Socialization Area & enrichment
Elephants are extremely social animals, living in close knit family groups of females and youngsters. Only the males leave the group in their teenage years and join herds for short periods for breeding. In order to offer the best possible living conditions to our elephants, the ECC created an area (surrounded by an electric fence) where the elephants can freely interact during a big part of the day, recreating a semi- natural living environment.
In order to avoid distress, we have created an area where elephants can enjoy being…elephants.
The main benefits of the socialization area are:
- Re-herding : establish bonds and hierarchies among our rescued elephants that come from different places so they may form a close knit group;
- Giving males and females an opportunity to socialize more naturally and promote breeding in the herd;
- Allow young females to learn from the mothers on how to take care of calves, so that they may be better prepared to take care of their own babies;
- Calves will grow up learning from different elephants which is something that happens in the wild;
- We can provide cognitive enrichment to the elephants here in the form of hidden food, toys, a mud bath etc to give them mental stimulation and avoid boredom or stereotypical behavior.
This area also serves as a unique opportunity for our visitors to observe elephants behaving as elephants, without receiving any instructions from their mahouts.
Encourage elephant natality
Our breeding programme aims at increasing the number of elephant biths in Laos
Provide an apropriate natural environment and quality care services to Lao elephants
Re-create social bonds within our elephant group at the 'Socialization Area'.
Examples of enrichment tools implemented at the ECC:
- Environmental enrichment devices e.g. tyres, puzzle boxes, piñatas etc.;
- Habitat enrichment e.g. mud bath;
- Sensory enrichment e.g. different materials and textures like cardboard, elephant dung paper, ropes;
- Food enrichment e.g. introducing foods that are not part of their daily diet and hiding the food;
- Social groupings e.g. have a male in the group occasionally.