CSS Asian Elephant - Columbus Zoo and Wildlife Trust of India

The Center for Species Survival (CSS) Asian Elephant is an international collaborative effort, based in India, supported by a partnership between the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, IUCN SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group, and Wildlife Trust of India to further consolidate and scale up the strategic support and capacity in catalyzing assessments, planning and action for the conservation of Asian elephants across the geographical range. Its activities are guided by the priorities identified by the 13 Asian Elephant range countries such as the Kathmandu Declaration for Asian Elephant Conservation. 

The partners, along with government representatives from the 13 Asian elephant range countries, will collaborate to establish and sustain CSS Asian Elephant. They will work on a shared work plan, sustainability strategy, and stakeholder engagement to achieve key objectives, including:
  • Resource Hub: CSS Asian Elephant, hosted by WTI, will serve as a collaborative range-wide resource center for Asian elephant conservation collaborators. It will facilitate the exchange of scientific knowledge and conservation solutions among stakeholders in range countries.
  • Capacity Building: The Center will conduct in-country capacity-building efforts on priority topics, ranging from census techniques to human-elephant coexistence solutions.
  • Education and Community Engagement: It will serve as a model for Asian elephant interpretive experiences, offering educational opportunities for tourists, local communities, students, and experts.
  • Workshops and Training: The CSS will host workshops and training programs, such as capacity-building workshops and international collaborative elephant conservation planning sessions.
  • Emergency Response Fund: The partnership aims to establish a grant fund for emergency human-elephant conflict mitigation across the range countries.

Supporting the Species Conservation

In the first year of operation, 2024, the CSS will focus on establishing CSS infrastructure and operations and initiating activities based on the Kathmandu Declaration for Asian Elephant Conservation (April 2022). The Declaration has nine priority commitments made by range country governments with a goal of completion by 2025. In Year 1, the CSS will address four of the priorities:


Promote the development of national guidelines on wildlife friendly linear infrastructure including elephant based on those developed by the Asian Elephant Specialist Group of the IUCN SSC and Connectivity Specialist Groups after Range States consultations.


Ensure that all Range States have a National Asian Elephant Conservation Action Plan.


Promote the development of national guidelines on Human Asian Elephant Conflict mitigation based on those developed by the Asian Elephant Specialist Group of the IUCN SSC after Range States consultations.


The Range States jointly initiate the creation of an Asian Elephant Fund assisted by the Asian Elephant Specialist Group of the IUCN SSC.