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Sample records for extinct elephant birds

  1. Were Malagasy Uncarina fruits dispersed by the extinct elephant bird?

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    N. Illing

    2010-02-01

    Full Text Available We hypothesise that the spiny fruits of the endemic Madagascar
    genus Uncarina (Pedaliaceae are trample burrs that evolved to be
    dispersed on the feet of the extinct elephant bird (Aepyornis. Our
    evidence is: i the morphology of the fruit with its large grapple
    hooks is more likely to attach to a foot than to adhere to fur and
    ii the presentation of mature fruits on the ground rather than in the
    canopy. These differences to adhesive burrs make lemurs unlikely
    dispersers. We argue, given the absence of other large terrestrial
    mammals in Madagascar, that the most likely dispersers of
    Uncarina fruits were the extinct large birds. If correct, our hypothesis
    has implications for conservation of Uncarina, the biogeography
    of the elephant birds and dispersal biology. For
    example, we predict that the demography of Uncarina will be
    skewed towards adult plants, and that the dispersal mutualism
    could possibly be rescued by domestic animals.

  2. Evaluating herbivore extinction probabilities in Addo Elephant ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Abstract. Population extinction evaluations, based on the model developed by Dennis et al. (1991) that did not take density dependence into account and that were based on census data, suggest that many of the herbivore species in Addo Elephant National Park (AENP) are vulnerable to local extinction. As a result of low ...

  3. Elephants (and extinct relatives) as earth-movers and ecosystem engineers

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    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.

  4. Elevational distribution and extinction risk in birds.

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    Rachel L White

    Full Text Available Mountainous regions are hotspots of terrestrial biodiversity. Unlike islands, which have been the focus of extensive research on extinction dynamics, fewer studies have examined mountain ranges even though they face increasing threats from human pressures - notably habitat conversion and climate change. Limits to the taxonomic and geographical extent and resolution of previously available information have precluded an explicit assessment of the relative role of elevational distribution in determining extinction risk. We use a new global species-level avian database to quantify the influence of elevational distribution (range, maximum and midpoint on extinction risk in birds at the global scale. We also tested this relationship within biogeographic realms, higher taxonomic levels, and across phylogenetic contrasts. Potential confounding variables (i.e. phylogenetic, distributional, morphological, life history and niche breadth were also tested and controlled for. We show that the three measures of elevational distribution are strong negative predictors of avian extinction risk, with elevational range comparable and complementary to that of geographical range size. Extinction risk was also found to be positively associated with body weight, development and adult survival, but negatively associated with reproduction and niche breadth. The robust and consistent findings from this study demonstrate the importance of elevational distribution as a key driver of variation in extinction dynamics in birds. Our results also highlight elevational distribution as a missing criterion in current schemes for quantifying extinction risk and setting species conservation priorities in birds. Further research is recommended to test for generality across non-avian taxa, which will require an advance in our knowledge of species' current elevational ranges and increased efforts to digitise and centralise such data.

  5. Climate change, elevational range shifts, and bird extinctions.

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    Sekercioglu, Cagan H; Schneider, Stephen H; Fay, John P; Loarie, Scott R

    2008-02-01

    Limitations imposed on species ranges by the climatic, ecological, and physiological effects of elevation are important determinants of extinction risk. We modeled the effects of elevational limits on the extinction risk of landbirds, 87% of all bird species. Elevational limitation of range size explained 97% of the variation in the probability of being in a World Conservation Union category of extinction risk. Our model that combined elevational ranges, four Millennium Assessment habitat-loss scenarios, and an intermediate estimate of surface warming of 2.8 degrees C, projected a best guess of 400-550 landbird extinctions, and that approximately 2150 additional species would be at risk of extinction by 2100. For Western Hemisphere landbirds, intermediate extinction estimates based on climate-induced changes in actual distributions ranged from 1.3% (1.1 degrees C warming) to 30.0% (6.4 degrees C warming) of these species. Worldwide, every degree of warming projected a nonlinear increase in bird extinctions of about 100-500 species. Only 21% of the species predicted to become extinct in our scenarios are currently considered threatened with extinction. Different habitat-loss and surface-warming scenarios predicted substantially different futures for landbird species. To improve the precision of climate-induced extinction estimates, there is an urgent need for high-resolution measurements of shifts in the elevational ranges of species. Given the accelerating influence of climate change on species distributions and conservation, using elevational limits in a tested, standardized, and robust manner can improve conservation assessments of terrestrial species and will help identify species that are most vulnerable to global climate change. Our climate-induced extinction estimates are broadly similar to those of bird species at risk from other factors, but these estimates largely involve different sets of species.

  6. An allometric approach to quantify the extinction vulnerability of birds and mammals.

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    Hilbers, J P; Schipper, A M; Hendriks, A J; Verones, F; Pereira, H M; Huijbregts, M A J

    2016-03-01

    Methods to quantify the vulnerability of species to extinction are typically limited by the availability of species-specific input data pertaining to life-history characteristics and population dynamics. This lack of data hampers global biodiversity assessments and conservation planning. Here, we developed a new framework that systematically quantifies extinction risk based on allometric relationships between various wildlife demographic parameters and body size. These allometric relationships have a solid theoretical and ecological foundation. Extinction risk indicators included are (1) the probability of extinction, (2) the mean time to extinction, and (3) the critical patch size. We applied our framework to assess the global extinction vulnerability of terrestrial carnivorous and non-carnivorous birds and mammals. Irrespective of the indicator used, large-bodied species were found to be more vulnerable to extinction than their smaller counterparts. The patterns with body size were confirmed for all species groups by a comparison with IUCN data on the proportion of extant threatened species: the models correctly predicted a multimodal distribution with body size for carnivorous birds and a monotonic distribution for mammals and non-carnivorous birds. Carnivorous mammals were found to have higher extinction risks than non-carnivores, while birds were more prone to extinction than mammals. These results are explained by the allometric relationships, predicting the vulnerable species groups to have lower intrinsic population growth rates, smaller population sizes, lower carrying capacities, or larger dispersal distances, which, in turn, increase the importance of losses due to environmental stochastic effects and dispersal activities. Our study is the first to integrate population viability analysis and allometry into a novel, process-based framework that is able to quantify extinction risk of a large number of species without requiring data-intensive, species

  7. Variation in extinction risk among birds: chance or evolutionary predisposition?

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    Bennett, P. M.; Owens, I. P. F.

    1997-01-01

    Collar et al. (1994) estimate that of the 9,672 extant species of bird, 1,111 are threatened by extinction. Here, we test whether these threatened species are simply a random sample of birds, or whether there is something about their biology that predisposes them to extinction. We ask three specific questions. First, is extinction risk randomly distributed among families? Second, which families, if any, contain more, or less, threatened species than would be expected by chance? Third, is variation between taxa in extinction risk associated with variation in either body size or fecundity? Extinction risk is not randomly distributed among families. The families which contain significantly more threatened species than expected are the parrots (Psittacidae), pheasants and allies (Phasianidae), albatrosses and allies (Procellariidae), rails (Rallidae), cranes (Gruidae), cracids (Cracidae), megapodes (Megapodidae) and pigeons (Columbidae). The only family which contains significantly fewer threatened species than expected is the woodpeckers (Picidae). Extinction risk is also not distributed randomly with respect to fecundity or body size. Once phylogeny has been controlled for, increases in extinction risk are independently associated with increases in body size and decreases in fecundity. We suggest that this is because low rates of fecundity, which evolved many tens of millions of years ago, predisposed certain lineages to extinction. Low-fecundity populations take longer to recover if they are reduced to small sizes and are, therefore, more likely to go extinct if an external force causes an increase in the rate of mortality, thereby perturbing the natural balance between fecundity and mortality.

  8. Genetic variation at hair length candidate genes in elephants and the extinct woolly mammoth

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    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.

  9. Sexual selection affects local extinction and turnover in bird communities

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    Doherty, P.F.; Sorci, G.; Royle, J. Andrew; Hines, J.E.; Nichols, J.D.; Boulinier, T.

    2003-01-01

    Predicting extinction risks has become a central goal for conservation and evolutionary biologists interested in population and community dynamics. Several factors have been put forward to explain risks of extinction, including ecological and life history characteristics of individuals. For instance, factors that affect the balance between natality and mortality can have profound effects on population persistence. Sexual selection has been identified as one such factor. Populations under strong sexual selection experience a number of costs ranging from increased predation and parasitism to enhanced sensitivity to environmental and demographic stochasticity. These findings have led to the prediction that local extinction rates should be higher for species/populations with intense sexual selection. We tested this prediction by analyzing the dynamics of natural bird communities at a continental scale over a period of 21 years (1975-1996), using relevant statistical tools. In agreement with the theoretical prediction, we found that sexual selection increased risks of local extinction (dichromatic birds had on average a 23% higher local extinction rate than monochromatic species). However, despite higher local extinction probabilities, the number of dichromatic species did not decrease over the period considered in this study. This pattern was caused by higher local turnover rates of dichromatic species, resulting in relatively stable communities for both groups of species. Our results suggest that these communities function as metacommunities, with frequent local extinctions followed by colonization. Anthropogenic factors impeding dispersal might therefore have a significant impact on the global persistence of sexually selected species.

  10. The late Quaternary extinction and future resurrection of birds on Pacific islands

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    Steadman, David W.; Martin, Paul S.

    2003-04-01

    People have lived on tropical Pacific islands over the past 30,000 years (Bismarcks, Solomons) or 3000 to 1000 years (the rest of Oceania). Their activities have led to the loss of many thousands of populations and as many as 2000 species of birds that probably otherwise would exist today. This extinction event is documented by avian fossils from archaeological (cultural) and paleontological (noncultural) sites from nearly 70 islands in 19 island groups. Extinction of birds in Oceania rivals the late Pleistocene loss of large mammals in North America as the best substantiated rapid extinction episode in the vertebrate fossil record. Some avian extinctions in Oceania occurred within a century or less after human arrival, while others required millennia or even tens of millennia. Any of these time frames is rapid in an evolutionary or geochronological sense. Inter-island differences in the speed and extent of extinction can be explained by variation in abiotic (A), biotic (B), and cultural (C) factors. Levels of extinction on large, near islands can be comparable to those on small, remote islands when C factors (such as high human population density and introduction of invasive plants and animals) override A factors (such as large land area or little isolation) or B factors (such as rich indigenous floras and faunas). An innovative, proactive conservation strategy is needed not only to prevent further extinctions of birds in Oceania, but also to restart evolution of some of the lineages that have suffered the most loss, such as flightless rails. This strategy should focus on islands with ABC traits that retard rather than enhance extinction.

  11. Genomic DNA sequences from mastodon and woolly mammoth reveal deep speciation of forest and savanna elephants.

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    Nadin Rohland

    2010-12-01

    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.

  12. When is an "Extinct" Species Really Extinct? Gauging the Search Efforts for Hawaiian Forest Birds and the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

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    J. Michael. Scott

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available Rare species, particularly those in inaccessible habitat, can go years without being observed. If we are to allocate conservation resources appropriately to conserving such species, it is important to be able to distinguish "rare" from "extinct." Criteria for designating extinction, however, tend to be arbitrary or vaguely defined. This designation should not be made unless the search effort has been sufficient to yield a high degree of confidence that the species is in fact absent. We develop models to assess the probability of extinction and the search effort necessary to detect an individual in a small population. We apply these models to searches for nine potentially extinct Hawaiian forest birds and for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis in intensively searched areas in Arkansas. The Hawaiian forest bird survey was extensive, providing excellent information on population sizes and habitat associations of species encountered during the survey. Nonetheless, we conclude that the survey effort was not sufficient to conclude extinction (p > 0.90 for populations of 10 or fewer individuals for those species that were not encountered during surveys. In contrast, our analysis for Ivory-billed Woodpeckers suggests that, unless there were actually two or fewer birds present, the search effort was sufficient to conclude (p > 0.95 that Ivory-billed woodpeckers were not present in the intensively searched area. If one assumes distributions other than uniform, there is a greater chance that Ivory-billed Woodpeckers may persist in the intensively searched areas. Conclusions regarding occupancy of suitable habitat throughout the rest of the former range will require similarly intensive survey efforts. The degree of confidence in the absence of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker depended in part on our assumptions about the distribution of birds in the search area. For species with limited detection distance and small populations, a massive search

