Anti-Poaching Patrols in Way Kambas National Park, Sumatra

Why is this project so important?

In 2011, the Sumatran elephant was uplisted from endangered to critically endangered on the IUCN Red List after losing half of its population in just one generation and nearly 70% of its habitat. The drastic decline had been caused by rapid forest habitat loss that had either eliminated or fragmented Sumatran elephant populations. Poaching for tusks to supply the illegal wildlife trade and captures and retaliatory killing of crop-raiding elephants only added to the pressure on population numbers of this Asian elephant sub-species.

Way Kambas National Park (WKNP), located in the southern Sumatran province of Lampung, contains between 10% and 17% of Sumatra’s elephant population making it vitally important to the long-term survival of the subspecies. While there are rhino protection units in this national park, they primarily focus on the core rhino habitat meaning that some critically important elephant habitat is being missed and left vulnerable to poaching. Partly as a result of this rhino focus, there have been a significant and very worrying increase in elephant poaching rate in WKNP with a four-fold increase in 2015 compared to 2014. This situation clearly indicates that law enforcement efforts in the park urgently need strengthening.

Project Partner: Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

Duration: 2016– Present

Project goal: To prevent poaching of critically endangered Sumatran elephants in Way Kambas National Park, Indonesia

Way Kambas National Park elephant population: 247

What we do

Elephant Family is helping to implement SMART anti-poaching patrolling system in southern Sumatra. The Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) has become a leader in fighting international wildlife trade. It combines software, training materials and patrolling standards to help conservation managers monitor animals, identify threats such as poaching or disease and make patrols more effective. This tool is being implemented at over 140 sites in 31 countries, with Elephant Family being a key player in Sumatra.

Inside the Way Kambas National Park in Southern Sumatra 17 elephant killings were reported over the last 6 years. In response to these killings, Elephant Family funded SMART patrols which were adopted across the National Park in September 2016. This patrolling system has already helped detect and remove a high number of animal snare traps that were found to be widespread across the park and is helping to ensure that at-risk areas are swiftly targeted by the ranger teams. This pioneering initiative is helping to ensure that Sumatra’s critically endangered elephants remain protected.