CIE Seminar Series – 2020: The Disappearing Asian Elephant – Using Movement Ecology to Inform Conservation

SPEAKER: Dr John McEvoy, Research Associate, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Conservation Ecology Center, National Zoological Park, VA, USA

DATE & TIME: Friday, 14th August 2020 @ 12:00 noon

LOCATION: Seminar to be streamed via Zoom. Click HERE to connect.


Asian elephants are in real danger of disappearing from the world, with 10 times fewer left in the wild than their African counterparts. Paradoxically, Asian elephants are deeply embedded into human culture and civilization across their range yet we know little about some of their basic ecology, movements and behavior in the wild.

Myanmar represents possibly the last best hope for the Asian elephant with its expansive areas of intact forest but elephant habitat is being encroached upon by humans and a horrific skin poaching crisis has emerged in recent years.

By analyzing their movement behaviour to support conservation actions and with the continued support and determination of local and international partners we can hopefully guide these endangered giants off the path to extinction.


John McEvoy is a research associate at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Conservation Ecology Center. John’s work revolves around conservation and animal movement behavior, specifically the interplay between environmental, physiological and cognitive factors that shape observed patterns of movement in wide-ranging and nomadic species. John’s work at SCBI addresses pressing conservation concerns for threatened species around the world with two main projects covering Asian elephants and the illegal wildlife trade in Myanmar and Przewalski’s horse and grey wolves in Mongolia.

John hails from the Republic of Ireland and came to the Centre for Integrative Ecology in 2010 to work with Prof. Andy Bennett, Dr. David Roshier and Dr. Raoul Ribot, completing his PhD in 2015. John’s PhD research investigated the spatial ecology of nomadic waterfowl in the arid regions of inland Australia and identified key environmental factors that influence the initiation of long distance nomadic flight. Postdoctoral work in Australia includes combining tools such satellite tracking, rapid-response satellite imagery and UAV-mounted cameras to provide accurate counts of waterfowl on targeted wetlands within landscapes where the distribution of habitat is often unpredictable.

John has worked in the Mammal Unit at University of Bristol (UK), at the Behavioural and Physiological Ecology group at University of New England (Australia) and as a consultant wildlife ecologist with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. He is a passionate advocate for evidence-based approaches to developing conservation policy and has collaborated with many research groups and NGOs around the world on taxa as diverse as parrots, foxes, waterfowl, fish, passerines, and elephants.

For more info click HERE.

As a courtesy, we request that when connecting to the seminar that you mute your microphone unless you are required to speak, this would ensure that the sound from the speaker to the audience is not disrupted by feedback from your microphone.

Thanking you in advance!