Late last month, Wildlife Alliance assisted in saving eleven wild elephants from a grim death. Community members living near Keo Siema Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province saw the herd stuck in a large hole created by a U.S. B52 bomb during the Vietnam War and united to help. The elephants likely wandered into the pit to drink and bathe but were then unable to climb back up the steep walls. Judging by how exhausted they were when found, they were likely stuck for a few days, and had the villagers not intervened when they did, would not have survived much longer. The villagers immediately called the provincial environment department, which united Wildlife Alliance and other conservation organizations, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment (ELIE), to help. The groups and villagers worked together to dig into the side of the crater and lay down logs and tree branches to create a ramp for the elephants to walk up. While ten of the elephants were able to escape this way, the youngest was too exhausted and needed to be pulled up with ropes. It took an hour to get the baby out, but the rest of the herd could be heard waiting in the nearby forest. The loss of these elephants – three adult females and eight juveniles – would have been a devastating loss for Cambodia’s conservation efforts. The Mondulkiri Department of Environment is considering building a slope at one end of the pond or a surrounding fence to prevent this from happening in the future.
Wildlife Alliance is dedicated to protecting Asian elephants and Cambodia’s other iconic species. Please make a donation today to ensure that we can continue to conduct emergency rescue operations like this one.