NAKA has three primary goals. First, we will raise public awareness about the threats facing Asian elephants, but especially captive Asian elephants. (Our emphasis on captives is because wild elephants already get much attention from governments and large non-government organizations (NGOs), but captive elephants get only piecemeal help from small, under-funded organizations.) Second, we will support carefully selected projects and organizations with both funding and technical help. Third, we will develop much needed tools and policies that apply not just to individual sites but to Asian elephants everywhere.
Our emphasis will be on Thailand and Myanmar because Thailand is the vanguard in confronting new problems brought by the 21st Century. Thailand has over the last thirty years or so undergone a dramatic transition, losing nearly of its traditional jobs for elephants, logging and transportation. Other countries in the region are beginning to confront the same catastrophic loss. Tourism — which brings unique problems — is now virtually the only legal work in Thailand, so solving tourism-related projects there will help other Asian countries prepare for the future.
Myanmar and Thailand share not just a common border but also many common traditions, and Myanmar is rapidly progressing towards an open economy with steadily climbing tourists numbers. As logging is phased out, Myanmar will share many of the problems facing Thailand’s elephants, owners and keepers.
NAKA will work to:
- Promote the health and well-being of captive elephants
- Support efforts to protect wild elephants, including reducing human-elephant conflict (HEC)
- Cooperate with academic institutions and specialists working in elephant health and welfare
- Promote cooperation between governments, NGOs and individuals
- Raise awareness worldwide about the plight of Asian elephants
- Educate local people and ensure they benefit from elephant conservation
- Develop tools and techniques with widespread application across the region