The French embassy in Cambodia will be hosting a charity concert at the end of April to aid the conservation of elephants in Cambodia.
The event entitled “Mothership” is scheduled for April 27. Participants are expected to donate between $50 to $2,000 for attending the fundraiser.
Ken Sereyrotha, WCS’ country program director, said that this charity event is a positive point for the conservation of elephants in Cambodia.
He said that the fundraiser is aimed at directly educating the general public about elephant habitats, diets and reproduction.
He said that elephants in Cambodia are under threat due to economic development, including the allocation of land for agro-industry farming.
“Animals depend on nature, but humans add disruptive factors such as development that affects all species in the wild, not just elephants,” he said. “This case requires human intervention because elephants need large sanctuaries and they migrate from shelter to shelter to find food.”
He added that elephants are intelligent migratory creatures that will move in order to find a secure shelter with plenty of food and safety.
Pierra-Yves Clais, vice president of the Airavata Elephant Conservation Project in Rattanakiri province, created the event because he needs more funding to improve a project in Katieng forest.
He said that the funds are to be aimed at financing veterinarians as well as other social projects.
“Cambodia owes too much to the elephants to simply forget about them,” he said. “Khmer kings fought their battles on the backs of elephants, built their temples using the strength of elephants; the elephant is everywhere in the culture, traditions, history and art of the Khmer people.”
“But the reality is very grim,” he added. “The domesticated population is down to 72 animals and the wildlife population is thought to be around 200.”
He added that the youngest animals need to be brought together so they can breed, otherwise elephants will completely disappear from the Kingdom in a matter of decades.
“Basically we want to make sure the elephant has a future in Cambodia and that the relationship it has had with man doesn’t disappear overnight,” he said.
According to the Environment Ministry website, Cambodia is considered a stronghold of surviving elephants in Indochina.
The Environment Ministry said Cambodia has provided shelter to nearly 600 elephants in the past, while neighbouring countries only contributed minimally.
It said that the largest Asian elephant sanctuary is located in Cambodia’s eastern highlands, covering all five protected areas including Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary and the Cardamom Mountains.