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Sample records for african elephants loxodonta

  1. Plasma preparation and storage for African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

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    Knauf, Sascha; Blad-Stahl, Julia; Lawrenz, Arne; Schuerer, Ulrich; Wehrend, Axel

    2009-03-01

    The use of plasma as a life-saving tool for neonatal African elephants (Loxodonta africana) that failed passive transfer of immunoglobulins is proposed. The methodology of blood sampling, plasma extraction, and plasma storage is described. Values for cellular component sedimentation and biochemical parameters of extracted plasma that was collected from 2 female elephants is presented. The proposal for a central plasma bank for elephants in European zoos is suggested.

  2. Vocal communication in African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

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    Soltis, Joseph

    2010-01-01

    Research on vocal communication in African elephants has increased in recent years, both in the wild and in captivity, providing an opportunity to present a comprehensive review of research related to their vocal behavior. Current data indicate that the vocal repertoire consists of perhaps nine acoustically distinct call types, "rumbles" being the most common and acoustically variable. Large vocal production anatomy is responsible for the low-frequency nature of rumbles, with fundamental frequencies in the infrasonic range. Additionally, resonant frequencies of rumbles implicate the trunk in addition to the oral cavity in shaping the acoustic structure of rumbles. Long-distance communication is thought possible because low-frequency sounds propagate more faithfully than high-frequency sounds, and elephants respond to rumbles at distances of up to 2.5 km. Elephant ear anatomy appears designed for detecting low frequencies, and experiments demonstrate that elephants can detect infrasonic tones and discriminate small frequency differences. Two vocal communication functions in the African elephant now have reasonable empirical support. First, closely bonded but spatially separated females engage in rumble exchanges, or "contact calls," that function to coordinate movement or reunite animals. Second, both males and females produce "mate attraction" rumbles that may advertise reproductive states to the opposite sex. Additionally, there is evidence that the structural variation in rumbles reflects the individual identity, reproductive state, and emotional state of callers. Growth in knowledge about the communication system of the African elephant has occurred from a rich combination of research on wild elephants in national parks and captive elephants in zoological parks.

  3. Neuronal morphology in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) neocortex.

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    Jacobs, Bob; Lubs, Jessica; Hannan, Markus; Anderson, Kaeley; Butti, Camilla; Sherwood, Chet C; Hof, Patrick R; Manger, Paul R

    2011-01-01

    Virtually nothing is known about the morphology of cortical neurons in the elephant. To this end, the current study provides the first documentation of neuronal morphology in frontal and occipital regions of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana). Cortical tissue from the perfusion-fixed brains of two free-ranging African elephants was stained with a modified Golgi technique. Neurons of different types (N=75), with a focus on superficial (i.e., layers II-III) pyramidal neurons, were quantified on a computer-assisted microscopy system using Neurolucida software. Qualitatively, elephant neocortex exhibited large, complex spiny neurons, many of which differed in morphology/orientation from typical primate and rodent pyramidal neurons. Elephant cortex exhibited a V-shaped arrangement of bifurcating apical dendritic bundles. Quantitatively, the dendrites of superficial pyramidal neurons in elephant frontal cortex were more complex than in occipital cortex. In comparison to human supragranular pyramidal neurons, elephant superficial pyramidal neurons exhibited similar overall basilar dendritic length, but the dendritic segments tended to be longer in the elephant with less intricate branching. Finally, elephant aspiny interneurons appeared to be morphologically consistent with other eutherian mammals. The current results thus elaborate on the evolutionary roots of Afrotherian brain organization and highlight unique aspects of neural architecture in elephants.

  4. Exploratory rigid laparoscopy in an African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

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    Sweet, Julia; Hendrickson, Dean A; Stetter, Mark; Neiffer, Donald L

    2014-12-01

    In March 2009, a 25-yr-old captive female African elephant (Loxodonta africana) underwent an exploratory laparoscopy after several weeks of diarrhea, submandibular and ventral edema, and swelling on medial and lateral aspects of all feet. Although there have been recent advances in laparoscopic vasectomies in free-ranging African elephants in South Africa utilizing specially designed rigid laparoscopes and insufflation devices, this was the first attempt at using these same techniques for an exploratory purpose. The elephant was sedated in a static restraint chute and remained standing for the duration of the procedure. Laparoscopy provided visibility of the dorsal abdomen, enabled collection of reproductive tract biopsies and peritoneal fluid samples, and allowed for instillation of antibiotics and crystalloid fluids directly into the abdominal cavity. Abdominal exploration, collection of tissue samples, and local therapy is possible via standing laparoscopy in megavertebrates.

  5. Social learning in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana africana).

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    Greco, Brian J; Brown, Tracey K; Andrews, Jeff R M; Swaisgood, Ronald R; Caine, Nancy G

    2013-05-01

    Social learning is a more efficient method of information acquisition and application than trial and error learning and is prevalent across a variety of animal taxa. Social learning is assumed to be important for elephants, but evidence in support of that claim is mostly anecdotal. Using a herd of six adult female African bush elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park, we evaluated whether viewing a conspecific's interactions facilitated learning of a novel task. The tasks used feeding apparatus that could be solved in one of two distinct ways. Contrary to our hypothesis, the method the demonstrating animal used did not predict the method used by the observer. However, we did find evidence of social learning: After watching the model, subjects spent a greater percentage of their time interacting with the apparatus than they did in unmodeled trials. These results suggest that the demonstrations of a model may increase the motivation of elephants to explore novel foraging tasks.

  6. Bilateral ovarian cystadenoma in a geriatric African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

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    Hoby, Stefan; Aloisio, Fabio; Schumacher, Vanessa L

    2014-06-01

    A 59-yr-old, captive female African elephant (Loxodonta africana) died of a cardiovascular collapse. Necropsy revealed bilateral replacement of the ovarian tissue by multiple cystic formations of up to 10 cm in diameter. The cysts were thin walled and filled with clear watery fluid. Smaller solid masses with an irregular surface projected from the wall of a few of the cysts. Histologically, the cystic structures were characterized by a single layer of well-differentiated cuboidal epithelial cells resting on a basement membrane. Occasionally the cysts contained nodular proliferations of single-layered, well-differentiated cuboidal epithelial cells forming anastomosing tubules and occasional papillary projections. The ovarian neoplasia was diagnosed as a bilateral multilocular serous ovarian cystadenoma. The nulliparous status and the advanced age may have contributed to the ovarian pathology.

  7. Eradication of elephant ear mites (Loxoanoetus bassoni) in two African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

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    Wyatt, Jeff; DiVincenti, Louis

    2012-03-01

    Elephant ear mites, not previously described in North America, were eradicated in two African elephants (Loxodonta africana) after six otic instillations of ivermectin at 2-wk intervals. The microscopic examination of a clear, mucoid discharge collected from the external ear canals of two wild-born African elephants housed in a New York State zoo for 25 yr revealed live mites (Loxoaneotus bassoni). The cytologic examination demonstrated no evidence of inflammation or infection. Both elephants were asymptomatic with normal hemograms and serum chemistry panels. A diagnosis of otoacariasis was made. Each elephant was treated six times with 5 ml of 1% ivermectin syrup instilled in each ear canal once every 2 wk. Microscopic examinations of clear mucus collected from each elephant's ear canals 9 days after the first instillation of ivermectin were negative for any life stages of ear mites. Microscopic examinations of mucus collected from both elephants' ear canals at 6, 11, and 16 wk, as well as annually post-treatment for 7 yr, confirmed eradication of the ear mites. The L. bassoni ear mite was first identified in the external ear canals of wild, asymptomatic, lesion-free, African elephants culled in Kruger National Park in South Africa. However, a new species in the same genus of mites (Loxoanoetus lenae) was identified at the necropsy of an 86-yr-old Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) living in a circus in Australia. The autopsy revealed a marked, ballooning distension of bone around the left external acoustic meatus, suggestive of mite-induced otitis externa, as seen in cattle infested with ear mites (Raillieta auris). Elephant health care providers should identify the prevalence of, and consider treatment of, elephants in their care infested with ear mites, given the possible risk for adverse health effects.

  8. The fluidity of blood in African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

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    Windberger, U; Plasenzotti, R; Voracek, Th

    2005-01-01

    The large cellular volume of erythrocytes and the increased plasma concentration of proteins in elephants are factors which potentially affect blood rheology adversely. To verify blood rheology, routine hemorheologic variables were analyzed in four African elephants (Loxodonta africana), housed in the zoo of Vienna. Whole blood viscosity at three different shear rates (WBV at low shear rate: WBV 0.7 s(-1) and WBV 2.4 s(-1); WBV at high shear rate: WBV 94 s(-1) done by LS30, Contraves) and erythrocyte aggregation (aggregation indices AI by LS30; aggregation indices M0, M1 by Myrenne aggregometer) were high (WBV 94 s(-1): 5.368 (5.246/5.648); WBV 2.4 s(-1): 16.291 (15.605/17.629); WBV 0.7 s(-1): 28.28 (25.537/32.173) mPa s; AI 2.4 s(-1): 0.25 (0.23/0.30); AI 0.7 s(-1): 0.24 (0.23/0.28); M0: 7.8 (6.4/8.4); M1: 30.2 (25/31)). Plasma viscosity (PV) was increased as well (1.865 (1.857/1.912) mPa s) compared to other mammalian species. These parameters would indicate a decrease in blood fluidity in elephants. However, erythrocyte rigidity (LORCA, Mechatronics) was decreased, which in contrast, has a promotive effect on peripheral perfusion. Blood rheology of the elephants was determined by a high whole blood and plasma viscosity as the result of pronounced erythrocyte aggregation and high plasma protein concentration. Thus, in the terminal vessels the resistance to flow will be increased. The large erythrocytes, which might impede blood flow further due to geometrical reasons, however, had a pronounced flexibility. We conclude that the effect of the increased inner resistance to peripheral blood flow was counteracted by the decreased rigidity of the erythrocytes to enable an adequate blood flow in African elephants.

  9. Plasma and erythrocyte fatty acids in captive Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants.

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    Clauss, M; Wang, Y; Ghebremeskel, K; Lendl, C E; Streich, W J

    2003-07-12

    The fatty acid components of the plasma triglycerides and the phospholipid fractions of the red blood cells of a captive group of two African (Loxodonta africana) and four Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants were investigated. All the animals received the same diet of hay, fruits and vegetables, and concentrates. A comparison with data from free-ranging African elephants or Asian work-camp elephants showed that the captive elephants had lower proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and for several lipid fractions a higher n-6:n-3 ratio, than their counterparts in the wild or under the more natural, in terms of diet, work-camp conditions. The difference in PUFA content was smaller in the African than in the Asian elephants. The captive Asian elephants tended to have lower levels of n-3 and total unsaturated fatty acids in their red blood cells than the captive African elephants.

  10. Birth statistics for African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants in human care: history and implications for elephant welfare.

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    Dale, Robert H I

    2010-01-01

    African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) have lived in the care of humans for many years, yet there is no consensus concerning some basic parameters describing their newborn calves. This study provides a broad empirical basis for generalizations about the birth heights, birth weights, birth times and gestation periods of elephant calves born in captivity. I obtained data concerning at least one of these four characteristics for 218 newborn calves from 74 institutions. Over the past 30 years, newborn Asian elephants have been taller and heavier than newborn African elephants. Neonatal African elephants exhibited sex differences in both weight and height, whereas neonatal Asian elephants have exhibited sex differences only in height. Primiparous dams ex situ are at least as old as their in situ counterparts, whereas ex situ sires appear to be younger than sires in range countries. Confirming earlier anecdotal evidence, both African [N=47] and Asian [N=91] dams gave birth most often at night.

  11. Initial findings on visual acuity thresholds in an African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

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    Shyan-Norwalt, Melissa R; Peterson, Jeff; Milankow King, Barbara; Staggs, Timothy E; Dale, Robert H I

    2010-01-01

    There are only a few published examinations of elephant visual acuity. All involved Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and found visual acuity to be between 8' and 11' of arc for a stimulus near the tip of the trunk, equivalent to a 0.50 cm gap, at a distance of about 2 m from the eyes. We predicted that African elephants (Loxodonta africana) would have similarly high visual acuity, necessary to facilitate eye-trunk coordination for feeding, drinking and social interactions. When tested on a discrimination task using Landolt-C stimuli, one African elephant cow demonstrated a visual acuity of 48' of arc. This represents the ability to discriminate a gap as small as 2.75 cm in a stimulus 196 cm from the eye. This single-subject study provides a preliminary estimate of the visual acuity of African elephants.

  12. The elephants of Zoba Gash Barka, Eritrea: part 4. Cholelithiasis in a wild African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

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    Agnew, Dalen W; Hagey, Lee; Shoshani, Jeheskel

    2005-12-01

    A 4.0-kg cholelith was found within the abdominal cavity of a dead wild African elephant (Loxodonta africana) in Eritrea. Analysis of this cholelith by histochemistry, electron microscopy, electrospray mass spectroscopy, and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy revealed it was composed of bile alcohols but no calcium, bilirubin, or cholesterol. Bacteria were also found in the cholelith. Similar, but smaller, bile stones have been identified previously in other wild African elephants and an excavated mammoth (Mammuthus columbi). Choleliths have been reported only once in a captive Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Elephants, along with hyraxes (Procavia capensis) and manatees (Trichechus manatus), are unique among mammals in producing only bile alcohols and no bile acids, which may predispose them to cholelithiasis, particularly in association with bacterial infection. Dietary factors may also play an important role in cholelith formation.

  13. Morphological aspects and composition of African elephant (Loxodonta africana ivory

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    E.J. Raubenheimer

    1999-02-01

    Full Text Available This study was aimed at determining the origin of the diamond shaped pattern and composition of ivory of the African elephant. Fragments of ivory and tusks were obtained through the National Parks Board from the Kruger Park, Addo Elephant Park, Kaokoveld, Caprivi, Etosha, Kavango and Tembe Elephant Park. Polished surfaces were prepared in different planes and examined with light and electron microscopical techniques. Analyses of the inorganic composition were performed using atomic absorption spectrophotometry, ion selective electrodes and inductively coupled optical emission spectroscopy. The total amino acid composition was determined with the aid of an amino acid analyser. Morphological investigations showed the distinctive diamond shaped pattern of ivory to be caused by the sinusoidal surface to pulpal course followed by odontoblastic tubules. This course is the result of pressure which builds up between tightly packed odontoblasts on their centripetal course along an ever decreasing pulpal circumference during formation of ivory. A total of 17 elements were detected in the inorganic fraction of ivory, some in concentrations as low as 0.25 ^g/g. The concentrations of calcium, magnesium, fluoride, cobalt and zinc showed statistically significant differences (P < 0.007 between selected regions and may prove valuable in distinguishing chemically between ivory from different geographical locations. The organic content of ivory showed 17 amino acids in varying concentrations. The possible causes of these variations are discussed.

  14. Luteal maintenance of pregnancy in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

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    Stansfield, F J; Allen, W R

    2012-06-01

    The ovaries of eight African elephant foetuses and their mothers between 2 and 22 months of gestation, and those of two cycling and two lactating elephants, were examined grossly, histologically and immunocytochemically, with emphasis on the development and regression of accessory corpora lutea (CL) of pregnancy and the steroidogenic capacities of the accessory CL and the foetal ovaries. The results supported recent findings that the accessory CL form as a result of luteinisation, with and without ovulation, of medium-sized follicles during the 3-week inter-luteal period of the oestrous cycle. They enlarge significantly and become steroidogenically active around 5 weeks of gestation, probably in response to the placental lactogen which is secreted by the implanting trophoblast of the conceptus. The large luteal cells stained strongly for 3β hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3βHSD) activity throughout the 22-month gestation period although they showed vacuolation and other degenerative changes in the final months of gestation coincident with hypertrophy and hyperplasia of 3βHSD-positive interstitial cells in the foetal gonads. It is proposed that the progestagens secreted by the enlarged gonads of the elephant foetus may function both to assist the maternal ovaries in supporting the pregnancy state and to induce torpor and intrauterine immobility of the rapidly growing foetus.

  15. Genetic identification of five strongyle nematode parasites in wild african elephants (Loxodonta africana).

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    McLean, E R; Kinsella, J M; Chiyo, P; Obanda, V; Moss, C; Archie, E A

    2012-07-01

    African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) are an ecologically and economically important species in many African habitats. However, despite the importance of elephants, research on their parasites is limited, especially in wild populations. Currently, we lack genetic tools to identify elephant parasites. We present genetic markers from ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to identify five elephant-specific nematode parasites in the family Strongylidae: Murshidia linstowi, Murshidia longicaudata, Murshidia africana, Quilonia africana, and Khalilia sameera. We collected adult nematodes from feces deposited by wild elephants living in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Using both morphologic and genetic techniques, we found that the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region in rDNA provides a reliable marker to distinguish these species of strongyles. We found no evidence for cryptic genetic species within these morphologic species according to the cox-1 region of mtDNA. Levels of genetic diversity in strongyles from elephants were consistent with the genetic diversity seen within other strongyle species. We anticipate that these results will be a useful tool for identifying gastrointestinal nematode parasites in elephants.

  16. Pharmacokinetics of orally administered ibuprofen in African and Asian elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus).

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    Bechert, Ursula; Christensen, J Mark

    2007-06-01

    The pharmacokinetic parameters of S(+) and R(-) ibuprofen were determined in 20 elephants after oral administration of preliminary 4-, 5-, and 6-mg/kg doses of racemic ibuprofen. Following administration of 4 mg/kg ibuprofen, serum concentrations of ibuprofen peaked at 5 hr at 3.9 +/- 2.07 microg/ml R(-) and 10.65 +/- 5.64 microg/ml S(+) (mean +/- SD) in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and at 3 hr at 5.14 +/- 1.39 microg/ml R(-) and 13.77 +/- 3.75 microg/ml S(+) in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), respectively. Six-milligram/kilogram dosages resulted in peak serum concentrations of 5.91 +/- 2.17 microg/ml R(-) and 14.82 +/- 9.71 microg/ml S(+) in African elephants, and 5.72 +/- 1.60 microg/ml R(-) and 18.32 +/- 10.35 microg/ml S(+) in Asian elephants. Ibuprofen was eliminated with first-order kinetics characteristic of a single-compartment model with a half-life of 2.2-2.4 hr R(-) and 4.5-5.1 hr S(+) in African elephants and 2.4-2.9 hr R(-) and 5.9-7.7 hr S(+) in Asian elephants. Serum concentrations of R(-) ibuprofen were undetectable at 24 hr, whereas S(+) ibuprofen decreased to below 5 microg/ml 24 hr postadministration in all elephants. The volume of distribution was estimated to be between 322 and 356 ml/kg R(-) and 133 and 173 ml/kg S(+) in Asian elephants and 360-431 ml/kg R(-) and 179-207 ml/kg S(+) in African elephants. Steady-state serum concentrations of ibuprofen ranged from 2.2 to 10.5 microg/ml R(-) and 5.5 to 32.0 microg/ml S(+) (mean: 5.17 +/- 0.7 R(-) and 13.95 +/- 0.9 S(+) microg/ml in African elephants and 5.0 +/- 1.09 microg/ml R(-) and 14.1 +/- 2.8 microg/ml S(+) in Asian elephants). Racemic ibuprofen administered at 6 mg/kg/12 hr for Asian elephants and at 7 mg/kg/12 hr for African elephants results in therapeutic serum concentrations of this antiinflammatory agent.

  17. Molecular characterization of adipose tissue in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

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    Nilsson, Emeli M; Fainberg, Hernan P; Choong, Siew S; Giles, Thomas C; Sells, James; May, Sean; Stansfield, Fiona J; Allen, William R; Emes, Richard D; Mostyn, Alison; Mongan, Nigel P; Yon, Lisa

    2014-01-01

    Adipose tissue (AT) is a dynamic and flexible organ with regulatory roles in physiological functions including metabolism, reproduction and inflammation; secreted adipokines, including leptin, and fatty acids facilitate many of these roles. The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is experiencing serious challenges to optimal reproduction in captivity. The physiological and molecular basis of this impaired fertility remains unknown. AT production of leptin is a crucial molecular link between nutritional status, adiposity and fertility in many species. We propose that leptin has a similar function in the African elephant. African elephant visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) was obtained from both sexes and a range of ages including females with known pregnancy status. RNA was extracted and histological sections created and analyzed by microarray, PCR and immunohistochemistry respectively. Gas-chromatography was used to determine the fatty acid composition of AT. Microarray expression profiling was used to compare gene expression profiles of AT from pre-pubertal versus reproductively competent adult African elephants. This study demonstrates, for the first time, leptin mRNA and protein expression in African elephant AT. The derived protein sequence of the elephant leptin protein was exploited to determine its relationship within the class I helical cytokine superfamily, which indicates that elephant leptin is most closely related to the leptin orthologs of Oryctolagus cuniculus (European rabbit), Lepus oiostolus (woolly hare), and members of the Ochotonidae (Pika). Immunohistological analysis identified considerable leptin staining within the cytoplasm of adipocytes. Significant differences in fatty acid profiles between pregnant and non-pregnant animals were revealed, most notably a reduction in both linoleic and α linoleic acid in pregnant animals. This report forms the basis for future studies to address the effect of nutrient composition and body

  18. Molecular characterization of adipose tissue in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana.

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    Emeli M Nilsson

    Full Text Available Adipose tissue (AT is a dynamic and flexible organ with regulatory roles in physiological functions including metabolism, reproduction and inflammation; secreted adipokines, including leptin, and fatty acids facilitate many of these roles. The African elephant (Loxodonta africana is experiencing serious challenges to optimal reproduction in captivity. The physiological and molecular basis of this impaired fertility remains unknown. AT production of leptin is a crucial molecular link between nutritional status, adiposity and fertility in many species. We propose that leptin has a similar function in the African elephant. African elephant visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT was obtained from both sexes and a range of ages including females with known pregnancy status. RNA was extracted and histological sections created and analyzed by microarray, PCR and immunohistochemistry respectively. Gas-chromatography was used to determine the fatty acid composition of AT. Microarray expression profiling was used to compare gene expression profiles of AT from pre-pubertal versus reproductively competent adult African elephants. This study demonstrates, for the first time, leptin mRNA and protein expression in African elephant AT. The derived protein sequence of the elephant leptin protein was exploited to determine its relationship within the class I helical cytokine superfamily, which indicates that elephant leptin is most closely related to the leptin orthologs of Oryctolagus cuniculus (European rabbit, Lepus oiostolus (woolly hare, and members of the Ochotonidae (Pika. Immunohistological analysis identified considerable leptin staining within the cytoplasm of adipocytes. Significant differences in fatty acid profiles between pregnant and non-pregnant animals were revealed, most notably a reduction in both linoleic and α linoleic acid in pregnant animals. This report forms the basis for future studies to address the effect of nutrient composition

  19. Transferrin and Haemoglobin types in the African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana

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    D. R Osterhoff

    1972-01-01

    Full Text Available In a random sample of 84 elephants from the Kruger National Park and five elephants from the Addo Elephant National Park, biochemical polymorphism in the serum transferrins could be established. It seems that elephants in the Kruger and Addo Parks are genetically similar but further studies are indicated to confirm these preliminary findings. For the haemo- globin investigations 109 blood samples were available, all originating from the Kruger National Park and all revealing only one type of haemoglobin.

  20. Prolonged drought results in starvation of African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

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    Wato, Yussuf A.; Heitkonig, Ignas; Wieren, van Sipke E.; Wahungu, Geoffrey; Prins, Herbert H.T.; Langevelde, van Frank

    2016-01-01

    Elephant inhabiting arid and semi-arid savannas often experience periods of drought, which, if prolonged, may cause mortality. During dry periods, elephant aggregate around water sources and deplete local forage availability. However, the relationships between adult elephant mortality and both hi

  1. African elephants (Loxodonta africana) recognize visual attention from face and body orientation.

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    Smet, Anna F; Byrne, Richard W

    2014-07-01

    How do animals determine when others are able and disposed to receive their communicative signals? In particular, it is futile to make a silent gesture when the intended audience cannot see it. Some non-human primates use the head and body orientation of their audience to infer visual attentiveness when signalling, but whether species relying less on visual information use such cues when producing visual signals is unknown. Here, we test whether African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are sensitive to the visual perspective of a human experimenter. We examined whether the frequency of gestures of head and trunk, produced to request food, was influenced by indications of an experimenter's visual attention. Elephants signalled significantly more towards the experimenter when her face was oriented towards them, except when her body faced away from them. These results suggest that elephants understand the importance of visual attention for effective communication.

  2. Wire netting reduces African elephant (Loxodonta africana impact to selected trees in South Africa

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    Kelly Derham

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available African elephants (Loxodonta africana are ecosystem engineers in that they substantially alter the environment through their unique foraging and feeding habits. At high densities, elephants potentially have negative impacts on the environment, specifically for large trees. Because of this, recent increases of elephants in the Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park (KNP, South Africa, have caused concern regarding the survival of several tree species. Our objective was to assess the effectiveness of wrapping protective wire netting around the trunk of the tree for preventing and reducing bark stripping, branch breaking, and felling by elephants. We assessed 2668 trees – 1352 Sclerocarya birrea (marula, 857 Acacia nigrescens (knobthorn, and 459 Lannea schweinfurthii (false marula – for elephant impact in the APNR, 1387 (52% of which had previously been wrapped in protective wire netting (789, 548 and 50, respectively. Wire netting was effective in reducing the severity of bark stripping and the relative proportion of trees that were bark stripped. In addition, wire netting had an effect on the level of impact, with a higher relative frequency of wire-net-protected trees found in lower impact categories compared with unprotected trees. Since tree mortality has been attributed to high levels of elephant impact, the use of wire netting could serve to maintain individual trees or populations particularly vulnerable to elephant impact in areas with locally high densities of elephants.Conservation implications: Since wire netting is a relatively low cost and ecologically unobtrusive strategy, it could be used to reduce elephant impact in problem areas. This method focuses on protecting trees rather than some other strategies such as environmental manipulation, translocation, contraceptives, and culling that instead focus on reducing elephant numbers.Keywords: Elephant impact; bark stripping

  3. The relationship between social behaviour and habitat familiarity in African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

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    Pinter-Wollman, Noa; Isbell, Lynne A; Hart, Lynette A

    2009-03-22

    Social associations with conspecifics can expedite animals' acclimation to novel environments. However, the benefits gained from sociality may change as the habitat becomes familiar. Furthermore, the particular individuals with whom animals associate upon arrival at a new place, familiar conspecifics or knowledgeable unfamiliar residents, may influence the type of information they acquire about their new home. To examine animals' social dynamics in novel habitats, we studied the social behaviour of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) translocated into a novel environment. We found that the translocated elephants' association with conspecifics decreased over time supporting our hypothesis that sociality provides added benefits in novel environments. In addition, we found a positive correlation between body condition and social association, suggesting that elephants gain direct benefits from sociality. Furthermore, the translocated elephants associated significantly less than expected with the local residents and more than expected with familiar, but not necessarily genetically related, translocated elephants. The social segregation between the translocated and resident elephants declined over time, suggesting that elephants can integrate into an existing social setting. Knowledge of the relationship between sociality and habitat familiarity is highly important in our constantly changing world to both conservation practice and our understanding of animals' behaviour in novel environments.

  4. FATAL ENCEPHALOMYOCARDITIS VIRUS INFECTION IN AN AFRICAN SAVANNA ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA) IN A FRENCH ZOO.

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    Lamglait, Benjamin; Joris, Antoine; Romey, Aurore; Bakkali-Kassimi, Labib; Lemberger, Karin

    2015-06-01

    A fatal case of encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) involving an African elephant ( Loxodonta africana ) occurred in November 2013 at the Réserve Africaine de Sigean, France. An adult female was found dead without any preliminary symptoms. Gross pathologic changes consisted of petechiae and hemorrhages on mucosae and internal organs, abundant transudate in the abdominal and pericardial cavities, and myocarditis. Histopathologic examination showed extensive degeneration and necrosis of ventricular cardiomyocytes with concurrent lymphoplasmocytic and eosinophilic infiltrate. An EMCV was isolated from several organs and considered the causative agent of the myocarditis. The same strain of virus was also isolated in rodents captured on zoo premises and considered to be the reservoir of the virus. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first EMCV case in a captive African elephant in Europe.

  5. Microbiology of the external ear canal in six African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

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    Chinnadurai, S K; Suedmeyer, W K; Fales, W H

    2009-02-21

    Samples collected from both external ear canals of six adult female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) were cultured for fungi, yeasts and aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. All the samples produced heavy growths of several aerobic bacteria, but anaerobic bacteria were rare and no fungi or yeasts were isolated. The most common bacterium isolated was Staphylococcus epidermidis, which was cultured from 11 of the 12 ears. Acinetobacter calcoaceticus lwoffi, alpha-haemolytic Streptococcus and Corynebacterium species, and Aeromonas caviae were all isolated from at least six of the 12 ears.

  6. Pharmacokinetics of orally administered phenylbutazone in African and Asian elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus).

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    Bechert, Ursula; Christensen, J Mark; Nguyen, C; Neelkant, R; Bendas, E

    2008-06-01

    The pharmacokinetic parameters of phenylbutazone were determined in 18 elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus) after single-dose oral administration of 2, 3, and 4 mg/kg phenylbutazone, as well as multiple-dose administrations with a 4-wk washout period between trials. After administration of 2 mg/kg phenylbutazone, mean serum concentrations peaked in approximately 7.5 hr at 4.3 +/- 2.02 microg/ml and 9.7 hr at 7.1 +/- 2.36 microg/ml for African and Asian elephants, respectively, while 3 mg/kg dosages resulted in peak serum concentrations of 7.2 +/- 4.06 microg/ml in 8.4 hr and 12.1 +/- 3.13 microg/ml in 14 hr. The harmonic mean half-life was long, ranging between 13 and 15 hr and 39 and 45 hr for African and Asian elephants, respectively. There was evidence of enterohepatic cycling of phenylbutazone in Asian elephants. Significant differences (P < 0.0001) in pharmacokinetic values occurred between African and Asian elephants for clearance (27.9 and 7.6 ml/hr/kg, respectively), terminal half-life (15.0 and 38.7 hr, respectively), and mean residence time (22.5 and 55.5 hr, respectively) using 2-mg/kg dosages as an example. This suggests that different treatment regimens for Asian and African elephants should be used. There were no apparent gender differences in these parameters for either elephant species.

  7. Chromosome analysis in the Kruger National Park: Mitotic and meiotic studies in the African elephant loxodonta africana

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    C. Wallace

    1978-09-01

    Full Text Available The present report is published because of the paucity of publication on the mitotic chromosomes of the African elephant Loxodonta africana, and because it is the fisrt study in which the meiotic chromosomes of the species are described.

  8. Assessment of ovarian cycles in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) by measurement of salivary progesterone metabolites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Illera, Juan-Carlos; Silván, Gema; Cáceres, Sara; Carbonell, Maria-Dolores; Gerique, Cati; Martínez-Fernández, Leticia; Munro, Coralie; Casares, Miguel

    2014-01-01

    Monitoring ovarian cycles through hormonal analysis is important in order to improve breeding management of captive elephants, and non-invasive collection techniques are particularly interesting for this purpose. However, there are some practical difficulties in collecting proper samples, and easier and more practical methods may be an advantage for some institutions and/or some animals. This study describes the development and validation of an enzymeimmunoassay (EIA) for progestins in salivary samples of African elephants, Loxodonta africana. Weekly urinary and salivary samples from five non-pregnant elephant cows aged 7-12 years were obtained for 28 weeks and analyzed using EIA. Both techniques correlated positively (r = 0.799; P < 0.001), and the cycle characteristics obtained were identical. The results clearly show that ovarian cycles can be monitored by measuring progestins from salivary samples in the African elephant. This is a simple and non-invasive method that may be a practical alternative to other sampling methods used in the species.

  9. Assessment of Flooring Renovations on African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) Behavior and Glucocorticoid Response.

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    Boyle, Sarah A; Roberts, Beth; Pope, Brittany M; Blake, Margaret R; Leavelle, Stephen E; Marshall, Jennifer J; Smith, Andrew; Hadicke, Amanda; Falcone, Josephine F; Knott, Katrina; Kouba, Andrew J

    2015-01-01

    Captive African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants can experience foot pathologies and arthritis. As a preventative measure against these pathologies and to alleviate the potential discomfort due to concrete substrates, some zoological institutions have renovated elephant housing to increase the amount of natural or shock-absorbent substrates. The objective of this study was to compare behavioral (diurnal and nocturnal) and glucorticoid (e.g., serum cortisol) responses of three female African elephants before, during, and after renovation to their indoor housing floor to assess whether renovations had short-term effects on the elephants' behavior and stress physiology. Behavioral data were collected using scan-sampling methods, and activity budgets were constructed for each of the three elephants. In addition, the duration of all lying rest activities were recorded. Weekly serum cortisol concentrations were determined with enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Overall, eating was the most prevalent behavior exhibited outdoors during the day, while resting (either in a lying or standing position) were most common during the indoor, nocturnal periods. Although variation existed among the three elephants, all three females spent significantly more time walking and less time eating during the day after the completion of the renovations. The extent to which the three elephants exhibited nocturnal lying rest behavior varied among the elephants, with the oldest elephant exhibiting the least amount (an average of 13.2 ± 2.8% of the nightly behavioral scans) compared to the two younger elephants (an average of 34.5 ± 2.1% and 56.6 ± 2.8% of the nightly behavioral scans). There was a significant increase in lying rest behavior for one elephant and standing rest for a second elephant following renovations. Baseline cortisol concentrations prior to renovations were 3.0 ± 0.4 ng/ml, 4.5 ± 0.5 ng/ml, and 4.9 ± 0.5 ng/ml for the three elephants. Cortisol

  10. Assessment of Flooring Renovations on African Elephant (Loxodonta africana Behavior and Glucocorticoid Response.

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    Sarah A Boyle

    Full Text Available Captive African (Loxodonta africana and Asian (Elephas maximus elephants can experience foot pathologies and arthritis. As a preventative measure against these pathologies and to alleviate the potential discomfort due to concrete substrates, some zoological institutions have renovated elephant housing to increase the amount of natural or shock-absorbent substrates. The objective of this study was to compare behavioral (diurnal and nocturnal and glucorticoid (e.g., serum cortisol responses of three female African elephants before, during, and after renovation to their indoor housing floor to assess whether renovations had short-term effects on the elephants' behavior and stress physiology. Behavioral data were collected using scan-sampling methods, and activity budgets were constructed for each of the three elephants. In addition, the duration of all lying rest activities were recorded. Weekly serum cortisol concentrations were determined with enzyme immunoassay (EIA. Overall, eating was the most prevalent behavior exhibited outdoors during the day, while resting (either in a lying or standing position were most common during the indoor, nocturnal periods. Although variation existed among the three elephants, all three females spent significantly more time walking and less time eating during the day after the completion of the renovations. The extent to which the three elephants exhibited nocturnal lying rest behavior varied among the elephants, with the oldest elephant exhibiting the least amount (an average of 13.2 ± 2.8% of the nightly behavioral scans compared to the two younger elephants (an average of 34.5 ± 2.1% and 56.6 ± 2.8% of the nightly behavioral scans. There was a significant increase in lying rest behavior for one elephant and standing rest for a second elephant following renovations. Baseline cortisol concentrations prior to renovations were 3.0 ± 0.4 ng/ml, 4.5 ± 0.5 ng/ml, and 4.9 ± 0.5 ng/ml for the three elephants

  11. Estrous synchrony in a group of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) under human care.

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    Weissenböck, Nicole M; Schwammer, Harald M; Ruf, Thomas

    2009-07-01

    Synchrony of estrous, and consequently of conception and birth of young, may be of adaptive significance for certain mammals. Among the species in which estrous synchrony has been suspected several times are elephants, but clear evidence is still missing. We determined estrous cycles of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) (n=4) at the Vienna Zoo, Austria, between June 2003 and January 2006 by measuring serum progesterone levels from weekly blood samples. Except for the dominant female when she was intensively lactating, all animals showed clear cycles or progesterone release with a mean period of 105.3+/-15.37 days. For most of the study period, estrous cycles were asynchronous between females. However, after re-occurrence of the progesterone cycle in the dominant female following the first period of lactation, all four females showed high synchrony of progesterone release over the two subsequent cycles. Large changes in individual period lengths indicated that synchronization was due to the adjustment of cycle length in subdominants to that of the dominant female. We used a bootstrap procedure, based on resampling measured times of progesterone peaks, to determine if this apparent synchrony could have been caused by chance alone. This statistical analysis indicated that between-individual variances of the timing of progesterone peaks were much smaller that to be expected by chance (P=0.009). This finding represents the first evidence for estrous synchrony between elephants. We discuss various hypotheses to explain the biological function of cycle synchrony in elephants.

  12. Physical, physiological, and behavioral correlates of musth in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

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    Ganswindt, Andre; Heistermann, Michael; Hodges, Keith

    2005-01-01

    Although musth in male African elephants (Loxodonta africana) is known to be associated with increased aggressiveness, urine dribbling (UD), temporal gland secretion (TGS), and elevated androgens, the temporal relationship between these changes has not been examined. Here, we describe the pattern of musth-related characteristics in 14 captive elephant bulls by combining long-term observations of physical and behavioral changes with physiological data on testicular and adrenal function. The length of musth periods was highly variable but according to our data set not related to age. Our data also confirm that musth is associated with elevated androgens and, in this respect, show that TGS and UD are downstream effects of this elevation, with TGS responding earlier and to lower androgen levels than UD. Because the majority of musth periods were associated with a decrease in glucocorticoid levels, our data also indicate that musth does not represent a physiological stress mediated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the occurrence of musth is associated with increased aggression and that this is presumably androgen mediated because aggressive males had higher androgen levels. Collectively, the information generated contributes to a better understanding of what characterizes and initiates musth in captive African elephants and provides a basis for further studies designed to examine in more detail the factors regulating the intensity and duration of musth.

  13. Organisation and chemical neuroanatomy of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) olfactory bulb.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ngwenya, Ayanda; Patzke, Nina; Ihunwo, Amadi O; Manger, Paul R

    2011-11-01

    The olfactory system of mammals can be divided into a main and accessory olfactory system with initial processing for each system occurring in the olfactory bulb. The main and accessory olfactory bulbs have similar structural features, even though they appear to be functionally independent. In mammals the main olfactory bulb (MOB) is also one of two established sites of lifelong generation of new cells. The present study describes the histological and immunohistochemical neuroanatomy of the olfactory bulb of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana). The morphology of MOB of the elephant does not differ significantly from that described in other mammals; however, it lacks the internal plexiform layer. In addition, the glomeruli of the glomerular layer are organised in 2-4 "honey-combed" layers, a feature not commonly observed. The cell types and structures revealed with immunohistochemical stains (parvalbumin, calbindin, calretinin, tyrosine hydroxylase, orexin-A, glial fibrillary acidic protein) were similar to other mammals. Neurogenesis was examined using the neurogenic marker doublecortin. Migration of newly generated cells was observed in most layers of the MOB. No accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) was observed. Based on the general anatomy and the immunohistochemical observations, it is evident that the morphology of the African elephant MOB is, for the most part, similar to that of all mammals, although very large in absolute size.

  14. Neocortical neuronal morphology in the newborn giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) and African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

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    Jacobs, Bob; Lee, Laura; Schall, Matthew; Raghanti, Mary Ann; Lewandowski, Albert H; Kottwitz, Jack J; Roberts, John F; Hof, Patrick R; Sherwood, Chet C

    2016-02-01

    Although neocortical neuronal morphology has been documented in the adult giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) and African elephant (Loxodonta africana), no research has explored the cortical architecture in newborns of these species. To this end, the current study examined the morphology of neurons from several cortical areas in the newborn giraffe and elephant. After cortical neurons were stained with a modified Golgi technique (N = 153), dendritic branching and spine distributions were analyzed by using computer-assisted morphometry. The results showed that newborn elephant neurons were considerably larger in terms of all dendritic and spine measures than newborn giraffe neurons. Qualitatively, neurons in the newborns appeared morphologically comparable to those in their adult counterparts. Neurons in the newborn elephant differed considerably from those observed in other placental mammals, including the giraffe, particularly with regard to the morphology of spiny projection neurons. Projection neurons were observed in both species, with a much larger variety in the elephant (e.g., flattened pyramidal, nonpyramidal multipolar, and inverted pyramidal neurons). Although local circuit neurons (i.e., interneurons, neurogliaform, Cajal-Retzius neurons) resembled those observed in other eutherian mammals, these were usually spiny, which contrasts with their adult, aspiny equivalents. Newborn projection neurons were smaller than the adult equivalents in both species, but newborn interneurons were approximately the same size as their adult counterparts. Cortical neuromorphology in the newborn giraffe is thus generally consistent with what has been observed in other cetartiodactyls, whereas newborn and adult elephant morphology appears to deviate substantially from what is commonly observed in other placental mammals.

  15. The structure of the cushions in the feet of African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

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    Weissengruber, G E; Egger, G F; Hutchinson, J R; Groenewald, H B; Elsässer, L; Famini, D; Forstenpointner, G

    2006-12-01

    The uniquely designed limbs of the African elephant, Loxodonta africana, support the weight of the largest terrestrial animal. Besides other morphological peculiarities, the feet are equipped with large subcutaneous cushions which play an important role in distributing forces during weight bearing and in storing or absorbing mechanical forces. Although the cushions have been discussed in the literature and captive elephants, in particular, are frequently affected by foot disorders, precise morphological data are sparse. The cushions in the feet of African elephants were examined by means of standard anatomical and histological techniques, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In both the forelimb and the hindlimb a 6th ray, the prepollex or prehallux, is present. These cartilaginous rods support the metacarpal or metatarsal compartment of the cushions. None of the rays touches the ground directly. The cushions consist of sheets or strands of fibrous connective tissue forming larger metacarpal/metatarsal and digital compartments and smaller chambers which were filled with adipose tissue. The compartments are situated between tarsal, metatarsal, metacarpal bones, proximal phalanges or other structures of the locomotor apparatus covering the bones palmarly/plantarly and the thick sole skin. Within the cushions, collagen, reticulin and elastic fibres are found. In the main parts, vascular supply is good and numerous nerves course within the entire cushion. Vater-Pacinian corpuscles are embedded within the collagenous tissue of the cushions and within the dermis. Meissner corpuscles are found in the dermal papillae of the foot skin. The micromorphology of elephant feet cushions resembles that of digital cushions in cattle or of the foot pads in humans but not that of digital cushions in horses. Besides their important mechanical properties, foot cushions in elephants seem to be very sensitive structures.

  16. Effects of rainfall, host demography, and musth on strongyle fecal egg counts in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Namibia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thurber, M I; O'Connell-Rodwell, C E; Turner, W C; Nambandi, K; Kinzley, C; Rodwell, T C; Faulkner, C T; Felt, S A; Bouley, D M

    2011-01-01

    Wild African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are commonly infected with intestinal strongyle parasites. Our objective was to determine baseline fecal strongyle egg counts for elephants in the northeast region of Etosha National Park, Namibia and determine if these numbers were affected by annual rainfall, elephant demography (age of individuals and composition of groups), and hormonal state of males. We found that matriarchal family group members have significantly higher fecal egg counts than male elephants (bulls). Among family group members, strongyle egg counts increased with age, whereas among bulls, strongyle egg counts decreased with age. Years of higher rainfall were correlated with decreased numbers of strongyle eggs among bulls. Finally, bulls were not affected by their physiologic (hormonal) status (musth vs. nonmusth). These results suggest that infection by strongyle parasites in Namibian African elephants is a dynamic process affected by intrinsic and extrinsic factors including host demography and rainfall.

  17. A preliminary analysis of the immunoglobulin genes in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana.

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    Yongchen Guo

    Full Text Available The genomic organization of the IgH (Immunoglobulin heavy chain, Igκ (Immunoglobulin kappa chain, and Igλ (Immunoglobulin lambda chain loci in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana was annotated using available genome data. The elephant IgH locus on scaffold 57 spans over 2,974 kb, and consists of at least 112 V(H gene segments, 87 D(H gene segments (the largest number in mammals examined so far, six J(H gene segments, a single μ, a δ remnant, and eight γ genes (α and ε genes are missing, most likely due to sequence gaps. The Igκ locus, found on three scaffolds (202, 50 and 86, contains a total of 153 V(κ gene segments, three J(κ segments, and a single C(κ gene. Two different transcriptional orientations were determined for these V(κ gene segments. In contrast, the Igλ locus on scaffold 68 includes 15 V(λ gene segments, all with the same transcriptional polarity as the downstream J(λ-C(λ cluster. These data suggest that the elephant immunoglobulin gene repertoire is highly diverse and complex. Our results provide insights into the immunoglobulin genes in a placental mammal that is evolutionarily distant from humans, mice, and domestic animals.

  18. A preliminary analysis of the immunoglobulin genes in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Yongchen; Bao, Yonghua; Wang, Hui; Hu, Xiaoxiang; Zhao, Zhihui; Li, Ning; Zhao, Yaofeng

    2011-02-25

    The genomic organization of the IgH (Immunoglobulin heavy chain), Igκ (Immunoglobulin kappa chain), and Igλ (Immunoglobulin lambda chain) loci in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) was annotated using available genome data. The elephant IgH locus on scaffold 57 spans over 2,974 kb, and consists of at least 112 V(H) gene segments, 87 D(H) gene segments (the largest number in mammals examined so far), six J(H) gene segments, a single μ, a δ remnant, and eight γ genes (α and ε genes are missing, most likely due to sequence gaps). The Igκ locus, found on three scaffolds (202, 50 and 86), contains a total of 153 V(κ) gene segments, three J(κ) segments, and a single C(κ) gene. Two different transcriptional orientations were determined for these V(κ) gene segments. In contrast, the Igλ locus on scaffold 68 includes 15 V(λ) gene segments, all with the same transcriptional polarity as the downstream J(λ)-C(λ) cluster. These data suggest that the elephant immunoglobulin gene repertoire is highly diverse and complex. Our results provide insights into the immunoglobulin genes in a placental mammal that is evolutionarily distant from humans, mice, and domestic animals.

  19. GPS determination of walking rates in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leighty, Katherine A; Soltis, Joseph; Wesolek, Christina M; Savage, Anne; Mellen, Jill; Lehnhardt, John

    2009-01-01

    The movements of elephants in captivity have been an issue of concern for animal welfare activists and zoological professionals alike in recent years. In order to fully understand how movement rates reflect animal welfare, we must first determine the exact distances these animals move in the captive environment. We outfitted seven adult female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at Disney's Animal Kingdom with collar-mounted global positioning recording systems to document their movement rates while housed in outdoor guest viewing habitats. Further, we conducted preliminary analyses to address potential factors impacting movement rates including body size, temperature, enclosure size, and social grouping complexity. We found that our elephants moved at an average rate of 0.409+/-0.007 km/hr during the 9-hr data collection periods. This rate translates to an average of 3.68 km traveled during the observation periods, at a rate comparable to that observed in the wild. Although movement rate did not have a significant relationship with an individual's body size in this herd, the movements of four females demonstrated a significant positive correlation with temperature. Further, females in our largest social group demonstrated a significant increase in movement rates when residing in larger enclosures. We also present preliminary evidence suggesting that increased social group complexity, including the presence of infants in the herd, may be associated with increased walking rates, whereas factors such as reproductive and social status may constrain movements.

  20. Acute death associated with Citrobacter freundii infection in an African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ortega, Joaquín; Corpa, Juan M; Orden, José A; Blanco, Jorge; Carbonell, María D; Gerique, Amalia C; Latimer, Erin; Hayward, Gary S; Roemmelt, Andreas; Kraemer, Thomas; Romey, Aurore; Kassimi, Labib B; Casares, Miguel

    2015-09-01

    A 21-year-old male African elephant (Loxodonta africana) died suddenly with no previous medical history. Grossly, there were severe multifocal epicardial and endocardial hemorrhages of the atria and ventricles, hydropericardium, multifocal pleural hemorrhages, and severe pulmonary congestion and edema. Histologically, there was fibrinoid vasculitis and thrombosis in the heart and lung and myocardial necrosis. Citrobacter freundii was isolated in abundance in pure culture from liver and heart samples. Low levels of multiples types of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV-6, EEHV-2B, and EEHV-3A) were detected in spleen samples, but not in heart samples. The levels of EEHV DNA found were much lower than those usually associated with acute EEHV hemorrhagic disease, and many other genomic loci that would normally be found in such cases were evidently below the level of detection. Therefore, these findings are unlikely to indicate lethal EEHV disease. Polymerase chain reaction for encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) and toxicology for oleander (Nerium oleander) were negative. Stress, resulting from recent transport, and antimicrobial therapy may have contributed to the death of this animal.

  1. GPS assessment of the use of exhibit space and resources by African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leighty, Katherine A; Soltis, Joseph; Savage, Anne

    2010-01-01

    In public discussions of animal rights and welfare, we as members and proponents of zoological institutions often face significant challenges addressing the concerns of our detractors due to an unfortunate deficiency in systematically collected and published data on the animals in our collections. In the case of elephants, there has been a paucity of information describing their use of space within captive environments. Here, using collar-mounted GPS recording devices, we documented the use of exhibit space and resources by a herd of five adult female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) housed at Disney's Animal Kingdom((R)). We found that dominant animals within the herd used a greater percentage of the available space and subordinate females avoided narrow or enclosed regions of the enclosure that we termed "restricted flow areas." In their use of other resources, dominant females demonstrated increased occupation of the watering hole over subordinate females, but all females demonstrated relatively equivalent use of the mud wallow. Overall, our results provide preliminary evidence that position within the dominancy hierarchy impacts the percentage of space occupied in a captive setting and may contribute to resource accessibility. These findings can be applied to future decisions on exhibit design and resource distribution for this species.

  2. Etorphine-halothane anaesthesia in two five-year-old African elephants (Loxodonta africana : clinical communication

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    G.F. Stegmann

    1999-07-01

    Full Text Available Anaesthesia of 2 five-year-old femaleAfrican elephants (Loxodonta africana was required for dental surgery. The animals were each premedicated with 120 mg of azaperone 60 min before transportation to the hospital. Before offloading, 1 mg etorphine was administered intramuscularly (i.m. to each elephant to facilitate walking them to the equine induction / recovery room. For induction, 2 mg etorphine was administered i.m. to each animal. Induction was complete within 6 min. Surgical anaesthesia was induced with halothane-in-oxygen after intubation of the trunk. During surgery the mean heart rate was 61 and 45 beats / min respectively. Systolic blood pressures increased to 27.5 and 25.6 kPa respectively, and were treated with intravenous azaperone. Blood pressure decreased thereafter to a mean systolic pressure of 18.1 and 19.8 kPa, respectively. Rectal temperature was 35.6 and 33.9 oC at the onset of surgery, and decreased to 35.3 and 33.5 oC, respectively, at the end of anaesthesia. Etorphine anaesthesia was reversed with 5mg diprenorphine at the completion of 90 min of surgery.

  3. The social and ecological integration of captive-raised adolescent male African elephants (Loxodonta africana into a wild population.

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    Kate Evans

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: A rapid rise in the number of captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana used in the tourism industry in southern Africa and orphaned elephants in human care has led to concerns about their long-term management, particularly males. One solution is to release them into the wild at adolescence, when young males naturally leave their herd. However, this raises significant welfare concerns: little is known about how well released elephants integrate into wild populations and whether they pose a greater threat to humans than wild elephants. We document the release of three captive-raised adolescent male African elephants in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Despite having been part of a herd of working elephants for at least eight years, the three males progressively integrated into the complex fission-fusion society of wild bull elephants. In the three years following release, they showed no tendency to be closer to human habitation, and there were no significant differences between wild and captive-raised adolescent males in the total number of social interactions, size of ranges and habitat use. However, the captive-raised elephants sparred less and vocalised more, and spent more time alone and in smaller social groups. Thereafter the released elephants continued to expand their ranges and interact with both mixed-sex herds and males. One male was shot by farmers 94 months after release, along with ten wild elephants, on a ranch outside the protected area. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We show that captive-raised adolescent male elephants can integrate into a wild population. Long-term studies are required to determine the longevity, breeding success, and eventual fate of released male elephants, but we identified no significant short-term welfare problems for the released elephants or recipient population. Release of captive-raised mammals with complex social systems is a husbandry option that should be

  4. Circadian rhythm of salivary cortisol secretion in female zoo-kept African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casares, Miguel; Silván, Gema; Carbonell, Maria Dolores; Gerique, Cati; Martinez-Fernandez, Leticia; Cáceres, Sara; Illera, Juan Carlos

    2016-01-01

    Salivary samples were collected over a 24-hr period from one group of six juvenile (7-12 years) and one group of three adult (24-25 years) African elephant females, Loxodonta africana, and the cortisol concentration was measured in unextracted samples by EIA. Samples were collected during May, June, and November 2012 (n = 147) using cotton swabs at 4-hr intervals from 20:00 to 20:00 of the next day (seven samples per animal in each trial). The animals are kept under standard zoo management: the herd is maintained in their indoor enclosures until 10:00 and then released into the outdoor enclosures until 21:00-21:30 (May/June) and 18:30-19:00 (November). No adult elephant bull was present at the zoo during this time. The results demonstrate a clear diurnal pattern of cortisol secretion with the lowest concentration observed at 20:00 (2.03 ± 0.08 ng/ml saliva) and the peak concentrations at 08:00 (5.26 ± 0.35 ng/ml saliva). Although the cortisol values were higher in the adult cows compared to the juvenile cows in the May-June period, the differences were not significant. However, the values obtained in November from the juvenile group were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than the concentrations measured in this group in June. In conclusion, salivary cortisol in zoo elephants follows a circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) adapted to daily zoo husbandry routines.

  5. Serum concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, and 25-hydroxyvitamin d in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Michele; Chen, Tai C; Holick, Michael F; Mikota, Susan; Dierenfeld, Ellen

    2009-06-01

    Seventy-two serum samples were collected from 14 healthy African elephants (Loxodonta africana), including three calves, to test for 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] as well as for performing biochemical panels. Samples were collected between July 1997 and January 2008 to establish normal 25(OH)D values for the species and to examine the relationship of season and time on these values. Although the number of samples from the calves was small (n = 7), there was no statistically significant difference in the mean 25(OH)D levels between adults and calves (15.7 +/- 7.7 ng/ml versus 17.1 +/- 5.8 ng/ml, P > 0.05, respectively). The comparison of mean and individual values among seasons showed some variation, but was not statistically different; therefore, all values were combined for further analyses. The mean value of 25(OH)D for all samples was 15.8 +/- 7.5 ng/ml (n = 72), with a 95% confidence interval of 14.0-17.6 ng/ml. There did not appear to be a direct correlation between 25(OH)D levels and calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), or calcium:phosphorus ratio (Ca:P) based on regression analyses (P < 0.05). Values measured approximated normal distributions. Mean calcium value was 10.5 +/- 0.6 mg/dl (n = 61); mean phosphorus value was 5.2 +/- 0.8 mg/dl (n = 50); and mean Ca:P was 2.06 +/- 0.34. Since all animals appeared healthy during the course of sample collection, and bone density on foot radiographs was assessed as good, the results are considered to be normal for this herd. With the incidence of joint disease in older elephants, and metabolic bone disease in hand-reared calves, these values will provide a basis for further studies of calcium metabolism in elephants.

  6. Qualitative comparison of the cranio-dental osteology of the extant elephants, Elephas Maximus (Asian elephant) and Loxodonta africana (African elephant).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Todd, Nancy E

    2010-01-01

    Few osteological descriptions of the extant elephants and no detailed morphological comparison of the two genera, Elephas and Loxodonta, have been done in recent years. In this study, 786 specimens of extant elephants (crania, mandibles, and molars) were examined for characters unique to each species. Differences between sexes in each species were described, as well as differences between subspecies of each species. Striking differences in morphology were noted between sexes of both elephants and between subspecies, which may complement current genetic studies, the focus of which is to determine division at the subspecies or species level, particularly differences between the savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) and the forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis). In addition, examination of the two living elephants provides an excellent dataset for identifying phylogenetic characters for use in examining evolutionary relationships within and between fossil lineages of elephantids.

  7. Two cases of atypical mycobacteriosis caused by Mycobacterium szulgai associated with mortality in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lacasse, Claude; Terio, Karen; Kinsel, Michael J; Farina, Lisa L; Travis, Dominic A; Greenwald, Rena; Lyashchenko, Konstantin P; Miller, Michele; Gamble, Kathryn C

    2007-03-01

    Mycobacterium szulgai was associated with mortality in two captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) housed at Lincoln Park Zoo. The first elephant presented with severe, acute lameness of the left rear limb. Despite extensive treatments, the animal collapsed and died 13 mo after initial presentation. Necropsy revealed osteomyelitis with loss of the femoral head and acetabulum and pulmonary granulomas with intralesional M. szulgai. The second elephant collapsed during transport to another institution with no premonitory clinical signs. This animal was euthanized because of prolonged recumbency. Granulomatous pneumonia with intralesional M. szulgai was found at necropsy. Two novel immunoassays performed on banked serum samples detected antibody responses to mycobacterial antigens in both infected elephants. It was not possible to determine when the infection was established or how the elephants were infected. When reviewing the epidemiology of this organism in humans, however, transmission between elephants seemed unlikely because human-to-human transmission of this organism has never been reported and a third elephant in the herd was not affected. In addition to Mycobacterium bovis and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, atypical mycobacterial organisms need to be considered potentially pathogenic in elephants.

  8. Dilated ureters, renal dysplasia, and chronic renal failure in an African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jankowski, Gwen; Langan, Jennifer N; Adkesson, Michael J; Terio, Karen A; Mylniczenko, Natalie D; Meehan, Tom; Schmitt, Dennis

    2012-03-01

    An ultrasonographic reproductive health examination of a 26-yr-old female African elephant (Loxodonta africana) revealed bilateral ureteral wall thickening and dilatation. On ultrasonographic examination, the bladder and both ureters were normal near the trigone; however, the cranial-most aspect of each ureter was dilated and thickened for a length of 30-50 cm. The same month, elevated blood creatinine (3.0 mg/dl), and urine protein-creatinine ratio (4.0) were observed. Chronic renal failure was diagnosed based on these abnormalities, and the persistent ureteral dilatation was seen on subsequent ultrasound examinations. Complete blood cell counts, serum chemistries, and urinalyses remained relatively unchanged until 24 mo after diagnosis, at which time azotemia, hypophosphatemia, and hypercalcemia (including elevated ionized calcium) developed. Hydronephrosis of both kidneys and prominent sacculation of the left ureter were noted on ultrasonographic examination. Lethargy, ventral edema, and oral mucosal ulceration acutely developed 30 mo after diagnosis. Although blood urea nitrogen remained elevated, creatinine, total calcium, and ionized calcium returned to within reference ranges at that time. Due to rapid clinical decline and grave prognosis, humane euthanasia was elected. Bilateral ureteral dilatation, dysplasia of the right kidney, and chronic nephritis of the left kidney were identified postmortem.

  9. Harvesting and chewing as constraints to forage consumption by the African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    Science.gov (United States)

    O’Connor, Timothy G.

    2016-01-01

    As a foundation for understanding the diet of African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana), adult bulls and cows were observed over an annual cycle to determine whether harvesting (Pt), chewing (Ct) and handling times (Ht) differed across food types and harvesting methods (handling time is defined as the time to harvest, chew and swallow a trunkload of food). Bulls and cows were observed 105 and 26 times, respectively (94 and 26 individuals), with a total of 64 h of feeding recorded across 32 vegetation types. Some food types took longer to harvest and chew than others, which may influence intake rate and affect choice of diet. The method used to gather a trunkload of food had a significant effect on harvesting time, with simple foraging actions being comparatively rapid and more difficult tasks taking longer. Handling time was constrained by chewing for bulls, except for the processing of roots from woody plants, which was limited by harvesting. Time to gather a trunkload had a greater influence on handling time for cows compared to bulls. Harvesting and handling times were longer for bulls than cows, with the sexes adopting foraging behaviors that best suited their energy requirements. PMID:27688971

  10. Harvesting and chewing as constraints to forage consumption by the African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bruce W. Clegg

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available As a foundation for understanding the diet of African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana, adult bulls and cows were observed over an annual cycle to determine whether harvesting (Pt, chewing (Ct and handling times (Ht differed across food types and harvesting methods (handling time is defined as the time to harvest, chew and swallow a trunkload of food. Bulls and cows were observed 105 and 26 times, respectively (94 and 26 individuals, with a total of 64 h of feeding recorded across 32 vegetation types. Some food types took longer to harvest and chew than others, which may influence intake rate and affect choice of diet. The method used to gather a trunkload of food had a significant effect on harvesting time, with simple foraging actions being comparatively rapid and more difficult tasks taking longer. Handling time was constrained by chewing for bulls, except for the processing of roots from woody plants, which was limited by harvesting. Time to gather a trunkload had a greater influence on handling time for cows compared to bulls. Harvesting and handling times were longer for bulls than cows, with the sexes adopting foraging behaviors that best suited their energy requirements.

  11. The pharmacokinetics of orally administered ivermectin in African elephants (Loxodonta africana): implications for parasite elimination.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gandolf, A Rae; Lifschitz, A; Stadler, C; Watson, B; Galvanek, L; Ballent, M; Lanusse, C

    2009-03-01

    Loxodonta africana are susceptible to a wide variety of parasites that are often treated with the broad spectrum antiparasitic ivermectin (IVM) based on empirical knowledge. The objectives of this study were to 1) measure plasma IVM levels following administration of 0.1 mg/kg IVM p.o., 2) compare plasma IVM levels following administration with regular versus restricted feed rations, 3) measure IVM excretion in feces, and 4) use these findings to generate dosing recommendations for this species. Using a crossover design, six African elephants were divided into two groups. Ivermectin was administered and typical grain rations were either provided or withheld for 2 hr. Blood and fecal samples were collected for 7 days following drug administration. After a 5-wk washout period, groups were switched and the procedure repeated. Plasma and fecal IVM were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography. There was no statistically significant difference detected in the pharmacokinetic data between the fed and fasted groups. Peak plasma concentration, area under the curve, and half-life for plasma ranged between 5.41-8.49 ng/ml, 17.1-20.3 ng x day/ml, and 3.12-4.47 day, respectively. High IVM concentrations were detected in feces. The peak concentration values in feces were between 264-311-fold higher than those obtained in plasma. The comparatively large area under the curve and short time to maximum concentration in feces indicate elimination prior to absorption of much of the drug. Plasma IVM concentrations were low when compared to other species. Based on these findings, administration of 0.2-0.4 mg/kg p.o. should be appropriate for eliminating many types of parasites in elephants, and could minimize development of parasite resistance.

  12. The adrenals of the African elephant(Loxodonta africana: A few observations. 1. The capsule, zona glomerulosa and zona fasciculata

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    F. G. W. Strassberger

    1994-07-01

    Full Text Available The structure of the capsule, zona glomerulosa and zona fasciculata of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana is described. The gland is surrounded by a connective tissue capsule from which connective tissue trabeculae extend towards the medulla. The arrangement of the cells in the zona glomerulosa and the zona fasciculata are similar to that described for other mammals. Two types of cells are found in the zona glomerulosa and three types in the zona fasciculata. Organelles in these two zones are as described for other cells that secrete steroids. Unidentified structures were observed in the zona fasciculata.

