Time Sensitive: Ending Human/Elephant Conflicts

by The Elephant Project
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Time Sensitive: Ending Human/Elephant Conflicts
Time Sensitive: Ending Human/Elephant Conflicts
Time Sensitive: Ending Human/Elephant Conflicts
Time Sensitive: Ending Human/Elephant Conflicts
Time Sensitive: Ending Human/Elephant Conflicts

As many of you probably know, the current political climate in Myanmar has become deadly. Civil war is imminent. The military regime is indiscriminately killing women and children and have imposed restrictions on the people that are worse than the world has seen. The future is bleak for the country and the amazing people that live there. We are very concerned and worried about the safety and well-being of all the people we have been fortunate to work with over the years in trying to protect the country’s elephants – from filming our documentary to building fences to help bring an end to human elephant conflict. But not only are the people hurting, the elephants are losing critical help they need to survive. 

Because of the current situation, we no longer have the ability to pursue our activities in the country. We will continue to monitor the situation and will keep you apprised of what is happening. We are evaluating our options as to where best to focus our efforts but for now we will work to promote our documentary The Linesman as well as our line of kid’s books that are in development that will help the world understand the challenges elephants are facing with human-elephant conflict. 

Thank you for all your help and support and I hope that we will be able to provide additional information about Myanmar, as well as where we are refocusing our efforts, in the very near future.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

All the best.

Dane

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Draft sketches for graphic novel
Draft sketches for graphic novel

Hello!

I hope you are all safe and well.

I just wanted to give you a quick update on our efforts. Unfortunately, given the continued complications with COVID, our ability to implement some of our efforts on the ground in Myanmar have been limited. However, we are moving full steam ahead with our educational efforts via our current documentary, The Linesman, as well as working to release a new children’s book and a graphic novel that will help increase awareness of human-elephant conflict at a young age. I have attached some initial drawings for the books and am hopeful they will be ready in mid-summer to be sent to the publisher. The more we can educate our youth now, the greater chance that they will work to address some of these critical issues as they grow older.

The Linesman is currently making the rounds on the film festival circuit. It has already been seen as part of Myanmar Film Festival in Los Angeles and the Wild & Scenic Film Festival and will be part of the Colorado Environmental Film Festival in February and the DC Environmental Film Festival in March. We are hopeful that it will continue to be seen in more film festivals and are working on finalizing a streaming platform that will make it available to people all over the world. Hopefully more on this in our next update.

Your support has been critical to helping us continue our work both in Myanmar and around the world and especially in supporting The Linesman. We are now developing other documentaries that will complement the narrative of The Linesman. One documentary we are developing will highlight human-elephant conflict in Africa and how to mitigate it. Given the exponential growth in countries like Nigeria, this conflict is quickly becoming the second largest cause of death of elephants on the continent. We are also working on an undercover documentary that will bring to light the corruption that allows for Lagos, Nigeria to be the largest exporter of endangered wildlife in the world. Poachers send ivory to the Lagos port from all over Africa since it is easy to transport to buyers around the world. This must be stopped, and we are hopeful that our efforts will bring to light who is responsible so we can bring them to justice and end this critical outlet for poachers.

As you know, producing high quality documentaries that are worthy of Oscar consideration are expensive and so I hope you will spread the word to others who might be interested in supporting our efforts.

Thank you again for your support and I will continue to keep you updated as things progress.

Stay safe and all the best,

Dane

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One of our electric fence projects in Myanmar
One of our electric fence projects in Myanmar

Undoubtedly, we are all focused on the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on our families, friends, and daily life.  The world as we know it has changed, as have our personal priorities.  We are all compelled by the need to protect and care for those close to us – as well as those who are on the front lines keeping us safe.  

While we might not fully understand what our new normal will be, one thing that has not changed is that animals across the globe are still facing unspeakable cruelty and challenges, and they need our help. Quarantines do not end cruelty, but rather they make cruelty even more possible since those that protect wildlife are restricted in their ability to work.  Likewise, quarantines do not stop the assault on the natural habitats that animals such as elephants depend on for food and safety.    

The global pandemic and the resulting quarantine and travel restrictions are challenging our ability to implement essential animal protection and conservation programs as well as raise the funds we need to do critical work.  But, we cannot and will not let it stop us. That is why I am asking you to please continue your support for The Elephant Project so that we can implement our programs to bring an end to human-elephant conflict – a struggle that is deadly for the animals and for the people they encounter in their search for food and safety. 

As I highlighted in previous communications, not only is poaching for ivory and elephant skin a serious and growing problem in Asia, but there is a marked rise in deadly human-elephant conflicts, particularly in large human population growth areas.  As more people settle near elephant habitats or ranges, these dangerous conflicts become inevitable.  This is compounded in some regions by extensive deforestation.  For decades, the worldwide trade in exotic woods harvested in many Asian countries – like Myanmar - has produced mass decimation of vital forests. Although many countries throughout the region have begun to limit their timber trade, illegal logging continues and is causing the rapid loss of elephants' natural habitat.  In response, elephants have been driven to desperate measures to survive. Their need for food has led to crop raiding near villages, producing terrifying consequences for the inhabitants and the destruction of the villagers' source of income and sustenance. These conflicts stir resentment toward elephants and have led to villagers engaging poachers to eliminate their foes.

Innovative, humane solutions are needed to protect both sides of the human-elephant crisis, and The Elephant Project has already been implementing solutions that work: the building of critical electric fencing that restore peace and balance between these two vital communities; and local and worldwide educational efforts to increase awareness of these conflicts and the proven approaches to bring them to an end. 

