Summaries below on past projects; including three years living with elephants on Sumatra in Indonesia, supporting TB and healthcare evaluations for 800 elephants in India, research on an alternative to culling in South African elephants, and, among others, saving elephants by helping people in Sri Lanka.
India: Health Assessment of Captive Asian Elephants in India with Special Reference to Tuberculosis Supporting/advising on comprehensive medical evaluation and disease survey of 800 captive elephants in India by Indian partners. The field work was done by an all-India team of veterinary professionals (Prof. Dr. Jacob V. Cheeran and Dr. David Abraham) and conducted under the auspices of Prof. R. Sukumar Ph.D. and the Asian Elephant Research and Conservation Centre (a division of Asian Nature Conservation Foundation). Dr. Susan Mikota of Elephant Care International and other associates provided technical advice. This project was funded by Elephant Care International. Additional financial support was provided by Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) of Bangalore, India with support from World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).
Africa: Alternative to Culling – Development of a longer term contraceptive for African elephants may reduce culling pressures Elephant Care International provided support for research needed to test delivery methods and actual vaccine efficacy in a semi-captive setting in South Africa, and eventually long-term field work in northern Botswana to demonstrate vaccine effectiveness in controlling free-ranging populations of African elephants. Results of this study were published in Pachyderm Volume 57.
Sumatran Elephant Healthcare and Conservation – After 3 years of fieldwork, we are still fighting for change to save elephants in peril in Indonesia. Staff members Susan Mikota DVM and Hank Hammatt went to Sumatra in 2000 after receiving reports of elephant healthcare needs. They examined 41 elephants, and donated supplies. Realizing the ongoing needs, they resigned their United States positions, and with funds from a Guggenheim Foundation grant, private donations, and the sale of their house, moved to Indonesia in 2001. The goal was to improve elephant healthcare, train Indonesian veterinarians, and raise international support. In 2003 they were compelled to leave Indonesia after reporting to government officials a high rate of deaths of elephants under government care (85 percent dead within 3 years).
Sri Lanka: Saving Elephants by Helping People – Establishing alternative crops to provide sustainable livelihoods for villagers in areas of high human-elephant conflict. People are important too. We must address the needs and thus win the minds of those whose daily lives are often affected by elephants. Our funding supported a collaborative project with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS). SLWCS provided alternative crops, together with important training, to help villagers in five communities achieve reliable incomes. These villages live in important elephant corridors, linking elephant habitats critical to seasonal migrations. The villagers have suffered greatly with human deaths and crops and livelihoods lost to rampaging elephants. If we care for often marginalized villagers, they can achieve a modicum of financial stability and then have the luxury of caring for their elephants.