  13. The Days and Nights of Zoo Elephants: Using Epidemiology to Better Understand Stereotypic Behavior of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana and Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus in North American Zoos.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brian J Greco

    Full Text Available Stereotypic behavior is an important indicator of compromised welfare. Zoo elephants are documented to perform stereotypic behavior, but the factors that contribute to performance have not been systematically assessed. We collected behavioral data on 89 elephants (47 African [Loxodonta africana], 42 Asian [Elephas maximus] at 39 North American zoos during the summer and winter. Elephants were videoed for a median of 12 daytime hours per season. A subset of 32 elephants (19 African, 13 Asian was also observed live for a median of 10.5 nighttime hours. Percentages of visible behavior scans were calculated from five minute instantaneous samples. Stereotypic behavior was the second most commonly performed behavior (after feeding, making up 15.5% of observations during the daytime and 24.8% at nighttime. Negative binomial regression models fitted with generalized estimating equations were used to determine which social, housing, management, life history, and demographic variables were associated with daytime and nighttime stereotypic behavior rates. Species was a significant risk factor in both models, with Asian elephants at greater risk (daytime: p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 4.087; nighttime: p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 8.015. For both species, spending time housed separately (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 1.009, and having experienced inter-zoo transfers (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 1.175, increased the risk of performing higher rates of stereotypy during the day, while spending more time with juvenile elephants (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 0.985, and engaging with zoo staff reduced this risk (p = 0.018, Risk Ratio = 0.988. At night, spending more time in environments with both indoor and outdoor areas (p = 0.013, Risk Ratio = 0.987 and in larger social groups (p = 0.039, Risk Ratio = 0.752 corresponded with reduced risk of performing higher rates of stereotypy, while having experienced inter-zoo transfers (p = 0.033, Risk Ratio = 1.115 increased this risk. Overall, our results

  14. The Days and Nights of Zoo Elephants: Using Epidemiology to Better Understand Stereotypic Behavior of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) and Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) in North American Zoos.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greco, Brian J; Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jen N; Leighty, Katherine A; Mellen, Jill; Mason, Georgia J; Mench, Joy A

    2016-01-01

    Stereotypic behavior is an important indicator of compromised welfare. Zoo elephants are documented to perform stereotypic behavior, but the factors that contribute to performance have not been systematically assessed. We collected behavioral data on 89 elephants (47 African [Loxodonta africana], 42 Asian [Elephas maximus]) at 39 North American zoos during the summer and winter. Elephants were videoed for a median of 12 daytime hours per season. A subset of 32 elephants (19 African, 13 Asian) was also observed live for a median of 10.5 nighttime hours. Percentages of visible behavior scans were calculated from five minute instantaneous samples. Stereotypic behavior was the second most commonly performed behavior (after feeding), making up 15.5% of observations during the daytime and 24.8% at nighttime. Negative binomial regression models fitted with generalized estimating equations were used to determine which social, housing, management, life history, and demographic variables were associated with daytime and nighttime stereotypic behavior rates. Species was a significant risk factor in both models, with Asian elephants at greater risk (daytime: p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 4.087; nighttime: p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 8.015). For both species, spending time housed separately (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 1.009), and having experienced inter-zoo transfers (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 1.175), increased the risk of performing higher rates of stereotypy during the day, while spending more time with juvenile elephants (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 0.985), and engaging with zoo staff reduced this risk (p = 0.018, Risk Ratio = 0.988). At night, spending more time in environments with both indoor and outdoor areas (p = 0.013, Risk Ratio = 0.987) and in larger social groups (p = 0.039, Risk Ratio = 0.752) corresponded with reduced risk of performing higher rates of stereotypy, while having experienced inter-zoo transfers (p = 0.033, Risk Ratio = 1.115) increased this risk. Overall, our results indicate

  15. Reproductive Health Assessment of Female Elephants in North American Zoos and Association of Husbandry Practices with Reproductive Dysfunction in African Elephants (Loxodonta africana.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janine L Brown

    Full Text Available As part of a multi-institutional study of zoo elephant welfare, we evaluated female elephants managed by zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and applied epidemiological methods to determine what factors in the zoo environment are associated with reproductive problems, including ovarian acyclicity and hyperprolactinemia. Bi-weekly blood samples were collected from 95 African (Loxodonta africana and 75 Asian (Elephas maximus (8-55 years of age elephants over a 12-month period for analysis of serum progestogens and prolactin. Females were categorized as normal cycling (regular 13- to 17-week cycles, irregular cycling (cycles longer or shorter than normal or acyclic (baseline progestogens, <0.1 ng/ml throughout, and having Low/Normal (<14 or 18 ng/ml or High (≥14 or 18 ng/ml prolactin for Asian and African elephants, respectively. Rates of normal cycling, acyclicity and irregular cycling were 73.2, 22.5 and 4.2% for Asian, and 48.4, 37.9 and 13.7% for African elephants, respectively, all of which differed between species (P < 0.05. For African elephants, univariate assessment found that social isolation decreased and higher enrichment diversity increased the chance a female would cycle normally. The strongest multi-variable models included Age (positive and Enrichment Diversity (negative as important factors of acyclicity among African elephants. The Asian elephant data set was not robust enough to support multi-variable analyses of cyclicity status. Additionally, only 3% of Asian elephants were found to be hyperprolactinemic as compared to 28% of Africans, so predictive analyses of prolactin status were conducted on African elephants only. The strongest multi-variable model included Age (positive, Enrichment Diversity (negative, Alternate Feeding Methods (negative and Social Group Contact (positive as predictors of hyperprolactinemia. In summary, the incidence of ovarian cycle problems and hyperprolactinemia predominantly

  16. Reproductive Health Assessment of Female Elephants in North American Zoos and Association of Husbandry Practices with Reproductive Dysfunction in African Elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Janine L; Paris, Stephen; Prado-Oviedo, Natalia A; Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jennifer N; Morfeld, Kari A; Carlstead, Kathy

    2016-01-01

    As part of a multi-institutional study of zoo elephant welfare, we evaluated female elephants managed by zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and applied epidemiological methods to determine what factors in the zoo environment are associated with reproductive problems, including ovarian acyclicity and hyperprolactinemia. Bi-weekly blood samples were collected from 95 African (Loxodonta africana) and 75 Asian (Elephas maximus) (8-55 years of age) elephants over a 12-month period for analysis of serum progestogens and prolactin. Females were categorized as normal cycling (regular 13- to 17-week cycles), irregular cycling (cycles longer or shorter than normal) or acyclic (baseline progestogens, <0.1 ng/ml throughout), and having Low/Normal (<14 or 18 ng/ml) or High (≥14 or 18 ng/ml) prolactin for Asian and African elephants, respectively. Rates of normal cycling, acyclicity and irregular cycling were 73.2, 22.5 and 4.2% for Asian, and 48.4, 37.9 and 13.7% for African elephants, respectively, all of which differed between species (P < 0.05). For African elephants, univariate assessment found that social isolation decreased and higher enrichment diversity increased the chance a female would cycle normally. The strongest multi-variable models included Age (positive) and Enrichment Diversity (negative) as important factors of acyclicity among African elephants. The Asian elephant data set was not robust enough to support multi-variable analyses of cyclicity status. Additionally, only 3% of Asian elephants were found to be hyperprolactinemic as compared to 28% of Africans, so predictive analyses of prolactin status were conducted on African elephants only. The strongest multi-variable model included Age (positive), Enrichment Diversity (negative), Alternate Feeding Methods (negative) and Social Group Contact (positive) as predictors of hyperprolactinemia. In summary, the incidence of ovarian cycle problems and hyperprolactinemia predominantly affects

  17. Enduring consequences of early experiences: 40 year effects on survival and success among African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Phyllis C; Bussière, Luc F; Webber, C Elizabeth; Poole, Joyce H; Moss, Cynthia J

    2013-04-23

    Growth from conception to reproductive onset in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) provides insights into phenotypic plasticity, individual adaptive plastic responses and facultative maternal investment. Using growth for 867 and life histories for 2652 elephants over 40 years, we demonstrate that maternal inexperience plus drought in early life result in reduced growth rates for sons and higher mortality for both sexes. Slow growth during early lactation was associated with smaller adult size, later age at first reproduction, reduced lifetime survival and consequently limited reproductive output. These enduring effects of trading slow early growth against immediate survival were apparent over the very long term; delayed downstream consequences were unexpected for a species with a maximum longevity of 70+ years and unpredictable environmental experiences.

  18. The impact of male contraception on dominance hierarchy and herd association patterns of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in a fenced game reserve

    OpenAIRE

    2014-01-01

    Overpopulation of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in fenced reserves in South Africa is becoming increasingly problematic to wildlife managers. With growing opposition to culling and the high cost of translocation, alternative management strategies focusing on male elephants are being investigated. In this study, hormonal treatment via Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) suppression, and surgical treatment via vasectomy were trialled. Focusing on behavioural responses, we tested the ...

  19. Distribution and status of the African elephant Loxodonta africana in South Africa, 1652-1992

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    A.J. Hall-Martin

    1992-09-01

    Full Text Available The historical decline of African elephants to a low of 120 animals in 1920, and their subsequent recovery to over 10 000 is described for the major populations of South Africa. Population growth rates of 6,8 and 6,7 per annum are derived from census and estimates for the Kruger National Park and the Addo Elephant National Park respectively. The reasons for elephant population control in the Kruger National Park, and the impact of elephants on both the Kruger and Addo environments, are discussed. The translocation of young elephants to found new populations is mentioned. The consequent increase of elephant range and numbers in the next decade to a possible maximum of 31 000 km2 and 13 000 animals, is envisaged.

  20. Recurrence of hyperprolactinemia and continuation of ovarian acyclicity in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) treated with cabergoline.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morfeld, Kari A; Ball, Ray L; Brown, Janine L

    2014-09-01

    Hyperprolactinemia is associated with reproductive acyclicity in zoo African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and may contribute to the non-self-sustainability of the captive population in North America. It is a common cause of infertility in women and other mammals and can be treated with the dopamine agonist cabergoline. The objectives of this study were to assess prolactin responses to cabergoline treatment in hyperprolactinemic, acyclic African elephants and to determine the subsequent impact on ovarian cyclic activity. Five elephants, diagnosed as hyperprolactinemic (>11 ng/ml prolactin) and acyclic (maintenance of baseline progestagens for at least 1 yr), were treated with 1-2 mg cabergoline orally twice weekly for 16-82 wk. Cabergoline reduced (P elephants (11.5 +/- 3.2 vs. 9.1 +/- 3.4 ng/ml; 20.3 +/- 16.7 vs. 7.9 +/- 9.8 ng/ml; 26.4 +/- 15.0 vs. 6.8 +/- 1.5 ng/ml; 42.2 +/- 22.6 vs. 18.6 +/- 8.9 ng/ml). However, none of the females resumed ovarian cyclicity based on serum progestagen analyses up to 1 yr posttreatment. In addition, within 1 to 6 wk after cessation of oral cabergoline, serum prolactin concentrations returned to concentrations that were as high as or higher than before treatment (P elephant that exhibited the highest pretreatment prolactin concentration (75.2 +/- 10.5 ng/ml) did not respond to cabergoline and maintained elevated levels throughout the study. Thus, oral cabergoline administration reduced prolactin concentrations in elephants with hyperprolactinemia, but there was no resumption of ovarian cyclicity, and a significant prolactin rebound effect was observed. It is possible that higher doses or longer treatment intervals may be required for cabergoline treatment to result in permanent suppression of prolactin secretion and to mitigate associated ovarian cycle problems.

  1. Lack of spatial and behavioral responses to immunocontraception application in African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delsink, Audrey K; Kirkpatrick, Jay; van Altena, J J; Bertschinger, Henk J; Ferreira, Sam M; Slotow, Robert

    2013-12-01

    Opinions are divided as to whether human intervention to control elephant (Loxodonta africana) population growth is desirable, partly because of elephant welfare concerns. Female contraception through immunization with porcine zona pellucida (PZP) proteins is viable. The effects of sustained use and application of the PZP vaccine on elephant behavioral and spatial responses were examined by evaluating herd ranging, fission-fusion dynamics, association patterns, and reproductive and sexual behaviors. Minimal change was anticipated as a result of long calf dependence on and association with cows, a reduced but not indefinite 0% growth rate and the known mechanism of action of PZP vaccines, and minimal expected change in resource requirements necessitating behavioral or spatial use adaptations. Although behavioral effects identified in previous hormonal contraceptive trials were evident, it was demonstrated that immunocontraception caused no prolonged behavioral, social, or spatial changes over the 11-yr study period. Individually identified elephants were monitored from 1999 to 2011. Minimal, short-term social disruption, with temporary changes to the herds' core ranges, was observed during the annual treatment events, particularly in the first three treatment years, when vaccinations were conducted exclusively from the ground. Thereafter, when vaccinations were conducted aerially, minor disruptions were confined to the morning of administration only. Despite sustained treatments resulting in demographic changes of fewer calves being born, treatments did not alter spatial range use, and no adverse interherd-intraherd relations were observed. Similarly, resource requirements did not change as calving still occurred, although in fewer numbers. It was concluded that PZP immunocontraception has no detectable behavioral or social consequences in elephants over the course of 11 yr, providing a convincing argument for the use of sustained immunocontraception in the medium

  2. Development of the tush and tusk and tusklessness in African elephant (Loxodonta africana

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    E.J. Raubenheimer

    2000-07-01

    Full Text Available The embryologic development of the tush and tusk of the African elephant was studied by means of serial histologic sections prepared from elephant embryos with masses varying between Ig and 240 g. Statistics on tusklessness obtained during a four year population control programme in the Kruger National Park were analysed and compared with those reported in other elephant reserves in Southern Africa. Maxillae of eight elephant embryos, the maternal histories of which were available in six cases, were radiographed, dissected and examined microscopically. This study has shown that the tush and tusk develop from one tooth germ in a deciduous to permanent tooth relationship. Tusklessness was found to be unilateral or bilateral and associated with either the absence or presence of a tush. The possible causes of the differences in the frequency of bilateral tusklessness in different elephant populations are discussed.

  3. Standing sedation in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) using detomidine-butorphanol combinations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neiffer, Donald L; Miller, Michele A; Weber, Martha; Stetter, Mark; Fontenot, Deidre K; Robbins, P K; Pye, Geoffrey W

    2005-06-01

    Standing sedation was provided for 14 clinical procedures in three African elephants (Loxodonta africana) managed by combined protected and modified-protected contact and trained through operant conditioning. An initial hand-injection of detomidine hydrochloride and butorphanol tartrate at a ratio of 1:1 on a microg:microg basis was administered intramuscularly, with a dosage range of 50-70 mg (12.9-19.7 microg/kg) for each drug. The initial injection resulted in adequate sedation for initiation and completion of eight procedures, whereas supplemental doses were required for the remaining procedures. The dosage range for the supplemental injections of each drug was 4.0-7.3 microg/kg. Initial effect was noted within 3.0-25 min (mean = 11.6 min, SD +/- 5.9 min), with maximal effect occurring at 25-30 min for those procedures not requiring supplementation. In all but one procedure, this effect was maintained until the end of the procedure, which ranged from 47 to 98 min (mean = 74.7 min, SD +/- 18.8 min). No cardiac or respiratory depression was appreciated. Recovery after administration of reversal agents was rapid and complete, ranging from 2 to 20 min (mean = 9.0 min, SD +/- 7.0 min). On the basis of the authors' experience, recommended dosage ranges for reversal agents would be intravenous yohimbine (73.4-98.5 microg/kg), intravenous naltrexone (48.9-98.5 microg/kg), and intramuscular naltrexone (73.4-98.5 microg/kg). Approximately one-third to one-half of the total naltrexone dose should be administered intravenously. Mild adverse side effects limited to the gastrointestinal tract were observed in association with five procedures including abdominal distention with or without transient anorexia. Administration of reversal agents, encouraging exercise and water consumption, and administration of flunixin meglumine were helpful in the resolution of signs. In addition to gastrointestinal signs, slight ataxia was observed before initiation of surgical stimulation

  4. Prolactin secretion and ovarian function in cycling and non-cycling African female elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamamoto, Yuki; Yamamoto, Tatsuya; Watanabe, Gen; Yuto, Natsuki; Keio, Megumi; Narushima, Etsuo; Katayanagi, Masayuki; Nakao, Risa; Morikubo, Syu; Sakurai, Yuko; Kaneko, Mikako; Kaewmanee, Saroch; Taya, Kazuyoshi

    2010-07-01

    Reproduction of captive elephants in zoos has shown a low fecundity and requires improvement. One of the reasons for low fecundity is ovarian dysfunction in many female elephants. To investigate whether prolactin has a correlation with ovarian function in female elephants, the serum concentrations of prolactin, progesterone and estradiol-17beta in four African female elephants (one cycling female and three non-cycling female elephants) were measured. Cyclic patterns of prolactin and estradiol-17beta were observed in the cycling female elephant, which tended to be high during the follicular phase and low during the luteal phase. On the other hand, a cyclic pattern of prolactin was not observed in the non-cycling female elephants. One of the three non-cycling females (Mako) had developed breasts and showed significantly higher average levels of prolactin than the other female elephants. These results suggested that high concentrations of circulating estradiol-17beta during the follicular phase stimulated prolactin secretion. They also suggested that hyperprolactinemia in Mako was one of the causes of the developed mammary glands and ovarian dysfunction.

  5. Organization and chemical neuroanatomy of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) hippocampus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patzke, Nina; Olaleye, Olatunbosun; Haagensen, Mark; Hof, Patrick R; Ihunwo, Amadi O; Manger, Paul R

    2014-09-01

    Elephants are thought to possess excellent long-term spatial-temporal and social memory, both memory types being at least in part hippocampus dependent. Although the hippocampus has been extensively studied in common laboratory mammalian species and humans, much less is known about comparative hippocampal neuroanatomy, and specifically that of the elephant. Moreover, the data available regarding hippocampal size of the elephant are inconsistent. The aim of the current study was to re-examine hippocampal size and provide a detailed neuroanatomical description of the hippocampus in the African elephant. In order to examine the hippocampal size the perfusion-fixed brains of three wild-caught adult male African elephants, aged 20-30 years, underwent MRI scanning. For the neuroanatomical description brain sections containing the hippocampus were stained for Nissl, myelin, calbindin, calretinin, parvalbumin and doublecortin. This study demonstrates that the elephant hippocampus is not unduly enlarged, nor specifically unusual in its internal morphology. The elephant hippocampus has a volume of 10.84 ± 0.33 cm³ and is slightly larger than the human hippocampus (10.23 cm(3)). Histological analysis revealed the typical trilaminated architecture of the dentate gyrus (DG) and the cornu ammonis (CA), although the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus appears to have supernumerary sublaminae compared to other mammals. The three main architectonic fields of the cornu ammonis (CA1, CA2, and CA3) could be clearly distinguished. Doublecortin immunostaining revealed the presence of adult neurogenesis in the elephant hippocampus. Thus, the elephant exhibits, for the most part, what might be considered a typically mammalian hippocampus in terms of both size and architecture.

  6. Social factors influence ovarian acyclicity in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, Elizabeth W; Guagnano, Greg; Olson, Deborah; Keele, Mike; Brown, Janine L

    2009-01-01

    Nearly one-third of reproductive age African elephants in North America that are hormonally monitored fail to exhibit estrous cycle activity, which exacerbates the nonsustainability of the captive population. Three surveys were distributed to facilities housing female African elephants to determine how social and environmental variables contribute to cyclicity problems. Forty-six facilities returned all three surveys providing information on 90% of the SSP population and 106 elephants (64 cycling, 27 noncycling and 15 undetermined). Logistic analyses found that some physiological and social history variables were related to ovarian acyclicity. Females more likely to be acyclic had a larger body mass index and had resided longer at a facility with the same herdmates. Results suggest that controlling the weight of an elephant might be a first step to helping mitigate estrous cycle problems. Data further show that transferring females among facilities has no major impact on ovarian activity. Last, social status appears to impact cyclicity status; at 19 of 21 facilities that housed both cycling and noncycling elephants, the dominant female was acyclic. Further studies on how social and environmental dynamics affect hormone levels in free-living, cycling elephants are needed to determine whether acyclicity is strictly a captivity-related phenomenon.

  7. Laparoscopic vasectomy in African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana); surgical technique and results.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marais, Hendrik J; Hendrickson, Dean A; Stetter, Mark; Zuba, Jeffery R; Penning, Mark; Siegal-Willott, Jess; Hardy, Christine

    2013-12-01

    Several small, enclosed reserves in southern Africa are experiencing significant elephant population growth, which has resulted in associated environmental damage and changes in biodiversity. Although several techniques exist to control elephant populations, e.g., culling, relocation, and immunocontraception, the technique of laparoscopic vasectomy of free-ranging bull elephants was investigated. Bilateral vasectomies were performed in 45 elephants. Of these elephants, one died within 24 hr of recovery and two had complications during surgery but recovered uneventfully. Histologic examination confirmed the resected tissue as ductus deferens in all the bulls. Most animals recovered uneventfully and showed no abnormal behavior after surgery. Complications recorded included incisional dehiscence, 1 full-thickness and 2 partial-thickness lacerations of the large intestine, and initial sling-associated complications, for example, deep radial nerve paresis. One bull was found dead 6 weeks after surgery without showing any prior abnormal signs. Vasectomy in free-ranging African bull elephants may be effectively performed in their normal environment. The surgical procedure can be used as a realistic population management tool in free-ranging elephants without major anesthetic, surgical, or postoperative complications.

  8. Housing and Social Environments of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) Elephants in North American Zoos.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jennifer N; Bonaparte-Saller, Mary K; Mench, Joy A

    2016-01-01

    We evaluated 255 African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants living in 68 North American zoos over one year to quantify housing and social variables. All parameters were quantified for the both the day and the night and comparisons were made across these time periods as well as by species and sex. To assess housing, we evaluated not only total exhibit size, but also individual animals' experiences based on the time they spent in the unique environments into which the exhibits were subdivided. Variables developed to assess housing included measurements of area as a function of time (Total Space Experience), environment type (Indoor, Outdoor, In/Out Choice) and time spent on hard and soft flooring. Over the year, Total Space Experience values ranged from 1,273 square feet to 169,692 square feet, with Day values significantly greater than Night values (pSocial factors included number of animals functionally housed together (Social Experience) and social group characteristics such as time spent with juveniles and in mixed-sex groups. Overall Social Experience scores ranged from 1 to 11.2 and were significantly greater during the Day than at Night (psocial or housing differences between African (N = 138) and Asian (N = 117) species or between males (N = 54) and females (N = 201). The most notable exception was Total Space Experience, with African and male elephants having larger Total Space Experience than Asian and female elephants, respectively (P-valuehousing and social variables evaluated herein have been used in a series of subsequent epidemiological analyses relating to various elephant welfare outcomes.

  9. Wild female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) exhibit personality traits of leadership and social integration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Phyllis C; Moss, Cynthia J

    2012-08-01

    Animal personalities have been demonstrated for almost 200 species, with stable dimensions of responses (aggressive to fearful; shy to bold) across contexts and with a heritable basis to these traits. As a long-lived and highly social species, elephants (Loxodonta africana) were expected to demonstrate complex dimensions to individual characteristics or personalities, which would be obvious to human observers and validated by behavioral observations. We used principal-components analysis of ratings on 26 behavioral adjectives applied to one social unit, coded as the EB family, which has been observed for 38 years. Eleven adult females were rated by four observers and found to have individually variable traits on four dimensions described by principal-components analysis. The first component was associated with effective and confident family leadership. Component 2 was age-related, and defined by playfulness, exploration and high levels of activity, suggesting both an experience and an age-related element to its structure. Component 3 represented gentleness and at its other extreme, aggression, and Component 4 was related to constancy (predictability and popularity), with both of these latter components reflecting social integration. Leadership among elephant females represents the successful negotiation among individual interests, and our components were related to a capacity to affect the behavior of others in the absence of aggressive dominance. The family matriarch, Echo, was high on elements associated with leadership. The importance of the matriarch in this family's success suggests that elements of personality may underlie interfamilial variation in long-term survival and reproduction.

  10. Comparative endocrinology of cycling and non-cycling Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Janine L; Walker, Susan L; Moeller, Tanya

    2004-05-01

    Up to 14% of Asian and 29% of African elephants in captivity are not cycling normally or exhibit irregular cycles based on progestin profiles. To determine if ovarian acyclicity is related to other disruptions in endocrine activity, serum pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, and ovarian hormones in weekly samples collected for 6-25 months were compared between normal cycling (n=22 each species) and non-cycling (n=6 Asian; n=30 African) elephants. A subset of cycling females (n=4 Asian, 7 African) also were blood sampled daily during the follicular phase to characterize the peri-ovulatory period. In normal cycling females, two leutinizing hormone (LH) surges were observed 3 weeks apart during a normal follicular phase, with the second inducing ovulation (ovLH). Serum FSH concentrations were highest at the beginning of the non-luteal phase, declining to nadir concentrations within 4 days of the ovLH surge. FSH remained low until after the ovLH surge and then increased during the luteal phase. A species difference was noted in prolactin secretion. In the African elephant, prolactin was increased during the follicular phase, but in Asian elephants concentrations remained stable throughout the cycle. Patterns of thyroid hormones (thyroid-stimulating hormone, TSH; free and total thyroxine, T4; free and total triiodothyronine, T3) and cortisol secretion were not affected by estrous cycle stage or season in cycling elephants. In non-cycling elephants, there were no fluctuating patterns of LH, FSH, or prolactin secretion. Overall mean concentrations of all hormones were similar to those in cycling animals, with the exception of FSH, prolactin, and estradiol. Mean serum FSH concentrations were lower due to females not exhibiting normal cyclic increases, whereas serum estradiol was higher overall in most acyclic females. Prolactin concentrations were significantly increased in 11 of 30 non-cycling females, all of which were African elephants. In sum, while there were no consistent

  11. Characterization of casein and alpha lactalbumin of African elephant (Loxodonta africana) milk.

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    Madende, M; Osthoff, G; Patterton, H-G; Patterton, H E; Martin, P; Opperman, D J

    2015-12-01

    The current research reports partial characterization of the caseins and α-lactalbumin (α-LA) of the African elephant with proposed unique structure-function properties. Extensive research has been carried out to understand the structure of the casein micelles. Crystallographic structure elucidation of caseins and casein micelles is not possible. Consequently, several models have been developed in an effort to describe the casein micelle, specifically of cow milk. Here we report the characterization of African elephant milk caseins. The κ-caseins and β-caseins were investigated, and their relative ratio was found to be approximately 1:8.5, whereas α-caseins were not detected. The gene sequence of β-casein in the NCBI database was revisited, and a different sequence in the N-terminal region is proposed. Amino acid sequence alignment and hydropathy plots showed that the κ-casein of African elephant milk is similar to that of other mammals, whereas the β-casein is similar to the human protein, and displayed a section of unique AA composition and additional hydrophilic regions compared with bovine caseins. Elephant milk is destabilized by 62% alcohol, and it is speculated that the β-casein characteristics may allow maintenance of the colloidal nature of the casein micelle, a role that was previously only associated with κ-casein. The oligosaccharide content of milk was reported to be low in dairy animals but high in some other species such as humans and elephants. In the milk of the African elephant, lactose and oligosaccharides both occur at high levels. These levels are typically related to the content of α-LA in the mammary gland and thus point to a specialized carbohydrate synthesis, where the whey protein α-LA plays a role. We report the characterization of African elephant α-LA. Homology modeling of the α-LA showed that it is structurally similar to crystal structures of other mammalian species, which in turn may be an indication that its functional

  12. Characterization of a novel polyomavirus isolated from a fibroma on the trunk of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevens, Hans; Bertelsen, Mads Frost; Sijmons, Steven; Van Ranst, Marc; Maes, Piet

    2013-01-01

    Viruses of the family Polyomaviridae infect a wide variety of avian and mammalian hosts with a broad spectrum of outcomes including asymptomatic infection, acute systemic disease, and tumor induction. In this study a novel polyomavirus, the African elephant polyomavirus 1 (AelPyV-1) found in a protruding hyperplastic fibrous lesion on the trunk of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana) was characterized. The AelPyV-1 genome is 5722 bp in size and is one of the largest polyomaviruses characterized to date. Analysis of the AelPyV-1 genome reveals five putative open-reading frames coding for the classic small and large T antigens in the early region, and the VP1, VP2 and VP3 capsid proteins in the late region. In the area preceding the VP2 start codon three putative open-reading frames, possibly coding for an agnoprotein, could be localized. A regulatory, non-coding region separates the 2 coding regions. Unique for polyomaviruses is the presence of a second 854 bp long non-coding region between the end of the early region and the end of the late region. Based on maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses of the large T antigen of the AelPyV-1 and 61 other polyomavirus sequences, AelPyV-1 clusters within a heterogeneous group of polyomaviruses that have been isolated from bats, new world primates and rodents.

  13. Characterization of a novel polyomavirus isolated from a fibroma on the trunk of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana.

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    Hans Stevens

    Full Text Available Viruses of the family Polyomaviridae infect a wide variety of avian and mammalian hosts with a broad spectrum of outcomes including asymptomatic infection, acute systemic disease, and tumor induction. In this study a novel polyomavirus, the African elephant polyomavirus 1 (AelPyV-1 found in a protruding hyperplastic fibrous lesion on the trunk of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana was characterized. The AelPyV-1 genome is 5722 bp in size and is one of the largest polyomaviruses characterized to date. Analysis of the AelPyV-1 genome reveals five putative open-reading frames coding for the classic small and large T antigens in the early region, and the VP1, VP2 and VP3 capsid proteins in the late region. In the area preceding the VP2 start codon three putative open-reading frames, possibly coding for an agnoprotein, could be localized. A regulatory, non-coding region separates the 2 coding regions. Unique for polyomaviruses is the presence of a second 854 bp long non-coding region between the end of the early region and the end of the late region. Based on maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses of the large T antigen of the AelPyV-1 and 61 other polyomavirus sequences, AelPyV-1 clusters within a heterogeneous group of polyomaviruses that have been isolated from bats, new world primates and rodents.

  14. Characterisation of the sympathetic nervous system of Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants based on urinary catecholamine analyses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dehnhard, M

    2007-05-01

    Assessing the welfare status of captive animals using non-invasive measurements of hormones is of growing interest because this can serve as an effective tool to facilitate the optimization of environmental and husbandry conditions. Both the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) exhibit extremely low breeding success in captivity, and because elevated levels of stress may negatively influence reproductive functions, this study sought to establish a method for assessing sympathoadrenal activity in captive female elephants. We found a circadian variation in urinary noradrenaline (norepinephrine, NE), adrenaline (epinephrine, Epi) and dopamine (DA) under short day length. Peak activity of noradrenaline and dopamine was noted at 3 a.m. Adrenaline showed a biphasic pattern with a minor peak recorded at 3 a.m. and a major peak 9 a.m. Under long-day photoperiodic conditions, simultaneous peaks of noradrenaline and adrenaline were again noted at 3 a.m. whereas dopamine does not appear to have a distinct circadian pattern under long-day length. A transfer of two elephant cows resulted in a marked increase in urinary adrenaline and noradrenaline levels, confirming that the transfer represented a stressful event. During the peripartal period, noradrenaline concentrations increased and maximum concentrations were obtained at delivery. Daily measurements of urinary dopamine throughout the follicular phase revealed an increase in dopamine secretion close to ovulation. This increase might indicate a role of dopamine in the ovulatory mechanisms. These results suggest that changes in urinary catecholamine excretion reflect fluctuations in sympathoadrenal activity and may be a useful indicator of stress.

  15. Housing and Social Environments of African (Loxodonta africana and Asian (Elephas maximus Elephants in North American Zoos.

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    Cheryl L Meehan

    Full Text Available We evaluated 255 African (Loxodonta africana and Asian (Elephas maximus elephants living in 68 North American zoos over one year to quantify housing and social variables. All parameters were quantified for the both the day and the night and comparisons were made across these time periods as well as by species and sex. To assess housing, we evaluated not only total exhibit size, but also individual animals' experiences based on the time they spent in the unique environments into which the exhibits were subdivided. Variables developed to assess housing included measurements of area as a function of time (Total Space Experience, environment type (Indoor, Outdoor, In/Out Choice and time spent on hard and soft flooring. Over the year, Total Space Experience values ranged from 1,273 square feet to 169,692 square feet, with Day values significantly greater than Night values (p<0.001. Elephants spent an average of 55.1% of their time outdoors, 28.9% indoors, and 16% in areas with a choice between being in or out. Time spent on hard flooring substrate ranged from 0% to 66.7%, with Night values significantly greater than Day (p<0.001. Social factors included number of animals functionally housed together (Social Experience and social group characteristics such as time spent with juveniles and in mixed-sex groups. Overall Social Experience scores ranged from 1 to 11.2 and were significantly greater during the Day than at Night (p<0.001. There were few significant social or housing differences between African (N = 138 and Asian (N = 117 species or between males (N = 54 and females (N = 201. The most notable exception was Total Space Experience, with African and male elephants having larger Total Space Experience than Asian and female elephants, respectively (P-value<0.05. The housing and social variables evaluated herein have been used in a series of subsequent epidemiological analyses relating to various elephant welfare outcomes.

  16. Estimating exposed pulp lengths of tusks in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana africana : article

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    G. Steenkamp

    2008-05-01

    Full Text Available Captive and wild African elephants frequently suffer tusk fractures. Several institutions shorten the tusks of captive elephants to reduce fractures and injury as a result of behaviour within enclosures. Fracturing or coronal amputations that expose pulp lead to pain for the elephant. Estimating coronal pulp lengths may thus help to minimise the risk of pulp exposure during amputations. We aimed to determine the length of the pulp beyond the lip margin from an external tusk characteristic. Tusks collected from elephants in Namibia and the Kruger National Park had similar morphological relationships. This statistical property allowed us to correct for missing data in our data sets. Pulp volume and pulp length correlated with tusk circumference at the lip. Even so, the circumference at the lip could not predict the length of the pulp in the crown external to the lip. Our findings suggest that tusks, irrespective of sex or age, amputated further than 300 mm from the lip should not expose pulp.

  17. Housing and Demographic Risk Factors Impacting Foot and Musculoskeletal Health in African Elephants [Loxodonta africana] and Asian Elephants [Elephas maximus] in North American Zoos.

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    Michele A Miller

    Full Text Available For more than three decades, foot and musculoskeletal conditions have been documented among both Asian [Elephas maximus] and African [Loxodonta africana] elephants in zoos. Although environmental factors have been hypothesized to play a contributing role in the development of foot and musculoskeletal pathology, there is a paucity of evidence-based research assessing risk. We investigated the associations between foot and musculoskeletal health conditions with demographic characteristics, space, flooring, exercise, enrichment, and body condition for elephants housed in North American zoos during 2012. Clinical examinations and medical records were used to assess health indicators and provide scores to quantitate conditions. Using multivariable regression models, associations were found between foot health and age [P value = 0.076; Odds Ratio = 1.018], time spent on hard substrates [P value = 0.022; Odds Ratio = 1.014], space experienced during the night [P value = 0.041; Odds Ratio = 1.008], and percent of time spent in indoor/outdoor exhibits during the day [P value < 0.001; Odds Ratio = 1.003]. Similarly, the main risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders included time on hard substrate [P value = 0.002; Odds Ratio = 1.050] and space experienced in indoor/outdoor exhibits [P value = 0.039; Odds Ratio = 1.037]. These results suggest that facility and management changes that decrease time spent on hard substrates will improve elephant welfare through better foot and musculoskeletal health.

  18. Housing and Demographic Risk Factors Impacting Foot and Musculoskeletal Health in African Elephants [Loxodonta africana] and Asian Elephants [Elephas maximus] in North American Zoos.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Michele A; Hogan, Jennifer N; Meehan, Cheryl L

    2016-01-01

    For more than three decades, foot and musculoskeletal conditions have been documented among both Asian [Elephas maximus] and African [Loxodonta africana] elephants in zoos. Although environmental factors have been hypothesized to play a contributing role in the development of foot and musculoskeletal pathology, there is a paucity of evidence-based research assessing risk. We investigated the associations between foot and musculoskeletal health conditions with demographic characteristics, space, flooring, exercise, enrichment, and body condition for elephants housed in North American zoos during 2012. Clinical examinations and medical records were used to assess health indicators and provide scores to quantitate conditions. Using multivariable regression models, associations were found between foot health and age [P value = 0.076; Odds Ratio = 1.018], time spent on hard substrates [P value = 0.022; Odds Ratio = 1.014], space experienced during the night [P value = 0.041; Odds Ratio = 1.008], and percent of time spent in indoor/outdoor exhibits during the day [P value < 0.001; Odds Ratio = 1.003]. Similarly, the main risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders included time on hard substrate [P value = 0.002; Odds Ratio = 1.050] and space experienced in indoor/outdoor exhibits [P value = 0.039; Odds Ratio = 1.037]. These results suggest that facility and management changes that decrease time spent on hard substrates will improve elephant welfare through better foot and musculoskeletal health.

  19. Automatic type classification and speaker identification of african elephant (Loxodonta africana) vocalizations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clemins, Patrick J.; Johnson, Michael T.

    2003-04-01

    This paper presents a system for automatically classifying African elephant vocalizations based on systems used for human speech recognition and speaker identification. The experiments are performed on vocalizations collected from captive elephants in a naturalistic environment. Features used for classification include Mel-Frequency Cepstral Coefficients (MFCCs) and log energy which are the most common features used in human speech processing. Since African elephants use lower frequencies than humans in their vocalizations, the MFCCs are computed using a shifted Mel-Frequency filter bank to emphasize the infrasound range of the frequency spectrum. In addition to these features, the use of less traditional features such as those based on fundamental frequency and the phase of the frequency spectrum is also considered. A Hidden Markov Model with Gaussian mixture state probabilities is used to model each type of vocalization. Vocalizations are classified based on type, speaker and estrous cycle. Experiments on continuous call type recognition, which can classify multiple vocalizations in the same utterance, are also performed. The long-term goal of this research is to develop a universal analysis framework and robust feature set for animal vocalizations that can be applied to many species.

  20. Automatic classification and speaker identification of African elephant (Loxodonta africana) vocalizations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clemins, Patrick J.; Johnson, Michael T.; Leong, Kirsten M.; Savage, Anne

    2005-02-01

    A hidden Markov model (HMM) system is presented for automatically classifying African elephant vocalizations. The development of the system is motivated by successful models from human speech analysis and recognition. Classification features include frequency-shifted Mel-frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCCs) and log energy, spectrally motivated features which are commonly used in human speech processing. Experiments, including vocalization type classification and speaker identification, are performed on vocalizations collected from captive elephants in a naturalistic environment. The system classified vocalizations with accuracies of 94.3% and 82.5% for type classification and speaker identification classification experiments, respectively. Classification accuracy, statistical significance tests on the model parameters, and qualitative analysis support the effectiveness and robustness of this approach for vocalization analysis in nonhuman species. .

  1. Hyperprolactinemia is not associated with hyperestrogenism in noncycling African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prado-Oviedo, Natalia A; Malloy, Elizabeth J; Deng, Xinyi; Brown, Janine L

    2013-08-01

    African elephants in US zoos are not reproducing at replacement levels. This is in part due to physiological problems, one of which is abnormal ovarian cyclicity that has been linked to increased prolactin secretion (hyperprolactinemia). A relationship between increased estrogen production (hyperestrogenism) and hyperprolactinemia has been found in other species. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine if elevated prolactin was associated with increased estrogen concentrations in non-cycling African elephants. In cycling elephants (n=12), prolactin secretion followed a normal cyclic pattern, with higher concentrations observed during the follicular phase; overall mean concentration was ∼18ng/ml and baseline prolactin was ∼6ng/ml. Non-cycling females (n=18) were categorized into three groups: (1) low prolactin (31ng/ml; n=8). Mean urinary estrogen conjugate concentrations ranged from 5.4 to 41.4ng/mg Crt, and were similar between normal cycling (15.4±1.5ng/mg Crt) and non-cycling, low prolactin elephants (18.4±7.3ng/mg Crt), but were lower in moderate (9.4±1.3ng/mg Crt) and marked hyperprolactinemic (9.8±1.1ng/mg Crt) groups (Pelephants appear to be sensitive to alterations in prolactin production, with both low (e.g., a non-cycling pattern) and high prolactin secretion being associated with abnormal ovarian activity. However, hyperestrogenism was not related to hyperprolactinemia in the non-cycling females.

  2. Phosphate-haemoglobin interaction. The primary structure of the haemoglobin of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana, Proboscidea): asparagine in position 2 of the beta-chain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braunitzer, G; Stangl, A; Schrank, B; Krombach, C; Wiesner, H

    1984-07-01

    The primary structure of the haemoglobin of the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) is reported. The sequence was determined by means of a sequenator. The haemoglobin differs in 26 amino acids in the alpha-chains and in 27 in the beta-chains from that of adult human haemoglobin. The haemoglobin of the African Elephant, like that of the Indian Elephant and Ilama, has only 5 binding sites for polyphosphate. This finding explains the low p(O2)50 value in whole blood as a result of the lower 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate-haemoglobin interaction. This is discussed in relation to aspects of respiratory physiology; some points are also of interest with regard to the Second Punic War and Hannibal's crossing of the Alps.

  3. Assessment of Body Condition in African (Loxodonta africana and Asian (Elephas maximus Elephants in North American Zoos and Management Practices Associated with High Body Condition Scores.

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    Kari A Morfeld

    Full Text Available Obesity has a negative effect on health and welfare of many species, and has been speculated to be a problem for zoo elephants. To address this concern, we assessed the body condition of 240 elephants housed in North American zoos based on a set of standardized photographs using a 5-point Body Condition Score index (1 = thinnest; 5 = fattest. A multi-variable regression analysis was then used to determine how demographic, management, housing, and social factors were associated with an elevated body condition score in 132 African (Loxodonta africana and 108 Asian (Elephas maximus elephants. The highest BCS of 5, suggestive of obesity, was observed in 34% of zoo elephants. In both species, the majority of elephants had elevated BCS, with 74% in the BCS 4 (40% and 5 (34% categories. Only 22% of elephants had BCS 3, and less than 5% of the population was assigned the lowest BCS categories (BCS 1 and 2. The strongest multi-variable model demonstrated that staff-directed walking exercise of 14 hours or more per week and highly unpredictable feeding schedules were associated with decreased risk of BCS 4 or 5, while increased diversity in feeding methods and being female was associated with increased risk of BCS 4 or 5. Our data suggest that high body condition is prevalent among North American zoo elephants, and management strategies that help prevent and mitigate obesity may lead to improvements in welfare of zoo elephants.

  4. Assessment of Body Condition in African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) Elephants in North American Zoos and Management Practices Associated with High Body Condition Scores.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morfeld, Kari A; Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jennifer N; Brown, Janine L

    2016-01-01

    Obesity has a negative effect on health and welfare of many species, and has been speculated to be a problem for zoo elephants. To address this concern, we assessed the body condition of 240 elephants housed in North American zoos based on a set of standardized photographs using a 5-point Body Condition Score index (1 = thinnest; 5 = fattest). A multi-variable regression analysis was then used to determine how demographic, management, housing, and social factors were associated with an elevated body condition score in 132 African (Loxodonta africana) and 108 Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants. The highest BCS of 5, suggestive of obesity, was observed in 34% of zoo elephants. In both species, the majority of elephants had elevated BCS, with 74% in the BCS 4 (40%) and 5 (34%) categories. Only 22% of elephants had BCS 3, and less than 5% of the population was assigned the lowest BCS categories (BCS 1 and 2). The strongest multi-variable model demonstrated that staff-directed walking exercise of 14 hours or more per week and highly unpredictable feeding schedules were associated with decreased risk of BCS 4 or 5, while increased diversity in feeding methods and being female was associated with increased risk of BCS 4 or 5. Our data suggest that high body condition is prevalent among North American zoo elephants, and management strategies that help prevent and mitigate obesity may lead to improvements in welfare of zoo elephants.

  5. Why do African elephants (Loxodonta africana simulate oestrus? An analysis of longitudinal data.

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    Lucy A Bates

    Full Text Available Female African elephants signal oestrus via chemicals in their urine, but they also exhibit characteristic changes to their posture, gait and behaviour when sexually receptive. Free-ranging females visually signal receptivity by holding their heads and tails high, walking with an exaggerated gait, and displaying increased tactile behaviour towards males. Parous females occasionally exhibit these visual signals at times when they are thought not to be cycling and without attracting interest from musth males. Using demographic and behavioural records spanning a continuous 28-year period, we investigated the occurrence of this "simulated" oestrus behaviour. We show that parous females in the Amboseli elephant population do simulate receptive oestrus behaviours, and this false oestrus occurs disproportionately in the presence of naïve female kin who are observed coming into oestrus for the first time. We compare several alternative hypotheses for the occurrence of this simulation: 1 false oestrus has no functional purpose (e.g., it merely results from abnormal hormonal changes; 2 false oestrus increases the reproductive success of the simulating female, by inducing sexual receptivity; and 3 false oestrus increases the inclusive fitness of the simulating female, either by increasing the access of related females to suitable males, or by encouraging appropriate oestrus behaviours from female relatives who are not responding correctly to males. Although the observed data do not fully conform to the predictions of any of these hypotheses, we rule out the first two, and tentatively suggest that parous females most likely exhibit false oestrus behaviours in order to demonstrate to naïve relatives at whom to direct their behaviour.

  6. Why do African elephants (Loxodonta africana) simulate oestrus? An analysis of longitudinal data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bates, Lucy A; Handford, Rosie; Lee, Phyllis C; Njiraini, Norah; Poole, Joyce H; Sayialel, Katito; Sayialel, Soila; Moss, Cynthia J; Byrne, Richard W

    2010-04-07

    Female African elephants signal oestrus via chemicals in their urine, but they also exhibit characteristic changes to their posture, gait and behaviour when sexually receptive. Free-ranging females visually signal receptivity by holding their heads and tails high, walking with an exaggerated gait, and displaying increased tactile behaviour towards males. Parous females occasionally exhibit these visual signals at times when they are thought not to be cycling and without attracting interest from musth males. Using demographic and behavioural records spanning a continuous 28-year period, we investigated the occurrence of this "simulated" oestrus behaviour. We show that parous females in the Amboseli elephant population do simulate receptive oestrus behaviours, and this false oestrus occurs disproportionately in the presence of naïve female kin who are observed coming into oestrus for the first time. We compare several alternative hypotheses for the occurrence of this simulation: 1) false oestrus has no functional purpose (e.g., it merely results from abnormal hormonal changes); 2) false oestrus increases the reproductive success of the simulating female, by inducing sexual receptivity; and 3) false oestrus increases the inclusive fitness of the simulating female, either by increasing the access of related females to suitable males, or by encouraging appropriate oestrus behaviours from female relatives who are not responding correctly to males. Although the observed data do not fully conform to the predictions of any of these hypotheses, we rule out the first two, and tentatively suggest that parous females most likely exhibit false oestrus behaviours in order to demonstrate to naïve relatives at whom to direct their behaviour.

  7. Secretory pattern of inhibin during estrous cycle and pregnancy in African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamamoto, Yuki; Yuto, Natsuki; Yamamoto, Tatsuya; Kaewmanee, Saroch; Shiina, Osamu; Mouri, Yasushi; Narushima, Etsuo; Katayanagi, Masayuki; Sugimura, Keisuke; Nagaoka, Kentaro; Watanabe, Gen; Taya, Kazuyoshi

    2012-01-01

    The ovary of female elephants has multiple corpora lutea (CL) during the estrous cycle and gestation. The previous reports clearly demonstrated that inhibin was secreted from lutein cells as well as granulosa cells of antral follicles in cyclic Asian elephants. The aim of this study is to investigate the inhibin secretion during the pregnancy in African and Asian elephants. Two African elephants and two Asian elephants were subjected to this study. Circulating levels of immunoreactive (ir-) inhibin and progesterone were measured by radioimmunoassay. Four pregnant periods of an African elephant and three pregnant periods of an Asian elephant were analyzed in this study. Circulating levels of ir-inhibin started to increase at 1 or 2 week before the ovulation and reached the peak level 3 or 4 weeks earlier than progesterone during the estrous cycle in both African and Asian elephants. After last luteal phase, the serum levels of ir-inhibin remained low throughout pregnancy in both an African and an Asian elephant. The mean levels of ir-inhibin during the pregnancy were lower than the luteal phase in the estrous cycle despite high progesterone levels were maintained throughout the pregnancy. These results strongly suggest that CL secrete a large amount of progesterone but not inhibin during the pregnancy in elephants.

  8. Effect of calcium and cholecalciferol supplementation on several parameters of calcium status in plasma and urine of captive Asian (Elephas maximus) and African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Sonsbeek, Gerda R; van der Kolk, Johannes H; van Leeuwen, Johannes P T M; Everts, Hendrik; Marais, Johan; Schaftenaar, Willem

    2013-09-01

    The aim of the current study was to assess the effect of oral calcium and cholecalciferol supplementation on several parameters of calcium status in plasma and urine of captive Asian (Elephas maximus; n=10) and African elephants (Loxodonta africana; n=6) and to detect potential species differences. Calcium and cholecalciferol supplementation were investigated in a feeding trial using a crossover design consisting of five periods of 28 days each in summer. From days 28-56 (period 2), elephants were fed the Ca-supplemented diet and from days 84-112, elephants were fed the cholecalciferol-supplemented diet (period 4). The control diet was fed during the other periods and was based on their regular ration, and the study was repeated similarly during winter. Periods 1, 3, and 5 were regarded as washout periods. This study revealed species-specific differences with reference to calcium and cholecalciferol supplementation. Asian elephants showed a significant increase in mean plasma total calcium concentration following calcium supplementation during summer, suggesting summer-associated subclinical hypocalcemia in Western Europe. During winter, no effect was seen after oral calcium supplementation, but a significant increase was seen both in mean plasma, total, and ionized calcium concentrations after cholecalciferol supplementation in Asian elephants. In contrast, evidence of subclinical hypocalcemia could be demonstrated neither in summer nor in winter in African elephants, although 28 days of cholecalciferol supplementation during winter reversed the decrease in plasma 1,25(OH)2-cholecalciferol and was followed by a significant increase in mean plasma total calcium concentration. Preliminary findings indicate that the advisable permanent daily intake for calcium in Asian elephants and cholecalciferol in both elephant species at least during winter might be higher than current guidelines. It is strongly recommended to monitor blood calcium concentrations and, if

  9. Standing sedation with medetomidine and butorphanol in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lüders, I; Tindall, B; Young, D; van der Horst, G; Botha, S; Luther, I; Maree, L; Bertschinger, H J

    2016-03-01

    Doses for standing sedation allowing for various procedures in otherwise inaccessible, untrained captive African elephant bulls are presented. Thirty-three standing sedations were performed in 12 males aged 8-30 years (one to four sedations per animal). Each bull received a combination of 0.009 ± 0.002 mg/kg medetomidine and 0.03 ± 0.007 mg/kg butorphanol. Full sedation was reached on average 25.5 min after injection. The addition of hyaluronidase (1000-2000 IU) significantly reduced time to full sedation to 16.5 min (paired t test, P = 0.024). Reversal was induced with intramuscular atipamezole 0.008 (±0.002) and naltrexone 0.035 (±0.015) mg/kg. Recovery took on average 7 min (3-18 min). The medetomidine/butorphanol combination provided safe standing sedation for smaller procedures.

  10. Tusklessness and tusk fractures in free-ranging African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steenkamp, G; Ferreira, S M; Bester, M N

    2007-06-01

    The incidence of tusklessness varies between free-ranging African elephant populations. Sex-linked genetic drift predicts 2 outcomes--the condition becomes fixed and sex-specific incidences diverge when populations are small and/or heavily poached. By contrast, for large and intact populations, tusklessness diminishes and there is no variation between sexes. We tested these predictions by comparing sex-specific incidences between 15 populations: a small one with a skewed founder effect towards tusklessness; 5 that had experienced intense levels of poaching; 2 that had been subjected to non-selective culling and 7 that are relatively pristine. Patterns of rainfall were studied of tusk fractures amongst these populations to correct for any effect that acquired tusklessness may have on our predictions. The incidence of tusk fractures was related to annual rainfall, but the mechanism that leads to an increase of the condition in drier areas was not clear Incidences of tusk fractures in free-ranging populations implied that the frequency of acquired bilateral tusklessness is low and should not affect our results. All males had tusks. Tusklessness in females was high in the small skewed founder population and some of those where there was a history of poaching. The incidence is expected to decline if the residual population is large.

  11. Tusklessness and tusk fractures in free-ranging African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana

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    G. Steenkamp

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available The incidence of tusklessness varies between free-ranging African elephant populations. Sex-linked genetic drift predicts 2 outcomes - the condition becomes fixed and sex-specific incidences diverge when populations are small and/or heavily poached. By contrast, for large and intact populations, tusklessness diminishes and there is no variation between sexes. We tested these predictions by comparing sex-specific incidences between 15 populations: a small one with a skewed founder effect towards tusklessness; 5 that had experienced intense levels of poaching; 2 that had been subjected to non-selective culling and 7 that are relatively pristine. Patterns of rainfall were studied of tusk fractures amongst these populations to correct for any effect that acquired tusklessness may have on our predictions. The incidence of tusk fractures was related to annual rainfall, but the mechanism that leads to an increase of the condition in drier areas was not clear. Incidences of tusk fractures in free-ranging populations implied that the frequency of acquired bilateral tusklessness is low and should not affect our results. All males had tusks. Tusklessness in females was high in the small skewed founder population and some of those where there was a history of poaching. The incidence is expected to decline if the residual population is large.

  12. The adrenals of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana: A few observations. 2. The zona reticularis, medullary capsule, F - zone and medulla

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    F. G. W. Strassberger

    1994-07-01

    Full Text Available The structure of the zona reticularis, medullary capsule, F-zone and medulla of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana is described. Three types of cells, arranged as described in other mammals, are found in the zona reticularis. Organelles in this zone are as descibed for other cells that secrete steroids. The ultrastructure of the cells in the F-zone is very similar to that of cells that secrete steroids. Two types of cells, roughly similar to those of other mammals, are found in the medulla.

  13. Response of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) to seasonal changes in rainfall.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garstang, Michael; Davis, Robert E; Leggett, Keith; Frauenfeld, Oliver W; Greco, Steven; Zipser, Edward; Peterson, Michael

    2014-01-01

    The factors that trigger sudden, seasonal movements of elephants are uncertain. We hypothesized that savannah elephant movements at the end of the dry season may be a response to their detection of distant thunderstorms. Nine elephants carrying Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers were tracked over seven years in the extremely dry and rugged region of northwestern Namibia. The transition date from dry to wet season conditions was determined annually from surface- and satellite-derived rainfall. The distance, location, and timing of rain events relative to the elephants were determined using the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) satellite precipitation observations. Behavioral Change Point Analysis (BCPA) was applied to four of these seven years demonstrating a response in movement of these elephants to intra- and inter-seasonal occurrences of rainfall. Statistically significant changes in movement were found prior to or near the time of onset of the wet season and before the occurrence of wet episodes within the dry season, although the characteristics of the movement changes are not consistent between elephants and years. Elephants in overlapping ranges, but following separate tracks, exhibited statistically valid non-random near-simultaneous changes in movements when rainfall was occurring more than 100 km from their location. While the environmental trigger that causes these excursions remains uncertain, rain-system generated infrasound, which can travel such distances and be detected by elephants, is a possible trigger for such changes in movement.

  14. Response of African elephants (Loxodonta africana to seasonal changes in rainfall.

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    Michael Garstang

    Full Text Available The factors that trigger sudden, seasonal movements of elephants are uncertain. We hypothesized that savannah elephant movements at the end of the dry season may be a response to their detection of distant thunderstorms. Nine elephants carrying Global Positioning System (GPS receivers were tracked over seven years in the extremely dry and rugged region of northwestern Namibia. The transition date from dry to wet season conditions was determined annually from surface- and satellite-derived rainfall. The distance, location, and timing of rain events relative to the elephants were determined using the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM satellite precipitation observations. Behavioral Change Point Analysis (BCPA was applied to four of these seven years demonstrating a response in movement of these elephants to intra- and inter-seasonal occurrences of rainfall. Statistically significant changes in movement were found prior to or near the time of onset of the wet season and before the occurrence of wet episodes within the dry season, although the characteristics of the movement changes are not consistent between elephants and years. Elephants in overlapping ranges, but following separate tracks, exhibited statistically valid non-random near-simultaneous changes in movements when rainfall was occurring more than 100 km from their location. While the environmental trigger that causes these excursions remains uncertain, rain-system generated infrasound, which can travel such distances and be detected by elephants, is a possible trigger for such changes in movement.

  15. Evaluation of Demographics and Social Life Events of Asian (Elephas maximus) and African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) in North American Zoos.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prado-Oviedo, Natalia A; Bonaparte-Saller, Mary K; Malloy, Elizabeth J; Meehan, Cheryl L; Mench, Joy A; Carlstead, Kathy; Brown, Janine L

    2016-01-01

    This study quantified social life events hypothesized to affect the welfare of zoo African and Asian elephants, focusing on animals that were part of a large multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional elephant welfare study in North America. Age was calculated based on recorded birth dates and an age-based account of life event data for each elephant was compiled. These event histories included facility transfers, births and deaths of offspring, and births and deaths of non-offspring herd mates. Each event was evaluated as a total number of events per elephant, lifetime rate of event exposure, and age at first event exposure. These were then compared across three categories: species (African vs. Asian); sex (male vs. female); and origin (imported vs. captive-born). Mean age distributions differed (p<0.05) between the categories: African elephants were 6 years younger than Asian elephants, males were 12 years younger than females, and captive-born elephants were 20 years younger than imported elephants. Overall, the number of transfers ranged from 0 to 10, with a 33% higher age-adjusted transfer rate for imported African than imported Asian elephants, and 37% lower rate for imported females than males (p<0.05). Other differences (p<0.05) included a 96% higher rate of offspring births for captive-born females than those imported from range countries, a 159% higher rate of birthing event exposures for captive-born males than for their imported counterparts, and Asian elephant females being 4 years younger than African females when they produced their first calf. In summarizing demographic and social life events of elephants in North American zoos, we found both qualitative and quantitative differences in the early lives of imported versus captive-born elephants that could have long-term welfare implications.

  16. Evaluation of Demographics and Social Life Events of Asian (Elephas maximus and African Elephants (Loxodonta africana in North American Zoos.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Natalia A Prado-Oviedo

    Full Text Available This study quantified social life events hypothesized to affect the welfare of zoo African and Asian elephants, focusing on animals that were part of a large multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional elephant welfare study in North America. Age was calculated based on recorded birth dates and an age-based account of life event data for each elephant was compiled. These event histories included facility transfers, births and deaths of offspring, and births and deaths of non-offspring herd mates. Each event was evaluated as a total number of events per elephant, lifetime rate of event exposure, and age at first event exposure. These were then compared across three categories: species (African vs. Asian; sex (male vs. female; and origin (imported vs. captive-born. Mean age distributions differed (p<0.05 between the categories: African elephants were 6 years younger than Asian elephants, males were 12 years younger than females, and captive-born elephants were 20 years younger than imported elephants. Overall, the number of transfers ranged from 0 to 10, with a 33% higher age-adjusted transfer rate for imported African than imported Asian elephants, and 37% lower rate for imported females than males (p<0.05. Other differences (p<0.05 included a 96% higher rate of offspring births for captive-born females than those imported from range countries, a 159% higher rate of birthing event exposures for captive-born males than for their imported counterparts, and Asian elephant females being 4 years younger than African females when they produced their first calf. In summarizing demographic and social life events of elephants in North American zoos, we found both qualitative and quantitative differences in the early lives of imported versus captive-born elephants that could have long-term welfare implications.

  17. The mummified brain of a pleistocene woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) compared with the brain of the extant African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kharlamova, Anastasia S; Saveliev, Sergei V; Protopopov, Albert V; Maseko, Busisiwe C; Bhagwandin, Adhil; Manger, Paul R

    2015-11-01

    This study presents the results of an examination of the mummified brain of a pleistocene woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) recovered from the Yakutian permafrost in Siberia, Russia. This unique specimen (from 39,440-38,850 years BP) provides the rare opportunity to compare the brain morphology of this extinct species with a related extant species, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana). An anatomical description of the preserved brain of the woolly mammoth is provided, along with a series of quantitative analyses of various brain structures. These descriptions are based on visual inspection of the actual specimen as well as qualitative and quantitative comparison of computed tomography imaging data obtained for the woolly mammoth in comparison with magnetic resonance imaging data from three African elephant brains. In general, the brain of the woolly mammoth specimen examined, estimated to weigh between 4,230 and 4,340 g, showed the typical shape, size, and gross structures observed in extant elephants. Quantitative comparative analyses of various features of the brain, such as the amygdala, corpus callosum, cerebellum, and gyrnecephalic index, all indicate that the brain of the woolly mammoth specimen examined has many similarities with that of modern African elephants. The analysis provided here indicates that a specific brain type representative of the Elephantidae is likely to be a feature of this mammalian family. In addition, the extensive similarities between the woolly mammoth brain and the African elephant brain indicate that the specializations observed in the extant elephant brain are likely to have been present in the woolly mammoth.

  18. Results of the third reproductive assessment survey of North American Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) female elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dow, T L; Holásková, I; Brown, J L

    2011-01-01

    A written survey assessed reproductive status of female Asian and African elephants in AZA/SSP facilities in 2008, and data were compared to surveys conducted in 2002 and 2005. Results showed that ovarian acyclicity rates across the surveys remained unchanged for Asian (13.3, 10.9 and 11.1%) and African (22.1, 31.2 and 30.5%) elephants, respectively (P > 0.05), but were higher overall for African compared to Asian elephants (P elephants with irregular cycles (14.3 and 15.8%) and irregular + no cycles (25.4 and 46.4%) was similar to 2005 (7.6 and 11.8%; 18.5 and 43.0%), but were increased compared to 2002 (2.6 and 5.2%; 16.0 and 27.3%), respectively (P elephants compared to females at facilities with no male, respectively. Cyclicity rates were higher for Asian (86.8 vs. 65.2%) and African (67.9 vs. 56.7%) elephants managed in free compared to protected contact programs (P 0.05). In summary, incidence of ovarian cycle problems continues to predominantly affect African elephants. Although percentages of acyclicity did not increase between 2005 and 2008, 42.2% Asian and 30.2% African females were no longer being hormonally monitored; thus, reproductive cycle abnormalities could be worse than current data suggest.

  19. Development of the germinal ridge and ovary in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stansfield, F J; Nöthling, J O; Soley, J T; Allen, W R

    2012-11-01

    The follicular reserve and its ontogeny in the elephant are of interest because elephants have the longest reproductive life of all land-based mammals. They also have the longest recorded pregnancy, which allows a protracted view of the series of significant events involved in the development of the embryonic and fetal gonads. The large elephant population of Zimbabwe provided the opportunity to collect conceptuses from elephants culled for management reasons and hunted professionally. Five embryos aged 76-96 days and the ovaries of four fetuses aged 4.8-11.2 months were fixed in 4% buffered formalin and studied by conventional histological sectioning and a stereological protocol to calculate the follicle reserve of each fetus. These observations enabled the conclusion that the migration of primordial germ cells into the indifferent gonad terminates at around 76 days of gestation while entry of oogonia into meiosis along with first follicle formation starts at around 5 months. Peak numbers of follicles are present by mid-gestation towards the end of the 6-month mitotic-meiotic transition period. It appears that the cortex of the elephant fetal ovary at mid-gestation (11 months) has already reached a developmental stage exhibited by the ovaries of many other mammals at full term.

  20. IMMUNOLOCALIZATION OF INHIBIN/ACTIVIN SUBUNITS AND STEROIDOGENIC ENZYMES IN THE TESTES OF AN ADULT AFRICAN ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Qinglin; Lu, Lu; Weng, Qiang; Kawakami, Shigehisa; Saito, Eriko; Yamamoto, Tatsuya; Yamamoto, Yuki; Kaewmanee, Saroch; Nagaoka, Kentaro; Watanabe, Gen; Taya, Kazuyoshi

    2016-06-01

    In this case report, the authors investigated immunolocalization of inhibin α and inhibin/activin βA and βB subunits, as well as steroidogenic enzymes, in the testes of an African elephant. Testes were collected from a reproductively active male African elephant (24 yr old) at autopsy. Histologically, all types of spermatogenic cells including mature-phase spermatozoa were found in the seminiferous tubules. Positive immunostaining for inhibin α and inhibin/activin βA and βB subunits was observed in Sertoli and Leydig cells. In addition, P450scc, 3βHSD, P450c17, and P450arom were also detected in the cytoplasm of Leydig cells. These results suggested that Leydig cells of adult African elephant testes have the ability to synthesize progestin, androgen, and estrogen, whereas both Sertoli and Leydig cells appear as a major source of inhibin secretion in the male African elephant.

  1. Body temperature daily rhythm adaptations in African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kinahan, A A; Inge-moller, R; Bateman, P W; Kotze, A; Scantlebury, M

    2007-11-23

    The savanna elephant is the largest extant mammal and often inhabits hot and arid environments. Due to their large size, it might be expected that elephants have particular physiological adaptations, such as adjustments to the rhythms of their core body temperature (T(b)) to deal with environmental challenges. This study describes for the first time the T(b) daily rhythms in savanna elephants. Our results showed that elephants had lower mean T(b) values (36.2 +/- 0.49 degrees C) than smaller ungulates inhabiting similar environments but did not have larger or smaller amplitudes of T(b) variation (0.40 +/- 0.12 degrees C), as would be predicted by their exposure to large fluctuations in ambient temperature or their large size. No difference was found between the daily T(b) rhythms measured under different conditions of water stress. Peak T(b)'s occurred late in the evening (22:10) which is generally later than in other large mammals ranging in similar environmental conditions.

  2. A Novel Objective Method of Estimating the Age of Mandibles from African Elephants (Loxodonta africana Africana.

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    Fiona J Stansfield

    Full Text Available The importance of assigning an accurate estimate of age and sex to elephant carcasses found in the wild has increased in recent years with the escalation in levels of poaching throughout Africa. Irregularities identified in current ageing techniques prompted the development of a new method to describe molar progression throughout life. Elephant mandibles (n = 323 were studied and a point near the distal dental alveolus was identified as being most useful in ranking each jaw according to molar progression. These 'Age Reference Lines' were then associated with an age scale based on previous studies and Zimbabwean mandibles of known age. The new ranking produced a single age scale that proved useful for both male and female mandibles up to the maximum lifespan age of 70-75 years. Methods to aid in molar identification and the sexing of found jaws were also identified.

  3. A Novel Objective Method of Estimating the Age of Mandibles from African Elephants (Loxodonta africana Africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stansfield, Fiona J

    2015-01-01

    The importance of assigning an accurate estimate of age and sex to elephant carcasses found in the wild has increased in recent years with the escalation in levels of poaching throughout Africa. Irregularities identified in current ageing techniques prompted the development of a new method to describe molar progression throughout life. Elephant mandibles (n = 323) were studied and a point near the distal dental alveolus was identified as being most useful in ranking each jaw according to molar progression. These 'Age Reference Lines' were then associated with an age scale based on previous studies and Zimbabwean mandibles of known age. The new ranking produced a single age scale that proved useful for both male and female mandibles up to the maximum lifespan age of 70-75 years. Methods to aid in molar identification and the sexing of found jaws were also identified.

