An extremely weighty problem: Thailand’s elephants, once revered, are suffering many threats, ranging from deforestation to unscrupulous gangs
Here’s a link to the 2002 article on captive elephants in Nepal that appeared in Giants on Our Hands: Proceedings of The International Workshop on The Domesticated Asian Elephant, Bangkok, Thailand, 5 to 10 February 2001. It contains lots of useful information about the recent history of captive elephants in Nepal, including the establishment of the Khorsor Breeding Center, data on the declining wild elephant population, captive elephants held in public and private locations, and births of captive elephants.
Here are a couple of Paul Kiel’s recent online field reports about an injured male called Babul, revealing some important insights about relations between wild and captive elephants sharing the same space, and about mahouts’ understanding of the ways that wild elephants respond to elephants who live with humans.
On May 7 & 8, at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, an international group of researchers from across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences met to present papers and discuss a variety of connected issues in human-elephant relations. The event featured anthropologists, ecologists, geographers, historians, political scientists, Sanskritists, zoologists, and zoo elephant experts from Australia, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, UK, and USA.
The symposium was concerned with ways of theorizing the human-elephant nexus, with human-elephant histories, with ethnographies of captive elephant management, with elephant welfare, and with conflict and coexistence in elephant conservation. The New Zealand news media were somewhat curious as to why such an event should be occurring in the Land of the Long White Cloud, but the charismatic qualities of a species so very entangled with human activity ensured a healthy interest from the public. The New Zealand South Asia Centre (NZSAC) and the School of Social and Political Sciences (SAPS) were honoured to host such a dynamic mix of senior, world-class and junior, up-and-coming researchers. The event proved to be intimate and congenial, with compelling presentations and vibrant discussion. As such an unusually interdisciplinary meeting, participants remarked upon the refreshing opportunity to learn from colleagues with differing disciplinary expertise. New academic friendships were made, the prospect of new collaborations forged, and plans to publish the papers agreed upon. One participant even asked when and where the next version of this event would occur!
A full conference report will be posted on this blog soon. See the Symposium Programme with abstracts
University of Canterbury Media Releases
In 2003 the Biodiversity and Elephant Conservation Trust hosted the Symposium on Human-Elephant Relations and Conflicts in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Edited by Jayantha Jayawardene, the conference proceedings were published as Endangered Elephants: Past, Present and Future.
Many of the world’s leading elephant experts presented papers on elephants in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania, covering topics on behaviour, captive management, conflict with humans, conservation projects and policies, crop-raiding, demography, genetics, habitat use, and social organization. For abstracts of the papers, see: http://www.elephantsinsrilanka.org/symposium2003.htm#2.
Discussion on the Elephant Family website of the recent paper by Maan Barua and Shushrut Jadhav about the social and psychological effects of human-elephant conflict in Assam