This summer, come and study elephants within a lush tropical wildlife sanctuary while exploring the livelihoods of the Bunong indigenous people who have incorporated elephants as part of their culture for many generations. Not only will you learn about elephant behavior and ecology in a tropical forest ecosystem, you will discover the conservation issues facing wild elephants. Explore the challenges of the human-elephant interface associated with increasing human populations and habitat destruction.
Students spend several weeks observing semi-captive elephants and visit regions frequented by wild elephants. Elephant welfare and management practices will be examined and the livelihoods of people affected, both positively and negatively, by elephants will be explored. In addition to the work with elephants, students will visit the World Heritage site of Angkor and the capital city of Phnom Penh.
- Spend two weeks learning and collecting behavioral, ecological, and welfare data with the NGO E.L.I.E. at their sanctuary, the Elephant Valley Project, where they care for injured and overworked elephants in the lush forests of eastern Cambodia
- Conduct direct field observations of elephants using various forms of data sampling techniques including continuous, scan, and interval sampling methods
- Conduct health checks of elephants and learn about signs of illness and treatments given
- Understand elephant resource needs by gathering data on food-plant preferences and use of mineral licks
- Learn from the Bunong people about their traditional culture and their interactions with elephants, past and present