsor the protection of the wild elephants but it is the welfare of the captive elephants that is our main concern. Therefore 20% of the funds the EVP generates is channeled back into protecting wild elephants.
Here at the EVP we work with elephant owners so that elephants do not have to work and the Bunong people can still own their elephants and earn and income from them. From the elephant’s point of view, the greatest bonus is that they can live again with other elephants in their natural habitat and spend their days eating grass and bamboo in our sanctuary.
We consider this to be very important work as the Royal Government of Cambodia and ourselves do not support the capture of wild elephants and the Bunong don’t breed their elephants and therefore we think that if no more elephants are caught from the wild then this current captive elephant population will probably be the last Mondulkiri has. So with this in mind, our aim is to ensure that this last generation is able to live out its life with as much dignity as possible roaming free in our sanctuary.
The EVP sanctuary is key to the elephants’ future as our elephants represent the living breathing real elephant herds that are in the forest and as we see the rest of the forest slowly disappear outside of our sanctuary we are are investing in protecting that forest and Cambodia’s last wild elephant populations.
Wild Elephants in Cambodia
Our Work for Wild Elephants
The video above was compiled in 2013 for world earth day by video camera trap footage taken by Danial Morawska. The footage is truly breathtaking as it is clear evidence that the Seima Population is breeding. The elephants featured are young, female and clearly in a strong family group, this is for us clear enough evidence and why we continue our commitment to the protection of the Seima Protection Forest.