Lisa Yon obtained a BSc in Pscyhology from the University of Toronto, Canada. She received a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University, U.S.A., in 1996. She received her PhD from the University of California, Davis, U.S.A. in 2006 in Physiology (Endocrinology of Musth in Asian Bull Elephants), having conducted the majority of her research on elephants in Thailand. She joined the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science in 2007.
Lisa Yon is a Lecturer in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. She is head of the Behaviour Subgroup of BIAZA's Elephant Welfare Group. She currently serves as Chair of the European Wildlife Disease Association. She serves as a member of the Ethics Committee for the Zoological Society of London and is a member of the Health and Welfare Committee at Twycross Zoo. She is a member of the IUCN Wildlife Health Specialist Group. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Frozen Ark Project. She serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the non-profit organisation Trunks and Leaves, whose aim is to promote conservation of wild Asian elephants. She is a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and served as Head of the Wildlife Team for the recently completed WildTech project ('Novel Technologies for Surveillance of Emerging and Re-emerging Infections of Wildlife').
I am interested in the health, welfare and conservation of captive and free-living wildlife (with a particular focus on elephants), which includes a One Health approach looking at the interface… read more
ELLEN WILLIAMS, CARLY L CHADWICK, LUCY ASHER and LISA YON, 2018. A review of the current indicators of welfare in captive elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus) Animal Welfare. (In Press.)
WYSE JM, HARDY ICW, YON L and MESTERTON-GIBBONS M, 2017. The impact of competition on elephant musth strategies: a game-theoretic model. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 417, 109-130
I am interested in the health, welfare and conservation of captive and free-living wildlife (with a particular focus on elephants), which includes a One Health approach looking at the interface between humans/domestic animals/wildlife and their environment. I am involved in and developing a number of projects which approach these issues from various angles.
Assessment and improvement of the behavioural welfare of captive elephants
I am currently overseeing a range of undergraduate and postgraduate projects to address these issues, through my role as Head of the Behaviour Subgroup of the government advisory committee, the Elephant Welfare Group. Here are details on a recently completed project. Our work includes: developing and validating tools for behavioural welfare assessment, an evidence-based review of UK government guidelines, developing new methods for assessing the efficacy of Environmental Enrichment, and developing novel forms of enrichment for elephants. I am currently co-supervising a PhD student who is looking at social behaviour and social compatibility in captive elephants.
Effects of anthropogenic disturbance on wild elephant populations in Peninsular Malaysia
I am co-supervising a PhD student who is looking at the health effects of human activities on free-ranging Asian elephant populations through assessment of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites and a quantitative and qualitative assessment of endoparasites in different populations experiencing different levels of disturbance.
Understanding and combating African Swine Fever in Europe
I am participating the new EU COST Action: 'ASF STOP: Understanding and combating African Swine Fever in Europe'. This four year project involves partners in 19 countries. The main objective of the project is to improve, integrate, translate, transfer and communicate knowledge of ASF in domestic pigs and wild boar in Europe in order to develop and apply effective approaches to combat it.
We are developing further projects to understand and improve the welfare of captive elephants in the UK, and throughout the world. These projects include:
- Development of alternative methods to assess movement in elephants and assess activity levels (potentially using GSP collar/anklet and/or an accelerometer)
- Determine minimum space requirements for captive elephants, and the impact of different amounts of space on elephant behaviour
- Understanding stereotypies, and potential cognitive changes that occur in elephants in association with their expression
- Developing further ways to assess elephant demeanour in relation to welfare assessment; explore development of cognitive bias testing
Environmental Geochemistry and Animal Health
We are developing projects to explore links between environmental geochemistry (mineral balance in soil and water, and in the plants growing in that environment) and animal health, particularly wildlife. This work is in collaboration with colleagues at the British Geological Survey (Prof. Mel Leng and Dr. Michael Watts), and from the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham (Prof. Martin Broadley).
Impact of diet on the health and welfare of captive carnivores
No comprehensive investigation has been undertaken to ascertain the role of diet and feeding (fasting) regime on carnivore health and welfare, despite potential for dietary modification to contribute to the welfare status of carnivores housed in captivity. We propose a multi-disciplinary, holistic approach, making use of recent advances in the understanding of carnivore nutrition, physiology, behavior, and stress, to determine the effect of diet on gastrointestinal health, and the welfare state, of captive felids.
Developing new methods for preservation of genetic material from endangered species
We want to develop methodology in support of aims of the Frozen Ark Project. This may include a variety of techniques, including development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in endangered species.