Tag Archives: captivity

Mind and Movement: Meeting the interests of elephants

Several WD visitors have asked us where they can get a copy of the book An Elephant In The Room: The Science and Well-Being of Elephants in Captivity. We do know that the book will be made available on amazon.com, but we are also aware that that may still take a bit of time. We will keep you updated. The opening chapter in the book, Mind and Movement: Meeting the interests of elephants, is written by ElephantVoices’ Joyce Poole and Petter Granli. You may open and download the chapter here (.pdf-file, 2,2 mb).
The Science and Well-Being of Elephants in Captivity
Cover photos by Petter Granli, ElephantVoices.

Joyce finally in court in legal case against Ringling Brothers Circus

Joyce is currently in Washington DC to testify as expert witness in the legal case against Ringling Brothers Circus. She will be in court as the first witness tomorrow, Wednesday February 4th.  The courtroom is open to the public. The New York Times are among media that covers the suit – this article is from January 31st.

An Elephant In The Room, new book

A new book is on the market: An Elephant In The Room: The Science and Well-Being of Elephants in Captivity. The opening chapter in the book, Mind and Movement: Meeting the interests of elephants, is written by ElephantVoices’ Joyce Poole and Petter Granli.
The Science and Well-Being of Elephants in Captivity
Cover photos by ElephantVoices’ Petter Granli.

From the back cover:
“There once were about 160 species of elephants, reaching back across 60 million years. Today, only three remain, and their survival is not certain.

An Elephant In The Room: The Science and Well-Being of Elephants in Captivity, authored by experts from around the world and astride many disciplines, brings a new voice to assist their future. It examines the many and perplexing difficulties of elephants in captivity, looking for the best questions and trying to provide good answers,

The book presents the biological, ecological, and social dimensions of elephant behavior in the wild as the basis for any sound understanding of what elephants want and need. It discusses the effects of trauma and stress upon elephants, with a close look at current captive management systems and beliefs. It also offers a scientific assessment of captive elephant welfare, and practical methods to improve fundamental aspects of the lives of elephants in captivity. Presentations of new and impressive initiatives in the form of orphanages and sanctuaries provide hope for the future, as do new visions that would transform the current management regimes in zoos.

Humans have over millennia caused elephants enormous anguish, and even their imminent demise. Are we also capable of saving them? Is captivity a requirement for this, and if so, what should it be like? What are the special needs of elephants? What can be done to improve their quality of life?

The number of zoos giving up their elephants has been growing in recent times. More are questioning whether zoos can provide for the extraordinary demands of these extraordinary beings. To help address this, the book concludes with a set of Best Practices: a synthesis of science and ethics to guide a healthier future for captive elephants.

Anyone interested in animal welfare, and especially the welfare of elephants in captivity, will find this book essential and enlightening reading.”

An Elephant In The Room: The Science and Well-Being of Elephants in Captivity, will soon be available on Amazon.com.

We wish all ElephantVoices friends and WildlifeDirect bloggers and staff a Joyful Holiday and a Peaceful 2009!

We’re getting very close to Christmas and the end of the year, and want to use this opportunity to send warm wishes and a heart felt thank you to all of you around the world who support elephants and our work financially or in other ways. Our best wishes and thanks also go to WD staff, and to all the other WD bloggers who work so hard to protect the many species in need – keep up the good work!

We had a good time during our hectic lecture and fundraising trip in California in November – and we are extremely grateful for all the warm hospitality, good friendship and generosity we experienced during our two week visit. The global financial crisis does not create the best atmosphere in which to raise funds, but the new American President (elect) and a newborn Obama in Amboseli keep us optimistic!
Cooking party Sausalito
Vegetarian cooking party at our friend Coco’s house in Sausalito 8 November, a lively event to promote the interests of elephants and the work of ElephantVoices. (Photo: PartiesThatCook)

From ElephantVoices event in Pacific Palisades
For a second year in a row we enjoyed the warm hospitality of Patty and Doug (and their 6 dogs) during a vegan reception at their home in Pacific Palisades, 16 November. (Photo: Tim Stahl)

It’s been a very busy year, as usual, which you can read more about in our End Year letter. In 2009 we intend to spend about half of our time on our new Sri Lankan project, a quarter on our Amboseli work and the remainder on advocacy. Petter and/or I will be in the field in Kenya in January, and part of February and March, and in Sri Lanka in June and again in September. Manori Gunawardena will be in Minneriya-Kaudulla throughout the year and Blake Murray will be helping us to collect and analyze data in Amboseli. Public awareness and education are elements that runs through all of our work, so you will continue to hear from us whether we are in the field or not.
Captive elephant
As advancements in science contribute to our growing understanding of elephants we continue to put substantial time and effort into influencing welfare policy so that elephant interests are met. The elephant Watoto (Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle) in the photo is blurred due to stereotypical swaying – a behavior that expresses the massive frustration caused by confinement.  (Photo: Alyne Fortgang)
Amboseli elephants
Elephant Sri Lanka

During 2009 we look forward to being with our long-term elephant friends in Amboseli, Kenya, and with our new acquaintences in Minneriya-Kaudulla, Sri Lanka. And, of course, to working with our colleagues in Amboseli and with Manori and our many new colleagues in Sri Lanka.  The survival of wild elephants depends on finding a balance between the needs of people and elephants – a task that requires the collaborative work of people all over the world.

In order to find ways for people and elephants to co-exist in Minneriya-Kaudulla we must start by defining the basic needs of an elephant population that seems to number over 1,000 individuals rather than the previous estimate of 450 – we have our work for 2009 cut out for us!

We wish you all a festive holiday season and a peaceful 2009 for all creatures!
Link to Christmas decoration

Warm Greetings, Joyce and Petter