The Research Program

eleCREW provides unique multidisciplinary research opportunities to discover what is happening in the elephant world.

Access to the Ambassador Herd allows a depth of insight and granular detail about the lives of individual elephants difficult to reproduce with wild elephants, however we also have direct access to the free-roaming elephants that pass through the Jafuta reserve.

How do we achieve our vision?

eleCREW believe that the conservation and coexistence challenges that face this iconic species are best understood through scientific discovery. The application of this research is critical in helping these huge sentient beings into an uncertain future.

All research is conducted for the betterment and greater understanding of elephants and is conducted in accordance with the highest ethical and welfare standards.

We can also offer a field site for young budding scientists to gain valuable field experience and perform study projects to add credits to their university degree studies. Helping nurture new generations of much needed skilled conservationists, ecologists, ethologists and behavioural and welfare scientists.

What have we done so far?

The eleCREW team have already participated in formal research on Elephant Welfare, Elephant Social Dynamics, Elephant Behavioural Health and Identification and Vocalisations.

In addition, eleCREW has several ongoing internal research programmes intended to improve the welfare of elephants in human care. Current research studies include investigations into elephant personalities, elephant vocalisations and communications, elephant behavioural ecology, cognition, learning, coexistence methods and stress-free veterinary care.

Published papers so far include a study on how the heart rate of an elephant is affected by various activities also a paper published in collaboration with the University of Nottingham regarding changes in night time management and the benefit to welfare.

We as eleCREW have also been a key member in publishing the first set of standards for the welfare and management of elephants kept in semi-captive conditions such as the eleCREW herd, This was a multi-stakeholder initiative including international welfare experts, local welfare and conservation NGO’s and other elephant facilities, a press release on this by the Royal Veterinary College London can be found here.

“The Chilli concept is slowly gaining support from the community and more people are interested in planting chilli in their plots. It is amazing to hear stories from the elderly farmers who are now positive about how the chilli works. It is this interest that has led to the stocks running out. The farmers are therefore appealing for additional oil & chilli.”

What is our goal?

In support of this objective, eleCREW has a long-term vision to establish an Elephant Research Institute and Teaching Centre at the Jafuta Wildlife Reserve which will focus on research targeted at improving elephant conservation, welfare and coexistence.

Who are the Key Team Members?

Jake Rendle-Worthington

Director of Research

Loki Osborn


Yvvonne Masasarira

Welfare Officer and Research Coordinator

The Elephant Carers

All trained in observational data collection

How can you help?


Covers the cost of a Day Observation – adding to our long term database that can be accessed by student researchers



Pays for the training of one carer in data collection methods



Pays for a smart device that can help us toward digitising our data collection methods



Pays sponsors a Zimbabwean University student to do a 6-month placement with us


Who are the Strategic Partners?

We Are All Mammals
The University of Nottingham
Connected Conservation
Royal Veterinary College London
Bridgwater University
The University of Georgia

The University of Vienna

Centre for Geospatial Research

“The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size”

Albert Einstein