Media release from Conservation Guardians, 16 July, 2020
Caring for elephants, educating for biodiversity
Members of ECASA - the Elephant Care Association of Southern Africa - acknowledge that our primary responsibility and reason for being is to provide the best possible care for elephants in our facilities
To achieve our goal of providing the best possible care for our elephants, member facilities have been subjected to independent scrutiny that includes the application of a scientific assessment model developed by scientists of the Ethics Laboratory for Veterinary Medicine, Conservation and Animal Welfare at Padua University, Italy.
Assessment includes scientific research into the elephants’ well-being through functional testing and through observation of their behaviour - the results of which provide us with the elephants’ perspective on their lives.
The researchers also study visitors’ and keepers’ experiences through statistically significant numbers of completed questionnaires.
Ongoing, multidisciplinary research conducted at our facilities since 2013 helps us deliver better care, and helps us better understand the measurement of care from the elephants’ perspective. Science thus guides management towards improve the animals’ living conditions if and when necessary.
The research at our facilities - which remains ongoing - is and has been conducted in a joint venture between the Ethics Laboratory for Veterinary Medicine, Conservation and Animal Welfare at Padua University; KwaZulu-Natal-based consultancy, Conservation Guardians; the National Zoological Gardens (NRF); and the University of Kwazulu-Natal (which has joined the project more recently).