ElephantVoices receives many requests to comment upon or engage in issues related to the treatment of wild and captive elephants. Since we believe that the incorporation of our long-term scientific knowledge can help to set positive precedents for the interests of elephants, our objective is to contribute wherever we can.

The guidelines we follow in our advocacy work are:

  1. Main priorities
    Our priority is to engage at the level of policy where we can have the broadest influence on elephant welfare. Thus, the development of statements on selected topics (e.g. culling, capture of wild elephants, elephants in circuses, elephants need of space) concerning the management and treatment of elephants is a primary goal.

    Our intention is for individuals and institutions to make use of these expert statements in a range of more specific cases around the world. While we may take a decision to give advice or provide statements on specific cases, this will be the exception rather than the rule.

  2. Our right and need to say, "no"
    If we do not feel that we can contribute because of our limited financial resources, time availability, lack of reliable information or lack of expertise, we ask you to understand and respect our position. Our limited resources may force us to excuse ourselves, even when we would like to engage. At the same time, when we decide to commit ourselves we do not compromise our work ethics nor our obligation to do our best.

  3. ElephantVoices initiatives versus external requests
    Our advocacy effort is a combination of our own initiatives and responses to external requests. Our own initiatives focus on providing a baseline of knowledge from which the interests of elephants may be met. With or without external partners or collaborators, we will continue to take action on behalf of elephants; we will prioritise cases where the outcome may represent a significant precedent for conservation and/or the treatment of captive or wild elephants.

  4. Our knowledge is accessible for anyone at any time
    All our arguments are based upon what we hold as truths about elephants. Although each individual case may be different, our long-term scientific data and general knowledge apply to a very broad range of elephant welfare and conservation issues. Everything we know about elephants is knowledge that is, in principle, open to the public, through scientific papers and popular articles, policy documents, and films. We make every effort to make available our perspectives and standpoints via online documents, bibliography, statements and FAQ’, mainly on

  5. Political neutrality - collaboration
    Our approach on any elephant issue is independent of political aspects; the interests of elephants as we understand them will always be our main concern. In principle, therefore, we are willing to collaborate with any party as long as we can embrace their approach.

  6. No rhetoric
    We try hard to avoid participating in discussions where the debate is more important than the action. We endeavor to advance positive change for elephant conservation and welfare.

  7. We stand for elephants, and not against anyone
    We stand for the interest of elephants, and against mistreatment or abuse of elephants, with science as our foundation.
    It is never our intention to contest against individuals, institutions or companies, and we are always prepared to work constructively with others to promote proper conservation, management and treatment of elephants.

  8. We want to be trusted
    Our integrity and credibility is vital and rules all our advocacy efforts.

  9. Checking our sources
    Our intention to be a reliable source of information about elephants and their well being is as important as our ability to check facts and external sources when we get or need input from others. We do not engage or go out publicly without evaluating any information given to us.

  10. Sticking to what we know
    We aim to take an honest and humble approach when it comes to questions and issues we do not know enough about. We acknowledge that our credibility is stronger when we stick to our core expertise, rather than to try to take sides or express an opinion on issues that are not directly related to our main fields of specialist knowledge.