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


Baker & Winkler (2020) provide a detailed examination of elephants in captivity, from an historical perspective to modern-day concerns. Concerns include the poor level of mahout skills and subsequent captive elephant welfare issues in the Thai elephant tourism industry. Rewilding is proposed as a method of rehabilitation and a way to include mahouts in the conservation process. This commentary argues that the tourism industry is making positive changes and mahout skills can be utilised successfully without the arduous task of rewilding. Animal rights groups and the transfer of misinformation surrounding captive elephant welfare are also examined, as these typically fail to acknowledge the socio-economic and geopolitical complexities of elephant conservation in the least developed and developing nations.

Author Biography

Ingrid Suter holds a doctorate in captive elephant conservation and is a casual demonstrator in the Environmental Management programme. She is Co-Founder of Asian Captive Elephant Standards, aiming to improve the welfare standards of elephants working in the tourism industry in Southeast Asia.Website