Asian Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS)

Geographical location:

Asia/Pacific > Asia General

Asia/Pacific > Southeast Asia > Indonesia
Asia/Pacific > Southeast Asia > Malaysia
Asia/Pacific > Southern Asia > India
Asia/Pacific > Southern Asia > Nepal
Asia/Pacific > Southern Asia > Sri Lanka

Asian elephant taking a bath in Xe Pian National Protected Area.
© WWF Laos

Summary

WWF’s Asian Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS) was set up to focus on the conservation of these iconic flagship species. The programme was developed on the back of priorities defined by WWF Asia/Pacific Regional Strategy.
This project is concerned with the next phase of the AREAS programme and priorities will be further developed.

Background

With a few notable exceptions, populations of the 3 Asian rhino species (Greater One-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) and Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) - and the Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) have experienced major declines over the past few decades as a result of habitat loss, fragmentation, and poaching.

Large mammals, like rhinos and elephants, are wide-ranging and require extensive areas to support viable populations. It is possible that rhino and elephant populations in several of Asia's relatively small protected areas have reached carrying capacity, and the areas have inadequate ecological resources to support larger populations.

The animals are unable to use the surrounding areas as habitat fragmentation of their natural habitat has led to the reserves becoming isolated. In many areas, the only chance to maintain or rebuild viable rhino and elephant populations is to include the larger landscape in conservation planning.

Objectives

1. Expand existing reserves and creating new reserves where possible.

2. Link proximal protected areas by corridors.

3. Manage buffer zones so that wildlife conservation activities and other natural resources provide more benefits to the local communities than irreversible extraction of resources.

4. Encourage low-intensity land use throughout the conservation landscape that are compatible with wildlife use and dispersal, yet provide equivalent benefits.

5. Re-establish the traditions of the local people that once allowed a relatively benevolent coexistence with wildlife.

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