Asian elephants face serious threats in the wild such as loss, degradation and fragmentation of their habitat due to an ever-expanding human population in the regions of the world in which they live. These stressors produce a multitude of human-animal conflicts, resulting in elephant deaths. As protected areas can only support a certain amount of elephants, the primary objective in long-term elephant conservation is limiting HEC (human-elephant conflict).

Another major threat to the elephant species is ivory poaching, the direct consequence of this is greatly reduced numbers of male elephants, creating an irreversible gender imbalance and immensely reducing genetic variation in the elephant population.

Asian elephants are defined as globally endangered by the IUCN Red List and their population is one tenth of African elephants. The present Asian elephant population is estimated at around 5,500. With annual losses of around 14 animals, this population is severely threatened. Long-term and short-term strategies are urgently needed if these elephants are to be saved.

The Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund partnered with the Centre of Conservation and Research in Sri Lanka. CCR has conducted many research projects over the years including studying Sri Lankan elephants using radio telemetry and more recently, GPS satellite-tracking. Through GPS satellite-tracking, CCR has proven the use of a natural corridor used by elephants between two national parks, which is now an area protected from development by the Department of Wildlife Conservation.

A further vital project that Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund has provided funding for is the Schools Awareness Programme in partnership with the Biodiversity & Elephant Conservation Trust, this project focuses on fostering education and awareness in schools in high conflict areas of Sri Lanka.

The objectives of this programme are to create an awareness amongst the children living in the areas where there are human-elephant conflicts on: the value of elephants; their ecology, biology and physiology; their role in the religion and culture of the country…and of the need to conserve elephants for the future as part of their and the world’s heritage.

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Meet Burma on World Elephant Day!

When you get to spend your days with beautiful Burma, it's not hard to see why zookeeper Joel is head over heels for elephants

How can you help at home?

Donate to the conservation fund or visit our zoo!

Auckland Zoo is a not-for-profit conservation organisation, and every cent that we raise goes back into caring for our animals, and to help support conservation projects that help endangered animals in the wild.

Our role as a leading zoo that holds elephants is to raise community support for their conservation and to help raise funds for a range of conservation efforts. This includes research programmes, elephant habitat restoration and community-based initiatives in targeted countries, all with the aim of protecting wild elephant populations.

By attracting over 800,000 visitors a year to the Zoo, we can inspire our community to better understand wildlife and what we can all do to help. And we can help motivate change, such as purchasing products containing sustainable palm oil to help stop elephant habitat being cleared.

Auckland Zoo is focused on building a future for wildlife, and we direct significant efforts and resources towards this.

Since the establishment of the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund, we've raised over $5.2 million to support conserving wildlife in the wild. In this way, and for many years now, we've been helping fund programmes in Sri Lanka and Nepal, aimed at researching Asian elephant populations, understanding them better, and helping to avert conflict. We also help elephants in Sumatra through supporting the protection of habitat, and mitigating human-elephant conflict with forest edge communities. And every visitor to the Zoo help us generate the funds needed for these projects.


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