In collaboration with two other elephant organizations, Asian Elephant Support (AES) recently supported the daily work of mahouts at an elephant timber camp in Myanmar via a donation to the mahouts of much needed equipment: backpacks for use during patrols.
An AES partner organization, the International Elephant Foundation (IEF), supports staff training at the Myaing Hay Wun camp. During a recent visit in early December, IEF provided training to the camp staff in GPS use and field navigation with colleagues from Sumatra-Indonesia who have expertise in GPS training: Edy Sunardi, Manager Tangkahan Conservation Response Units (CRU), and Zul Asfi, Field Project Manager, Veterinary Society for Sumatran Wildlife Conservation (VESSWIC). Edy and Zul instructed the Myanmar mahouts (via presentations and hands on practical work) in GPS use, field navigation, and data collection (i.e. wildlife monitoring, illegal activities, human-elephant conflict, etc.) while on patrol. The Myanmar staff were very interested and involved in the training. In the evenings presentations were given to the mahouts on various topics such as elephant management in western elephant facilities, and the work of the elephant patrols (Conservation Response Units) in Sumatra.
In addition to the backpacks presented by AES, the mahout staff at the camp also received uniforms and GPS units from IEF, as well as elephant foot care tools from the Elephant Managers Association. The Myanmar mahouts were very appreciative of the donated items and the training, and they look forward to continuing an exchange of information with elephant colleagues, both in Asia and the west.