Launched in the year that the world's population hits seven billion, Jungle City celebrates some of Asia's most threatened and extraordinary wildlife.
In August and September this year a herd of life-sized Asian elephants will lead a community of orangutans, hornbills, tigers and crocodiles onto the streets of Edinburgh. Each animal is an ambassador for their wild counterpart back home where their habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate. All the animals in Jungle City have lost their forest homes which they share with the endangered Asian elephant. They arrive in Edinburgh homeless, but filled with the hope of turning their fortunes around.
As space runs out, people living in the forests are at risk. Dangerous conflicts with wild animals cause huge suffering every year, and are on the increase. If these animals' habitats are lost, they will be gone forever, taking with them countless species of plants, animals, and life-giving natural systems. The survival of wild habitats such as forests is crucial for the planet, as they provide oxygen and absorb Co2, helping regulate the global climate. They also act as a natural pharmacy and can hold the key to new medical discoveries. We must act now while straightforward solutions are still within our grasp. By supporting Jungle City, you will help to preserve natural systems on which all future life on this planet depends.
Jungle City Edinburgh will be raising funds and awareness for forests across Asia and through Elephant Family's three 'elephant landscapes' in particular:
The Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Malaysia
One of the most important landscapes for the Bornean elephant, orangutan, hornbill, saltwater crocodile and many more.
The Western Forest Complex, Thailand
Will keep vital forest areas connected allowing elephants, Indochinese tigers, hornbills and many other animals to reach fresh feeding grounds.
The East-Central Landscape, India
Home to 1,800 Asian elephants and one of the last remaining habitats suitable for the rare mugger crocodile, the critically endangered gharial crocodile, and almost 200 Bengal tigers.
The five animals featured in Jungle City are all endangered and are fast becoming homeless. Populations are plummeting and within decades, we could lose some of the world’s most majestic creatures.
A charismatic guardian of the forest, the Asian elephant plays a vital role in shaping and sustaining the richness of their habitat. By saving the forest homes of the Asian elephant, they are saved for countless other birds and animals. For this reason the Asian elephant is the flagship species for both Elephant Family and Jungle City.
Population 100 years ago: 250,000
Population today: 30,000 across 13 countries
Disappearing because: Massive loss of habitat up to 95% has vanished in the past 100 years. This is the main threat facing the Asian elephant, resulting in conflict with local people and poaching.
The tiger is a top predator and plays a pivotal role to maintain the balance of its ecosystem. Like elephants, this beautiful creature needs large areas in which to roam, and these must be rich in prey. The large-scale loss of such areas, together with poaching for body parts and the deliberate killing where they are seen as a threat, has left the vast majority of tigers in small, isolated populations that may not be able to sustain themselves.
Population 100 years ago: 100,000
Population today: 3,000 across 13-14 countries
Disappearing because: Massive loss of habitat, relentless poaching for traditional medicine and skins and retributive killing.
This large, quiet and gentle ape lives in the tropical rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. The orangutan is the only other great ape in Asia besides humans, but may not be for much longer if their habitat is not protected. Orangutans breed at an incredibly slow rate, and since they are also threatened by forest fires and being directly killed if found in a plantation, populations may soon be unable to recover.
Population 100 years ago: 500,000
Population today: 7,000 Sumatran orangutans and 55,000 Bornean orangutans
Disappearing because: Destruction of their habitat is happening on a massive scale: 80% of their habitat has been lost in the past 20 years alone. Main threats are logging for timber and paper pulp and the conversion of forest for palm oil cultivation and mining.
The fish eating Asian gharial is the rarest crocodile in the world. It has a long and slender snout, it was taken to the brink of extinction in the 1970s, and in 1974 there were no more than 60 adults left.. The mugger crocodile, which has a broad snout, is faring slightly better, but both are in danger of disappearing forever.
Population 100 years ago: Over 10,000 gharial and more than 20,000 mugger crocodiles
Population today: Fewer than 200 breeding gharial and between 5000-10,000 mugger crocodiles
Disappearing because: The main threats to these crocodiles are the illegal skin trade and habitat destruction. They are also threatened by accidental death in fishing nets, egg predation and use in traditional medicine.
Characterised by their distinctive horns or 'casques' these unmistakable birds use their eye-catching head gear for display and to amplify their calls. To survive, both the rhinoceros hornbill and the closely related great hornbill need large areas of forest.
Population: More research is needed, however,populations are known to be declining.
Disappearing because: Both species are under continuous threat across south east Asia from logging, fire and forest clearance for farming. They are also hunted for their bill and tail in traditional ceremonies, and for food and the pet trade.