Fundraising target: £2,100 +
Funds donated: £5,000
Project: 1 month of community elephant-forest rice compensation, plus 1 week of full elephant food for all nine elephants at the Elephant Valley sanctuary. This is one of 21 projects nominated for our 21 For 21 programme.
21 For 21 Project Partner: ELIE
ELIE’s aim is to improve the health and welfare of the captive elephants in Mondulkiri Province, work to conserve the wild elephant’s natural habitat and to support the local people who work with these magnificent creatures.
Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment (ELIE) is a registered local non-government organization, or not-for-profit, based in Mondulkiri, Cambodia. ELIE was founded in 2006 and started by providing free veterinarian care and mahout-orientated education to the families and communities that owned captive elephants throughout Mondulkiri province.
In 2007, The Elephant Valley Project (EVP) was launched as an elephant sanctuary developed to create a home for injured, old or overworked elephants and is now ELIE’s centerpiece for elephant welfare and conservation. The 1,500+ hectare elephant sanctuary has been developed in close partnership with the local indigenous Bunong community of Pu Trom, and sits within their community forest. The sanctuary is home to nine elephants rehabilitating from exhaustive modern industries such as logging and tourism, and being cared for within an in-situ conservation model. The forest serves as the hub for ELIE’s wildlife-based tourism operations and conservation goals. The sanctuary also serves as a critical buffer zone for the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary (KSWS), a site of global biodiversity importance.
ELIE is unique in terms of its primary source of funding now comes from income generated by local and international visitors coming to experience the elephants as part of the ecotourism project at the EVP. Since 2006 the organisation has evolved and grown, with the development of EVP as an award winning ecotourism project, providing a sustainable financing mechanism funding all of ELIE’s elephant care and welfare, community development and forest protection programs.
Rice Compensation Scheme
ELIE and the EVP offer direct compensation to each family in the village for elephants using the community forest. The elephants graze within 1000 hectares of the community forest and a further 500 hectares within the bordering Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary (KSWS), home to a further 120 wild elephants.
78 families receive 30kgs of rice per month. This also supports the most vulnerable members of the community, when in times of crisis like drought, crop failures, or a global pandemic. Families can rely on essential food supplies thanks to the elephants and the ecotourism program. However, this valuable support program is now at risk due to lack of funds. It costs around $1,850 USD a month to run this scheme.
Elephant food and supplements for ageing elephants
Nine elephants get through a lot of food, with senior elephants requiring certain supplements to their diet. It costs around $1000 USD a week to feed all nine elephants in the care of the sanctuary.
21 For 21 will provide funds to support at least one month’s rice compensation scheme and 1 week of food and supplements for all nine elephants at the sanctuary.
Images courtesy of EVP.
Sanctuaries and conservation projects, similar to ELIE and the Elephant Valley Project Cambodia, are
already feeling the dramatic cut in funding from the effects of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We are
only starting to come to terms with the long term impact this will have on the animals, forest and
community under all our care.
We have historically not received funding from other organisations and have been solely reliant on the sustainable ecotourism model. The pandemic has seen our visitor numbers drop significantly.
This has led to cutbacks in the overall budget for the elephants and also our human healthcare
access program which seriously endangers the lives of the vulnerable indigenous group with whom we work closely with.