  4. The sexually active states of free-ranging male African elephants (Loxodonta africana): defining musth and non-musth using endocrinology, physical signals, and behavior.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ganswindt, André; Rasmussen, Henrik B; Heistermann, Michael; Hodges, J Keith

    2005-01-01

    Musth in male African elephants, Loxodonta africana, is associated with increased aggressive behavior, continuous discharge of urine, copious secretions from the swollen temporal glands, and elevated androgen levels. During musth, bulls actively seek out and are preferred by estrous females although sexual activity is not restricted to the musth condition. The present study combines recently established methods of fecal hormone analysis with long-term observations on male-female associations as well as the presence and intensity of physical signals to provide a more detailed picture about the physical, physiological, and behavioral characteristics of different states of sexual activity in free-ranging African elephants. Based on quantitative shifts in individual bull association patterns, the presence of different physical signals, and significant differences in androgen levels, a total of three potential sub-categories for sexually active bulls could be established. The results demonstrate that elevations in androgen levels are only observed in sexually active animals showing temporal gland secretion and/or urine dribbling, but are not related to the age of the individual. Further, none of the sexually active states showed elevated glucocorticoid output indicating that musth does not represent an HPA-mediated stress condition. On the basis of these results, we suggest that the term "musth" should be exclusively used for the competitive state in sexually active male elephants and that the presence of urine dribbling should be the physical signal used for defining this state.

  5. The secretory pattern and source of immunoreactive prolactin in pregnant African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamamoto, Yuki; Yamamoto, Tatsuya; Yuto, Natsuki; Hildebrandt, Thomas B; Lueders, Imke; Wibbelt, Gudrun; Shiina, Osamu; Mouri, Yasushi; Sugimura, Keisuke; Sakamoto, Sayuri; Kaewmanee, Saroch; Nagaoka, Kentaro; Watanabe, Gen; Taya, Kazuyoshi

    2012-01-01

    The objective of the present study was to define the secretion of prolactin (PRL) in pregnant African and Asian elephants. Levels of immunoreactive (ir-) PRL in serum and placental homogenates were measured by a heterologous radioimmunoassay (RIA) based on an ovine and human RIA system, and the localization of ir-PRL in the placenta was detected by immunohistochemistry using anti-human PRL. Circulating ir-PRL clearly showed a biphasic pattern during pregnancy in African and Asian elephants. Serum levels of ir-PRL started to increase from the 4 - 6th month of gestation and reached the first peak level around the 11-14th month. A second peak of circulating ir-PRL levels was observed around the 18-20th month of gestation followed by an abrupt decline after parturition. In contrast, in a case of abortion of an African elephant, the second peak of ir-PRL was not observed, and the levels remained low for about four months until parturition. The weight of the fetus delivered at the 17th month of gestation was 23.5 kg, which was quite small compared with normal fetuses in previous reports. Ir-PRL was detected in placental homogenates, and immunolocalization was observed in trophoblasts in both the African and Asian elephants, indicating that the placenta is the source of ir-PRL during pregnancy in elephants. The present results clearly demonstrated that circulating ir-PRL shows a biphasic pattern during normal pregnancy and that the placenta appears to be an important source of circulating ir-PRL during pregnancy in both African and Asian elephants.

  6. Fecal 20-oxo-pregnane concentrations in free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta africana) treated with porcine zona pellucida vaccine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahlers, M J; Ganswindt, A; Münscher, S; Bertschinger, H J

    2012-07-01

    Because of overpopulation of African elephants in South Africa and the consequent threat to biodiversity, the need for a method of population control has become evident. In this regard, the potential use of the porcine zona pellucida (pZP) vaccine as an effective means for population control is explored. While potential effects of pZP treatment on social behavior of African elephants have been investigated, no examination of the influence of pZP vaccination on the endocrine correlates in treated females has been undertaken. In this study, ovarian activity of free-ranging, pZP-treated African elephant females was monitored noninvasively for 1 yr at Thornybush Private Nature Reserve, South Africa, by measuring fecal 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations via enzyme immunoassay. A total of 719 fecal samples from 19 individuals were collected over the study period, averaging 38 samples collected per individual (minimum, maximum: 16, 52). Simultaneously, behavioral observations were made to record the occurrence of estrous behavior for comparison. Each elephant under study showed 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations rising above baseline at some period during the study indicating luteal activity. Average 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations were 1.61 ± 0.46 μg/g (mean ± SD). Within sampled females, 42.9% exhibited estrous cycles within the range reported for captive African elephants, 14.3% had irregular cycles, and 42.9% did not appear to be cycling. Average estrous cycle duration was 14.72 ± 0.85 wk. Estrous behavior coincided with the onset of the luteal phase and a subsequent rise in 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations. Average 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on levels positively correlated with rainfall. No association between average individual 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations or cyclicity status with age or parity were detected. Earlier determination of efficacy was established via fecal hormone analysis with no pregnancies determined 22 mo post

  7. Seasonal Selection Preferences for Woody Plants by Breeding Herds of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana in a Woodland Savanna

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    J. J. Viljoen

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available To evaluate dynamics of elephant herbivory, we assessed seasonal preferences for woody plants by African elephant breeding herds in the southeastern part of Kruger National Park (KNP between 2002 and 2005. Breeding herds had access to a variety of woody plants, and, of the 98 woody plant species that were recorded in the elephant's feeding areas, 63 species were utilized by observed animals. Data were recorded at 948 circular feeding sites (radius 5 m during wet and dry seasons. Seasonal preference was measured by comparing selection of woody species in proportion to their estimated availability and then ranked according to the Manly alpha (α index of preference. Animals demonstrated a selection preference in feeding on woody vegetation, and Grewia hexamita, Grewia bicolor, Grewia flavescens, and Grewia monticola were selected consistently more over all seasons. In addition, our results indicate that elephant herds have a low preference for at least some of the woody species prone to extirpation and that feeding preferences for woody plants do not account for the association of elephants and riparian fringe habitat.

  8. How Bees Deter Elephants: Beehive Trials with Forest Elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) in Gabon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ngama, Steeve; Korte, Lisa; Bindelle, Jérôme; Vermeulen, Cédric; Poulsen, John R

    2016-01-01

    In Gabon, like elsewhere in Africa, crops are often sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. Wildlife damage to crops can drastically reduce income, amplifying poverty and creating a negative perception of wild animal conservation among rural people. In this context, crop-raiding animals like elephants quickly become "problem animals". To deter elephants from raiding crops beehives have been successfully employed in East Africa; however, this method has not yet been tested in Central Africa. We experimentally examined whether the presence of Apis mellifera adansonii, the African honey bee species present in Central Africa, deters forest elephants (Loxodonta Africana cyclotis) from feeding on fruit trees. We show for the first time that the effectiveness of beehives as deterrents of elephants is related to bee activity. Empty hives and those housing colonies of low bee activity do not deter elephants all the time; but beehives with high bee activity do. Although elephant disturbance of hives does not impede honey production, there is a tradeoff between deterrence and the quantity of honey produced. To best achieve the dual goals of deterring elephants and producing honey colonies must maintain an optimum activity level of 40 to 60 bee movements per minute. Thus, beehives colonized by Apis mellifera adansonii bees can be effective elephant deterrents, but people must actively manage hives to maintain bee colonies at the optimum activity level.

  9. How Bees Deter Elephants: Beehive Trials with Forest Elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis in Gabon.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steeve Ngama

    Full Text Available In Gabon, like elsewhere in Africa, crops are often sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. Wildlife damage to crops can drastically reduce income, amplifying poverty and creating a negative perception of wild animal conservation among rural people. In this context, crop-raiding animals like elephants quickly become "problem animals". To deter elephants from raiding crops beehives have been successfully employed in East Africa; however, this method has not yet been tested in Central Africa. We experimentally examined whether the presence of Apis mellifera adansonii, the African honey bee species present in Central Africa, deters forest elephants (Loxodonta Africana cyclotis from feeding on fruit trees. We show for the first time that the effectiveness of beehives as deterrents of elephants is related to bee activity. Empty hives and those housing colonies of low bee activity do not deter elephants all the time; but beehives with high bee activity do. Although elephant disturbance of hives does not impede honey production, there is a tradeoff between deterrence and the quantity of honey produced. To best achieve the dual goals of deterring elephants and producing honey colonies must maintain an optimum activity level of 40 to 60 bee movements per minute. Thus, beehives colonized by Apis mellifera adansonii bees can be effective elephant deterrents, but people must actively manage hives to maintain bee colonies at the optimum activity level.

  10. Endocrine correlates of musth and the impact of ecological and social factors in free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ganswindt, André; Muenscher, Stefanie; Henley, Michelle; Henley, Steve; Heistermann, Michael; Palme, Rupert; Thompson, Peter; Bertschinger, Henk

    2010-04-01

    Sexual activity in mature male African elephants is predominantly associated with the occurrence of musth, a state or condition which refers to a set of physical, physiological and behavioral characteristics, including an elevation in androgen levels. Although musth appears to be energetically costly, the degree to which it is associated with changes in adrenal endocrine function (e.g., glucocorticoid output) is still unclear. To investigate the possible effect of musth on adrenocortical function, and the impact of socioecological changes on androgen and glucocorticoid levels, six adult African elephant bulls were followed for 13months in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, and observations and fecal sample collection for endocrine monitoring was carried out about twice weekly. Our data showed that the occurrence of musth was associated with reduced glucocorticoid output, suggesting that musth does not represent a physiological stress mediated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This confirms previous findings in captive-housed animals, providing evidence for a suppressive effect of the musth condition on adrenocortical activity. Furthermore, a seasonal effect on androgen and glucocorticoid levels was found, which appears to vary depending on the reproductive status of the animal. The results also indicate a relationship between the presence or absence of social partners and changes in testicular and adrenal endocrine activity. Finally, the data confirm previous findings in captive-housed elephants, that an elevation in androgen concentrations usually occurs before the onset of physical musth signs, and therefore support the idea that the change in androgen levels represents the initial stimulus for the musth condition.

  11. Vaccination against GnRH may suppress aggressive behaviour and musth in African elephant (Loxodonta africana bulls - a pilot study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. M. De Nys

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Aggressive behaviour and musth are constant problems in captive and sometimes in free-ranging African elephant bulls. Aggressive bulls are difficult and musth bulls almost impossible to manage without severely restricting their movement either by leg-chaining or using tranquillisers. This study investigated the relationship between faecal androgen metabolites (FAM and faecal cortisol metabolites (FCM concentrations and aggressive behaviour and tested a GnRH vaccine as a means of down-regulating aggressive behaviour and musth in 1 free-ranging and 5 captive elephant bulls. The bulls were non-aggressive (n = 3, aggressive (n = 2 or in musth (n = 1 at the onset of the study. The bulls were injected with a GnRH vaccine-adjuvant combination 3 or 4 times at 3- to 7-week intervals. Behaviour, FAM and FCM concentrations were measured during every week prior to vaccination until 4 months after the last vaccination. FAM concentrations were positively correlated with aggressive behaviour before the 1st vaccination. Androgen production, as reflected by FAM concentrations, was down-regulated in 3 of the 6 immunised bulls. At least 2 bulls and possibly a 3rd showed behavioural improvement following GnRH vaccination and in all 3 temporal gland secretion ceased. No further aggressive behaviour was observed until the end of the study in any of the bulls. The results of this 1st GnRH immunisation study suggest that it could be a useful method to control aggressive behaviour and musth in African elephant bulls.

  12. Quantitative analysis of neocortical gyrencephaly in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and six species of cetaceans: comparison with other mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manger, Paul R; Prowse, Michelle; Haagensen, Mark; Hemingway, Jason

    2012-08-01

    This study provides quantitative data on the extent of gyrencephaly in the large-brained African elephant and several species of cetaceans (from smaller to larger brained) in comparison with other mammals. Across three mammalian orders (primates, carnivores, and artiodactyls), the species with the larger brains are more gyrencephalic with each order, exhibiting a specific negative allometry. The African elephant, with a 5-kg brain, has a gyrencephalic index (GI) of 3.89, which, though highly gyrencephalic, is not more so than would be predicted for a mammal with a 5-kg brain. The cetaceans had an average GI of 5.43, are the most gyrencephalic mammals studied to date, and are more gyrencephalic than one would predict based on comparison with other mammals. No relationship between brain mass and GI was evident in the cetaceans as seen in other mammals, with all cetaceans showing similar GIs irrespective of brain mass (range of GI 5.23-5.70, range of brain mass 577-5617 g). This is yet another parameter indicating cetaceans to be neuroanatomical outliers. Two species of pinnipeds studied had GIs that were well above those seen for terrestrial carnivores, and the aquatic manatee was close to lissencephalic. Thus, all three groups of marine mammals showed unusual extents of cortical gyrencephaly, indicating a morphological alteration of the telencephalon associated with the return to the marine environment. The analysis suggests that cortical thickness and neuronal density are important factors in determining the extent of gyrencephaly across mammalian species.

  13. Expression of human cell cycle regulators in the primary cell line of the African savannah elephant (loxodonta africana) increases proliferation until senescence, but does not induce immortalization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fukuda, Tomokazu; Iino, Yuuka; Onuma, Manabu; Gen, Bando; Inoue-Murayama, Miho; Kiyono, Tohru

    2016-01-01

    The African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) is one of the critically endangered animals. Conservation of genetic and cellular resources is important for the promotion of wild life-related research. Although primary cultured cells are a useful model for the physiology and genomics of the wild-type animals, their distribution is restricted due to the limited number of cell divisions allowed in them. Here, we tried to immortalize a primary cell line of L. africana with by overexpressing human mutant form of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4R24C), cyclin D, and telomerase (TERT). It has been shown before that the combination of human CDK4R24C, cyclin D, and TERT induces the efficient cellular immortalization of cells derived from humans, bovine, swine, and monkeys. Interestingly, although the combination of these three genes extended the cellular proliferation of the L. africana-derived cells, they did not induce cellular immortalization. This study suggest that control of cellular senescence in L. africana-derived cells would be different molecular mechanisms compared to those governing human, bovine, swine, and monkey cells.

  14. Strangulating intestinal obstructions in four captive elephants (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiedner, Ellen B; Peddie, James; Peddie, Linda Reeve; Abou-Madi, Noha; Kollias, George V; Doyle, Charles; Lindsay, William A; Isaza, Ramiro; Terrell, Scott; Lynch, Tim M; Johnson, Kari; Johnson, Gary; Sammut, Charlie; Daft, Barbara; Uzal, Francisco

    2012-03-01

    Three captive-born (5-day-old, 8-day-old, and 4-yr-old) Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and one captive-born 22-yr-old African elephant (Loxodonta africana) from three private elephant facilities and one zoo in the United States presented with depression, anorexia, and tachycardia as well as gastrointestinal signs of disease including abdominal distention, decreased borborygmi, tenesmus, hematochezia, or diarrhea. All elephants showed some evidence of discomfort including agitation, vocalization, or postural changes. One animal had abnormal rectal findings. Nonmotile bowel loops were seen on transabdominal ultrasound in another case. Duration of signs ranged from 6 to 36 hr. All elephants received analgesics and were given oral or rectal fluids. Other treatments included warm-water enemas or walking. One elephant underwent exploratory celiotomy. Three animals died, and the elephant taken to surgery was euthanized prior to anesthetic recovery. At necropsy, all animals had severe, strangulating intestinal lesions.

  15. The Release of a Captive-Raised Female African Elephant (Loxodonta africana in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

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    Stephen Harris

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Wild female elephants live in close-knit matrilineal groups and housing captive elephants in artificial social groupings can cause significant welfare issues for individuals not accepted by other group members. We document the release of a captive-raised female elephant used in the safari industry because of welfare and management problems. She was fitted with a satellite collar, and spatial and behavioural data were collected over a 17-month period to quantify her interactions with the wild population. She was then monitored infrequently for a further five-and-a-half years. We observed few signs of aggression towards her from the wild elephants with which she socialized. She used an area of comparable size to wild female elephants, and this continued to increase as she explored new areas. Although she did not fully integrate into a wild herd, she had three calves of her own, and formed a social unit with another female and her calf that were later released from the same captive herd. We recommend that release to the wild be considered as a management option for other captive female elephants.

  16. Population pharmacokinetics of isoniazid in the treatment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis among Asian and African elephants (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maslow, J N; Mikota, S K; Zhu, M; Isaza, R; Peddie, L R; Dunker, F; Peddie, J; Riddle, H; Peloquin, C A

    2005-02-01

    We recently described the clinical presentation and treatment of 18 elephants from six herds infected with TB. Treatment protocols and methods varied between herds to include both oral and rectal dosing using multiple drug doses and formulations. In this paper we present information regarding the pharmacokinetics (PK) of isoniazid (INH) in elephants and provide suggestions regarding initial treatment regimens. Forty-one elephants received INH daily by either oral or rectal administration with different formulations. Population PK analysis was performed using Non-linear Mixed Effect Modeling (NONMEM). Results of oral administration indicated that compared with premixed INH solution, the drug exposure was highest with a suspension prepared freshly with INH powder. When INH was concomitantly given as an admixture over food, Tmax was delayed and variability in drug absorption was significantly increased. Compared with oral administration, similar drug exposures were found when INH was dosed rectally. The data generated suggest that a starting dose of 7.5 mg/kg of INH is appropriate for initial TB treatment in elephants when premixed solution is administered directly into the oropharynx or rectal vault and 4 mg/kg are when INH is administered following immediate suspension from powdered form.

  17. The evolution and phylogeography of the African elephant inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence and nuclear microsatellite markers.

    OpenAIRE

    Eggert, Lori S.; Rasner, Caylor A; Woodruff, David S.

    2002-01-01

    Recent genetic results support the recognition of two African elephant species: Loxodonta africana, the savannah elephant, and Loxodonta cyclotis, the forest elephant. The study, however, did not include the populations of West Africa, where the taxonomic affinities of elephants have been much debated. We examined mitochondrial cytochrome b control region sequences and four microsatellite loci to investigate the genetic differences between the forest and savannah elephants of West and Central...

  18. Ovarian acyclicity in zoo African elephants (Loxodonta africana) is associated with high body condition scores and elevated serum insulin and leptin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morfeld, Kari A; Brown, Janine L

    2016-04-01

    The purpose of the present study was to determine whether excessive body fat and altered metabolic hormone concentrations in the circulation were associated with ovarian acyclicity in the world's largest land mammal, the African elephant. We compared body condition, glucose, insulin and leptin concentrations and the glucose-to-insulin ratio (G:I) between cycling (n=23; normal 14-16 week cycles based on serum progestagens for at least 2 years) and non-cycling (n=23; consistent baseline progestagen concentrations for at least 2 years) females. A validated body condition score (BCS) index (five-point scale; 1=thinnest, 5=fattest) was used to assess the degree of fatness of the study elephants. The mean BCS of non-cycling elephants was higher than that of their cycling counterparts. There were differences in concentrations of serum metabolic biomarkers, with non-cycling elephants in the BCS 5 category having higher leptin and insulin concentrations and a lower G:I ratio than cycling BCS 5 females. Using 'non-cycling' as the outcome variable in regression models, high BCS was a strong predictor of a non-cycling status. This study provides the first evidence that ovarian acyclicity in zoo African elephants is associated with body condition indicative of obesity, as well as elevated, perturbed biomarkers of metabolic status.

  19. The measurement of glucocorticoid concentrations in the serum and faeces of captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana after ACTH stimulation : research communication

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    S.K. Stead

    2000-07-01

    Full Text Available Conventionally, the assessment of adrenal responses to stress relies on blood sample collection. However, blood collection from animals is impossible without restraint or immobilisation that influences results. This study was undertaken to validate recently established enzyme immunoassays that measure faecal glucocorticoid metabolites in elephants, and to perform a preliminary investigation into the biological relevance of this non-invasive method for use in assessing the degree of stress in this species. Four juvenile African elephants were injected i.m. with 2.15 mg synthetic adrenocorticotrophic hormone (Synacthén, Novartis, Switzerland. Blood and faecal samples were collected over 4 h and 7 d respectively. Concentrations of serum cortisol and faecal cortisol metabolites were determined using immunoassay. Variability of basal and peak values in blood and faeces was observed among the elephants. After ACTH injection, serum cortisol concentrations increased by 400-700 %. An 11-oxoaetiocholanolone enzyme immunoassay (EIA proved best suited to measure cortisol metabolites (11,17-dioxoandrostanes when compared to a cortisol and corticosterone EIA in faecal samples. Concentrations of faecal 11,17-dioxoandrostanes increased by 570-1070 %, reaching peak levels after 20.0-25.5 h. Greater levels of glucocorticoid metabolites were measured in faecal samples from elephants kept in small enclosures compared to levels in the faeces of animals ranging over a larger area. The results of this preliminary study suggest that non-invasive faecal monitoring of glucocorticoid metabolites is useful in investigating adrenal activity in African elephants.

  20. Influence of age and gender on secretion of anti-Müllerian hormone in Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dow, T L; Roudebush, W; Parker, F N; Brown, J L

    2011-03-01

    Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) secretion was studied in Asian and African elephants varying in age and reproductive status. Overall mean concentrations did not differ (P > 0.05) between species, but were markedly higher in male than female Asian elephants (31.01 ± 4.22 ng/mL and 0.19 ± 0.02 ng/mL, mean ± SEM) and African elephants (40.27 ± 3.18 ng/mL, 0.17 ± 0.04 ng/mL), respectively. Anti-Müllerian hormone secretion was not significantly affected by ovarian cyclicity status (cycling vs noncycling), but was higher (P 0.05) in prepubertal (49.08 ± 6.11 ng/mL) as compared to aged (≥36 y; 22.27 ± 5.82 ng/mL) bulls; concentrations in mature bulls (8-35 y; 37.01 ± 3.17 ng/mL) were similar to prepubertal and older bulls. We concluded that circulating AMH concentrations in elephants were similar between species and not affected by reproductive status; however, concentrations were significantly higher in males than females, and in younger animals. The diagnostic value of AMH to assess fertility status of individual elephants remains to be determined.

  1. The progression of small-follicle reserves in the ovaries of wild African elephants (Loxodonta africana) from puberty to reproductive senescence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stansfield, F J; Nöthling, J O; Allen, W R

    2013-01-01

    This study aimed to determine whether the follicle reserve in the ovary of the African elephant declines progressively after puberty and whether its depletion constrains the fertility of older females. Elephant ovaries were fixed in 4% neutral buffered formalin and small-follicle counts made using stereological protocols. Excepting a slight rise in small-follicle numbers between 16 and 25 years of age, there was a trend for follicle numbers to fall from puberty to 70 years. Reproductive status did not impact significantly on small-follicle numbers (P=0.31). The number of early primary follicles, initially higher in number than true primary follicles, fell from post-puberty to nil at 45 years of age. Six of the seven oldest animals in the study showed signs of recent ovarian activity in the form of antral follicles, corpora lutea or large corpora nigra. The four oldest elephants (mean age 69 years) had a median small-follicle count of 11,113. In summary, it appears that the elephant ovary is capable of supplying oocytes for ovulation right up to the time of death at the age of maximum life expectancy, although the follicle reserve becomes depleted in some older elephants.

  2. The three-dimensional locomotor dynamics of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants reveal a smooth gait transition at moderate speed.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ren, Lei; Hutchinson, John R

    2008-02-06

    We examined whether elephants shift to using bouncing (i.e. running) mechanics at any speed. To do this, we measured the three-dimensional centre of mass (CM) motions and torso rotations of African and Asian elephants using a novel multisensor method. Hundreds of continuous stride cycles were recorded in the field. African and Asian elephants moved very similarly. Near the mechanically and metabolically optimal speed (a Froude number (Fr) of 0.09), an inverted pendulum mechanism predominated. With increasing speed, the locomotor dynamics quickly but continuously became less like vaulting and more like bouncing. Our mechanical energy analysis of the CM suggests that at a surprisingly slow speed (approx. 2.2 m s(-1), Fr 0.25), the hindlimbs exhibited bouncing, not vaulting, mechanics during weight support. We infer that a gait transition happens at this relatively slow speed: elephants begin using their compliant hindlimbs like pogo sticks to some extent to drive the body, bouncing over their relatively stiff, vaulting forelimbs. Hence, they are not as rigid limbed as typically characterized for graviportal animals, and use regular walking as well as at least one form of running gait.

  3. Liquid semen storage in elephants (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta africana): species differences and storage optimization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kiso, Wendy K; Brown, Janine L; Siewerdt, Frank; Schmitt, Dennis L; Olson, Deborah; Crichton, Elizabeth G; Pukazhenthi, Budhan S

    2011-01-01

    Artificial insemination plays a key role in the genetic management of elephants in zoos. Because freshly extended semen is typically used for artificial insemination in elephants, it has become imperative to optimize conditions for liquid storage and semen transport. The objectives of this study were to examine the interactions between different extenders and storage temperatures on sperm total motility, progressive motility, and acrosomal integrity in Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants. Ejaculates were collected by rectal massage, diluted using a split-sample technique in 5 semen extenders: TL-Hepes (HEP), Modena (MOD), Biladyl (BIL), TEST refrigeration medium (TES), and INRA96 (INR), maintained at 35°C, 22°C, or 4°C. At 0, 4, 6, 12, and 24 hours, aliquots were removed and assessed for sperm total motility, progressive motility, and acrosomal integrity. After 24 hours of storage, African elephant spermatozoa exhibited greater longevity and higher values in sperm quality parameters compared with those of Asian elephants. In both species, semen storage at 35°C resulted in a sharp decline in all sperm quality parameters after 4 hours of storage, whereas storage at 22°C and 4°C facilitated sperm survival. In Asian elephants, MOD and HEP were most detrimental, whereas BIL, TES, and INR maintained motility up to 12 hours when spermatozoa were cooled to 22°Cor4°C. In African elephants, there were no differences among extenders. All media maintained good sperm quality parameters at 22°C or 4°C. However, although MOD, BIL, and INR were most effective at lower temperatures, HEP and TES maintained sperm motility at all storage temperatures. This study demonstrated sperm sensitivity to components of various semen extenders and storage temperatures and offers recommendations for semen extender choices for liquid semen storage for both Asian and African elephants.

  4. Managing African Elephant Populations: Act or let die

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Colenbrander, Ben; Gooijer, Jean de; Paling, Robert; Stout, Susanna; Stout, Tom; Allen, Twink

    2004-01-01

    During the last century, the number of African elephant (Loxodonta africana) declined dramatically as a result of over-hunting, poaching for ivory and, more recently, the loss of habitat area due to encroachment of the human population. In some areas, however, the trend to declining numbers was reve

  5. Growth and development of the ovary and small follicle pool from mid fetal life to pre-puberty in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stansfield Fiona J

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Follicle numbers and developing ovarian morphology, particularly with reference to the presence of interstitial tissue, are intimately linked within the ovary of the African elephant during the period spanning mid-gestation to puberty. These have not been previously quantified in any studies. The collection of 7 sets of elephant fetal ovaries between 11.2 and 20.2 months of gestation, and 29 pairs of prepubertal calf ovaries between 2 months and 9 years of age during routine management off-takes of complete family groups in private conservancies in Zimbabwe provided an opportunity for a detailed study of this period. Results The changing morphology of the ovary is described as the presumptive cortex and medulla components of the fetal ovary settled into their adult form. Interstitial tissue dominated the ovary in late fetal life and these cells stained strongly for 3β–hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. This staining continued postnatally through to 4.5 years of age suggesting continued secretion of progestagens by the ovary during this period. The considerable growth of antral follicles peaked at 28% of ovarian volume at around 16.7 months of fetal age. The numbers of small follicles (primordial, early primary and true primary, counted in the cortex using stereological protocols, revealed fewer small follicles in the ovaries of animals aged 0 to 4.5 years of age than during either late fetal life or prepubertal life. Conclusions The small follicle populations of the late-fetal and prepubertal ovaries of the African elephant were described along with the changing morphology of these organs. The changes noted represent a series of events that have been recorded only in the elephant and the giraffe species to date. The expansion of the interstitial tissue of the fetal ovary and its continued presence in early post natal life may well contribute to the control of follicle development in these early years. Further

  6. Mitochondrial DNA analysis of two southern African elephant populations

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    M.F. Essop

    1996-01-01

    Full Text Available The modern view is that there are at most only two valid forms of the African elephant namely Loxodonta qfricana africana, the bush elephant, and L.a. cyclotis, the forest elephant (Ansell 1974; Meester et al. 1986. The Knysna elephant which was also described as a separate sub-species is now almost extinct. Plans to augment the remnant population by introducing other animals must take into account the taxonomic questions and issue of conserving elephant gene pools (Greig 1982a. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA restriction fragment-size comparisons were performed on specimens from the Kruger National Park and the Addo Elephant National Park. If the Addo population's results are extrapolated to the Knysna population, it may be concluded that there is no genetic evidence for the Kruger and Knysna elephant populations to be considered as different sub-species.

  7. Remote sensing of the link between arable field and elephant (Loxodonta africana) distribution change along a tsetse eradication gradient in the Zambezi valley, Zimbabwe

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Murwira, A.; Skidmore, A.K.; Huizing, H.G.J.; Prins, H.H.T.

    2010-01-01

    We investigated whether the proportion of remotely sensed arable fields increased along a tsetse eradication gradient in the Sebungwe region. We also investigated whether and to what extent this increase in arable fields affected the distribution of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) between

  8. Bee threat elicits alarm call in African elephants.

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    Lucy E King

    Full Text Available Unlike the smaller and more vulnerable mammals, African elephants have relatively few predators that threaten their survival. The sound of disturbed African honeybees Apis meliffera scutellata causes African elephants Loxodonta africana to retreat and produce warning vocalizations that lead other elephants to join the flight. In our first experiment, audio playbacks of bee sounds induced elephants to retreat and elicited more head-shaking and dusting, reactive behaviors that may prevent bee stings, compared to white noise control playbacks. Most importantly, elephants produced distinctive "rumble" vocalizations in response to bee sounds. These rumbles exhibited an upward shift in the second formant location, which implies active vocal tract modulation, compared to rumbles made in response to white noise playbacks. In a second experiment, audio playbacks of these rumbles produced in response to bees elicited increased headshaking, and further and faster retreat behavior in other elephants, compared to control rumble playbacks with lower second formant frequencies. These responses to the bee rumble stimuli occurred in the absence of any bees or bee sounds. This suggests that these elephant rumbles may function as referential signals, in which a formant frequency shift alerts nearby elephants about an external threat, in this case, the threat of bees.

  9. The impact of male contraception on dominance hierarchy and herd association patterns of African elephants (Loxodonta africana in a fenced game reserve

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    L.S. Doughty

    2014-12-01

    Findings suggest that the treatment of one individual with GnRH suppressant is affecting the rank order of the dominance hierarchy, though it is still transitive, yet fluid (Landau’s linearity index h=0.7, as expected in a normal elephant population. Between males, association patterns were found to be weak. However, some males had relatively strong associations with the female herds, with association indices between 0.25 and 0.41. This suggests that the reduction on births is resulting in the males spending atypically large amounts of time with the female herds. The future conservation implications of this population control mechanism are discussed.

  10. Volumetric analysis of the African elephant ventricular system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maskeo, Busisiwe C; Spocter, Muhammed A; Haagensen, Mark; Manger, Paul R

    2011-08-01

    This study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine the volume of the ventricular system in the brain of three adult male African elephants (Loxodonta africana). The ventricular system of the elephant has a volume of ∼240 mL, an order of magnitude larger than that seen in the adult human. Despite this large size, allometric analysis indicates that the volume of the ventricles in the elephant is what one would expect for a mammal with an ∼5 kg brain. Interestingly, our comparison with other mammals revealed that primates appear to have small relative ventricular volumes, and that megachiropterans and microchiropterans follow different scaling rules when comparing ventricular volume to brain mass indicating separate phylogenetic histories. The current study provides context for one aspect of the elephant brain in the broader picture of mammalian brain evolution.

  11. Six new polymorphic microsatellite loci isolated and characterized from the African savannah elephant genome

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nyakaana, Silvester; Okello, John Bosco A.; Muwanika, Vincent B.

    2005-01-01

    The African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) is a 'keystone' species that plays a vital role in regulating the dynamics of both plant and animal communities and yet it is endangered and its numbers have been reduced to approximately 500 000 across their entire continental range. Molecular...

  12. The response of elephants to the spatial heterogeneity of vegetation in a Southern African agricultural landscape

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Murwira, A.; Skidmore, A.K.

    2005-01-01

    Based on the agricultural landscape of the Sebungwe in Zimbabwe, we investigated whether and how the spatial distribution of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) responded to spatial heterogeneity of vegetation cover based on data of the early 1980s and early 1990s. We also investigated whether

  13. A longitudinal study of LH, gonadal and adrenal steroids in four intact Asian bull elephants (Elephas maximus) and one castrate African bull (Loxodonta africana) during musth and non-musth periods.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yon, Lisa; Kanchanapangka, Sumolya; Chaiyabutr, Narongsak; Meepan, Sompast; Stanczyk, Frank Z; Dahl, Nancy; Lasley, Bill

    2007-05-01

    During their annual musth cycle, adult African and Asian bull elephants have increased gonadal androgens (testosterone [T], dihydrotestosterone [DHT], androstenedione [A4]). Because musth is a physiologically and psychologically stressful time, this study was conducted to investigate whether the adrenal glands (stimulated by stress) increase production of both glucocorticoids and androgens during musth. Weekly serum samples were taken for 11-15 months from four intact adult Asian bull elephants, and from a castrate African bull elephant who exhibits musth. Testosterone, androstenediol (A5), A4, luteinizing hormone (LH), cortisol, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were measured in each sample. In three of the four intact bulls, all hormones measured increased during musth. Adrenal androgens were strongly correlated with LH and testicular androgens, though not to cortisol. None of the hormones measured in the castrate bull increased during his musth cycles. While the significance of adrenal activity in the elephant during musth has yet to be determined, this study provides evidence that the adrenal gland actively produces both glucocorticoids and androgens during musth in the Asian elephant.

  14. Non-invasive assessment of the reproductive cycle in free-ranging female African elephants (Loxodonta africana treated with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH vaccine for inducing anoestrus

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    Benavides Valades Gabriela

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background In southern Africa, various options to manage elephant populations are being considered. Immunocontraception is considered to be the most ethically acceptable and logistically feasible method for control of smaller and confined populations. In this regard, the use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH vaccine has not been investigated in female elephants, although it has been reported to be safe and effective in several domestic and wildlife species. The aims of this study were to monitor the oestrous cycles of free-ranging African elephant cows using faecal progestagen metabolites and to evaluate the efficacy of a GnRH vaccine to induce anoestrus in treated cows. Methods Between May 2009 - June 2010, luteal activity of 12 elephant cows was monitored non-invasively using an enzyme immunoassay detecting faecal 5alpha-reduced pregnanes (faecal progestagen metabolites, FPM on a private game reserve in South Africa. No bulls of breeding age were present on the reserve prior to and for the duration of the study. After a 3-month control period, 8 randomly-selected females were treated twice with 600 micrograms of GnRH vaccine (Improvac®, Pfizer Animal Health, Sandton, South Africa 5-7 weeks apart. Four of these females had been treated previously with the porcine zona pellucida (pZP vaccine for four years (2004-2007. Results All 12 monitored females (8 treated and 4 controls showed signs of luteal activity as evidenced by FPM concentrations exceeding individual baseline values more than once. A total of 16 oestrous cycles could be identified in 8 cows with four of these within the 13 to 17 weeks range previously reported for captive African elephants. According to the FPM concentrations the GnRH vaccine was unable to induce anoestrus in the treated cows. Overall FPM levels in samples collected during the wet season (mean 4.03 micrograms/gram dry faeces were significantly higher (P Conclusions The GnRH vaccination protocol failed

  15. Continent-wide survey reveals massive decline in African savannah elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chase, Michael J; Schlossberg, Scott; Griffin, Curtice R; Bouché, Philippe J C; Djene, Sintayehu W; Elkan, Paul W; Ferreira, Sam; Grossman, Falk; Kohi, Edward Mtarima; Landen, Kelly; Omondi, Patrick; Peltier, Alexis; Selier, S A Jeanetta; Sutcliffe, Robert

    2016-01-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are imperiled by poaching and habitat loss. Despite global attention to the plight of elephants, their population sizes and trends are uncertain or unknown over much of Africa. To conserve this iconic species, conservationists need timely, accurate data on elephant populations. Here, we report the results of the Great Elephant Census (GEC), the first continent-wide, standardized survey of African savannah elephants. We also provide the first quantitative model of elephant population trends across Africa. We estimated a population of 352,271 savannah elephants on study sites in 18 countries, representing approximately 93% of all savannah elephants in those countries. Elephant populations in survey areas with historical data decreased by an estimated 144,000 from 2007 to 2014, and populations are currently shrinking by 8% per year continent-wide, primarily due to poaching. Though 84% of elephants occurred in protected areas, many protected areas had carcass ratios that indicated high levels of elephant mortality. Results of the GEC show the necessity of action to end the African elephants' downward trajectory by preventing poaching and protecting habitat.

  16. Continent-wide survey reveals massive decline in African savannah elephants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael J. Chase

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available African elephants (Loxodonta africana are imperiled by poaching and habitat loss. Despite global attention to the plight of elephants, their population sizes and trends are uncertain or unknown over much of Africa. To conserve this iconic species, conservationists need timely, accurate data on elephant populations. Here, we report the results of the Great Elephant Census (GEC, the first continent-wide, standardized survey of African savannah elephants. We also provide the first quantitative model of elephant population trends across Africa. We estimated a population of 352,271 savannah elephants on study sites in 18 countries, representing approximately 93% of all savannah elephants in those countries. Elephant populations in survey areas with historical data decreased by an estimated 144,000 from 2007 to 2014, and populations are currently shrinking by 8% per year continent-wide, primarily due to poaching. Though 84% of elephants occurred in protected areas, many protected areas had carcass ratios that indicated high levels of elephant mortality. Results of the GEC show the necessity of action to end the African elephants’ downward trajectory by preventing poaching and protecting habitat.

  17. Continent-wide survey reveals massive decline in African savannah elephants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schlossberg, Scott; Griffin, Curtice R.; Bouché, Philippe J.C.; Djene, Sintayehu W.; Elkan, Paul W.; Ferreira, Sam; Grossman, Falk; Kohi, Edward Mtarima; Landen, Kelly; Omondi, Patrick; Peltier, Alexis; Selier, S.A. Jeanetta; Sutcliffe, Robert

    2016-01-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are imperiled by poaching and habitat loss. Despite global attention to the plight of elephants, their population sizes and trends are uncertain or unknown over much of Africa. To conserve this iconic species, conservationists need timely, accurate data on elephant populations. Here, we report the results of the Great Elephant Census (GEC), the first continent-wide, standardized survey of African savannah elephants. We also provide the first quantitative model of elephant population trends across Africa. We estimated a population of 352,271 savannah elephants on study sites in 18 countries, representing approximately 93% of all savannah elephants in those countries. Elephant populations in survey areas with historical data decreased by an estimated 144,000 from 2007 to 2014, and populations are currently shrinking by 8% per year continent-wide, primarily due to poaching. Though 84% of elephants occurred in protected areas, many protected areas had carcass ratios that indicated high levels of elephant mortality. Results of the GEC show the necessity of action to end the African elephants’ downward trajectory by preventing poaching and protecting habitat. PMID:27635327

  18. Low coverage sequencing of two Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) genomes

    OpenAIRE

    Dastjerdi, Akbar; Robert, Christelle; Watson, Mick

    2014-01-01

    Background There are three species of elephant that exist, the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and two species of African elephant (Loxodonta africana and Loxodonta cyclotis). The populations of all three species are dwindling, and are under threat due to factors, such as habitat destruction and ivory hunting. The species differ in many respects, including in their morphology and response to disease. The availability of elephant genome sequence data from all three elephant species will compl...

  19. Interpretation of human pointing by African elephants: generalisation and rationality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smet, Anna F; Byrne, Richard W

    2014-11-01

    Factors influencing the abilities of different animals to use cooperative social cues from humans are still unclear, in spite of long-standing interest in the topic. One of the few species that have been found successful at using human pointing is the African elephant (Loxodonta africana); despite few opportunities for learning about pointing, elephants follow a pointing gesture in an object-choice task, even when the pointing signal and experimenter's body position are in conflict, and when the gesture itself is visually subtle. Here, we show that the success of captive African elephants at using human pointing is not restricted to situations where the pointing signal is sustained until the time of choice: elephants followed human pointing even when the pointing gesture was withdrawn before they had responded to it. Furthermore, elephants rapidly generalised their response to a type of social cue they were unlikely to have seen before: pointing with the foot. However, unlike young children, they showed no sign of evaluating the 'rationality' of this novel pointing gesture according to its visual context: that is, whether the experimenter's hands were occupied or not.

  20. Plasma testosterone levels in relation to musth in the male African Elephant

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    A.J Hall-Martin

    1984-12-01

    Full Text Available A long-term study of the behaviour and ecology of the African elephant Loxodonta africana was begun in the Addo Elephant National Park in 1976. During the period June 1976 to March 1979 regular observations were made on all animals. Every individual elephant could be recognised (the population was less than 100 animals and every individual was seen several times a month. From the start of the study records were kept of whether the temporal gland was secreting or not for every animal at every observation.

  1. The spatial structure of hunter access determines the local abundance of forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yackulic, Charles B; Strindberg, Samantha; Maisels, Fiona; Blake, Stephen

    2011-06-01

    In many previously remote regions in the world, increasing and often unregulated access is leading to dramatic increases in hunting pressure and declines in the densities of prey species, sometimes to the point of local extinction. Not surprisingly, numerous studies have found a correlation between the distance to the closest access point and prey densities. Here we hypothesized that, for many wide-ranging species, local abundances are reduced by hunting associated with multiple access points as opposed to just the closest access points. We also hypothesized that the distribution of hunter access determines both patterns of occupancy and abundance in occupied areas and that these two patterns (occupancy and abundance) respond to access at different spatial scales. Using data on the distribution of abundances of African forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) in and around five national parks in Central Africa, we tested these hypotheses using a model comparison framework. We found that models including an index based on the distance to multiple roads outperformed models including other access-based covariates, including a model based on distance to the closest road only. We also found that models that allowed us to model occupancy and abundance separately outperformed simpler models. Occupancy responds to access at the same scale as previous estimates of average maximum displacement in the subspecies, while the scale of the response of abundance is more ambiguous, but appears to be greater. Lastly, we show that incorporating indices based on multiple access points and modeling abundance and occupancy has important practical consequences for our understanding of overall regional abundances and the distribution of abundances within regions.

  2. Matriarchs as repositories of social knowledge in African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McComb, K; Moss, C; Durant, S M; Baker, L; Sayialel, S

    2001-04-20

    Despite widespread interest in the evolution of social intelligence, little is known about how wild animals acquire and store information about social companions or whether individuals possessing enhanced social knowledge derive biological fitness benefits. Using playback experiments on African elephants (Loxodonta africana), we demonstrated that the possession of enhanced discriminatory abilities by the oldest individual in a group can influence the social knowledge of the group as a whole. These superior abilities for social discrimination may result in higher per capita reproductive success for female groups led by older individuals. Our findings imply that the removal of older, more experienced individuals, which are often targets for hunters because of their large size, could have serious consequences for endangered populations of advanced social mammals such as elephants and whales.

  3. Freezing African elephant semen as a new population management tool.

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    Robert Hermes

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The captive elephant population is not self-sustaining and with a limited number of breeding bulls, its genetic diversity is in decline. One way to overcome this is to import young and healthy animals from the wild. We introduce here a more sustainable alternative method - importation of semen from wild bulls without removing them from their natural habitat. Due to the logistics involved, the only practical option would be to transport cryopreserved sperm. Despite some early reports on African elephant semen cryopreservation, the utility of this new population management tool has not been evaluated. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Semen was collected by electroejaculation from 14 wild African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana bulls and cryopreserved using the directional freezing technique. Sperm treatments evaluated included the need for centrifugation, the use of hen or quail yolk, the concentration of glycerol (3%, 5% or 7% in the extender, and maintenance of motility over time after thawing. Our results suggest that dilution in an extender containing hen yolk and 7% glycerol after centrifugation best preserved post-thaw sperm motility when compared to all other treatments (P≤0.012 for all. Using this approach we were able to achieve after thawing (mean ± SD 54.6±3.9% motility, 85.3±2.4% acrosome integrity, and 86.8±4.6% normal morphology with no decrease in motility over 1 h incubation at 37°C. Sperm cryopreserved during this study has already lead to a pregnancy of a captive female elephant following artificial insemination. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: With working techniques for artificial insemination and sperm cryopreservation of both African and Asian elephants in hand, population managers can now enrich captive or isolated wild elephant populations without removing valuable individuals from their natural habitat.

  4. Impact of African elephants on baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) population structure in northern Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kupika, O.L.; Kativu, S.; Gandiwa, E.; Gumbie, A.

    2014-01-01

    The impact of African elephant (Loxodonta africana) on population structure of baobab trees (Adansonia digitata L.) was assessed in northern Gonarezhou National Park (GNP), southeast Zimbabwe. Baobabs were sampled in March 2008 and September 2012 using 11 randomly laid belt transects of variable len

  5. Use of space and habitat use by elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Maputo Elephant Reserve, Mozambique

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ntumi, C.P.; Aarde, van R.J.; Fairall, N.; Boer, de W.F.

    2005-01-01

    Satellite tracking units fitted to five elephants in the Maputo Elephant Reserve provided information on habitat use. We used the CALHOME program with Adaptive Kernel and MCP (minimum convex polygon) techniques to calculate home range sizes. We interpreted vegetation use by elephants using a vegetat

  6. The evolution and phylogeography of the African elephant inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence and nuclear microsatellite markers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eggert, Lori S; Rasner, Caylor A; Woodruff, David S

    2002-10-07

    Recent genetic results support the recognition of two African elephant species: Loxodonta africana, the savannah elephant, and Loxodonta cyclotis, the forest elephant. The study, however, did not include the populations of West Africa, where the taxonomic affinities of elephants have been much debated. We examined mitochondrial cytochrome b control region sequences and four microsatellite loci to investigate the genetic differences between the forest and savannah elephants of West and Central Africa. We then combined our data with published control region sequences from across Africa to examine patterns at the continental level. Our analysis reveals several deeply divergent lineages that do not correspond with the currently recognized taxonomy: (i) the forest elephants of Central Africa; the forest and savannah elephants of West Africa; and (iii) the savannah elephants of eastern, southern and Central Africa. We propose that the complex phylogeographic patterns we detect in African elephants result from repeated continental-scale climatic changes over their five-to-six million year evolutionary history. Until there is consensus on the taxonomy, we suggest that the genetic and ecological distinctness of these lineages should be an important factor in conservation management planning.

  7. Architectural organization of the african elephant diencephalon and brainstem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maseko, Busisiwe C; Patzke, Nina; Fuxe, Kjell; Manger, Paul R

    2013-01-01

    The current study examined the organization of the diencephalon and brainstem of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) - a region of the elephant brain that has not been examined for at least 50 years. The current description, employing material amenable for use with modern neuroanatomical methods, shows that, for the most part, the elephant diencephalon and brainstem are what could be considered typically mammalian, with subtle differences in proportions and topology. The variations from these previous descriptions, where they occurred, were related to four specific aspects of neural information processing: (1) the motor systems, (2) the auditory and vocalization systems, (3) the orexinergic satiety/wakefulness centre of the hypothalamus and the locus coeruleus, and (4) the potential neurogenic lining of the brainstem. For the motor systems, three specific structures exhibited interesting differences in organization - the pars compacta of the substantia nigra, the facial motor nerve nucleus, and the inferior olivary nuclear complex, all related to the timing and learning of movements and likely related to the control of the trunk. The dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra appear to form distinct islands separated from each other by large fibre pathways, an appearance unique to the elephant. Each island may send topologically organized projections to the striatum forming a dopaminergic innervation mosaic that may relate to trunk movements. At least five regions of the combined vocalization production and auditory/seismic reception system were specialized, including the large and distinct nucleus ellipticus of the periaqueductal grey matter, the enlarged lateral superior olivary nucleus, the novel transverse infrageniculate nucleus of the dorsal thalamus, the enlarged dorsal column nuclei and the ventral posterior inferior nucleus of the dorsal thalamus. These specializations, related to production and reception of infrasound, allow the proposal of a

  8. Using genetic profiles of African forest elephants to infer population structure, movements, and habitat use in a conservation and development landscape in Gabon

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Eggert, L. S.; Buij, R.; Lee, M. E.; Campbell, P.; Dallmeier, F.; Fleischer, R. C.; Alonso, A.; Maldonado, J. E.

    2014-01-01

    Conservation of wide-ranging species, such as the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), depends on fully protected areas and multiple-use areas (MUA) that provide habitat connectivity. In the Gamba Complex of Protected Areas in Gabon, which includes 2 national parks separated by a MUA contai

  9. using genetic profiles of african forest elephants to infer population structure, movements, and habitat use in a conservation and development landscape in gabon

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Eggert, L.S.; Buij, R.; Lee, M.E.; Campbell, P.; Dallmeier, F.; Fleischer, R.C.; Alonso, A.; Maldonado, J.

    2014-01-01

    Conservation of wide-ranging species, such as the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), depends on fully protected areas and multiple-use areas (MUA) that provide habitat connectivity. In the Gamba Complex of Protected Areas in Gabon, which includes 2 national parks separated by a MUA contai

  10. Effects of economic downturns on mortality of wild African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wittemyer, George

    2011-10-01

    Declines in economic activity and associated changes in human livelihood strategies can increase threats of species overexploitation. This is exemplified by the effects of economic crises, which often drive intensification of subsistence poaching and greater reliance on natural resources. Whereas development theory links natural resource use to social-economic conditions, few empirical studies of the effect of economic downturns on wild animal species have been conducted. I assessed the relations between African elephant (Loxodonta africana) mortality and human-caused wounds in Samburu, Kenya and (1) livestock and maize prices (measures of local economic conditions), (2) change in national and regional gross domestic product (GDP) (measures of macroeconomic conditions), and (3) the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) (a correlate of primary productivity). In addition, I analyzed household survey data to determine the attitudes of local people toward protected areas and wild animals in the area. When cattle prices in the pastoralist study region were low, human-caused wounds to and adult mortality of elephants increased. The NDVI was negatively correlated with juvenile mortality, but not correlated with adult mortality. Changes in Kenyan and East Asian (primary market for ivory) GDP did not explain significant variation in mortality. Increased human wounding of elephants and elephant mortality during periods of low livestock prices (local economic downturns) likely reflect an economically driven increase in ivory poaching. Local but not macroeconomic indices explained significant variation in mortality, likely due to the dominance of the subsistence economy in the study area and its political and economic isolation. My results suggest economic metrics can serve as effective indicators of changes in human use of and resulting effects on natural resources. Such information can help focus management approaches (e.g., antipoaching effort or proffering of

  11. The ties that bind: genetic relatedness predicts the fission and fusion of social groups in wild African elephants

    OpenAIRE

    Archie, Elizabeth A.; Moss, Cynthia J; Alberts, Susan C.

    2005-01-01

    Many social animals live in stable groups. In contrast, African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) live in unusually fluid, fission–fusion societies. That is, ‘core’ social groups are composed of predictable sets of individuals; however, over the course of hours or days, these groups may temporarily divide and reunite, or they may fuse with other social groups to form much larger social units. Here, we test the hypothesis that genetic relatedness predicts patterns of group fission and fu...

  12. Fine-Scale Genetic Structure and Cryptic Associations Reveal Evidence of Kin-Based Sociality in the African Forest Elephant

    OpenAIRE

    Stephanie G Schuttler; Jessica A Philbrick; Jeffery, Kathryn J.; Eggert, Lori S.

    2014-01-01

    Spatial patterns of relatedness within animal populations are important in the evolution of mating and social systems, and have the potential to reveal information on species that are difficult to observe in the wild. This study examines the fine-scale genetic structure and connectivity of groups within African forest elephants, Loxodonta cyclotis, which are often difficult to observe due to forest habitat. We tested the hypothesis that genetic similarity will decline with increasing geograph...

  13. The influence of the African Elephant on the vegetation of the Addo Elephant National Park

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    B.L. Penzhorn

    1974-07-01

    Full Text Available An increasing elephant Loxodonta africana population has been confined to a 2 770 ha enclosure since 1954. When compared to the vegetation adjacent to the enclosure, the plant biomass within has been reduced by more than one half. Changes in the botanical composition are described.

  14. Prolactin in the Afrotheria: characterization of genes encoding prolactin in elephant (Loxodonta africana), hyrax (Procavia capensis) and tenrec (Echinops telfairi).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wallis, Michael

    2009-02-01

    Pituitary prolactin shows an episodic pattern of molecular evolution, with occasional short bursts of rapid change imposed on a generally rather slow evolutionary rate. In mammals, episodes of rapid change occurred in the evolution of primates, cetartiodactyls, rodents and the elephant. The bursts of rapid evolution in cetartiodactyls and rodents were followed by duplications of the prolactin gene that gave rise to large families of prolactin-related proteins including placental lactogens, while in primates the burst was followed by corresponding duplications of the related GH gene. The position in elephant is less clear. Extensive data relating to the genomic sequences of elephant and two additional members of the group Afrotheria are now available, and have been used here to characterize the prolactin genes in these species and explore whether additional prolactin-related genes are present. The results confirm the rapid evolution of elephant (Loxodonta africana) prolactin - the sequence of elephant prolactin is substantially different from that predicted for the ancestral placental mammal. Hyrax (Procavia capensis) prolactin is even more divergent but tenrec (Echinops telfairi) prolactin is strongly conserved. No evidence was obtained from searches of public databases for additional genes encoding prolactin-like proteins in any of these species. Detailed analysis of evolutionary rates, and other factors, indicates that the episode of rapid change in hyrax, and probably elephant, was adaptive, though the nature of the associated biological change(s) is not clear.

  15. Systematic review on the conservation genetics of African savannah elephants

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    Daniel Zacarias

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Background In this paper we review the conservation genetics of African savannah elephants, aiming to understand the spatio-temporal research trends and their underlying factors. As such, we explore three questions associated to the conservation genetics and molecular ecology of these elephants: (1 what are the research trends concerning the conservation genetics of Loxodonta africana? (2 Do richer countries conduct more research on the genetics of African elephants? (3 Which attributes influence where scholars conduct their research? Materials and Methods We examined available peer-reviewed publications from 1993 to 2014 in complementary online databases, including the ISI/Web of Science (WoS, Scopus and Google Scholar (GS, and searched for publications in scientific journals as well as in the reference section of these publications. We analyzed the annual trend of publications in this field of research, including the number of authors, levels of collaboration among authors, year of publication, publishing journal and the countries from where genetic samples were collected. Additionally, we identified main research clusters, authors, and institutional collaborations, based on co-citation and co-occurrence networks. Results We found that during the study period there was a positive trend in the number of publications and a reduction in the number of authors per paper. Twenty-five countries contributed, with the majority of publications authored by researchers in the USA, Kenya and South Africa. The majority of samples were collected in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Research outputs are associated with the existence of long-term conservation/research projects and research potential as measured by the literacy rate and the number of higher education institutions in a country. Five research clusters were identified, focusing on the origin and evolution of the species, methodological issues and the relatedness among elephant species. Conclusions

  16. Systematic review on the conservation genetics of African savannah elephants

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-01-01

    Background In this paper we review the conservation genetics of African savannah elephants, aiming to understand the spatio-temporal research trends and their underlying factors. As such, we explore three questions associated to the conservation genetics and molecular ecology of these elephants: (1) what are the research trends concerning the conservation genetics of Loxodonta africana? (2) Do richer countries conduct more research on the genetics of African elephants? (3) Which attributes influence where scholars conduct their research? Materials and Methods We examined available peer-reviewed publications from 1993 to 2014 in complementary online databases, including the ISI/Web of Science (WoS), Scopus and Google Scholar (GS), and searched for publications in scientific journals as well as in the reference section of these publications. We analyzed the annual trend of publications in this field of research, including the number of authors, levels of collaboration among authors, year of publication, publishing journal and the countries from where genetic samples were collected. Additionally, we identified main research clusters, authors, and institutional collaborations, based on co-citation and co-occurrence networks. Results We found that during the study period there was a positive trend in the number of publications and a reduction in the number of authors per paper. Twenty-five countries contributed, with the majority of publications authored by researchers in the USA, Kenya and South Africa. The majority of samples were collected in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Research outputs are associated with the existence of long-term conservation/research projects and research potential as measured by the literacy rate and the number of higher education institutions in a country. Five research clusters were identified, focusing on the origin and evolution of the species, methodological issues and the relatedness among elephant species. Conclusions Research in

  17. African elephant alarm calls distinguish between threats from humans and bees.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soltis, Joseph; King, Lucy E; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Vollrath, Fritz; Savage, Anne

    2014-01-01

    The Samburu pastoralists of Northern Kenya co-exist with African elephants, Loxodonta africana, and compete over resources such as watering holes. Audio playback experiments demonstrate that African elephants produce alarm calls in response to the voices of Samburu tribesmen. When exposed to adult male Samburu voices, listening elephants exhibited vigilance behavior, flight behavior, and produced vocalizations (rumbles, roars and trumpets). Rumble vocalizations were most common and were characterized by increased and more variable fundamental frequencies, and an upward shift in the first [F1] and second [F2] formant locations, compared to control rumbles. When exposed to a sequence of these recorded rumbles, roars and trumpets, listening elephants also exhibited vigilance and flight behavior. The same behavior was observed, in lesser degrees, both when the roars and trumpets were removed, and when the second formants were artificially lowered to levels typical of control rumbles. The "Samburu alarm rumble" is acoustically distinct from the previously described "bee alarm rumble." The bee alarm rumbles exhibited increased F2, while Samburu alarm rumbles exhibited increased F1 and F2, compared to controls. Moreover, the behavioral reactions to the two threats were different. Elephants exhibited vigilance and flight behavior in response to Samburu and bee stimuli and to both alarm calls, but headshaking behavior only occurred in response to bee sounds and bee alarm calls. In general, increasingly threatening stimuli elicited alarm calls with increases in F0 and in formant locations, and increasing numbers of these acoustic cues in vocal stimuli elicited increased vigilance and flight behavior in listening elephants. These results show that African elephant alarm calls differentiate between two types of threat and reflect the level of urgency of threats.

  18. African elephant alarm calls distinguish between threats from humans and bees.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joseph Soltis

    Full Text Available The Samburu pastoralists of Northern Kenya co-exist with African elephants, Loxodonta africana, and compete over resources such as watering holes. Audio playback experiments demonstrate that African elephants produce alarm calls in response to the voices of Samburu tribesmen. When exposed to adult male Samburu voices, listening elephants exhibited vigilance behavior, flight behavior, and produced vocalizations (rumbles, roars and trumpets. Rumble vocalizations were most common and were characterized by increased and more variable fundamental frequencies, and an upward shift in the first [F1] and second [F2] formant locations, compared to control rumbles. When exposed to a sequence of these recorded rumbles, roars and trumpets, listening elephants also exhibited vigilance and flight behavior. The same behavior was observed, in lesser degrees, both when the roars and trumpets were removed, and when the second formants were artificially lowered to levels typical of control rumbles. The "Samburu alarm rumble" is acoustically distinct from the previously described "bee alarm rumble." The bee alarm rumbles exhibited increased F2, while Samburu alarm rumbles exhibited increased F1 and F2, compared to controls. Moreover, the behavioral reactions to the two threats were different. Elephants exhibited vigilance and flight behavior in response to Samburu and bee stimuli and to both alarm calls, but headshaking behavior only occurred in response to bee sounds and bee alarm calls. In general, increasingly threatening stimuli elicited alarm calls with increases in F0 and in formant locations, and increasing numbers of these acoustic cues in vocal stimuli elicited increased vigilance and flight behavior in listening elephants. These results show that African elephant alarm calls differentiate between two types of threat and reflect the level of urgency of threats.

  19. The influence of socioeconomic factors on the densities of high-value cross-border species, the African elephant

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slotow, Rob; Di Minin, Enrico

    2016-01-01

    Unprecedented poaching levels triggered by demand for ivory in Far East Asia are threatening the persistence of African elephant Loxodonta africana. Southern African countries make an important contribution to elephant conservation and could soon become the last stronghold of elephant conservation in Africa. While the ecological factors affecting elephant distribution and densities have extensively been accounted for, there is a need to understand which socioeconomic factors affect elephant numbers in order to prevent conflict over limited space and resources with humans. We used elephant count data from aerial surveys for seven years in a generalized linear model, which accounted for temporal correlation, to investigate the effect of six socioeconomic and ecological variables on the number of elephant at the country level in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA). Important factors in predicting elephant numbers were the proportion of total land surface under cultivation, human population density and the number of tourists visiting the country. Specifically, elephant numbers were higher where the proportion of total land surface under cultivation was the lowest; where population density was the lowest and where tourist numbers had increased over the years. Our results confirm that human disturbance is affecting elephant numbers, but highlight that the benefits provided by ecotourism could help enhance elephant conservation. While future studies should include larger areas and more detailed data at the site level, we stress that the development of coordinated legislation and policies to improve land-use planning are needed to reduce the impact of increasing human populations and agriculture on elephant. PMID:27812404

  20. The influence of socioeconomic factors on the densities of high-value cross-border species, the African elephant

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah-Anne Jeanetta Selier

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Unprecedented poaching levels triggered by demand for ivory in Far East Asia are threatening the persistence of African elephant Loxodonta africana. Southern African countries make an important contribution to elephant conservation and could soon become the last stronghold of elephant conservation in Africa. While the ecological factors affecting elephant distribution and densities have extensively been accounted for, there is a need to understand which socioeconomic factors affect elephant numbers in order to prevent conflict over limited space and resources with humans. We used elephant count data from aerial surveys for seven years in a generalized linear model, which accounted for temporal correlation, to investigate the effect of six socioeconomic and ecological variables on the number of elephant at the country level in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA. Important factors in predicting elephant numbers were the proportion of total land surface under cultivation, human population density and the number of tourists visiting the country. Specifically, elephant numbers were higher where the proportion of total land surface under cultivation was the lowest; where population density was the lowest and where tourist numbers had increased over the years. Our results confirm that human disturbance is affecting elephant numbers, but highlight that the benefits provided by ecotourism could help enhance elephant conservation. While future studies should include larger areas and more detailed data at the site level, we stress that the development of coordinated legislation and policies to improve land-use planning are needed to reduce the impact of increasing human populations and agriculture on elephant.

  1. Elephant (Loxodonta africana home ranges in Sabi Sand Reserve and Kruger National Park: a five-year satellite tracking study.

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    Bindi Thomas

    Full Text Available During a five-year GPS satellite tracking study in Sabi Sand Reserve (SSR and Kruger National Park (KNP we monitored the daily movements of an elephant cow (Loxodonta africana from September 2003 to August 2008. The study animal was confirmed to be part of a group of seven elephants therefore her position is representative of the matriarchal group. We found that the study animal did not use habitat randomly and confirmed strong seasonal fidelity to its summer and winter five-year home ranges. The cow's summer home range was in KNP in an area more than four times that of her SSR winter home range. She exhibited clear park habitation with up to three visits per year travelling via a well-defined northern or southern corridor. There was a positive correlation between the daily distance the elephant walked and minimum daily temperature and the elephant was significantly closer to rivers and artificial waterholes than would be expected if it were moving randomly in KNP and SSR. Transect lines established through the home ranges were surveyed to further understand the fine scale of the landscape and vegetation representative of the home ranges.

  2. Elephant (Loxodonta africana) home ranges in Sabi Sand Reserve and Kruger National Park: a five-year satellite tracking study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, Bindi; Holland, John D; Minot, Edward O

    2008-01-01

    During a five-year GPS satellite tracking study in Sabi Sand Reserve (SSR) and Kruger National Park (KNP) we monitored the daily movements of an elephant cow (Loxodonta africana) from September 2003 to August 2008. The study animal was confirmed to be part of a group of seven elephants therefore her position is representative of the matriarchal group. We found that the study animal did not use habitat randomly and confirmed strong seasonal fidelity to its summer and winter five-year home ranges. The cow's summer home range was in KNP in an area more than four times that of her SSR winter home range. She exhibited clear park habitation with up to three visits per year travelling via a well-defined northern or southern corridor. There was a positive correlation between the daily distance the elephant walked and minimum daily temperature and the elephant was significantly closer to rivers and artificial waterholes than would be expected if it were moving randomly in KNP and SSR. Transect lines established through the home ranges were surveyed to further understand the fine scale of the landscape and vegetation representative of the home ranges.

  3. Movements and corridors of African elephants in relation to protected areas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Douglas-Hamilton, I.; Krink, T.; Vollrath, F.

    2005-04-01

    Understanding how mammals satisfy their need for space in fragmenting ecosystems is crucial for ecosystem conservation. Using state-of-the-art global positioning system (GPS) technology we tracked 11 focal African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Kenya at 3-hourly fix intervals and collected between 34 and 406 days per individual. Our recordings gave a high spatio-temporal resolution compared to previous studies and allowed novel insights into range use. The actual ranges of the tracked elephants are smaller than usually represented. Moreover, the ranges in our sample were complex and not confined to officially designated protected areas, except where fenced. All the unfenced elephants in our sample had distinct `home sectors' linked by `travel' corridors. Within each home sector the elephants concentrated in favourite `core zones'. Such core zones tended to lie in protected areas whereas corridors typically crossed unprotected range. Elephants moved significantly faster along corridors than elsewhere in their range, which suggests awareness of danger outside the protected area. We conclude that understanding the complex use of an animal's range is crucial for conservation planning aiming to balance animal interests with those of human beings that co-habit in their range.