  13. Rapid prehistoric extinction of iguanas and birds in Polynesia.

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    Steadman, David W; Pregill, Gregory K; Burley, David V

    2002-03-19

    The Tongoleleka archaeological site on Lifuka Island, Kingdom of Tonga, is a rich accumulation of pottery, marine mollusks, and nonhuman bones that represents first human contact on a small island in Remote Oceania approximately 2,850 years ago. The lower strata contain decorated Lapita-style pottery and bones of an extinct iguana (Brachylophus undescribed sp.) and numerous species of extinct birds. The upper strata instead feature Polynesian Plainware pottery and bones of extant species of vertebrates. A stratigraphic series of 20 accelerator-mass spectrometer radiocarbon dates on individual bones of the iguana, an extinct megapode (Megapodius alimentum), and the non-native chicken (Gallus gallus) suggests that anthropogenic loss of the first two species and introduction of the latter occurred on Lifuka within a time interval too short (a century or less) to be resolved by radiometric dating. The geologically instantaneous prehistoric collapse of Lifuka's vertebrate community contrasts with the much longer periods of faunal depletion on some other islands, thus showing that the elapse time between human arrival and major extinction events was highly variable on oceanic islands as well as on continents.

  14. Dental Disparity and Ecological Stability in Bird-like Dinosaurs prior to the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction.

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    Larson, Derek W; Brown, Caleb M; Evans, David C

    2016-05-23

    The causes, rate, and selectivity of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction continue to be highly debated [1-5]. Extinction patterns in small, feathered maniraptoran dinosaurs (including birds) are important for understanding extant biodiversity and present an enigma considering the survival of crown group birds (Neornithes) and the extinction of their close kin across the end-Cretaceous boundary [6]. Because of the patchy Cretaceous fossil record of small maniraptorans [7-12], this important transition has not been closely examined in this group. Here, we test the hypothesis that morphological disparity in bird-like dinosaurs was decreasing leading up to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, as has been hypothesized in some dinosaurs [13, 14]. To test this, we examined tooth morphology, an ecological indicator in fossil reptiles [15-19], from over 3,100 maniraptoran teeth from four groups (Troodontidae, Dromaeosauridae, Richardoestesia, and cf. Aves) across the last 18 million years of the Cretaceous. We demonstrate that tooth disparity, a proxy for variation in feeding ecology, shows no significant decline leading up to the extinction event within any of the groups. Tooth morphospace occupation also remains static over this time interval except for increased size during the early Maastrichtian. Our data provide strong support that extinction within this group occurred suddenly after a prolonged period of ecological stability. To explain this sudden extinction of toothed maniraptorans and the survival of Neornithes, we propose that diet may have been an extinction filter and suggest that granivory associated with an edentulous beak was a key ecological trait in the survival of some lineages. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Mitochondrial DNA analysis of two southern African elephant populations

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    M.F. Essop

    1996-08-01

    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.

  16. Radiocarbon dates on bones of extinct birds from Hawaii.

    OpenAIRE

    James, H F; Stafford, T W; Steadman, D W; Olson, S L; Martin, P S; Jull, A J; McCoy, P C

    1987-01-01

    Bones from a stratified sedimentary deposit in the Puu Naio Cave site on Maui, Hawaiian Islands, reveal the late Holocene extinction of 19 species of birds. The age of the sediment and associated fauna was determined by direct radiocarbon dating (tandem particle accelerator-mass spectrometer; TAMS) of amino acids extracted from bones weighing as little as 450 mg. The 14C dates indicate that sediment has been accumulating in the lava tube for at least the last 7750 years, a suitable time frame...

