Introducing the Elephant Welfare Project

B1 School of Physics and Astronomy
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Presented by Dr. Lisa Yon, Associate Professor in Zoo & Wildlife Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine & Science.

Elephants are a charismatic species, attracting many visitors to see them in zoos, safari parks, and sites overseas. However, in recent years there have been many concerns identified for the welfare of these captive elephants.

Dr Lisa Yon (who heads up the Behaviour Subgroup of the government advisory committee, the Elephant Welfare Group) has led the creation of a rapid, reliable and validated tool for use by those caring for captive elephant anywhere in the world, to help them better monitor their elephants' welfare over time. And Dr Yon’s team recently created an android app of this tool, to make it even faster and easier to use.

They are providing this tool free of charge to anyone working with elephants, and have a public fundraising drive to solicit the funds vitally needed to support this ongoing work.

In this talk, Dr Yon will discuss the development of this tool, and give some examples of how it is used to help zoos monitor elephant welfare, and to inform policies and practices to improve captive elephant welfare worldwide.

Because all the data from this tool is uploaded to the project database, over time this will result in the creation of one of the largest databases on captive elephants in the world. Elephant facilities will be able to use this information to help them improve the welfare of elephants in their care, by (1) highlighting when there are any problems and also (2) providing evidence of things that help improve welfare.

This data can be also used as evidence in creating recommendations for physical and social environments that encourage positive elephant welfare, for policymakers and for those looking after elephants, all across the globe.