The living conditions of elephants in captive situations are very different from those of elephants in the wild. Constant exercise is critical to elephants’ health: typically, they walk up to 40 miles a day. Captive-held elephants usually are confined in small enclosures on hard surfaces in cold climates, all of which cause them a wide variety of physical and emotional problems.
At Elephant Refuge North America (ERNA), we recognize the need to address the unique needs of our residents who come from other captive situations. The members of our Integrative Health Team bring deep and diverse experience, ensuring that our approach to health is based on the latest research and knowledge.
Here you will learn about some of the health issues and diseases that affect captive-held elephants as well as best practices for their care.
We will continue to add resources on elephant health and care. To receive updates on our latest additions, please subscribe to our monthly e-news using the form at the right.
Adaptation/Rehabilitation of Captive-Held Elephants
By Carol Buckley, Founder and CEO, Elephant Aid International
A comprehensive guide to rehabilitating captive-held elephants, including detailed instructions for facility construction and assessing, interacting with and healing traumatized elephants.
Long-Standing Abscess Resolved With Homeopathy
By Wendy Jensen, DVM, Owner, Jensen Homeopathic Veterinary Practice
Case report of homeopathic remedy for knee wound on Lucky, an approximately 60 year-old female Asian elephant.
Elephant Health Issues
Elephants, Mobility and Captivity: What Can These Mighty and Majestic Animals Teach Us About Joint Health and Osteoarthritis?
By Carol Buckley, Founder and CEO, Elephant Aid International and Ali Mobasheri, Ph.D., Professor of Musculoskeletal Biology, University of Oulu, ERNA Integrative Health Team member
Research paper focuses on the link between captivity, mobility, physical inactivity and the development of osteoarthritis in captive elephants.
By Ali Mobasheri, Ph.D., Professor of Musculoskeletal Biology, University of Oulu, ERNA Integrative Health Team member
An overview of osteoarthritis, including causes, characteristics and treatments.
Tuberculosis in Elephants: Antibody Responses to Defined Antigens of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Potential for Early Diagnosis, and Monitoring of Treatment
Co-authored by Carol Buckley, Founder and CEO, Elephant Aid International
Research paper assesses novel technologies including rapid test and multiantigen print immunoassay for early detection, treatment and management of tuberculosis in elephants.