Currently, there are roughly 2,400 – 2,800 Sumatran elephants left in the wild. Their survival is threatened by hunters, deforestation and habitat loss, as well as conflict with humans.
Sumatran elephants may grow to 1.7 to 2.6 metres in height. In comparison with African elephants, the Sumatran elephant is smaller in stature. Elephants are also known as a flagship species. The presence of elephants in an area means that the area possesses sufficient resources to support the lives of other species and indicates the health and viability of an ecosystem.
Currently, the decline in population is mainly due to ongoing habitat loss in Sumatran forests. WWF Indonesia aims to protect the sustainability of Sumatran elephants. Through collaborations with governments and other organizations, WWF Indonesia established an elephant patrol that serves to prevent hunting and dismantle traps that can endanger elephants. WWF Indonesia also educates the community to prevent elephant hunting.
Since 2004, WWF Indonesia has been managing Tesso Nilo National Park in the province of Riau as one of the steps forward in conservation.
In Tesso Nilo, WWF Indonesia established The Elephant Flying Squad. The squad consists of tame and trained elephants which serve to prevent wild elephants from entering areas occupied by the local communities, and to lead them back to their natural habitat, thus decreasing the occurrence of human-elephant conflicts.
WWF Indonesia invites the community to actively participate in efforts to conserve the Sumatran elephant. WWF Indonesia launched the Sahabat Gajah (Friend of the Elephant) Program as a medium for members of society who are concerned about elephant conservation and want to directly contribute in the efforts to save the biggest mammal on earth.