Our program’s main goal is to help defend the area's beautiful community forests & wildlife, as well as benefit & improve the lives of poor indigenous Bunong communities and preserve Mondulkiri’s unique environment, culture & heritage.
A major part of our project contributions, goes towards supporting local families & getting our neighboring indigenous communities involved in conservation.
By developing an ethical ecotourism program, our project visitor contributions create sustainable livelihoods & supportive income for the Bunong families involved - This regular income reduces the financial dependency on illegal logging & hunting. As well as creating additional jobs, incentive and opportunities for locals to learn English, get involved in conservation & develop positively. The families involved are also helping us protect their community forests and report illegal activity & forest crimes.
Over the past 20 years, despite official logging bans, Cambodia loss of forests, is among the worse in the world. Over 12,600 square km of native forests and wildlife habitat areas were cleared by logging timber, agricultural clearing and illegal privatization ( land grabs) and development economic land concessions ( ELC ).
The Mondulkiri Elephant & Wildlife forest sanctuary covers over 100 hectares and provides a secure migration and breeding zone for wildlife.
Our eco-tourism center & the surrounding area is made up of beautiful rainforest, dry forest, grassland wilderness, rivers and small indigenous farms. The valley is home to a wide variety of local wildlife.
Each wet season, the valley forms a natural wildlife corridor & links two protected community forest areas, allowing animals to migrate.
Due to the area’s mixed classification of community forest & farmlands - All remaining forests are extremely vulnerable to private sector deforestation & other forms of human activities like illegal logging, hunting and land grabbing.
Existing development and project progress:
The L.E.A.F ecotourism programs sponsor the protection of the sanctuary forests & wildlife, as well as reforestation of previously logged areas within and around the sanctuary.
We aim to continue expanding the community protected zone, in order to establish a large area where animals can roam & breed protected and unharmed. As well as educating our neighboring communities & farmers on wildlife coexistence benefits.
We’ve initiated an active reforestation program with plans to establish a community food forest, where we can demonstrate active forest permaculture and other sustainable farming techniques.
We will continue working towards creating sustainable livelihoods for additional families currently dependent on forest clearing, logging and hunting & increase our outreach & support of farmers & landowners interest in wildlife coexistence, permaculture & agroforestation.
Bunong families who benefit from our conservation programs.
Rain forests protected by the sanctuary ecotourism program.
Introducing environmental education to local children at minority schools.
2. WORKING ELEPHANT SANCTUARY & RETIREMENT PROGRAM
The L.E.A.F community goal, is to aid the retirement & protection of all working elephants in mondulkiri as we believe they deserve to live the rest of their lives in peace & freedom.
The Mondulkiri Elephant & Wildlife Sanctuary provides a secure & peaceful retirement home for Mondulkiri’s ex-working elephants.
Our ethical elephant retirement program currently sponsors the care in freedom of 5 Cambodian domestic elephants, recently freed from intensive labour in illegal logging, farm work & tourist ride industry.
The elephants of the sanctuary, have gone through an amazing life transformation. They now roam unchained, socialize with other elephants & enjoy peaceful living in their natural habitat. Safe from the past risks they faced as working animals.
The sanctuary’s elephant habitats includes everything that wild elephants love: Bamboo rainforest, grasslands, several natural pools and mud bath areas.
We also have a plantation, for growing bananas & cane as supportive elephant food for the dry season.
The sanctuary’s visitor contributions, sponsor the retired elephant care, dry season feeding, veterinary costs as well as supportive income for the indigenous families who joined the project by retiring their working elephants. Please note that elephant riding is not a part of our visitor programs.
Keeping Mondulkiri's indeginous involved:
What makes the L.E.A.F elephant rehabilitation program so unique, is that is that it successfully includes support for the elephant's original family and allows the families to stay involved and continue caring for their elephant post retirement. This greatly minimizes the risks of separation anxiety.
Elephants are highly intelligent - Like dogs, they develop a strong attachment to their their human handlers. Changing location or hands often leads to stress, depression, anorexia ( loss of appetite ) & even premature death. Rescuing & transferring working elephants can be very risky unless their owners are fully involved in the move.
About The Sanctuary Elephants:
Our elephants come from the nearby Bunong communities of Putru, Oraing and Patang. They are co-owned by many of the village families. The villagers used to work the elephants in order to generate income. They were used in logging, pulling timber out of the jungles, carrying rice and resin from remote forest farms and giving tourist rides. The work is often hard and dangerous, both for the elephants and their human mahouts. Several elephants and mahouts were killed and injured in working accidents.
As tourism developed, Mondulkiri’s elephants began giving tourist rides and many were sold to private companies and transferred to work in Siam Reap. By 2016, only a fraction of Mondulkiri’s community elephants have survived.
By joining the L.E.A.F community project, keepers and families receive regular income from the project that allows them to support and educate their families – They no longer have to risk themselves working the animals in logging or giving rides.
