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Projects with Education, Travel, and Research Sponsorships

Filtering by Tag: Elephants

The Regional Captive Asian Elephant Working Group Meeting

Vanessa Gagne

The meeting was held at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University, June 11-12, 2015.  Asian Elephant Support was delighted to be able to fund Dr. Vanthinh Pham’s attendance at this meeting.  You may recall most recently AES, with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, sent Dr. Khajohnpat Boonprasert and two senior mahouts from The Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang, Thailand, to Vietnam to assist Dr. Pham in the treatment of the young wild bull, Jun, whose foot was badly damaged by a snare.  The mahouts also helped demonstrate to the Vietnam mahouts, who had little experience with wild elephants, how to help calm and better manage Jun for safe and effective medical care.

The meeting at the Chiang Mai University addressed establishing a comprehensive strategy and long-term plan for improving the management systems within elephant tourist camps across Southeast Asia.  Attendees also had the opportunity to share and learn from each other’s experiences and promote the best practices in elephant tourist camp management, and to build a network of captive Asian elephant experts who can work towards the goal of establishing and monitoring improved management systems in tourist camps.

Dr. Pham found the presentations that addressed setting up medical buildings with laboratories, health care, feeding and training for elephants, as well as mahout training most informative and was able to return to the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center in Vietnam with many useful ideas.

We at AES believe assisting those helping elephants develop friendships with others doing likewise is an important way to improve both the care the elephants receive as well as the knowledge and confidence so important for the veterinarian and mahout.  We couldn’t do this without you.  Thank you for your confidence and support!

An Indian Teacher Making Great Strides for Elephant Conservation

Vanessa Gagne

In July 2012, Asian Elephant Support was introduced to Mamatha Sathyanarayana, a young biology teacher from Mysore, India.  Along with her teaching responsibilities, she is also very involved in wildlife conservation.  She facilitates many educational workshops about wildlife and the forest for the local village children.

In 2011, Mamatha received a small grant from the International Elephant Foundation to develop a Human-Elephant Coexistence workshop for children in her home state of Karnataka.  She submitted an abstract on this workshop to the International Zoo Educators organization, hoping to present her work at the 2012 conference hosted by the Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom.  Her abstract was accepted and we were delighted to assist with partial funding to help defray her travel expenses.

She was truly grateful to be able to attend this conference and sent us a few pictures and a summary of what this opportunity meant to her.  She advised there was record attendance which gave her the opportunity to meet many eminent educators from all over the world.  The conference schedule was packed with case studies, papers, workshops, and poster presentations,  providing her with a lot of new ideas to take home.  Even with the busy schedule, there was time to enjoy the Chester Zoo and an opportunity to see the old historic city of Chester.  

Sharing knowledge is invaluable and we feel it is important to share the good conservation work that is being done in Asia with the Western world. Dedicated educators like Mamatha Sathyanarayana, whose passion for wildlife involves teaching both in and out of the classroom, represent a very important element in elephant conservation.  

With Mamatha’s help, her students will grow into adults with a better understanding of our wonderful planet and its amazing and precious creatures and wild places.  

Thank you, Mamatha, and our very best wishes to you!






Supporting Higher Education

Vanessa Gagne

In our February 2012 newsletter, we introduced Aswin Bangun, an Indonesian Forestry Department employee.  As part of AES’s goal to provide financial assistance for the education of deserving individuals working for elephant conservation in Asian range countries, we provided a scholarship grant for Aswin to complete his Master’s degree in Forest Conservation.  

We are pleased to announce that in early June, Aswin completed his degree.  The title of his thesis is the 'Relationship between level of encroachment and human elephant conflict in the Seblat forest.'

This degree will assist him in his future work to improve elephant conservation in Bengkulu province and throughout Sumatra. Congratulations to Aswin and we looking forward to working with him in the future.


Conservation Education with Think Elephants International

Chris Reifschneider

Think Elephants International (TEI) is a non-profit organization that aims to conserve Asian elephants through scientific research and education programs. TEI's founder, Joshua Plotnik, PhD, has been studying elephant cognition for the past few years. Two of his most notable studies scientifically prove that elephants can self-recognize, and are capable of complex cooperation.

Last year, TEI started an after school club for middle school students in New York City that taught students the scientific research process, as well as the importance of environmental conservation. Through the use of Skype, these students saw what life was like for elephants and their mahouts (caretakers) in Thailand. This club also had several guest speakers, and took a field trip to the National Zoo to get an up close and personal experience with the elephants.

Because this was such a success, TEI is looking to expand their program globally. They will especially focus on implementing the program in Thai schools, as young Thais have great potential for conserving their elephants and their environment. These students will get a full understanding of the complex situation that many Asian countries are facing by focusing on topics ranging from culture and language, to perceptions of animal welfare and conservation interests. Through this experience and education, these students will be better prepared to deal with the issues surrounding Thailand and its environment when it is their turn to make the decisions.

AES awarded TEI $2,000 for the purchase of an Apple computer and a television that will be used in Thai schools to help educate students about the importance of elephant conservation. Part of AES's mission statement is to increase awareness of the needs and future of the Asian elephant, as well as to provide educational opportunities to those persons who care for captive Asian elephants in range countries. We are very excited by the potential TEI has to positively shape the future of captive and wild elephants and the people with whom they share land.

For more information regarding TEI, please visit their website at: