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Liv Baker and Rebecca Winkler, Asian elephant rescue, rehabilitation and rewilding

Abstract

Baker & Winkler (2020) propose restoring elephants to a state of “wildness” and a “life worth living” by reintroducing captive elephants to the hands of indigenous mahout cultures and practices. To evaluate this proposal, we must define operationally a number of critical concepts in a species-centric, individualistic way, avoiding human-centric opinions and romanticized notions of the wild. Animal welfare science can help create greater synergy between ex-situ zoological institutions and in-situ elephant conservation, and welfare efforts that respect and value the cultures of both species.

Author Biography

Lindsay R. Mehrkam is an assistant professor of psychology, board-certified behavior analyst, and applied animal behaviorist. Her research focuses on designing and evaluating behavioral interventions to promote human and animal welfare in society. Website

Otto Fad is an animal welfare and behavior specialist and partner in the behavior and leadership consulting firm, Precision Behavior. He has worked with numerous zoos and aquariums and specializes in mega-vertebrates. He has collaborated on diverse aspects of elephant behavior, management, and research. Website

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