Two elephants battling - image by Bill Atwell

Understanding and improving the welfare of captive elephants in the UK and worldwide

The Elephant Welfare Project has been a driving force for gaining an understanding of how to evaluate, monitor and improve the welfare of elephants in captive facilities across the world.

Working in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders including keepers, mahouts, owners, managers, veterinarians, animal welfare charities and government officials. We are supported by various national and international organisations, with many of our projects involving input from students at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science as volunteers, or as undergraduate and postgraduate researchers.

Family of elephants walking through scrubland - image taken by Bill Attwell

Projects, activities and impact

Close up of hands reaching for books on a shelf


Two people monitoring a captive elephant

Collaborators, partners and supporters


We are a team based at the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, led by Dr Lisa Yon - Vice Chair of the UK Elephant Welfare Group (EWG) and Head of their Behaviour Subgroup.

The EWG works with UK elephant holding zoos to evaluate and improve the welfare of the elephants in their care. The ultimate aim of our work is to improve the lives of all elephants under human care, through the use of rigorous scientific methods to identify and share practices that encourage good welfare for captive elephants. 

Find Out More

For more information about us, the Elephant Behavioural Welfare Assessment Tool (EBWAT) and associated app, our ongoing research and more, visit our website.

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Most images of elephants on this page were taken by Bill Atwell. The photo of the elephant behind the fence is attributed to our student Ryan Harley.  For more information, you can contact us at:

World-class research at the University of Nottingham

University Park
+44 (0) 115 951 5151

Athena Swan Silver Award