The elephants gain an amazing new life, chains free for the first time: they are allowed to eat constantly, roam and socialize, simply enjoying elephant life at the safe & natural sanctuary elephant habitat.
The sanctuary elephants receive gentle daily care, grooming & veterinary check-ups.
MEET THE SANCTUARY ELEPHANTS:
WEIGHT: 2.8 Tons
HEIGHT: 2.2 M
FAVORITES: Fresh young grass
BACKGROUND: Working on farms and in tourist rides. Rescued from work and retired by her owners & the L.E.A.F team.
Chellot Comes from the Bunong community of Putru & was the been the sanctuary’s first rescue in October 2014. Living as a working elephant since her capture from the wild in forests of O’riang. Her tail had been cut off in 2010 by an unknown criminal.
Despite her long years of labour, Chellot truly represents the loving relationship the Bunong here in Mondulkiri do have for their elephants.
She is a loving, gentle elephant, always friendly towards visitors as well as other elephants. She is particularly clever and had been observed using sticks and rocks as basic tools.
WEIGHT: 2.3 Tons HEIGHT: 2.25 M
FAVORITES: Wild turmeric root, natural anti inflamatory
BACKGROUND: Retired due to old age & health condition.
Chepril also comes from Bunong community of Putru, lives at the sanctuary since November 2014. Her precise age unknown, she’s is estimated to be at least 60 years old as her age shows. She had been working throughout her life & now suffers from arthritis & chronic pain. Following 2 years of rest and vigorous feeding, she’s feeling much happier, she gained 260 kg and walks at ease again. Unlike her bestie, Chellot, Chepril is shy and reserved with humans. Older elephants are typically recognized by their sunken temple areas.
Mekom is a young & gentle little lady from the Bunong community of Patang. Initially arrived at the sanctuary to receive treatment for a serious leg abscess caused by snake bite. She arrived weak & severely malnourished.
It took several months of negotiation, in order to arrange to free her, as some of the 10 families that own her were unwilling to let her retire - Yet our team finally managed to persuade everyone to permanently retire her & join the sanctuary ethical elephant community. Following her initial treatment and plenty of TLC - She is healing, gaining weight & well adjusting to her new life.
WEIGHT: 3.5 Tons Height: 2.3 M
FAVORITES: Young trees
BACKGROUND: Farmwork & tourist ride elephant.
Stuit is working elephants from Oraing village, who joined the sanctuary with her old companion Pon. She is owned by 8 village families, who heard about our project and requested to join the sanctuary program in 2015 on a part time plan and finally joined our herd full time in 2016. Stuit loves getting her way and there’s no stopping her, she dislikes strangers & will only allows familiar people to touch her. She is our biggest female and easy to recognize by her stature.
Seeing the small herd of 5 elephants roaming together is literally big time fun!
WEIGHT: 4.2 Tons HEIGHT: 2.6 M
FAVORITES: Bamboo & cane
BACKGROUND: Rescued and retired from a logging camp.
Pon is the only male elephant on the project for now. Following our long negotiations with his owners, he retired through the sanctuary elephant aid program in 2016.
Despite being a giant male (bull) elephant, he has no tusks. He’s usually a very gentle giant around his lady friends, he spends his days relaxing and grazing about the sanctuary.
Due to the sometimes more aggressive nature of male elephants. Pon requires more precautions & special care. Visitors can appreciate his impressive stature & beauty from a safe distance.
His two mahouts occasionally still ride him when he’s feeling unsettled.
Pon is occasionally separated from the herd when he is goes into male elephant heat period, called “musth” - Which is characterized by potential aggressive behavior caused by extremely high testosterone levels & a pungent temporal gland secretion.
During his Musth, Pon is not seen by visitors and roams a separate area.
There are no fences at the sanctuary, so elephants can roam throughout the entire sanctuary area. Each elephant has 2 mahouts that follow to make sure they stay within the safe wildlife zone and do not damage any farm areas. The mahouts also provide the daily groom & check up.
Some of the elephants are receive treatment for chronic conditions and injuries caused by years of hard work in the logging & tourism industry.
As Mondulkiri’s population & economy continues to grow, natural wildlife area across the province are quickly shrinking and as a consequence, wild animals are losing their habitats and become increasingly prone to falling into the hands of hunters, traders & traffickers.
The L.E.A.F team is working on developing a new wildlife treatment & reintroduction centre at the Mondulkiri Elephant & Wildlife Sanctuary.
The sanctuary’s facility, is designed to help & treat animals rescued from captivity or injured during wildlife trafficking, including a post recovery reintroduction program.
Commonly trafficked & illegally captured wild animals include several primates & monkey species, gibbons, slow & pygmy loris, civets, otters, porcupines, leopard cats and a variety of other mammals. Bird & reptile species such as owls, wild peacocks, hornbills, turtles, pythons, monitor lizards & many more. Occasionally highly endangered species, like pangolins, leopards and bears.