  4. Preliminary validation of assays to measure parameters of calcium metabolism in captive Asian and African elephants in western Europe.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Sonsbeek, Gerda R; van der Kolk, Johannes H; van Leeuwen, Johannes P T M; Schaftenaar, Willem

    2011-05-01

    Hypocalcemia is a well known cause of dystocia in animals, including elephants in captivity. In order to study calcium metabolism in elephants, it is of utmost importance to use properly validated assays, as these might be prone to specific matrix effects in elephant blood. The aim of the current study was to conduct preliminary work for validation of various parameters involved in calcium metabolism in both blood and urine of captive elephants. Basal values of these parameters were compared between Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Preliminary testing of total calcium, inorganic phosphorus, and creatinine appeared valid for use in plasma and creatinine in urine in both species. Furthermore, measurements of bone alkaline phosphatase and N-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen appeared valid for use in Asian elephants. Mean heparinized plasma ionized calcium concentration and pH were not significantly affected by 3 cycles of freezing and thawing. Storage at 4 °C, room temperature, and 37 °C for 6, 12, and 24 hr did not alter the heparinized plasma ionized calcium concentration in Asian elephants. The following linear regression equation using pH (range: 6.858-7.887) and ionized calcium concentration in heparinized plasma was utilized: iCa(7.4) (mmol/l) = -2.1075 + 0.3130·pH(actual) + 0.8296·iCa(actual) (mmol/l). Mean basal values for pH and plasma in Asian elephant whole blood were 7.40 ± 0.048 and 7.49 ± 0.077, respectively. The urinary specific gravity and creatinine concentrations in both Asian and African elephants were significantly correlated and both were significantly lower in Asian elephants.

  5. Development of a body condition scoring index for female African elephants validated by ultrasound measurements of subcutaneous fat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morfeld, Kari A; Lehnhardt, John; Alligood, Christina; Bolling, Jeff; Brown, Janine L

    2014-01-01

    Obesity-related health and reproductive problems may be contributing to non-sustainability of zoo African elephant (Loxodonta africana) populations. However, a major constraint in screening for obesity in elephants is lack of a practical method to accurately assess body fat. Body condition scoring (BCS) is the assessment of subcutaneous fat stores based on visual evaluation and provides an immediate appraisal of the degree of obesity of an individual. The objective of this study was to develop a visual BCS index for female African elephants and validate it using ultrasound measures of subcutaneous fat. To develop the index, standardized photographs were collected from zoo (n = 50) and free-ranging (n = 57) female African elephants for identifying key body regions and skeletal features, which were then used to visually determine body fat deposition patterns. This information was used to develop a visual BCS method consisting of a list of body regions and the physical criteria for assigning an overall score on a 5-point scale, with 1 representing the lowest and 5 representing the highest levels of body fat. Results showed that as BCS increased, ultrasound measures of subcutaneous fat thickness also increased (Pelephants, the median BCS in the free-ranging individuals (BCS = 3, range 1-5) was lower (Pelephants. This tool can be used to examine which factors impact body condition in zoo and free-ranging elephants, providing valuable information on how it affects health and reproductive potential of individual elephants.

  6. Development of a body condition scoring index for female African elephants validated by ultrasound measurements of subcutaneous fat.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kari A Morfeld

    Full Text Available Obesity-related health and reproductive problems may be contributing to non-sustainability of zoo African elephant (Loxodonta africana populations. However, a major constraint in screening for obesity in elephants is lack of a practical method to accurately assess body fat. Body condition scoring (BCS is the assessment of subcutaneous fat stores based on visual evaluation and provides an immediate appraisal of the degree of obesity of an individual. The objective of this study was to develop a visual BCS index for female African elephants and validate it using ultrasound measures of subcutaneous fat. To develop the index, standardized photographs were collected from zoo (n = 50 and free-ranging (n = 57 female African elephants for identifying key body regions and skeletal features, which were then used to visually determine body fat deposition patterns. This information was used to develop a visual BCS method consisting of a list of body regions and the physical criteria for assigning an overall score on a 5-point scale, with 1 representing the lowest and 5 representing the highest levels of body fat. Results showed that as BCS increased, ultrasound measures of subcutaneous fat thickness also increased (P<0.01, indicating the scores closely coincide with physical measures of fat reserves. The BCS index proved to be reliable and repeatable based on high intra- and inter-assessor agreement across three assessors. In comparing photographs of wild vs. captive African elephants, the median BCS in the free-ranging individuals (BCS = 3, range 1-5 was lower (P<0.001 than that of the zoo population (BCS = 4, range 2-5. In sum, we have developed the first validated BCS index for African elephants. This tool can be used to examine which factors impact body condition in zoo and free-ranging elephants, providing valuable information on how it affects health and reproductive potential of individual elephants.

  7. Survey of Forest Elephants Loxodonta cyclotis (Matschie, 1900 (Mammalia: Proboscidea: Elephantidae in the Bia Conservation Area, Ghana

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emmanuel Danquah

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Information on elephant ranges and numbers is vital for effective conservation and management, especially in western Africa where elephant populations are small and scattered.  The Bia Conservation Area (BCA in southwestern Ghana is a priority site for the conservation of Forest Elephants in western Africa.  A dung count was conducted using a systematic segmented track line design to determine the density and distribution of the BCA elephant population.  The mean density of dung-piles was 452.15 per sq.km. and mean dung survival time was estimated to be 54.64 days (SD 2 days, leading to an estimate of 146 elephants (95% confidence interval 98-172 with a density of 0.48/km2 for the BCA. This estimate probably makes the Bia forest elephant population the largest in Ghana.  Records of BCA elephant activities were also made.  This study augments the Regional African Elephant Database and should facilitate strategic planning and management programmes.

  8. Elephant natural history: a genomic perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roca, Alfred L; Ishida, Yasuko; Brandt, Adam L; Benjamin, Neal R; Zhao, Kai; Georgiadis, Nicholas J

    2015-01-01

    We review DNA-based studies of elephants and recently extinct proboscideans. The evidence indicates that little or no nuclear gene flow occurs between African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) and African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis), establishing that they comprise separate species. In all elephant species, males disperse, whereas females remain with their natal social group, leading to discordance in the phylogeography of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA patterns. Improvements in ancient DNA methods have permitted sequences to be generated from an increasing number of proboscidean fossils and have definitively established that the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is the closest living relative of the extinct woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). DNA-based methods have been developed to determine the geographic provenance of confiscated ivory in an effort to aid the conservation of elephants.

  9. Surgical treatment of an umbilical hernia in a free-ranging sub-adult African elephant in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mijele D

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Domnic Mijele, Michael Njoroge, Titus Kaitho Veterinary Services Department, Species Conservation and Management Division, Kenya Wildlife Service, Nairobi, Kenya Abstract: A 10-year-old male African elephant (Loxodonta africana at Samburu National Reserve in Northern Kenya, weighing approximately 1,600 kg, presented with an umbilical hernia in October 2013. Umbilical herniorrhaphy was carried out under field conditions. Anesthesia was induced and maintained using etorphine hydrochloride for 3 hours during the surgery. This case report details both the surgical and anesthetic procedure carried out to correct the hernia, and the eventual successful recovery of the elephant from anesthesia. However, the elephant died weeks after the surgery and a postmortem could not reveal the cause of death because predators had scavenged the carcass. The challenges of the surgical procedure and outcome including possible causes of death are highlighted in this report. Keywords: African elephant, general anesthesia, etorphine hydrochloride, local anesthesia Lignocaine + adrenaline, umbilical herniorrhaphy

  10. Structure of African elephant populations

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Siegismund, H R; Arctander, P

    1996-01-01

    The structure of elephant populations from east and south Africa has been analyzed by Georgiadis et al. (1994) on the basis of restriction site variation of mitochondrial DNA. They used F statistics based on identity by descent in tests for subdivision and reached the conclusion that there was a ......The structure of elephant populations from east and south Africa has been analyzed by Georgiadis et al. (1994) on the basis of restriction site variation of mitochondrial DNA. They used F statistics based on identity by descent in tests for subdivision and reached the conclusion...... that there was a significant differentiation at the continental level, but that "populations were not significantly subdivided at the regional levels." The data were reanalyzed by Monte-Carlo permutation tests where population subdivision was tested by using F statistics based on partitioning the total haplotype diversity...... among populations. This resulted in identical conclusions at the continental level, but revealed in addition a significant subdivision at the regional level indicating haplotype frequency differences among the populations....

  11. Notes on the chemical immobilisation and restraint of the Addo Elephant (Loxodonta Africana

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E Young

    1972-01-01

    Full Text Available The physiological response of Addo elephants (Loxo- donta africana to etorphine hydrochloride (M-99 and acetylpromazine maleate is discussed. As in the case of Kruger National Park elephants, the described dosage rates of drugs are highly effective for safe anaesthesia of these elephants.

  12. Elephants - a conservation overview

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H.S. Riddle

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Loss of habitat is one of the most significant problems facing elephants worldwide, leading to clashes over resources between wildlife and humans where elephants receive the largest part of blame - defined as Human Elephant Conflict (HEC. The sub-Saharan region of Africa contains an approximate population of 500,000 elephants that occupy 37 range countries. The African Elephant (Loxodonta africana is categorized as Vulnerable in the Red List of Threatened Species; they are listed there as two distinct subspecies: the Savanna Elephant (L. a. africana and the Forest Elephant (L. a. cyclotis. The Red List of Threatened Species categorizes the Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus as endangered, and today they are found in 13 range states. The Asian Elephant population is estimated to be 30,000 to 50,000 with approximately 60% of the population being present in India. Due to threats of poaching, the elephant ivory debate has been an important part of recent meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES as Parties have debated proposals for one-time sales of legal government stockpiles of elephant tusks. To maintain elephant populations into the future, long-term and large-scale planning is necessary to ensure adequate space and protection for elephants and people living in elephant habitats.

  13. Patch-occupancy survey of elephant (Loxodonta africana surrounding Livingstone, Zambia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David A. Youldon

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Wild elephants represent the biggest human–wildlife conflict issue in Livingstone, Zambia. However, little is known about their movements. This survey investigated elephants’ habitat use outside a core protected and fenced zone that forms part of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia. Using ‘patch-occupancy’ methodology, indications of elephant presence (feeding behaviour, dung and tracks were surveyed. The survey aimed to assist proposed future monitoring exercises by defining the geographical extent that should be considered to improve accuracy in species abundance estimates. Results were supplemented using collected indications of elephant presence from prior monitoring exercises, and during this survey. Elephant presence was confirmed up to 8 km from the boundary of the protected core habitat, focussed in: (1 an unfenced zone of the national park, (2 along a road leading from the national park to the Dambwa Forest to the north and (3 along two rivers located to the west (Sinde River and east (Maramba River of the core area. Detection probability of elephant presence was high using these methods, and we recommend regular sampling to determine changes in habitat use by elephants, as humans continue to modify land-use patterns.Conservation implications: Identification of elephant ranging behaviour up to 8 km outside of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in southern Zambia will assist in managing human– elephant conflict in the area, as well as in assessing this seasonal population’s abundance.

  14. Legal ivory trade in a corrupt world and its impact on African elephant populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, Elizabeth L

    2015-02-01

    Illegal hunting of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) for ivory is causing rapid declines in their populations. Since 2007, illegal ivory trade has more than doubled. African elephants are facing the most serious conservation crisis since 1989, when international trade was banned. One solution proposed is establishment of a controlled legal trade in ivory. High prices for ivory mean that the incentives to obtain large quantities are high, but the quantity of tusks available for trade are biologically constrained. Within that context, effective management of a legal ivory trade would require robust systems to be in place to ensure that ivory from illegally killed elephants cannot be laundered into a legal market. At present, that is not feasible due to corruption among government officials charged with implementing wildlife-related legislation. With organized criminal enterprises involved along the whole commodity chain, corruption enables the laundering of illegal ivory into legal or potentially legal markets. Poachers and traffickers can rapidly pay their way out of trouble, so the financial incentives to break the law heavily outweigh those of abiding by it. Maintaining reliable permitting systems and leak-proof chains of custody in this context is challenging, and effective management breaks down. Once illegal ivory has entered the legal trade, it is difficult or impossible for enforcement officers to know what is legal and illegal. Addressing corruption throughout a trade network that permeates countries across the globe will take decades, if it can ever be achieved. That will be too late for wild African elephants at current rates of loss. If we are to conserve remaining wild populations, we must close all markets because, under current levels of corruption, they cannot be controlled in a way that does not provide opportunities for illegal ivory being laundered into legal markets.

  15. Environmental conditions associated with repetitive behavior in a group of African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hasenjager, Matthew J; Bergl, Richard A

    2015-01-01

    Repetitive movement patterns are commonly observed in zoo elephants. The extent to which these behaviors constitute a welfare concern varies, as their expression ranges from stereotypies to potentially beneficial anticipatory behaviors. Nevertheless, their occurrence in zoo animals is often viewed negatively. To better identify conditions that prompt their performance, observations were conducted on six African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the North Carolina Zoo. Individuals spent most of their time engaged in feeding, locomotion, resting, and repetitive behavior. Both generalized estimating equation and zero-inflated negative binomial models were used to identify factors associated with increased rates of repetitive behavior. Time of day in conjunction with location on- or off-exhibit best explained patterns of repetitive behavior. Repetitive behaviors occurred at a lower rate in the morning when on-exhibit, as compared to afternoons on-exhibit or at any time of day off-exhibit. Increased repetitive behavior rates observed on-exhibit in the afternoon prior to the evening transfer and feeding were possibly anticipatory responses towards those events. In contrast, consistently elevated frequencies of repetitive behavior off-exhibit at all times of day could be related to differences in exhibit complexity between off-exhibit and on-exhibit areas, as well as a lack of additional foraging opportunities. Our study contributes valuable information on captive elephant behavior and represents a good example of how behavioral research can be employed to improve management of zoo animals.

  16. Application of stereo photogrammetric techniques for measuring African Elephants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. J Hall-Martin

    1979-01-01

    Full Text Available Measurements of shoulder height and back length of African elephants were obtained by means of stereo photogrammetric techniques. A pair of Zeiss UMK 10/1318 cameras, mounted on a steel frame on the back of a vehicle, were used to photograph the elephants in the Addo Elephant National Park, Republic of South Africa. Several modifications of normal photogrammetry procedure applicable to the field situation (eg. control points and the computation of results (eg. relative orientation are briefly mentioned. Six elephants were immobilised after being photographed and the measurements obtained from them agreed within a range of 1 cm-10 cm with the photogrammetric measurements.

  17. Biogeography and molar morphology of Pleistocene African elephants: new evidence from Elandsfontein, Western Cape Province, South Africa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Kathlyn M.; Stynder, Deano D.

    2015-05-01

    Elandsfontein (EFT) is a Middle Pleistocene archaeological/paleontological site located in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The largest herbivore in the assemblage is Loxodonta atlantica zulu, an extinct member of the genus that includes modern African elephants. No Elephas recki specimens were recovered at EFT, despite their common occurrence in other regions of Africa at the same time. Because E. recki and L. atlantica molars are similar in appearance, but the two species are traditionally viewed as dominating different regions of Africa during the Pleistocene, isolated molars may on occasions have been assessed to species level on the basis of geography rather than morphology. The last morphologic evaluation of EFT elephants was conducted in the 1970s, and revisiting this issue with new specimens provides added insight into the evolution of elephants in Africa. Reevaluating morphological characteristics of EFT elephant molars, through qualitative and quantitative description and comparison with Middle Pleistocene E. recki recki, L. atlantica atlantica, and L. atlantica zulu molar morphology, corroborates assessment of EFT elephants as L. a. zulu. Two recently discovered, previously undescribed molars from EFT show that molars of L. a. zulu exhibit greater variation in enamel thickness, lamellar frequency, and occlusal surface morphology than previously reported. An update of the Pleistocene biogeography of Loxodonta and Elephas indicates that fossil remains of both are often found at the same localities in eastern Africa. Their rare co-occurrences in the north and south, however, suggest geographic separation of the two genera in at least some regions of Africa, which may have been based on habitat preference.

  18. An outbreak of encephalomyocarditis-virus infection in free-ranging African elephants in the Kruger National Park.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grobler, D G; Raath, J P; Braack, L E; Keet, D F; Gerdes, G H; Barnard, B J; Kriek, N P; Jardine, J; Swanepoel, R

    1995-06-01

    A cluster of four deaths in late December 1993, marked the onset of an outbreak of disease of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa, which has an estimated population of 7,500 elephants. Mortalities peaked in January 1994, with 32 deaths, and then declined steadily to reach pre-outbreak levels by September, but sporadic losses continued until November. During the outbreak altogether 64 elephants died, of which 53 (83%) were adult bulls. Archival records revealed that, in addition to the usual losses from known causes such as poaching and intraspecific fighting, sporadic deaths from unexplained causes had, in fact, occurred in widely scattered locations from at least 1987 onwards, and from that time until the perceived outbreak of disease there had been 48 such deaths involving 33 (69%) adult bulls. Carcases had frequently become decomposed or had been scavenged by the time they were found, but seven of eight elephants examined early in 1994 had lesions of cardiac failure suggestive of encephalomyocarditis (EMC)-virus infection, and the virus was isolated from the heart muscles of three fresh carcases. The results of tests for neutralizing antibody on 362 elephant sera collected for unrelated purposes from 1984 onwards and kept frozen, indicated that the virus had been present in the KNP since at least 1987. Antibody prevalences of 62 of 116 (53%) 18 of 139 (13%) and seven of 33 (21%) were found in elephants in three different regions of the KNP in 1993 and 1994. Studies had been conducted on myomorph rodents in the KNP for unrelated purposes since 1984, and trapping attempts were increased during the perceived outbreak of disease in elephants. There was a striking temporal correlation between the occurrence of a population explosion (as evidenced by markedly increased catch rates per trap-night) and a surge in prevalence of antibody to EM virus in rodents, and the occurrence of the outbreak of disease in elephants.

  19. Occurrence and seasonality of internal parasite infection in elephants, Loxodonta africana, in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lydia Baines

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available It is known from studies in a wide range of wild and domestic animals, including elephants, that parasites can affect growth, reproduction and health. A total of 458 faecal samples from wild elephants were analysed using a combination of flotation and sedimentation methods. Coccidian oocysts (prevalence 51%, and nematode (77% and trematode (24% eggs were found. Species were not identified, though trematode egg morphology was consistent with that of the intestinal fluke Protofasciola robusta. The following factors were found to have a significant effect on parasite infection: month, year, sex, age, and group size and composition. There was some evidence of peak transmission of coccidia and nematodes during the rainy season, confirmed for coccidia in a parallel study of seven sympatric domesticated elephants over a three month period. Nematode eggs were more common in larger groups and nematode egg counts were significantly higher in elephants living in maternal groups (mean 1116 eggs per gram, standard deviation, sd 685 than in all-male groups (529, sd 468. Fluke egg prevalence increased with increasing elephant age. Preservation of samples in formalin progressively decreased the probability of detecting all types of parasite over a storage time of 1–15 months. Possible reasons for associations between other factors and infection levels are discussed.

  20. Occurrence and seasonality of internal parasite infection in elephants, Loxodonta africana, in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baines, Lydia; Morgan, Eric R; Ofthile, Mphoeng; Evans, Kate

    2015-04-01

    It is known from studies in a wide range of wild and domestic animals, including elephants, that parasites can affect growth, reproduction and health. A total of 458 faecal samples from wild elephants were analysed using a combination of flotation and sedimentation methods. Coccidian oocysts (prevalence 51%), and nematode (77%) and trematode (24%) eggs were found. Species were not identified, though trematode egg morphology was consistent with that of the intestinal fluke Protofasciola robusta. The following factors were found to have a significant effect on parasite infection: month, year, sex, age, and group size and composition. There was some evidence of peak transmission of coccidia and nematodes during the rainy season, confirmed for coccidia in a parallel study of seven sympatric domesticated elephants over a three month period. Nematode eggs were more common in larger groups and nematode egg counts were significantly higher in elephants living in maternal groups (mean 1116 eggs per gram, standard deviation, sd 685) than in all-male groups (529, sd 468). Fluke egg prevalence increased with increasing elephant age. Preservation of samples in formalin progressively decreased the probability of detecting all types of parasite over a storage time of 1-15 months. Possible reasons for associations between other factors and infection levels are discussed.

  1. Sperm DNA fragmentation and morphological degeneration in chilled elephant (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta Africana) semen collected by transrectal massage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Brien, J K; Steinman, K J; Montano, G A; Love, C C; Robeck, T R

    2013-05-01

    Ejaculates from nine Asian and two African elephants were analysed to gain a further understanding of mechanisms underlying variable semen quality after transrectal massage. Semen analysis was performed after collection (0 h; subjective motility parameters only) and after 24 h of chilled storage at 10 °C (24 h; all ejaculate and sperm characteristics). Ejaculates with ≤50% total motility (TM) at 24 h, which represented >90% of collection attempts, contained a sperm population with a high degree of DNA damage (64.2 ± 19.2% fragmented DNA) and an elevated incidence of detached heads (43.3 ± 22.5%). In contrast, good quality ejaculates designated as those with >50% TM at 24 h displayed higher (p < 0.05) values of sperm kinetic parameters, DNA integrity and normal morphology. Fertility potential was high for good quality ejaculates from two males (one Asian and one African bull) based on in vitro characteristics after chilled storage for up to 48 h post-collection. Urine contamination of semen, as assessed quantitatively by creatinine concentration, was confirmed as a significant factor in reduced elephant ejaculate quality. However, the identification of considerable DNA damage and morphological degeneration in the majority of ejaculates after only 24 h of chilled storage indicates that sperm ageing could be a primary contributor to inconsistent semen quality in the elephant.

  2. The use of GPS radio-collars to track elephants (Loxodonta africana in the Tarangire National Park (Tanzania

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valeria Galanti

    2000-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract The GPS (Global Positioning System telemetry was used in Tarangire National Park (Tanzania to study migration routes and the use of space by elephants (Loxodonta africana. Five female elephants were captured in November 1997 in five different areas of Tarangire National Park and fitted with GPS collars. The collar consists of a 6 channel Global Positioning System (GPS receiver, a radio-modem for data communication, a non volatile memory, and an independent VHF transmitter. The operator can «communicate» with the collar through a command unit connected to a PC. The GPS collar receives signals from different satellites which permits automatic calculation of its position, with an accuracy of 25 m. The data collected in the period November 1997 - April 1998 show that three female elephants mainly used the northern sector of the park, moving sometimes outside the protected area about 10 to 20 km NE of the park boundary. Also the two female elephants captured in the southern sector of the park moved outside, travelling about 80 km SE of the park boundary. Home range size varied between 159 and 660 km² for the northern elephants (n=3, and between 2104 and 3314 km² for the southern elephants (n=2. The elephants whose ranges extended outside the park exhibited their highest movement rate from 4 p.m. to 12 p.m., while those animals within the park had the highest movement rates during daylight hours (from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.. We discuss the advantages and shortcomings of GPS-telemetry as a means of gathering useful information on space use and movements of elephants for the development of long-term conservation strategies for large herbivores in the whole Tarangire area.

  3. When Yawning Occurs in Elephants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rossman, Zoë T.; Hart, Benjamin L.; Greco, Brian J.; Young, Debbie; Padfield, Clare; Weidner, Lisa; Gates, Jennifer; Hart, Lynette A.

    2017-01-01

    Yawning is a widely recognized behavior in mammalian species. One would expect that elephants yawn, although to our knowledge, no one has reported observations of yawning in any species of elephant. After confirming a behavioral pattern matching the criteria of yawning in two Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in a zoological setting, this study was pursued with nine captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at a private reserve in the Western Cape, South Africa, the Knysna Elephant Park. Observations were made in June–September and in December. In the daytime, handlers managed seven of the elephants for guided interactions with visitors. At night, all elephants were maintained in a large enclosure with six having limited outdoor access. With infrared illumination, the elephants were continuously recorded by video cameras. During the nights, the elephants typically had 1–3 recumbent sleeping/resting bouts, each lasting 1–2 h. Yawning was a regular occurrence upon arousal from a recumbency, especially in the final recumbency of the night. Yawning was significantly more frequent in some elephants. Yawning was rare during the daytime and during periods of standing around in the enclosure at night. In six occurrences of likely contagious yawning, one elephant yawned upon seeing another elephant yawning upon arousal from a final recumbency; we recorded the sex and age category of the participants. The generality of yawning in both African and Asian elephants in other environments was documented in video recordings from 39 zoological facilities. In summary, the study provides evidence that yawning does occur in both African and Asian elephants, and in African elephants, yawning was particularly associated with arousal from nighttime recumbencies. PMID:28293560

  4. A note on the presence of the Elephant Louse Haematomyzus elephantis piaget (Mallophaga: Rhynchophthirina in the Kruger National Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L.E.O Braack

    1984-12-01

    Full Text Available First described in 1869, this rather unusual insect has been found to be a common ectoparasite on the Indian elephant (Elephas maximus, and has been collected in low numbers from the African elephant (Loxodonta africana in nearly all of sub-saharan Africa (Ledger 1979, The arthropod parasites of vertebrates in Africa south of the Sahara (Ethiopian Region Vol. IV.

  5. Will elephants soon disappear from West African savannahs?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bouché, Philippe; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Wittemyer, George; Nianogo, Aimé J; Doucet, Jean-Louis; Lejeune, Philippe; Vermeulen, Cédric

    2011-01-01

    Precipitous declines in Africa's native fauna and flora are recognized, but few comprehensive records of these changes have been compiled. Here, we present population trends for African elephants in the 6,213,000 km² Sudano-Sahelian range of West and Central Africa assessed through the analysis of aerial and ground surveys conducted over the past 4 decades. These surveys are focused on the best protected areas in the region, and therefore represent the best case scenario for the northern savanna elephants. A minimum of 7,745 elephants currently inhabit the entire region, representing a minimum decline of 50% from estimates four decades ago for these protected areas. Most of the historic range is now devoid of elephants and, therefore, was not surveyed. Of the 23 surveyed elephant populations, half are estimated to number less than 200 individuals. Historically, most populations numbering less than 200 individuals in the region were extirpated within a few decades. Declines differed by region, with Central African populations experiencing much higher declines (-76%) than those in West Africa (-33%). As a result, elephants in West Africa now account for 86% of the total surveyed. Range wide, two refuge zones retain elephants, one in West and the other in Central Africa. These zones are separated by a large distance (∼900 km) of high density human land use, suggesting connectivity between the regions is permanently cut. Within each zone, however, sporadic contacts between populations remain. Retaining such connectivity should be a high priority for conservation of elephants in this region. Specific corridors designed to reduce the isolation of the surveyed populations are proposed. The strong commitment of governments, effective law enforcement to control the illegal ivory trade and the involvement of local communities and private partners are all critical to securing the future of elephants inhabiting Africa's northern savannas.

  6. The ties that bind: genetic relatedness predicts the fission and fusion of social groups in wild African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Archie, Elizabeth A; Moss, Cynthia J; Alberts, Susan C

    2006-03-07

    Many social animals live in stable groups. In contrast, African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) live in unusually fluid, fission-fusion societies. That is, 'core' social groups are composed of predictable sets of individuals; however, over the course of hours or days, these groups may temporarily divide and reunite, or they may fuse with other social groups to form much larger social units. Here, we test the hypothesis that genetic relatedness predicts patterns of group fission and fusion among wild, female African elephants. Our study of a single Kenyan population spans 236 individuals in 45 core social groups, genotyped at 11 microsatellite and one mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) locus. We found that genetic relatedness predicted group fission; adult females remained with their first order maternal relatives when core groups fissioned temporarily. Relatedness also predicted temporary fusion between social groups; core groups were more likely to fuse with each other when the oldest females in each group were genetic relatives. Groups that shared mtDNA haplotypes were also significantly more likely to fuse than groups that did not share mtDNA. Our results suggest that associations between core social groups persist for decades after the original maternal kin have died. We discuss these results in the context of kin selection and its possible role in the evolution of elephant sociality.

  7. Taxonomy Icon Data: African savanna elephant [Taxonomy Icon

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available .png http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Loxodonta+africana&t=L http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy..._icon/icon.cgi?i=Loxodonta+africana&t=NL http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/i...con.cgi?i=Loxodonta+africana&t=S http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Loxodonta+africana&t=NS ...

  8. ELEPHANT DECLINE IN LAKE-MANYARA-NATIONAL-PARK, TANZANIA

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    PRINS, HHT; VANDERJEUGD, HP; BEEKMAN, JH

    1994-01-01

    The population of African elephant (Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach)) in Lake Manyara National Park, northern Tanzania, declined from about 500 individuals in 1984, to about 150 in 1988 due to poaching (mortality rate about 60% p.a.). In 1991 the population had declined further to about 60 individual

  9. Fine-scale genetic structure and cryptic associations reveal evidence of kin-based sociality in the African forest elephant.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stephanie G Schuttler

    Full Text Available Spatial patterns of relatedness within animal populations are important in the evolution of mating and social systems, and have the potential to reveal information on species that are difficult to observe in the wild. This study examines the fine-scale genetic structure and connectivity of groups within African forest elephants, Loxodonta cyclotis, which are often difficult to observe due to forest habitat. We tested the hypothesis that genetic similarity will decline with increasing geographic distance, as we expect kin to be in closer proximity, using spatial autocorrelation analyses and Tau K(r tests. Associations between individuals were investigated through a non-invasive genetic capture-recapture approach using network models, and were predicted to be more extensive than the small groups found in observational studies, similar to fission-fusion sociality found in African savanna (Loxodonta africana and Asian (Elephas maximus species. Dung samples were collected in Lopé National Park, Gabon in 2008 and 2010 and genotyped at 10 microsatellite loci, genetically sexed, and sequenced at the mitochondrial DNA control region. We conducted analyses on samples collected at three different temporal scales: a day, within six-day sampling sessions, and within each year. Spatial autocorrelation and Tau K(r tests revealed genetic structure, but results were weak and inconsistent between sampling sessions. Positive spatial autocorrelation was found in distance classes of 0-5 km, and was strongest for the single day session. Despite weak genetic structure, individuals within groups were significantly more related to each other than to individuals between groups. Social networks revealed some components to have large, extensive groups of up to 22 individuals, and most groups were composed of individuals of the same matriline. Although fine-scale population genetic structure was weak, forest elephants are typically found in groups consisting of kin and

  10. Fine-scale genetic structure and cryptic associations reveal evidence of kin-based sociality in the African forest elephant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuttler, Stephanie G; Philbrick, Jessica A; Jeffery, Kathryn J; Eggert, Lori S

    2014-01-01

    Spatial patterns of relatedness within animal populations are important in the evolution of mating and social systems, and have the potential to reveal information on species that are difficult to observe in the wild. This study examines the fine-scale genetic structure and connectivity of groups within African forest elephants, Loxodonta cyclotis, which are often difficult to observe due to forest habitat. We tested the hypothesis that genetic similarity will decline with increasing geographic distance, as we expect kin to be in closer proximity, using spatial autocorrelation analyses and Tau K(r) tests. Associations between individuals were investigated through a non-invasive genetic capture-recapture approach using network models, and were predicted to be more extensive than the small groups found in observational studies, similar to fission-fusion sociality found in African savanna (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) species. Dung samples were collected in Lopé National Park, Gabon in 2008 and 2010 and genotyped at 10 microsatellite loci, genetically sexed, and sequenced at the mitochondrial DNA control region. We conducted analyses on samples collected at three different temporal scales: a day, within six-day sampling sessions, and within each year. Spatial autocorrelation and Tau K(r) tests revealed genetic structure, but results were weak and inconsistent between sampling sessions. Positive spatial autocorrelation was found in distance classes of 0-5 km, and was strongest for the single day session. Despite weak genetic structure, individuals within groups were significantly more related to each other than to individuals between groups. Social networks revealed some components to have large, extensive groups of up to 22 individuals, and most groups were composed of individuals of the same matriline. Although fine-scale population genetic structure was weak, forest elephants are typically found in groups consisting of kin and based on matrilines

  11. African elephants adjust speed in response to surface-water constraint on foraging during the dry-season.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chamaillé-Jammes, Simon; Mtare, Godfrey; Makuwe, Edwin; Fritz, Hervé

    2013-01-01

    Most organisms need to acquire various resources to survive and reproduce. Individuals should adjust their behavior to make optimal use of the landscape and limit the costs of trade-offs emerging from the use of these resources. Here we study how African elephants Loxodonta africana travel to foraging places between regular visits to waterholes. Elephant herds were tracked using GPS collars during two consecutive dry seasons in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. We segmented each individual movement track at each visit to water to define foraging trips, and then used trip-level statistics to build an understanding of movement strategies. Travel speed within these individually-consistent movement bouts was also analyzed to understand if speed was better linked to distance to water or progression in the trip over time. We found that elephants went further from water when drinking less often, which could result from a trade-off between drinking and foraging in less depleted, far from water, places. Speed increased towards the beginning and the end of the trips, and was also greater than observed during the wet season, suggesting that elephants were trying to save time. Numerous short trips traveled at greater speed, particularly when commuting to a different waterhole, was tentatively explained by the inability to drink at specific waterholes due to intra-specific interference. Unexpectedly elephants did not always minimize travel time by drinking at the closest waterhole, but the extra distance traveled remained never more than a few kilometers. Our results show how individuals may adjust movement behavior to deal with resource trade-offs at the landscape scale. We also highlight how behavioral context, here progression in the trip, may be more important than spatial context, here distance to water, in explaining animal movement patterns.

  12. African elephants adjust speed in response to surface-water constraint on foraging during the dry-season.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Simon Chamaillé-Jammes

    Full Text Available Most organisms need to acquire various resources to survive and reproduce. Individuals should adjust their behavior to make optimal use of the landscape and limit the costs of trade-offs emerging from the use of these resources. Here we study how African elephants Loxodonta africana travel to foraging places between regular visits to waterholes. Elephant herds were tracked using GPS collars during two consecutive dry seasons in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. We segmented each individual movement track at each visit to water to define foraging trips, and then used trip-level statistics to build an understanding of movement strategies. Travel speed within these individually-consistent movement bouts was also analyzed to understand if speed was better linked to distance to water or progression in the trip over time. We found that elephants went further from water when drinking less often, which could result from a trade-off between drinking and foraging in less depleted, far from water, places. Speed increased towards the beginning and the end of the trips, and was also greater than observed during the wet season, suggesting that elephants were trying to save time. Numerous short trips traveled at greater speed, particularly when commuting to a different waterhole, was tentatively explained by the inability to drink at specific waterholes due to intra-specific interference. Unexpectedly elephants did not always minimize travel time by drinking at the closest waterhole, but the extra distance traveled remained never more than a few kilometers. Our results show how individuals may adjust movement behavior to deal with resource trade-offs at the landscape scale. We also highlight how behavioral context, here progression in the trip, may be more important than spatial context, here distance to water, in explaining animal movement patterns.

  13. Long-term impacts of poaching on relatedness, stress physiology, and reproductive output of adult female african elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gobush, K S; Mutayoba, B M; Wasser, S K

    2008-12-01

    Widespread poaching prior to the 1989 ivory ban greatly altered the demographic structure of matrilineal African elephant (Loxodonta africana) family groups in many populations by decreasing the number of old, adult females. We assessed the long-term impacts of poaching by investigating genetic, physiological, and reproductive correlates of a disturbed social structure resulting from heavy poaching of an African elephant population in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania, prior to 1989. We examined fecal glucocorticoid levels and reproductive output among 218 adult female elephants from 109 groups differing in size, age structure, and average genetic relatedness over 25 months from 2003 to 2005. The distribution in group size has changed little since 1989, but the number of families with tusked old matriarchs has increased by 14.2%. Females from groups that lacked an old matriarch, first-order adult relatives, and strong social bonds had significantly higher fecal glucocorticoid values than those from groups with these features (all females R(2)= 0.31; females in multiadult groups R(2)= 0.46). Females that frequented isolated areas with historically high poaching risk had higher fecal glucocorticoid values than those in low poaching risk areas. Females with weak bonds and low group relatedness had significantly lower reproductive output (R(2)[U]=0.21). Females from disrupted groups, defined as having observed average group relatedness 1 SD below the expected mean for a simulated unpoached family, had significantly lower reproductive output than females from intact groups, despite many being in their reproductive prime. These results suggest that long-term negative impacts from poaching of old, related matriarchs have persisted among adult female elephants 1.5 decades after the 1989 ivory ban was implemented.

  14. The spatial scaling of habitat selection by African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Knegt, Henrik J; van Langevelde, Frank; Skidmore, Andrew K; Delsink, Audrey; Slotow, Rob; Henley, Steve; Bucini, Gabriela; de Boer, Willem F; Coughenour, Michael B; Grant, Cornelia C; Heitkönig, Ignas M A; Henley, Michelle; Knox, Nicky M; Kohi, Edward M; Mwakiwa, Emmanuel; Page, Bruce R; Peel, Mike; Pretorius, Yolanda; van Wieren, Sipke E; Prins, Herbert H T

    2011-01-01

    1. Understanding and accurately predicting the spatial patterns of habitat use by organisms is important for ecological research, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management. However, this understanding is complicated by the effects of spatial scale, because the scale of analysis affects the quantification of species-environment relationships. 2. We therefore assessed the influence of environmental context (i.e. the characteristics of the landscape surrounding a site), varied over a large range of scales (i.e. ambit radii around focal sites), on the analysis and prediction of habitat selection by African elephants in Kruger National Park, South Africa. 3. We focused on the spatial scaling of the elephants' response to their main resources, forage and water, and found that the quantification of habitat selection strongly depended on the scales at which environmental context was considered. Moreover, the inclusion of environmental context at characteristic scales (i.e. those at which habitat selectivity was maximized) increased the predictive capacity of habitat suitability models. 4. The elephants responded to their environment in a scale-dependent and perhaps hierarchical manner, with forage characteristics driving habitat selection at coarse spatial scales, and surface water at fine spatial scales. 5. Furthermore, the elephants exhibited sexual habitat segregation, mainly in relation to vegetation characteristics. Male elephants preferred areas with high tree cover and low herbaceous biomass, whereas this pattern was reversed for female elephants. 6. We show that the spatial distribution of elephants can be better understood and predicted when scale-dependent species-environment relationships are explicitly considered. This demonstrates the importance of considering the influence of spatial scale on the analysis of spatial patterning in ecological phenomena.

  15. Effects of host demography, season and rainfall on the prevalence and parasitic load of gastrointestinal parasites of free-living elephants (Loxodonta africana) of the Chad Basin National Park, Nigeria.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mbaya, A W; Ogwiji, M; Kumshe, H A

    2013-10-15

    The effects of host demography, rainfall and season on the prevalence and parasitic load of gastrointestinal parasites of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) of the Chad Basin National Park were determined for the first time. Out of the 274 elephants examined, 36.86% were infected. Of the 178 males examined, 35.96% harboured Strongyloides, Coccidia and Strongyles with worm burdens of 75.6 +/- 0.3, 125.2 +/- 1.4 and 420.2 +/- 0.1, respectively. Among the males, the larvae of Strongyloides papillosus were recovered from those infected with Strongyloides while Haemonchus contortus, Trichostrongylus colubriformis, Murshidia species and Oesophagostomum columbianum were recovered from those infected with Strongyles. Those infected with Coccidia yielded Eimeria bovis. Of the 96 females examined, 38.54% were infected with Coccidia and Strongyles with 102.2 +/- 0.7 Oocysts per Gram of faeces (OPG) and 360.2 +/- 0.1 Eggs per Gram of faeces (EPG), respectively. The helminth larvae recovered from the females infected with Strongyles were; H. contortus, O. columbianum and Murshidia species, while those infected with Coccidia yielded E. bovis. Out of the 213 adults examined, 27.23% were infected with Strongyloides and Strongyles with 187.3 +/- 0.4 and 208.4 +/- 0.1 EPG, respectively. The larvae of S. papillosus were recovered from those infected with Strongyloides, while the larvae of H. contortus, O. columbianum, T. colubriformis and Murshidia were recovered from those infected with Strongyles. Of the 61 young examined, 70.49% were infected with Coccidia and Strongyloides with OPG of 88.4 +/- 0.2 and EPG of 624.4 +/- 0.2. The elephants were mostly infected in the rainy season. The worm burden and prevalence according to sex and age were highest in August. The males and young were more infected than their counterparts. In conclusion, intrinsic and extrinsic factors played a role on the prevalence and worm burden of gastrointestinal parasites of elephants of the Chad Basin

  16. Seismic Census Technique for African Elephants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wood, J. D.; O'Connell-Rodwell, C. E.; Klemperer, S. L.

    2005-12-01

    Large mammal populations are difficult to census and monitor in remote areas. In particular, elephant populations in Central Africa are difficult to census due to dense forest making aerial surveys impractical. Conservation management would be improved by a census technique that was accurate and precise, did not require large efforts in the field, and could record numbers of animals over a period of time. We report a new detection technique that relies on sensing the footfalls of large mammals. Geophones were used to record the footfalls of elephants and other large mammal species at a water hole in Etosha National Park, Namibia. We were able to discriminate between species using the spectral content of their footfalls with an 85% accuracy rate while only using a single geophone. This was done using correlation coefficients comparing the shape of the spectra for various species. An ANOVA found significant differences between these correlation coefficients (F4,1785 = 147.78, P = 0.000). An estimate of the energy created by passing elephants (the area under the amplitude envelope) can be used to estimate the number of elephants passing the geophone. Our best regression line plotting number of elephants versus energy recorded in the geophone explained 55% of the variance in the data. Much of the unexplained variance is due to the variation in distance from the geophone to the passing elephants. By subjecting the recordings to a narrow band-pass filter and using beamforming techniques on array data, we believe that we can control for the variation in distance between animal and geophones, and thus achieve better estimates of the number of animals passing the array. Using 7 pairs of geophones in a linear array, we offset the pairs of time series to correspond with the time delay associated with the signal intersecting the pair of geophones at increments of 2 degrees. The offset time series were then summed and the RMS value calculated. The largest RMS value was then

  17. Illegal killing for ivory drives global decline in African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wittemyer, George; Northrup, Joseph M; Blanc, Julian; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Omondi, Patrick; Burnham, Kenneth P

    2014-09-09

    Illegal wildlife trade has reached alarming levels globally, extirpating populations of commercially valuable species. As a driver of biodiversity loss, quantifying illegal harvest is essential for conservation and sociopolitical affairs but notoriously difficult. Here we combine field-based carcass monitoring with fine-scale demographic data from an intensively studied wild African elephant population in Samburu, Kenya, to partition mortality into natural and illegal causes. We then expand our analytical framework to model illegal killing rates and population trends of elephants at regional and continental scales using carcass data collected by a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species program. At the intensively monitored site, illegal killing increased markedly after 2008 and was correlated strongly with the local black market ivory price and increased seizures of ivory destined for China. More broadly, results from application to continental data indicated illegal killing levels were unsustainable for the species between 2010 and 2012, peaking to ∼ 8% in 2011 which extrapolates to ∼ 40,000 elephants illegally killed and a probable species reduction of ∼ 3% that year. Preliminary data from 2013 indicate overharvesting continued. In contrast to the rest of Africa, our analysis corroborates that Central African forest elephants experienced decline throughout the last decade. These results provide the most comprehensive assessment of illegal ivory harvest to date and confirm that current ivory consumption is not sustainable. Further, our approach provides a powerful basis to determine cryptic mortality and gain understanding of the demography of at-risk species.

  18. Recumbence Behavior in Zoo Elephants: Determination of Patterns and Frequency of Recumbent Rest and Associated Environmental and Social Factors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holdgate, Matthew R; Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jennifer N; Miller, Lance J; Rushen, Jeff; de Passillé, Anne Marie; Soltis, Joseph; Andrews, Jeff; Shepherdson, David J

    2016-01-01

    Resting behaviors are an essential component of animal welfare but have received little attention in zoological research. African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) rest includes recumbent postures, but no large-scale investigation of African and Asian zoo elephant recumbence has been previously conducted. We used anklets equipped with accelerometers to measure recumbence in 72 adult female African (n = 44) and Asian (n = 28) elephants housed in 40 North American zoos. We collected 344 days of data and determined associations between recumbence and social, housing, management, and demographic factors. African elephants were recumbent less (2.1 hours/day, S.D. = 1.1) than Asian elephants (3.2 hours/day, S.D. = 1.5; P zoo elephant welfare.

  19. The consequences of poaching and anthropogenic change for forest elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Breuer, Thomas; Maisels, Fiona; Fishlock, Vicki

    2016-10-01

    Poaching has devastated forest elephant populations (Loxodonta cyclotis), and their habitat is dramatically changing. The long-term effects of poaching and other anthropogenic threats have been well studied in savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana), but the impacts of these changes for Central Africa's forest elephants have not been discussed. We examined potential repercussions of these threats and the related consequences for forest elephants in Central Africa by summarizing the lessons learned from savannah elephants and small forest elephant populations in West Africa. Forest elephant social organization is less known than the social organization of savannah elephants, but the close evolutionary history of these species suggests that they will respond to anthropogenic threats in broadly similar ways. The loss of older, experienced individuals in an elephant population disrupts ecological, social, and population parameters. Severe reduction of elephant abundance within Central Africa's forests can alter plant communities and ecosystem functions. Poaching, habitat alterations, and human population increase are probably compressing forest elephants into protected areas and increasing human-elephant conflict, which negatively affects their conservation. We encourage conservationists to look beyond documenting forest elephant population decline and address the causes of these declines when developing conversation strategies. We suggest assessing the effectiveness of the existing protected-area networks for landscape connectivity in light of current industrial and infrastructure development. Longitudinal assessments of the effects of landscape changes on forest elephant sociality and behavior are also needed. Finally, lessons learned from West African elephant population loss and habitat fragmentation should be used to inform strategies for land-use planning and managing human-elephant interactions.

  20. Patch-occupancy models indicate human activity as major determinant of forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis seasonal distribution in an industrial corridor in Gabon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buij, R.; McShea, W.J.; Campbell, P.; Lee, M.E.; Dallmeier, F.; Guimondou, S.; Mackaga, L.; Guisseougou, N.; Mboumba, S.; Hines, J.E.; Nichols, J.D.; Alonso, A.

    2007-01-01

    The importance of human activity and ecological features in influencing African forest elephant ranging behaviour was investigated in the Rabi-Ndogo corridor of the Gamba Complex of Protected Areas in southwest Gabon. Locations in a wide geographical area with a range of environmental variables were selected for patch-occupancy surveys using elephant dung to assess seasonal presence and absence of elephants. Patch-occupancy procedures allowed for covariate modelling evaluating hypotheses for both occupancy in relation to human activity and ecological features, and detection probability in relation to vegetation density. The best fitting models for old and fresh dung data sets indicate that (1) detection probability for elephant dung is negatively related to the relative density of the vegetation, and (2) human activity, such as presence and infrastructure, are more closely associated with elephant distribution patterns than are ecological features, such as the presence of wetlands and preferred fresh fruit. Our findings emphasize the sensitivity of elephants to human disturbance, in this case infrastructure development associated with gas and oil production. Patch-occupancy methodology offers a viable alternative to current transect protocols for monitoring programs with multiple covariates.

  1. Comparative demography of an at-risk African elephant population.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    George Wittemyer

    Full Text Available Knowledge of population processes across various ecological and management settings offers important insights for species conservation and life history. In regard to its ecological role, charisma and threats from human impacts, African elephants are of high conservation concern and, as a result, are the focus of numerous studies across various contexts. Here, demographic data from an individually based study of 934 African elephants in Samburu, Kenya were summarized, providing detailed inspection of the population processes experienced by the population over a fourteen year period (including the repercussions of recent increases in illegal killing. These data were compared with those from populations inhabiting a spectrum of xeric to mesic ecosystems with variable human impacts. In relation to variability in climate and human impacts (causing up to 50% of recorded deaths among adults, annual mortality in Samburu fluctuated between 1 and 14% and, unrelatedly, natality between 2 and 14% driving annual population increases and decreases. Survivorship in Samburu was significantly lower than other populations with age-specific data even during periods of low illegal killing by humans, resulting in relatively low life expectancy of males (18.9 years and females (21.8 years. Fecundity (primiparous age and inter-calf interval were similar to those reported in other human impacted or recovering populations, and significantly greater than that of comparable stable populations. This suggests reproductive effort of African savanna elephants increases in relation to increased mortality (and resulting ecological ramifications as predicted by life history theory. Further comparison across populations indicated that elongated inter-calf intervals and older ages of reproductive onset were related to age structure and density, and likely influenced by ecological conditions. This study provides detailed empirical data on elephant population dynamics strongly

  2. Modeling the Distribution of African Savanna Elephants in Kruger National Park: AN Application of Multi-Scale GLOBELAND30 Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, W.; Hays, B.; Fayrer-Hosken, R.; Presotto, A.

    2016-06-01

    The ability of remote sensing to represent ecologically relevant features at multiple spatial scales makes it a powerful tool for studying wildlife distributions. Species of varying sizes perceive and interact with their environment at differing scales; therefore, it is important to consider the role of spatial resolution of remotely sensed data in the creation of distribution models. The release of the Globeland30 land cover classification in 2014, with its 30 m resolution, presents the opportunity to do precisely that. We created a series of Maximum Entropy distribution models for African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) using Globeland30 data analyzed at varying resolutions. We compared these with similarly re-sampled models created from the European Space Agency's Global Land Cover Map (Globcover). These data, in combination with GIS layers of topography and distance to roads, human activity, and water, as well as elephant GPS collar data, were used with MaxEnt software to produce the final distribution models. The AUC (Area Under the Curve) scores indicated that the models created from 600 m data performed better than other spatial resolutions and that the Globeland30 models generally performed better than the Globcover models. Additionally, elevation and distance to rivers seemed to be the most important variables in our models. Our results demonstrate that Globeland30 is a valid alternative to the well-established Globcover for creating wildlife distribution models. It may even be superior for applications which require higher spatial resolution and less nuanced classifications.

  3. Reconciling apparent conflicts between mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenies in African elephants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yasuko Ishida

    Full Text Available Conservation strategies for African elephants would be advanced by resolution of conflicting claims that they comprise one, two, three or four taxonomic groups, and by development of genetic markers that establish more incisively the provenance of confiscated ivory. We addressed these related issues by genotyping 555 elephants from across Africa with microsatellite markers, developing a method to identify those loci most effective at geographic assignment of elephants (or their ivory, and conducting novel analyses of continent-wide datasets of mitochondrial DNA. Results showed that nuclear genetic diversity was partitioned into two clusters, corresponding to African forest elephants (99.5% Cluster-1 and African savanna elephants (99.4% Cluster-2. Hybrid individuals were rare. In a comparison of basal forest "F" and savanna "S" mtDNA clade distributions to nuclear DNA partitions, forest elephant nuclear genotypes occurred only in populations in which S clade mtDNA was absent, suggesting that nuclear partitioning corresponds to the presence or absence of S clade mtDNA. We reanalyzed African elephant mtDNA sequences from 81 locales spanning the continent and discovered that S clade mtDNA was completely absent among elephants at all 30 sampled tropical forest locales. The distribution of savanna nuclear DNA and S clade mtDNA corresponded closely to range boundaries traditionally ascribed to the savanna elephant species based on habitat and morphology. Further, a reanalysis of nuclear genetic assignment results suggested that West African elephants do not comprise a distinct third species. Finally, we show that some DNA markers will be more useful than others for determining the geographic origins of illegal ivory. These findings resolve the apparent incongruence between mtDNA and nuclear genetic patterns that has confounded the taxonomy of African elephants, affirm the limitations of using mtDNA patterns to infer elephant systematics or population

  4. Reconciling apparent conflicts between mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenies in African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ishida, Yasuko; Oleksyk, Taras K; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; David, Victor A; Zhao, Kai; Stephens, Robert M; Kolokotronis, Sergios-Orestis; Roca, Alfred L

    2011-01-01

    Conservation strategies for African elephants would be advanced by resolution of conflicting claims that they comprise one, two, three or four taxonomic groups, and by development of genetic markers that establish more incisively the provenance of confiscated ivory. We addressed these related issues by genotyping 555 elephants from across Africa with microsatellite markers, developing a method to identify those loci most effective at geographic assignment of elephants (or their ivory), and conducting novel analyses of continent-wide datasets of mitochondrial DNA. Results showed that nuclear genetic diversity was partitioned into two clusters, corresponding to African forest elephants (99.5% Cluster-1) and African savanna elephants (99.4% Cluster-2). Hybrid individuals were rare. In a comparison of basal forest "F" and savanna "S" mtDNA clade distributions to nuclear DNA partitions, forest elephant nuclear genotypes occurred only in populations in which S clade mtDNA was absent, suggesting that nuclear partitioning corresponds to the presence or absence of S clade mtDNA. We reanalyzed African elephant mtDNA sequences from 81 locales spanning the continent and discovered that S clade mtDNA was completely absent among elephants at all 30 sampled tropical forest locales. The distribution of savanna nuclear DNA and S clade mtDNA corresponded closely to range boundaries traditionally ascribed to the savanna elephant species based on habitat and morphology. Further, a reanalysis of nuclear genetic assignment results suggested that West African elephants do not comprise a distinct third species. Finally, we show that some DNA markers will be more useful than others for determining the geographic origins of illegal ivory. These findings resolve the apparent incongruence between mtDNA and nuclear genetic patterns that has confounded the taxonomy of African elephants, affirm the limitations of using mtDNA patterns to infer elephant systematics or population structure, and

  5. Variation of urinary reproductive hormones of a captive female African elephant during gestation%圈养雌性非洲象妊娠期尿中性激素水平的变化

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    刘学锋; 张耀华; 秦志刚; 王璐; 原蕾; 张轶卓

    2012-01-01

    In this study we monitored the urinary levels of progesterone (P), estradiol (E2) , estriol (E3) and chorion-ic gonadotropin (CG) of a female African elephant (Loxodonta africana) during pregnancy using radioimmunoassay. It was shown that progesterone levels increased gradually during early pregnancy, peaking at the 4th - 6th month of pregnancy and then dropping to the basal level at delivery. The estriol concentration decreased slowly during gestation, whereas the estradiol level did not change significantly during pregnancy. This is the first report of CG during gestation of African elephant. CG level was almost undetectable in the first three month of pregnancy, and it began to rise slowly after the progesterone peak (4-6 month of gestation). These results provide references for changes of P and CG in pregnancy.

  6. Analyzing Vegetation Change in an Elephant-Impacted Landscape Using the Moving Standard Deviation Index

    OpenAIRE

    Timothy J. Fullman; Erin L. Bunting

    2014-01-01

    Northern Botswana is influenced by various socio-ecological drivers of landscape change. The African elephant ( Loxodonta africana ) is one of the leading sources of landscape shifts in this region. Developing the ability to assess elephant impacts on savanna vegetation is important to promote effective management strategies. The Moving Standard Deviation Index (MSDI) applies a standard deviation calculation to remote sensing imagery to assess degradation of vegetation. Used previously for as...

  7. Detection of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus infection among healthy Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in South India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanton, Jeffrey J; Nofs, Sally A; Zachariah, Arun; Kalaivannan, N; Ling, Paul D

    2014-04-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) can cause fatal hemorrhagic disease in Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants. Of the seven known EEHV species, EEHV1 is recognized as the most common cause of hemorrhagic disease among Asian elephants in human care worldwide. Recent data collected from ex situ Asian elephants located in multiple North American and European institutions suggest that subclinical EEHV1 infection is common in this population of elephants. Although fatal EEHV1-associated hemorrhagic disease has been reported in range countries, data are lacking regarding the prevalence of subclinical EEHV infections among in situ Asian elephants. We used previously validated EEHV-specific quantitative real-time PCR assays to detect subclinical EEHV infection in three regionally distinct Asian elephant cohorts, totaling 46 in situ elephants in South India, during October and November 2011. Using DNA prepared from trunk washes, we detected EEHV1, EEHV3/4, and EEHV5 at frequencies of 7, 9, and 20% respectively. None of the trunk washes was positive for EEHV2 or 6. At least one EEHV species was detectable in 35% (16/46) of the samples that were screened. These data suggest that subclinical EEHV infection among in situ Asian elephants occurs and that Asian elephants may be natural hosts for EEHV1, EEHV3 or 4, and EEHV5, but not EEHV2 and EEHV6. The methodology described in this study provides a foundation for further studies to determine prevalences of EEHV infection in Asian elephants throughout the world.

  8. Vocal learning in elephants: neural bases and adaptive context.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoeger, Angela S; Manger, Paul

    2014-10-01

    In the last decade clear evidence has accumulated that elephants are capable of vocal production learning. Examples of vocal imitation are documented in African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants, but little is known about the function of vocal learning within the natural communication systems of either species. We are also just starting to identify the neural basis of elephant vocalizations. The African elephant diencephalon and brainstem possess specializations related to aspects of neural information processing in the motor system (affecting the timing and learning of trunk movements) and the auditory and vocalization system. Comparative interdisciplinary (from behavioral to neuroanatomical) studies are strongly warranted to increase our understanding of both vocal learning and vocal behavior in elephants.

  9. Climate influences thermal balance and water use in African and Asian elephants: physiology can predict drivers of elephant distribution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dunkin, Robin C; Wilson, Dinah; Way, Nicolas; Johnson, Kari; Williams, Terrie M

    2013-08-01

    Elephant movement patterns in relation to surface water demonstrate that they are a water-dependent species. Thus, there has been interest in using surface water management to mitigate problems associated with localized elephant overabundance. However, the physiological mechanisms underlying the elephant's water dependence remain unclear. Although thermoregulation is likely an important driver, the relationship between thermoregulation, water use and climate has not been quantified. We measured skin surface temperature of and cutaneous water loss from 13 elephants (seven African, 3768±642 kg; six Asian, 3834±498 kg) and determined the contribution of evaporative cooling to their thermal and water budgets across a range of air temperatures (8-33°C). We also measured respiratory evaporative water loss and resting metabolic heat production on a subset of elephants (N=7). The rate of cutaneous evaporative water loss ranged between 0.31 and 8.9 g min(-1) m(-2) for Asian elephants and 0.26 and 6.5 g min(-1) m(-2) for African elephants. Simulated thermal and water budgets using climate data from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and Okaukuejo, Namibia, suggested that the 24-h evaporative cooling water debt incurred in warm climates can be more than 4.5 times that incurred in mesic climates. This study confirms elephants are obligate evaporative coolers but suggests that classification of elephants as water dependent is insufficient given the importance of climate in determining the magnitude of this dependence. These data highlight the potential for a physiological modeling approach to predicting the utility of surface water management for specific populations.

  10. Measurement of concentrations of Faecal Glucocorticoid Metabolites in free-ranging African Elephants within the Kruger National Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jozua J. Viljoen

    2008-05-01

    Full Text Available During the past several years, non-invasive monitoring of steroid metabolites in faeces of elephants has become an increasingly popular technique to generate more information about the causal relationship between hormones and behaviour in both living elephant species. This is important knowledge which can be used to optimise local conservation and wildlife management by finding new strategies for better elephant population management and control. In this context, however, information about an actual involvement of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis during assumable stressful events is still limited, especially for wildlife populations. One difficulty in discovering such information is often the lack of reliable data for hormone baseline levels. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine baseline concentrations of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites that could be expected within age classes and between seasons in African elephants (Loxodonta africana in the Kruger National Park (KNP . A total of 374 faecal samples were collected from randomly located family herds in the southern KNP between May 2002 and August 2005. The samples were analysed for immunoreactive concentrations of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites using a validated enzyme immunoassay for 3α,11oxo-cortisol metabolites(3α,11oxo-CM. All samples were grouped according to the estimated age class of the subject using a field method based on bolus diameter, and regarding the ecological season collected. No significant differences in faecal 3α,11oxo-CM concentrations were found across age classes (H3 = 7.54; p = 0.057, but the mean 3α,11oxo-CM concentration of samples collected in the dry season (n = 196 was significantly higher than in the wet season (n = 178 (u = 15206.50; p = 0.032, which indicates a possible physiological stress situation due to a decline in food quantity and quality. The information generated in this study represents a reliable data set for baseline

  11. Distinguishing forest and savanna African elephants using short nuclear DNA sequences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ishida, Yasuko; Demeke, Yirmed; van Coeverden de Groot, Peter J; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Leggett, Keith E A; Fox, Virginia E; Roca, Alfred L

    2011-01-01

    A more complete description of African elephant phylogeography would require a method that distinguishes forest and savanna elephants using DNA from low-quality samples. Although mitochondrial DNA is often the marker of choice for species identification, the unusual cytonuclear patterns in African elephants make nuclear markers more reliable. We therefore designed and utilized genetic markers for short nuclear DNA regions that contain fixed nucleotide differences between forest and savanna elephants. We used M13 forward and reverse sequences to increase the total length of PCR amplicons and to improve the quality of sequences for the target DNA. We successfully sequenced fragments of nuclear genes from dung samples of known savanna and forest elephants in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Namibia. Elephants at previously unexamined locations were found to have nucleotide character states consistent with their status as savanna or forest elephants. Using these and results from previous studies, we estimated that the short-amplicon nuclear markers could distinguish forest from savanna African elephants with more than 99% accuracy. Nuclear genotyping of museum, dung, or ivory samples will provide better-informed conservation management of Africa's elephants.

  12. The return of the giants: ecological effects of an increasing elephant population.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skarpe, Christina; Aarrestad, Per Arild; Andreassen, Harry P; Dhillion, Shivcharn S; Dimakatso, Thatayaone; du Toit, Johan T; Duncan; Halley, J; Hytteborn, Håkan; Makhabu, Shimane; Mari, Moses; Marokane, Wilson; Masunga, Gaseitsiwe; Ditshoswane, Modise; Moe, Stein R; Mojaphoko, Rapelang; Mosugelo, David; Motsumi, Sekgowa; Neo-Mahupeleng, Gosiame; Ramotadima, Mpho; Rutina, Lucas; Sechele, Lettie; Sejoe, Thato B; Stokke, Sigbjørn; Swenson, Jon E; Taolo, Cyril; Vandewalle, Mark; Wegge, Per

    2004-08-01

    Northern Botswana and adjacent areas, have the world's largest population of African elephant (Loxodonta africana). However, a 100 years ago elephants were rare following excessive hunting. Simultaneously, ungulate populations were severely reduced by decease. The ecological effects of the reduction in large herbivores must have been substantial, but are little known. Today, however, ecosystem changes following the increase in elephant numbers cause considerable concern in Botswana. This was the background for the "BONIC" project, investigating the interactions between the increasing elephant population and other ecosystem components and processes. Results confirm that the ecosystem is changing following the increase in elephant and ungulate populations, and, presumably, developing towards a situation resembling that before the reduction of large herbivores. We see no ecological reasons to artificially change elephant numbers. There are, however, economic and social reasons to control elephants, and their range in northern Botswana may have to be artificially restricted.

  13. The identification of elephant ivory evidences of illegal trade with mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and hypervariable D-loop region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Eun-jung; Lee, Yang-han; Moon, Seo-hyun; Kim, Nam-ye; Kim, Soon-hee; Yang, Moon-sik; Choi, Dong-ho; Han, Myun-soo

    2013-04-01

    DNA analysis of elephant ivory of illegal trade was handled in this work. The speciation and geographical origin of nine specimens of elephant ivory were requested by the police. Without national authorization, the suspect had purchased processed ivory seals from January to May, 2011 by Internet transactions from a site in a neighboring country. The DNA of decalcified ivory evidences was isolated with QIAGEN Micro Kit. The total 844-904 base pair sized sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome b and D-loop region could be acquired using direct sequencing analysis. They were compared with the sequences registered in GenBank. It was confirmed that most specimens were likely from African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis), one from African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) and one from Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Analysis of the mitochondrial hypervariable D-loop region sequence of elephants verified that one African savanna elephant might be from South Africa and one Asian elephant from Laos. Cytochrome b and D-loop region located in the mitochondrial DNA resulted in the successful determination of elephant DNA from nine processed ivory specimens.

  14. Elephant resource-use traditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fishlock, Victoria; Caldwell, Christine; Lee, Phyllis C

    2016-03-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) use unusual and restricted habitats such as swampy clearings, montane outcrops and dry rivers for a variety of social and ecological reasons. Within these habitats, elephants focus on very specific areas for resource exploitation, resulting in deep caves, large forest clearings and sand pits as well as long-established and highly demarcated routes for moving between resources. We review evidence for specific habitat exploitation in elephants and suggest that this represents socially learned cultural behaviour. Although elephants show high fidelity to precise locations over the very long term, these location preferences are explained neither by resource quality nor by accessibility. Acquiring techniques for exploiting specific resource sites requires observing conspecifics and practice and is evidence for social learning. Elephants possess sophisticated cognitive capacities used to track relationships and resources over their long lifespans, and they have an extended period of juvenile dependency as a result of the need to acquire this considerable social and ecological knowledge. Thus, elephant fidelity to particular sites results in traditional behaviour over generations, with the potential to weaken relationships between resource quality and site preferences. Illustrating the evidence for such powerful traditions in a species such as elephants contributes to understanding animal cognition in natural contexts.

  15. Personality assessment and its association with genetic factors in captive Asian and African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yasui, Saki; Konno, Akitsugu; Tanaka, Masayuki; Idani, Gen'ichi; Ludwig, Arne; Lieckfeldt, Dietmar; Inoue-Murayama, Miho

    2013-01-01

    Elephants live in a complex society based on matrilineal groups. Management of captive elephants is difficult, partly because each elephant has a unique personality. For a better understanding of elephant well being in captivity, it would be helpful to systematically evaluate elephants' personalities and their underlying biological basis. We sent elephant' personality questionnaires to keepers of 75 elephants. We also used 196 elephant DNA samples to search for genetic polymorphisms in genes expressed in the brain that have been suggested to be related to personality traits. Three genes, androgen receptor (AR), fragile X related mental retardation protein interacting protein (NUFIP2), and acheate-scute homologs 1 (ASH1) contained polymorphic regions. We examined the association of personality with intraspecific genetic variation in 17 Asian and 28 African elephants. The results suggest that the ASH1 genotype was associated with neuroticism in Asian elephants. Subjects with short alleles had lower scores of neuroticism than those with long alleles. This is the first report of an association between a genetic polymorphism and personality in elephants.

  16. Ranging of older male elephants introduced to an existing small population without older males: Pilanesberg National Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Slotow

    2004-12-01

    Full Text Available The African elephant Loxodonta africana is one of the key components of African savanna. Not only do they play a crucial role in the ecosystem (Dublin et al. 1990; Van de Vijver et al. 1999, but they also provide one of the integral parts of sustainable conservation through ecotourism (e.g. Brown 1993 and consumptive utilisation (Taylor 1993. The ever-expanding transformation of savanna land-use through human settlement is resulting in the isolation of elephants into small populations. Furthermore, in South Africa, the reclamation of ranch land as game areas has resulted in the reintroduction of elephant to a large number of small, isolated, fenced reserves.

  17. Aspects of elephant behavior, ecology, and interactions with humans

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Connell, Caitlin Elizabeth

    This dissertation is comprised of two chapters relating to the acoustic behavior of elephants, their surrounding ecology and interactions with humans. The first chapter investigates the seismic aspects of Asian elephant (Elephus maximus) acoustic communication. The second chapter is comprised of a synthesis of two separate studies conducted on the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) in Namibia, both in Etosha National Park and the Caprivi region. The two studies were combined and published in Biological Conservation as one large study on aspects of the economic and social impacts of elephant/human conflict and experiments conducted to reduce conflict. In chapter one, seismic and acoustic data were recorded simultaneously from Asian elephants during periods of vocalizations and locomotion. Acoustic and seismic signals from rumbles were highly correlated at near and far distances and were in phase near the elephant and were out of phase at an increased distance from the elephant. Data analyses indicated that elephant generated signals associated with rumbles and "foot stomps" propagated at different velocities in the two media, the acoustic signals traveling at 309 m/s and the seismic signals at 248--264 m/s. Both types of signals had predominant frequencies in the range of 20 Hz. Seismic signal amplitudes considerably above background noise were recorded at 40 m from the generating elephants for both the rumble and the stomp. Seismic propagation models suggest that seismic waveforms from vocalizations are potentially detectable by instruments at distances of up to 16 km, and up to 32 km for locomotion generated signals. Thus, if detectable by elephants, these seismic signals could be useful for long distance communication. In chapter two, the economic impact of elephants, Loxodonta africana , and predators, particularly lions, Panthera leo, on rural agriculturists in the Kwando region of the East Caprivi, Namibia was assessed from the years 1991 to 1995. Elephants

  18. Elephant Transcriptome Provides Insights into the Evolution of Eutherian Placentation

    OpenAIRE

    Hou, Zhuo-Cheng; Sterner, Kirstin N.; Romero, Roberto; Than, Nandor Gabor; Gonzalez, Juan M.; Weckle, Amy; Xing, Jun; Benirschke, Kurt; Goodman, Morris; Wildman, Derek E.

    2012-01-01

    The chorioallantoic placenta connects mother and fetus in eutherian pregnancies. In order to understand the evolution of the placenta and provide further understanding of placenta biology, we sequenced the transcriptome of a term placenta of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and compared these data with RNA sequence and microarray data from other eutherian placentas including human, mouse, and cow. We characterized the composition of 55,910 expressed sequence tag (i.e., cDNA) contigs u...

  19. First reported case of fatal tuberculosis in a wild African elephant with past human-wildlife contact.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Obanda, V; Poghon, J; Yongo, M; Mulei, I; Ngotho, M; Waititu, K; Makumi, J; Gakuya, F; Omondi, P; Soriguer, R C; Alasaad, S

    2013-07-01

    Tuberculosis is emerging/re-emerging in captive elephant populations, where it causes morbidity and deaths, although no case of TB in wild African elephants has been reported. In this paper we report the first case of fatal TB in an African elephant in the wild. The infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis was confirmed by post-mortem and histological examinations of a female sub-adult elephant aged >12 years that died in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya, while under treatment. This case is unique in that during its lifetime the elephant had contact with both humans and wild elephants. The source of the infection was unclear because the elephant could have acquired the infection in the orphanage or in the wild. However, our results show that wild elephants can maintain human TB in the wild and that the infection can be fatal.

  20. Ticks of four-toed elephant shrews and Southern African hedgehogs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ivan G. Horak

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Several studies on ticks infesting small mammals, including elephant shrews, have been conducted in South Africa; however, these studies have included only a single four-toed elephant shrew and no hedgehogs. This study thus aimed to identify and quantify the ixodid ticks infesting four-toed elephant shrews and Southern African hedgehogs. Four-toed elephant shrews (Petrodromus tetradactylus were trapped in dense shrub undergrowth in a nature reserve in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal. They were separately housed, first in cages and later in glass terraria fitted with wire-mesh bases to allow detached ticks to fall through for collection. Southern African hedgehogs (Atelerix frontalis were hand caught on a farm in the eastern region of the Northern Cape Province and all visible ticks were collected by means of tweezers while the animals were anaesthetised. The ticks from each animal were preserved separately in 70% ethanol for later identification and counting. The immature stages of five ixodid tick species were collected from the elephant shrews, of which Rhipicephalus muehlensi was the most common. It has not been recorded previously on any species of elephant shrew. Three ixodid tick species were collected from the hedgehogs. Large numbers of adult Haemaphysalis colesbergensis, which has not been encountered previously on hedgehogs, were collected from these animals. Four-toed elephant shrews are good hosts of the larvae and nymphs of R. muehlensi, and Southern African hedgehogs are good hosts of adult H. colesbergensis.

  1. Cotton fields drive elephant habitat fragmentation in the Mid Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sibanda, Mbulisi; Murwira, Amon

    2012-10-01

    In this study we tested whether cotton fields contribute more than cereal fields to African elephant (Loxodonta africana) habitat loss through its effects on woodland fragmentation in the Mid-Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe. In order to test this hypothesis, we first mapped cotton and cereal fields using MODIS remotely sensed data. Secondly, we analysed the effect of the area of cotton and cereal fields on woodland fragmentation using regression analysis. We then related the fragmentation indices, particularly edge density with elephant distribution data to test whether elephant distribution was significantly related with woodland fragmentation resulting from cotton fields. Our results showed that cotton fields contributed more to woodland fragmentation than cereal fields. In addition, results showed that the frequency of the African elephant increased where cotton fields were many and small relative to cereal fields. We concluded that cotton fields are the main driver of woodland fragmentation and therefore elephant habitat in the Mid-Zambezi Valley compared with cereal fields.

  2. Qualitative and quantitative aspects of the microanatomy of the African elephant cerebellar cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maseko, Busisiwe C; Jacobs, Bob; Spocter, Muhammad A; Sherwood, Chet C; Hof, Patrick R; Manger, Paul R

    2013-01-01

    The current study provides a number of novel observations on the organization and structure of the cerebellar cortex of the African elephant by using a combination of basic neuroanatomical and immunohistochemical stains with Golgi and stereologic analysis. While the majority of our observations indicate that the cerebellar cortex of the African elephant is comparable to other mammalian species, several features were unique to the elephant. The three-layered organization of the cerebellar cortex, the neuronal types and some aspects of the expression of calcium-binding proteins were common to a broad range of mammalian species. The Lugaro neurons observed in the elephant were greatly enlarged in comparison to those of other large-brained mammals, suggesting a possible alteration in the processing of neural information in the elephant cerebellar cortex. Analysis of Golgi impregnations indicated that the dendritic complexity of the different interneuron types was higher in elephants than other mammals. Expression of parvalbumin in the parallel fibers and calbindin expressed in the stellate and basket cells also suggested changes in the elephant cerebellar neuronal circuitry. The stereologic analysis confirmed and extended previous observations by demonstrating that neuronal density is low in the elephant cerebellar cortex, providing for a larger volume fraction of the neuropil. With previous results indicating that the elephants have the largest relative cerebellar size amongst mammals, and one of the absolutely largest mammalian cerebella, the current observations suggest that the elephants have a greater volume of a potentially more complexly organized cerebellar cortex compared to other mammals. This quantitatively larger and more complex cerebellar cortex likely represents part of the neural machinery required to control the complex motor patterns involved in movement of the trunk and the production of infrasonic vocalizations.

  3. Elephant movement patterns in relation to human inhabitants in and around the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park

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    Robin M. Cook

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The presence of humans and African elephants (Loxodonta africana in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park can create situations of potential human–elephant conflict. Such conflict will likely be exacerbated as elephant and human populations increase, unless mitigation measures are put in place. In this study we analysed the movement patterns of 13 collared adult African elephants from the northern Kruger National Park over a period of eight years (2006–2014. We compared the occurrence and displacement rates of elephant bulls and cows around villages in the Limpopo National Park and northern border of the Kruger National Park across seasons and at different times of the day. Elephants occurred close to villages more often in the dry season than in the wet season, with bulls occurring more frequently around villages than cows. Both the bulls and the cows preferred to use areas close to villages from early evening to midnight, with the bulls moving closer to villages than the cows. These results suggest that elephants, especially the bulls, are moving through the studied villages in Mozambique and Zimbabwe at night and that these movements are most common during the drier months when resources are known to be scarce.Conservation implications: Elephants from the Kruger National Park are moving in close proximity to villages within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Resettlement of villages within and around the park should therefore be planned away from elephant seasonal routes to minimise conflict between humans and elephants.

  4. Self-recognition in the Asian elephant and future directions for cognitive research with elephants in zoological settings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plotnik, Joshua M; de Waal, Frans B M; Moore, Donald; Reiss, Diana

    2010-01-01

    The field of animal cognition has grown steadily for nearly four decades, but the primary focus has centered on easily kept lab animals of varying cognitive capacity, including rodents, birds and primates. Elephants (animals not easily kept in a laboratory) are generally thought of as highly social, cooperative, intelligent animals, yet few studies-with the exception of long-term behavioral field studies-have been conducted to directly support this assumption. In fact, there has been remarkably little cognitive research conducted on Asian (Elephas maximus) or African (Loxodonta africana or L. cyclotis) elephants. Here, we discuss the opportunity and rationale for conducting such research on elephants in zoological facilities, and review some of the recent developments in the field of elephant cognition, including our recent study on mirror self-recognition in E. maximus.

  5. How tall is an elephant? Two methods for estimating elephant height

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    F. Della Rocca

    2007-02-01

    Full Text Available Shoulder height is a reliable indicator of age for African elephants (Loxodonta africana, and is therefore an important parameter to be recorded in field studies of population ecology of these pachyderms. However, it can be somewhat difficult to estimate with precision the shoulder height of free-ranging elephants because of several reasons, including the presence of drops and vegetation cover and the potential dangerousness of approaching them in the wild. Here I test two alternative models for estimating shoulder height of elephants. In both models, the equipment needed to generate the height estimates is minimal, and include a telemeter and a digital photo-camera furnished with an ×16 zoom. The models are based respectively on a linear regression approach and on a geometric formula approach, and put into a relationship the linear distance between the observer and the animal, the number of pixels of an elephant silhouette as taken from digital photos, and the absolute height of the animal. Both methods proved to have a very small measurement error, and were thus reliable for field estimates of elephant shoulder heights. The model based on a geometric formula was used to estimate the shoulder height distribution of an elephant population in a savannah region of West Africa (Zakouma National Park, Chad. I demonstrated that Zakouma elephants were among the tallest populations in Africa, with growth rates being highest throughout the first five years of life.

  6. Protecting the African Elephant: A Dynamic Bioeconomic Model of Ivory Trade

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kooten, van G.C.

    2008-01-01

    A dynamic bioeconomic model of ivory trade is used to investigate the efficacy of conservation payments, tourism benefits, quota regimes and a trade ban on the protection of the African elephant (Laxadonta africana). The model consists of four ivory exporting regions and one demand region. Results i

  7. Elephants have relatively the largest cerebellum size of mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maseko, Busisiwe C; Spocter, Muhammad A; Haagensen, Mark; Manger, Paul R

    2012-04-01

    The current study used MR imaging to determine the volume of the cerebellum and its component parts in the brain of three adult male African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and compared this with published data from Asian elephants and other mammalian species including odontocete cetaceans, primates, chiropterans, insectivores, carnivores, and artiodactyls. The cerebellum of the adult elephant has a volume of ∼925 mL (average of both African and Asian species). Allometric analysis indicates that the elephant has the largest relative cerebellum size of all mammals studied to date. In addition, both odontocete cetaceans and microchiropterans appear to have large relative cerebellar sizes. The vermal and hemispheric components of the African elephant cerebellum are both large relative to other mammals of similar brain size, however, for odontocete cetaceans the vermal component is small and the hemispheric component is large. These volumetric observations are related to life-histories and anatomies of the species investigated. The current study provides context for one aspect of the elephant brain in the broader picture of mammalian brain evolution.

  8. Analyzing Vegetation Change in an Elephant-Impacted Landscape Using the Moving Standard Deviation Index

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    Timothy J. Fullman

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Northern Botswana is influenced by various socio-ecological drivers of landscape change. The African elephant (Loxodonta africana is one of the leading sources of landscape shifts in this region. Developing the ability to assess elephant impacts on savanna vegetation is important to promote effective management strategies. The Moving Standard Deviation Index (MSDI applies a standard deviation calculation to remote sensing imagery to assess degradation of vegetation. Used previously for assessing impacts of livestock on rangelands, we evaluate the ability of the MSDI to detect elephant-modified vegetation along the Chobe riverfront in Botswana, a heavily elephant-impacted landscape. At broad scales, MSDI values are positively related to elephant utilization. At finer scales, using data from 257 sites along the riverfront, MSDI values show a consistent negative relationship with intensity of elephant utilization. We suggest that these differences are due to varying effects of elephants across scales. Elephant utilization of vegetation may increase heterogeneity across the landscape, but decrease it within heavily used patches, resulting in the observed MSDI pattern of divergent trends at different scales. While significant, the low explanatory power of the relationship between the MSDI and elephant utilization suggests the MSDI may have limited use for regional monitoring of elephant impacts.

  9. Synergistic effects of fire and elephants on arboreal animals in an African savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pringle, Robert M; Kimuyu, Duncan M; Sensenig, Ryan L; Palmer, Todd M; Riginos, Corinna; Veblen, Kari E; Young, Truman P

    2015-11-01

    Disturbance is a crucial determinant of animal abundance, distribution and community structure in many ecosystems, but the ways in which multiple disturbance types interact remain poorly understood. The effects of multiple-disturbance interactions can be additive, subadditive or super-additive (synergistic). Synergistic effects in particular can accelerate ecological change; thus, characterizing such synergies, the conditions under which they arise, and how long they persist has been identified as a major goal of ecology. We factorially manipulated two principal sources of disturbance in African savannas, fire and elephants, and measured their independent and interactive effects on the numerically dominant vertebrate (the arboreal gekkonid lizard Lygodactylus keniensis) and invertebrate (a guild of symbiotic Acacia ants) animal species in a semi-arid Kenyan savanna. Elephant exclusion alone (minus fire) had negligible effects on gecko density. Fire alone (minus elephants) had negligible effects on gecko density after 4 months, but increased gecko density twofold after 16 months, likely because the decay of fire-damaged woody biomass created refuges and nest sites for geckos. In the presence of elephants, fire increased gecko density nearly threefold within 4 months of the experimental burn; this occurred because fire increased the incidence of elephant damage to trees, which in turn improved microhabitat quality for geckos. However, this synergistic positive effect of fire and elephants attenuated over the ensuing year, such that only the main effect of fire was evident after 16 months. Fire also altered the structure of symbiotic plant-ant assemblages occupying the dominant tree species (Acacia drepanolobium); this influenced gecko habitat selection but did not explain the synergistic effect of fire and elephants. However, fire-driven shifts in plant-ant occupancy may have indirectly mediated this effect by increasing trees' susceptibility to elephant damage. Our

  10. Elevated elephant density does not improve ecotourism opportunities: convergence in social and ecological objectives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maciejewski, Kristine; Kerley, Graham I H

    2014-07-01

    In order to sustainably conserve biodiversity, many protected areas, particularly private protected areas, must find means of self-financing. Ecotourism is increasingly seen as a mechanism to achieve such financial sustainability. However, there is concern that ecotourism operations are driven to achieve successful game-viewing, influencing the management of charismatic species. An abundance of such species, including the African elephant (Loxodonta africana), has been stocked in protected areas under the assumption that they will increase ecotourism value. At moderate to high densities, the impact of elephants is costly; numerous studies have documented severe changes in biodiversity through the impacts of elephants. Protected areas that focus on maintaining high numbers of elephants may therefore face a conflict between socioeconomic demands and the capacity of ecological systems. We address this conflict by analyzing tourist elephant-sighting records from six private and one statutory protected area, the Addo Elephant National Park (AENP), in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, in relation to elephant numbers. We found no relationship between elephant density and elephant-viewing success. Even though elephant density in the AENP increased over time, a hierarchical partitioning analysis indicated that elephant density was not a driver of tourist numbers. In contrast, annual tourist numbers for the AENP were positively correlated with general tourist numbers recorded for South Africa. Our results indicate that the socioeconomic and ecological requirements of protected areas in terms of tourism and elephants, respectively, converge. Thus, high elephant densities and their associated ecological costs are not required to support ecotourism operations for financial sustainability. Understanding the social and ecological feedbacks that dominate the dynamics of protected areas, particularly within private protected areas, can help to elucidate the management

  11. Age profiles in elephant and mammoth bone assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haynes, Gary

    1985-11-01

    Age profiles of modern African elephant ( Loxodonta africana) populations are significantly affected by drought conditions that cause local die-offs. Subadult animals die in proportions that may be nearly twice what is recorded in live populations. Such biasing of death sample age profiles might also have occurred during late Pleistocene die-offs of Mammuthus. This comparative study of modern and fossil proboscidean age structures supports a tentative interpretation that late Pleistocene extinction of Mammuthus (at least in the southwestern United States) resulted from severe drought conditions, at which Clovis hunters were witnesses, but not necessarily frequent participants.

  12. Simultaneous modeling of habitat suitability, occupancy, and relative abundance: African elephants in Zimbabwe.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martin, Julien; Chamaillé-Jammes, Simon; Nichols, James D; Fritz, Hervé; Hines, James E; Fonnesbeck, Christopher J; MacKenzie, Darryl I; Bailey, Larissa L

    2010-06-01

    The recent development of statistical models such as dynamic site occupancy models provides the opportunity to address fairly complex management and conservation problems with relatively simple models. However, surprisingly few empirical studies have simultaneously modeled habitat suitability and occupancy status of organisms over large landscapes for management purposes. Joint modeling of these components is particularly important in the context of management of wild populations, as it provides a more coherent framework to investigate the population dynamics of organisms in space and time for the application of management decision tools. We applied such an approach to the study of water hole use by African elephants in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Here we show how such methodology may be implemented and derive estimates of annual transition probabilities among three dry-season states for water holes: (1) unsuitable state (dry water holes with no elephants); (2) suitable state (water hole with water) with low abundance of elephants; and (3) suitable state with high abundance of elephants. We found that annual rainfall and the number of neighboring water holes influenced the transition probabilities among these three states. Because of an increase in elephant densities in the park during the study period, we also found that transition probabilities from low abundance to high abundance states increased over time. The application of the joint habitat-occupancy models provides a coherent framework to examine how habitat suitability and factors that affect habitat suitability influence the distribution and abundance of organisms. We discuss how these simple models can further be used to apply structured decision-making tools in order to derive decisions that are optimal relative to specified management objectives. The modeling framework presented in this paper should be applicable to a wide range of existing data sets and should help to address important ecological

  13. Simultaneous modeling of habitat suitability, occupancy, and relative abundance: African elephants in Zimbabwe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martin, Julien; Chamaille-Jammes, Simon; Nichols, James D.; Fritz, Herve; Hines, James E.; Fonnesbeck, Christopher J.; MacKenzie, Darryl I.; Bailey, Larissa L.

    2010-01-01

    The recent development of statistical models such as dynamic site occupancy models provides the opportunity to address fairly complex management and conservation problems with relatively simple models. However, surprisingly few empirical studies have simultaneously modeled habitat suitability and occupancy status of organisms over large landscapes for management purposes. Joint modeling of these components is particularly important in the context of management of wild populations, as it provides a more coherent framework to investigate the population dynamics of organisms in space and time for the application of management decision tools. We applied such an approach to the study of water hole use by African elephants in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Here we show how such methodology may be implemented and derive estimates of annual transition probabilities among three dry-season states for water holes: (1) unsuitable state (dry water holes with no elephants); (2) suitable state (water hole with water) with low abundance of elephants; and (3) suitable state with high abundance of elephants. We found that annual rainfall and the number of neighboring water holes influenced the transition probabilities among these three states. Because of an increase in elephant densities in the park during the study period, we also found that transition probabilities from low abundance to high abundance states increased over time. The application of the joint habitat–occupancy models provides a coherent framework to examine how habitat suitability and factors that affect habitat suitability influence the distribution and abundance of organisms. We discuss how these simple models can further be used to apply structured decision-making tools in order to derive decisions that are optimal relative to specified management objectives. The modeling framework presented in this paper should be applicable to a wide range of existing data sets and should help to address important ecological

  14. Elephant impact on shoot distribution on trees and on rebrowsing by smaller browsers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Makhabu, Shimane W.; Skarpe, Christina; Hytteborn, Håkan

    2006-09-01

    In order to determine the effects of a megaherbivore, the African elephant ( Loxodonta africana) on browse available for mesoherbivores, we assessed the vertical distribution of shoots (< 6 mm in diameter) on trees with different accumulated elephant impact. We also determined the foraging responses by a mixed feeder, impala ( Aepyceros melampus) and a browser, greater kudu ( Tragelaphus strepsiceros) which are mesoherbivores. The foraging responses by impala and kudu were in terms of preferences of trees with different accumulated elephant impact levels and whether animals browsed in different height sections in proportion to availability of shoots. We counted shoots in each 20 cm height section up to 2.6 m on trees in 25 m by 25 m plots and on trees observed to be browsed by impala and kudu. In most tree species, individuals with high accumulated elephant impact were shorter and had more shoots at low levels than tree individuals with either low or no accumulated elephant impact. Impala and kudu preferred to browse tree individuals with accumulated elephant impact over those without such impact. Impala and kudu browsed more than expected at height sections with many shoots and less than expected at height sections with fewer shoots indicating a non-linear overmatching foraging response. We suggest that increased shoot abundance at low levels in the canopy might explain part of the observed preferences. Elephants, therefore, seem to facilitate browsing by mesoherbivores by generating 'browsing lawns'. Such benefits need to be considered when making decisions on how to manage populations of megaherbivores like elephant.

  15. Seed dispersal potential of Asian elephants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harich, Franziska K.; Treydte, Anna C.; Ogutu, Joseph O.; Roberts, John E.; Savini, Chution; Bauer, Jan M.; Savini, Tommaso

    2016-11-01

    Elephants, the largest terrestrial mega-herbivores, play an important ecological role in maintaining forest ecosystem diversity. While several plant species strongly rely on African elephants (Loxodonta africana; L. cyclotis) as seed dispersers, little is known about the dispersal potential of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). We examined the effects of elephant fruit consumption on potential seed dispersal using the example of a tree species with mega-faunal characteristics, Dillenia indica L., in Thailand. We conducted feeding trials with Asian elephants to quantify seed survival and gut passage times (GPT). In total, 1200 ingested and non-ingested control seeds were planted in soil and in elephant dung to quantify differences in germination rates in terms of GPT and dung treatment. We used survival analysis as a novel approach to account for the right-censored nature of the data obtained from germination experiments. The average seed survival rate was 79% and the mean GPT was 35 h. The minimum and maximum GPT were 20 h and 72 h, respectively. Ingested seeds were significantly more likely to germinate and to do so earlier than non-ingested control seeds (P = 0.0002). Seeds with the longest GPT displayed the highest germination success over time. Unexpectedly, seeds planted with dung had longer germination times than those planted without. We conclude that D. indica does not solely depend on but benefits from dispersal by elephants. The declining numbers of these mega-faunal seed dispersers might, therefore, have long-term negative consequences for the recruitment and dispersal dynamics of populations of certain tree species.

  16. Genetic relatedness and disrupted social structure in a poached population of African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gobush, Kathleen; Kerr, Ben; Wasser, Samuel

    2009-02-01

    We use genetic measures of relatedness and observations of female bonding to examine the demographic signature of historically heavy poaching of a population of free-ranging African elephants. We collected dung samples to obtain DNA and observed behaviour from 102 elephant families over a 25-month period in 2003-2005 in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. Poaching reduced the population by 75% in the decade prior to the 1989 ivory trade ban; park records indicate that poaching dropped significantly in Mikumi following the ban. Using 10 microsatellite loci, DNA was genotyped in 203 elephants and pair-wise relatedness was calculated among adult females within and between groups. The Mikumi population is characterized by small group size, considerable variation in group relatedness, females with no first-order adult relatives and females that form only weak social bonds. We used gene-drop analysis and a model of a genetically intact pedigree to compare our observed Mikumi group relatedness to a simulated genetically intact unpoached expectation. The majority of groups in Mikumi contain 2 to 3 adults; of these, 45% were classified as genetically disrupted. Bonding, quantified with a pair-wise association index, was significantly correlated with relatedness; however only half of the females formed strong bonds with other females, and relatedness was substantially lower for a given bond strength as compared to an unpoached population. Female African elephants without kin demonstrated considerable behavioural plasticity in this disturbed environment, grouping with other females lacking kin, with established groups, or remaining alone, unable to form any stable adult female-bonds. We interpret these findings as the remaining effect of poaching disturbance in Mikumi, despite a drop in the level of poaching since the commercial trade in ivory was banned 15 years ago.

  17. The African Elephant as a Game Ranch Animal

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. de Graaff

    1992-09-01

    Full Text Available The Wildlife Group of the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA was constituted in the beginning of the 1970s by a number of persons interested in theoretical and practical aspects of wildlife {sensu lato, wildlife diseases, and the handling of game and wild animals {^ensit stricto}.

  18. Detusking fence-breaker elephants as an approach in human-elephant conflict mitigation

    OpenAIRE

    Matthew Mutinda; Geoffrey Chenge; Francis Gakuya; Moses Otiende; Patrick Omondi; Samuel Kasiki; Soriguer, Ramón C.; Samer Alasaad

    2014-01-01

    Background: Human-elephant conflict (HEC) is a recurring problem that appears wherever the range of elephants and humans overlap. Different methods including the use of electric fences are used worldwide to mitigate this conflict. Nonetheless, elephants learn quickly that their tusks do not conduct electricity and use them to break down fences (fencebreakers). Methodology/Principal Findings: In Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya, destructive elephants (Loxodonta africana) were monitored between...

  19. The reproductive advantages of a long life: longevity and senescence in wild female African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Phyllis C; Fishlock, Victoria; Webber, C Elizabeth; Moss, Cynthia J

    Long-lived species such as elephants, whales and primates exhibit extended post-fertile survival compared to species with shorter lifespans but data on age-related fecundity and survival are limited to few species or populations. We assess relationships between longevity, reproductive onset, reproductive rate and age for 834 longitudinally monitored wild female African elephants in Amboseli, Kenya. The mean known age at first reproduction was 13.8 years; only 5 % commenced reproduction by 10 years. Early reproducers (life. Overall, 95 % of fertility was completed before 50, and 95 % of mortality experienced by age 65, with a mean life expectancy of 41 years for females who survived to the minimum age at first birth (9 years). Elephant females have a relatively long period (c. 16 years) of viability after 95 % completed fertility, although reproduction does not entirely cease until they are over 65. We found no evidence of increased investment among females aged over 40 in terms of delay to next birth or calf mortality. The presence of a mother reproducing simultaneously with her daughter was associated with higher rates of daughter reproduction suggesting advantages from maternal (and grandmaternal) co-residence during reproduction.

  20. Radiocarbon dating of seized ivory confirms rapid decline in African elephant populations and provides insight into illegal trade

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cerling, Thure E.; Barnette, Janet E.; Chesson, Lesley A.; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Gobush, Kathleen S.; Uno, Kevin T.; Wasser, Samuel K.; Xu, Xiaomei

    2016-11-01

    Carbon-14 measurements on 231 elephant ivory specimens from 14 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 ton) made between 2002 and 2014 show that most ivory (ca. 90%) was derived from animals that had died less than 3 y before ivory was confiscated. This indicates that the assumption of recent elephant death for mortality estimates of African elephants is correct: Very little “old” ivory is included in large ivory shipments from Africa. We found only one specimen of the 231 analyzed to have a lag time longer than 6 y. Patterns of trade differ by regions: East African ivory, based on genetic assignments of geographic origin, has a much higher fraction of “rapid” transit than ivory originating in the Tridom region of Cameroon-Gabon-Congo. Carbon-14 is an important tool in understanding patterns of movement of illegal wildlife products.

  1. Major histocompatibility complex variation and evolution at a single, expressed DQA locus in two genera of elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Archie, Elizabeth A; Henry, Tammy; Maldonado, Jesus E; Moss, Cynthia J; Poole, Joyce H; Pearson, Virginia R; Murray, Suzan; Alberts, Susan C; Fleischer, Robert C

    2010-02-01

    Genes of the vertebrate major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are crucial to defense against infectious disease, provide an important measure of functional genetic diversity, and have been implicated in mate choice and kin recognition. As a result, MHC loci have been characterized for a number of vertebrate species, especially mammals;however, elephants are a notable exception. Our study is the first to characterize patterns of genetic diversity and natural selection in the elephant MHC. We did so using DNA sequences from a single, expressed DQA locus in elephants.We characterized six alleles in 30 African elephants(Loxodonta africana) and four alleles in three Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). In addition, for two of the African alleles and three of the Asian alleles, we characterized complete coding sequences (exons 1-5) and nearly complete non-coding sequences (introns 2-4) for the class II DQA loci. Compared to DQA in other wild mammals, we found moderate polymorphism and allelic diversity and similar patterns of selection; patterns of non-synonymous and synonymous substitutions were consistent with balancing selection acting on the peptides involved in antigen binding in the second exon. In addition, balancing selection has led to strong trans-species allelism that has maintained multiple allelic lineages across both genera of extant elephants for at least 6 million years. We discuss our results in the context of MHC diversity in other mammals and patterns of evolution in elephants.

  2. Elephant brain. Part I: gross morphology, functions, comparative anatomy, and evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shoshani, Jeheskel; Kupsky, William J; Marchant, Gary H

    2006-06-30

    We report morphological data on brains of four African, Loxodonta africana, and three Asian elephants, Elephas maximus, and compare findings to literature. Brains exhibit a gyral pattern more complex and with more numerous gyri than in primates, humans included, and in carnivores, but less complex than in cetaceans. Cerebral frontal, parietal, temporal, limbic, and insular lobes are well developed, whereas the occipital lobe is relatively small. The insula is not as opercularized as in man. The temporal lobe is disproportionately large and expands laterally. Humans and elephants have three parallel temporal gyri: superior, middle, and inferior. Hippocampal sizes in elephants and humans are comparable, but proportionally smaller in elephant. A possible carotid rete was observed at the base of the brain. Brain size appears to be related to body size, ecology, sociality, and longevity. Elephant adult brain averages 4783 g, the largest among living and extinct terrestrial mammals; elephant neonate brain averages 50% of its adult brain weight (25% in humans). Cerebellar weight averages 18.6% of brain (1.8 times larger than in humans). During evolution, encephalization quotient has increased by 10-fold (0.2 for extinct Moeritherium, approximately 2.0 for extant elephants). We present 20 figures of the elephant brain, 16 of which contain new material. Similarities between human and elephant brains could be due to convergent evolution; both display mosaic characters and are highly derived mammals. Humans and elephants use and make tools and show a range of complex learning skills and behaviors. In elephants, the large amount of cerebral cortex, especially in the temporal lobe, and the well-developed olfactory system, structures associated with complex learning and behavioral functions in humans, may provide the substrate for such complex skills and behavior.

  3. Fatal herpesvirus hemorrhagic disease in wild and orphan asian elephants in southern India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zachariah, Arun; Zong, Jian-Chao; Long, Simon Y; Latimer, Erin M; Heaggans, Sarah Y; Richman, Laura K; Hayward, Gary S

    2013-04-01

    Up to 65% of deaths of young Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) between 3 mo and 15 yr of age in Europe and North America over the past 20 yr have been attributed to hemorrhagic disease associated with a novel DNA virus called elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV). To evaluate the potential role of EEHV in suspected cases of a similar lethal acute hemorrhagic disease occurring in southern India, we studied pathologic tissue samples collected from field necropsies. Nine cases among both orphaned camp and wild Asian elephants were identified by diagnostic PCR. These were subjected to detailed gene subtype DNA sequencing at multiple PCR loci, which revealed seven distinct strains of EEHV1A and one of EEHV1B. Two orphan calves that died within 3 days of one another at the same training camp had identical EEHV1A DNA sequences, indicating a common epidemiologic source. However, the high level of EEHV1 subtype genetic diversity found among the other Indian strains matches that among over 30 EEHV1 strains that have been evaluated from Europe and North America. These results argue against the previous suggestions that this is just a disease of captive elephants and that the EEHV1 virus has crossed recently from African elephant (Loxodonta africana) hosts to Asian elephants. Instead, both the virus and the disease are evidently widespread in Asia and, despite the disease severity, Asian elephants appear to be the ancient endogenous hosts of both EEHV1A and EEHV1B.

  4. A Comparison of Walking Rates Between Wild and Zoo African Elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Lance J; Chase, Michael J; Hacker, Charlotte E

    2016-01-01

    With increased scrutiny surrounding the welfare of elephants in zoological institutions, it is important to have empirical evidence on their current welfare status. If elephants are not receiving adequate exercise, it could lead to obesity, which can lead to many issues including acyclicity and potentially heart disease. The goal of the current study was to compare the walking rates of elephants in the wild versus elephants in zoos to determine if elephants are walking similar distances relative to their wild counterparts. Eleven wild elephants throughout different habitats and locations in Botswana were compared to 8 elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Direct comparisons revealed no significant difference in average walking rates of zoo elephants when compared with wild elephants. These results suggest that elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park walk similar rates to those of wild elephants and may be meeting their exercise needs.

  5. Age determination by back length for African savanna elephants: extending age assessment techniques for aerial-based surveys.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Morgan J Trimble

    Full Text Available Determining the age of individuals in a population can lead to a better understanding of population dynamics through age structure analysis and estimation of age-specific fecundity and survival rates. Shoulder height has been used to accurately assign age to free-ranging African savanna elephants. However, back length may provide an analog measurable in aerial-based surveys. We assessed the relationship between back length and age for known-age elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, and Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa. We also compared age- and sex-specific back lengths between these populations and compared adult female back lengths across 11 widely dispersed populations in five African countries. Sex-specific Von Bertalanffy growth curves provided a good fit to the back length data of known-age individuals. Based on back length, accurate ages could be assigned relatively precisely for females up to 23 years of age and males up to 17. The female back length curve allowed more precise age assignment to older females than the curve for shoulder height does, probably because of divergence between the respective growth curves. However, this did not appear to be the case for males, but the sample of known-age males was limited to ≤27 years. Age- and sex-specific back lengths were similar in Amboseli National Park and Addo Elephant National Park. Furthermore, while adult female back lengths in the three Zambian populations were generally shorter than in other populations, back lengths in the remaining eight populations did not differ significantly, in support of claims that growth patterns of African savanna elephants are similar over wide geographic regions. Thus, the growth curves presented here should allow researchers to use aerial-based surveys to assign ages to elephants with greater precision than previously possible and, therefore, to estimate population variables.

  6. Elephant Management in North American Zoos: Environmental Enrichment, Feeding, Exercise, and Training.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brian J Greco

    Full Text Available The management of African (Loxodonta africana and Asian (Elephas maximus elephants in zoos involves a range of practices including feeding, exercise, training, and environmental enrichment. These practices are necessary to meet the elephants' nutritional, healthcare, and husbandry needs. However, these practices are not standardized, resulting in likely variation among zoos as well as differences in the way they are applied to individual elephants within a zoo. To characterize elephant management in North America, we collected survey data from zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, developed 26 variables, generated population level descriptive statistics, and analyzed them to identify differences attributable to sex and species. Sixty-seven zoos submitted surveys describing the management of 224 elephants and the training experiences of 227 elephants. Asian elephants spent more time managed (defined as interacting directly with staff than Africans (mean time managed: Asians = 56.9%; Africans = 48.6%; p<0.001, and managed time increased by 20.2% for every year of age for both species. Enrichment, feeding, and exercise programs were evaluated using diversity indices, with mean scores across zoos in the midrange for these measures. There were an average of 7.2 feedings every 24-hour period, with only 1.2 occurring during the nighttime. Feeding schedules were predictable at 47.5% of zoos. We also calculated the relative use of rewarding and aversive techniques employed during training interactions. The population median was seven on a scale from one (representing only aversive stimuli to nine (representing only rewarding stimuli. The results of our study provide essential information for understanding management variation that could be relevant to welfare. Furthermore, the variables we created have been used in subsequent elephant welfare analyses.

  7. Recumbence Behavior in Zoo Elephants: Determination of Patterns and Frequency of Recumbent Rest and Associated Environmental and Social Factors.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew R Holdgate

    Full Text Available Resting behaviors are an essential component of animal welfare but have received little attention in zoological research. African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus rest includes recumbent postures, but no large-scale investigation of African and Asian zoo elephant recumbence has been previously conducted. We used anklets equipped with accelerometers to measure recumbence in 72 adult female African (n = 44 and Asian (n = 28 elephants housed in 40 North American zoos. We collected 344 days of data and determined associations between recumbence and social, housing, management, and demographic factors. African elephants were recumbent less (2.1 hours/day, S.D. = 1.1 than Asian elephants (3.2 hours/day, S.D. = 1.5; P < 0.001. Nearly one-third of elephants were non-recumbent on at least one night, suggesting this is a common behavior. Multi-variable regression models for each species showed that substrate, space, and social variables had the strongest associations with recumbence. In the African model, elephants who spent any amount of time housed on all-hard substrate were recumbent 0.6 hours less per day than those who were never on all-hard substrate, and elephants who experienced an additional acre of outdoor space at night increased their recumbence by 0.48 hours per day. In the Asian model, elephants who spent any amount of time housed on all-soft substrate were recumbent 1.1 hours more per day more than those who were never on all-soft substrate, and elephants who spent any amount of time housed alone were recumbent 0.77 hours more per day than elephants who were never housed alone. Our results draw attention to the significant interspecific difference in the amount of recumbent rest and in the factors affecting recumbence; however, in both species, the influence of flooring substrate is notably important to recumbent rest, and by extension, zoo elephant welfare.

  8. Recumbence Behavior in Zoo Elephants: Determination of Patterns and Frequency of Recumbent Rest and Associated Environmental and Social Factors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holdgate, Matthew R.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Miller, Lance J.; Rushen, Jeff; de Passillé, Anne Marie; Soltis, Joseph; Andrews, Jeff; Shepherdson, David J.

    2016-01-01

    Resting behaviors are an essential component of animal welfare but have received little attention in zoological research. African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) rest includes recumbent postures, but no large-scale investigation of African and Asian zoo elephant recumbence has been previously conducted. We used anklets equipped with accelerometers to measure recumbence in 72 adult female African (n = 44) and Asian (n = 28) elephants housed in 40 North American zoos. We collected 344 days of data and determined associations between recumbence and social, housing, management, and demographic factors. African elephants were recumbent less (2.1 hours/day, S.D. = 1.1) than Asian elephants (3.2 hours/day, S.D. = 1.5; P < 0.001). Nearly one-third of elephants were non-recumbent on at least one night, suggesting this is a common behavior. Multi-variable regression models for each species showed that substrate, space, and social variables had the strongest associations with recumbence. In the African model, elephants who spent any amount of time housed on all-hard substrate were recumbent 0.6 hours less per day than those who were never on all-hard substrate, and elephants who experienced an additional acre of outdoor space at night increased their recumbence by 0.48 hours per day. In the Asian model, elephants who spent any amount of time housed on all-soft substrate were recumbent 1.1 hours more per day more than those who were never on all-soft substrate, and elephants who spent any amount of time housed alone were recumbent 0.77 hours more per day than elephants who were never housed alone. Our results draw attention to the significant interspecific difference in the amount of recumbent rest and in the factors affecting recumbence; however, in both species, the influence of flooring substrate is notably important to recumbent rest, and by extension, zoo elephant welfare. PMID:27414809

  9. Comparative sequence analyses of genome and transcriptome reveal novel transcripts and variants in the Asian elephant Elephas maximus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reddy, Puli Chandramouli; Sinha, Ishani; Kelkar, Ashwin; Habib, Farhat; Pradhan, Saurabh J; Sukumar, Raman; Galande, Sanjeev

    2015-12-01

    The Asian elephant Elephas maximus and the African elephant Loxodonta africana that diverged 5-7 million years ago exhibit differences in their physiology, behaviour and morphology. A comparative genomics approach would be useful and necessary for evolutionary and functional genetic studies of elephants. We performed sequencing of E. maximus and map to L. africana at ~15X coverage. Through comparative sequence analyses, we have identified Asian elephant specific homozygous, non-synonymous single nucleotide variants (SNVs) that map to 1514 protein coding genes, many of which are involved in olfaction. We also present the first report of a high-coverage transcriptome sequence in E. maximus from peripheral blood lymphocytes. We have identified 103 novel protein coding transcripts and 66-long non-coding (lnc)RNAs. We also report the presence of 181 protein domains unique to elephants when compared to other Afrotheria species. Each of these findings can be further investigated to gain a better understanding of functional differences unique to elephant species, as well as those unique to elephantids in comparison with other mammals. This work therefore provides a valuable resource to explore the immense research potential of comparative analyses of transcriptome and genome sequences in the Asian elephant.

  10. Comparative sequence analyses of genome and transcriptome reveal novel transcripts and variants in the Asian elephant Elephas maximus

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Puli Chandramouli Reddy; Ishani Sinha; Ashwin Kelkar; Farhat Habib; Saurabh J Pradhan; Raman Sukumar; Sanjeev Galande

    2015-12-01

    The Asian elephant Elephas maximus and the African elephant Loxodonta africana that diverged 5-7 million years ago exhibit differences in their physiology, behaviour and morphology. A comparative genomics approach would be useful and necessary for evolutionary and functional genetic studies of elephants. We performed sequencing of E. maximus and map to L. africana at ∼ 15X coverage. Through comparative sequence analyses, we have identified Asian elephant specific homozygous, non-synonymous single nucleotide variants (SNVs) that map to 1514 protein coding genes, many of which are involved in olfaction. We also present the first report of a high-coverage transcriptome sequence in E. maximus from peripheral blood lymphocytes. We have identified 103 novel protein coding transcripts and 66-long non-coding (Inc)RNAs. We also report the presence of 181 protein domains unique to elephants when compared to other Afrotheria species. Each of these findings can be further investigated to gain a better understanding of functional differences unique to elephant species, as well as those unique to elephantids in comparison with other mammals. This work therefore provides a valuable resource to explore the immense research potential of comparative analyses of transcriptome and genome sequences in the Asian elephant.

  11. Prenatal passive transfer of maternal immunity in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nofs, Sally A; Atmar, Robert L; Keitel, Wendy A; Hanlon, Cathleen; Stanton, Jeffrey J; Tan, Jie; Flanagan, Joseph P; Howard, Lauren; Ling, Paul D

    2013-06-15

    Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants exhibit characteristics of endotheliochorial placentation, which is common in carnivore species and is associated with modest maternal to fetal transplacental antibody transfer. However, it remains unknown whether the bulk of passive immune transfer in elephants is achieved prenatally or postnatally through ingestion of colostrum, as has been documented for horses, a species whose medical knowledgebase is often extrapolated for elephants. To address this issue, we took advantage of the fact that many zoo elephants are immunized with tetanus toxoid and/or rabies vaccines as part of their routine health care, allowing a comparison of serum antibody levels against these antigens between dams and neonates. Serum samples were collected from 3 newborn Asian elephant calves at birth (before ingestion of colostrum); 2-4 days after birth; and 2-3 months of age. The findings indicate that the newborns had anti-tetanus toxoid and anti-rabies titers that were equivalent to or higher than the titers of their dams from birth to approximately 3 months of age, suggesting that the majority of maternal-to-fetal transfer is transplacental and higher than expected based on the architecture of the Asian elephant placenta.

  12. African elephant in a cleft stick : choosing between starving or dying from thirst in arid savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wato, Yussuf

    2016-01-01

    Elephant population studies have become important especially because of the long standing perception that high elephant densities have negative impact on vegetation and other wildlife species. Thus, in areas of high elephant density, managers attempt to re-distribute them or keep their numbers low t

  13. Elephant Management in North American Zoos: Environmental Enrichment, Feeding, Exercise, and Training

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greco, Brian J.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Miller, Lance J.; Shepherdson, David J.; Morfeld, Kari A.; Andrews, Jeff; Baker, Anne M.; Carlstead, Kathy; Mench, Joy A.

    2016-01-01

    The management of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants in zoos involves a range of practices including feeding, exercise, training, and environmental enrichment. These practices are necessary to meet the elephants’ nutritional, healthcare, and husbandry needs. However, these practices are not standardized, resulting in likely variation among zoos as well as differences in the way they are applied to individual elephants within a zoo. To characterize elephant management in North America, we collected survey data from zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, developed 26 variables, generated population level descriptive statistics, and analyzed them to identify differences attributable to sex and species. Sixty-seven zoos submitted surveys describing the management of 224 elephants and the training experiences of 227 elephants. Asian elephants spent more time managed (defined as interacting directly with staff) than Africans (mean time managed: Asians = 56.9%; Africans = 48.6%; p<0.001), and managed time increased by 20.2% for every year of age for both species. Enrichment, feeding, and exercise programs were evaluated using diversity indices, with mean scores across zoos in the midrange for these measures. There were an average of 7.2 feedings every 24-hour period, with only 1.2 occurring during the nighttime. Feeding schedules were predictable at 47.5% of zoos. We also calculated the relative use of rewarding and aversive techniques employed during training interactions. The population median was seven on a scale from one (representing only aversive stimuli) to nine (representing only rewarding stimuli). The results of our study provide essential information for understanding management variation that could be relevant to welfare. Furthermore, the variables we created have been used in subsequent elephant welfare analyses. PMID:27414654

  14. Elephant-mediated habitat modifications and changes in herbivore species assemblages in Sabi Sand, South Africa

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boer, de W.F.; Oort, van J.W.A.; Grover, M.; Peel, M.J.S.

    2015-01-01

    Elephant Loxodonta africana conservation might indirectly influence the wider herbivore community structure, as elephants have the ability to significantly modify the savanna habitat. Uncertainty remains as to the consequences of these effects, as elephants might either compete with other species or

  15. The influence of life history milestones and association networks on crop-raiding behavior in male African elephants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patrick I Chiyo

    Full Text Available Factors that influence learning and the spread of behavior in wild animal populations are important for understanding species responses to changing environments and for species conservation. In populations of wildlife species that come into conflict with humans by raiding cultivated crops, simple models of exposure of individual animals to crops do not entirely explain the prevalence of crop raiding behavior. We investigated the influence of life history milestones using age and association patterns on the probability of being a crop raider among wild free ranging male African elephants; we focused on males because female elephants are not known to raid crops in our study population. We examined several features of an elephant association network; network density, community structure and association based on age similarity since they are known to influence the spread of behaviors in a population. We found that older males were more likely to be raiders than younger males, that males were more likely to be raiders when their closest associates were also raiders, and that males were more likely to be raiders when their second closest associates were raiders older than them. The male association network had sparse associations, a tendency for individuals similar in age and raiding status to associate, and a strong community structure. However, raiders were randomly distributed between communities. These features of the elephant association network may limit the spread of raiding behavior and likely determine the prevalence of raiding behavior in elephant populations. Our results suggest that social learning has a major influence on the acquisition of raiding behavior in younger males whereas life history factors are important drivers of raiding behavior in older males. Further, both life-history and network patterns may influence the acquisition and spread of complex behaviors in animal populations and provide insight on managing human

  16. The influence of life history milestones and association networks on crop-raiding behavior in male African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chiyo, Patrick I; Moss, Cynthia J; Alberts, Susan C

    2012-01-01

    Factors that influence learning and the spread of behavior in wild animal populations are important for understanding species responses to changing environments and for species conservation. In populations of wildlife species that come into conflict with humans by raiding cultivated crops, simple models of exposure of individual animals to crops do not entirely explain the prevalence of crop raiding behavior. We investigated the influence of life history milestones using age and association patterns on the probability of being a crop raider among wild free ranging male African elephants; we focused on males because female elephants are not known to raid crops in our study population. We examined several features of an elephant association network; network density, community structure and association based on age similarity since they are known to influence the spread of behaviors in a population. We found that older males were more likely to be raiders than younger males, that males were more likely to be raiders when their closest associates were also raiders, and that males were more likely to be raiders when their second closest associates were raiders older than them. The male association network had sparse associations, a tendency for individuals similar in age and raiding status to associate, and a strong community structure. However, raiders were randomly distributed between communities. These features of the elephant association network may limit the spread of raiding behavior and likely determine the prevalence of raiding behavior in elephant populations. Our results suggest that social learning has a major influence on the acquisition of raiding behavior in younger males whereas life history factors are important drivers of raiding behavior in older males. Further, both life-history and network patterns may influence the acquisition and spread of complex behaviors in animal populations and provide insight on managing human-wildlife conflict.

  17. Long-term monitoring of Dzanga Bai forest elephants: forest clearing use patterns.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turkalo, Andrea K; Wrege, Peter H; Wittemyer, George

    2013-01-01

    Individual identification of the relatively cryptic forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) at forest clearings currently provides the highest quality monitoring data on this ecologically important but increasingly threatened species. Here we present baseline data from the first 20 years of an individually based study of this species, conducted at the Dzanga Clearing, Central African Republic. A total of 3,128 elephants were identified over the 20-year study (1,244 adults; 675 females, 569 males). It took approximately four years for the majority of elephants visiting the clearing to be identified, but new elephants entered the clearing every year of the study. The study population was relatively stable, varying from 1,668 to 1,864 individuals (including juveniles and infants), with increasingly fewer males than females over time. The age-class distribution for females remained qualitatively unchanged between 1995 and 2010, while the proportion of adult males decreased from 20% to 10%, likely reflecting increased mortality. Visitation patterns by individuals were highly variable, with some elephants visiting monthly while others were ephemeral users with visits separated by multiple years. The number of individuals in the clearing at any time varied between 40 and 100 individuals, and there was little evidence of a seasonal pattern in this variation. The number of elephants entering the clearing together (defined here as a social group) averaged 1.49 (range 1-12) for males and 2.67 (range 1-14) for females. This collation of 20 years of intensive forest elephant monitoring provides the first detailed, long term look at the ecology of bai visitation for this species, offering insight to the ecological significance and motivation for bai use, social behavior, and threats to forest elephants. We discuss likely drivers (rainfall, compression, illegal killing, etc.) influencing bai visitation rates. This study provides the baseline for future demographic and behavioral

  18. Shift in black rhinoceros diet in the presence of elephant: evidence for competition?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marietjie Landman

    Full Text Available In African large herbivore assemblages, megaherbivores dominate the biomass and utilise the greatest share of available resources. Consequently, they are considered a separate trophic guild that structures the food niches of coexisting large herbivores. However, there exists little empirical evidence on how food resources are shared within this guild, and none for direct competition for food between megaherbivores. Using the histological analysis of faeces, we explore this phenomenon for African elephant Loxodonta africana and black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis in the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, where the accumulated impacts of elephant have reduced browse availability. Despite being unable to generalise beyond our study sites, our observations support the predictions of competition theory (as opposed to optimality theory by showing (1 a clear seasonal separation in resource use between these megaherbivores that increased as resource availability declined, and (2 rhinoceros changed their selectivity in the absence of elephant (using an adjacent site by expanding and shifting their diet along the grass-browse continuum, and in relation to availability. Although black rhinoceros are generally considered strict browsers, the most significant shift in diet occurred as rhinoceros increased their preferences for grasses in the presence of elephant. We speculate that the lack of specialised grazing adaptations may increase foraging costs in rhinoceros, through reduced harvest- and handling-efficiencies of grasses. In the short-term, this may be off-set by an enhanced tolerance for low quality food and by seasonally mobilising fat reserves; however, the long-term fitness consequences require further study. Our data suggest that managing elephant at high densities may compromise the foraging opportunities of coexisting browsers. This may be particularly important in small, fenced areas and overlapping preferred habitats where impacts

  19. Roadless wilderness area determines forest elephant movements in the Congo Basin.

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    Stephen Blake

    Full Text Available A dramatic expansion of road building is underway in the Congo Basin fuelled by private enterprise, international aid, and government aspirations. Among the great wilderness areas on earth, the Congo Basin is outstanding for its high biodiversity, particularly mobile megafauna including forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis. The abundance of many mammal species in the Basin increases with distance from roads due to hunting pressure, but the impacts of road proliferation on the movements of individuals are unknown. We investigated the ranging behaviour of forest elephants in relation to roads and roadless wilderness by fitting GPS telemetry collars onto a sample of 28 forest elephants living in six priority conservation areas. We show that the size of roadless wilderness is a strong determinant of home range size in this species. Though our study sites included the largest wilderness areas in central African forests, none of 4 home range metrics we calculated, including core area, tended toward an asymptote with increasing wilderness size, suggesting that uninhibited ranging in forest elephants no longer exists. Furthermore we show that roads outside protected areas which are not protected from hunting are a formidable barrier to movement while roads inside protected areas are not. Only 1 elephant from our sample crossed an unprotected road. During crossings her mean speed increased 14-fold compared to normal movements. Forest elephants are increasingly confined and constrained by roads across the Congo Basin which is reducing effective habitat availability and isolating populations, significantly threatening long term conservation efforts. If the current road development trajectory continues, forest wildernesses and the forest elephants they contain will collapse.

  20. Role of delinquent young "orphan" male elephants in high mortality of white rhinoceros in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

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    R. Slotow

    2001-07-01

    Full Text Available We describe white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum mortality at Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa, focussing on mortality caused by African elephant (Loxodonta africana. We reconstructed records from a range of historical sources, and estimated that up to 49 rhino were killed by elephant. There was confirmed mortality in 1994 and 1996, and based on patterns, we suggest a set of rhino mortality from elephant in 1992. Both sexes and all age classes were victims. There was no significant bias to older animals, but given the rhino population structure, there was a significant bias towards males in adult deaths. The culprits were identified as young male elephants that entered musth about 10 years younger than expected, and maintained musth for a full term at first occurrence. We attributed this to the lack of a mature bull hierarchy in the park, because these elephants were the product of translocation of young animals (<10 years old remaining from culls in Kruger National Park. We emphasise the need for accurate monitoring and record keeping, and a focus on individual identification of key species in small reserves.

  1. THE ROLE OF REMOTE SENSING FOR SUSTAINABLE ELEPHANT MANAGEMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA. FOUR MEDIUM SIZED GAME RESERVES AS CASE STUDIES

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Jordaan

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Loxodonta africana (African Elephant are running out of living space so the protection of what space they have is essential. Existing areas of suitable elephant habitat need to be protected not only from human development but from the elephants themselves. As most elephant populations in South Africa are enclosed and multiplying, there is some increasing cause for concern as the damage caused will escalate and could reach unsustainable proportions. This study examined the utilization of satellite images for the detection of elephant induced ecosystem modification. A pilot study was conducted on four medium sized Game Reserves (each ±30 000 ha in South Africa. The aim was to ascertain the feasibility of using image analysis as instrument by which Game Reserve managers could assess biodiversity richness, habitat loss, and population-habitat viability. NDVI as indicator of primary production in vegetation is one of the instruments used to evaluate whether the carrying capacity for elephants of each Game Reserve has been reached and to compare the current biomass with those of previous years. The study also looked at the use of the woody canopy cover as target for change detection analysis. Spectral characteristics of specific trees species which are known for being preferred by elephants were used to conduct a temporal analysis on satellite images starting from the period when the elephants were re-introduced into each Game Reserve, thus attempting to identify possible impact on the biodiversity of the respective Game Reserves. Images from satellites such as Landsat, SPOT, Quickbird and SumbandilaSAT provided the needed data and maps.

  2. The Role of Remote Sensing for Sustainable Elephant Management in South Africa. Four Medium Sized Game Reserves as Case Studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordaan, M.

    2012-07-01

    Loxodonta africana (African Elephant) are running out of living space so the protection of what space they have is essential. Existing areas of suitable elephant habitat need to be protected not only from human development but from the elephants themselves. As most elephant populations in South Africa are enclosed and multiplying, there is some increasing cause for concern as the damage caused will escalate and could reach unsustainable proportions. This study examined the utilization of satellite images for the detection of elephant induced ecosystem modification. A pilot study was conducted on four medium sized Game Reserves (each ±30 000 ha) in South Africa. The aim was to ascertain the feasibility of using image analysis as instrument by which Game Reserve managers could assess biodiversity richness, habitat loss, and population-habitat viability. NDVI as indicator of primary production in vegetation is one of the instruments used to evaluate whether the carrying capacity for elephants of each Game Reserve has been reached and to compare the current biomass with those of previous years. The study also looked at the use of the woody canopy cover as target for change detection analysis. Spectral characteristics of specific trees species which are known for being preferred by elephants were used to conduct a temporal analysis on satellite images starting from the period when the elephants were re-introduced into each Game Reserve, thus attempting to identify possible impact on the biodiversity of the respective Game Reserves. Images from satellites such as Landsat, SPOT, Quickbird and SumbandilaSAT provided the needed data and maps.

  3. Assisted reproduction in female rhinoceros and elephants--current status and future perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hermes, R; Göritz, F; Streich, Wj; Hildebrandt, Tb

    2007-09-01

    Over the last few decades, rhinoceroses and elephants became important icons in the saga of wildlife conservation. Recent surveys estimate the wild Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephant populations to be, at most, 50 250 and 637 600 respectively. For the five rhinoceros species, black (Diceros bicornis), white (Ceratotherium simum), Indian (Rhinoceros unicornis), Javan (Rhinoceros sondaicus) and Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus Sumatrensis), the population estimates of 3610, 11 330, 2400, 60 and 300, respectively, are of even greater concern. Protected against habitat loss, poaching and left undisturbed, rhinoceros and elephants reproduce well in the wild. But small and decreasing populations make successful captive management of these taxa increasingly important. In captivity, however, most populations face possible 'extinction' because of historically poor reproductive performance. From the first descriptions of the reproductive anatomy and the oestrous cycle (Laws 1969; Kassam and Lasley 1981; Balke et al. 1988a,b; Plotka et al. 1988; Godfrey et al. 1991) to the present use of advanced assisted reproduction technologies, researchers have strive to understand the function and dysfunction of the reproductive biology of these charismatic species. This paper reviewed the current knowledge on rhinoceros and elephant reproduction biology, reproductive cycle, gestation, dystocia, reproductive pathology, oestrous induction and artificial insemination, sperm sexing, IVF and contraception, and how this knowledge is or might be used to aid species conservation for maximal reproductive efficiency and enhancement of genetic management.

  4. Selective habitat utilisation and impact on vegetation by African elephant within a heterogeneous landscape

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Steyn

    2001-07-01

    Full Text Available Since 1992, a total of 33 elephants have been reintroduced to a 31 000 ha game-fenced section of the Songimvelo Game Reserve in the Barberton Mountainland, South Africa. The impact from elephant was assessed on the attainment of the primary management objectives which are the conservation of plant community and plant species diversity. A total of 160 semi-quantitative plots were systematically sampled along foraging paths. Vegetation was assessed in terms of dominant species composition and species utilised. Elephant activity is mostly confined to a rugged 1 200 ha portion of the reserve. Forest, thickets and woodlands are positively selected, whereas shrublands and grasslands are little utilised. A total of 73 woody species were recorded within the sample plots. Thirtynine of these species were utilised in the woodlands, 31 in the forest and thickets, and only 18 in the shrublands. Acacia ataxacantha, Dalbergia armata and Acacia caffra are ranked highest in dominance and in utilisation values. In contrast, Cussonia spicata and Pterocarpus angolensis are less common but are much selected. Continued utilisation at present levels could significantly threaten their persistence. These preliminary results indicate that the present low overall density of elephants relative to many other conservation areas already has a marked effect on certain plant species. Absolute elephant density figures are relatively meaningless within a heterogeneous landscape. The specific community and species make-up of the landscape needs to be taken into account for the determination of bounds to elephant numbers in order to ensure the maintenance of present plant species diversity levels.

  5. Implementing immunocontraception in free-ranging African elephants at Makalali Conservancy

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    A.K. Delsink

    2007-05-01

    Full Text Available The goal of programmes to provide contraception for elephants should be to formulate an approach that does not require the relocation or immobilisation of the same individual year after year, which would be long-lasting and cause minimal disruption to social and reproductive behaviour. The programmes should be simple to administer, safe and cost-effective, and must meet the objectives defined by managers in the field. An immunocontraceptive programme was initiated in a small free-roaming population of elephants at the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve in Limpopo Province in 2000 to determine whether the porcine zona pellucida (pZP vaccine can successfully control population sizes. Further objectives were to determine implementation costs and efficiency through a multi-faceted approach. We have demonstrated that immunocontraception meets the objectives set by managers in the field. Minimal social disruption was observed over the course of treatment, with the mode of delivery (ground or aerial vaccinations determining the degree of stress within herds and speed of resumption of normal movement patterns. Aerial vaccinations resulted in the least disturbance, with target herds being approachable within a day. In 2005, implementation costs were R880-R1000 / elephant / year, inclusive of darts, vaccine, helicopter and veterinary assistance. Irrespective of the source or method of vaccine delivery, a non-pregnant elephant is rendered infertile from 1st vaccine administration. The sooner immunocontraception is implemented, the sooner population growth rates can be controlled. pZP contraception is a realistic alternative management tool, particularly if used as part of a long-termmanagement strategy. Mass-darting from the air eliminates the need for detailed individual histories of each elephant or for employing a person to monitor elephants. Thus, implementation of immunocontraception in larger populations is feasible and practical.

  6. Vitamin A storage in the liver of certain African wild ruminants and elephant

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    C. Bartelmus

    1976-08-01

    Full Text Available The levels of vitamin A were determined in liver samples from 40 animals including ruminant species feeding on grass (4 buffalo, 6 blue wildebeest, 5 gemsbok or mainly on plant material other than grass (10 impala, 3 springbok, 7 kudu and 5 elephants. The mean values obtained for the ruminant species ranged from 212 to 1217 I.U. vitamin A/g liver fresh weight mass and showed no relationship to the percentage of grass in rumen contents. An unusually low level of 67 I.U. was found in elephant.

  7. South African Acari. IV. Some Mites of the Addo Elephant National Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E.A. Ueckermann

    1988-10-01

    Full Text Available Mites collected in the Addo Elephant National Park from 1968 to 1986 are given in a check list. Comments are made on the habitats and distribution of the 36 known species. The following species are described and illustrated: Tenuipalpus robustae Meyer, spec. nov., Tydeus schotiae Ueckermann spec. nov., Paralorryia grewiae Ueckermann, spec. nov. and Pronematulus pteroni Ueckermann, spec. nov.

  8. Highly Accurate Antibody Assays for Early and Rapid Detection of Tuberculosis in African and Asian Elephants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tuberculosis (TB) in elephants is a re-emerging zoonotic disease caused primarily by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Current methods for screening and diagnosis rely on trunk wash culture, which has serious limitations due to low test sensitivity, slow turn-around time, and variable sample quality. Inn...

  9. The bulldozer herbivore: how animals benefit from elephant modifying an African savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kohi, E.

    2013-01-01

    Herbivore-vegetation interactions are important structuring forces in savanna that modify the availability and quality of forage resources. Elephant for example, are known for their ability to change the vegetation structure through toppling trees, uprooting, snapping, debarking and breaking branche

  10. The Effects of One-Off Ivory Sales on Elephant Mortality

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bulte, E.H.; Damania, R.; Kooten, van G.C.