Our efforts to address human-elephant conflict is the subject of a new documentary co-produced The Elephant Project named The Linesman.  The 30-minute film, which has just been accepted into the Myanmar Film Festival in Los Angeles, explores the root causes of human-elephant conflict and highlights the efforts of conservationist U Khin Maung Gyi and The Elephant Project to restore peace and balance between elephants and their human neighbors.  

I encourage you to watch the trailer 

We will update you when the documentary is available for public viewing. The pandemic has delayed our release plans, but we remain optimistic it will be available soon.  If you are interested in seeing the full film – or have an idea on how we can promote it – please do not hesitate to reach out to me. 

In addition to The Linesman being a critical part of our educational efforts to help people around the world understand the urgent need in ending human-elephant conflict, we plan to build additional fencing when the new normal arrives and we can purchase the necessary material to build the fences, secure the necessary government approvals to act, and allow for workers building the fences to operate in a safe and healthy environment. But we must be prepared to act quickly which is why we need your continued financial help today. 

Our current plan is to continue our work with U Khin Maung Gyi, the conservationist highlighted in The Linesman, to build fences in the following villages where there is an urgent need to act to bring an end to these deadly conflicts:

  • Thar Yar Gone (fencing for 90 acres) – $7,485.00 USD
  • Myin Sai Kwin (fencing for 45 acres) - $5,863.00 USD
  • San(fencing for 40 acres) - $5,863.00 USD
  • Tha Nat Chaung (fencing for 30 acres) -$6,549 USD 

In order to build the fencing in these four villages we need a total of $25,760.00 USD. 

I know these are difficult times – emotionally and financially. But our animals need us, especially those that face an uncertain and perilous future like Myanmar’s elephants. I hope that you will help by making an additional tax-deductible donation today. 

Stay safe and healthy and thank you for your support. 

Dom filming The Linesman in Myanmar
Dom filming The Linesman in Myanmar
Movie poster for The Linesman
Movie poster for The Linesman
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I hope you are safe and healthy during these difficult times. 

Because of COVID-19, the world as we know it will be changed forever but the threat to the safety of elephants continues unchanged. The deadly consequences of human-elephant conflict are increasing, which is why we continue to focus on finding ways to mitigate and end these deadly confrontations. 

Our strategy to end these conflicts is based on education and action. We are taking action by funding the construction of humanely designed and safe electric fences in high human-elephant conflict areas and we are educating by highlighting the root cause of these conflicts as well as methods to end them. As part of our educational efforts, we are excited to announce  our first documentary, The Linesman.

The Linesman is the story of one man’s mission to end human-elephant conflict in his homeland.  With an unprecedented view of the plight of threatened villagers and their massive, majestic foes -- the Asian Elephant -- we come to truly understand both sides of this deadly struggle.  Set in the rural landscape of Myanmar, The Linesman illustrates how decades of massive deforestation, the loss of critical habitat, and the increase in elephant poaching for ivory and skin, have driven elephants to desperate measures to survive.  In the search for food and safety, they invade nearby villages destroying essential crops and posing a lethal risk to villagers.  To protect their livelihoods and their loved ones, some villages have resorted to calling in brutal poachers to stop the elephants.  The destruction on both sides has created devastating results that demand a search for solutions. 

The Linesman is a 30 minute documentary that explores the root causes of human-elephant conflict and highlights the efforts of conservationist U Khin Maung Gyi to restore peace and balance between these two vital communities.

You can view the trailer here

You can also learn more about the film, human-elephant conflict, and our efforts by visiting our website

With your continued support we will be able to get The Linesman in front of audiences around the world - which is a critical part of our ability to create the awareness and support necessary to  bring a short and long term end to this conflict. 

I look forward to your comments regarding the trailer and I urge you to please forward this email to as many people as possible and to also please encourage them to support our efforts.

Thanks again for your continued support. Stay safe and healthy.

All the best,

Dane

PS: We are currently finalizing the release schedule and screening locations for the film. As we know more I will send an update on when and where you can see the film. As we all know too well, we are living in a time where schedules are as fluid as the oceans around us.

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Some of the villagers protected by our efforts!
Some of the villagers protected by our efforts!

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to give you a quick update on our progress as the new year begins! 

BUILDING ELECTRIC FENCES: Fencing is being built. We are up to approximately 11,000 feet of electric fencing protecting the crops in several villages - which protects the elephants from certain death by the villagers.

As more funding is available we will invest in additional fencing! You will see footage of some of the fencing we have funded in the film link below! 

DOCUMENTARY: We just finished our third trip gathering footage for the documentary. Here is a ROUGH CUT of the trailer for the film https://youtu.be/T3GDHR4OyDM.

I will send the final cut once we have it! In the meantime I would love your comments on the trailer and so please send me any thoughts or suggestions.

RELOCATING ELEPHANTS: Unfortunately, our relocation efforts aren’t going as well as we had hoped. Funding has been slow coming in but we are ramping up our fundraising efforts and hope that the release of the documentary later this year will help with our fundraising efforts. We do have support staff on the ground monitoring the sitution which will help us move fast once we have the funds to begin the relocation efforts!

This is the reality of running an NGO - sometimes funding is slow. But your support has been phenomenal and for that I, and the elephants, are grateful and we have been able to do so much because of your support.

I feel confident that 2020 will be a phenomenal year for our efforts - thank you for all you do for the elephants!

All the best,

Dane

PS: But we are also working as always on our educational efforts and helping spread the word on other important developments regarding the protection of elephants. I hope you will take a minute to read the news articles included in this report.

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Organization Information

The Elephant Project

Location: Arlington, VA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @theelephantproj
The Elephant Project
Dane Waters
Project Leader:
Dane Waters
Founder and President
Arlington, VA United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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