Monday, November 22, 2010

Auspicious Visit to the Project Brings Better Data Collection

We were pleased to welcome a visit to the project this Nov from two extremely knowledgeable guests:

John Roberts, Director of Elephants & Josh Plotnik, Ph.D., Head of Elephant Research
of the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF)
Both were able to spend a few days in the village and come on a walk with the volunteers and the elephants in the forest. This was a great chance for us and Dr Pak of EVAO to network with like-minded people working to help elephants. GTAEF is setting high standards for ethical elephant camp management, and we share a philosophy of not supporting the elephant trade but preferring rather to work with mahouts and elephant owners to find real alternatives for their elephants. Josh is also a postdoctoral fellow in Experimental Psychology at Cambridge University.

Here's a group photo of John, Josh, Dr Pak, Jeff, Murray, and our volunteer team just after following the elephants into the forest.

Big thanks go out to John and Josh, who were able to sit down with Dr Pak and GVI staff to hammer out some decisions to improve on how volunteers are collecting and analysing data. Josh has offered invaluable insight on creating data sheets and guiding our progress researching the elephants' foraging and social behaviour. We look forward to sharing our results with EVAO and GTAEF and are also excited to see many upcoming GTAEF studies unfold from their base in Chiang Rai.