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Projects in Sumatra, Indonesia

4th Annual Mahout Workshop

Vanessa Gagne

4th Mahout Workshop Conference Center

4th Mahout Workshop Conference Center

The 4th Mahout Workshop organized by FOKMAS (mahout association) and BKSDA (conservation agency) north Sumatra was held recently at the ECC Holiday Resort in North Sumatra. Besides IEF, Vesswic also provided financial and technical support for the realization of the workshop.  The Elephant Managers Association (EMA), with Asian Elephant Support participating via directors' individual contributions, provided a supply of hoof knives for all of the elephant facilities.The workshop went very well.  It was attended by 71 participants (the largest attendance to date) coming from all ECCs and CRUs/elephant patrol units, several zoos, safari parks etc. from Java, Sumatra and Bali. Most of the participants were mahouts of course, but also some vets and managers from the private facilities were amongst the participants.

The main topics were:

EMA (Elephant Managers Association of America) presentation about its history, development and activities, followed by question/answer session about elephant management in western zoos and management and handling problems in our places in Sumatra.

Presentations from ECCs and CRUs utilizing mahouts and elephant for conservation activities (Aceh, Bengkulu, Way Kambas, Riau, Tangkahan) followed by discussions about the different experiences from the different locations and further options to utilize the captive elephants in conservation related efforts in the future.

Training about field navigation using maps and GPS conducted by the CRU Tangkahan team leader Edi.  This is the CRU which also supports the work in HEC (human/elephant conflict) management. This presentation was divided in two parts: theoretical background and hands on practice in three locations of the ECC area.

Practical demonstration about needs and techniques to train elephants for medical procedures conducted by Vesswic.  Although this subject was presented during previous workshops, it was repeated at the request of FOKMAS as many participants did not attend previous workshops and to also highlight its importance in general.

Divided in different working groups the participants discussed problems and needed improvements for captive elephant management in different management systems of the ECCs, CRUs, zoos and safari parks.  Finally, a list of subjects which is hoped to be addressed by PHKA was prepared and will officially be handed over to PHKA (National Agency for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation under the Ministry of Forestry in Jakarta) by FOKMAS.

Before and after the workshop all participants filled in a questionnaire to gather their opinions about the quality and value of the workshop, the outcome of this questionnaire still needs to be evaluated and translated.  A few pictures are attached.


Best wishes,

Demonstration on training elephants for a medical procedure

Demonstration on training elephants for a medical procedure

Training on field navigation

Training on field navigation