Scientific Advisory Committee
Aims and Mission
Overcoming the challenges facing Asian elephants and their habitats will require many individuals and organizations working together.
The scientific advisory committee is a network of individuals based anywhere in the world, with interest and expertise in the conservation of Asian elephants and their habitats. Our goal is to be an inclusive, open and transparent community, regardless of career stage, serving as resources for one another and the general public. Participation is voluntary and diverse perspectives from all fields are welcome.
Dr. Lisa Yon
Research & Publications
Dr. Lisa Yon has been studying captive and free-living elephants since 1994. She is a veterinarian, and completed her PhD studying the endocrinology of musth in Asian elephants in Thailand in 2006. She has supervised and is currently supervising/co-supervising a range of projects on elephant health, welfare and behaviour, ranging from the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on the health of free ranging elephants in peninsular Malaysia to molecular studies of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes virus in Asian elephants in Europe and southeast Asia, to the behaviour and welfare of captive elephants in the U.K.
Dr. Yon serves on the UK government advisory committee, the Elephant Welfare Group. On this committee, she is head of the Behaviour Subgroup, and oversees a range of projects to develop and conduct behavioural assessments of captive elephant welfare in the UK. She is currently Principle Investigator on a government funded project to develop behavioural indicators of the welfare of UK zoo elephants. She serves on the Ethics Committee for the Zoological Society of London, on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Frozen Ark project, and on the Health and Welfare Committee of Twycross Zoo. She is also a member of the IUCN Wildlife Health Specialist Group.
She is currently a Lecturer in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine at the University of Nottingham, School of Veterinary Medicine & Science.
Dr. Maan Barua
Research & Publications
Maan Barua is a human geographer whose research examines the politics of biodiversity conservation. After completing an undergraduate degree in the biological sciences in India, Maan obtained an MSc in Biodiversity Conservation from the University of Oxford. Maan’s DPhil at Oxford, entitled ‘The Political Ecology of Human-Elephant Relations in India’, was a critical analysis of the diverse forms of human-animal encounters, practices of conservation cartography and the political role of materials in social life. These novel contributions to the field of human geography have been published in the leading academic journals within the discipline. At present, Maan is working on the cultural geographies of species extinction, examining the origins of the concept of extinction, its mobilizing power in global conservation regimes, and the ways through which the irreversibility of extinction is contested by technological and biogeographic practice. Maan is continuing his research on the social, political and economic dimensions of elephant conservation through (1) a study of elephant corridors in India, and (2) an assessment of conflict compensation schemes. Maan is a Research & Teaching Fellow at the School of Geography and the Environment, and Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College, Oxford.
Dr. Vivek Thuppil
University of Nottingham, Malaysia campus
For my doctoral research, I developed innovative technology that attempted to capitalize on elephant behavior to provide a novel method of mitigating human-elephant conflict in southern India. In this regard, I continue to be interested in developing new ways of using technology to further goals of Asian elephant conservation, particularly in developing new tools for elephant tracking and early-warning detection systems.
I also greatly enjoy the other aspect of my job, which is teaching. As an evolutionary psychologist, I stress to my students that, to understand human behavior, we need to understand that we are a product of our evolutionary history. As such, our preferences and traits, including traits related to decision making, may be shaped and constrained by our ancestral experiences. Understanding these constraints and transcending them may thus be critical for determining whether we can successfully address issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss.
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