    2007-01-01

    We revisited the debate about whether the 1999 one-off sale of ivory promoted elephant (Loxodonta africana) poaching in Africa. Complementing earlier work based on ivory seizure data, we considered data on elephant mortality in Zimbabwe and Kenya. Our findings present a mixed picture. At the local l

  11. Skeletal pathology and variable anatomy in elephant feet assessed using computed tomography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dixon, Jonathon J.I.; Warren-Smith, Chris; Hutchinson, John R.; Weller, Renate

    2017-01-01

    Foot problems are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in elephants, but are underreported due to difficulties in diagnosis, particularly of conditions affecting the bones and internal structures. Here we evaluate post-mortem computer tomographic (CT) scans of 52 feet from 21 elephants (seven African Loxodonta africana and 14 Asian Elephas maximus), describing both pathology and variant anatomy (including the appearance of phalangeal and sesamoid bones) that could be mistaken for disease. We found all the elephants in our study to have pathology of some type in at least one foot. The most common pathological changes observed were bone remodelling, enthesopathy, osseous cyst-like lesions, and osteoarthritis, with soft tissue mineralisation, osteitis, infectious osteoarthriti, subluxation, fracture and enostoses observed less frequently. Most feet had multiple categories of pathological change (81% with two or more diagnoses, versus 10% with a single diagnosis, and 9% without significant pathology). Much of the pathological change was focused over the middle/lateral digits, which bear most weight and experience high peak pressures during walking. We found remodelling and osteoarthritis to be correlated with increasing age, more enthesopathy in Asian elephants, and more cyst-like lesions in females. We also observed multipartite, missing and misshapen phalanges as common and apparently incidental findings. The proximal (paired) sesamoids can appear fused or absent, and the predigits (radial/tibial sesamoids) can be variably ossified, though are significantly more ossified in Asian elephants. Our study reinforces the need for regular examination and radiography of elephant feet to monitor for pathology and as a tool for improving welfare. PMID:28123909

  12. Determining Connections between the Daily Lives of Zoo Elephants and Their Welfare: An Epidemiological Approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meehan, Cheryl L; Mench, Joy A; Carlstead, Kathy; Hogan, Jennifer N

    2016-01-01

    Concerns about animal welfare increasingly shape people's views about the acceptability of keeping animals for food production, biomedical research, and in zoos. The field of animal welfare science has developed over the past 50 years as a method of investigating these concerns via research that assesses how living in human-controlled environments influences the behavior, health and affective states of animals. Initially, animal welfare research focused on animals in agricultural settings, but the field has expanded to zoos because good animal welfare is essential to zoos' mission of promoting connections between animals and visitors and raising awareness of conservation issues. A particular challenge for zoos is ensuring good animal welfare for long-lived, highly social species like elephants. Our main goal in conducting an epidemiological study of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephant welfare in 68 accredited North American zoos was to understand the prevalence of welfare indicators in the population and determine the aspects of an elephant's zoo environment, social life and management that are most important to prevent and reduce a variety of welfare problems. In this overview, we provide a summary of the findings of the nine papers in the collection titled: Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare with a focus on the life history, social, housing, and management factors found to be associated with particular aspects of elephant welfare, including the performance of abnormal behavior, foot and joint problems, recumbence, walking rates, and reproductive health issues. Social and management factors were found to be important for multiple indicators of welfare, while exhibit space was found to be less influential than expected. This body of work results from the largest prospective zoo-based animal welfare study conducted to date and sets in motion the process of using science-based welfare benchmarks to

  13. Determining Connections between the Daily Lives of Zoo Elephants and Their Welfare: An Epidemiological Approach.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cheryl L Meehan

    Full Text Available Concerns about animal welfare increasingly shape people's views about the acceptability of keeping animals for food production, biomedical research, and in zoos. The field of animal welfare science has developed over the past 50 years as a method of investigating these concerns via research that assesses how living in human-controlled environments influences the behavior, health and affective states of animals. Initially, animal welfare research focused on animals in agricultural settings, but the field has expanded to zoos because good animal welfare is essential to zoos' mission of promoting connections between animals and visitors and raising awareness of conservation issues. A particular challenge for zoos is ensuring good animal welfare for long-lived, highly social species like elephants. Our main goal in conducting an epidemiological study of African (Loxodonta africana and Asian (Elephas maximus elephant welfare in 68 accredited North American zoos was to understand the prevalence of welfare indicators in the population and determine the aspects of an elephant's zoo environment, social life and management that are most important to prevent and reduce a variety of welfare problems. In this overview, we provide a summary of the findings of the nine papers in the collection titled: Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare with a focus on the life history, social, housing, and management factors found to be associated with particular aspects of elephant welfare, including the performance of abnormal behavior, foot and joint problems, recumbence, walking rates, and reproductive health issues. Social and management factors were found to be important for multiple indicators of welfare, while exhibit space was found to be less influential than expected. This body of work results from the largest prospective zoo-based animal welfare study conducted to date and sets in motion the process of using science-based welfare

  14. Skeletal pathology and variable anatomy in elephant feet assessed using computed tomography

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sophie Regnault

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Foot problems are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in elephants, but are underreported due to difficulties in diagnosis, particularly of conditions affecting the bones and internal structures. Here we evaluate post-mortem computer tomographic (CT scans of 52 feet from 21 elephants (seven African Loxodonta africana and 14 Asian Elephas maximus, describing both pathology and variant anatomy (including the appearance of phalangeal and sesamoid bones that could be mistaken for disease. We found all the elephants in our study to have pathology of some type in at least one foot. The most common pathological changes observed were bone remodelling, enthesopathy, osseous cyst-like lesions, and osteoarthritis, with soft tissue mineralisation, osteitis, infectious osteoarthriti, subluxation, fracture and enostoses observed less frequently. Most feet had multiple categories of pathological change (81% with two or more diagnoses, versus 10% with a single diagnosis, and 9% without significant pathology. Much of the pathological change was focused over the middle/lateral digits, which bear most weight and experience high peak pressures during walking. We found remodelling and osteoarthritis to be correlated with increasing age, more enthesopathy in Asian elephants, and more cyst-like lesions in females. We also observed multipartite, missing and misshapen phalanges as common and apparently incidental findings. The proximal (paired sesamoids can appear fused or absent, and the predigits (radial/tibial sesamoids can be variably ossified, though are significantly more ossified in Asian elephants. Our study reinforces the need for regular examination and radiography of elephant feet to monitor for pathology and as a tool for improving welfare.

  15. Population structure of the African savannah elephant inferred from mitochondrial control region sequences and nuclear microsatellite loci

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nyakaana, S; Arctander, P; Siegismund, H R

    2002-01-01

    Two hundred and thirty-six mitochondrial DNA nucleotide sequences were used in combination with polymorphism at four nuclear microsatellite loci to assess the amount and distribution of genetic variation within and between African savannah elephants. They were sampled from 11 localities in eastern...... populations and 44 alleles in the total sample were found. The gene diversity ranged from 0.51 to 0.72 in the localities studied. An analysis of molecular variance showed significant genetic differentiation between populations within regions and also between regions. The extent of subdivision between...... populations at the mtDNA control region was approximately twice as high as shown by the microsatellite loci (mtDNA F(ST) = 0.59; microsatellite R(ST) = 0.31). We discuss our results in the light of Pleistocene refugia and attribute the observed pattern to population divergence in allopatry accompanied...

  16. Use of handheld X-ray fluorescence as a non-invasive method to distinguish between Asian and African elephant tusks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buddhachat, Kittisak; Thitaram, Chatchote; Brown, Janine L.; Klinhom, Sarisa; Bansiddhi, Pakkanut; Penchart, Kitichaya; Ouitavon, Kanita; Sriaksorn, Khanittha; Pa-in, Chalermpol; Kanchanasaka, Budsabong; Somgird, Chaleamchat; Nganvongpanit, Korakot

    2016-04-01

    We describe the use of handheld X-ray fluorescence, for elephant tusk species identification. Asian (n = 72) and African (n = 85) elephant tusks were scanned and we utilized the species differences in elemental composition to develop a functional model differentiating between species with high precision. Spatially, the majority of measured elements (n = 26) exhibited a homogeneous distribution in cross-section, but a more heterologous pattern in the longitudinal direction. Twenty-one of twenty four elements differed between Asian and African samples. Data were subjected to hierarchical cluster analysis followed by a stepwise discriminant analysis, which identified elements for the functional equation. The best equation consisted of ratios of Si, S, Cl, Ti, Mn, Ag, Sb and W, with Zr as the denominator. Next, Bayesian binary regression model analysis was conducted to predict the probability that a tusk would be of African origin. A cut-off value was established to improve discrimination. This Bayesian hybrid classification model was then validated by scanning an additional 30 Asian and 41 African tusks, which showed high accuracy (94%) and precision (95%) rates. We conclude that handheld XRF is an accurate, non-invasive method to discriminate origin of elephant tusks provides rapid results applicable to use in the field.

  17. An overview of the central nervous system of the elephant through a critical appraisal of the literature published in the XIX and XX centuries.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cozzi, B; Spagnoli, S; Bruno, L

    2001-01-15

    The two species of elephants (Indian: Elephas maximus and African: Loxodonta africana) possess the largest brain among land mammals. Due to its size, the elephant brain is discussed in virtually every paper dealing with the evolution of the central nervous system of mammals and comparative brain size. Studies on the social habits of elephants also deal with the skills and the "intelligence" and brain size of these species. Yet most of the descriptions and conclusions reported in comparative studies rely on second-hand data derived from investigations performed several decades before, often dating as far back as the XIX century. Furthermore, many of the original papers actually describing gross and detailed features of the brain of elephants are either no longer available, are written in languages other than English, or are difficult to trace. The present study gives a short description of the anatomy of the central nervous system of elephants, with special attention to its distinctive features, reports all available literature on the subject, and briefly discusses its origins and rationale.

  18. Where sociality and relatedness diverge: the genetic basis for hierarchical social organization in African elephants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wittemyer, George; Okello, John B. A.; Rasmussen, Henrik B.

    2009-01-01

    Hierarchical properties characterize elephant fission-fusion social organization whereby stable groups of individuals coalesce into higher order groups or split in a predictable manner. This hierarchical complexity is rare among animals and, as such, an examination of the factors driving its...... emergence offers unique insight into the evolution of social behaviour. Investigation of the genetic basis for such social affiliation demonstrates that while the majority of core social groups (second-tier affiliates) are significantly related, this is not exclusively the case. As such, direct benefits...

  19. Vertical Transmission of Social Roles Drives Resilience to Poaching in Elephant Networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldenberg, Shifra Z; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Wittemyer, George

    2016-01-11

    Network resilience to perturbation is fundamental to functionality in systems ranging from synthetic communication networks to evolved social organization [1]. While theoretical work offers insight into causes of network robustness, examination of natural networks can identify evolved mechanisms of resilience and how they are related to the selective pressures driving structure. Female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) exhibit complex social networks with node heterogeneity in which older individuals serve as connectivity hubs [2, 3]. Recent ivory poaching targeting older elephants in a well-studied population has mirrored the targeted removal of highly connected nodes in the theoretical literature that leads to structural collapse [4, 5]. Here we tested the response of this natural network to selective knockouts. We find that the hierarchical network topology characteristic of elephant societies was highly conserved across the 16-year study despite ∼70% turnover in individual composition of the population. At a population level, the oldest available individuals persisted to fill socially central positions in the network. For analyses using known mother-daughter pairs, social positions of daughters during the disrupted period were predicted by those of their mothers in years prior, were unrelated to individual histories of family mortality, and were actively built. As such, daughters replicated the social network roles of their mothers, driving the observed network resilience. Our study provides a rare bridge between network theory and an evolved system, demonstrating social redundancy to be the mechanism by which resilience to perturbation occurred in this socially advanced species.

  20. Physical mapping of the elephant X chromosome: conservation of gene order over 105 million years.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delgado, Claudia Leticia Rodríguez; Waters, Paul D; Gilbert, Clément; Robinson, Terence J; Graves, Jennifer A Marshall

    2009-01-01

    All therian mammals (eutherians and marsupials) have an XX female/XY male sex chromosome system or some variant of it. The X and Y evolved from a homologous pair of autosomes over the 166 million years since therian mammals diverged from monotremes. Comparing the sex chromosomes of eutherians and marsupials defined an ancient X conserved region that is shared between species of these mammalian clades. However, the eutherian X (and the Y) was augmented by a recent addition (XAR) that is autosomal in marsupials. XAR is part of the X in primates, rodents, and artiodactyls (which belong to the eutherian clade Boreoeutheria), but it is uncertain whether XAR is part of the X chromosome in more distantly related eutherian mammals. Here we report on the gene content and order on the X of the elephant (Loxodonta africana)-a representative of Afrotheria, a basal endemic clade of African mammals-and compare these findings to those of other documented eutherian species. A total of 17 genes were mapped to the elephant X chromosome. Our results support the hypothesis that the eutherian X and Y chromosomes were augmented by the addition of autosomal material prior to eutherian radiation. Not only does the elephant X bear the same suite of genes as other eutherian X chromosomes, but gene order appears to have been maintained across 105 million years of evolution, perhaps reflecting strong constraints posed by the eutherian X inactivation system.

  1. A proposal for a transnational forest network area for elephants in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Parren, M.P.E.; Leede, de B.M.; Bongers, F.

    2002-01-01

    Forest elephants Loxodonta africana cyclotis in Ghana and eastern Côte d'Ivoire live in small isolated populations and number fewer than 1,000 individuals in total. To ensure the long-term survival of these elephants the present forest reserves need to be linked into a network by forest corridors. T

  2. Animal perception of seasonal thresholds: changes in elephant movement in relation to rainfall patterns.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patricia J Birkett

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The identification of temporal thresholds or shifts in animal movement informs ecologists of changes in an animal's behaviour, which contributes to an understanding of species' responses in different environments. In African savannas, rainfall, temperature and primary productivity influence the movements of large herbivores and drive changes at different scales. Here, we developed a novel approach to define seasonal shifts in movement behaviour by examining the movements of a highly mobile herbivore (elephant; Loxodonta africana, in relation to local and regional rainfall patterns. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We used speed to determine movement changes of between 8 and 14 GPS-collared elephant cows, grouped into five spatial clusters, in Kruger National Park, South Africa. To detect broad-scale patterns of movement, we ran a three-year daily time-series model for each individual (2007-2009. Piecewise regression models provided the best fit for elephant movement, which exhibited a segmented, waveform pattern over time. Major breakpoints in speed occurred at the end of the dry and wet seasons of each year. During the dry season, female elephant are constrained by limited forage and thus the distances they cover are shorter and less variable. Despite the inter-annual variability of rainfall, speed breakpoints were strongly correlated with both local and regional rainfall breakpoints across all three years. Thus, at a multi-year scale, rainfall patterns significantly affect the movements of elephant. The variability of both speed and rainfall breakpoints across different years highlights the need for an objective definition of seasonal boundaries. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: By using objective criteria to determine behavioural shifts, we identified a biologically meaningful indicator of major changes in animal behaviour in different years. We recommend the use of such criteria, from an animal's perspective, for delineating seasons or

  3. Determining Connections between the Daily Lives of Zoo Elephants and Their Welfare: An Epidemiological Approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meehan, Cheryl L.; Mench, Joy A.; Carlstead, Kathy; Hogan, Jennifer N.

    2016-01-01

    Concerns about animal welfare increasingly shape people’s views about the acceptability of keeping animals for food production, biomedical research, and in zoos. The field of animal welfare science has developed over the past 50 years as a method of investigating these concerns via research that assesses how living in human-controlled environments influences the behavior, health and affective states of animals. Initially, animal welfare research focused on animals in agricultural settings, but the field has expanded to zoos because good animal welfare is essential to zoos’ mission of promoting connections between animals and visitors and raising awareness of conservation issues. A particular challenge for zoos is ensuring good animal welfare for long-lived, highly social species like elephants. Our main goal in conducting an epidemiological study of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephant welfare in 68 accredited North American zoos was to understand the prevalence of welfare indicators in the population and determine the aspects of an elephant’s zoo environment, social life and management that are most important to prevent and reduce a variety of welfare problems. In this overview, we provide a summary of the findings of the nine papers in the collection titled: Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare with a focus on the life history, social, housing, and management factors found to be associated with particular aspects of elephant welfare, including the performance of abnormal behavior, foot and joint problems, recumbence, walking rates, and reproductive health issues. Social and management factors were found to be important for multiple indicators of welfare, while exhibit space was found to be less influential than expected. This body of work results from the largest prospective zoo-based animal welfare study conducted to date and sets in motion the process of using science-based welfare benchmarks

  4. Calling Out the Elephant: An Examination of African American Male Achievement in Community Colleges

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    Edward C. Bush

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available This mixed method study examines the effects of community college institutional factors on the academic achievement of African American males and their perceptions of their college experience. We found that African American men in comparison to other ethnic and gender sub-groups (for both the California community college system and at Inland Community College are disproportionately underachieving in all segments of the academic outcomes measured. African American men throughout California’s community college system (including Inland Community College are the lowest performing subgroup when one considers: percentage of degrees earned, persistence rates, and average cumulative grade point average. The analysis of African American men’s perceptions of their college experience suggest that African American men have greater amounts of dissatisfaction and do not engage with the various segments of the college when compared to the other subgroups in the study. African American males were more likely not to meet with faculty members or have contact with them outside of the classroom. More importantly, faculty interaction predicted if African American male students persisted, transferred, and maintained a higher grade point average at the case study institution. The variables associated with campus climate predicted if African American male students transferred, had higher grade point averages, and graduated at higher rates from the case institution.

  5. Elephant transcriptome provides insights into the evolution of eutherian placentation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hou, Zhuo-Cheng; Sterner, Kirstin N; Romero, Roberto; Than, Nandor Gabor; Gonzalez, Juan M; Weckle, Amy; Xing, Jun; Benirschke, Kurt; Goodman, Morris; Wildman, Derek E

    2012-01-01

    The chorioallantoic placenta connects mother and fetus in eutherian pregnancies. In order to understand the evolution of the placenta and provide further understanding of placenta biology, we sequenced the transcriptome of a term placenta of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and compared these data with RNA sequence and microarray data from other eutherian placentas including human, mouse, and cow. We characterized the composition of 55,910 expressed sequence tag (i.e., cDNA) contigs using our custom annotation pipeline. A Markov algorithm was used to cluster orthologs of human, mouse, cow, and elephant placenta transcripts. We found 2,963 genes are commonly expressed in the placentas of these eutherian mammals. Gene ontology categories previously suggested to be important for placenta function (e.g., estrogen receptor signaling pathway, cell motion and migration, and adherens junctions) were significantly enriched in these eutherian placenta-expressed genes. Genes duplicated in different lineages and also specifically expressed in the placenta contribute to the great diversity observed in mammalian placenta anatomy. We identified 1,365 human lineage-specific, 1,235 mouse lineage-specific, 436 cow lineage-specific, and 904 elephant-specific placenta-expressed (PE) genes. The most enriched clusters of human-specific PE genes are signal/glycoprotein and immunoglobulin, and humans possess a deeply invasive human hemochorial placenta that comes into direct contact with maternal immune cells. Inference of phylogenetically conserved and derived transcripts demonstrates the power of comparative transcriptomics to trace placenta evolution and variation across mammals and identified candidate genes that may be important in the normal function of the human placenta, and their dysfunction may be related to human pregnancy complications.

  6. Zoo visitor perceptions, attitudes, and conservation intent after viewing African elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hacker, Charlotte E; Miller, Lance J

    2016-07-01

    Elephants in the wild face several conservation issues. With the rebranding of zoos as conservation and education pioneers, they have the ability to both educate and inspire guests to action. The purpose of this research was to analyze visitor perceptions and attitudes toward elephant conservation and outcomes post-exhibit visit. A one-page survey was randomly administered to assess perceptions of elephant behavior, attitudes about elephant conservation, and intended conservation-related outcomes from September 2013 to January 2014. Principle component analysis identified three major components: concern for elephants in zoos, importance of elephants in the wild, and modification of nature. Visitors who scored highly on conservation intent were those with positive attitudes towards elephants in the wild and negative attitudes regarding the modification of nature. The greatest changes in conservation intent were a result of a self-reported up-close encounter and the ability to witness active behaviors. Providing guests with the opportunity to witness or experience such occurrences may aid in a more successful delivery of the zoo's conservation message. Further research into guest emotions and affective states in relation to viewing elephants in a zoological institution would provide greater insight into improving the guest experience and helping zoos meet their conservation mission. Zoo Biol. 35:355-361, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  7. Combating the illegal trade in African elephant ivory with DNA forensics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wasser, Samuel K; Joseph Clark, William; Drori, Ofir; Stephen Kisamo, Emily; Mailand, Celia; Mutayoba, Benezeth; Stephens, Matthew

    2008-08-01

    International wildlife crime is burgeoning in this climate of global trade. We contend that the most effective way to contain this illegal trade is to determine where the wildlife is being removed. This allows authorities to direct law enforcement to poaching hot spots, potentially stops trade before the wildlife is actually killed, prevents countries from denying their poaching problems at home, and thwarts trade before it enters into an increasingly complex web of international criminal activity. Forensic tools have been limited in their ability to determine product origin because the information they can provide typically begins only at the point of shipment. DNA assignment analyses can determine product origin, but its use has been limited by the inability to assign samples to locations where reference samples do not exist. We applied new DNA assignment methods that can determine the geographic origin(s) of wildlife products from anywhere within its range. We used these methods to examine the geographic origin(s) of 2 strings of seizures involving large volumes of elephant ivory, 1 string seized in Singapore and Malawi and the other in Hong Kong and Cameroon. These ivory traffickers may comprise 2 of the largest poaching rings in Africa. In both cases all ivory seized in the string had common origins, which indicates that crime syndicates are targeting specific populations for intense exploitation. This result contradicts the dominant belief that dealers are using a decentralized plan of procuring ivory stocks as they became available across Africa. Large quantities of ivory were then moved, in multiple shipments, through an intermediate country prior to shipment to Asia, as a risk-reduction strategy that distances the dealer from the poaching locale. These smuggling strategies could not have been detected by forensic information, which typically begins only at the shipping source.

  8. Determinants of elephant distribution at Nazinga Game Ranch, Burkina Faso

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jenks, Jonathan A.; Klaver, Robert W.; Wicks, Zeno W.

    2007-01-01

    We used seasonal ground total counts and remote sensing and GIS technology to relate elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) distribution at Nazinga Game Ranch to environmental and anthropogenic factors. Variables used in analyses were normalized difference vegetation index, elevation, stream density, density of poaching and human illegal activities, distance to dams, distance to rivers, distance to roads, and distance to poaching risk. Contrary to our expectation, road traffic did not disturb elephants. Strong negative relationships were documented between elephant abundance and stream density, distance to dams, and poaching density. Density of poaching and other human illegal activities explained 81%, vegetation greenness 6%, and stream density 3% of the variation in elephant density. Elephant distribution represented a survival strategy affected by poaching, food quality and abundance, and water availability. 

  9. Detusking fence-breaker elephants as an approach in human-elephant conflict mitigation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew Mutinda

    Full Text Available Human-elephant conflict (HEC is a recurring problem that appears wherever the range of elephants and humans overlap. Different methods including the use of electric fences are used worldwide to mitigate this conflict. Nonetheless, elephants learn quickly that their tusks do not conduct electricity and use them to break down fences (fence-breakers.In Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya, destructive elephants (Loxodonta africana were monitored between 2010 and 2013. The fence-breaking rate reached four incidents (fence-breaking per elephant per 100 days. Ten bull males and 57 females were identified as fence-breakers. The bulls were involved in 85.07% and the females in 14.93% of incidents. The Kenya Wildlife Service approved detusking (partial cutting of tusks in four of the 10 fence-breakers as a way of preventing them from breaking down fences, thereby mitigating HEC in the Conservancy. The result of the detusking was a drastic six-fold reduction in damage to fences (range: 1.67 to 14.5 times less fence-breaking by the four worst fence-breaker elephants, because with trimmed tusks elephants lack the tools to break down fences. Detusking could not totally eliminate fence destruction because, despite lacking their tools, elephants can still destroy fences using their heads, bodies and trunks, albeit less effectively. On the other hand, apart from inherent aesthetic considerations, the detusking of elephants may have certain negative effects on factors such as elephants' social hierarchies, breeding, mate selection and their access to essential minerals and food.Elephant detusking seems to be effective in drastically reducing fence-breaking incidents, nonetheless its negative effects on behaviour, access to food and its aesthetical consequences still need to be further studied and investigated.

  10. Elephant ear

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Supplements Videos & Tools Español You Are Here: Home → Medical Encyclopedia → Elephant ear URL of this page: //medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002867.htm Elephant ear To use the sharing features on this page, please enable JavaScript. Elephant ear plants are indoor or outdoor plants with very large, ...

  11. Unmanned aerial survey of elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vermeulen, Cédric; Lejeune, Philippe; Lisein, Jonathan; Sawadogo, Prosper; Bouché, Philippe

    2013-01-01

    The use of a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) was tested to survey large mammals in the Nazinga Game Ranch in the south of Burkina Faso. The Gatewing ×100™ equipped with a Ricoh GR III camera was used to test animal reaction as the UAS passed, and visibility on the images. No reaction was recorded as the UAS passed at a height of 100 m. Observations, made on a set of more than 7000 images, revealed that only elephants (Loxodonta africana) were easily visible while medium and small sized mammals were not. The easy observation of elephants allows experts to enumerate them on images acquired at a height of 100 m. We, therefore, implemented an aerial strip sample count along transects used for the annual wildlife foot count. A total of 34 elephants were recorded on 4 transects, each overflown twice. The elephant density was estimated at 2.47 elephants/km(2) with a coefficient of variation (CV%) of 36.10%. The main drawback of our UAS was its low autonomy (45 min). Increased endurance of small UAS is required to replace manned aircraft survey of large areas (about 1000 km of transect per day vs 40 km for our UAS). The monitoring strategy should be adapted according to the sampling plan. Also, the UAS is as expensive as a second-hand light aircraft. However the logistic and flight implementation are easier, the running costs are lower and its use is safer. Technological evolution will make civil UAS more efficient, allowing them to compete with light aircraft for aerial wildlife surveys.

  12. Unmanned aerial survey of elephants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cédric Vermeulen

    Full Text Available The use of a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System was tested to survey large mammals in the Nazinga Game Ranch in the south of Burkina Faso. The Gatewing ×100™ equipped with a Ricoh GR III camera was used to test animal reaction as the UAS passed, and visibility on the images. No reaction was recorded as the UAS passed at a height of 100 m. Observations, made on a set of more than 7000 images, revealed that only elephants (Loxodonta africana were easily visible while medium and small sized mammals were not. The easy observation of elephants allows experts to enumerate them on images acquired at a height of 100 m. We, therefore, implemented an aerial strip sample count along transects used for the annual wildlife foot count. A total of 34 elephants were recorded on 4 transects, each overflown twice. The elephant density was estimated at 2.47 elephants/km(2 with a coefficient of variation (CV% of 36.10%. The main drawback of our UAS was its low autonomy (45 min. Increased endurance of small UAS is required to replace manned aircraft survey of large areas (about 1000 km of transect per day vs 40 km for our UAS. The monitoring strategy should be adapted according to the sampling plan. Also, the UAS is as expensive as a second-hand light aircraft. However the logistic and flight implementation are easier, the running costs are lower and its use is safer. Technological evolution will make civil UAS more efficient, allowing them to compete with light aircraft for aerial wildlife surveys.

  13. Elephants and Their Young: Science and Math Activities for Young Children. Teacher's Guide.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Echols, Jean C.; Kopp, Jaine; Blinderman, Ellen

    This book contains a series of playful activities in which young children actively learn about the African elephant's body structure, family life, and social behavior. Children make model elephants out of paper and cardboard, then devise elephant puppets with sock trunks as well as create models of elephant's ears, trunks, tusks, make elephant…

  14. Population genetic structure of the African elephant in Uganda based on variation at mitochondrial and nuclear loci: evidence for male-biased gene flow.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nyakaana, S; Arctander, P

    1999-07-01

    A drastic decline has occurred in the size of the Uganda elephant population in the last 40 years, exacerbated by two main factors; an increase in the size of the human population and poaching for ivory. One of the attendant consequences of such a decline is a reduction in the amount of genetic diversity in the surviving populations due to increased effects of random genetic drift. Information about the amount of genetic variation within and between the remaining populations is vital for their future conservation and management. The genetic structure of the African elephant in Uganda was examined using nucleotide variation of mitochondrial control region sequences and four nuclear microsatellite loci in 72 individuals from three localities. Eleven mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes were observed, nine of which were geographically localized. We found significant genetic differentiation between the three populations at the mitochondrial locus while three out of the four microsatellite loci differentiated KV and QE, one locus differentiated KV and MF and no loci differentiated MF and QE. Expected heterozygosity at the four loci varied between 0.51 and 0.84 while nucleotide diversity at the mitochondrial locus was 1.4%. Incongruent patterns of genetic variation within and between populations were revealed by the two genetic systems, and we have explained these in terms of the differences in the effective population sizes of the two genomes and male-biased gene flow between populations.

  15. Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone concentrations in elephant serum and temporal gland secretions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rasmussen, L E; Buss, I O; Hess, D L; Schmidt, M J

    1984-03-01

    Serum and temporal gland secretions (TGS) were obtained from mature wild African (Loxodonta africana) and captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Samples were obtained from five cows and eight bulls culled for management purposes in Kruger National Park, South Africa, and from four females and two males residing at the Washington Park Zoo, Portland, Oregon. Our purpose was to describe the levels of the androgens, testosterone (T), and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and to correlate these observations with sex, species and behavioral status. Male-female differences in serum T were pronounced in the Asian species, whereas male and female concentrations overlapped in the African elephant serum. Serum T concentrations in African females were greater than in Asian females. Serum DHT reflected T levels, except that the striking elevation of testosterone in Asian bulls during musth was not paralleled by equal increases in DHT levels. A species difference observed among males was higher serum T levels in nonmusth Asian bulls (1.84-5.35 ng/ml) compared to the levels in African bulls (0.38-0.68 ng/ml), except for one dominant African bull (6.64 ng/ml). This single African value was still considerably lower than the serum T values of the Asian males during musth. These musth values were the highest serum androgen concentrations: T was between 19 and 40 ng/ml (average 26.10 ng/ml). The TSG values of T and DHT were much higher than serum levels except in the Asian female. T/DHT ratios in TGS were more similar than in serum. One dominant African bull had a T TGS value of 78 ng/ml, which was much higher than the rest of the African males or females, but considerably lower than as Asian bull in musth (547 ng/ml). It seems apparent that a change in androgen status as reflected in serum and TGS levels of T and DHT precedes or is concomitant with overt alteration in behavior in the Asian male. The temporal gland appears to actively concentrate androgens in both African males and

  16. Using ACTH Challenges to Validate Techniques for Adrenocortical Activity Analysis in Various African Wildlife Species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diana M. Armstrong

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available Monitoring adrenocortical activity using fecal hormonal analysis can provide information on how environmental changes are affecting non-domestic species health and success in the field; however, this noninvasive method needs proper validation to ensure that analysis reflects true physiological events. Our objectives were to use adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH challenges as a physiological validation method to test the suitability of a new corticosterone enzyme immunoassay (EIA to accurately assess the adrenocortical activity using fecal samples in four African wildlife species-the black rhinoceros (rhino; Diceros bicornis, African elephant (Loxodonta africana, chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes and African lion (Panthera leo krugeri. In the rhino and elephant, fecal Glucocorticoid metabolites (GC surged 75 and 51 h post-ACTH injection, respectively. In the chimpanzee, fecal GC metabolites peaked at 29 h post-injection. And the lion had a peak of fecal GC at 24 h post-ACTH. This study determined that adrenocortical activity was reflected in concentrations of fecal GC metabolites suggesting that this corticosterone EIA is an effective technique for the monitoring stress in four African species.

  17. History of Animals using Isotope Records (HAIR): a 6-year dietary history of one family of African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cerling, Thure E; Wittemyer, George; Ehleringer, James R; Remien, Christopher H; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain

    2009-05-19

    The dietary and movement history of individual animals can be studied using stable isotope records in animal tissues, providing insight into long-term ecological dynamics and a species niche. We provide a 6-year history of elephant diet by examining tail hair collected from 4 elephants in the same social family unit in northern Kenya. Sequential measurements of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen isotope rations in hair provide a weekly record of diet and water resources. Carbon isotope ratios were well correlated with satellite-based measurements of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) of the region occupied by the elephants as recorded by the global positioning system (GPS) movement record; the absolute amount of C(4) grass consumption is well correlated with the maximum value of NDVI during individual wet seasons. Changes in hydrogen isotope ratios coincided very closely in time with seasonal fluctuations in rainfall and NDVI whereas diet shifts to relatively high proportions of grass lagged seasonal increases in NDVI by approximately 2 weeks. The peak probability of conception in the population occurred approximately 3 weeks after peak grazing. Spatial and temporal patterns of resource use show that the only period of pure browsing by the focal elephants was located in an over-grazed, communally managed region outside the protected area. The ability to extract time-specific longitudinal records on animal diets, and therefore the ecological history of an organism and its environment, provides an avenue for understanding the impact of climate dynamics and land-use change on animal foraging behavior and habitat relations.

  18. Effective population size dynamics reveal impacts of historic climatic events and recent anthropogenic pressure in African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Okello, J B A; Wittemyer, G; Rasmussen, H B; Arctander, P; Nyakaana, S; Douglas-Hamilton, I; Siegismund, H R

    2008-09-01

    Two hundred years of elephant hunting for ivory, peaking in 1970-1980s, caused local extirpations and massive population declines across Africa. The resulting genetic impacts on surviving populations have not been studied, despite the importance of understanding the evolutionary repercussions of such human-mediated events on this keystone species. Using Bayesian coalescent-based genetic methods to evaluate time-specific changes in effective population size, we analysed genetic variation in 20 highly polymorphic microsatellite loci from 400 elephants inhabiting the greater Samburu-Laikipia region of northern Kenya. This area experienced a decline of between 80% and 90% in the last few decades when ivory harvesting was rampant. The most significant change in effective population size, however, occurred approximately 2500 years ago during a mid-Holocene period of climatic drying in tropical Africa. Contrary to expectations, detailed analyses of four contemporary age-based cohorts showed that the peak poaching epidemic in the 1970s caused detectable temporary genetic impacts, with genetic diversity rebounding as juveniles surviving the poaching era became reproductively mature. This study demonstrates the importance of climatic history in shaping the distribution and genetic history of a keystone species and highlights the utility of coalescent-based demographic approaches in unravelling ancestral demographic events despite a lack of ancient samples. Unique insights into the genetic signature of mid-Holocene climatic change in Africa and effects of recent poaching pressure on elephants are discussed.

  19. Forest elephant crisis in the Congo Basin.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stephen Blake

    2007-04-01

    Full Text Available Debate over repealing the ivory trade ban dominates conferences of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES. Resolving this controversy requires accurate estimates of elephant population trends and rates of illegal killing. Most African savannah elephant populations are well known; however, the status of forest elephants, perhaps a distinct species, in the vast Congo Basin is unclear. We assessed population status and incidence of poaching from line-transect and reconnaissance surveys conducted on foot in sites throughout the Congo Basin. Results indicate that the abundance and range of forest elephants are threatened from poaching that is most intense close to roads. The probability of elephant presence increased with distance to roads, whereas that of human signs declined. At all distances from roads, the probability of elephant occurrence was always higher inside, compared to outside, protected areas, whereas that of humans was always lower. Inside protected areas, forest elephant density was correlated with the size of remote forest core, but not with size of protected area. Forest elephants must be prioritised in elephant management planning at the continental scale.

  20. Forest elephant crisis in the Congo Basin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, Stephen; Strindberg, Samantha; Boudjan, Patrick; Makombo, Calixte; Bila-Isia, Inogwabini; Ilambu, Omari; Grossmann, Falk; Bene-Bene, Lambert; de Semboli, Bruno; Mbenzo, Valentin; S'hwa, Dino; Bayogo, Rosine; Williamson, Liz; Fay, Mike; Hart, John; Maisels, Fiona

    2007-04-01

    Debate over repealing the ivory trade ban dominates conferences of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Resolving this controversy requires accurate estimates of elephant population trends and rates of illegal killing. Most African savannah elephant populations are well known; however, the status of forest elephants, perhaps a distinct species, in the vast Congo Basin is unclear. We assessed population status and incidence of poaching from line-transect and reconnaissance surveys conducted on foot in sites throughout the Congo Basin. Results indicate that the abundance and range of forest elephants are threatened from poaching that is most intense close to roads. The probability of elephant presence increased with distance to roads, whereas that of human signs declined. At all distances from roads, the probability of elephant occurrence was always higher inside, compared to outside, protected areas, whereas that of humans was always lower. Inside protected areas, forest elephant density was correlated with the size of remote forest core, but not with size of protected area. Forest elephants must be prioritised in elephant management planning at the continental scale.

  1. Functional CD1d and/or NKT cell invariant chain transcript in horse, pig, African elephant and guinea pig, but not in ruminants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Looringh van Beeck, Frank A; Reinink, Peter; Hermsen, Roel; Zajonc, Dirk M; Laven, Marielle J; Fun, Axel; Troskie, Milana; Schoemaker, Nico J; Morar, Darshana; Lenstra, Johannes A; Vervelde, Lonneke; Rutten, Victor P M G; van Eden, Willem; Van Rhijn, Ildiko

    2009-04-01

    CD1d-restricted invariant natural killer T cells (NKT cells) have been well characterized in humans and mice, but it is unknown whether they are present in other species. Here we describe the invariant TCR alpha chain and the full length CD1d transcript of pig and horse. Molecular modeling predicts that porcine (po) invariant TCR alpha chain/poCD1d/alpha-GalCer and equine (eq) invariant TCR alpha chain/eqCD1d/alpha-GalCer form complexes that are highly homologous to the human complex. Since a prerequisite for the presence of NKT cells is the expression of CD1d protein, we performed searches for CD1D genes and CD1d transcripts in multiple species. Previously, cattle and guinea pig have been suggested to lack CD1D genes. The CD1D genes of European taurine cattle (Bos taurus) are known to be pseudogenes because of disrupting mutations in the start codon and in the donor splice site of the first intron. Here we show that the same mutations are found in six other ruminants: African buffalo, sheep, bushbuck, bongo, N'Dama cattle, and roe deer. In contrast, intact CD1d transcripts were found in guinea pig, African elephant, horse, rabbit, and pig. Despite the discovery of a highly homologous NKT/CD1d system in pig and horse, our data suggest that functional CD1D and CD1d-restricted NKT cells are not universally present in mammals.

  2. Transvalued species in an African forest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Remis, Melissa J; Hardin, Rebecca

    2009-12-01

    We combined ethnographic investigations with repeated ecological transect surveys in the Dzanga-Sangha Dense Forest Reserve (RDS), Central African Republic, to elucidate consequences of intensifying mixed use of forests. We devised a framework for transvaluation of wildlife species, which means the valuing of species on the basis of their ecological, economic, and symbolic roles in human lives. We measured responses to hunting, tourism, and conservation of two transvalued species in RDS: elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla). Our methods included collecting data on encounter rates and habitat use on line transects. We recorded cross-cultural variation in ideas about and interactions with these species during participant observation of hunting and tourism encounters and ethnographic interviews with hunters, conservation staff, researchers, and tourists. Ecologically, gorillas used human-modified landscapes successfully, and elephants were more vulnerable than gorillas to hunting. Economically, tourism and encounters with elephants and gorillas generated revenues and other benefits for local participants. Symbolically, transvaluation of species seemed to undergird competing institutions of forest management that could prove unsustainable. Nevertheless, transvaluation may also offer alternatives to existing social hierarchies, thereby integrating local and transnational support for conservation measures. The study of transvaluation requires attention to transnational flows of ideas and resources because they influence transspecies interactions. Cross-disciplinary in nature, transvalution of species addresses the political and economic challenges to conservation because it recognizes the varied human communities that shape the survival of wildlife in a given site. Transvaluation of species could foster more socially inclusive management and monitoring approaches attuned to competing economic demands, specific species behaviors, and human

  3. Bronze Elephant

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    1995-01-01

    A rare find among Shang Dynasty bronzes in China, this bronze elephant was unearthed in a hillside in Liling County, Hunan. It was probably buried by slave owners as a sacrifice to the mountains and lakes. The bronze elephant served as a wine vessel. Wine was poured into the large opening at the elephant’s back, and was served through its trunk. It is 22.8 cm tall, 26.5 cm long and weighs 2.8 kg. The body of the vessel was carved with animal motifs. The front of the trunk, for example, is carved into the shape of a phoenix with a hooked beak. A tiger is crouched on the comb of the phoenix, and a snake curls out of its beak. The base of the trunk is decorated with another snake, with its head near the mouth of the elephant. The entire trunk is decorated with scales.

  4. Paenungulata: a comparison of the hemoglobin sequences from elephant, hyrax, and manatee.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kleinschmidt, T; Czelusniak, J; Goodman, M; Braunitzer, G

    1986-09-01

    Inspection of the amino acid differences among hemoglobin sequences of a wide range of mammalian species suggested that at alpha 19, alpha 110, alpha 111, beta 23, beta 44, and beta 56, synapomorphies group manatee (Trichechus inungius, Sirenia), Indian and African elephant (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta africana, Proboscidea), and rock hyrax (Procavia habessinica, Hyracoidea) into a monophyletic clade. Results obtained by parsimony analysis provide evidence for this grouping--and thus support for the genealogical validity of Simpson's superorder Paenungulata, which contains as the extant orders Proboscidea, Sirenia, and Hyracoidea. All of the 39 most, or nearly most, parsimonious of 10,395 trees constructed from a tandemly combined alpha- and beta-hemoglobin sequence for 103 vertebrate species (of which 79 were mammals from 16 extant orders), depicted Paenungulata as one of the most anciently separated branches of Eutheria. It was found on examining thousands of alternative trees that to not group Proboscidea, Hyracoidea, and Sirenia in a monophyletic clade required at least four additional substitutions.

  5. Earth elephant

    OpenAIRE

    2009-01-01

    The Elephant In this work, context and content informs an image that does not suffer from isolation, nor is it neutralised. The catalyst was a television news item which was about the indescrimate slaughter of elephants simply for their ivory tusks. Apart from the obvious, and very relevant, considerations of suffering and conservation it was the ultimate irrationality of this barbaric act that engaged me to do the work, as I felt that as an artist I wanted to show my concern for the plig...

  6. Elephants Can Mimic Traffic and Other Noises

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    James Owen; 刘嘉

    2005-01-01

    @@ It isn't only children playing with toy cars who make engine noises. Elephants produce a similar roar2, though in their case it's the rumble3 of trucks on an African highway that the animals imitate4, scientists say5. The experts behind the discovery say elephants are capable of vocal6 imitation, joining a select group of animals that includes parrots7, songbirds8, dolphins9, and humans.

  7. Elephant distribution around a volcanic shield dominated by a mosaic of forest and savanna (Marsabit, Kenya)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ngene, S.M.; Skidmore, A.K.; Gils, H.; Douglas-Hamilton, I.; Omondi, P.

    2009-01-01

    We investigated the factors that influenced the distribution of the African elephant around a volcanic shield dominated by a mosaic of forest and savanna in northern Kenya. Data on elephant distribution were acquired from four female and five bull elephants, collared with satellite-linked geographic

  8. Devastating decline of forest elephants in Central Africa

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    F. Maisels; S. Strindberg; S. Blake; G. Wittemyer; J. Hart; E.A. Williamson; R.G. Aba'a; F. Amsini; R.D. Ambahe; P.C. Bakabana; T.C. Hicks; R.E. Bayogo; M. Bechem; R.L. Beyers; A.N. Bezangoye; P. Boundja; N. Bout; M.E. Akou; L.E. Bene; B. Fosso; E. Greengrass; F. Grossmann; C. Ikamba-Nkulu; O. Ilambu; B.I. Inogwabini; F. Iyenguet; F. Kiminou; M. Kokangoye; D. Kujirakwinja; S. Latour; I. Liengola; Q. Mackaya; J. Madidi; B. Madzoke; C. Makoumbou; G.A. Malanda; R. Malonga; O. Mbani; V.A. Mbendzo; E. Ambassa; A. Ekinde; Y. Mihindou; B.J. Morgan; P. Motsaba; G. Moukala; A. Mounguengui; B.S. Mowawa; C. Ndzai; S. Nixon; P. Nkumu; F. Nzolani; L. Pintea; A. Plumptre; H. Rainey; B.B. de Semboli; A. Serckx; E. Stokes; A. Turkalo; H. Vanleeuwe; A. Vosper; Y. Warren

    2013-01-01

    African forest elephants- taxonomically and functionally unique-are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fie

  9. Coping with heat: behavioural and physiological responses of savanna elephants in their natural habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mole, Michael A.; Rodrigues DÁraujo, Shaun; van Aarde, Rudi J.; Mitchell, Duncan; Fuller, Andrea

    2016-01-01

    Most of southern Africa's elephants inhabit environments where environmental temperatures exceed body temperature, but we do not know how elephants respond to such environments. We evaluated the relationships between apparent thermoregulatory behaviour and environmental, skin and core temperatures for tame savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) that were free-ranging in the hot parts of the day, in their natural environment. Environmental temperature dictated elephant behaviour within a day, with potential consequences for fine-scale habitat selection, space use and foraging. At black globe temperatures of ~30°C, elephants adjusted their behaviour to reduce environmental heat load and increase heat dissipation (e.g. shade use, wetting behaviour). Resting, walking and feeding were also influenced by environmental temperature. By relying on behavioural and autonomic adjustments, the elephants maintained homeothermy, even at environmental temperatures exceeding 40°C. Elephants clearly have the capacity to deal with extreme heat, at least in environments with adequate resources of forage, water and shade. Future conservation actions should provide for the thermoregulatory, resource and spatial needs of elephants. PMID:27757237

  10. Minimum cost of transport in Asian elephants: do we really need a bigger elephant?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Langman, Vaughan A; Rowe, Michael F; Roberts, Thomas J; Langman, Nathanial V; Taylor, Charles R

    2012-05-01

    Body mass is the primary determinant of an animal's energy requirements. At their optimum walking speed, large animals have lower mass-specific energy requirements for locomotion than small ones. In animals ranging in size from 0.8 g (roach) to 260 kg (zebu steer), the minimum cost of transport (COT(min)) decreases with increasing body size roughly as COT(min)∝body mass (M(b))(-0.316±0.023) (95% CI). Typically, the variation of COT(min) with body mass is weaker at the intraspecific level as a result of physiological and geometric similarity within closely related species. The interspecific relationship estimates that an adult elephant, with twice the body mass of a mid-sized elephant, should be able to move its body approximately 23% cheaper than the smaller elephant. We sought to determine whether adult Asian and sub-adult African elephants follow a single quasi-intraspecific relationship, and extend the interspecific relationship between COT(min) and body mass to 12-fold larger animals. Physiological and possibly geometric similarity between adult Asian elephants and sub-adult African elephants caused body mass to have a no effect on COT(min) (COT(min)∝M(b)(0.007±0.455)). The COT(min) in elephants occurred at walking speeds between 1.3 and ∼1.5 m s(-1), and at Froude numbers between 0.10 and 0.24. The addition of adult Asian elephants to the interspecific relationship resulted in COT(min)∝M (-0.277±0.046)(b). The quasi-intraspecific relationship between body mass and COT(min) among elephants caused the interspecific relationship to underestimate COT(min) in larger elephants.

  11. Nonfatal clinical presentation of elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus discovered in a group of captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaftenaar, W; Reid, C; Martina, B; Fickel, J; Osterhaus, A D M E

    2010-12-01

    Several different strains of elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus-1 (EEHV-1) have been identified via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques in both African and Asian elephants. EEHV-1 has been identified in both cutaneous lesions in healthy African elephants and fatal cases of hemorrhagic syndrome in Asian elephants. However, until now, no EEHV-1 strain has been identified or associated with otherwise healthy Asian elephants. This article describes recurrent nonendothelial lesions associated with EEHV-1 infection in a herd of Asian elephants not exhibiting fatal hemorrhagic syndrome. Genotypes of EEHV-1 strains, based on viral DNA polymerase and glycoprotein B, associated with fatal hemorrhagic syndrome, were compared to those identified in nonendothelial lesions. The same EEHV-1 genotypes were identified in fatal cases and mucosal lesions in otherwise healthy Asian elephants in this herd. Further studies of the Asian elephant immune system and virologic studies to determine the triggers of tissue tropism are needed before any conclusion can be reached. Elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus, EEHV, herpetic lesions, tropism.

  12. Megagardeners of the forest - the role of elephants in seed dispersal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campos-Arceiz, Ahimsa; Blake, Steve

    2011-11-01

    As the largest frugivores on Earth, elephants have unique ecological properties. Found in deserts, savannahs, and forests, they are the last remnants of a diverse lineage. Among the three currently recognized forms, African forest elephants are the most frugivorous, followed by Asian and African savannah elephants, although their role as seed dispersers is variable and context-dependent. African forest elephants may consume more seeds from more species than any other taxon of large vertebrate dispersers, defecating them over long distances in viable conditions into nutrient-rich and protective dung. In short, elephants are forest gardeners. The signature of elephant dispersal is evident in the spatial distribution of trees suggesting that elephants maintain tree diversity and retain low redundancy in seed dispersal systems. Large numbers of forest elephants ranging over large areas may be essential for ecosystem function. The loss of elephants will have important negative consequences for the ecological trajectories of some plant species and whole ecological communities, yet the conservation status of forest elephants is catastrophic in Asia and rapidly becoming so in Africa due to hunting and other conflicts with people. In this paper we review the current knowledge of elephants as seed dispersers, discuss the ecological consequences of their decline, and suggest priority areas for research and conservation action.

  13. The elephants of Gash-Barka, Eritrea: nuclear and mitochondrial genetic patterns.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandt, Adam L; Hagos, Yohannes; Yacob, Yohannes; David, Victor A; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Shoshani, Jeheskel; Roca, Alfred L

    2014-01-01

    Eritrea has one of the northernmost populations of African elephants. Only about 100 elephants persist in the Gash-Barka administrative zone. Elephants in Eritrea have become completely isolated, with no gene flow from other elephant populations. The conservation of Eritrean elephants would benefit from an understanding of their genetic affinities to elephants elsewhere on the continent and the degree to which genetic variation persists in the population. Using dung samples from Eritrean elephants, we examined 18 species-diagnostic single nucleotide polymorphisms in 3 nuclear genes, sequences of mitochondrial HVR1 and ND5, and genotyped 11 microsatellite loci. The sampled Eritrean elephants carried nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers establishing them as savanna elephants, with closer genetic affinity to Eastern than to North Central savanna elephant populations, and contrary to speculation by some scholars that forest elephants were found in Eritrea. Mitochondrial DNA diversity was relatively low, with 2 haplotypes unique to Eritrea predominating. Microsatellite genotypes could only be determined for a small number of elephants but suggested that the population suffers from low genetic diversity. Conservation efforts should aim to protect Eritrean elephants and their habitat in the short run, with restoration of habitat connectivity and genetic diversity as long-term goals.

  14. Conservation outside protected areas and the effect of human-dominated landscapes on stress hormones in Savannah elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahlering, M A; Maldonado, J E; Eggert, L S; Fleischer, R C; Western, D; Brown, J L

    2013-06-01

    Biodiversity conservation strategies are increasingly focused on regions outside national protected areas, where animals face numerous anthropogenic threats and must coexist with human settlements, livestock, and agriculture. The effects of these potential threats are not always clear, but they could have profound implications for population viability. We used savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) as a case study to assess the physiological stress associated with living in a human-livestock-dominated landscape. We collected samples over two 3-month periods in 2007 and 2008. We used fecal DNA to identify 96 individual elephants in a community conservation area (CCA) and measured fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) concentrations as a proxy for stress. The CCA is community Maasai land managed for livestock and wildlife. We compared the FGM concentrations from the CCA to FGM concentrations of 40 elephants in Amboseli National Park and 32 elephants in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, where human settlements and intense livestock grazing were absent. In the CCA, we found no significant individual differences in FGM concentrations among the elephants in 2007 (p = 0.312) or 2008 (p = 0.412) and no difference between years (p = 0.616). The elephants in the CCA had similar FGM concentrations to the Maasai Mara population, but Amboseli elephants had significantly lower FGM concentrations than those in either Maasai Mara or the CCA (Tukey pairwise test, p elephants living on CCA communal land, which is encouraging for conservation strategies promoting the protection of animals living outside protected areas.

  15. The elephant interferon gamma assay: a contribution to diagnosis of tuberculosis in elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Angkawanish, T; Morar, D; van Kooten, P; Bontekoning, I; Schreuder, J; Maas, M; Wajjwalku, W; Sirimalaisuwan, A; Michel, A; Tijhaar, E; Rutten, V

    2013-11-01

    Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) has been shown to be the main causative agent of tuberculosis in elephants worldwide. M. tb may be transmitted from infected humans to other species including elephants and vice versa, in case of prolonged intensive contact. An accurate diagnostic approach covering all phases of the infection in elephants is required. As M. tb is an intracellular pathogen and cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses are elicited early after infection, the skin test is the CMI assay of choice in humans and cattle. However, this test is not applicable in elephants. The interferon gamma (IFN-γ) assay is considered a good alternative for the skin test in general, validated for use in cattle and humans. This study was aimed at development of an IFN-γ assay applicable for diagnosis of tuberculosis in elephants. Recombinant elephant IFN-γ (rEpIFN-γ) produced in eukaryotic cells was used to immunize mice and generate the monoclonal antibodies. Hybridomas were screened for IFN-γ-specific monoclonal antibody production and subcloned, and antibodies were isotyped and affinity purified. Western blot confirmed recognition of the rEpIFN-γ. The optimal combination of capture and detection antibodies selected was able to detect rEpIFN-γ in concentrations as low as 1 pg/ml. The assay was shown to be able to detect the native elephant IFN-γ, elicited in positive-control cultures (pokeweed mitogen (PWM), phorbol myristate acetate plus ionomycin (PMA/I)) of both Asian and African elephant whole-blood cultures (WBC). Preliminary data were generated using WBC from non-infected elephants, a M. tb infection-suspected elephant and a culture-confirmed M. tb-infected elephant. The latter showed measurable production of IFN-γ after stimulation with ESAT6/CFP10 PPDB and PPDA in concentration ranges as elicited in WBC by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC)-specific antigens in other species. Hence, the IFN-γ assay presented potential as a diagnostic tool for the

  16. Captive elephants - an overview

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H.S. Riddle

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Currently a significant portion of the world’s elephant population is in captivity, mainly in Asia. Elephants have a long history of captivity in both Africa and Asia, and have adapted to many environments. Today, due to evolving needs and philosophies, some changes have occurred in the use of captive elephants, and debate about their welfare and management is increasing. To address this, several countries are developing higher standards of care via policies and guidelines; unfortunately most elephant range countries do not have a national strategy concerning their captive elephant population. Challenges in elephant medicine are always present, yet there is a lack of standardized requirements for veterinary care in elephant range countries, and the ability of veterinarians to treat elephant diseases is often limited. In recent years, much has been learned about elephant physiology, biology, and communication from captive elephants, and this knowledge supports management decisions affecting both captive and wild populations. Captive elephants present important educational and fundraising opportunities in support of conservation, but these are often not fully leveraged. Future considerations include implementing changes to improve staff support and training, establishing comprehensive registration of all captive populations, and ensuring that captive management does not negatively impact wild elephant populations.

  17. The ecology of the elephants in the Kasungu National Park, Malawi with specific reference to management of elephant populations in the Brachystegia biome of Southern Central Africa

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jachmann, Hugo

    1984-01-01

    The elephant is one of the most important animals in African Wildlife Management, firstly because it is capable of modifying through cropping. The latter also makes it a prime poaching target. The main problems caused by elephant concern changes in the physiognomy of the habitat with its consequence

  18. Devastating decline of forest elephants in central Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maisels, Fiona; Strindberg, Samantha; Blake, Stephen; Wittemyer, George; Hart, John; Williamson, Elizabeth A; Aba'a, Rostand; Abitsi, Gaspard; Ambahe, Ruffin D; Amsini, Fidèl; Bakabana, Parfait C; Hicks, Thurston Cleveland; Bayogo, Rosine E; Bechem, Martha; Beyers, Rene L; Bezangoye, Anicet N; Boundja, Patrick; Bout, Nicolas; Akou, Marc Ella; Bene, Lambert Bene; Fosso, Bernard; Greengrass, Elizabeth; Grossmann, Falk; Ikamba-Nkulu, Clement; Ilambu, Omari; Inogwabini, Bila-Isia; Iyenguet, Fortune; Kiminou, Franck; Kokangoye, Max; Kujirakwinja, Deo; Latour, Stephanie; Liengola, Innocent; Mackaya, Quevain; Madidi, Jacob; Madzoke, Bola; Makoumbou, Calixte; Malanda, Guy-Aimé; Malonga, Richard; Mbani, Olivier; Mbendzo, Valentin A; Ambassa, Edgar; Ekinde, Albert; Mihindou, Yves; Morgan, Bethan J; Motsaba, Prosper; Moukala, Gabin; Mounguengui, Anselme; Mowawa, Brice S; Ndzai, Christian; Nixon, Stuart; Nkumu, Pele; Nzolani, Fabian; Pintea, Lilian; Plumptre, Andrew; Rainey, Hugo; de Semboli, Bruno Bokoto; Serckx, Adeline; Stokes, Emma; Turkalo, Andrea; Vanleeuwe, Hilde; Vosper, Ashley; Warren, Ymke

    2013-01-01

    African forest elephants- taxonomically and functionally unique-are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002-2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced.

  19. Devastating decline of forest elephants in central Africa.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fiona Maisels

    Full Text Available African forest elephants- taxonomically and functionally unique-are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002-2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced.

  20. Mammoth and Elephant Phylogenetic Relationships: Mammut Americanum, the Missing Outgroup

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ludovic Orlando

    2007-01-01

    Full Text Available At the morphological level, the woolly mammoth has most often been considered as the sister-species of Asian elephants, but at the DNA level, different studies have found support for proximity with African elephants. Recent reports have increased the available sequence data and apparently solved the discrepancy, finding mammoths to be most closely related to Asian elephants. However, we demonstrate here that the three competing topologies have similar likelihood, bayesian and parsimony supports. The analysis further suggests the inadequacy of using Sirenia or Hyracoidea as outgroups. We therefore argue that orthologous sequences from the extinct American mastodon will be required to defi nitively solve this long-standing question.

  1. Game over! Wildlife collapse in northern Central African Republic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bouché, Philippe; Nzapa Mbeti Mange, Roland; Tankalet, Floride; Zowoya, Florent; Lejeune, Philippe; Vermeulen, Cédric

    2012-11-01

    The wildlife populations of northern Central African Republic (CAR) have long suffered intense uncontrolled hunting. Socio-political turmoil in northern CAR that started in 2002 resulted in a rebellion in 2006. An aerial sample count was carried out in northern CAR after the ceasefire to assess the impact of this troubled period on wildlife. The survey was flown at the end of the dry season in February-March 2010. It covered a landscape complex of 95,000 km² comprising national parks, hunting reserves and community hunting areas. Comparison with earlier surveys revealed a dramatic decline of wildlife: the numbers of large mammals fell by 94% in 30 years, probably due to poaching, loss of habitat and diseases brought by illegal movements of cattle. Elephant (Loxodonta africana), Reduncinae and topi (Damaliscus lunatus) populations showed the greatest decline (each over 90%). Other species declined by 70-80% during the same period. The future of wildlife in this area is dark without a strong commitment to provide adequate funding and quickly implement of determined field management. Reinforced cooperation with neighbouring Chad and Sudan is required since they are facing similar problems.

  2. Using Poaching Levels and Elephant Distribution to Assess the Conservation Efficacy of Private, Communal and Government Land in Northern Kenya.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ihwagi, Festus W; Wang, Tiejun; Wittemyer, George; Skidmore, Andrew K; Toxopeus, Albertus G; Ngene, Shadrack; King, Juliet; Worden, Jeffrey; Omondi, Patrick; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain

    2015-01-01

    Efforts to curb elephant poaching have focused on reducing demand, confiscating ivory and boosting security patrols in elephant range. Where land is under multiple uses and ownership, determining the local poaching dynamics is important for identifying successful conservation models. Using 2,403 verified elephant, Loxodonta africana, mortality records collected from 2002 to 2012 and the results of aerial total counts of elephants conducted in 2002, 2008 and 2012 for the Laikipia-Samburu ecosystem of northern Kenya, we sought to determine the influence of land ownership and use on diurnal elephant distribution and on poaching levels. We show that the annual proportions of illegally killed (i.e., poached) elephants increased over the 11 years of the study, peaking at 70% of all recorded deaths in 2012. The type of land use was more strongly related to levels of poaching than was the type of ownership. Private ranches, comprising only 13% of land area, hosted almost half of the elephant population and had significantly lower levels of poaching than other land use types except for the officially designated national reserves (covering only 1.6% of elephant range in the ecosystem). Communal grazing lands hosted significantly fewer elephants than expected, but community areas set aside for wildlife demonstrated significantly higher numbers of elephants and lower illegal killing levels relative to non-designated community lands. While private lands had lower illegal killing levels than community conservancies, the success of the latter relative to other community-held lands shows the importance of this model of land use for conservation. This work highlights the relationship between illegal killing and various land ownership and use models, which can help focus anti-poaching activities.

  3. Using Poaching Levels and Elephant Distribution to Assess the Conservation Efficacy of Private, Communal and Government Land in Northern Kenya.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Festus W Ihwagi

    Full Text Available Efforts to curb elephant poaching have focused on reducing demand, confiscating ivory and boosting security patrols in elephant range. Where land is under multiple uses and ownership, determining the local poaching dynamics is important for identifying successful conservation models. Using 2,403 verified elephant, Loxodonta africana, mortality records collected from 2002 to 2012 and the results of aerial total counts of elephants conducted in 2002, 2008 and 2012 for the Laikipia-Samburu ecosystem of northern Kenya, we sought to determine the influence of land ownership and use on diurnal elephant distribution and on poaching levels. We show that the annual proportions of illegally killed (i.e., poached elephants increased over the 11 years of the study, peaking at 70% of all recorded deaths in 2012. The type of land use was more strongly related to levels of poaching than was the type of ownership. Private ranches, comprising only 13% of land area, hosted almost half of the elephant population and had significantly lower levels of poaching than other land use types except for the officially designated national reserves (covering only 1.6% of elephant range in the ecosystem. Communal grazing lands hosted significantly fewer elephants than expected, but community areas set aside for wildlife demonstrated significantly higher numbers of elephants and lower illegal killing levels relative to non-designated community lands. While private lands had lower illegal killing levels than community conservancies, the success of the latter relative to other community-held lands shows the importance of this model of land use for conservation. This work highlights the relationship between illegal killing and various land ownership and use models, which can help focus anti-poaching activities.

  4. Problem-elephant translocation: translocating the problem and the elephant?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Prithiviraj Fernando

    Full Text Available Human-elephant conflict (HEC threatens the survival of endangered Asian elephants (Elephas maximus. Translocating "problem-elephants" is an important HEC mitigation and elephant conservation strategy across elephant range, with hundreds translocated annually. In the first comprehensive assessment of elephant translocation, we monitored 16 translocations in Sri Lanka with GPS collars. All translocated elephants were released into national parks. Two were killed within the parks where they were released, while all the others left those parks. Translocated elephants showed variable responses: "homers" returned to the capture site, "wanderers" ranged widely, and "settlers" established home ranges in new areas soon after release. Translocation caused wider propagation and intensification of HEC, and increased elephant mortality. We conclude that translocation defeats both HEC mitigation and elephant conservation goals.

  5. Problem-elephant translocation: translocating the problem and the elephant?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernando, Prithiviraj; Leimgruber, Peter; Prasad, Tharaka; Pastorini, Jennifer

    2012-01-01

    Human-elephant conflict (HEC) threatens the survival of endangered Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Translocating "problem-elephants" is an important HEC mitigation and elephant conservation strategy across elephant range, with hundreds translocated annually. In the first comprehensive assessment of elephant translocation, we monitored 16 translocations in Sri Lanka with GPS collars. All translocated elephants were released into national parks. Two were killed within the parks where they were released, while all the others left those parks. Translocated elephants showed variable responses: "homers" returned to the capture site, "wanderers" ranged widely, and "settlers" established home ranges in new areas soon after release. Translocation caused wider propagation and intensification of HEC, and increased elephant mortality. We conclude that translocation defeats both HEC mitigation and elephant conservation goals.

  6. Genomic DNA sequences from mastodon and woolly mammoth reveal deep speciation of forest and savanna elephants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nadin Rohland

    Full Text Available To elucidate the history of living and extinct elephantids, we generated 39,763 bp of aligned nuclear DNA sequence across 375 loci for African savanna elephant, African forest elephant, Asian elephant, the extinct American mastodon, and the woolly mammoth. Our data establish that the Asian elephant is the closest living relative of the extinct mammoth in the nuclear genome, extending previous findings from mitochondrial DNA analyses. We also find that savanna and forest elephants, which some have argued are the same species, are as or more divergent in the nuclear genome as mammoths and Asian elephants, which are considered to be distinct genera, thus resolving a long-standing debate about the appropriate taxonomic classification of the African elephants. Finally, we document a much larger effective population size in forest elephants compared with the other elephantid taxa, likely reflecting species differences in ancient geographic structure and range and differences in life history traits such as variance in male reproductive success.

  7. Estimating economic losses to tourism in Africa from the illegal killing of elephants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Naidoo, Robin; Fisher, Brendan; Manica, Andrea; Balmford, Andrew

    2016-11-01

    Recent surveys suggest tens of thousands of elephants are being poached annually across Africa, putting the two species at risk across much of their range. Although the financial motivations for ivory poaching are clear, the economic benefits of elephant conservation are poorly understood. We use Bayesian statistical modelling of tourist visits to protected areas, to quantify the lost economic benefits that poached elephants would have delivered to African countries via tourism. Our results show these figures are substantial (~USD $25 million annually), and that the lost benefits exceed the anti-poaching costs necessary to stop elephant declines across the continent's savannah areas, although not currently in the forests of central Africa. Furthermore, elephant conservation in savannah protected areas has net positive economic returns comparable to investments in sectors such as education and infrastructure. Even from a tourism perspective alone, increased elephant conservation is therefore a wise investment by governments in these regions.

