Projects across the AREAS region

From India to Indonesia, reversing the decline

The projects include protecting and restoring habitat, increasing anti-poaching patrols, using the latest GIS technology to create accurate maps for land-use planning, translocating rhinos to strengthen existing populations and establish new ones, and collecting population data to improve management strategies for Asian elephants and rhinos.

AREAS also address a number of crosscutting issues affecting its projects, including wildlife trade, elephants in captivity, and human-elephant conflict.

Read about the Elephant and Rubber band model

Rationale
WWF has long realized that the Asian elephant and the three rhino species (Indian or greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan) are important components of the ecosystems in which they live, including many of the most biologically rich ecoregions in the world. For example, rhinos and elephants are important seed dispersers who create natural disturbances that plant communities depend on for regeneration.

Flagship species to inspire conservation
WWF focuses particular attention on a small number of globally important 'flagship species': the giant panda, tiger, marine turtles, great apes, whales, elephants and rhinos in both Africa and Asia. These charismatic creatures inspire conservation efforts for themselves as well as for other important species and habitats.

Pachyderm populations limited by habitat size and quality
Rhinos and elephants require large areas to support viable populations. In many of Asia’s relatively small protected areas, these species lack adequate ecological resources to increase in numbers. The animals are unable to utilize surrounding areas without conflicting with human interests outside their reserves.

Landscape approach
Therefore, the only chance to maintain or rebuild rhino and elephant populations in many areas is to foster a rational and coherent approach to land-use planning, taking wildlife and human needs into account. This landscape approach to conservation includes expanding existing reserves, creating new reserves where possible, and linking protected areas by restoring habitat corridors.
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To be successful, this approach must also address the needs and concerns of local people and other stakeholders, aim to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, and lead to policies at the national, provincial and local levels that help make conservation a sustainable land-use choice.

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