Restoring and protecting elephant forest habitat
With training from the Forest Restoration Research Unit (FORRU) of Chiang Mai University, we began a forest restoration project in 2008. The project has identified tree species suitable for forest restoration and established two tree nurseries, which produce thousands of saplings each year.
With the help of over 300 volunteers, we have been able to plant over 15,000 saplings in four degraded forest plots.
The success of the projects has gained the attention of government agencies and other villages looking to restore their own community forests.
In addition to restoring the forest, it is also imperative that we protect it from further neglect or damage. Salakpra, created in 1965, was the first wildlife sanctuary in Thailand but until recently it never had a system of pro-active patrolling.
It had a mobile team that patrolled areas of high risk in response to reports of illegal activities, but was otherwise not monitored. We are now establishing a system of smart patrols using Monitoring Information System Technology (MIST).
Instead of carrying out only reactive patrols in response to intelligence reports, each guard station in Salakpra will now undertake regular, proactive patrols within their area of responsibility.
Each patrol will collect data on key wildlife signs and human threats that will be logged into a central database to provide the information necessary to protect the sanctuary effectively.