  17. Rates of movement of threatened bird species between IUCN red list categories and toward extinction.

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    Brooke, M de L; Butchart, S H M; Garnett, S T; Crowley, G M; Mantilla-Beniers, N B; Stattersfield, A J

    2008-04-01

    In recent centuries bird species have been deteriorating in status and becoming extinct at a rate that may be 2-3 orders of magnitude higher than in prehuman times. We examined extinction rates of bird species designated critically endangered in 1994 and the rate at which species have moved through the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Red List categories of extinction risk globally for the period 1988-2004 and regionally in Australia from 1750 to 2000. For Australia we drew on historical accounts of the extent and condition of species habitats, spread of invasive species, and changes in sighting frequencies. These data sets permitted comparison of observed rates of movement through the IUCN Red List categories with novel predictions based on the IUCN Red List criterion E, which relates to explicit extinction probabilities determined, for example, by population viability analysis. The comparison also tested whether species listed on the basis of other criteria face a similar probability of moving to a higher threat category as those listed under criterion E. For the rate at which species moved from vulnerable to endangered, there was a good match between observations and predictions, both worldwide and in Australia. Nevertheless, species have become extinct at a rate that, although historically high, is 2 (Australia) to 10 (globally) times lower than predicted. Although the extinction probability associated with the critically endangered category may be too high, the shortfall in realized extinctions can also be attributed to the beneficial impact of conservation intervention. These efforts may have reduced the number of global extinctions from 19 to 3 and substantially slowed the extinction trajectory of 33 additional critically endangered species. Our results suggest that current conservation action benefits species on the brink of extinction, but is less targeted at or has less effect on moderately threatened species.

  18. Introductions do not compensate for functional and phylogenetic losses following extinctions in insular bird assemblages.

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    Sobral, Fernando L; Lees, Alexander C; Cianciaruso, Marcus V

    2016-09-01

    The ratio of species extinctions to introductions has been comparable for many insular assemblages, suggesting that introductions could have 'compensated' for extinctions. However, the capacity for introduced species to replace ecological roles and evolutionary history lost following extinction is unclear. We investigated changes in bird functional and phylogenetic diversity in the wake of extinctions and introductions across a sample of 32 islands worldwide. We found that extinct and introduced species have comparable functional and phylogenetic alpha diversity. However, this was distributed at different positions in functional space and in the phylogeny, indicating a 'false compensation'. Introduced and extinct species did not have equivalent functional roles nor belong to similar lineages. This makes it unlikely that novel island biotas composed of introduced taxa will be able to maintain ecological roles and represent the evolutionary histories of pre-disturbance assemblages and highlights the importance of evaluating changes in alpha and beta diversity concurrently. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

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

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    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.

  20. Early Paleocene landbird supports rapid phylogenetic and morphological diversification of crown birds after the K-Pg mass extinction

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    Ksepka, Daniel T.; Stidham, Thomas A.; Williamson, Thomas E.

    2017-07-01

    Evidence is accumulating for a rapid diversification of birds following the K-Pg extinction. Recent molecular divergence dating studies suggest that birds radiated explosively during the first few million years of the Paleocene; however, fossils from this interval remain poorly represented, hindering our understanding of morphological and ecological specialization in early neoavian birds. Here we report a small fossil bird from the Nacimiento Formation of New Mexico, constrained to 62.221-62.517 Ma. This partial skeleton represents the oldest arboreal crown group bird known. Phylogenetic analyses recovered Tsidiiyazhi abini gen. et sp. nov. as a member of the Sandcoleidae, an extinct basal clade of stem mousebirds (Coliiformes). The discovery of Tsidiiyazhi pushes the minimum divergence ages of as many as nine additional major neoavian lineages into the earliest Paleocene, compressing the duration of the proposed explosive post-K-Pg radiation of modern birds into a very narrow temporal window parallel to that suggested for placental mammals. Simultaneously, Tsidiiyazhi provides evidence for the rapid morphological (and likely ecological) diversification of crown birds. Features of the foot indicate semizygodactyly (the ability to facultatively reverse the fourth pedal digit), and the arcuate arrangement of the pedal trochleae bears a striking resemblance to the conformation in owls (Strigiformes). Inclusion of fossil taxa and branch length estimates impacts ancestral state reconstructions, revealing support for the independent evolution of semizygodactyly in Coliiformes, Leptosomiformes, and Strigiformes, none of which is closely related to extant clades exhibiting full zygodactyly.

