Areas of expertise
I have been lucky during my PhD to co-supervise multiple Masters students spanning different fields, from veterinary science through to behaviour and cognition. These projects included using behavioural assessments of Asian elephants both to inform animal welfare and as indicators to the quality of relationships between mahouts and elephants, and assessing elephant calf health during and following the taming procedure.
My general interests lie in human-wildlife interactions, with the aim for coexistence.
Specifically, my PhD is studying elephants working in the timber industry in Myanmar, the largest semi-captive population of Asian elephants in the world, focusing on how the close relationship that they have with the men that they work with (their mahouts) impacts their well-being. Our findings have highlighted changes to the mahout profession in recent decades, with current mahouts being younger and less experienced than in the past, changing elephants more frequently. I specifically focus on how these changing relationships may be impacting the health, behaviour and general well-being of the elephants.
I am also interested in certain times of conflict within this relationship, looking at the impacts of the taming procedure that elephant calves go through in this population, a time of increased mortality with the aim to improve population viability.