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

Abstract

Baker & Winkler (B&W) provide a comprehensive and systematic review of Thailand’s captive tourist elephants. They propose rewilding as a solution to improving the welfare of captive tourist elephants. They also advocate this method for restoring degraded forests, elephant conservation and preserving traditional elephant-keeping practices and knowledge. This commentary argues that rewilding might exacerbate negative human-elephant interactions and impede conservation efforts. While further research is required for rewilding to be considered a viable and practical solution, B&W’s focus on documenting traditional knowledge which can directly contribute to the welfare of captive elephants remains important.

Author Biography

Sagarika Phalke has studied conditions of captive elephants within the Asian context. With an MSc. in Human-Animal Interactions from the University of Stirling (UK) and practical work experience in South Asia, her focus is on applied research in the field. Website

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