  1. Functional nonredundancy of elephants in a disturbed tropical forest.

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    Sekar, Nitin; Lee, Chia-Lo; Sukumar, Raman

    2017-10-01

    Conservation efforts are often motivated by the threat of global extinction. Yet if conservationists had more information suggesting that extirpation of individual species could lead to undesirable ecological effects, they might more frequently attempt to protect or restore such species across their ranges even if they were not globally endangered. Scientists have seldom measured or quantitatively predicted the functional consequences of species loss, even for large, extinction-prone species that theory suggests should be functionally unique. We measured the contribution of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to the dispersal of 3 large-fruited species in a disturbed tropical moist forest and predicted the extent to which alternative dispersers could compensate for elephants in their absence. We created an empirical probability model with data on frugivory and seed dispersal from Buxa Tiger Reserve, India. These data were used to estimate the proportion of seeds consumed by elephants and other frugivores that survive handling and density-dependent processes (Janzen-Connell effects and conspecific intradung competition) and germinate. Without compensation, the number of seeds dispersed and surviving density-dependent effects decreased 26% (Artocarpus chaplasha), 42% (Careya arborea), and 72% (Dillenia indica) when elephants were absent from the ecosystem. Compensatory fruit removal by other animals substantially ameliorated these losses. For instance, reductions in successful dispersal of D. indica were as low as 23% when gaur (Bos gaurus) persisted, but median dispersal distance still declined from 30% (C. arborea) to 90% (A. chaplasha) without elephants. Our results support the theory that the largest animal species in an ecosystem have nonredundant ecological functionality and that their extirpation is likely to lead to the deterioration of ecosystem processes such as seed dispersal. This effect is likely accentuated by the overall defaunation of many tropical

  2. The evolution of giant flightless birds and novel phylogenetic relationships for extinct fowl (Aves, Galloanseres)

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    Worthy, Trevor H.; Degrange, Federico J.; Handley, Warren D.; Lee, Michael S. Y.

    2017-10-01

    The extinct dromornithids, gastornithids and phorusrhacids are among the most spectacular birds to have ever lived, with some giants exceeding 500 kg. The affinities and evolution of these and other related extinct birds remain contentious, with previous phylogenetic analyses being affected by widespread convergence and limited taxon sampling. We address these problems using both parsimony and tip-dated Bayesian approaches on an expansive taxon set that includes all key extinct flightless and flighted (e.g. Vegavis and lithornithids) forms, an extensive array of extant fowl (Galloanseres), representative Neoaves and palaeognaths. The Paleogene volant Lithornithidae are recovered as stem palaeognaths in the Bayesian analyses. The Galloanseres comprise four clades inferred to have diverged in the Late Cretaceous on Gondwana. In addition to Anseriformes and Galliformes, we recognize a robust new clade (Gastornithiformes) for the giant flightless Dromornithidae (Australia) and Gastornithidae (Eurasia, North America). This clade exhibits parallels to ratite palaeognaths in that flight presumably was lost and giant size attained multiple times. A fourth clade is represented by the Cretaceous Vegavis (Antarctica), which was strongly excluded from Anseriformes; thus, a crucial molecular calibration point needs to be reconsidered. The presbyornithids Wilaru (Australia) and Presbyornis (Northern Hemisphere) are robustly found to be the sister group to Anatoidea (Anseranatidae + Anatidae), a relatively more basal position than hitherto recognized. South America's largest bird, Brontornis, is not a galloansere, but a member of Neoaves related to Cariamiformes; therefore, giant Galloanseres remain unknown from this continent. Trait analyses showed that while gigantism and flightlessness evolved repeatedly in groups, diet is constrained by phylogeny: all giant Galloanseres and palaeognaths are herbivores or mainly herbivorous, and giant neoavians are zoophagous or omnivorous.

  3. Will a warmer and wetter future cause extinction of native Hawaiian forest birds?

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    Liao, Wei; Timm, Oliver Elison; Zhang, Chunxi; Atkinson, Carter T.; LaPointe, Dennis; Samuel, Michael D.

