Elephant Welfare Group Data Collection
Phil Mumby

Elephant Welfare Group Data Collection

Elephant Welfare Group Welfare Monitoring Toolkit

The Elephant Welfare Group have developed a number of tools to assess and record changes in zoo elephant welfare over time. These tools include: (1) A tool for monitoring behaviour, and scoring protocols have also been developed for (2) body condition, (3) locomotion and (4) foot health.  Much of the work that has gone into the preparation of these documents has come from the experience and knowledge of keepers and managers, through direct contact between the Elephant Welfare Group and elephant keepers working in UK zoos. The documents below formed the basis of a ‘welfare monitoring toolkit’ which is allowing us to monitor changes over time at an individual level.  Each tool has a ‘how to’ guide and template for recording data. 

UK Zoos collect data on a quarterly basis throughout the year. However, these tools could also be used more frequently, particularly before and after any changes the elephant experiences (e.g. change in facilities, management, husbandry or changes in the composition of the elephant group living at that zoo through birth, death or importation or export of elephants from or to other facilities), to more intensively assess and monitor any changes to welfare that result.

Elephant Behavioural Welfare Assessment Tool

In 2014, the Behaviour Subgroup team of the Elephant Welfare Group launched the new Elephant Behavioural Welfare Assessment Tool.  This scientifically robust tool was developed to allow keepers to quickly and easily use behaviour to monitor the welfare of individual elephants over time. The tool was designed to be fairly quick to use (taking less than an hour in total, with observations of behaviour recorded across 3 days) and doesn’t require specialist training. The EBWAT was specifically designed to monitor an individual elephant's welfare over time, to assess the possible impact of changes in management, husbandry, facilities, or social partners (e.g. through birth, death or movement to (or introduction of a new elephant from) another collection.  The EBWAT is one of the few validated elephant behavioural welfare assessment tools in existence, and is used regularly by keepers in UK zoos.

Elephant Behavioural Welfare Tool Android App

There is now an Android app for this elephant behavioural welfare tool; it was designed to make this tool faster and easier to complete, and is being offered completely free of charge to anyone anywhere in the world who is caring for captive elephants.

You can click on this link if you want to request a copy of this app to try out with your elephants: Elephant Behavioural Welfare App Request Form.  And you can follow this link to see the instructional videos on how to set up and use the app: Elephant Welfare App Instructional Videos .

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at: [email protected]

(For all additional resources BIAZA members can log in to the members area to view the elephant husbandry resources section)

Husbandry Resources Elephants Welfare Assessment Tool
Husbandry Resources Elephants Elephant Welfare Group Healthpack