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Projects in Sumatra, Indonesia

Update from the field

Vanessa Gagne

We are delighted to share a recent update from Dr. Christopher Stremme, the wildlife veterinarian working with Vesswic in Sumatra:

"Hello from Sumatra,

We are just back from Aceh yesterday and after the problems with some terrorist groups in some of the remote areas in central and west Aceh have calmed down and the security situation has improved, we were able and allowed again to visit all CRU's for regular health checks and treatments of the CRU elephants.  The trip lasted for a week, during which we visited the Aceh elephant training centre and its satellite in north east Aceh and three CRUs in central and west Ache, conducted health checks and treatments (dewormings, wound treatments, etc.) for a total of 38 elephants.

Like always since the past year we were accompanied and assisted by Dr. Arman Sayuti from the veterinary faculty of the Banda Aceh University.  Since he has started to volunteer with our program on a regular basis, he significantly has developed his experience and knowledge about elephant health care and management and, hopefully, on the long run can further help to develop better expertise and education about veterinary needs for conservation and welfare of endangered wildlife in Aceh.

Best wishes from Sumatra,


We think this update highlights some amazing aspects of the CRU program in Sumatra:

  • Efficiency in treatment means many elephants are provided care in a reasonable period of time.
  • Not only the mahouts are developing their skills, but also Dr. Arman Sayuti, who will, in turn, be able to teach others.
  • Vesswic and Dr. Stremme make the very most of every dollar and are very appreciative of our support.
Obtaining body measurements for weight estimation

Obtaining body measurements for weight estimation

An accurate weight is needed to determine a safe and effective dosage for many medications. Vets and mahouts work together to measure an elephant (top picture) in order to estimate its weight for the proper dose of deworming medication (bottom picture).   However, weights arrived at by the measurement formula vary among age groups of elephants so it is not always accurate.  In addition, from the photo you can imagine how time consuming it is to measure each elephant.

Hiding dewormer in bananas!

Hiding dewormer in bananas!

A portable scale allows elephants to step up on a base, stand still for just a few seconds then walk off.  Such a scale provides accuracy and efficiency for safe and effective dosing, and we would like to provide this tool to the CRU program.   

The cost per scale, including delivery to Sumatra is $3100, and our goal is to provide two scales. We hope you will consider making a gift toward this purchase. Should you wish to give $3100 for one scale, we will have a plaque made to put on the Pelicase to acknowledge your donation!

Please read our project story and please visit our website, or contact us to learn more.