A compendium of papers from the March 2016 Jacksonville workshop, Wellness for Elephants provides visionary ideas for improving the quality of life for zoo elephants. Scientists, architects, and zoo managers participated in this unique workshop where the best ideas on elephant exhibit design and management were shared.
In March of 2016, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens invited colleagues from around the world to participate in a workshop highlighting advances and innovative approaches to animal management and exhibition. The construct of wellness was suggested as a unifying construct in the organization of this meeting. Wellness, an expansion of animal welfare, is applicable to virtually all species housed in zoos and aquariums; however, the papers in the Jacksonville Proceedings describe animal welfare and wellness principles as they apply to African and Asian elephants, and other taxonomic groups selected for comparison and future consideration (giraffe and reptiles). The proceedings from the Jacksonville Workshop include new ideas and tactics for increasing wellness for wild elephants and elephants in human care, as well as new concepts for wellness-inspired exhibit design in zoos and aquariums. These proceedings include papers from more than 30 authors who are actively blending research and husbandry services to improve zoo animal welfare and provide opportunities for zoo and aquarium animals to thrive in human care. This unique collection of papers has been organized to promote animal wellness as a new approach to advancing standards and practices of animal welfare and to encourage zoo and aquarium professionals to create and sustain a scientific foundation for animal welfare in captive settings.