The science behind my upcoming expedition to Nepal is all based on work carried out by Professor Adrian Lister, a merit researcher at the Palaeontology Research Division of the Natural History Museum (NHM).
Recording the wild elephant population
Prof Lister’s investigation into the taxonomy of living elephants using multivariate analysis of ear shape, in collaboration with Prof N. MacLeod (NHM) and Ms K. Davies, provides a useful tool for documenting wild elephant populations.
During our expedition, trained domestic elephants and their handlers will be used to carry the team into the riverine grasslands and the sal forests seeking the giant wild elephants. Each elephant’s height will be measured with a special optical instrument, their condition noted and photographed for the record. By noting their ear shape we should be able to identify each individual beast using illustrations from previous expeditions.
More about Prof Lister
As an NHM representative, Prof Lister was principal investigator on the following initiatives:
- ‘Identifying Key Collections with Potential for Climate-Change Research’. Strategic Innovation Fund, September 2008-June 2009
- ‘The development of a state-of-the-art ancient DNA facility at the Natural History Museum’. Capital Bid 2008
- Council, Scientific Exploration Society (1999-2009)
- Chair, Scientific Appraisal Panel, Scientific Exploration Society (2007-9)
- Asian Elephant Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (since 1997)