The Flying Squad

The WWF Flying Squad

The Tesso Nilo Elephant Flying Squad is a team of four captive elephants and eight handlers (mahouts). The team patrols settlements on the edges of Tesso Nilo National Park and helps the local farmers to reduce elephant conflict.


Established in 2004, the Flying Squad is a joint operation of WWF-Indonesia and the Conservation Authority of Riau. The Squad covers Lubuk Kembang Bunga village on the northern border of Tesso Nilo National Park. Its mission is to:

  • reduce damage to communities by pushing wild elephants back into the forest
  • teach communities how to mitigate conflict
  • Instill a sense of security in the communities to give them confidence that they can protect their farms without killing elephants
  • monitor illegal activities in the park
  • Provide employment and decent living conditions to captive conflict elephants
Roji captured Flying Squad’s mahouts bathing the Flying Squad’s elephants in a small river inside ... / ©: WWF-Indonesia/ROJI
Bathing The Elephant. Roji captured Flying Squad’s mahouts bathing the Flying Squad’s elephants in a small river inside Tesso Nilo forest. Before they go patrol, the mahouts must bath the elephants in order to avoid agas, a kind of insects that always lurking over the elephants.
© WWF-Indonesia/ROJI