Perspectives for grey giants

Management of wild and tame elephants at Indawgyi Lake in Myanmar


UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Indawgyi Lake, Myanmar

Working elephants benefit from professional care

Elephant owners are supported

About the project

Man and elephant in focus

At Lake Indawgyi, we employ veterinarians to care for the health of the animals and train local veterinarians, elephant owners and mahouts (elephant guides). The way of training elephants is based on thousands of years of tradition and is considered relatively hard. However, new findings in the handling and training of elephants allow a much gentler and more animal-friendly way of keeping them, which we would like to implement there together with the elephant owners.

Together with the forestry authority, working elephants kept in the biosphere reserve are registered in order to better control illegal logging in the reserve. A veterinarian and an assistant permanently take care of the health of the working elephants and train elephant owners and handlers in modern training methods.

In the medium term, alternatives to hard and environmentally damaging woodwork are to be developed.

A working elephant and his mahout (elephant guide) at Lake Indwagyi in Myanmar.

Support us

Help for elephants

Help us to improve the living conditions of elephants, to create perspectives for owners and their animals and to reduce illegal deforestation. For example, with 150 € you can ensure the medical care of one elephant per year.

Who’s who?


Most of the privately-owned elephants have not had any registration so far and are being registered with the Forest Department to better control illegal logging in the sanctuary.

Grey Giants At The Doctor

Medical care

The often inadequate housing and living conditions of the animals urgently need to be improved. Many elephants have wounds and injuries from the hard work and receive permanent veterinary care.

Gentle alternatives

Training methods

Traditional training methods date back to a time when mainly wild-caught elephants were trained and are relatively brutal from today’s perspective. Today elephants can be trained with gentle methods, which we implement together with the elephant owners.

Representation of interests

Association for elephant owners

Elephant owners will be assisted in forming a local association. For example, members will receive veterinary care for their elephants and, in the future, access to designated grazing lands.

Future perspectives

Alternative income

Due to the national logging freeze, many elephants will be “unemployed” in the near future. Together with the elephant owners, we develop alternatives to the hard and environmentally damaging logging work and alternative income opportunities.

Conflict avoidance

Wild Elephants

The north of the biosphere reserve is regularly visited by wild elephants. We are gathering information to implement effective protections for people and elephants.

Partners & Supporters

The project is funded by:

World Animal Protection Society

Katrin Brauch Foundation

Cologne Zoo

The project is implemented jointly with:

Friends of Wildlife

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