Myanmar Timber Elephant Project

We are a multi-disciplinary research group based at the University of Turku, Finland and the University of Sheffield, UK, studying a large and unique semi-captive population of timber elephants in Myanmar.

Our individual-based study uses a detailed longitudinal data set, which combines several decades of demographic data on the entire population with a more recent collection of data on individual phenotypes in the field. Myanmar has the largest captive Asian elephant population in the world but low rates of survival and reproduction necessitate capture of wild elephants to maintain the working population. The health of the captive population is therefore tightly linked to the endangered wild population. Our research aims to determine factors affecting health, fertility and mortality rates in the captive population and devising strategies to improve them.