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


Baker & Winkler’s target article is well-researched and thought-provoking, but I do have four points of contention: (1) The proposal to entrust elephants to traditional mahout culture has restricted elephants’ freedom of movement and reproduction and (ab)used them. (2) The concept of “indigenous” simultaneously reifies and denigrates the “noble savages”, privileging only human indigenous groups, ignoring nonhuman indigenes. (3) Most lifestyles have been globalized under consumer-economic and anthropocentric worldviews. (4) The fact that people (including mahouts) are part of nature does not mean they are benevolent, any more than cities, monocultures, or roads are.

Author Biography

Helen Kopnina, coordinator, Sustainable Business program, Hague University of Applied Science (HHS), Netherlands, conducts research on environmental sustainability, environmental education, and biological conservation. Website