Helping to save the world’s largest land mammals

Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) and Conservation Initiatives (CI)

In the rich forests of India, habitat fragmentation, illegal hunting, and human-elephant interactions have put added pressure on communities of people and populations of Asian elephants.  ANCF supports conservation scientists, community planners, educational organizations, government agencies, and members of the community as they work to protect landscapes and support the livelihoods of people.  Conservation Initiatives (CI) also works in India, working with state forest departments and local communities to conserve threatened wildlife such as Asian elephants.  The Zoo financially supports current research (such as radio-collaring elephants to track movements in human-dense spaces) run by these organizations and is working to build deeper, capacity-building relationships with them to contribute to their effectiveness and success in India.

International Elephant Foundation (IEF)

In Sumatra, elephants and people often come into conflict when elephants wander into human settlements. These elephants are often relocated to a Sumatran Elephant Conservation Center. Support from the Zoo through the International Elephant Foundation provides supplies and training to ensure that the elephants are cared for properly.  Support is also provided for Conservation Response Units (CRU) whereby elephants, carrying their mahouts and forest rangers, are trained to patrol the forest to deter crime, monitor wildlife, herd wild elephants away from human settlements, and conduct community outreach.

Asian Elephant Support

Through Asian Elephant Support, the Zoo assists those who care for and conserve elephants in Asian range countries. 

Asian Elephant Support is a U.S. Non-profit foundation dedicated to the care and conservation of Asian elephants in their range countries, and to the people whose lives are intertwined with this magnificent and endangered species.  The number of elephants is declining in all regions, and injuries and deaths are increasing due to overwork and abuse as well as conflict between free-ranging elephants and humans.

Developing Field-friendly Techniques for Elephant Semen Cryopreservation

The cryopreservation of semen for use with artificial insemination (AI) has the potential to become a valuable tool in the management of Asian elephant populations. Elephant semen has proven difficult to cryopreserve, especially that of Asian elephants. Scientists at the Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) work with partners on developing a methodology for cryopreserving Asian elephant semen using simple field-friendly equipment.

Excellent Elephant Care in Zoos

Elephants are important conservation ambassadors for their species and ecosystems. Experiencing elephants in zoos creates an emotional connection that can inspire people to help protect them. The Zoo participates in the Asian Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP) through which elephant care facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) work in partnership to enhance the long-range plan for elephant care, management, conservation, and research. AZA institutions ensure that each elephant has superior care that meets the needs of their social, behavioral, psychological, and physical senses.

Working Towards a Cure for Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus

Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) is an elephant-specific viral disease that targets young elephants. The Zoo participates in a multi-institutional research project conducted by the National Elephant Herpesvirus Laboratory at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo with the goal of finding a cure and creating a vaccine for EEHV.

You Can Help Save Wild Elephants

Behind the Scenes Tour

Have you ever dreamed of meeting an elephant up close and personal? Book an Elephant Extravaganza behind-the-scenes tour! Proceeds from your experience will fund conservation work in the field and help protect elephants in the wild.

Elephant Art

Support elephant conservation by purchasing original works of artProceeds from painting sales go directly to elephant conservation through the International Elephant Foundation.