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Research at White Oak centers on improving animal health and wellness. The team of researchers and scientists at White Oak remains on the cutting edge of ecological developments to better support the growth and welfare of the variety of species that call White Oak home. The science and research behind our conservation efforts are integral to fulfilling White Oak’s mission to create assurance populations, protect rare species in their environments, and restore ecosystems.

Elephants On the Move

Monitoring elephant behavior allows our researchers to evaluate wellness. Observing individual and herd behavior provides information on how the elephants are adapting to their new environment and to each other.

White Oak’s spacious habitat and large herd give the elephants a choice of who to interact with and allow them to make choices and control the types of interactions that occur.

Another aspect of wellness in the new habitat is monitoring how much the elephants are moving and taking advantage of the large space available to them.

Meet the power walkers. These female elephants are sporting ‘exercise watches’ that contain GPS and accelerometers that allow researchers to study how the elephants are using their habitat.

The bracelets are worn for 24 hours and then removed and the information is downloaded. After several months, it is obvious that these exercisers are taking advantage of the space and are looking pretty fit. Just check out the map of the travels of the elephant, Sara!

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