Several small steps: Elephant calves caught on camera in Cambodia

Several small steps – Elephant calves caught on camera in Cambodia
Credit: Fauna & Flora International

First, the good news. Footage from the 46 camera traps deployed by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in Cambodia's Cardamom Mountains is giving us a privileged insight into the lives of the Asian elephants that roam through in one of the continent's last remaining forest wildernesses.

Genetic analysis of elephant dung undertaken by our partner, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, leads us to believe that the core population in the southern Cardamoms comprises around 50 elephants. And our have provided us with intimate of some of these magnificent beasts, including their calves.

Unfortunately, our monitoring has also revealed that the remaining elephants are under severe pressure, not least from the growing use of snares, a disturbing trend linked to the increased urban appetite for bushmeat.

Asian elephant calves are particularly vulnerable; their smaller legs mean that they are more prone to serious injury from wire snares, and they are more likely to die of their wounds. One caught on camera in late 2017 walked with a pronounced limp and had a badly swollen foreleg – apparently the result of a deep wound inflicted by a snare.

With FFI support, local wardens drawn from the community are conducting regular patrols to monitor the elephant population. A crucial facet of their work is to deter poachers and to deactivate any snares that they encounter. And they are doing a great job.

In the long term, however, the survival of these Asian is going to hinge not only on anti-poaching measures and protection of their forest habitat, but also on reducing demand for bushmeat and other wildlife products. Funds are urgently needed to enable FFI and our partners to carry out this vital work.

Credit: Fauna & Flora International

Explore further

Poachers kill elephant in Cambodia wildlife sanctuary

Citation: Several small steps: Elephant calves caught on camera in Cambodia (2019, April 30) retrieved 15 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-small-elephant-calves-caught-camera.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
41 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more