Elephant Welfare Project

Working to make elephants' lives better


Frequently Asked Questions

The android app has been developed to help elephant-holding facilities to collect data on their elephants’ behaviour. Institutions that are using this app are using the reports of their elephants’ scores to track changes in their elephants’ welfare over time. This will also let them measure the potential welfare impacts of any changes they make to their elephant husbandry, enclosures, or the elephants present in their facility. The data collected via the app will also add to the large body of evidence being collected on elephant behaviour in collections all around the world, which will be used for developing best practice guidance on caring for captive elephants. We have compiled some frequently asked questions to share amongst our app-user community, and this page will be reviewed and updated regularly. If there is anything else you would like to ask, please get in touch via EWP@nottingham.ac.uk. and we can answer your queries directly.

Can anyone use this app?

The app has been specially designed as a tool for regular and routine use by people who regularly care for, or work with, elephants in captivity (for example in zoos, safari parks, tourist facilities, or sanctuaries). Therefore, only facilities and individuals who work with captive elephants can use the app.

How will my data be used?

We are providing this app, the automated reports, and the online members portal at no charge to our users, as we think it important that this is a resource which is freely accessible to our colleagues at any elephant caring facility. However, part of the agreement to use this app is that each facility agrees to allow us use their anonymised data to support our continuing research to further understand and improve captive elephant welfare. The results from all participating facilities are stored in a large and secure database at the University of Nottingham. This database will be one of the largest repositories of captive elephant behavioural data in the world. We will scientifically evaluate all collected information to learn how elephant behaviour is influenced by their individual circumstances, and to assess the impact of changes (such as building a new enclosure, changes to their training or husbandry, or if an elephant moves away or a new one enters the collection) on their behaviour. We can then use this information to help us provide better advice to captive elephant facilities on what they can do to encourage positive welfare in their elephants. Ultimately, these ongoing research efforts will increase our understanding of what is needed to provide the best possible welfare for captive elephants around the globe.

We have a Privacy Notice and Terms & Conditions (which cover GDPR and data usage), which are accessible within the app, and are also emailed to users when they are initially approved to use the app. This project and the app have been developed by a team of researchers at the University of Nottingham, and the website and database are hosted at the University on a secure server. It has therefore been assessed by the Information Compliance team at the University.

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions (found when registering for the app) and Privacy Policy for further information.

How will my data be stored?

All data received from the app resides in blob storage on the Azure cloud. The Azure account is managed by University of Nottingham, and the storage resource is associated with a subscription linked with the University’s Digital Research Service (DRS). It is also restricted to only a few select developers within the DRS group who have read access to the storage resource. The transferal of data to the storage account communication between a client application and an Azure Storage account is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS).

Is my data secure?

Yes. Storage on the Azure account, along with ongoing support from the University of Nottingham’s Digital Research Service team, ensures that all data collected via the app, is stored safely. We will not share your data with any other person or organisation and the data are fully protected by the General Data Protection Regulation (2021) and compliant and work within the rules of the Data Protection Act (2018). The personal data you provide is very limited (includes name, job role and contact email address for reports), and for external users such as yourself, the University of Nottingham only sees fully anonymised data.

Can I have access to my data?

Yes. Your data can be downloaded at any time via our website Members Portal page Members Portal page.

What happens if the EWP run out of money and the project closes?

In the unlikely event of project closure due to lack of funds, your data will always remain secure. All data collected via the app will remain secured on the University server. Your data will not be added to if there are no further entries made by yourself, however, you may download your own data at any time.

Can I customise reports generated by the app?

Yes, you can. Using the EWP dashboard on our website, sign into your account and you will be taken to your own data pages. At the top left of this page, you will see a ‘Reports’ button, click on this and then you will be taken to page where you can select the reports you wish to create and download. We are currently developing a demonstration video to show how to access and view your elephants’ reports.

How confidential is the data?

Your  data will not be shared outside of the Elephant Welfare Project team. Any analysis conducted within the Elephant Welfare team is done on aggregated statistics, hence no user will be identified either by institution or elephant.

Do I need to be connected to the internet whilst using the app?

No, you do not need to be connected to the internet whilst using the app. However, you will need to be connected to the internet to download and install the app, and to submit your data so that you can receive the PDF summary report of your data.

Can we delete users (for example if they have left the zoo)?

Yes, if you contact us directly, we can do this for you. Future versions of the app will allow users to do this task for themselves.

Can we remove elephants from our score reports (that we receive each time we upload our data) if they leave the collection for any reason?

Yes, we can do this from within the database, please contact us and we can make arrangements to do this for you.

Does the data stay with the elephant if the elephant moves to another collection?

The data you collect is associated with your collection only, however you may pass your data to the receiving party. We would recommend using the app (with increased frequency of possible) just before and after a collection transfer, as an opportunity to monitor the elephant’s welfare during the transition period. It would be beneficial if the receiving collection can also adopt the app, so that they can continue to monitor the elephant(s) after they have moved.