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

Abstract

Baker and Winkler (2020) advocate a rehabilitation program that would end the oppression of elephants — not by severing human-elephant relations, but by enabling human-bonded elephants to live a full life. We consider this program within a compassionate conservation framework, which recognises all sentient beings as persons. From this vantage point, we gaze further into the future to ask what direction just human-elephant relations could take: What could emerge from a human-elephant relation once elephants are no longer enslaved and requiring rescue? We envisage a future — beyond captivity and rewilding — of elephant sovereignty.

Author Biography

Arian Wallach is an ecologist working to promote compassionate approaches to conservation that enable the persistence of species and respect the lives of individual wild animals. Website

Sujeewa Jasinghe is a resident environmental specialist, archaeozoologist, and co-founder of the Centre for Eco-Cultural Studies. Website

Sudarshani Fernando is a resident anthropologist and co-founder of the Centre for Eco-Cultural Studies engaged in community participatory conservation initiatives with forest people jointly combating illegal captivity of wild elephants and sloth bears, through legal prosecutions. Website

Jessica Bell Rizzolo, postdoctoral researcher at the Conservation Criminology Laboratory at Michigan State University, does research on human-animal interaction and trans-species psychology in the context of tourism and the wildlife trade. Website

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