A project of Wildlife Survival Fund: Investing in endangered species before it’s too late.



Geographic Location

Sumatra, Indonesia

Focal Species

Asian Elephant

IUCN Red List Status of Focal Species


About the Project

Veterinary Society for Sumatran Wildlife Conservation (VESSWIC) has two program areas: the Elephant Health Care Program (EHCP) and the Elephant Conservation Program.

The EHCP assists the government Elephant Training Centers in Sumatra with proper health care and management for the camps’ captive elephants. Goals of the EHCP for captive elephants include: ensuring the health and welfare of elephants in government camps and patrol units; training and educating mahouts, camp staff, and government authorities about health care issues and elephant behavior and biology to improve the elephants’ day-to-day management; and implementing health management for elephants to ensure long term sustainability, contribution to conservation activities, and potential as genetic backup for wild elephant conservation. One goal for wild elephants is to provide veterinary expertise for wild elephant conservation programs and activities such as translocation of wild elephants, treatment of injured wild elephants, fitting of GPS or radio collars, rescue of wild elephants, and post mortems.

The Conservation Program utilizes small groups of captive elephants and mahouts in patrol units to detect and prevent illegal activities in and around protected areas, for human/wildlife conflict mitigation, to monitor wild animals, to support conservation research projects, for local community conservation education, and for rescues and translocations. VESSWIC supports the maintenance and operation of these units and provides regular veterinary care for elephants to ensure their health and welfare and so they can be handled reliably and safely.

Elephants at Woodland Park Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo is home to a herd of Asian elephants. The award-winning Elephant Forest exhibit, located in the Tropical Asia zone, explores elephant natural history, their role in human cultures, and their urgent conservation crisis. 

To learn more:
Read the Asian elephant fact sheet





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