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Elephant Response Units (ERUs)

Size and border of all of the 12 administrative resorts of the WKNP and location of the base camp of the 4 ERUs and the river patrol team.

Many of the communities surrounding Way Kambas National Park (WKNP) in southern Sumatra have suffered from a high level of Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC). The subsistence farmers directly bordering the WKNP have regularly suffered from significant loss of crops caused by wild elephant herds who venture out of the WKNP to forage on the farmers crops such as rice paddies, cassava, sugar cane, and corn. To address these issues, Komunitas untuk Hutan Sumatera (KHS)/the Community for Sumatra Nature Conservation (CSNC) is working with the WKNP authorities to operate 4 Elephant Response Units (ERU).

Established in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2018, the base-camps of the ERUs are located at well-known HEC hotspots inside the WKNP close to its border. ERU teams are composed of forest police, mahouts, local community members, and captive elephants from the WKNP Elephant Conservation Centre (WKNP-ECC), which have been trained for forest patrol and HEC mitigation. Currently the four ERUs with 27 elephants employ a total of 68 people of which 4 are forest police, 21 are government mahouts from the WKNP, and 38 are people from the local communities surrounding the WKNP who have been trained as mahouts and forest rangers.

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