Jake Veasey has been deeply involved in and driven, much of the seismic shift in the management of elephants that has occurred in the past decade and a half in zoos. He developed the welfare and behavioural management components of the ground breaking BIAZA elephant management guidelines that have been adapted and adopted by many regional zoo associations and has recently been instumental in upgrading the CAZA elephant management guidelines.
He advocated strongly that all management practices should be for the net welfare benefit of the elephants rather than for any particular entertainment gain and emphasised the importance of elephant sociality to their welfare which was thus adopted as management requirements in the guidelines around the world.
Jake led the conceptual design process working as part of a broad team including animal keepers, architects, and management staff which resulted in the construction of the the first elephant house established with the express intent of managing and facilitating the development of a functional herd rather than a collection of individuals. This facility was recognised by BIAZA for its advancement of animal welfare practices because of the presence of diverse and interactive substrates and surfaces, as well as more feeding stations than the maximal possible number of elephants, allowing a herd to feed for species-typical periods of time without becoming obese or creating undue competition for food, even when confined to the house.
Jake is widely published on elephant welfare, has advised numerous zoos on the management and enhancement of their facilities in Europe and North America as well as having managed two herds of Asian elephants. He has advised on elephant management to public policy units in North America and the UK government to three regional zoo associations and has been brought in to trouble shoot management issues in some of the highest profile zoo elephant herds including assimilation of new animals and reproductive management.
Most recently Jake has been asked to design the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Centre in Vietnam an initiative tasked with saving the species in the country and resolving welfare issues associated with 'tourist-elephants'.