Once rescued, many animals are in need of medical assistance & recovery quarantine time due to shock, stress, dehydration & malnutrition. Live animals often stuffed into airtight bags or small containers and transferred in severe heat conditions.
Endangered species are usually sent for treatment at Phnom Tamao wildlife center, unfortunately not always surviving the long transfer journey. More common species are released immediately without treatment or observation. We hope to be able to help save more wildlife from captivity & contribute to many successful reintroductions.
Illegal Snares & Traps:
Many live wildlife are young cubs found by a dead parent, caught in a snare / trap. These tiny cubs are often kept as pets until they get sold off into the illegal wildlife pet or meat trade. Other live animals are discovered & confiscated at police checkpoints, or during local wildlife raids.
RECENT L.E.A.F WILDLIFE RESCUES:
Young baby macaque ( on the left ), who was orphaned at a very young age, cared for & bottle fed by the wildlife sanctuary team until she was able to eat solids and join her friends.
We regularly cooperate with the local pagoda monks, to help release illigaly kept macaques from living in chains or small cages. We give them a second chance at freedom in their natural habitat, with supplementary feeding as necessary.
There are wild macaque troops in the sanctuary forest, who feed & socialize with the captive macaques in our rehab program. The goal is for captive macaques to eventually get accepted & adopted into the wild troops.
Slow Pygmy Loris, confiscated alive, treated & released by the LEAF team in 2015.
Once common, Loris numbers are in sharp decline due to their common use in traditional Chinese medicine.
Young leopard cat, found lingering by her mother, who was killed caught in a hunting snare. The cub was kept as a pet until it started killing village ducks & chickens.
The kitten is currently roaming free following reintroduction, it was observed hunting & fishing at the sanctuary forests.
Young otters discovered & saved from local wild meat traders. Enhancing education and raising local awareness is vital in order to insure success in conservation. Hunting will never stop until local trade and consumption stops too. The otter cubs were releases at the sanctuary forest and they are occasionally still spotted by the Otai river.
Future plans for this project:
Future plans for this project:
We are presently planning to build & equipt a basic wildlife care clinic.
The clinic will allow our veterinary volunteers to perform surgery & other complex procedures.
If you wish to help fund the clinic construction or donate medical equipment: Click here
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION & RENEWABLE ENERGY RESEARCH
L.E.A.F & the sanctuary operate a school camp visit program. We aim to reach Cambodia ‘s children & youth and provide them with education on conservation / wildlife issues and environmental sustainability.
We introduce rural students to various discussions: climate change, the importance of sustainable forest & wildlife management, wildlife protection and other active conservation issues.
We regularly invite local students to the sanctuary on educational nature field trips, where students can visit our wildlife rehabilitation center,for an active learn experience about caring for Cambodian wildlife and the importance of conserving wildlife habitats..
Teachers & young students who are not able to visit the sanctuary, can email us & receive the L.E.A.F environmental education activity package, currently available in Khmer & English.
RENEWABLE ENERGY RESEARCH
Our renewable energy research team, designs, builds & tests small, efficient hydro electric generators and water flow powered pumps. All designs are environmentally friendly, operate on renewable energy requiring no fuel. With Zero Carbon Emissions. Supporting local communities through this project:
We have successfully installed 6 of these RAM pumps of different pumping capacities, functioning at different locations, to benefit communities & providing water to village houses and farms, with no fuel or energy cost, leaving a Zero Carbon foot print.
The L.E.A.F. Water Wheel system – has a dual function either as a Hydro power generator, or as a jet propelled water pump.
It has the ability to generate up to 3kW of clean energy, depending on the flow valium. It’s a simple & efficient Micro – Hydro Power Generator.
This electricity is produced by river water being funneled down a long shoot, which builds up a lot of head pressure and then pours down over a propeller that is connected to an electric Dynamo. The pressurized flowing water forces the propeller to spin around at high speed, which then spins the dynamo that then creates electricity.
The power flow is constant and there is no need for power storage devices (batteries), which can cause pollution.
L.E.A.F. Water RAM Pump, has the ability to continuously pump water up hundreds of meters of elevation without having to use polluting and noisy fuels and oils. It is 100% clean green pumping power.
Mondulkiri Sanctuary’s water RAM pump has the capacity to pump up to 30,000 liters over a 24hour period. It pumps water up to a holding tank, which is elevated about 100m higher than the pump.
HOW YOU CAN HELP US SAVE MONDULKIRI'S FORESTS & WILDLIFE:
Donate to our wildlife treatment center fundraiser.
On behalf of L.E.A.F Cambodia’s team, we would like to thank all our project visitors & volunteers: Thanks to your support- We have begun the construction of Mondulkiri’s first wildlife emergency treatment center. Our first enclosure is almost complete and we’re currently fundraising in order to build a simple clinic and additional enclosures. We greatly appreciate all your kind help and support.