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Why care about Asian elephants?

Social learning

The Asian elephant is facing environmental changes, due to the growth of the human population and the decline in natural habitat areas.

Social learning is key. It is defined as "learning facilitated by observing, or interacting with, another individual (or their products)". Finding the right food resources, or choosing foods among others, are all skills that elephants can learn socially from an early age. The influence of social structure and social learning can allow elephants to adapt quickly but unfortunately also appear to be instrumental in learning inappropriate behaviors such as crop looting.

An important study

The study of social learning strategies is becoming a major concern in alleviating human-elephant conflicts. Understanding the mechanisms (how, when, what and by whom) could help develop effective alternative strategies to the conservation and management of wild and captive populations.

This collaborative study with Annaëlle Surreault-Châble, based on observational and experimental approaches, will provide a complete analysis of the characteristics of intra-species social learning and inter-species transmission as well as the influence of relationships social studies on learning strategies.

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