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Projects in India

Filtering by Tag: Asian Nature Conservation Foundation

Of Elephants and Man

Chris Reifschneider

Documenting Indigenous Traditional Knowledge on the Asian Elephant in Captivity

For nearly 3500 years, Asian elephants have lived and worked with humans. Today, approximately 15,000 elephants are housed in zoos, circuses, temples, government camps, orphanages, and with private owners. Traditionally, select men in range countries developed the skills and understanding necessary to become the mahouts (care givers) of these highly esteemed animals. Today, however, the younger generation is drawn to urban areas and the careers they pursue will offer more financial rewards with less physical effort and risk. While many references and texts are available that address current elephant husbandry issues, the traditional knowledge that is transferred verbally from one generation to the next is disappearing.

Asian Nature Conservation Foundation, Indian Institute of Science, has completed their project report "Of Elephants and Man: Documenting Indigenous Traditional Knowledge on the Asian Elephant in Captivity" This report documents the relationship between the elephant and its keeper for prosperity. The in-depth knowledge these men have of the species in general, may provide valuable insight into the mitigation of human-elephant conflict issues.   

Asian Elephant Support is honored to have assisted with the funding for this project because of the preservation of knowledge it will provide and the potential conservation applications.  

This report will only be available for a limited time on the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation website here: