One of the world’s foremost authorities on elephant reproduction, Dr. Dennis Schmitt joins Heidi. With all the misinformation and emotion about elephants, especially those in human care in zoos and circuses, this conversation is not to be missed! Dr. Schmitt, a veterinarian and elephant expert respected worldwide, has served as the lead vet credited with an unprecedented number of births of highly endangered Asian elephants. His conversation with Heidi highlights the race against time as there is a critical need to increase the dwindling elephant population. He provides insight into the fact that elephants in human care in zoos and circuses are part of the solution to saving elephants worldwide through successful and collaborative breeding programs, and important research projects.

Among his other notable achievements, he served as the Director of Veterinary Care and Research for Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus and the Center for Elephant Conservation for 16 years which held the largest herd of Asian elephants in North America, as well as a highly successful breeding program. He has served as the research and reproductive adviser for the AZA Elephant TAG/SSP Management Group since 1987. As an author and co-author, he has published over 100 papers on elephant reproduction and physiology. He was also the lead veterinarian for the team that produced the first elephant born from artificial insemination. Dr. Schmitt is a founding member of the International Elephant Foundation (IEF) which has supported over 150 elephant research projects and provided over $7 million of funding to save elephants.

Episode Notes:
At time code 5:27 “they” refers to the Animal Rights groups/extremists
At time code 6:24 it should be noted that animal exhibitors fall under the USDA/APHIS which administers the Animal Welfare Act

Episode Links:
Elephant Manger’s Association:
Study on elephants by Dr. Ted Friend (retired- Texas A&M university)
Asian Elephant Specialist Group of the IUCN
If you want to truly help elephants, there is no better organization to donate to than the IEF

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