Piers Locke

Membership:  2014/2015

Member Bio

Piers Locke is a senior lecturer in anthropology and co-director of the New Zealand South Asia Centre at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He works in South Asia, especially Nepal, where he has been conducting field research since 2001. His research concerns historical and ethnographic aspects of captive elephant management, biodiversity conservation, ecotourism, and human-elephant conflict. In this field, he currently supervises research students working on human-elephant conflict in Assam, India, elephant volunteer tourism and social media in Thailand, and photographic practice and elephant conservation in Namibia and Sri Lanka. Piers is currently editing a volume that brings together the work of anthropologists, conservation biologists, geographers, historians, political scientists, and Sanskritists to think through human-elephant relations in South Asia. His most recent research project concerns the historical photography of elephants in pomp and pageantry, in hunting expeditions, in ritual processions, and in capture operations in colonial South Asia. Whilst in residence at the Rachel Carson Center, Piers will be working on Servants of Ganesh, a book documenting his field research with captive elephants and their handlers in the Chitwan National Park, Nepal.


  • "Captive Elephant Management, The Tharu and The Nepali State." IIAS Newsletter 49 (2008): 14–15.
  • "The Ethnography of Captive Elephant Management in Nepal: A Synopsis." Gajah 34 (2011): 32–40.
  • "The Tharu, The Tarai and the History of the Nepali Hattisar." European Bulletin of Himalayan Research 38 (2011): 61–82.
  • "Explorations in Ethnoelephantology: Social, Historical, and Ecological Intersections Between Asian Elephants and Humans." Environment and Society: Advances in Research 4, no. 1 (2013): 79–97.
  • "Food, Ritual and Interspecies Intimacy in The Chitwan Elephant Stables- A Photo Essay." The South Asianist 2, no. 2 (2013): 71–86.