  8. A new policy for the management of the Kruger National Park's elephant population

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I.J. Whyte

    1999-01-01

    Full Text Available Arising from public debate held in Midrand on 4 May 1995, the South African National Parks undertook to review its policy for the management of elephant in the Kruger National Park. The new policy focuses on the extent and intensity of elephant impacts on biodiversity rather than on numbers of elephants per se, and is based on four fundamental principles: a That ecosystems are not static; fluctuations of conditions and population responses are an inherent attribute of ecosystems and contribute to biodiversity. A range of elephant impacts in different areas at different times, is thus also natural and desirable; b That elephants are important agents of habitat modification and thus contribute to biodiversity (intermediate disturbance hypothesis; c That elephant populations which are confined will increase in number until negative impacts on the system's biodiversity will ultimately result; d That elephants should not be viewed in isolation, but as one component of a broader, integrated system, and their impacts should be managed in conjunction with other ecosystem process (such as fire to promote biodiversity in its broadest sense. The new policy proposes that the Kruger National Park be divided into six zones@two botanical reserves, two high-elephant-impact zones (no population reduction and two low-elephant-impact zones (where numbers will be actively reduced. A history of the elephant population is given, and a resume of previous poli-cies.

  9. Spotted hyaenas Crocuta crocuta prey on new-born elephant calves in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julia Salnicki

    2001-08-01

    Full Text Available Spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta are known to be opportunists and to have a varied diet including mammals, reptiles and birds. Prey most often hunted are medium sized ungulates but spotted hyaenas will on occasion take larger species such as giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis and zebra Equus burchellii. They are also known to hunt whichever species are most abundant and will vary their prey seasonally. In this study spotted hyaenas were observed to take an unusual prey species in the form of elephant calves (Loxodonta africana. On a number of occasions hyaenas were observed feeding on or killing newborn and very young elephant calves. These observations were made whilst the authors were conducting research on spotted hyaena ecology in the woodlands of Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe and were made during the dry season between September and November 1999.

  10. Ovarian cycle activity varies with respect to age and social status in free-ranging elephants in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, Elizabeth W; Meyer, Jordana M; Putman, Sarah B; Schulte, Bruce A; Brown, Janine L

    2013-01-01

    Free-ranging African elephants live in a fission-fusion society, at the centre of which is the matriarch. Matriarchs are generally older females that guide their families to resources and co-ordinate group defense. While much is known about elephant society, knowledge is generally lacking about how age affects the physiology of wild elephants. Investigation of the ovarian activity of free-ranging elephants could provide insight into the reproductive ageing process, with implications for population management. Faecal samples were collected from 46 individuals ranging in age from 14 to 60 years for a 2-year period, and progestagen metabolite analyses were used to examine relationships between social status, age, season, and ovarian activity in female elephants in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa. Social status was the strongest predictor of faecal progestagen metabolite concentrations in non-pregnant elephants, with grand matriarchs (n = 6) having the lowest values compared with matriarchs (n = 21) and non-matriarch females (n = 19). Likewise, social status and age were the strongest predictors of faecal progestagen metabolite concentrations in pregnant elephants (n = 27). The number of years since a non-pregnant female gave birth to her last calf (post-partum duration) was longer for older females with a higher social status, as well as during the dry season. Our results indicate that social standing and age of elephants are related to reproductive function, and that older females exhibit reductions in ovarian capacity. These results expand our understanding of reproduction and fertility throughout an elephant's lifespan, and the factors that impact gonadal function in free-ranging females. Given that possible over-abundance of elephants in areas such as Addo Elephant National Park is fuelling the debate over how best to manage these populations, knowledge about the reproductive potential of high-ranking females can provide managers with

  11. The Elephant Did It!

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    杨阳

    2007-01-01

    A man was travelling abroad in a small red car. One day he left the car and went shopping. When he came back, its roof was badly damaged. Some boys told him that an elephant had damaged it. The man did not believe them, but they took him to a cirus which was near there. The owner of the elephant said, “I am very sorry! My elephant has a big, round, red chair. He thought that your car was his chair, and he sat on it!” Then he gave the man a letter, in which he said that he was sorry and that he would pay ...

  12. Molecular Characterization of Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines Interleukin-1β and Interleukin-8 in Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swami, Shelesh Kumar; Vijay, Anushri; Nagarajan, Govindasamy; Kaur, Ramneek; Srivastava, Meera

    2016-01-01

    Interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-8 are pro-inflammatory cytokines produced primarily by monocytes and macrophages in response to a variety of microbial and nonmicrobial agents. As yet, no molecular data have been reported for IL-1β and IL-8 of the Asian elephant. In the present study, we have cloned and sequenced the cDNA encoding IL-1β and IL-8 of the Asian elephant. The open reading frame (ORF) of Asian elephant IL-1β is 789 bp in length, encoded a propeptide of 263 amino acid polypeptide. The predicted protein revealed the presence of IL-1 family signature motif and an ICE cut site. Whereas, IL-8 contained 321 bp of open reading frame. Interestingly, the predicted protein sequence of 106 aa, contains an ELR motif immediately upstream of the CQC residues, common in all vertebrate IL-8 molecules. Identity levels of the nucleic acid and deduced amino acid sequences of Asian elephant IL-1β ranged from 68.48 (Squirrel monkey) to 98.57% (African elephant), and 57.78 (Sheep) to 98.47% (African elephant), respectively, whereas that of IL-8 ranged from 72.9% (Human) to 87.8% (African elephant), and 63.2 (human, gorilla, chimpanzee) to 74.5% (African elephant, buffalo), respectively. The phylogenetic analysis based on deduced amino acid sequenced showed that the Asian elephant IL-1β and IL-8 were most closely related to African elephant. Molecular characterization of these two cytokines, IL-1β and IL-8, in Asian elephant provides fundamental information necessary to progress the study of functional immune responses in this animal and gives the potential to use them to manipulate the immune response as recombinant proteins.

  13. Elephant behaviour and conservation: social relationships, the effects of poaching, and genetic tools for management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Archie, Elizabeth A; Chiyo, Patrick I

    2012-02-01

    Genetic tools are increasingly valuable for understanding the behaviour, evolution, and conservation of social species. In African elephants, for instance, genetic data provide basic information on the population genetic causes and consequences of social behaviour, and how human activities alter elephants' social and genetic structures. As such, African elephants provide a useful case study to understand the relationships between social behaviour and population genetic structure in a conservation framework. Here, we review three areas where genetic methods have made important contributions to elephant behavioural ecology and conservation: (1) understanding kin-based relationships in females and the effects of poaching on the adaptive value of elephant relationships, (2) understanding patterns of paternity in elephants and how poaching can alter these patterns, and (3) conservation genetic tools to census elusive populations, track ivory, and understand the behavioural ecology of crop-raiding. By comparing studies from populations that have experienced a range of poaching intensities, we find that human activities have a large effect on elephant behaviour and genetic structure. Poaching disrupts kin-based association patterns, decreases the quality of elephant social relationships, and increases male reproductive skew, with important consequences for population health and the maintenance of genetic diversity. In addition, we find that genetic tools to census populations or gather forensic information are almost always more accurate than non-genetic alternatives. These results contribute to a growing understanding of poaching on animal behaviour, and how genetic tools can be used to understand and conserve social species.

  14. Risk and ethical concerns of hunting male elephant: behavioural and physiological assays of the remaining elephants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tarryne Burke

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Hunting of male African elephants may pose ethical and risk concerns, particularly given their status as a charismatic species of high touristic value, yet which are capable of both killing people and damaging infrastructure. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We quantified the effect of hunts of male elephants on (1 risk of attack or damage (11 hunts, and (2 behavioural (movement dynamics and physiological (stress hormone metabolite concentrations responses (4 hunts in Pilanesberg National Park. For eleven hunts, there were no subsequent attacks on people or infrastructure, and elephants did not break out of the fenced reserve. For three focal hunts, there was an initial flight response by bulls present at the hunting site, but their movements stabilised the day after the hunt event. Animals not present at the hunt (both bulls and herds did not show movement responses. Physiologically, hunting elephant bulls increased faecal stress hormone levels (corticosterone metabolites in both those bulls that were present at the hunts (for up to four days post-hunt and in the broader bull and breeding herd population (for up to one month post-hunt. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: As all responses were relatively minor, hunting male elephants is ethically acceptable when considering effects on the remaining elephant population; however bulls should be hunted when alone. Hunting is feasible in relatively small enclosed reserves without major risk of attack, damage, or breakout. Physiological stress assays were more effective than behavioural responses in detecting effects of human intervention. Similar studies should evaluate intervention consequences, inform and improve best practice, and should be widely applied by management agencies.

  15. Elephants and Human Color-Blind Deuteranopes Have Identical Sets of Visual Pigments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yokoyama, Shozo; Takenaka, Naomi; Agnew, Dalen W.; Shoshani, Jeheskel

    2005-01-01

    Being the largest land mammals, elephants have very few natural enemies and are active during both day and night. Compared with those of diurnal and nocturnal animals, the eyes of elephants and other arrhythmic species, such as many ungulates and large carnivores, must function in both the bright light of day and dim light of night. Despite their fundamental importance, the roles of photosensitive molecules, visual pigments, in arrhythmic vision are not well understood. Here we report that elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus) use RH1, SWS1, and LWS pigments, which are maximally sensitive to 496, 419, and 552 nm, respectively. These light sensitivities are virtually identical to those of certain “color-blind” people who lack MWS pigments, which are maximally sensitive to 530 nm. During the day, therefore, elephants seem to have the dichromatic color vision of deuteranopes. During the night, however, they are likely to use RH1 and SWS1 pigments and detect light at 420–490 nm. PMID:15781694

  16. Forest or the trees: At what scale do elephants make foraging decisions?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shrader, Adrian M.; Bell, Caroline; Bertolli, Liandra; Ward, David

    2012-07-01

    For herbivores, food is distributed spatially in a hierarchical manner ranging from plant parts to regions. Ultimately, utilisation of food is dependent on the scale at which herbivores make foraging decisions. A key factor that influences these decisions is body size, because selection inversely relates to body size. As a result, large animals can be less selective than small herbivores. Savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) are the largest terrestrial herbivore. Thus, they represent a potential extreme with respect to unselective feeding. However, several studies have indicated that elephants prefer specific habitats and certain woody plant species. Thus, it is unclear at which scale elephants focus their foraging decisions. To determine this, we recorded the seasonal selection of habitats and woody plant species by elephants in the Ithala Game Reserve, South Africa. We expected that during the wet season, when both food quality and availability were high, that elephants would select primarily for habitats. This, however, does not mean that they would utilise plant species within these habitats in proportion to availability, but rather would show a stronger selection for habitats compared to plants. In contrast, during the dry season when food quality and availability declined, we expected that elephants would shift and select for the remaining high quality woody species across all habitats. Consistent with our predictions, elephants selected for the larger spatial scale (i.e. habitats) during the wet season. However, elephants did not increase their selection of woody species during the dry season, but rather increased their selection of habitats relative to woody plant selection. Unlike a number of earlier studies, we found that that neither palatability (i.e. crude protein, digestibility, and energy) alone nor tannin concentrations had a significant effect for determining the elephants' selection of woody species. However, the palatability:tannin ratio was

  17. Wild Asian elephants distinguish aggressive tiger and leopard growls according to perceived danger.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thuppil, Vivek; Coss, Richard G

    2013-10-23

    Prey species exhibit antipredator behaviours such as alertness, aggression and flight, among others, in response to predators. The nature of this response is variable, with animals reacting more strongly in situations of increased vulnerability. Our research described here is the first formal study to investigate night-time antipredator behaviour in any species of elephants, Asian or African. We examined the provocative effects of elephant-triggered tiger and leopard growls while elephants attempted to crop-raid. Tigers opportunistically prey on elephant calves, whereas leopards pose no threat; therefore, we predicted that the elephant response would be reflective of this difference. Elephants reacted similarly cautiously to the simulated presence of felids of both species by eventually moving away, but differed markedly in their more immediate behavioural responses. Elephants retreated silently to tiger-growl playbacks, whereas they responded with aggressive vocalizations, such as trumpets and grunts, to leopard-growl playbacks. Elephants also lingered in the area and displayed alert or investigative behaviours in response to leopard growls when compared with tiger growls. We anticipate that the methods outlined here will promote further study of elephant antipredator behaviour in a naturalistic context, with applications for conservation efforts as well.

  18. Post-bottleneck genetic diversity of elephant populations in South Africa, revealed using microsatellite analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitehouse, A M; Harley, E H

    2001-09-01

    Widespread hunting had fragmented and severely reduced elephant populations in South Africa by 1900. Elephant numbers increased during the 1900s, although rates of recovery of individual populations varied. The Kruger National Park elephant population increased rapidly, to more than 6000 by 1967, with recruitment boosted by immigration from Mozambique. The Addo Elephant National Park population was reduced to 11 elephants in 1931 and remains relatively small (n = 325). Loss of genetic variation is expected to occur whenever a population goes through a bottleneck, especially when post-bottleneck recovery is slow. Variation at nine polymorphic microsatellite loci was analysed for Kruger and Addo elephants, as well as museum specimens of Addo elephants shot prior to the population bottleneck. Significantly reduced genetic variation and heterozygosity were observed in Addo in comparison to Kruger (mean alleles/locus and H(E): Addo 1.89, 0.18; Kruger 3.89, 0.44). Two alleles not present in the current Addo population were observed in the museum specimens. Addo elephants represent a genetic subset of the Kruger population, with high levels of genetic differentiation resulting from rapid genetic drift. The Kruger population is low in genetic diversity in comparison to East African elephants, confirming this population also suffered an appreciable bottleneck.

  19. Diet and distribution of elephants in the Maputo Elephant Reserve

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boer, de W.F.; Ntumi, C.; Correia, A.; Mafuca, J.

    2000-01-01

    The distribution and diet of the elephants of the Maputo Elephant Reserve were studied using dung counts, satellite tracking and faecal analysis. The results were compared with earlier data from before the civil war in Mozambique. The elephant population decreased during the civil war, but 180 anima

  20. Elephant (Loxodonta africana) impact on trees used bynesting vultures and raptors in South Africa

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vogel, S.M.; Henley, M.D.; Rode, S.C.; Vyver, van de D.; Simmons, G.; Boer, de W.F.

    2014-01-01

    Negative influences on the establishment and persistence of large trees used by tree-nesting birds as nesting sites represent a potential threat to vultures and raptors. We monitored large trees and their surrounding vegetation and analysed whether trees with nesting sites are at risk due to elephan

  1. Fetal lung development in the elephant reflects the adaptations required for snorkeling in adult life.

    Science.gov (United States)

    West, John B; Fu, Zhenxing; Gaeth, Ann P; Short, Roger V

    2003-11-14

    The adult elephant is unique among mammals in that the pleural membranes are thickened and the pleural cavity is obliterated by connective tissue. It has been suggested that this peculiar anatomy developed because the animal can snorkel at depth, and this behavior subjects the microvessels in the parietal pleura to a very large transmural pressure. To investigate the development of the parietal pleura, the thickness of the endothoracic fascia (ET) was measured in four fetal African elephants of approximate gestational age 111-130 days, and the appearances were compared with those in human, rabbit, rat and mouse fetuses of approximately the same stage of lung organogenesis. The mean thicknesses of ET in the elephant, human, rabbit, rat and mouse were 403, 53, 29, 27 and 37 microm, respectively. This very early development of a thick parietal pleura in the elephant fetus is consistent with the hypothesis of a long history of snorkeling in the elephant's putative aquatic ancestors.

  2. Defensive plant-ants stabilize megaherbivore-driven landscape change in an African savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goheen, Jacob R; Palmer, Todd M

    2010-10-12

    Tree cover in savanna ecosystems is usually regarded as unstable, varying with rainfall, fire, and herbivory. In sub-Saharan Africa, elephants (Loxodonta africana) suppress tree cover, thereby maintaining landscape heterogeneity by promoting tree-grass coexistence. In the absence of elephants, tree encroachment may convert savannas into closed-canopy woodlands; when elephants increase in abundance, intensified browsing pressure can transform savannas into open grasslands. We show that symbiotic ants stabilize tree cover across landscapes in Kenya by protecting a dominant tree from elephants. In feeding trials, elephants avoided plants with ants and did not distinguish between a myrmecophyte (the whistling-thorn tree [Acacia drepanolobium]) from which ants had been removed and a highly palatable, nonmyrmecophytic congener. In field experiments, elephants inflicted severe damage on whistling-thorn trees from which ants had been removed. Across two properties on which elephants increased between 2003 and 2008, cover of whistling-thorn did not change significantly inside versus outside large-scale elephant exclusion fences; over the same period of time, cover of nonmyrmecophytes differed profoundly inside versus outside exclusion fences. These results highlight the powerful role that symbioses and plant defense play in driving tree growth and survival in savannas, ecosystems of global economic and ecological importance.

  3. CONSERVATION. Genetic assignment of large seizures of elephant ivory reveals Africa's major poaching hotspots.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wasser, S K; Brown, L; Mailand, C; Mondol, S; Clark, W; Laurie, C; Weir, B S

    2015-07-03

    Poaching of elephants is now occurring at rates that threaten African populations with extinction. Identifying the number and location of Africa's major poaching hotspots may assist efforts to end poaching and facilitate recovery of elephant populations. We genetically assign origin to 28 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 metric tons) made between 1996 and 2014, also testing assignment accuracy. Results suggest that the major poaching hotspots in Africa may be currently concentrated in as few as two areas. Increasing law enforcement in these two hotspots could help curtail future elephant losses across Africa and disrupt this organized transnational crime.

  4. Distribution Patterns of Human Elephant Conflict in Areas Adjacent to Rungwa Game Reserve, Tanzania

    OpenAIRE

    Munuo, Wilbright

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Human pressure on terrestrial ecosystems has caused loss and fragmentation of habitats for wildlife species. That has brought humans and wildlife in close proximity intensifying human wildlife conflicts, especially when wild animals with wide home ranges, such as African and Asian elephants, are involved. This study assesses distribution patterns of human elephant conflict (HEC) in areas adjacent to Rungwa Game Reserve (RGR) in Tanzania. Questionnaire survey was used as a tool fo...

  5. UniProt search blastx result: AK288287 [KOME

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available C 2.7.10.1) (HGF receptor) (Scatter factor receptor) (SF receptor) (HGF/SF receptor) (Met proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase) (c-Met) - Loxodonta africana (African elephant) 3.00E-18 ...

  6. UniProt search blastx result: AK287970 [KOME

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available C 2.7.10.1) (HGF receptor) (Scatter factor receptor) (SF receptor) (HGF/SF receptor) (Met proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase) (c-Met) - Loxodonta africana (African elephant) 3.00E-20 ...

  7. UniProt search blastx result: AK287484 [KOME

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available C 2.7.10.1) (HGF receptor) (Scatter factor receptor) (SF receptor) (HGF/SF receptor) (Met proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase) (c-Met) - Loxodonta africana (African elephant) 3.00E-16 ...

  8. UniProt search blastx result: AK289170 [KOME

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available C 2.7.10.1) (HGF receptor) (Scatter factor receptor) (SF receptor) (HGF/SF receptor) (Met proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase) (c-Met) - Loxodonta africana (African elephant) 3.00E-18 ...

  9. UniProt search blastx result: AK288291 [KOME

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available C 2.7.10.1) (HGF receptor) (Scatter factor receptor) (SF receptor) (HGF/SF receptor) (Met proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase) (c-Met) - Loxodonta africana (African elephant) 5.00E-14 ...

  10. UniProt search blastx result: AK288206 [KOME

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available C 2.7.10.1) (HGF receptor) (Scatter factor receptor) (SF receptor) (HGF/SF receptor) (Met proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase) (c-Met) - Loxodonta africana (African elephant) 3.00E-21 ...

  11. Elephant crop damage and electric fence construction in the Maputo Elephant Reserve, Mozambique

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boer, de W.F.; Ntumi, C.P.

    2001-01-01

    An electric fence is at present being constructed around the Maputo Elephant Reserve, Mozambique, to protect farmers from elephant raids. Elephants cause crop damage, estimated at US$ 8800 yr-1, or US$ 50 elephant-1. Elephants preferred maize, melons and beans and their raid frequency increased duri

  12. Review of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses and Acute Hemorrhagic Disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Long, Simon Y; Latimer, Erin M; Hayward, Gary S

    2016-01-01

    More than 100 young captive and wild Asian elephants are known to have died from a rapid-onset, acute hemorrhagic disease caused primarily by multiple distinct strains of two closely related chimeric variants of a novel herpesvirus species designated elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV1A and EEHV1B). These and two other species of Probosciviruses (EEHV4 and EEHV5) are evidently ancient and likely nearly ubiquitous asymptomatic infections of adult Asian elephants worldwide that are occasionally shed in trunk wash secretions. Although only a handful of similar cases have been observed in African elephants, they also have proved to harbor their own multiple and distinct species of Probosciviruses-EEHV2, EEHV3, EEHV6, and EEHV7-found in lung and skin nodules or saliva. For reasons that are not yet understood, approximately 20% of Asian elephant calves appear to be susceptible to the disease when primary infections are not controlled by normal innate cellular and humoral immune responses. Sensitive specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) DNA blood tests have been developed, routine monitoring has been established, the complete large DNA genomes of each of the four Asian EEHV species have now been sequenced, and PCR gene subtyping has provided unambiguous evidence that this is a sporadic rather than epidemic disease that it is not being spread among zoos or other elephant housing facilities. Nevertheless, researchers have not yet been able to propagate EEHV in cell culture, determine whether or not human antiherpesvirus drugs are effective inhibitors, or develop serology assays that can distinguish between antibodies against the multiple different EEHV species.

  13. Assessing the General Education Elephant

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eubanks, David A.

    2008-01-01

    Determining the success of a general education program can resemble the task of John Godfrey's six blind men in trying to acquaint themselves with an elephant. One man's approach is to feel the tusk and conclude that the elephant is a spear. Another approach leads to thinking that the broad side of the animal is a wall. The many ways of asking and…

  14. Illuminating Cancer Resistance in Elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-12-01

    A new study shows that elephants have at least 20 copies of the tumor suppressor gene TP53; their cells also favor apoptosis over DNA repair when subjected to DNA-damaging agents. These findings may help explain elephants' longevity and low cancer risk, and shed further light on natural cancer suppression mechanisms.

  15. Visualizing sound emission of elephant vocalizations: evidence for two rumble production types.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Angela S Stoeger

    Full Text Available Recent comparative data reveal that formant frequencies are cues to body size in animals, due to a close relationship between formant frequency spacing, vocal tract length and overall body size. Accordingly, intriguing morphological adaptations to elongate the vocal tract in order to lower formants occur in several species, with the size exaggeration hypothesis being proposed to justify most of these observations. While the elephant trunk is strongly implicated to account for the low formants of elephant rumbles, it is unknown whether elephants emit these vocalizations exclusively through the trunk, or whether the mouth is also involved in rumble production. In this study we used a sound visualization method (an acoustic camera to record rumbles of five captive African elephants during spatial separation and subsequent bonding situations. Our results showed that the female elephants in our analysis produced two distinct types of rumble vocalizations based on vocal path differences: a nasally- and an orally-emitted rumble. Interestingly, nasal rumbles predominated during contact calling, whereas oral rumbles were mainly produced in bonding situations. In addition, nasal and oral rumbles varied considerably in their acoustic structure. In particular, the values of the first two formants reflected the estimated lengths of the vocal paths, corresponding to a vocal tract length of around 2 meters for nasal, and around 0.7 meters for oral rumbles. These results suggest that African elephants may be switching vocal paths to actively vary vocal tract length (with considerable variation in formants according to context, and call for further research investigating the function of formant modulation in elephant vocalizations. Furthermore, by confirming the use of the elephant trunk in long distance rumble production, our findings provide an explanation for the extremely low formants in these calls, and may also indicate that formant lowering functions to

  16. Corridor use by Asian elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pan, Wenjing; Lin, Liu; Luo, Aidong; Zhang, Li

    2009-06-01

    There are 18 km of Kunming-Bangkok Highway passing through the Mengyang Nature Reserve of Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Yunnan Province, China. From September 2005 to September 2006 the impact of this highway on movement of wild Asian elephants between the eastern and western part of the nature reserve was studied using track transecting, rural surveys and direct monitoring. Our results showed that the number of crossroad corridors used by Asian elephants diminished from 28 to 23 following the construction of the highway. In some areas, the elephant activity diminished or even disappeared, which indicated a change in their home ranges. The utilization rate of artificial corridors was 44%. We also found that elephants preferred artificial corridors that were placed along their original corridors. During the research, wild elephants revealed their adaptation to the highway. They were found walking across the highway road surface many times and for different reasons. We suggest that the highway management bureau should revise their management strategies to mitigate the potential risks caused by elephants on the road for the safety of the public and to protect this endangered species from harm. It is also very important to protect and maintain current Asian elephants corridors in this region.

  17. How immunocontraception can contribute to elephant management in small, enclosed reserves: Munyawana population as a case study.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Heleen C Druce

    Full Text Available Immunocontraception has been widely used as a management tool to reduce population growth in captive as well as wild populations of various fauna. We model the use of an individual-based rotational immunocontraception plan on a wild elephant, Loxodonta africana, population and quantify the social and reproductive advantages of this method of implementation using adaptive management. The use of immunocontraception on an individual, rotational basis stretches the inter-calving interval for each individual female elephant to a management-determined interval, preventing exposing females to unlimited long-term immunocontraception use (which may have as yet undocumented negative effects. Such rotational immunocontraception can effectively lower population growth rates, age the population, and alter the age structure. Furthermore, such structured intervention can simulate natural process such as predation or episodic catastrophic events (e.g., drought, which regulates calf recruitment within an abnormally structured population. A rotational immunocontraception plan is a feasible and useful elephant population management tool, especially in a small, enclosed conservation area. Such approaches should be considered for other long-lived, social species in enclosed areas where the long-term consequences of consistent contraception may be unknown.

  18. The Elephant and the Monkey

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    朱妤

    2009-01-01

    @@ Once an Elephant met a Monkey."Look how big and strong I am!"he said."I can break a tree.Can you break a tree?" "Look how quickly I can run and climb!"said the Monkey."Can you climb a tree?" The elephant was proud because he was so strong,and the Monkey Was proud because she was so quick.

  19. Dating Studies of Elephant Tusks Using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sideras-Haddad, E; Brown, T A

    2002-10-03

    A new method for determining the year of birth, the year of death, and hence, the age at death, of post-bomb and recently deceased elephants has been developed. The technique is based on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry radiocarbon analyses of small-sized samples extracted from along the length of a ge-line of an elephant tusk. The measured radiocarbon concentrations in the samples from a tusk can be compared to the {sup 14}C atmospheric bomb-pulse curve to derive the growth years of the initial and final samples from the tusk. Initial data from the application of this method to two tusks will be presented. Potentially, the method may play a significant role in wildlife management practices of African national parks. Additionally, the method may contribute to the underpinnings of efforts to define new international trade regulations, which could, in effect, decrease poaching and the killing of very young animals.

  20. Elephants (and extinct relatives) as earth-movers and ecosystem engineers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haynes, Gary

    2012-07-01

    Modern African elephants affect habitats and ecosystems in significant ways. They push over trees to feed on upper branches and often peel large sections of bark to eat. These destructive habits sometimes transform woody vegetation into grasslands. Systems of elephant trails may be used and re-used for centuries, and create incised features that extend for many kilometers on migration routes. Elephants, digging in search of water or mineral sediments, may remove several cubic meters of sediments in each excavation. Wallowing elephants may remove up to a cubic meter of pond sediments each time they visit water sources. Accumulations of elephant dung on frequented land surfaces may be over 2 kg per square meter. Elephant trampling, digging, and dust-bathing may reverse stratigraphy at archeological localities. This paper summarizes these types of effects on biotic, geomorphic, and paleontological features in modern-day landscapes, and also describes several fossil sites that indicate extinct proboscideans had very similar effects, such as major sediment disturbances.

  1. Making sense of elephants in the shamba

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bond, Jennifer Lauren

    This article applies sensemaking theory to instances of human-elephant interaction to understand how farmers make sense of elephants in their crops and how this fits into a broader discussion of human-wildlife coexistence. The concept of sensemaking is extended to discuss the institutional context...... of wildlife management and the role this has on the individual farmers’ enacting and selection when confronted with an elephant in their crop. Analysis showed that respondents who had come into direct physical contact with an elephant reported to be more likely to refrain from attempting to scare elephants...... in the future and viewed them as dangerous. In comparison, farmers who had not experienced direct physical contact and subsequent injury from an elephant reported that they would continue to engage in interactions with elephants to remove them from their crops, viewing the elephants primarily as a pest...

  2. Simultaneous Visual Discrimination in Asian Elephants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nissani, Moti; Hoefler-Nissani, Donna; Lay, U. Tin; Htun, U. Wan

    2005-01-01

    Two experiments explored the behavior of 20 Asian elephants ("Elephas aximus") in simultaneous visual discrimination tasks. In Experiment 1, 7 Burmese logging elephants acquired a white+/black- discrimination, reaching criterion in a mean of 2.6 sessions and 117 discrete trials, whereas 4 elephants acquired a black+/white- discrimination in 5.3…

  3. Population genetic structure of savannah elephants in Kenya: conservation and management implications

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Okello, John B A; Masembe, Charles; Rasmussen, Henrik B;

    2008-01-01

    We investigated population genetic structure and regional differentiation among African savannah elephants in Kenya using mitochondrial and microsatellite markers. We observed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) nucleotide diversity of 1.68% and microsatellite variation in terms of average number of alleles...... genome to the matrilineal social structure of elephant populations, female natal philopatry, and probably ancient vicariance. Lack of significant regional differentiation at the nuclear loci vis-a-vis strong differences at mtDNA loci between regions is likely the effect of subsequent homogenization...

  4. Endocrine correlates of musth in free-ranging Asian elephants (Elephas maximus determined by non-invasive faecal steroid hormone metabolite measurements.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ratna Ghosal

    Full Text Available The occurrence of musth, a period of elevated levels of androgens and heightened sexual activity, has been well documented for the male Asian elephant (Elephas maximus. However, the relationship between androgen-dependent musth and adrenocortical function in this species is unclear. The current study is the first assessment of testicular and adrenocortical function in free-ranging male Asian elephants by measuring levels of testosterone (androgen and cortisol (glucocorticoid--a physiological indicator of stress metabolites in faeces. During musth, males expectedly showed significant elevation in faecal testosterone metabolite levels. Interestingly, glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations remained unchanged between musth and non-musth periods. This observation is contrary to that observed with wild and captive African elephant bulls and captive Asian bull elephants. Our results show that musth may not necessarily represent a stressful condition in free-ranging male Asian elephants.

  5. Data-driven discovery of the spatial scales of habitat choice by elephants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew F. Mashintonio

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Setting conservation goals and management objectives relies on understanding animal habitat preferences. Models that predict preferences combine location data from tracked animals with environmental information, usually at a spatial resolution determined by the available data. This resolution may be biologically irrelevant for the species in question. Individuals likely integrate environmental characteristics over varying distances when evaluating their surroundings; we call this the scale of selection. Even a single characteristic might be viewed differently at different scales; for example, a preference for sheltering under trees does not necessarily imply a fondness for continuous forest. Multi-scale preference is likely to be particularly evident for animals that occupy coarsely heterogeneous landscapes like savannahs. We designed a method to identify scales at which species respond to resources and used these scales to build preference models. We represented different scales of selection by locally averaging, or smoothing, the environmental data using kernels of increasing radii. First, we examined each environmental variable separately across a spectrum of selection scales and found peaks of fit. These ‘candidate’ scales then determined the environmental data layers entering a multivariable conditional logistic model. We used model selection via AIC to determine the important predictors out of this set. We demonstrate this method using savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana inhabiting two parks in southern Africa. The multi-scale models were more parsimonious than models using environmental data at only the source resolution. Maps describing habitat preferences also improved when multiple scales were included, as elephants were more often in places predicted to have high neighborhood quality. We conclude that elephants select habitat based on environmental qualities at multiple scales. For them, and likely many other species

  6. Age- and tactic-related paternity success in male African elephants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rasmussen, Henrik Barner; Okello, J. B. A.; Wittemyer, G.

    2008-01-01

    , reproduction was not heavily skewed compared with many other mammalian systems with a similar breeding system. Nevertheless, these results indicate that trophy hunting and ivory poaching, both of which target older bulls, may have substantial behavioral and genetic effects on elephant populations. In addition......Information on age- and tactic-related paternity success is essential for understanding the lifetime reproductive strategy of males and constitutes an important component of the fitness trade-offs that shape the life-history traits of a species. The degree of reproductive skew impacts the genetic...... structure of a population and should be considered when developing conservation strategies for threatened species. The behavior and genetic structure of species with large reproductive skew may be disproportionately impacted by anthropogenic actions affecting reproductively dominant individuals. Our results...

  7. The Singer of the Elephant

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    郭雨微

    2013-01-01

    The film Elephant is novel not only in its narrative style and abundant use of long shots, but also in its selection of two pieces of piano music. What the movie lenses hope to express is the same thing that the will of piano music does. Alex is not only a player of the two pieces of piano music but also a singer of the elephant.The thesis applies Schopenhauer’s will theory in music to analyze Alex’s song《For Elise》and《Moonlight Sonata》and to anatomize his mental activity and brewing of thought. By using the power of piano music this thesis aims at digging out how he becomes the singer of the elephant.

  8. A recent bottleneck in the warthog and elephant populations of Queen Elizabeth National Park, revealed by a comparative study of four mammalian species in Uganda national parks

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Muwanika, Vincent B.; Siegismund, Hans Redlef; Okello, John Bosco A.

    2003-01-01

    Until 1972, Uganda's national parks boasted of large numbers of large mammal species. Following the breakdown of law and order between 1972 and 1985, large-scale poaching led to an unprecedented decline in numbers of most large mammals in Uganda's national parks. However, the extent of decline...... microsatellite loci (for elephant and warthog populations) and mitochondrial control sequence variation in the warthogs, elephants, buffaloes and hippopotamuses. Queen Elizabeth National Park showed extreme reduction in nucleotide diversity for two species, the common warthog (p= 0.0%) and African elephant (p= 0...... varied in the different parks across different animal species. We have investigated the genetic effects of these reductions in four mammalian species (the common warthog, African savannah elephant, savannah buffalo and common river hippopotamus) from the three major parks of Uganda using both...

  9. Molecular phylogenetic inference of the woolly mammoth Mammuthus primigenius, based on complete sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome b and 12S ribosomal RNA genes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noro, M; Masuda, R; Dubrovo, I A; Yoshida, M C; Kato, M

    1998-03-01

    Complete sequences of cytochrome b (1,137 bases) and 12S ribosomal RNA (961 bases) genes in mitochondrial DNA were successfully determined from the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), African elephant (Loxodonta africana), and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). From these sequence data, phylogenetic relationships among three genera were examined. Molecular phylogenetic trees reconstructed by the neighbor-joining and the maximum parsimony methods provided an identical topology both for cytochrome b and 12S rRNA genes. These results support the "Mammuthus-Loxodonta" clade, which is contrary to some previous morphological reports that Mammuthus is more closely related to Elephas than to Loxodonta.

  10. Modeling elephant-mediated cascading effects of water point closure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hilbers, Jelle P; Van Langevelde, Frank; Prins, Herbert H T; Grant, C C; Peel, Mike J S; Coughenour, Michael B; De Knegt, Henrik J; Slotow, Rob; Smit, Izak P J; Kiker, Greg A; De Boer, Willem F

    2015-03-01

    Wildlife management to reduce the impact of wildlife on their habitat can be done in several ways, among which removing animals (by either culling or translocation) is most often used. There are, however, alternative ways to control wildlife densities, such as opening or closing water points. The effects of these alternatives are poorly studied. In this paper, we focus on manipulating large herbivores through the closure of water points (WPs). Removal of artificial WPs has been suggested in order to change the distribution of African elephants, which occur in high densities in national parks in Southern Africa and are thought to have a destructive effect on the vegetation. Here, we modeled the long-term effects of different scenarios of WP closure on the spatial distribution of elephants, and consequential effects on the vegetation and other herbivores in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Using a dynamic ecosystem model, SAVANNA, scenarios were evaluated that varied in availability of artificial WPs; levels of natural water; and elephant densities. Our modeling results showed that elephants can indirectly negatively affect the distributions of meso-mixed feeders, meso-browsers, and some meso-grazers under wet conditions. The closure of artificial WPs hardly had any effect during these natural wet conditions. Under dry conditions, the spatial distribution of both elephant bulls and cows changed when the availability of artificial water was severely reduced in the model. These changes in spatial distribution triggered changes in the spatial availability of woody biomass over the simulation period of 80 years, and this led to changes in the rest of the herbivore community, resulting in increased densities of all herbivores, except for giraffe and steenbok, in areas close to rivers. The spatial distributions of elephant bulls and cows showed to be less affected by the closure of WPs than most of the other herbivore species. Our study contributes to ecologically

  11. Home range and ranging behaviour of Bornean elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis females.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raymond Alfred

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Home range is defined as the extent and location of the area covered annually by a wild animal in its natural habitat. Studies of African and Indian elephants in landscapes of largely open habitats have indicated that the sizes of the home range are determined not only by the food supplies and seasonal changes, but also by numerous other factors including availability of water sources, habitat loss and the existence of man-made barriers. The home range size for the Bornean elephant had never been investigated before. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The first satellite tracking program to investigate the movement of wild Bornean elephants in Sabah was initiated in 2005. Five adult female elephants were immobilized and neck collars were fitted with tracking devices. The sizes of their home range and movement patterns were determined using location data gathered from a satellite tracking system and analyzed by using the Minimum Convex Polygon and Harmonic Mean methods. Home range size was estimated to be 250 to 400 km(2 in a non-fragmented forest and 600 km(2 in a fragmented forest. The ranging behavior was influenced by the size of the natural forest habitat and the availability of permanent water sources. The movement pattern was influenced by human disturbance and the need to move from one feeding site to another. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Home range and movement rate were influenced by the degree of habitat fragmentation. Once habitat was cleared or converted, the availability of food plants and water sources were reduced, forcing the elephants to travel to adjacent forest areas. Therefore movement rate in fragmented forest was higher than in the non-fragmented forest. Finally, in fragmented habitat human and elephant conflict occurrences were likely to be higher, due to increased movement bringing elephants into contact more often with humans.

  12. My Favorite Animal-Elephant

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    童佳欣; 姜彩娟

    2002-01-01

    There are many kinds of animals in the world.and i like the elephants best of all because they are the biggest animals on land they have the biggest ears and the biggest teeth,they also have a longnose,

  13. Identifying source populations and genetic structure for savannah elephants in human-dominated landscapes and protected areas in the Kenya-Tanzania borderlands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marissa A Ahlering

    Full Text Available We investigated the genetic metapopulation structure of elephants across the trans Rift Valley region of Kenya and Tanzania, one of the remaining strongholds for savannah elephants (Loxodonata africana in East Africa, using microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA markers. We then examined this population structure to determine the source population for a recent colonization event of savannah elephants on community-owned land within the trans rift valley region. Four of the five sampled populations showed significant genetic differentiation (p<0.05 as measured with both mtDNA haplotypes and microsatellites. Only the samples from the adjacent Maasai Mara and Serengeti ecosystems showed no significant differentiation. A phylogenetic neighbour-joining tree constructed from mtDNA haplotypes detected four clades. Clade four corresponds to the F clade of previous mtDNA studies that reported to have originated in forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis but to also be present in some savannah elephant populations. The split between clade four and the other three clades corresponded strongly to the geographic distribution of mtDNA haplotypes across the rift valley in the study area. Clade four was the dominant clade detected on the west side of the rift valley with rare occurrences on the east side. Finally, the strong patterns of population differentiation clearly indicated that the recent colonists to the community-owned land in Kenya came from the west side of the rift valley. Our results indicate strong female philopatry within the isolated populations of the trans rift valley region, with gene flow primarily mediated via male movements. The recent colonization event from Maasai Mara or Serengeti suggests there is hope for maintaining connectivity and population viability outside formal protected areas in the region.

  14. Analysis Of Policy Options To Convert Human-Elephant Conflict Into Human-Elephant Harmony

    OpenAIRE

    Rawadee Jarungrattanapong; Siriporn Sajjanand

    2011-01-01

    In Thailand the number of elephants are declining, and many of the remaining animals are protected in a network of wildlife sanctuaries. Unfortunately, elephants from these protected areas are coming into conflict with farmers. This human-elephant conflict (HEC) is causing crop damage. It is also leading to injury and loss of life amongst both farmers and elephants. This study has looked at this problem and has highlighted a combination of policies that should help to reduce it. It finds that...

  15. Diet and distribution of elephant in the Maputo Elephant Reserve, Mozambique

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Boer, WF; Ntumi, CP; Correia, AU; Mafuca, JM

    2000-01-01

    The distribution and diet of the elephants of the Maputo Elephant Reserve were studied using dung counts, satellite tracking and faecal analysis. The results were compared with earlier data from before the civil war in Mozambique. The elephant population decreased during the civil war, but 180 anima

  16. Making sense of elephants in the shamba

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bond, Jennifer Lauren

    of wildlife management and the role this has on the individual farmers’ enacting and selection when confronted with an elephant in their crop. Analysis showed that respondents who had come into direct physical contact with an elephant reported to be more likely to refrain from attempting to scare elephants...... in the future and viewed them as dangerous. In comparison, farmers who had not experienced direct physical contact and subsequent injury from an elephant reported that they would continue to engage in interactions with elephants to remove them from their crops, viewing the elephants primarily as a pest...... is intended as a snapshot of the potential for the application of sensemaking theory to human-wildlife interactions rather than a case for generalisation....

  17. Seed Dispersal Potential of Asian Elephants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Harich, Franziska K.; Treydte, Anna Christina; Ogutu, Joseph Ochieng

    2016-01-01

    of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). We examined the effects of elephant fruit consumption on potential seed dispersal using the example of a tree species with mega-faunal characteristics, Dillenia indica L., in Thailand. We conducted feeding trials with Asian elephants to quantify seed survival and gut...... dispersers might, therefore, have long-term negative consequences for the recruitment and dispersal dynamics of populations of certain tree species....

  18. Elephant-to-Human Transmission of Tuberculosis

    Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Podcasts

    2011-02-23

    This podcast reports on the transmission of TB from elephants to humans. Dr. Rendi Murphree, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Vanderbilt University Visiting Scholar, discusses the recent elephant-to-human transmission of tuberculosis at an elephant refuge in Tennessee.  Created: 2/23/2011 by National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID).   Date Released: 2/23/2011.

  19. New evidence for hybrid zones of forest and savanna elephants in Central and West Africa

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mondol, Samrat; Moltke, Ida; Hart, John

    2015-01-01

    The African elephant consists of forest and savanna subspecies. Both subspecies are highly endangered due to severe poaching and habitat loss, and knowledge of their population structure is vital to their conservation. Previous studies have demonstrated marked genetic and morphological differences...... and Y chromosome data demonstrate that the hybridization is bidirectional, involving males and females from both subspecies. We hypothesize that the hybrid zones may have been facilitated by poaching and habitat modification. The localized geography and rarity of hybrid zones, their possible...

  20. The winter diet of elephant in Eastern Cape Subtropical Thicket, Addo Elephant National Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R.G.T. Paley

    1998-01-01

    Full Text Available Direct observational methods were used to establish the winter diet of elephants in Eastern Cape Subtropical Thicket in the Addo Elephant National Park, thereby determining which plant species were most at risk from elephant herbivory. A total of 70 species were identified as food plants for elephants, with the grass Cynodon dactylon and the succulents Portulacaria afra and Platythyra haeckeliana dominating, both in terms of frequency of feeding events and volume consumed. In view of the fact that elephants represent 78 of the herbivore biomass in the park, it appears likely that elephant feeding restricts the availability of forage for other browsers. Due to the limited time frame of this study, further research is needed to provide a comprehensive record of the elephant diet for all seasons of the year.

  1. Elephants: Big, Strong and Wise. Young Discovery Library Series.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pfeffer, Pierre

    This book is written for children ages 5 through 10. Part of a series designed to develop their curiosity, fascinate them and educate them, this volume examines the characteristics and natural history of elephants. Topics included are: (1) elephant's ancestors; (2) elephant life; and (3) training elephants for work. Quiz items are included. (YP)

  2. Genetic variation at hair length candidate genes in elephants and the extinct woolly mammoth

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tisdale Michele

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Like humans, the living elephants are unusual among mammals in being sparsely covered with hair. Relative to extant elephants, the extinct woolly mammoth, Mammuthus primigenius, had a dense hair cover and extremely long hair, which likely were adaptations to its subarctic habitat. The fibroblast growth factor 5 (FGF5 gene affects hair length in a diverse set of mammalian species. Mutations in FGF5 lead to recessive long hair phenotypes in mice, dogs, and cats; and the gene has been implicated in hair length variation in rabbits. Thus, FGF5 represents a leading candidate gene for the phenotypic differences in hair length notable between extant elephants and the woolly mammoth. We therefore sequenced the three exons (except for the 3' UTR and a portion of the promoter of FGF5 from the living elephantid species (Asian, African savanna and African forest elephants and, using protocols for ancient DNA, from a woolly mammoth. Results Between the extant elephants and the mammoth, two single base substitutions were observed in FGF5, neither of which alters the amino acid sequence. Modeling of the protein structure suggests that the elephantid proteins fold similarly to the human FGF5 protein. Bioinformatics analyses and DNA sequencing of another locus that has been implicated in hair cover in humans, type I hair keratin pseudogene (KRTHAP1, also yielded negative results. Interestingly, KRTHAP1 is a pseudogene in elephantids as in humans (although fully functional in non-human primates. Conclusion The data suggest that the coding sequence of the FGF5 gene is not the critical determinant of hair length differences among elephantids. The results are discussed in the context of hairlessness among mammals and in terms of the potential impact of large body size, subarctic conditions, and an aquatic ancestor on hair cover in the Proboscidea.

  3. Finding Elephant Flows for Optical Networks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fioreze, Tiago; Oude Wolbers, Mattijs; Meent, van de Remco; Pras, Aiko

    2007-01-01

    Optical networks are fast and reliable networks that enable, amongst others, dedicated light paths to be established for elephant IP flows. Elephant IP flows are characterized by being small in number, but long in time and high in traffic volume. Moving these flows from the general IP network to ded

  4. The Elephants Teach: Creative Writing since 1880

    Science.gov (United States)

    Myers, David Gershom

    2006-01-01

    When Vladimir Nabokov was up for a chair in literature at Harvard, the linguist Roman Jakobson protested: "What's next? Shall we appoint elephants to teach zoology?" That anecdote, with which D. G. Myers begins "The Elephants Teach", perfectly frames the issues this book tackles. Myers explores more than a century of debate over how writing should…

  5. Acute phase protein expression during elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus-1 viremia in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanton, Jeffrey J; Cray, Carolyn; Rodriguez, Marilyn; Arheart, Kristopher L; Ling, Paul D; Herron, Alan

    2013-09-01

    Infection of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) with elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) can be associated with rapid, lethal hemorrhagic disease and has been documented in elephant herds in human care and in the wild. Recent reports describe real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays used to monitor clinically ill elephants and also to detect subclinical EEHV1 infection in apparently healthy Asian elephants. Acute phase proteins have been demonstrated to increase with a variety of infectious etiologies in domesticated mammals but have not yet been described in elephants. In addition, the immune response of Asian elephants to EEHV1 infection has not been described. In this study, whole blood and trunk wash samples representing repeated measures from eight elephants were examined for the presence of EEHV1 using a qPCR assay. Elephants were classified into groups, as follows: whole blood negative and positive and trunk wash negative and positive. Serum amyloid A (SAA) and haptoglobin (HP) levels were compared between these groups. A significant difference in SAA was observed with nearly a threefold higher mean value during periods of viremia (P=0.011). Higher values of SAA were associated with >10,000 virus genome copies/ml EEHV1 in whole blood. There were no significant differences in HP levels, although some individual animals did exhibit increased levels with infection. These data indicate that an inflammatory process is stimulated during EEHV1 viremia. Acute phase protein quantitation may aid in monitoring the health status of Asian elephants.

  6. Diurnal and nocturnal activity budgets of zoo elephants in an outdoor facility.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horback, Kristina M; Miller, Lance J; Andrews, Jeff R M; Kuczaj, Stan A

    2014-01-01

    The present study examined the activity budgets of 15 African elephants (1 bull, 6 cows, 2 male juveniles, 2 female juveniles, and 4 male calves) living at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park during the summers of 2010 and 2011. Onsite behavioral data (n = 600 hr) were collected for approximately 12 weeks from 0400 to 0830 and 1100 to 2400 during the 2010 and 2011 summer season. Foraging was the most common behavior state during the day followed by resting, and walking. During the evening hours, the elephants spent majority of their time foraging, resting, and sleeping. The average rate of self-maintenance behavior events (dust, wallow, etc.) increased from 0600 to 0700, 1100 to 1500, and from 1700 to 1900. Positive social behavior events (touch other, play, etc.) remained high from 0500 to 2300, with peaks at 0600, 1300, 1500, and 1900. Negative social events occurred at low rates throughout the day and night, with peaks at 0600, 1900, and 2200. The majority of positive behavior events during the daylight and nighttime hours involved the mother-calf pairs. Furthermore, the calves and juveniles initiated approximately 60% of all social events during the daytime and 57% of all social interactions at night. The results of this study demonstrate the differences between diurnal and nocturnal activity budgets of a multi-age and sex elephant herd in a zoological facility, which highlights the importance of managing elephants to meet their 24 hr behavioral needs.

  7. Yet another call for a greater Role for good Faith in the South African Law of Contract: Can we banish the Law of the Jungle, while avoiding the Elephant in the Room?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andre M Louw

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available This article examines the current approach of the South African courts to the role of good faith or bona fides in contracts, as well as the courts’ stated reasons for this approach. The article specifically examines how arguments based on good faith have fared in the Constitutional Court to date, and the prospects for law reform to emanate from that court in the near future. The author suggests an understanding of good faith which he believes is in line with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and argues that in terms of such an understanding of a robust good faith doctrine the legal fraternity or the courts can avoid some of the dangers that the judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal have warned about in this context in recent years. The author shares some concluding thoughts on the pressing need for law reform with respect to the role and presence of good faith in contracts.

  8. Asian elephants acquire inaccessible food by blowing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mizuno, Kaori; Irie, Naoko; Hiraiwa-Hasegawa, Mariko; Kutsukake, Nobuyuki

    2016-01-01

    Many animals acquire otherwise inaccessible food with the aid of sticks and occasionally water. As an exception, some reports suggest that elephants manipulate breathing through their trunks to acquire inaccessible food. Here, we report on two female Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Kamine Zoo, Japan, who regularly blew to drive food within their reach. We experimentally investigated this behaviour by placing foods in inaccessible places. The elephants blew the food until it came within accessible range. Once the food was within range, the elephants were increasingly less likely to blow as the distance to the food became shorter. One subject manipulated her blowing duration based on food distance: longer when the food was distant. These results suggest that the elephants used their breath to achieve goals: that is, they used it not only to retrieve the food but also to fine-tune the food position for easy grasping. We also observed individual differences in the elephants' aptitude for this technique, which altered the efficiency of food acquisition. Thus, we added a new example of spontaneous behaviour for achieving a goal in animals. The use of breath to drive food is probably unique to elephants, with their dexterous trunks and familiarity with manipulating the act of blowing, which is commonly employed for self-comfort and acoustic communication.

  9. Elderly Elephants Catch a Break

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    李邮

    2003-01-01

    印度的喀拉拉邦是一个把大象用作劳动工具的地方。大象的平均寿命为80岁,现在规定了大象的退休年龄为60岁。但是,当地人认为:Age should notbe the criterion for determining when an elephant should retire.本文还告诉我们一头大象每日的劳动报酬是多少。

  10. Social life of captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Southern India: implications for elephant welfare.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vanitha, Varadharajan; Thiyagesan, Krishnamoorthy; Baskaran, Nagarajan

    2011-01-01

    Asian elephants in the wild live in complex social societies; in captivity, however, management often occurs in solitary conditions, especially at the temples and private places of India. To investigate the effect of social isolation, this study assessed the social group sizes and the presence of stereotypies among 140 captive Asian elephants managed in 3 captive systems (private, temple, and forest department) in Tamil Nadu, India, between 2003 and 2005. The majority of the facilities in the private (82%) and temple (95%) systems held a single elephant without opportunity for social interaction. The forest department managed the elephants in significantly larger groups than the private and temple systems. Among the 3 systems, the proportion of elephants with stereotypies was the highest in temple (49%) followed by private system (26%) and the forest department facility (6%); this correlates with the social isolation trend observed in the 3 systems and suggests a possible link between social isolation and abnormal elephant behavior separate from other environmental factors. The results of this study indicate it would be of greater benefit to elephant well being to keep the patchily distributed solitary temple and private elephants who are socially compatible and free from contagious diseases in small social groups at "common elephant houses" for socialization.

  11. WAR ELEPHANTS IN THE PYRRHUS' ARMY

    OpenAIRE

    2011-01-01

    In the IIIrd century BC king of Epirus Pyrrhus has used Indian elephants in his army. These animals have been brought to his forces from Ptolemy Thunderbolt. These beasts came to Europe with Seleucus Nicator and took part in many battles between the Diadochi in Asia. Pyrrhus has used them in Italian campanign and he was the first who had brought these animals to Italy. They became the first elephants which terrified Romans and were the first elephants which have been defeated by them. This wa...

  12. The influence of the Shire River on Liwonde National Park, Malawi, with special reference to elephant movements

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Bhima

    1997-02-01

    Full Text Available Liwonde National Park (538 km2, Malawi, is a riverine-lacustrine park. The only outlet of Lake Malawi is the Shire River along the western boundary of the park. Although elephants spend many long hours in the floodplain on the eastern bank, they never crossed the river until 1991/92 during the worst southern African drought in living memory. This study investigated the impact of the river on the floodplain and inferred the influence on elephant movements. Waterflow of the Shire River at Liwonde since 1972 was reviewed and influences of water level variations were inferred from aerial photographs and geomorphic maps. Elephants crossing the river were also observed. The period 1972-1975 had low waterflow, reaching a minimum of 180 cumecs. Elephants did not cross then, probably because the population was small (below 200 and therefore had no incentive to do so. In contrast, the period 1976-1990 was characterised by high river waterflow of up to 1050 cumecs, leading to extensive flooding. This provided water and good forage. During the drought between 1991 and 1995 little flooding occurred. The elephants over-utilised the eastern floodplain. Some crossed the river for better forage. The population had then increased to 400.

  13. New evidence for hybrid zones of forest and savanna elephants in Central and West Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mondol, Samrat; Moltke, Ida; Hart, John; Keigwin, Michael; Brown, Lisa; Stephens, Matthew; Wasser, Samuel K

    2015-12-01

    The African elephant consists of forest and savanna subspecies. Both subspecies are highly endangered due to severe poaching and habitat loss, and knowledge of their population structure is vital to their conservation. Previous studies have demonstrated marked genetic and morphological differences between forest and savanna elephants, and despite extensive sampling, genetic evidence of hybridization between them has been restricted largely to a few hybrids in the Garamba region of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Here, we present new genetic data on hybridization from previously unsampled areas of Africa. Novel statistical methods applied to these data identify 46 hybrid samples--many more than have been previously identified--only two of which are from the Garamba region. The remaining 44 are from three other geographically distinct locations: a major hybrid zone along the border of the DRC and Uganda, a second potential hybrid zone in Central African Republic and a smaller fraction of hybrids in the Pendjari-Arli complex of West Africa. Most of the hybrids show evidence of interbreeding over more than one generation, demonstrating that hybrids are fertile. Mitochondrial and Y chromosome data demonstrate that the hybridization is bidirectional, involving males and females from both subspecies. We hypothesize that the hybrid zones may have been facilitated by poaching and habitat modification. The localized geography and rarity of hybrid zones, their possible facilitation from human pressures, and the high divergence and genetic distinctness of forest and savanna elephants throughout their ranges, are consistent with calls for separate species classification.

  14. Elephants and human intervention in the Lower and Middle Pleistocene sites of Africa and Europe

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martos Romero, Juan Antonio

    1998-06-01

    Full Text Available In this paper, we review some African and European sites at which it is claimed that elephants were exploted by humans. The differences between sites with only one individual (type 1 and sites with a large number of elephants (type 2 are related to different formation processes and particular problems which limit the informative potential of sites.

    En el presente artículo se revisan yacimientos africanos y europeos donde se ha planteado la existencia de una intervención humana sobre elefantes. Se establece una diferencia entre sitios con un sólo individuo (tipo 1 o un número alto de elefantes (tipo 2. Con independencia del carácter de la intervención humana, cuando ésta es evidente, tales diferencias responden a unos procesos de formación distintos con problemáticas singulares que condicionan finalmente la capacidad informativa del yacimiento.

  15. Elephant Flyswatters: The Right Tool for the Job

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    诸葛勤

    1995-01-01

    Human beings use swatters to get rid of pesky flies. Some elephants do too. A study of 15 Asian elephants that carry tourists to visit wildlife in Nepal found that the pachyderms had good reason to grasp a leafy branch

  16. Walking Behavior of Zoo Elephants: Associations between GPS-Measured Daily Walking Distances and Environmental Factors, Social Factors, and Welfare Indicators.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew R Holdgate

    Full Text Available Research with humans and other animals suggests that walking benefits physical health. Perhaps because these links have been demonstrated in other species, it has been suggested that walking is important to elephant welfare, and that zoo elephant exhibits should be designed to allow for more walking. Our study is the first to address this suggestion empirically by measuring the mean daily walking distance of elephants in North American zoos, determining the factors that are associated with variations in walking distance, and testing for associations between walking and welfare indicators. We used anklets equipped with GPS data loggers to measure outdoor daily walking distance in 56 adult female African (n = 33 and Asian (n = 23 elephants housed in 30 North American zoos. We collected 259 days of data and determined associations between distance walked and social, housing, management, and demographic factors. Elephants walked an average of 5.3 km/day with no significant difference between species. In our multivariable model, more diverse feeding regimens were correlated with increased walking, and elephants who were fed on a temporally unpredictable feeding schedule walked 1.29 km/day more than elephants fed on a predictable schedule. Distance walked was also positively correlated with an increase in the number of social groupings and negatively correlated with age. We found a small but significant negative correlation between distance walked and nighttime Space Experience, but no other associations between walking distances and exhibit size were found. Finally, distance walked was not related to health or behavioral outcomes including foot health, joint health, body condition, and the performance of stereotypic behavior, suggesting that more research is necessary to determine explicitly how differences in walking may impact elephant welfare.

  17. Investigating the seismic signal of elephants: using seismology to mitigate elephant human conflict

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webb, S. J.; Manzi, M.; Naidoo, A.; Raveloson, A.

    2015-12-01

    Human interactions with wild elephants are often a source of conflict, as elephants invade inhabited lands looking for sustenance. In order to mitigate these interactions, a number of elephant defense systems are under development. These include electric fences, bees and the playback of warning calls recorded from elephants. With the discovery that elephants use seismic signals to communicate (O'Connell-Rodwell et al., 2006, Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol.), it is hoped that seismic signals can also be used to help reduce conflict. Our current research project investigates the spectral content of the elephant seismic signal that travels through the ground using a variety of geophones and seismometers. Our experimental setup used a Geometrics Geode 24 channel seismic system with an array of 24 geophones spaced 1 m apart in an area of compact soil overlying weathered granites. Initially we used 14 Hz vertical geophones. The ground and ambient noise conditions were characterized by recording several hammer shots. These were used to identify the air wave, wind noise, and the direct wave, which had a dominant frequency of ~50 Hz. Several trained elephants that 'rumble' on command were then deployed ~5 m perpendicular to a line of 24 (14 Hz) vertical geophones between the 1 and 10 m geophone positions. We recorded a number of different elephants and configurations, and digitally recorded video for comparison. An additional deployment of 20 (14 Hz) horizontal geophones was also used. For all data, the sample interval was 0.25 ms and the recording length was 16 s as the timing of the rumbles could not be precisely controlled. We were able to identify the airwave due to the elephant's rumble with velocities between 305-310 m/s and the ground seismic signal due to the rumble with frequencies between 20-30 Hz. Our next experiment will include broadband seismometers at a further distance, to more fully characterize the frequency content of the elephant signal.

  18. Insightful problem solving in an Asian elephant.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Preston Foerder

    Full Text Available The "aha" moment or the sudden arrival of the solution to a problem is a common human experience. Spontaneous problem solving without evident trial and error behavior in humans and other animals has been referred to as insight. Surprisingly, elephants, thought to be highly intelligent, have failed to exhibit insightful problem solving in previous cognitive studies. We tested whether three Asian elephants (Elephas maximus would use sticks or other objects to obtain food items placed out-of-reach and overhead. Without prior trial and error behavior, a 7-year-old male Asian elephant showed spontaneous problem solving by moving a large plastic cube, on which he then stood, to acquire the food. In further testing he showed behavioral flexibility, using this technique to reach other items and retrieving the cube from various locations to use as a tool to acquire food. In the cube's absence, he generalized this tool utilization technique to other objects and, when given smaller objects, stacked them in an attempt to reach the food. The elephant's overall behavior was consistent with the definition of insightful problem solving. Previous failures to demonstrate this ability in elephants may have resulted not from a lack of cognitive ability but from the presentation of tasks requiring trunk-held sticks as potential tools, thereby interfering with the trunk's use as a sensory organ to locate the targeted food.

  19. Fatal elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus-1 and -4 co-infection in a juvenile Asian elephant in Europe

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Seilern-Moy, Katharina; Bertelsen, Mads Frost; Leifsson, Páll S.;

    2016-01-01

    Introduction Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus-1 (EEHV-1) is one of the major causes of fatality in juvenile Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). On occasions, other EEHV genotypes, i.e. EEHV-3, -4 and -5, have also been reported as the cause of Asian elephant deaths. In this case report we...... describe the investigation into a juvenile Asian elephant fatality in a European zoo. Case Presentation: A fatal case of haemorrhagic disease in a juvenile Asian elephant from a European zoo was diagnosed with co-infection of EEHV-1 and -4. EEHV-4 had a wider organ distribution and a higher viral load...

  20. What is the use of elephant hair?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Conor L Myhrvold

    Full Text Available The idea that low surface densities of hairs could be a heat loss mechanism is understood in engineering and has been postulated in some thermal studies of animals. However, its biological implications, both for thermoregulation as well as for the evolution of epidermal structures, have not yet been noted. Since early epidermal structures are poorly preserved in the fossil record, we study modern elephants to infer not only the heat transfer effect of present-day sparse hair, but also its potential evolutionary origins. Here we use a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches, and a range of hair densities determined from photographs, to test whether sparse hairs increase convective heat loss from elephant skin, thus serving an intentional evolutionary purpose. Our conclusion is that elephants are covered with hair that significantly enhances their thermoregulation ability by over 5% under all scenarios considered, and by up to 23% at low wind speeds where their thermoregulation needs are greatest. The broader biological significance of this finding suggests that maintaining a low-density hair cover can be evolutionary purposeful and beneficial, which is consistent with the fact that elephants have the greatest need for heat loss of any modern terrestrial animal because of their high body-volume to skin-surface ratio. Elephant hair is the first documented example in nature where increasing heat transfer due to a low hair density covering may be a desirable effect, and therefore raises the possibility of such a covering for similarly sized animals in the past. This elephant example dispels the widely-held assumption that in modern endotherms body hair functions exclusively as an insulator and could therefore be a first step to resolving the prior paradox of why hair was able to evolve in a world much warmer than our own.

  1. The effect of mature elephant bull introductions on ranging patterns of resident bulls: Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Heleen Druce

    2006-12-01

    Full Text Available Increasing popularity of wildlife viewing has resulted in a rapid increase in small, enclosed reserves in South Africa. The African elephant is one of the many species that has been reintroduced into these reserves for eco-tourism. These elephant populations were established as young (smaller that 10 years old orphans from prior Kruger National Park culling operations. Consequently, this abnormal sex and age structure of these introduced populations has influenced their behavioural and spatial ecology. In Pilanesberg National Park, this abnormal behaviour was corrected by introducing older bulls and culling certain problem elephants. In July 2003, three older bulls (29–41 years old were introduced into Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in order to normalise the bull age structure. These introduced bulls were monitored intensively after release, as was the resident bull population, both before and after introduction of the older bulls. The introduced bulls settled into restricted ranges separate from the family groups. All the resident bulls decreased their home ranges at first, with most increasing their home ranges a year later. The resident bulls’ change in ranging patterns was due more to ecological factors than to the influence of the mature bull introduction. This study indicates that the introduction of older male elephants into small populations does not pose major risks or animal welfare concerns.

