Conflicts between elephants and farmers are common across Asia, one factor that has caused the animal population to dwindle and farmers to lose their livelihoods.
Experts such as Sereivathana Tuy, 40, are encouraging farmers to find ways to live peacefully with the elephants. Tuy is a Cambodia-based elephant specialist at Flora and Fauna International, a wildlife non-profit organization based in Cambridge, UK.
He teaches farmers to alternate crops such as cucumbers and white radishes, which can be harvested several times a year. This gives elephants fewer chances to eat them.
Villagers have also learned to ward off elephants by planting chilli peppers around their land, rather than maiming them with weapons, as elephants dislike the smell, Tuy said.
For Tuy, both sides can preserve their ways of life. The villagers keep their harvest while the elephant population can also be conserved, he told IRIN in Koh Kong.
In Cambodia, fewer than 500 elephants are thought to roam in the wild today. In 1995, there were an estimated 2,000 wild elephants.
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)