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The African Elephant Research Unit (AERU) is the first research and volunteer programme dedicated to optimizing the welfare and management of these gentle giants in a

semi-captive environment in South Africa

Our Services

About our Research

Delve into the details of AERU's historic and ongoing research

About the Program

Discover a world of elephants while learning research practices

About our Team

Gain some insight into the team and their roles within AERU

African Elephant Research Unit, South Africa

Established in 2009 at The Knysna Elephant Park, AERU has become a non-profit trust, dedicated to the research and study of all aspects of biology, behaviour, and husbandry of African elephants. The overall goal is to work towards providing objective and scientifically based information that may be used to change and guide elephant management to better suite the welfare needs of elephants in semi-captive facilities.


AERU also aims to expand conservation knowledge through environmental education. AERU researchers, volunteers and students are able to monitor and observe elephants at the Park through the day and night, gaining insight into all aspects of elephant life. Research is conducted in association with both local and international universities, with an active volunteer programme contributing to the effective accumulation of research data and expansion of ongoing monitoring projects.


AERU is a registered PBO Trust: #IT854/2013; PBO #9300 44259

Since 2009, our boundaries have expanded beyond AERU; contributing to a myriad of academic studies at all levels, at local and international universities, thus contributing substantially to the global scientific understanding of elephants in

semi-captive environments.

Extraordinary Elephant Encounters

Flute for elephants

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