In April 2012 MEF attended the PAWS conference ‘Summit for the Elephants’ held in Oakland Zoo California. We were privileged to be around many elephant experts, enthusiasts and fellow charity workers and learnt so much about various topics such as human elephant conflict, animal management techniques, habitats and training methods.
Taking this information and confidence that it could work and would be supported we have initiated new positive reinforcement training techniques with our elephants. This is also in anticipation of the arrival of the Freedom Fence Enclosure and the new ways we will need to work.
In May 2012 we started working with Lakshmi, Pooja and Bandara. The elephants are given commands from a distance and when the elephant reacts correctly they are given a piece of tasty sugar cane as a reward. The mahouts have responded well and are treating it as a competition between themselves, always eager to show off when their elephant learns something new!