S. Hedges's present address is the Wildlife Conservation Society-Asia Program, Bronx, New York.
Article first published online: 24 APR 2006
© 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Volume 25, Issue 3, pages 235–246, May/June 2006
How to Cite
Hedges, S., Tyson, M. J., Sitompul, A. F. and Hammatt, H. (2006), Why inter-country loans will not help sumatra's elephants. Zoo Biol., 25: 235–246. doi: 10.1002/zoo.20090
A.F. Sitompul's present address is the Department of Natural Resources Conservation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
- Issue published online: 16 JUN 2006
- Article first published online: 24 APR 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 12 NOV 2005
- Manuscript Received: 18 JUN 2004
- Wildlife Conservation Society
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Grant Numbers: 1448-98210-00-G496, 98210-1-G806, 98210-2-G292
- Asian elephant;
- Elephas maximus;
Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in western zoos are likely to become extinct unless elephants are regrouped into breeding units or additional elephants are imported from range States. There have been proposals for the export of elephants from elephant camps in Sumatra, Indonesia. In exchange, zoos would be expected to provide funds or support ‘in kind’ for the camps or for the conservation of wild elephants. Most of the elephants in the Sumatran camps were captured because of crop-raiding problems around protected areas or because elephant habitat has been and continues to be lost to development schemes and illegal conversion of protected areas to agriculture. Capture-related mortality rates are high and conditions in the camps are poor, with low standards of veterinary care and husbandry. This is partly due to over-crowding and inadequate budgets. It might seem, therefore, that the loan of elephants to western zoos would improve the lot of these elephants and reduce the pressures on the camps. However, we show that both total and annual demand for Asian elephants, and particularly Sumatran elephants (E. m. sumatranus), by western zoos are low, and consequently the resources generated by any loan scheme would be limited. Elephant loan schemes are unlikely to have significant beneficial impact on either the conservation or welfare of elephants in Sumatra. More importantly, a credible loan scheme would require a permanent moratorium on the capture of wild elephants in Sumatra. Such a moratorium is needed to prevent illicit captures for sale or loan. At present, wild elephants are caught to replace those that die at the camps or are moved to other facilities. Without a moratorium, the loan of elephants to overseas zoos would contribute directly to reductions in wild elephant populations in Sumatra. However, a moratorium is likely to prove impossible to enforce, and this alone should call into question the desirability of any loan scheme. Zoo Biol 25:235–246, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.