April 15, 2019
Helping Elephants at Home and Abroad
How Denver Zoo’s Care for Asian Elephants Extends Far Beyond Our 86-Acre Campus
At Denver Zoo, our support for Asian elephants extends far beyond the care we provide for our five bachelors, Groucho, Bodhi, Billy, Jake and Chuck. We’re also proud to contribute to and serve on the board of International Elephant Foundation (IEF), an organization dedicated to elephant conservation, education and research. Each year, IEF funds worthy projects worldwide that support all elephant species, and recently announced their support for 24 conservation projects in 13 countries on three continents.
In 2019, IEF will provide more than $650,000 to protect elephants from poaching, seek solutions for human-elephant conflict, equip and train community conservationists, increase our knowledge of the treatment and prevention of disease and educate people. IEF’s Asian elephant footprint stretches from the forests of India and Nepal to Myanmar and the island of Sumatra, protecting and securing habitats for Asian elephants, which are classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and whose numbers are estimated at fewer than 40,000.
“We partner with and support IEF because it’s a very strong organization, providing significant support for Asian and African elephants across their native ranges,” said Senior Vice President for Animal Sciences Brian Aucone, who represents Denver Zoo on the IEF board that determined this year’s grant award recipients. “The key factor for the projects we help support with IEF is they also work with local human populations to help reduce conflict. They get to the core root of the problem and try to find ways to make it easier for elephants and humans to coexist.”
Among the projects that Denver Zoo is helping to support include supporting Elephant Response Units, groups of forest rangers, mahouts (elephant caretakers) and elephants that work to monitor wildlife activity, address and stop forest crime, and protect valuable habitat for endangered species across Indonesia. Another project aims to reduce threats to elephants and mitigate human-elephant conflict in the core of the Cardamom Mountains of Cambodia by securing landscape and habitat for Asian elephants and supporting local government and communities.
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