Human-Elephant Conflict in Asia A Creative Inquiry project

Elephants have long been regarded as symbols of wisdom and strength. But in the Asian country of Myanmar, their symbolism runs much deeper as they are seen as essential in the local cultures and religions.

But not every person in Myanmar views these creatures with such reverence... and plantation owners view them as nuisances capable of destroying entire fields of crops.

Finding middle ground between these competing interests isn't an easy feat but increasingly critical because the Asian elephants are labelled as endangered.

Jennifer Sampson, Department of Biological Sciences, and her Creative Inquiry team have set out to extend public awareness to save this magnificent species.

The team works on public outreach projects in remote villages to explain elephant biology and their importance to the ecosystem.

By creating story books, the team hopes to spread their message to parents as well as the children that see these books in school.

The goal: both generations will learn the necessity of conservation.

Students in this project come from a variety of majors and view this experience as a creative outlet and a challenge to convey complex information as an engaging story.

According to junior psychology major Alex Scott, "Even if we only save one elephant, that's progress!"

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