FROM LOCAL SOURCES
FRENCH LICK -- Wilstem Wildlife Park will be adding a female Asian elephant to their wildlife family this spring; partnering with the International Elephant Foundation! Wilstem will be offering an experience unlike any other with the opportunity to see both species of elephants, Asian and African, in a herd together!
The Asian elephant is classified as endangered with fewer than 50,000 left in the world! They are slightly smaller than the threatened African elephant which numbers about 400,000 – 500,000. The Asian elephant can be identified by their smaller ears, smoother skin, rounded back and only one finger-like tip at the end of their trunk. This addition to our herd gives Wilstem the chance to strengthen our mission of educating the public. Our encounters will give you the chance to learn about the different physical features of African and Asian elephants as well as their different habits.
Wilstem offers a variety of opportunities to see and learn about these amazing animals. A very limited number of guests can take part in our VIP Encounter, limited to 10 people to spend one on one time with the herd and prepare their breakfast. Or, indulge in their spa appointment by participating in bath time, pedicure, and educational encounter. Educational Encounters are also available and give you the chance to ask questions, take photos, and touch these majestic animals. Encounters take place daily March 7th through November 1st. Visit www.wilstem.com to make reservations.
We are committed to the conservation of elephants and wildlife and after much research feel the International Elephant Foundation is the perfect partner in this endeavor. Wilstem has committed $40,000 to be used towards two separate projects aimed to keep elephants and other wildlife safe.
In Africa we are supporting the recovery of Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda. Civil wars in the latter half of the 20th century decimated wildlife populations in Uganda and left Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) with only a remnant population of elephants, giraffe, lions and hippo. Once considered the “Jewel of Africa”, MFNP is now critically important to the recovery of Uganda’s wildlife. The International Elephant Foundation (IEF) has been supporting the revitalization of the park and protecting its wildlife from poachers through the construction of a Veterinary Response Unit, 3 Marine Ranger Stations complete with five patrol boats, and the construction of 10 strategically important inland Ranger Stations. In 2020, together IEF and Wilstem will be adding the construction of the ranger stations at Ayago 3 and Atil Camp.
In Asia we are supporting the critically endangered Sumatran elephant. On the Indonesian island of Sumatra there has been an escalation of human-elephant conflict along with an increase in the death of elephants due to conflict or poaching. The Conservation Response Unit (CRU) program is an important step in the development of long-term strategy to conserve Sumatran wildlife. The CRU utilizes captive elephants, their mahouts, and local community representatives for direct, successful field-based conservation interventions. These units support the conservation of wild elephant habitats, and create opportunities for local communities to protect their property and crops, achieving positive outcomes for both elephants and people. The various activities undertaken range from the development of barrier strategies, monitoring wild elephant movement, establishment of early warning system through the application of GPS collars, promoting human elephant co-existence by choosing compatible livelihood options in elephant habitat, and education and awareness programs.
With the Asian elephant population decreasing by at least 50 percent over the last 70 years, Wilstem is excited and dedicated to contributing to the conservation of this beautiful species and very excited about our new partnership! To learn more about the International Elephant Foundation and their great work, visit www.elephantconservation.org.