    2015-01-01

    Isolation of the Hawaiian archipelago produced a highly endemic and unique avifauna. Avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum), an introduced mosquito-borne pathogen, is a primary cause of extinctions and declines of these endemic honeycreepers. Our research assesses how global climate change will affect future malaria risk and native bird populations. We used an epidemiological model to evaluate future bird-mosquito-malaria dynamics in response to alternative climate projections from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP). Climate changes during the second half of the century accelerate malaria transmission and cause a dramatic decline in bird abundance. Different temperature and precipitation patterns produce divergent trajectories where native birds persist with low malaria infection under a warmer and dryer projection (RCP4.5), but suffer high malaria infection and severe reductions under hot and dry (RCP8.5) or warm and wet (A1B) futures. We conclude that future global climate change will cause significant decreases in the abundance and diversity of remaining Hawaiian bird communities. Because these effects appear unlikely before mid-century, natural resource managers have time to implement conservation strategies to protect this unique avifauna from further decimation. Similar climatic drivers for avian and human malaria suggest that mitigation strategies for Hawai'i have broad application to human health.

  4. CONSERVATION. Genetic assignment of large seizures of elephant ivory reveals Africa's major poaching hotspots.

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    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. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  5. 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.

  6. A comprehensive genomic history of extinct and living elephants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Palkopoulou, Eleftheria; Lipson, Mark; Mallick, Swapan

    2018-01-01

    Elephantids are the world's most iconic megafaunal family, yet there is no comprehensive genomic assessment of their relationships. We report a total of 14 genomes, including 2 from the American mastodon, which is an extinct elephantid relative, and 12 spanning all three extant and three extinct...

  7. Coprolites reveal ecological interactions lost with the extinction of New Zealand birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boast, Alexander P; Weyrich, Laura S; Wood, Jamie R; Metcalf, Jessica L; Knight, Rob; Cooper, Alan

    2018-02-13

    Over the past 50,000 y, biotic extinctions and declines have left a legacy of vacant niches and broken ecological interactions across global terrestrial ecosystems. Reconstructing the natural, unmodified ecosystems that preceded these events relies on high-resolution analyses of paleoecological deposits. Coprolites are a source of uniquely detailed information about trophic interactions and the behaviors, gut parasite communities, and microbiotas of prehistoric animal species. Such insights are critical for understanding the legacy effects of extinctions on ecosystems, and can help guide contemporary conservation and ecosystem restoration efforts. Here we use high-throughput sequencing (HTS) of ancient eukaryotic DNA from coprolites to reconstruct aspects of the biology and ecology of four species of extinct moa and the critically endangered kakapo parrot from New Zealand (NZ). Importantly, we provide evidence that moa and prehistoric kakapo consumed ectomycorrhizal fungi, suggesting these birds played a role in dispersing fungi that are key to NZ's natural forest ecosystems. We also provide the first DNA-based evidence that moa frequently supplemented their broad diets with ferns and mosses. Finally, we also find parasite taxa that provide insight into moa behavior, and present data supporting the hypothesis of coextinction between moa and several parasite species. Our study demonstrates that HTS sequencing of coprolites provides a powerful tool for resolving key aspects of ancient ecosystems and may rapidly provide information not obtainable by conventional paleoecological techniques, such as fossil analyses.

  8. Global analysis of threat status reveals higher extinction risk in tropical than in temperate bird sister species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Reif Jiří

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Given increasing pressures upon biodiversity, identification of species’ traits related to elevated extinction risk is useful for more efficient allocation of limited resources for nature conservation. Despite its need, such a global analysis was lacking in the case of birds. Therefore, we performed this exercise for avian sister species using information about their global extinction risk from IUCN Red List. We focused on 113 pairs of sister species, each containing a threatened and an unthreatened species to factor out the effects of common evolutionary history on the revealed relationship. We collected data on five traits with expected relationships to species’ extinction risk based on previous studies performed at regional or national levels: breeding habitat (recognizing forest, grassland, wetland and oceanic species, latitudinal range position (temperate and tropics species, migration strategy (migratory and resident species, diet (carnivorous, insectivorous, herbivorous and omnivorous species and body mass. We related the extinction risk using IUCN threat level categories to species’ traits using generalised linear mixed effects models expecting lower risk for forest, temperate, omnivorous and smaller-bodied species. Our expectation was confirmed only in the case of latitudinal range position, as we revealed higher threat level for tropical than for temperate species. This relationship was robust to different methods of threat level expression and cannot be explained by a simple association of high bird species richness with the tropical zone. Instead, it seems that tropical species are more threatened because of their intrinsic characteristics such as slow life histories, adaptations to stable environments and small geographic ranges. These characteristics are obviously disadvantageous in conditions of current human-induced environmental perturbations. Moreover, given the absence of habitat effects, our study indicates that such

