Our attempts to camouflage camera traps were met with mixed results. Poachers and loggers have an appetite for destruction if they spot a camera.
The patrol unit of the province of Bengkulu Sumatra in the TWA Seblat Conservation Area burn a makeshift bridge used by poachers and loggers to get access deep into the conservation area for the purpose of logging and poaching endangered species. This is unfortunately a very common occurrence.
Baby Rosa had her tail bitten by one of the older males so she needed to have it looked at and eventually the tip of her tail was amputated. This might not look ideal but this is exactly how things work in Indonesia in order to properly treat elephants their need to be restrained, especially the juveniles.
I spent 7 months hand raising Bona and during those months I tried my darndest to implement a system for the two local (carers) mahouts so they could help with the daily milk feeds in the event of my absence when I needed to be back in the city. I succeeded in convincing one carer to provide regular feeds in that time but the second carer was a little more stubborn. It wasn’t until towards the end of the seven months that the second carer participated in a milk feed one afternoon. He was always adamant that Bona never needed any more milk. As you can see by the surprise on his face in this photo, being the first ever time he provided her a bottle of milk during some domestic training. The surpise is clear to see at how eager Bona is to take her milk.
Every so often the elephants of all the camps throughout Sumatra get their health checks done. Time to check for any signs of problems and the elephants are well trained to follow the commands of their handlers so they can carry out any checks from teeth through to ultrasound scans. The population is decreasing so to prevent any outbreaks of disease that could further threaten the species it is important to do this regularly.
Documenting the final stand for the elephants of Sumatra
It’s bitter sweet to meet all the gorgeous babies of Sumatra. The bitter part being that most of them are orphans as a result of our exuberant ways leading to habitat loss. This then leads directly to the death of adult elephants by locals trying to make a living based on demand for products we so desire but mostly don’t need. This is all part of my documentation work capturing the remaining elephants of Sumatra through photos and videos and raising awareness for their needs and also working on projects directly here in Sumatra with local government agencies.
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