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!