The Ministry of Environment and partner NGOs working on wildlife conservation provided specialized training on elephant collaring techniques to track their movement.
The training was conducted from November 14-24 in Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary and at the Elephant Valley project in Mondulkiri Province.
A joint press statement said that elephants are one of most intelligent and social animals and that they have a personal space, like humans. To understand their movements across a vast territory of forested landscape can be challenging if there is no electronic tracking via collaring.
The training was participated in by wildlife research specialists from the environment ministry, representatives from the Mondulkiri provincial Department of Environment, the community research team, WWF-Cambodia, WWF-Vietnam, WCS and the Royal University of Agriculture.
“Through both theoretical and practical sessions, the participants learned all of the technical collaring techniques to understand how to plan and implement every step of elephant collaring safely,” it said.
According to the statement, the elephant collaring project is part of a bigger Asian elephant conservation program that aims to understand the environmental drivers of elephant movements and predict where elephants are in order to guide conservation efforts and sustainable development. It is supported by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), WWF-Sweden and WWF-Belgium.
Mondulkiri’s Eastern Plains landscape has the largest population of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Cambodia, with more than 300 individuals, the statement said, based on results from fecal DNA-based surveys in 2015.
The Ministry of Environment said Cambodia currently has between 400 and 600 wild Asian elephants living in the Cardamom Mountains, Prey Lang and the Eastern Plains of Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri provinces. There are also about 70 domesticated elephants.