Asian Elephants have great cultural, ecological and economic value in the 13 countries they inhabit, but conflict with the local communities is still a primary threat to Asian Elephants. This project helped educate school children about the importance of elephants, taught how to minimise habitat destruction and explained the value of conservation. These workshops have increased understanding among the children and within their communities of the need for elephant conservation and the importance of biodiversity. Over 110 workshops were performed in schools around Sri Lanka in high risk areas, and surveys indicate a change in attitude and increased understanding of the importance of elephants and biodiversity.
Taronga is a key partner in an Australasian conservation breeding program for Asian Elephants. Conservation breeding programs act as insurance against a catastrophe in the wild and therefore rely on local people to support the habitat of free-ranging populations. This successful project is an excellent example of how education and consultation can secure a bright future for both wildlife and people.
The Biodiversity & Elephant Conservation Trust (BECT) Sri Lanka, is a not-for-profit organization, active in the conservation of elephants and biodiversity of Sri Lanka.
BECT identifies resolving human-elephant conflict as essential to the conservation of elephants. One such strategy is creating awareness among school children in rural Sri Lanka, where there are ongoing human-elephant conflicts.