  2. Long-term changes in the woody vegetation of the Kruger National Park, with special reference to the effects of elephants and fire

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    W.S.W. Trollope

    1998-02-01

    Full Text Available As part of the investigation reviewing the South African National Parks policy on the management of elephants in the Kruger National Park in South Africa it was decided to assess the current density and structural diversity of the woody vegetation in the park as it is affected by elephants and fire. The management policy used till recently, limited the population to approximately 7000 elephants, based on a conclusion that 6000 elephants (1 per 1.94 km2 was the highest number of elephants that could be carried in the Kruger National Park. The inclusion of the effects and interaction of fire in the investigation arises from the general recognition that elephants and fire can have a highly significant impact on the species and structural diversity of tree and shrub vegetation in African savannas. In the absence of quantitative data describing the condition of the woody vegetation in the Kruger National Park, subjective comparisons of changes in the density of large trees were made for the periods 1940 vs 1960 and 1960 vs 1986/89 using aerial photographs based on four of the major vegetation landscape units in the park. The results indicate that in the vegetation landscapes in areas with granitic soils there were no significant changes in the density of large trees between 1940 vs 1960 whereas a moderate decline occurred in the vegetation in the areas with basaltic soils. Conversely during the period 1960 to 1986/89 there was a dramatic decline in the density of large trees in all four major vegetation landscape units. On-site inspections and botanical surveys suggest that the decline in the density of large trees is the result of the effects of the interaction of elephants and fire. This had arisen because during the period 1960 to 1986/89 systematic burning programs had been introduced at the same time as elephant numbers had risen sharply. The results presented suggest that the changes in the woody vegetation do not involve a decrease in species

  3. CLINICAL INFECTION OF TWO CAPTIVE ASIAN ELEPHANTS (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) WITH ELEPHANT ENDOTHELIOTROPIC HERPESVIRUS 1B.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fuery, Angela; Tan, Jie; Peng, RongSheng; Flanagan, Joseph P; Tocidlowski, Maryanne E; Howard, Lauren L; Ling, Paul D

    2016-03-01

    The ability of prior infection from one elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) type to protect against clinical or lethal infection from others remains an important question. This report describes viremia and subsequent shedding of EEHV1B in two juvenile 4-yr-old Asian elephants within 3 wk or 2 mo following significant infections caused by the rarely seen EEHV4. High levels of EEHV1B shedding were detected in the first elephant prior to emergence of infection and viremia in the second animal. The EEHV1B virus associated with both infections was identical to the strain causing infection in two herd mates previously. High EEHV viremia correlated with leukopenia and thrombocytopenia, which was followed by leukocytosis and thrombocytosis when clinical signs started to resolve. The observations from these cases should be beneficial for helping other institutions monitor and treat elephants infected with EEHV1, the most common virus associated with lethal hemorrhagic disease.

  4. Olfactory discrimination ability of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) for structurally related odorants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rizvanovic, Alisa; Amundin, Mats; Laska, Matthias

    2013-02-01

    Using a food-rewarded two-choice instrumental conditioning paradigm, we assessed the ability of Asian elephants, Elephas maximus, to discriminate between 2 sets of structurally related odorants. We found that the animals successfully discriminated between all 12 odor pairs involving members of homologous series of aliphatic 1-alcohols, n-aldehydes, 2-ketones, and n-carboxylic acids even when the stimuli differed from each other by only 1 carbon. With all 4 chemical classes, the elephants displayed a positive correlation between discrimination performance and structural similarity of odorants in terms of differences in carbon chain length. The animals also successfully discriminated between all 12 enantiomeric odor pairs tested. An analysis of odor structure-activity relationships suggests that a combination of molecular structural properties rather than a single molecular feature may be responsible for the discriminability of enantiomers. Compared with other species tested previously on the same sets of odor pairs (or on subsets thereof), the Asian elephants performed at least as well as mice and clearly better than human subjects, squirrel monkeys, pigtail macaques, South African fur seals, and honeybees. Further comparisons suggest that neither the relative nor the absolute size of the olfactory bulbs appear to be reliable predictors of between-species differences in olfactory discrimination capabilities. In contrast, we found a positive correlation between the number of functional olfactory receptor genes and the proportion of discriminable enantiomeric odor pairs. Taken together, the results of the present study support the notion that the sense of smell may play an important role in regulating the behavior of Asian elephants.

  5. A Comprehensive Approach for Modelling Elephant Habitat within the Network of Protected Areas Oti-Keran-Mandouri in Togo (West Africa)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Polo-Akpisso, A.; Coulibaly, M.; Soulemane, O.; Wala, K.; Tano, Y.

    2015-12-01

    The network of protected areas Oti-Keran-Mandouri (OKM) is part of one of the most important ecogeographical region for the African savannah elephant conservation in West Africa. However, OKM is under high anthropogenic pressure but it is still considered as a first priority corridor for elephant migration. Therefore a comprehensive suitability model was developed in a GIS environment to identify remaining suitable patch of habitat. Considering the ecology of the African Savannah elephant, criteria such as pound thickness, distance to rivers, distance to roads, distance to settlements, Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) were standardized using appropriate fuzzy membership functions and sum overlaid. A set of elephant occurrence data from park managers and from casual sighting was used as test data. About 29.01 % of the area of OKM was classified as suitable habitat whereas 60.84 % and 10.14% were respectively considered as somewhat and less suitable habitats. About 36.5% of the occurrence data felt in the suitable area while 62.16% in the somewhat suitable area. Forest lands were the main contributor to the suitable habitat whereas others land cover types (savannahs, wetlands and croplands) contributed mostly to the somewhat suitable habitat (60.97% to 63.43%). The Habitat Unit Index (HUI) for suitable habitat shows that forests are the most preferred vegetation type (0.49) followed by wetlands (0.32) and savannah (0.31). Despite the high anthropogenic pressure on OKM, there are still potential suitable patches of elephant habitat. Improvement of management and restauration activities could enable OKM to play a key role in biodiversity conservation in West Africa by allowing the seasonal migration of elephants. This study gives an insight on the availability of suitable habitat within OKM, however, further investigation is needed to refine the model and to assess habitat fragmentation.

  6. Supporting elephant conservation in Sri Lanka through MODIS imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perera, Kithsiri; Tateishi, Ryutaro

    2012-10-01

    The latest national elephant survey of Sri Lanka (2011) revealed Sri Lanka has 5,879 elephants. The total forest cover for these elephants is about 19,500 sq km (2012 estimation) and estimated forest area is about 30% of the country when smaller green patches are also counted. However, studies have pointed out that a herd of elephants need about a 100 sq km of forest patch to survive. With a high human population density (332 people per sq km, 2010), the pressure for land to feed people and elephants is becoming critical. Resent reports have indicated about 250 elephants are killed annually by farmers and dozens of people are also killed by elephants. Under this context, researchers are investigating various methods to assess the elephant movements to address the issues of Human-Elephant-Conflict (HEC). Apart from various local remedies for the issue, the conservation of elephant population can be supported by satellite imagery based studies. MODIS sensor imagery can be considered as a successful candidate here. Its spatial resolution is low (250m x 250m) but automatically filters out small forest patches in the mapping process. The daily imagery helps to monitor temporal forest cover changes. This study investigated the background information of HEC and used MODIS 250m imagery to suggest applicability of satellite data for Elephant conservations efforts. The elephant movement information was gathered from local authorities and potentials to identify bio-corridors were discussed. Under future research steps, regular forest cover monitoring through MODIS data was emphasized as a valuable tool in elephant conservations efforts.

  7. Elephant teeth from the atlantic continental shelf

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitmore, F.C.; Emery, K.O.; Cooke, H.B.S.; Swift, D.J.P.

    1967-01-01

    Teeth of mastodons and mastodons have been recovered by fishermen from at least 40 sites on the continental shelf as deep as 120 meters. Also present are submerged shorelines, peat deposits, lagoonal shells, and relict sands. Evidently elephants and other large mammals ranged this region during the glacial stage of low sea level of the last 25.000 years.

  8. Africa's elephants and rhinos: Flagships in crisis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Western, D

    1987-11-01

    Despite extensive conservation measures over the last two decades, populations of elephants and rhinos in Africa continue to decline. The plight of the black rhino is especially acute. Poaching for rhino horn and ivory, rather than habitat loss, remains the principal threat to these species. The only long-term hope may lie in the effective protection of small, isolated populations.

  9. Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus 5, a newly recognized elephant herpesvirus associated with clinical and subclinical infections in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atkins, Lisa; Zong, Jian-Chao; Tan, Jie; Mejia, Alicia; Heaggans, Sarah Y; Nofs, Sally A; Stanton, Jeffrey J; Flanagan, Joseph P; Howard, Lauren; Latimer, Erin; Stevens, Martina R; Hoffman, Daryl S; Hayward, Gary S; Ling, Paul D

    2013-03-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) can cause acute hemorrhagic disease with high mortality rates in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Recently, a new EEHV type known as EEHV5 has been described, but its prevalence and clinical significance remain unknown. In this report, an outbreak of EEHV5 infection in a herd of captive Asian elephants in a zoo was characterized. In February 2011, a 42-yr-old wild-born female Asian elephant presented with bilaterally swollen temporal glands, oral mucosal hyperemia, vesicles on the tongue, and generalized lethargy. The elephant had a leukopenia and thrombocytopenia. She was treated with flunixin meglumine, famciclovir, and fluids. Clinical signs of illness resolved gradually over 2 wk, and the white blood cell count and platelets rebounded to higher-than-normal values. EEHV5 viremia was detectable starting 1 wk before presentation and peaked at the onset of clinical illness. EEHV5 shedding in trunk secretions peaked after viremia resolved and continued for more than 2 mo. EEHV5 trunk shedding from a female herd mate without any detectable viremia was detected prior to onset of clinical disease in the 42-yr-old elephant, indicating reactivation rather than primary infection in this elephant. Subsequent EEHV5 viremia and trunk shedding was documented in the other five elephants in the herd, who remained asymptomatic, except for 1 day of temporal gland swelling in an otherwise-healthy 1-yr-old calf. Unexpectedly, the two elephants most recently introduced into the herd 40 mo previously shed a distinctive EEHV5 strain from that seen in the other five elephants. This is the first report to document the kinetics of EEHV5 infection in captive Asian elephants and to provide evidence that this virus can cause illness in some animals.

  10. [The introduction of paddocks in circus elephant husbandry].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmid, J; Zeeb, K

    1994-02-01

    The guidelines for the keeping, the education and the using of animals in circuses and similar institutions, which are made in connection with the law for prevention of cruelty to animals, claim to keep elephants daily one hour unshackled in the group in a paddock. This paper deals with the effect of the paddock to the social, the play, and the comfort behaviour, and the stereotyped movements of circus elephants. Basically for the behaviour of kept elephants are results of observations in nature. A pilot study with 29 elephants in four circuses showed that the paddock enabled the elephants to carry out social and comfort behaviour more frequently than in the shackled keeping. The stereotyped movements were nearly absent by keeping the elephants in the paddock. If they keep shackled, this behaviour anomaly will take up much time.

  11. [Keeping of elephants in the zoo and circus].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rietschel, W

    2002-03-01

    There is a decrease in the number of elephants kept in European zoological gardens and circus companies. In the future the import of animals will only be possible for holders which are able to keep family-groups of elephants under species-specific conditions. This will not be possible under circus conditions. This article will describe some problems observed in elephant holdings in zoological gardens and circus companies.

  12. CLINICAL INFECTION OF CAPTIVE ASIAN ELEPHANTS (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) WITH ELEPHANT ENDOTHELIOTROPIC HERPESVIRUS 4.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fuery, Angela; Browning, Geoffrey R; Tan, Jie; Long, Simon; Hayward, Gary S; Cox, Sherry K; Flanagan, Joseph P; Tocidlowski, Maryanne E; Howard, Lauren L; Ling, Paul D

    2016-03-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) can cause lethal hemorrhagic disease in juvenile Asian elephants. A number of EEHV types and subtypes exist, where most deaths have been caused by EEHV1A and EEHV1B. EEHV4 has been attributed to two deaths, but as both diagnoses were made postmortem, EEHV4 disease has not yet been observed and recorded clinically. In this brief communication, two cases of EEHV4 infection in juvenile elephants at the Houston Zoo are described, where both cases were resolved following intensive treatment and administration of famciclovir. A quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction detected EEHV4 viremia that correlated with clinical signs. High levels of EEHV4 shedding from trunk wash secretions of the first viremic elephant correlated with subsequent infection of the second elephant with EEHV4. It is hoped that the observations made in these cases--and the successful treatment regimen used--will help other institutions identify and treat EEHV4 infection in the future.

  13. Kinetics of viral loads and genotypic analysis of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus-1 infection in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanton, Jeffrey J; Zong, Jian-Chao; Eng, Crystal; Howard, Lauren; Flanagan, Joe; Stevens, Martina; Schmitt, Dennis; Wiedner, Ellen; Graham, Danielle; Junge, Randall E; Weber, Martha A; Fischer, Martha; Mejia, Alicia; Tan, Jie; Latimer, Erin; Herron, Alan; Hayward, Gary S; Ling, Paul D

    2013-03-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) can cause fatal hemorrhagic disease in juvenile Asian elephants (Elphas maximus); however, sporadic shedding of virus in trunk washes collected from healthy elephants also has been detected. Data regarding the relationship of viral loads in blood compared with trunk washes are lacking, and questions about whether elephants can undergo multiple infections with EEHVs have not been addressed previously. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to determine the kinetics of EEHV1 loads, and genotypic analysis was performed on EEHV1 DNA detected in various fluid samples obtained from five Asian elephants that survived detectable EEHV1 DNAemia on at least two separate occasions. In three elephants displaying clinical signs of illness, preclinical EEHV1 DNAemia was detectable, and peak whole-blood viral loads occurred 3-8 days after the onset of clinical signs. In two elephants with EEHV1 DNAemia that persisted for 7-21 days, no clinical signs of illness were observed. Detection of EEHV1 DNA in trunk washes peaked approximately 21 days after DNAemia, and viral genotypes detected during DNAemia matched those detected in subsequent trunk washes from the same elephant. In each of the five elephants, two distinct EEHV1 genotypes were identified in whole blood and trunk washes at different time points. In each case, these genotypes represented both an EEHV1A and an EEHV1B subtype. These data suggest that knowledge of viral loads could be useful for the management of elephants before or during clinical illness. Furthermore, sequential infection with both EEHV1 subtypes occurs in Asian elephants, suggesting that they do not elicit cross-protective sterilizing immunity. These data will be useful to individuals involved in the husbandry and clinical care of Asian elephants.

  14. Symbolism in Hills Like White Elephants

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    谢倩

    2014-01-01

    Hills Like White Elephants tells a story that happens in a small pub, where the protagonists are waiting for the train to Madrid in order to do the abortion.The thesis highlights the “iceberg theory”which is embodied everywhere in the text. By analyzing the the symbolism in the title, the names and the environment,the charm of the symbolism is well reflected.

  15. Radiation Protection Elephants in the Room

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vetter, R. J.

    2004-07-01

    As our system of radiological protection evolves, several significant issues loom within radiation protection discussions and publications. These issues influence the nature of epidemiological and radiobiological research and the establishment of radiation protection recommendations, standards, and regulations. These issues are like the proverbial ''elephants in the room''. They are large, and it is unwise to ignore them. This paper discusses the impact of three young elephants as they make their presence increasingly obvious: increased cancer susceptibility from early-life exposure to radiation, terrorism and fear of radiation, and patient safety. Increased cancer susceptibility from early-life exposure to radiation is emerging as a discussion topic related to the safety of computed tomography (CT) and other medical modalities. Shortly after publication of CT dose data, manufacturers were helping to reduce doses to children by increasing flexibility for adjustment of technique factors. Also, radiation epidemiological data are being used in the development of guidance on exposure to chemical carcinogens during early life. Re-emergence of public fear of radiation has been fueled by threats of radiological dispersion devises and confusing messages about personal decontamination, emergency room acceptance or rejection of contaminated victims, and environmental clean-up. Finally, several professional publications have characterized risk of medical radiation exposure in terms of patient deaths even though epidemiological data do not support such conclusions. All three of these elephants require excellent science and sophisticated data analysis to coax them from the room. Anecdotal communications that confuse the public should be avoided. These are not the only elephants in the room, but these three are making their presence increasingly obvious. This paper discusses the need for radiation protection professionals to rely on good science in the

  16. Why Do Elephants Flap Their Ears?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koffi, Moise; Jiji, Latif; Andreopoulos, Yiannis

    2009-11-01

    It is estimated that a 4200 kg elephant generates as much as 5.12 kW of heat. How the elephant dissipates its metabolic heat and regulates its body temperature has been investigated during the past seven decades. Findings and conclusions differ sharply. The high rate of metabolic heat coupled with low surface area to volume ratio and the absence of sweat glands eliminate surface convection as the primary mechanism for heat removal. Noting that the elephant ears have high surface area to volume ratio and an extensive vascular network, ear flapping is thought to be the principal thermoregulatory mechanism. A computational and experimental program is carried out to examine flow and heat transfer characteristics. The ear is modeled as a uniformly heated oscillating rectangular plate. Our computational work involves a three-dimensional time dependent CFD code with heat transfer capabilities to obtain predictions of the flow field and surface temperature distributions. This information was used to design an experimental setup with a uniformly heated plate of size 0.2m x 0.3m oscillating at 1.6 cycles per second. Results show that surface temperature increases and reaches a steady periodic oscillation after a period of transient oscillation. The role of the vortices shed off the plate in heat transfer enhancement will be discussed.

  17. Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Wild Asian Elephants, Southern India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zachariah, Arun; Pandiyan, Jeganathan; Madhavilatha, G K; Mundayoor, Sathish; Chandramohan, Bathrachalam; Sajesh, P K; Santhosh, Sam; Mikota, Susan K

    2017-03-01

    We tested 3 ild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in southern India and confirmed infection in 3 animals with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an obligate human pathogen, by PCR and genetic sequencing. Our results indicate that tuberculosis may be spilling over from humans (reverse zoonosis) and emerging in wild elephants.

  18. Resisting Elephants Lurking in the Music Education Classroom

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regelski, Thomas A.

    2014-01-01

    Music education has many "elephants" in its classrooms: obvious major problems that go unmentioned and suffered silently. Two of the larger, more problematic "elephants" are identified, analyzed, and critiqued: (1) the hegemony of university schools of music on school music and the resulting focus in school music on…

  19. The re-introduction of springbok Antidorcas marsupialis into South African National Parks – A documentation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. de Graaff

    1976-08-01

    Full Text Available The introduction and establishment of springbok populations in four South African National Parks are discussed. Springbok have failed to establish themselves in the Addo Elephant National Park but are thriving in the Mountain Zebra, Golden Gate Highlands and Bontebok National Parks, although the latter Park is extralimital to their original range.

  20. Why Was the Elephant Late in Getting on the Ark? Elephant Riddles and Other Jokes in the Classroom.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kazemek, Francis E.

    1999-01-01

    Discusses why elephant riddles are viable catalysts for word play and language development in the primary grades. Explores some relationships between children's thinking and elephant riddles. Offers some suggestions for incorporating them as a regular part of the classroom flow. (SR)

  1. Distribution and load of elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses in tissues from associated fatalities of Asian elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seilern-Moy, Katharina; Darpel, Karin; Steinbach, Falko; Dastjerdi, Akbar

    2016-07-15

    Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses (EEHVs) are the cause of a highly fatal haemorrhagic disease in elephants primarily affecting young Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in both captivity and in the wild. The viruses have emerged as a significant threat to Asian elephant conservation, critically affecting overall sustainability of their population. So far insight into the pathogenesis of EEHV infections has been restricted to examination of EEHV-infected tissues. However, little is known about distribution and burden of the viruses within the organs of fatal cases, crucial elements in the understanding of the virus pathogenesis. This study was therefore undertaken to assess the extent of organ and cell involvement in fatal cases of EEHV-1A, 1B and 5 using a quantitative real-time PCR. EEHV-1 and 5 DNA were detectable in all the tissues examined, albeit with substantial differences in the viral DNA load. The highest EEHV-1A DNA load was observed in the liver, followed by the heart, thymus and tongue. EEHV-1B and 5 showed the highest DNA load in the heart, followed by tongue and liver. This study provides new insights into EEHV pathogenicity and has implications in choice of sample type for disease investigation and virus isolation.

  2. "The Elephant in the Dark Room": Merrick and Menacing Mimicry in Bernard Pomerance's "The Elephant Man"

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sasani, Samira

    2015-01-01

    This paper tries to look at Pomerance's "The Elephant Man," from a new perspective from which no critic has investigated the play, before. Applying postcolonial theory of Homi K. Bhabha to the play, the author scrutinizes how "mimicry strategy", employed by the colonizer and the Other, can be threatening for both and how the…

  3. Tuberculosis in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Peninsular Malaysia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ong, B L; Ngeow, Y F; Razak, M F A Abdul; Yakubu, Y; Zakaria, Z; Mutalib, A R; Hassan, L; Ng, H F; Verasahib, K

    2013-07-01

    A cross-sectional study was conducted from 10 January to 9 April 2012, to determine the seroprevalence of tuberculosis (TB) of all captive Asian elephants and their handlers in six locations in Peninsular Malaysia. In addition, trunk-wash samples were examined for tubercle bacillus by culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). For 63 elephants and 149 elephant handlers, TB seroprevalence was estimated at 20.4% and 24.8%, respectively. From 151 trunkwash samples, 24 acid-fast isolates were obtained, 23 of which were identified by hsp65-based sequencing as non-tuberculous mycobacteria. The Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific PCR was positive in the trunk-wash samples from three elephants which were also seropositive. Conversely, the trunk wash from seven seropositive elephants were PCR negative. Hence, there was evidence of active and latent TB in the elephants and the high seroprevalence in the elephants and their handlers suggests frequent, close contact, two-way transmission between animals and humans within confined workplaces.

  4. Taxonomy Icon Data: Asiatic elephant [Taxonomy Icon

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available Asiatic elephant Elephas maximus Chordata/Vertebrata/Mammalia/Theria/Eutheria/etc. Elephas_maximus..._L.png Elephas_maximus_NL.png Elephas_maximus_S.png Elephas_maximus_NS.png http://bioscienced...bc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Elephas+maximus&t=L http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Elephas+maximus...&t=NL http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Elephas+maximus&t=S http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Elephas+maximus&t=NS ...

  5. A novel antigen capture ELISA for the specific detection of IgG antibodies to elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    P. van den Doel (Petra); V.R. Prieto (Víctor Rodríguez); S.E. Van Rossum-Fikkert (Sarah E.); W. Schaftenaar (Willem); E. Latimer (Erin); L. Howard (Lauren); S. Chapman (Sarah); N. Masters (Nic); A.D.M.E. Osterhaus (Albert); P.D. Ling (Paul D.); A. Dastjerdi (Akbar); B.E.E. Martina (Byron)

    2015-01-01

    textabstractBackground: Elephants are classified as critically endangered animals by the International Union for Conservation of Species (IUCN). Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) poses a large threat to breeding programs of captive Asian elephants by causing fatal haemorrhagic disease. EE

  6. Random recursive trees and the elephant random walk

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kürsten, Rüdiger

    2016-03-01

    One class of random walks with infinite memory, so-called elephant random walks, are simple models describing anomalous diffusion. We present a surprising connection between these models and bond percolation on random recursive trees. We use a coupling between the two models to translate results from elephant random walks to the percolation process. We calculate, besides other quantities, exact expressions for the first and the second moment of the root cluster size and of the number of nodes in child clusters of the first generation. We further introduce another model, the skew elephant random walk, and calculate the first and second moment of this process.

  7. Rogue-Elephant-Inflicted Panfacial Injuries: A Rare Case Report

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Santosh Kumar Yadav

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Attacks by elephants, the largest of the “large animals,” produce many fatalities a year. Most attacks are provoked, although rogue elephants are occasionally responsible. Trampling, goring, tossing the individual with the trunk, or crushing with the knees produces the injuries. Injuries from encounters with large animals represent a significant health risk for rural communities. Wild-animal-inflicted maxillofacial injuries are rare, and limited literature is available describing their management. We present a case of severe maxillofacial injuries caused by the attack of a rogue elephant.

  8. Molecular characterisation and genetic variation of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus infection in captive young Asian elephants in Thailand.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sripiboon, Supaphen; Jackson, Bethany; Ditcham, William; Holyoake, Carly; Robertson, Ian; Thitaram, Chatchote; Tankaew, Pallop; Letwatcharasarakul, Preeda; Warren, Kristin

    2016-10-01

    Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) is emerging as a new threat for elephant conservation, since being identified as the cause of severe, often fatal, haemorrhagic disease in young Asian elephants. To describe positive cases and the molecular relatedness of virus detected in elephants in Thailand, we re-examined all available of EEHV samples occurring in young elephants in Thailand between 2006 and 2014 (n=24). Results indicated 75% (18/24) of suspected cases were positive for EEHV by semi-nested PCR. Further gene analysis identified these positive cases as EEHV1A (72%, 13/18 cases), EEHV1B (11%, 2/18) and EEHV4 (17%, 3/18). This study is the first to phylogenetically analyse and provide an overview of most of the known EEHV cases that have occurred in Thailand. Positive individuals ranged in age from one to nine years, with no sex association detected, and occurred across geographical locations throughout the country. All individuals, except one, were captive-born. No history of direct contact among the cases was recorded, and this together with the fact that various subtype clusters of virus were found, implied that none of the positive cases were epidemiologically related. These results concur with the hypothesis that EEHV1 is likely to be an ancient endogenous pathogen in Asian elephants. It is recommended that active surveillance and routine monitoring for EEHV should be undertaken in all elephant range countries, to gain a better understanding of the epidemiology, transmission and prevention of this disease.

  9. Affinities of `hyopsodontids' to elephant shrews and a Holarctic origin of Afrotheria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zack, Shawn P.; Penkrot, Tonya A.; Bloch, Jonathan I.; Rose, Kenneth D.

    2005-03-01

    Macroscelideans (elephant shrews or sengis) are small-bodied (25-540g), cursorial (running) and saltatorial (jumping), insectivorous and omnivorous placental mammals represented by at least 15 extant African species classified in four genera. Macroscelidea is one of several morphologically diverse but predominantly African placental orders classified in the superorder Afrotheria by molecular phylogeneticists. The distribution of modern afrotheres, in combination with a basal position for Afrotheria within Placentalia and molecular divergence-time estimates, has been used to link placental diversification with the mid-Cretaceous separation of South America and Africa. Morphological phylogenetic analyses do not support Afrotheria and the fossil record favours a northern origin of Placentalia. Here we describe fossil postcrania that provide evidence for a close relationship between North American Palaeocene-Eocene apheliscine `hyopsodontid' `condylarths' (early ungulates or hoofed mammals) and extant Macroscelidea. Apheliscine postcranial morphology is consistent with a relationship to other ungulate-like afrotheres (Hyracoidea, Proboscidea) but does not provide support for a monophyletic Afrotheria. As the oldest record of an afrothere clade, identification of macroscelidean relatives in the North American Palaeocene argues against an African origin for Afrotheria, weakening support for linking placental diversification to the break-up of Gondwana.

  10. The Elephant Vanishes: impact of human-elephant conflict on people's wellbeing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jadhav, Sushrut; Barua, Maan

    2012-11-01

    Human-wildlife conflicts impact upon the wellbeing of marginalised people, worldwide. Although tangible losses from such conflicts are well documented, hidden health consequences remain under-researched. Based on preliminary clinical ethnographic inquiries and sustained fieldwork in Assam, India, this paper documents mental health antecedents and consequences including severe untreated psychiatric morbidity and substance abuse. The case studies presented make visible the hidden mental health dimensions of human-elephant conflict. The paper illustrates how health impacts of conflicts penetrate far deeper than immediate physical threat from elephants, worsens pre-existing mental illness of marginalised people, and leads to newer psychiatric and social pathologies. These conflicts are enacted and perpetuated in institutional spaces of inequality. The authors argue that both wildlife conservation and community mental health disciplines would be enhanced by coordinated intervention. The paper concludes by generating questions that are fundamental for a new interdisciplinary paradigm that bridges ecology and the clinic.

  11. Describing the Elephant: Framing a Discussion on Command and Control

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-08-01

    July–August 2014 Air & Space Power Journal | 17 From the Guest Editor Describing the Elephant Framing a Discussion on Command and Control Col Henry...DATE JUL 2014 2. REPORT TYPE 3. DATES COVERED 00-00-2014 to 00-00-2014 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Describing the Elephant: Framing a Discussion on...path ahead for better understanding and op- erational performance in this complex core function. To move down this path requires a common frame of

  12. Effects of rubberized flooring on Asian elephant behavior in captivity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meller, Camie L; Croney, Candace C; Shepherdson, David

    2007-01-01

    Six Asian elephants at the Oregon Zoo were observed to determine the effects of a poured rubber flooring substrate on captive Asian elephant behavior. Room utilization also was evaluated in seven rooms used for indoor housing, including Front and Back observation areas. Data were collected in three phases. Phase I (Baseline Phase) examined elephant behavior on old concrete floors. In Phase II (Choice Phase), elephant behavior was observed in the Back observation area where room sizes were comparable and when a choice of flooring substrates was available. Phase III (Final Phase) examined elephant behavior when all rooms in both observation areas, Front and Back, were converted to rubberized flooring. Room use in both observation areas remained stable throughout the study, suggesting that flooring substrate did not affect room use choice. However, there was a clear pattern of decreased discomfort behaviors on the new rubber flooring. Normal locomotion as well as stereotypic locomotion increased on the new rubber flooring. In addition, resting behavior changed to more closely reflect the resting behavior of wild elephants, which typically sleep standing up, and spend very little time in lateral recumbence. Overall, these findings suggest that the rubber flooring may have provided a more comfortable surface for locomotion as well as standing resting behavior. It is suggested that poured rubber flooring may be a beneficial addition to similar animal facilities. Zoo Biol 0:1-11, 2007. (c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  13. Detection of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus type 1 in asymptomatic elephants using TaqMan real-time PCR.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hardman, K; Dastjerdi, A; Gurrala, R; Routh, A; Banks, M; Steinbach, F; Bouts, T

    2012-02-25

    This study assessed the feasibility of identifying asymptomatic viral shedders using a novel TaqMan real-time PCR on trunk washes and swabs from the conjunctiva, palate and vulva of elephants. Six elephants from a UK collection were sampled weekly over a period of 11 weeks for this study. The herd prevalence of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus-1 (EEHV-1) was 100 per cent by PCR. The virus DNA was detected in all the sampling sites; however, the prevalence of virus DNA in the conjunctiva swabs was higher. In addition, Asian elephants from two continental European collections were sampled once and one animal tested positive on a trunk wash. The virus from this animal was phylogenetically typed as EEHV-1A based on 231 nucleotides of the terminase gene.

  14. African Literature

    OpenAIRE

    Recek, Denis

    2011-01-01

    The topic of this diploma is the formation and shaping of African literature. The first chapter is about the beginning of African literature. It describes oral literature and its transmission into written literature. Written African literature had great problems in becoming a part of world literature because of its diversity of languages and dialects. Christianity and Islam are mentioned as two religions which had a great impact on African literature. Colonialism is broadly described as an es...

  15. Behavior of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus in a land-use mosaic: conservation implications for human-elephant coexistence in the Anamalai hills, India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ananda kumar Mavatur

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Understanding behavior of elephants in human-dominated landscapes can facilitate creation of management tools for conflict resolution and help foster human-elephant coexistence. We studied behavior of Asian elephants (Elephas Maximus in the Valparai plateau, a 220 km² landscape matrix of rainforest fragments, tea, coffee, and Eucalyptus plantations, and in relation to humans in the Anamalai Hills of the Western Ghats of India. We employed scan sampling method for data collection. Feeding by elephants was lowest in open canopy habitat of tea, and it gradually increased in canopy covered plantations of coffee and Eucalyptus and in densely covered natural vegetation. Vigilance behavior of elephants was lowest in forest fragments and riverine vegetation as they could avoid encountering humans. This behavior peaked in tea plantations due to intense human activity there. Elephants maintained closer inter-individual distances in tea and this distance gradually increased in canopy habitats of coffee, Eucalyptus and natural vegetation. Predictor variables such as human presence and proximity to elephants resulted in reduced feeding and increased agitation in elephants while distance of settlements to elephants did not influence behavior of elephants. We found that fewer than 10 people at a threshold distance of more than 30 m had minimum impact on feeding, resting, and movement and decreased vigilant behavior in elephants. We, therefore, suggest that protection and non-conversion of canopy habitats and maintaining minimum threshold distance of humans from elephants would foster normal activities of elephants and help promote human-elephant coexistence in such landscapes.

  16. Benefiting Africans

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2011-01-01

    Along with thriving Sino-African economic and trade ties,Chinese companies have attached greater importance to their social responsibility to Africans.More than 2,000 sweaters woven by Chinese mothers were sent to orphans and disabled children in Kenya and four other African countries in September. This activity was launched by Hengyuanxiang,aleading Chinese wool manufacturer.

  17. Benefiting Africans

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHANG ZHIPING

    2011-01-01

    Along with thriving Sino-African economic and trade ties,Chinese companies have attached greater importance to their social responsibility to Africans.More than 2,000 sweaters woven by Chinese mothers were sent to orphans and disabled children in Kenya and four other African countries in September.This activity was launched by Hengyuanxiang,a leading Chinese wool manufacturer.

  18. Positive reinforcement training for a trunk wash in Nepal's working elephants: demonstrating alternatives to traditional elephant training techniques.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fagen, Ariel; Acharya, Narayan; Kaufman, Gretchen E

    2014-01-01

    Many trainers of animals in the zoo now rely on positive reinforcement training to teach animals to voluntarily participate in husbandry and veterinary procedures in an effort to improve behavioral reliability, captive management, and welfare. However, captive elephant handlers in Nepal still rely heavily on punishment- and aversion-based methods. The aim of this project was to determine the effectiveness of secondary positive reinforcement (SPR) in training free-contact elephants in Nepal to voluntarily participate in a trunk wash for the purpose of tuberculosis testing. Five female elephants, 4 juveniles and 1 adult, were enrolled in the project. Data were collected in the form of minutes of training, number of offers made for each training task, and success rate for each task in performance tests. Four out of 5 elephants, all juveniles, successfully learned the trunk wash in 35 sessions or fewer, with each session lasting a mean duration of 12 min. The elephants' performance improved from a mean success rate of 39.0% to 89.3% during the course of the training. This study proves that it is feasible to efficiently train juvenile, free-contact, traditionally trained elephants in Nepal to voluntarily and reliably participate in a trunk wash using only SPR techniques.

  19. An investigation into resting behavior in Asian elephants in UK zoos.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Ellen; Bremner-Harrison, Samantha; Harvey, Naomi; Evison, Emma; Yon, Lisa

    2015-01-01

    Maintaining adequate welfare in captive elephants is challenging. Few studies have investigated overnight rest behavior in zoo elephants, yet time spent resting has been identified as a welfare indicator in some species. We investigated resting behavior in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in UK zoos, with the aim of identifying patterns or preferences in lying rest. Details of standing (SR) and lying (LR) rest behavior were identified by observing video footage of inside enclosures collected for 14 elephants (2 male, 12 female) housed at three UK zoos (Zoo A: 18 nights; Zoo B: 27 nights; Zoo C: 46 nights) from 16:00 to 08:30 (approximately). Elephants engaged in a mean of 58-337 min rest per night. Time of night affected mean duration of LR bouts (P Elephants showed a substrate preference when lying to rest; LR was not observed on concrete or tiled flooring. Where sand was available (to 11/14 elephants), all elephants engaged in LR on sand flooring. Only two elephants engaged in LR on rubber flooring (available to 7/14 elephants). Mean duration of rest bouts was greater when a conspecific was within two body lengths than when conspecifics were not (P elephants show substrate preferences when choosing an area for rest and engage in more rest when conspecifics are in close proximity. The results of this study could be used as a basis for future studies investigating the link between rest and welfare in captive elephants.

  20. Biophysical and human factors determine the distribution of poached elephants in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kyale, D.M.; Ngene, S.M.; Maingi, J.

    2011-01-01

    This study investigates the distribution of poached elephants as well as the biophysical and anthropogenic factors that determine the distribution of the poached elephants in Tsavo East National Park (TENP), Kenya. Data on the distribution of poached elephants, from 1990 to 2005, were acquired from

  1. 78 FR 690 - Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-04

    ... Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants AGENCY... regulations as related to elephant tuberculosis as well as to aid users in their compliance with those... Tuberculosis in Elephants'' developed by The National Tuberculosis Working Group for Zoo and Wildlife...

  2. Susceptibility of Cultivated Plants to Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maxi,us sumatranus in The Human Elephants Conflict Area in Aceh Province

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kaniwa Berliani

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Study on human-elephant conflict was conducted in Aceh Province in August 2013-April 2014 to assess susceptibility of farms by crop raiding elephants. The locations were determined by selected areas impacted by elephant conflict incuding Cot Girek, Mane, Meureudu, Sampoiniet, and Pantai Ceureumen. 150 respondents was interviewed to assess the variety of the commodity plants species cultivated by local community within study areas, species of damaged commodity plants, species of undamaged commodity plants, and the planting system. there were 29 species considered as commodity plants cultivated by farmers. Moreover, 5 commodity plants were considered as high risk plants damaged by elephant including areca, banana, oil palm, paddy, and rubber. on the other hand, species considered as low risk or undamaged consist of cacao, coffee, chili, candlenut, and patchioli. Those low risk or undemaged commodity plants species have a potential to be promoted as elephant-friendly crop commodities in area adjacent to elephant habitat based on the analysis and the categorization of susceptibility of cultivated plants against crop raiding elephant. One of the problem of humn-elephant conflict is crop raiding of village farms. it is a assumed that elephants might destroy a particular species therefore information on the species could assist farmers in selecting appropriate crop to be planted. there is a risk that current polyculture and monoculture planting system used by farmers will not prevent farms from crop raiding elephants.

  3. Woody encroachment over 70 years in South African savannahs: overgrazing, global change or extinction aftershock?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevens, Nicola; Erasmus, B F N; Archibald, S; Bond, W J

    2016-09-19

    Woody encroachment in 'open' biomes like grasslands and savannahs is occurring globally. Both local and global drivers, including elevated CO2, have been implicated in these increases. The relative importance of different processes is unresolved as there are few multi-site, multi-land-use evaluations of woody plant encroachment. We measured 70 years of woody cover changes over a 1020 km(2) area covering four land uses (commercial ranching, conservation with elephants, conservation without elephants and communal rangelands) across a rainfall gradient in South African savannahs. Different directions of woody cover change would be expected for each different land use, unless a global factor is causing the increases. Woody cover change was measured between 1940 and 2010 using the aerial photo record. Detection of woody cover from each aerial photograph was automated using eCognitions' Object-based image analysis (OBIA). Woody cover doubled in all land uses across the rainfall gradient, except in conservation areas with elephants in low-rainfall savannahs. Woody cover in 2010 in low-rainfall savannahs frequently exceeded the maximum woody cover threshold predicted for African savannahs. The results indicate that a global factor, of which elevated CO2 is the likely candidate, may be driving encroachment. Elephants in low-rainfall savannahs prevent encroachment and localized megafaunal extinction is a probable additional cause of encroachment.This article is part of the themed issue 'Tropical grassy biomes: linking ecology, human use and conservation'.

  4. Should humans interfere in the lives of elephants?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H.P.P. Lötter

    2005-07-01

    Full Text Available Culling seems to be a cruel method of human interference in the lives of elephants. Culling is generally used to control population numbers of highly developed mammals to protect vegetation and habitat for other species. Many people are against human interference in the lives of elephants. In this article aspects of this highly controversial issue are explored. Three fascinating characteristics of this ethical dilemma are discussed in the introductory part, and then the major arguments raised against human interference in the lives of elephants are evaluated. These arguments are the following: First, that nature should be allowed to run its course and establish its own balance; nature will thus solve the problem of elephant over-population. The second argument raised by animal-rights activists as well as by animal-welfare groups either claim that animals have rights that humans must respect at all times, or that all sentient beings have interests that humans ought to respect, as those beings can experience pleasure or pain. The third argument often associates culling elephants as method for population control with the commercial use and exploitation of wilderness areas. Many people argue that it is unethical to use wildlife as a sustainable resource for fighting poverty. In conclusion it is stated that despite these arguments human

  5. Unusual Behavioural Responses of Elephants: A Challenge for Mitigating Man – Elephant Conflict in “Shivalik Elephant Reserve”, Northwest India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ritesh JOSHI

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Drastic changes in the Shivalik landscape and rapid rate of developmental and anthropogenic activities are expected to lead to a severe threat and unusual behavioural changes in elephants. Some unusual behavioural responses of Asian elephants were observed from northwest India, which were rather abnormal and were directly linked with increasing man–elephant conflict. To evaluate ground based data, we used ground surveys to generate database on these behavioural responses and to identify potential impact of developmental projects and anthropogenic activities and for this we made 387 extensive surveys in the crucial elephant’s reserve and on the motor roads, which are running across different habitats during March 2005 to December 2008. All the behaviours studied represents the severe interaction scenario between man and elephant and the prime reason found behind this was human encroachment into the deeper forest regime and shrinking of large migratory corridors. Understanding how animal populations react to such vast adverse activities and their behavioural response is thus essential for addressing future challenges for wildlife management and conservation. There have been little scientific studies available on such type of catastrophic impacts even though such reports are highly required to know the status and our competence in illustrating success and failures of wildlife management besides in conservation of an endangered wildlife. An adaptive management approach will be crucial with corridor connectivity being of paramount importance, as we continue to gain knowledge of wildlife and elephant’s response to such derisive impacts.

  6. Diagnosis of Tuberculosis in Three Zoo Elephants and a Human Contact - Oregon, 2013.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zlot, Amy; Vines, Jennifer; Nystrom, Laura; Lane, Lindsey; Behm, Heidi; Denny, Justin; Finnegan, Mitch; Hostetler, Trevor; Matthews, Gloria; Storms, Tim; DeBess, Emilio

    2016-01-08

    In 2013, public health officials in Multnomah County, Oregon, started an investigation of a tuberculosis (TB) outbreak among elephants and humans at a local zoo. The investigation ultimately identified three bull elephants with active TB and 118 human contacts of the elephants. Ninety-six (81%) contacts were evaluated, and seven close contacts were found to have latent TB infection. The three bulls were isolated and treated (elephants with TB typically are not euthanized) to prevent infection of other animals and humans, and persons with latent infection were offered treatment. Improved TB screening methods for elephants are needed to prevent exposure of human contacts.

  7. Quantity and configuration of available elephant habitat and related conservation concerns in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain of Sabah, Malaysia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Estes, Jason G; Othman, Nurzhafarina; Ismail, Sulaiman; Ancrenaz, Marc; Goossens, Benoit; Ambu, Laurentius N; Estes, Anna B; Palmiotto, Peter A

    2012-01-01

    The approximately 300 (298, 95% CI: 152-581) elephants in the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo are a priority sub-population for Borneo's total elephant population (2,040, 95% CI: 1,184-3,652). Habitat loss and human-elephant conflict are recognized as the major threats to Bornean elephant survival. In the Kinabatangan region, human settlements and agricultural development for oil palm drive an intense fragmentation process. Electric fences guard against elephant crop raiding but also remove access to suitable habitat patches. We conducted expert opinion-based least-cost analyses, to model the quantity and configuration of available suitable elephant habitat in the Lower Kinabatangan, and called this the Elephant Habitat Linkage. At 184 km(2), our estimate of available habitat is 54% smaller than the estimate used in the State's Elephant Action Plan for the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (400 km(2)). During high flood levels, available habitat is reduced to only 61 km(2). As a consequence, short-term elephant densities are likely to surge during floods to 4.83 km(-2) (95% CI: 2.46-9.41), among the highest estimated for forest-dwelling elephants in Asia or Africa. During severe floods, the configuration of remaining elephant habitat and the surge in elephant density may put two villages at elevated risk of human-elephant conflict. Lower Kinabatangan elephants are vulnerable to the natural disturbance regime of the river due to their limited dispersal options. Twenty bottlenecks less than one km wide throughout the Elephant Habitat Linkage, have the potential to further reduce access to suitable habitat. Rebuilding landscape connectivity to isolated habitat patches and to the North Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (less than 35 km inland) are conservation priorities that would increase the quantity of available habitat, and may work as a mechanism to allow population release, lower elephant density, reduce human-elephant

  8. The occurrence of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus): first case of EEHV4 in Asia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sripiboon, Supaphen; Tankaew, Pallop; Lungka, Grishda; Thitaram, Chatchote

    2013-03-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is a type of herpesvirus that causes acute hemorrhagic disease in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and is often fatal, especially in calves. This study describes the postmortem evaluation of two captive-born Asian elephants (2 and 3 yr of age, respectively) diagnosed with EEHV in Thailand. Both elephants presented only mild depression, lethargy, and anorexia before death within 24 hr of symptom onset. Necropsies were performed, and tissue samples were tested for EEHV viral presence using polymerase chain reaction. Molecular and phylogenetic evidence illustrated two types of EEHV, which were closely related to EEHV1A in Case 1 and EEHV4 in Case 2. Pathologic findings differed between the cases. More specific organ tropism was found in Case 1, where mainly the cardiovascular system was affected. In contrast, in Case 2, hemorrhages were noted in most organs, including in the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. This report is the first to document EEHV4 in Asia and the second case of this strain to be identified in an elephant worldwide.

  9. Osteocalcin and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) at different ages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arya, Nlin; Moonarmart, Walasinee; Cheewamongkolnimit, Nareerat; Keratikul, Nutcha; Poon-Iam, Sawinee; Routh, Andrew; Bumpenpol, Pitikarn; Angkawanish, Taweepoke

    2015-11-01

    Bone turnover markers could offer a potential alternative means for the early diagnosis of metabolic bone disease in young growing elephants although the baseline of bone turnover markers in elephant is not well established. The aim of this study was to determine any relationship between the age of captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and markers of bone formation. Serum samples from 24 female Asian elephants were collected to evaluate levels of two bone formation markers, namely, osteocalcin (OC) and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP). Both intact and N-terminal midfragment OC and BAP were negatively correlated with age. The findings demonstrate that younger elephants have a higher rate of bone turnover than older elephants. Use of these and additional bone markers could lead to the establishment of validated protocols for the monitoring of bone disease in elephants.

  10. Identification of bifidobacteria isolated from Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Vera Bunesova; Eva Vlkova; Vojtech Rada; Jiri Killer; Vladimir Kmet

    2013-06-01

    Bifidobacteria are considered as one of the key genera in intestinal tracts of animals, and their species composition vary depending on the host. The aim of this study was to identify faecal bifidobacteria from Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), housed in Zoological gardens (Ostrava, Czech Republic). Using culturing, bifidobacteria were found in counts 7.60±0.56 log CFU/g. Twenty-six pure strains were isolated from faeces of Asian elephant. The isolates were clustered into two groups according to fingerprinting profiles and fermentation characteristic. Bacteria were identified by a combination of MALDI-TOF MS, PCR methods and sequencing as B. boum (12 isolates) and B. adolescentis (14 isolates). Elephant strains showed different fingerprinting profiles than type and collection strains. Since these two species are frequently isolated from gastrointestinal tract of herbivores, they seem to be typical of animals fed plant diets.

  11. Salient features in locomotor evolutionary adaptations of proboscideans revealed via the differential scaling of limb long bones

    OpenAIRE

    2009-01-01

    The standard differential scaling of proportions in limb long bones (length against circumference) is applied to a phylogenetically wide sample of the Proboscidea, Elephantidae and the Asian (Elephas maximus) and African elephant (Loxodonta africana). In order to investigate allometric patterns in proboscideans and terrestrial mammals with parasagittal limb kinematics, the computed slopes (slenderness exponents) are compared with published values for mammals and studied within a framework of ...

  12. Trophy Hunting and Sustainability: Temporal Dynamics in Trophy Quality and Harvesting Patterns of Wild Herbivores in a Tropical Semi-Arid Savanna Ecosystem

    OpenAIRE

    2016-01-01

    The selective nature of trophy hunting may cause changes in desirable phenotypic traits in harvested species. A decline in trophy size of preferred species may reduce hunting destination competitiveness thus compromising the sustainability of trophy hunting as a conservation tool. We explored the trophy quality and trends in harvesting patterns (i.e., 2004–2015) of Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), African elephant (Loxodonta africana), greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) and sable (Hippotr...

  13. Elephant grass clones for silage production

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rerisson José Cipriano dos Santos

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available Ensiling warm-season grasses often requires wilting due to their high moisture content, and the presence of low-soluble sugars in these grasses usually demands the use of additives during the ensiling process. This study evaluated the bromatological composition of the fodder and silage from five Pennisetum sp. clones (IPA HV 241, IPA/UFRPE Taiwan A-146 2.114, IPA/UFRPE Taiwan A-146 2.37, Elephant B, and Mott. The contents of 20 Polyvinyl chloride (PVC silos, which were opened after 90 days of storage, were used for the bromatological analysis and the evaluation of the pH, nitrogen, ammonia, buffer capacity, soluble carbohydrates, and fermentation coefficients. The effluent losses, gases and dry matter recovery were also calculated. Although differences were observed among the clones (p < 0.05 for the concentrations of dry matter, insoluble nitrogen in acid detergents, insoluble nitrogen in neutral detergents, soluble carbohydrates, fermentation coefficients, and in vitro digestibility in the forage before ensiling, no differences were observed for most of these variables after ensiling. All of the clones were efficient in the fermentation process. The IPA/UFRPE TAIWAN A-146 2.37 clone, however, presented a higher dry matter concentration and the best fermentation coefficient, resulting in a better silage quality, compared to the other clones.

  14. Change in Mesoherbivore Browsing Is Mediated by Elephant and Hillslope Position.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lagendijk, D D Georgette; Thaker, Maria; de Boer, Willem F; Page, Bruce R; Prins, Herbert H T; Slotow, Rob

    2015-01-01

    Elephant are considered major drivers of ecosystems, but their effects within small-scale landscape features and on other herbivores still remain unclear. Elephant impact on vegetation has been widely studied in areas where elephant have been present for many years. We therefore examined the combined effect of short-term elephant presence (elephant presence did not affect woody species assemblages, but did affect height distribution, with greater sapling densities in elephant access areas. Overall tree and stem densities were also not affected by elephant. By contrast, slope position affected woody species assemblages, but not height distributions and densities. Variation in species assemblages was statistically best explained by levels of total cations, Zinc, sand and clay. Although elephant and mesoherbivore browsing intensities were unaffected by slope position, we found lower mesoherbivore browsing intensity on crests with high elephant browsing intensity. Thus, elephant appear to indirectly facilitate the survival of saplings, via the displacement of mesoherbivores, providing a window of opportunity for saplings to grow into taller trees. In the short-term, effects of elephant can be minor and in the opposite direction of expectation. In addition, such behavioural displacement promotes recruitment of saplings into larger height classes. The interaction between slope position and elephant effect found here is in contrast with other studies, and illustrates the importance of examining ecosystem complexity as a function of variation in species presence and topography. The absence of a direct effect of elephant on vegetation, but the presence of an effect on mesoherbivore browsing, is relevant for conservation areas especially where both herbivore groups are actively managed.

  15. On the general elephant conjecture for Mori conic bundles

    CERN Document Server

    Prokhorov, Yu G

    1996-01-01

    Let $f:X\\to S$ be an extremal contraction from a threefolds with terminal singularities onto a surface (so called Mori conic bundle). We study some particular cases of such contractions: quotients of usual conic bundles and index two contractions. Assuming Reid's general elephants conjecture we also obtain a rough classification. We present many examples.

  16. Seasonal diet changes in elephant and impala in mopane woodland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kos, M.; Hoetmer, A.J.; Pretorius, Y.; Boer, de W.F.; Knegt, de H.J.; Grant, C.C.; Kohi, E.; Page, B.; Peel, M.; Slotow, R.; Waal, van der C.; Wieren, van S.E.; Prins, H.H.T.; Langevelde, van F.

    2012-01-01

    Elephant and impala as intermediate feeders, having a mixed diet of grass and browse, respond to seasonal fluctuations of forage quality by changing their diet composition. We tested the hypotheses that (1) the decrease in forage quality is accompanied by a change in diet from more monocots in the w

  17. Movement of southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina L. from Elephant Is. South Shetlands, Antarctica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mônica M. C. Muelbert

    2004-07-01

    Full Text Available In 1999, at-sea activity of two young southern elephant seal males (Mirounga leonina from Elephant Is. (61º13'S, 55º23'W, Antarctica, was monitored and tracked for 9 months. The individuals were randomly selected, captured, sedated (Zoletil 50®- 1mg/kg, weighed, measured, bled, paint-marked and fitted with satellite tags (STDR - ST-6PPT, Telonics®, USA. Deployment of the STDR took about 45 min since each animal had a lower incisor tooth extracted for age determination. The seals exhibited individual behaviors. Seal "V"-23842 (BM ~ 801kg moved from Elephant Is. (61.2ºS 55.3ºW in Jan. 1999 to King George Is. (62.2ºS 58.1ºW in Feb. 1999 when the tag stopped signaling. Seal "T"-23843 (BM ~ 656 kg was restricted to the area around Elephant Is. (61.2ºS 54.4ºW - 61.6ºS 55.4ºW from January to May 1999, when it started to move south-eastwards. Although the age of these individuals was not yet determined it was likely to explain the difference in the two patterns of movement reported here. The temporal and spatial association of these movements with areas of high productivity is being investigated to assess whether the observed distribution reflects foraging activity.O presente estudo descreve os movimentos de dois exemplares de elefante-marinho do sul (Mirounga leonina durante a fase pelágica de seu ciclo de vida. Os exemplares foram capturados no verão austral de 1999 na Ilha Elefante (61º13'S, 55º23'W, Antártica, e monitorados por aproximadamente 9 meses. Cada exemplar foi instrumentado com um medidor de tempo e profundidade de mergulho via satélite (Sattelite Time Depth Recorder, STDR mod. ST-6PPT, Telonics®, EUA com uma antena VHF acoplada ao instrumento, montado num molde de tela e resina, fixado com cintas plásticas, e colados na pelagem dorsal do animal com resina plástica. Para a instrumentação o animal era capturado com rede de contenção e imobilizado quimicamente com anestésico dissociativo (Zoletil 50®- 1mg/kg. Um

  18. Elephants also like coffee: trends and drivers of human-elephant conflicts in coffee agroforestry landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bal, P; Nath, C D; Nanaya, K M; Kushalappa, C G; Garcia, C

    2011-05-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  19. Erratum to: Elephants also like coffee: Trends and drivers of human-elephant conflicts in coffee agroforestry landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bal, P; Nath, C D; Nanaya, K M; Kushalappa, C G; Garcia, C

    2011-08-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  20. Elephants Also Like Coffee: Trends and Drivers of Human-Elephant Conflicts in Coffee Agroforestry Landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bal, P.; Nath, C. D.; Nanaya, K. M.; Kushalappa, C. G.; Garcia, C.

    2011-05-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  1. Erratum: Erratum to: Elephants Also Like Coffee: Trends and Drivers of Human-Elephant Conflicts in Coffee Agroforestry Landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bal, P.; Nath, C. D.; Nanaya, K. M.; Kushalappa, C. G.; Garcia, C.

    2011-08-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  2. Genomic behavior of hybrid combinations between elephant grass and pearl millet

    OpenAIRE

    Fernando Ferreira Leão; Lisete Chamma Davide; José Marcello Salabert de Campos; Antonio Vander Pereira; Fernanda de Oliveira Bustamante

    2011-01-01

    The objective of this work was to evaluate the genomic behavior of hybrid combinations between elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and pearl millet (P. glaucum). Tetraploid (AAA'B) and pentaploid (AA'A'BB) chromosome races resulting from the backcross of the hexaploid hybrid to its parents elephant grass (A'A'BB) and pearl millet (AA) were analyzed as to chromosome number and DNA content. Genotypes of elephant grass, millet, and triploid and hexaploid induced hybrids were compared. Pentaplo...

  3. An improved real time image detection system for elephant intrusion along the forest border areas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sugumar, S J; Jayaparvathy, R

    2014-01-01

    Human-elephant conflict is a major problem leading to crop damage, human death and injuries caused by elephants, and elephants being killed by humans. In this paper, we propose an automated unsupervised elephant image detection system (EIDS) as a solution to human-elephant conflict in the context of elephant conservation. The elephant's image is captured in the forest border areas and is sent to a base station via an RF network. The received image is decomposed using Haar wavelet to obtain multilevel wavelet coefficients, with which we perform image feature extraction and similarity match between the elephant query image and the database image using image vision algorithms. A GSM message is sent to the forest officials indicating that an elephant has been detected in the forest border and is approaching human habitat. We propose an optimized distance metric to improve the image retrieval time from the database. We compare the optimized distance metric with the popular Euclidean and Manhattan distance methods. The proposed optimized distance metric retrieves more images with lesser retrieval time than the other distance metrics which makes the optimized distance method more efficient and reliable.

  4. Elephant (Elephas maximus Health and Management in Asia: Variations in Veterinary Perspectives

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Miller

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available There is a need to identify strategic investments in Asian elephant (Elephas maximus health that will yield maximal benefits for overall elephant health and conservation. As an exploratory first step, a survey was administered to veterinarians from Asian elephant range countries at a workshop and via email to help prioritize health-related concerns that will mostly benefit elephants. Responses were received from 45 veterinarians from eight countries that had a range of experience with captive and wild elephants. The occurrence of medical conditions and responses to treatment varied among responses. However, injuries, parasitism, and gastrointestinal disease were reported as the most common syndromes responsible for elephant morbidity, whereas injury and infectious disease not due to parasitism were the most commonly reported sources of elephant mortality. Substandard nutrition, water quality and quantity deficiencies, and inadequate or absent shelter were among the factors listed as barriers to optimal elephant health. While this survey’s results do not support definitive conclusions, they can be used to identify where and how subsequent investigations should be directed. Rigorous assessment of the relative costs and benefits of available options is required to ensure that investments in individual and population health yield the maximal benefits for elephants.

  5. Elephant grass ensiled with wheat bran compared with corn silage in diets for lactating goats

    OpenAIRE

    Jacianelly Karla da Silva; Juliana Silva Oliveira; Ariosvalo Nunes de Medeiros; Edson Mauro Santos; Tamires da Silva Magalhães; Alenice Ozino Ramos; Higor Fábio Carvalho Bezerra

    2014-01-01

    The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of wheat bran as an additive in elephant-grass silage on intake and digestibility of the nutrients, ingestive behavior, and yield and chemical composition of milk. Eight goats with 45 days of lactation were distributed in a (4 × 4) Latin square design.The treatments consisted of corn silage (CS), elephant-grass silage without wheat bran (EGS), elephant-grass silage with 10% wheat bran (EGS+10%WB), and elephant-grass silage with 20% wheat bra...

  6. Three Blind Men and the Elephant

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Long, J S

    2007-02-13

    Just like the blind men in the popular story of perceiving the elephant, the three major constituencies participating in the energy debate have greatly different perceptions of the problem. The constituency that is worried about climate change believes the energy problem is caused by profligate use of fossil fuel that has dramatically changed our atmosphere. The energy security group sees dangerous reliance on foreign sources of oil increasingly held by countries hostile to the US. The economic vitality group sees high energy prices and their effect on the economy and our life-style. Just like the blind men, each of the three constituencies perceives a different problem. And just as with the blind men, while each perspective is right as a piece of the elephant, it takes all the perspectives together to actually solve the problem. Environmentalists focus on solutions responding to the scientific consensus that greenhouse gases are creating rapid climate change. The tipping point has come: it is now a consensus position among scientists the global warming is being affected by anthropogenic activity to 90% certainty according to the last IPCC report. Although they still struggle with the prediction of how much global temperatures will rise if we do nothing--is it 5 deg or 10 under BAU? This group believes that we cannot afford to take a chance because we get only one chance. We can not afford to do this kind of experiment with the Earth. Any choice which decreases our CO{sub 2} footprint is favored, even if it means a decrease in standard of living. The energy security constituency sees the geo-politics of oil becoming increasingly dire. They look at oil money being used to fund anti-American activities of groups such as the Wahabis in Saudi Arabia, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the infamous Al Qaeda. They quip that the Iraq war is the first war where we are paying for both sides. They note Iran and the Shia throughout the Middle East seeing the possibility of controlling

  7. Characterization of an endogenous retrovirus class in elephants and their relatives

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Englbrecht Claudia C

    2004-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Endogenous retrovirus-like elements (ERV-Ls, primed with tRNA leucine are a diverse group of reiterated sequences related to foamy viruses and widely distributed among mammals. As shown in previous investigations, in many primates and rodents this class of elements has remained transpositionally active, as reflected by increased copy number and high sequence diversity within and among taxa. Results Here we examine whether proviral-like sequences may be suitable molecular probes for investigating the phylogeny of groups known to have high element diversity. As a test we characterized ERV-Ls occurring in a sample of extant members of superorder Uranotheria (Asian and African elephants, manatees, and hyraxes. The ERV-L complement in this group is even more diverse than previously suspected, and there is sequence evidence for active expansion, particularly in elephantids. Many of the elements characterized have protein coding potential suggestive of activity. Conclusions In general, the evidence supports the hypothesis that the complement had a single origin within basal Uranotheria.

  8. Skewed birth sex ratio and premature mortality in elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saragusty, Joseph; Hermes, Robert; Göritz, Frank; Schmitt, Dennis L; Hildebrandt, Thomas B

    2009-10-01

    Sex allocation theories predict equal offspring number of both sexes unless differential investment is required or some competition exists. Left undisturbed, elephants reproduce well and in approximately even numbers in the wild. We report an excess of males are born and substantial juvenile mortality occurs, perinatally, in captivity. Studbook data on captive births (CB, n=487) and premature deaths (PD, 6 months with maternal insufficient milk production, natural hazards and accidents being the main causes. European Asian and Myanmar elephants PD was biased towards males (0.71, P=0.024 and 0.56, P<0.001, respectively). The skewed birth sex ratio and high juvenile mortality hinder efforts to help captive populations become self-sustaining. Efforts should be invested to identify the mechanism behind these trends and seek solutions for them.

  9. Rates of reinforcement and measures of compliance in free and protected contact elephant management systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Megan L; Perdue, Bonnie M; Bloomsmith, Mollie A; Maple, Terry L

    2015-01-01

    Protected contact is an alternative to traditional captive elephant training techniques that emerged as a result of concerns for animal welfare and personnel safety. The present study documented the behavior of elephants and their animal care professionals to determine rates of reinforcement and measures of compliance under two handling systems. Behavioral data were collected from animal care professionals and elephants during the elephants' baths in both free contact (FC) and protected contact (PC). Positive reinforcement, in the form of food, was delivered, on average, nearly eight times more frequently in the PC condition. Further, the mean rate at which the animal care professionals used the ankus in the FC condition as negative reinforcement was similar to the mean rate at which they provided positive reinforcement to the elephants in the FC condition. Latencies between verbal commands and the elephants' behaviors demonstrated an inconsistent pattern, but were generally longer in the PC condition. The mean percent of "refusals" by the elephants was higher for most behaviors across elephants in the PC condition. The findings suggest that animal care professionals did not heavily rely on positive reinforcement in the FC condition to elicit desired behaviors from the elephants, but this was the case in the PC condition. We propose that longer latencies and higher mean percent of refusals by the elephants may indicate that they were exercising choice or control over their environment, which has been associated with improved well-being. Additional studies of this kind are needed to enable other institutions to make informed decisions about elephant management and welfare.

  10. Potential of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone vaccine to suppress musth in captive male Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Somgird, Chaleamchat; Homkong, Pongpon; Sripiboon, Supaphen; Brown, Janine L; Stout, Tom A E; Colenbrander, Ben; Mahasawangkul, Sittidet; Thitaram, Chatchote

    2015-01-01

    Musth in adult bull elephants is a period of increased androgen concentrations ranging from a few weeks to several months. For captive elephant bull management, musth presents a serious challenge because of the aggressive behavior of musth bulls toward people and other elephants. Commercially availa

  11. Elephant trail runoff and sediment dynamics in northern Thailand.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sidle, Roy C; Ziegler, Alan D

    2010-01-01

    Although elephants may exert various impacts on the environment, no data are available on the effects of elephant trails on runoff, soil erosion, and sediment transport to streams during storms. We monitored water and sediment fluxes from an elephant trail in northern Thailand during seven monsoon storms representing a wide range of rainfall energies. Runoff varied from trivial amounts to 353 mm and increased rapidly in tandem with expanding contributing areas once a threshold of wetting occurred. Runoff coefficients during the two largest storms were much higher than could be generated from the trail itself, implying a 4.5- to 7.9-fold increase in the drainage areas contributing to storm runoff. Clockwise hysteresis patterns of suspended sediment observed during most storms was amplified by a "first flush" of sediment early on the hydrograph in which easily entrained sediment was transported. As runoff areas expanded during the latter part of large storms, discharge increased but sediment concentrations declined. Thus, sediment flux was better correlated to kinetic energy of rainfall on the falling limbs of most storm hydrographs compared to rising limbs. Based on a power function relationship between sediment flux and storm kinetic energy, the estimated annual sediment yield from the trail for 135 storms in 2005 was 308 to 375 Mg ha(-1) yr(-1), higher than from most disturbed land surfaces in the tropics. The eight largest storms (30% of total storm energy) in 2005 transported half of the total annual sediment. These measurements together with site investigations reveal that highly interconnected elephant trails, together with other source areas, directly link runoff and sediment to streams.

  12. Asteroid Lightcurve Analysis at Elephant Head Observatory: 2013 August- October

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alkema, Michael S.

    2014-01-01

    Photometric observations of two main-belt asteroids, 541 Deborah and 1468 Zomba, were made from Elephant Head Observatory during 2013 August to October. The period and amplitude results are, respectively, P = 29.368 ± 0.005 h, A = 0.10 ± 0.01 mag; P = 2.773 ± 0.001 h, A = 0.34 ± 0.02 mag.

  13. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus reassure others in distress

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joshua M. Plotnik

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Contact directed by uninvolved bystanders toward others in distress, often termed consolation, is uncommon in the animal kingdom, thus far only demonstrated in the great apes, canines, and corvids. Whereas the typical agonistic context of such contact is relatively rare within natural elephant families, other causes of distress may trigger similar, other-regarding responses. In a study carried out at an elephant camp in Thailand, we found that elephants affiliated significantly more with other individuals through directed, physical contac