The Community Coexistence Centre will serve as a space where community members from this region, and other human-elephant conflict zones in Thailand, can exchange ideas, plan actions, engage in ongoing research, and feel connected to a future where human-elephant coexistence is possible. It will act as a working model of community-based conservation, and the benefits this strategy offers to local people, wildlife and the environment.
Through the Center, resources and knowledge will be provided that effectively contribute to human-elephant coexistence. The local community will benefit from elephants in a way that promotes the wellbeing of elephants. Host families can share their knowledge about elephants with their guests. We will set up a program for students and positions will be created for trainees and volunteers. The culture of ecosystem conservation will become stronger. There will be more support within the community to help the elephants.
What is going on?
The Tenasserim area in Thailand (adjacent to Myanmar) is home to one of the largest populations of Asian elephants in the world. This makes the area of great importance for the survival of the Asian elephant. The Kuiburi National Park (969 km², established in 1999) is part of the Tenasserim area and hosts around 300 elephants. The unfenced park directly borders large-scale pineapple plantations which are frequently raided by elephants, causing many conflicts between humans and elephants in the area. Numerous mitigation strategies have been employed to stop the elephants from entering the plantations, including bottle fences, fireworks, spotlights, electric fencing, burning tires, and chasing elephants. However, innovative solutions that mutually benefit humans, elephants and the environment are needed to realize coexistence in this region.
There are sustainable solutions!
Three villages in the area have decided to do things differently. Community members in these villages have introduced ecotourism, including homestays and elephant observation, as a solution that can compensate for the costs resulting from human-elephant conflicts. Moreover, they have expressed the desire to commit to more sustainable strategies.
We can help them realize this. Bring the Elephant Home has developed an integrated approach of community engagement, practical conservation action, and knowledge creation to promote sustainable human-elephant coexistence.
- By creating and protecting suitable elephant habitat, we make sure that elephants stay within their protected area. This decreases the likelihood of human-elephant conflicts.
- Through educational programs, we enhance local communities’ understanding of elephants and their habitat needs, and empower them to initiate community-based conservation projects.
- By providing communities with the knowledge, tools, and means to live in harmony with wild elephants, they now experience benefits from elephants, instead of the economic losses that they experienced in the past.
- They can generate income from participating in our projects, by organizing events, hosting participants in homestays, developing facilities, growing seedlings and maintaining trees, selling local products, and collecting data for ongoing research.
- Through the active involvement of local communities, we can improve the relationship between humans and elephants.