- Piers Locke on Sitasma Kali, Chitwan National Park, Nepal, 2004
Piers trained in South Asian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and in Anthropology at the University of Kent. He has been conducting ethnographic research in Chitwan, Nepal since 2001.
His doctoral research concerns apprenticeship learning, human-elephant relations, and the formation of an occupational subculture in the elephant stables of the Chitwan National Park, where captive elephants play a key role in biodiversity conservation and ecotourism. During his doctoral fieldwork he also apprenticed as an elephant handler at the Khorsor Elephant Breeding Center, and co-produced a documentary film called Servants of Ganesh.
Photography has played a major role in his research and has led to two exhibitions of his images. His research interests also include the history of captive elephant management in Nepal, elephant training as a multispecies rite of passage, conceptions of elephants as animals, persons, and gods, and the role of NGOs in elephant healthcare and elephant husbandry. Most recently, Piers has been working with his research student Kierin Mackenzie to survey the human-elephant nexus from multiple disciplinary perspectives, arguing for ethnoelephantology as an interdisciplinary research programme.