S A V E - I N D O N E S I A N - E N D A N G E R E D - S P E C I E S

Way Kambas National Park Abandoned Well Closure

Way Kambas Abandoned Well Closure Project

Location: Way Kambas National Park, Lampung province, Sumatra – Project completed June 2011, 2084 wells closed.

When Way Kambas National Park was established in 1984, communities were relocated out of the park, leaving behind wells, which have proven to be a deadly trap for the wild animals.

Wild elephants are very active in the area between the rain forest and the deep Braja swamp. This area is dense with wells and elephants are the most common animals found trapped.

In 2008, closure teams working in the area found 4 baby elephants in wells. Volunteer teams were assembled to rescue these young elephants. One elephant was released and returned to its family, one (named Pepi) is at the Elephant Conservation Centre at Way Kambas, and 2 have died of injuries and complications. Sakura, who was 3 months old, suffered for 2 weeks in a well and then survived one month at the Elephant Conservation Centre Veterinary clinic.

Photo: Sakura’s first meal/Salura in sling | View more photos here.

The tragic suffering and death of Sakura inspired the Park staff and SIES to close all wells in the Park. SIES works with Pak Sukatmoko (Way Kambas National Park) to employ field assistants to locate and close wells.

With generous donations, coming from many organizations and individuals, the team had closed more than 2,000 wells by January 2010. No more baby elephants have required rescue since 2008, when a baby was rescued and returned to its family.

Click here to read the follow up article “Pits of Despair 2 – The rescue and release of yet another baby elephant, Sumatra wells project follow up” By Russell Eldridge.