Elephant Welfare Project

Working to make elephants' lives better


The Elephant Welfare Project Blog

The EWP Newsletter - January 2023

Recent EWP activity

– Outreach Talk

Our founder and project leader, Dr Lisa Yon, gave a talk on the 17th of November at the UoN University Park main campus all about the Elephant Welfare Project. It was a great to be able to share the project with the wider university community. You can watch the talk by clicking here

– Sutton Bonington Christmas Farmer’s Market 

We had a stall at the Sutton Bonington Christmas farmer’s market on 7th December, which was a brilliant opportunity to talk to students, staff and members of the general public about our work. We even managed to recruit some new student volunteers to join the team!

– Charnwood Christmas Market 

On the 20th of November some of our team members went to the Charnwood Christmas market in Loughborough to spread awareness and fundraise for the project. We also brought along our elephant habitat game for people to have a go at, which went down really well. 

EWP Research Talk

On 17th November, Dr Lisa Yon, the founder of the Elephant Welfare Project gave an insightful talk on the University of Nottingham’s main campus, University Park. The talk provided an overview of the research that has been carried out by the project so far, over the past few years.

This research includes investigations into the significance of resting behaviour, social interactions, and mental and physical environment to elephants in captivity. Lisa discussed the general concept of welfare in captive elephants and the the importance of assessing welfare to determine the internal state on an individual.

Moreover, Lisa explained the development of the novel Elephant Behaviour Welfare Assessment Tool (EBWAT), which has been designed to make it easier, quicker and more accessible for zoo keepers to assess the welfare of captive elephants using observations of behavioural indicators over time. 

The 2019 publication for the EBWAT can be accessed by clicking here.

The talk was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience, who were very keen to learn about, understand and support the work of our university-based initiative. 

The talk is available to watch by clicking here or watching below.

Research Highlights

Photo Credit: Lisa Yon
Photo Credit: Lisa Yon

Upcoming events & dates for your diary!

17th January – Dr Lisa Yon is hosting a workshop on the EBWAT for elephant keepers from 3 US zoos 

11th February 2022 – Talk at the Northern Zoological Symposium, University of Nottingham Vet School 

12th February 2022 – Stall at the Northern Zoological Symposium Careers Fair, University of Nottingham Vet School 


Picture 1

Research Seminar Series

On the 8th November, the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph in Canada held an online seminar. The title was ‘Applying the Science and Behaviour Change to Help Animals’ and it was led by Jo White and Suzanne Rogers. 

This seminar was the first in a mini-series on the human element of animal welfare; how our own attitudes and actions can promote of compromise animal wellbeing. This was a fascinating event and a promise of the brilliant seminars still to come, which encompass many of the core values held by the Elephant Welfare Project. 

If you would like to watch these seminars, or catch up on last years mini-series all about indigenous views on animals, please click here

Image No-8 - Bill Attwell
Photo Credit: Bill Attwell

The EWP Newsletter - October 2022

Recent EWP activity

Fundraiser Pub Quiz

On the 16th of July we held a pub quiz at the Red Lion, a local pub in Kegworth, in order to fundraise for the project, as well as raise awareness of the purpose of our work. It was a great success, really good fun and everyone learnt lots of cool facts about elephants! 

 Social Media activity 

Our social media team have been very busy across all of our social media platforms, sharing lots of information and interesting elephant-related research papers, such as one about the positive impact of removing tethers overnight from elephants in Zimbabwe. If you’re not already, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn so you don’t miss out on any updates or news

– Outreach Stalls

A few of our team members kindly dedicated some of their time to be at EWP stalls on campus both during term time and on Open Days to talk to staff and current students about our work, and teach prospective students about the EWP, the work we do and how they could involved in future!

Big news - upcoming event!

Screenshot 2022-10-09 at 17.52.58

On Friday 25th November, we are hosting a Black Tie Fundraiser Event at the Best Western Yew Lodge in Kegworth!

All of team have been working really hard to put this event together and we are so excited that it is open to everyone – students, staff and the general public! The night that will include a 3 course plant-based dinner, music from a Chamber Music Quartet, a charity auction of prizes from local businesses and a talk from our founder project founder and elephant specialist, Dr Lisa Yon. It is set to be a brilliant night so come along with your friends and enjoy supporting a great cause!

For more information and to book your tickets please click here or scan the barcode on the poster above.

Research Highlights

As always, the EWP team has been enjoying exploring lots of new and existing elephant research, so here are a few papers that we have read and liked recently, including one co-authored by our founder, Dr Lisa Yon (Williams et al., 2022). Give them a read and let us know what you think!

Dates for your diary!

26th October 2022 – Welfare and Ethics in Wildlife Conservation Programs talk

Christmas market stalls

5th May 2023 – Black Tie Fundraiser Event 

Photo credit; Bill Attwell (1)

The EBWAT App!

The Elephant Behavioural Welfare Assessment Tool (EBWAT) is a scientifically validated tool which allows keepers to use behavioural observations of the elephants under their care, in order to assess and monitor their welfare. The tool has been developed over the last decade by elephant experts, and routinely used by elephant holding zoos and wildlife parks across the UK since 2015, having been adopted into legislation. 

More recently, an android app has been created to make the EBWAT even more accessible and easy for keepers to use. The app removes the need for lots of paper and enables facilities to monitor welfare using a tablet, providing keepers with instant reports on the welfare over time of each individual elephant.

The data that is obtained from all of the facilities using the app is stored in a large repository at the University of Nottingham, which will be used for research to improve our understanding of elephant welfare, how it changes and how we can encourage positive welfare of elephants in captivity. 

Additionally, we hope this app will allow the EBWAT to reach keepers in elephant-keeping facilities across the world, including range countries, so the welfare of more elephants can be monitored, to aid research, and hopefully improved, for the benefit of the elephants themselves. 

To find out more about the EBWAT, please see the About Us page on our website!

What we're working on...

If you are based at the University of Nottingham Sutton Bonington campus, look out for our outreach stalls! We are hoping to have a table either in the Vet School Atrium or The Barn once a month, so if you have any questions about the project or want to donate, please feel free to come and say hello!


On the 26th of October, Dr Lisa Yon is hosting a Plenary talk for Asian Society for Conservation Medicine titled; ‘Welfare and Ethics in Wildlife Conservation Programs’ – it’s guaranteed to be an interesting one!