Gina Stewart Cox (gSc) is proud to be working with The Elephant Conservation Network (ECN) to help resolve the elephant/human conflict in west Thailand.
WHAT IS ECN? ECN is a small non-government organization located in Kanchanaburi, West Thailand. ECN works in partnership with local people, other NGOs, as well as local and national government agencies to help plan and create solutions to stop human/elephant conflict.
Elephants are national, royal, and religious icons in Thailand; yet their survival in the wild is threatened by legitimate farming, illegal logging and land clearance demands of an ever increasing human population. Human/elephant conflicts are increasing all over the country. Fewer than 2,000 wild elephants are t hought to survive nationwide.
HOW IS gSc HELPING?
An important aim of ECN is to encourage diversification into the villages around the national park so that those villagers are less reliant on income from the land; thereby reducing conflict with elephants that also need to live there.
gSc has become one of the activities that ECN are implementing to tackle this challenge in and around the Salakpra Elephant Ecosystem. gSc and ECN are working together to employ local villagers to create some of gSc’s jewellery, instead of farming sugar cane.
Growing sugar cane is a hard process. The villagers have to travel long distances through the jungle to get to the farmland. They then have to work long hours preparing the land, sowing the seeds and harvesting the crop. After much hard work their efforts could still be wasted. Elephants love the taste of sugar and, as the area of jungle decreases, they seek to raid cane fields.
It has taken us 2 years to forge relationships and train the villagers to standards of gSc’s optimum quality. Now the villagers can make the jewellery pieces with their nimble fingers to an extremely high standard. They can work at home, whenever they want, even whilst looking after children.
Between them, gSc and the ECN have created a happy system where the villagers are less reliant on farming activities and can enjoy working with gSc; increasing welfare and reducing economic problems. Thus resulting in happiness, not just for the villagers, but also for the elephants.
ECN project area map Western forest complex