A handful of Bunong indigenous villages located in or on the edge of Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary (formally known as Seima Protected Forest) are suffering from human-elephant conflict, which in this case is when elephants enter their farms and eating and/or damaging their crops. This is a recent problem with the elephants only causing this intensity of damage over the last 2 – 3 years. The likely causes of this issue are loss and disturbance of elephant habitat from forest clearance and illegal logging. Elephants have extremely large home ranges recorded from 50 km2 in Sri Lanka up to 1000 km2 in India, and disturbance to these areas can cause significant changes in movement patterns and behaviour.
WCS in partnership with the Government of Cambodia have been working to assess the impact and possible solutions to deal with this issue. Human-elephant conflict occurs in every country Asian elephants are found, and finding solutions to this problem is extremely difficult. One of the best ways to reduce the scale of conflict is to prevent it in the first place, by ensuring elephant habitat is protected, and not disturbed or destroyed.
In 2015, during the months the elephants were raiding crops, a WCS camera trap being used to investigate wildlife diversity around the village of Andong Kralong captured a young calf washing in a small forest pool close to the village.