Sateesh Venkatesh, Conservation Biologist, Explorers Club 50 Honoree
Elephant Cognition overview and studying in the wild
Sarah Jacobson, Ph.D. in Cognitive and Comparative Psychology at CUNY
Overview: Sarah will speak about the importance of studying elephant cognition in wild populations to inform conservation management and the development of effective solutions towards coexistence between elephants and human communities. She will present ongoing research investigating whether wild elephants can innovate and differences in problem-solving abilities between individuals in this population, as well as the goals for future cognitive research with the wild elephants in Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary.
Social Cognition in Elephants
Shermin de Silva, President & Founder of Trunks & Leaves
Overview: Elephants have a reputation for having complex societies. What does this really mean? This talk will explore the possible ecological basis of social behavior and cognition in elephants. Studies now show that Asian elephants don’t behave according to the traditional view of elephants, largely derived from research on African savannah elephants. It will conclude with a sneak peak at stunning new insights from long-term studies.
Studying Elephant Cognition in Zoos
Lisa Barrett, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Oklahoma City Zoo
Overview: Lisa will share her work on captive elephant personality, problem-solving, and social learning, noting the benefits and drawbacks of working with captive elephants. She will discuss how research with elephants in the zoo could have important implications for their wild counterparts, and she will highlight suggested future work to aid in elephant conservation.
Elephant Live Stream
John Roberts, Head of Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation
Overview: John will join us live from Northern Thailand and take us on a walk with his elephants as they freely wander around eating and interacting. John will introduce his program along with any elephants that are there at the time. We will follow him and watch the elephants as they go about their daily business. Hopefully, seeing some live elephants will spark some questions based on the talks. Anyone that is available from this group can stay on to field these questions as well.