future for nature academy report


My name is Mara van Maarschalkerweerd and I’m 28 years old. I have been working as a veterinarian for the past 4 years, and am currently active in the Amsterdam region. I work mostly with horses, but on occasion treat companion and zoo animals as well.

It’s working hands-on with animals that I love, but haven’t been able to shake the feeling that I want to contribute to helping animals on a larger scale. I started looking around for opportunities to contribute to running projects and eventually decided to start a second Master’s programme to gain more experience as a researcher. During the course of this Master’s programme – Behavioural Ecology at the Utrecht University – I finished an extensive research project at a Dutch zoo, focused on improving the welfare of a bull Asian Elephant with severe stress-driven behaviour (stereotypy). I was so inspired by this magnificent creature and the problems its species faces in Asia, my mind was made up.

During my Master’s, I kept researching ways to work with the elephants in Southeast Asia and was rewarded with the opportunity to work with the great Mahouts Elephant Foundation. I hope my blog gives you a better understanding of the issues the elephant tourism industry in Thailand faces, and how the foundation works to improve this situation. Please feel free to contact me if you have a question or comment!

How research helps to protect Thai elephants

How research helps to protect Thai elephants

How research helps to protect Thai elephants MEF is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving welfare for captive Asian elephants, working in the tourism industry in Thailand. Their mission is to have as many elephants as possible in their natural habitat – either by bringing elephants back from tourist camps or to keep the elephants there in the first place.…