Studies focusing on animal behaviour, behavioural ecology and life history of animals have been pivotal in shaping our understanding of the lives and strategies of groups and individuals of many species. Research on these topics is diverse and often utilises long-term studies of individually identified animals. These studies have thereby contributed to our understanding of key topics including cooperation, senescence and the formation and maintenance of groups.
However, there have been limited attempts to directly apply these findings to conservation. This workshop will address the issue by focusing on the current and potential applications of basic research on elephant behaviour and ecology to conservation. The extant elephant species are ideal for this because their conservation status is “threatened” or “endangered” across their range. Elephants are well-known conservation symbols and can be referred to as flagship, keystone, umbrella and charismatic species, therefore they have a high value not just in monetary terms, but also for their role in ecosystems and capturing the attention of stakeholders. Furthermore, researchers working with elephants are aware of their conservation status and may be very amenable to transforming their work into academic conservation outputs, consulting with policy makers and interacting with conservation-focused organisations.
Participants are from across the spectrum of basic to applied research and include individuals directly involved in conservation (see list of participants, for example, some are both academic researchers and directing NGOs).