Elephants Patrol Border Between Man and Beast

Finding the Lost Herd was not easy. We got a flat tire and then the weather turned. We continued on motorcycles but had to abandon them after two crashed on the wet road. We headed out on foot, and after a fairly interesting journey, we finally found the last four members of the herd. We could see them because the tops of the trees were moving around -- we didn't want to get too close because they do kill people. And that really is the root of this whole problem: Wild elephants and humans don't get along.

Reducing the Conflict

As their habitat shrinks, more elephants leave the forest and trample crops like coffee, so the farmers kill them. Next week the Indonesian government plans to relocate the Lost Herd survivors to a sanctuary.

"The future for elephants in a sanctuary isn't one that is very pretty," said Tomasek." If all of the animals were just to go into sanctuaries or zoos, the natural world would really be a miserable place."

So the World Wildlife Fund is trying to stop the clearing. It spent a year investigating this illegal coffee grown in the national park. They tracked the beans to the West. They're also trying to stop the killing.

"There are some proven techniques," said Tomasek. "Ways to reduce the kind of conflict we're seeing with the human communities and villages living inside or near the park."

One technique, of course, is the Flying Squad. Those four elephants on patrol at Tesso Nilo. Baby Nella hasn't even reached her first birthday, and she's in training. The World Wildlife Fund plans to expand the program, because since the Flying Squad's been on patrol, not one wild elephant has been killed on its watch.

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