Tangkahan is home to Sumatran elephant conservation herd. All 9 members of the herd are in good health and rescued form human elephant conflict in Banda Aceh. They are trained for patrolling the forest of Gunung Leuser National Park to prevent poaching of the remain wild population.
The Sumatran elephant is one of three recognised subspecies of the Asian elephant, and native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. In 2011, IUCN upgraded the conservation status of the Sumatran elephant from endangered to critically endangered in its Red List as the population had declined by at least 80% during the past three generations, estimated to be about 75 years.
The subspecies is seriously threatened by habitat loss mostly due to palm oil industry, degradation and fragmentation and poaching; over 69% of potential elephant habitat has been lost within the last 25 years. Much of the remaining forest cover is in blocks smaller than 250 km2 (97 sq mi), which are too small to contain viable elephant populations.