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About the International Elephant Project (IEP)


That all Sumatran elephants live in the wild in secure and viable populations.

Mission Statement

To promote the survival of the Sumatran and Bornean elephants in their natural habitat by undertaking genuine, measurable and effective elephant conservation.

The International Elephant Project (IEP) is a not-for-profit project for elephant conservation, rainforest protection and local community partnerships, in order to protect an save the entire ecosystem and biodiversity of habitats shared by elephants. Run by The Orangutan Project (TOP) Board, IEP was formed to conserve elephant’s entire ecosystem in a holistic manner.

The organisation provides technical and financial assistance directly to on-the-ground conservation projects. The objectives of the IEP have many flow-on effects that both protect other Critically Endangered species, such as the orangutan, tiger, and rhino, as well as indigenous communities and the remaining rainforest in Borneo and Sumatra.

Our major strategy is to radio collar and elephant and each herd and track the herds by satellite. We then have our Human Elephant Conflict Mitigation teams follow the herds and work with local communities to see that both elephants and humans remain safe and live in harmony. Saving the rainforest is the single most cost-effective way to save our planet. Protecting the rainforest means protecting the lifeblood of our earth, and our vital stores of carbon.

The elephant’s rainforest habitat is disappearing at an unprecedented rate. And much of what remains is degraded by drought, forest fires and illegal logging. This destruction is also inflicting a massive amount of suffering on a species that is highly intelligent and self-aware. Tragically, extinction in the wild is likely for both Sumatran and Bornean elephants if we do not take immediate action.

For further information call 1300 733 273.

Leif Cocks


Leif is the founder of the International Elephant Project (IEP). He has worked at Perth Zoo for 25 years as a curator managing a wide range of animals, including Asian elephants. In respect to his professional, animal, human and financial management skills, Leif has been an Australasian Species Management Program Committee Member; a Quarantine-Approved Assessor; Australasian Husbandry Adviser; Zoo Accreditation Officer; UN GRASP in-country point of contact, an International Species Coordinator and Chair of a World Aquarium and Zoo Association global conservation program.

Leif has several academic qualifications, including a Masters of Science studying orangutans. He lectures at universities, is a seasoned public speaker, supervises university students and regularly publishes papers in peer reviewed journals. Leif also has enormous field experience in protecting rainforest, rescuing and releasing wildlife (including the first two ever captive-born orangutans).

Leif’s years in the field have earned him respect within the conservation field. He has been a key player in developing conservation plans for Indonesia and influencing positive change for wildlife protection and survival. This respect has given IEP parent organisation,  The Orangutan Project (TOP), world standing in conservation, and allows Leif to successfully negotiate conservation agreements with the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry and other government officials.

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