Minister for Biodiversity visits ZSL elephant conservation project
Thursday 17 August 2006
The Right Honourable Barry Gardiner, London MP and Minister for Biodiversity, visited ZSL’s Thai elephant conservation project earlier this month.
The project, which has Darwin Initiative funding from the Government, works to protect the small number of surviving Asian elephants in the Salak Pra region, focusing on resolution of conflict between elephants and the local people.
Asian elephants are forest elephants and it is very hard to count them, but fewer than 50,000 are thought to survive in total.
Although unlike the African elephant of the savannahs the Asian elephant is still a critical ecological driver opening up forests, creating highways for animals and encouraging grassland, so important for the diversity of the habitat.
In Thailand their status is particularly dire. Barely 1,500 survive in the wild, with twice that number in captivity, but neither number is assured.