  9. Proboscidean mitogenomics: chronology and mode of elephant evolution using mastodon as outgroup.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nadin Rohland

    2007-08-01

    Full Text Available We have sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome of the extinct American mastodon (Mammut americanum from an Alaskan fossil that is between 50,000 and 130,000 y old, extending the age range of genomic analyses by almost a complete glacial cycle. The sequence we obtained is substantially different from previously reported partial mastodon mitochondrial DNA sequences. By comparing those partial sequences to other proboscidean sequences, we conclude that we have obtained the first sequence of mastodon DNA ever reported. Using the sequence of the mastodon, which diverged 24-28 million years ago (mya from the Elephantidae lineage, as an outgroup, we infer that the ancestors of African elephants diverged from the lineage leading to mammoths and Asian elephants approximately 7.6 mya and that mammoths and Asian elephants diverged approximately 6.7 mya. We also conclude that the nuclear genomes of the African savannah and forest elephants diverged approximately 4.0 mya, supporting the view that these two groups represent different species. Finally, we found the mitochondrial mutation rate of proboscideans to be roughly half of the rate in primates during at least the last 24 million years.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Fuglene. Audubon: Birds of America

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schlichtkrull, Torsten

    2010-01-01

    The Royal Library owns one of the most exceptional works in book history, an original edition of John James Audubon Birds of America. This edition, in a format called “double elephant folio” was published from 1827 to 1838. On basis of existing literature, this article briefly describes the work...... the Royal Library and the University Library, joined the library cooperation of the 1800’s on an equal standing with the other two libraries. The Classen’s Library and the library’s founder, industrialist JF Classen are described briefly in this article. Due to two library mergers the Birds of America...

  14. Incidence of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus in Asian elephants in India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barman, Nagendra N; Choudhury, Bhaskar; Kumar, Vishnu; Koul, Monika; Gogoi, Sophia M; Khatoon, Elina; Chakroborty, A; Basumatary, P; Barua, B; Rahman, T; Das, S K; Kumar, Sachin

    2017-09-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) are the cause of acute hemorrhagic disease in endangered Asian and African elephants. In the present study, we report the incidence of EEHV infection and associated mortality in the captive elephant of Assam, India. Our result showed the gross morphology and histopathological changes of EEHV infection in the elephant. Moreover, the phylogenetic analysis of the polymerase, helicase, and GPCR genes from the infected tissue samples suggested the presence of EEHV1A virus. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Elephant logging and environment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tin-Aung-Hla

    1995-01-01

    The natural environment comprises non-biological elements such as air, water, light, heat and biological elements of animal and plant life; all interact with each other to create an ecosystem. Human activities like over-exploitation of forest results in deforestation and desertification. This consequently changes ecological balance. Topics on: (1) history of elephants utilization; (2) elephant logging; (3) classification of elephants; (4) dragging gear; (5) elephant power; (6) elephant logging and environment, are discussed

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. Subclinical infection of a young captive Asian elephant with elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus 1.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Azab, Walid; Damiani, Armando Mario; Ochs, Andreas; Osterrieder, Nikolaus

    2018-02-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) are a continuous threat for young Asian elephants. We report a laboratory-confirmed infection of a 5-year-old female Asian elephant (AZ_2016) in the Berlin Zoologischer Garten. Initially, high EEHV-1 loads were detected in trunk swabs obtained from the young elephant during routine screening. The animal showed no clinical signs except for slight irritability. EEHV-1 was continuously shed for almost one year, with fluctuations in viral load from time to time. Our investigations highlight the continuous threat of EEHV-1 to young captive Asian elephants and stress the importance of routine monitoring of captive elephants to allow early detection of infection.

  19. Diet and distribution of elephant in the Maputo Elephant Reserve, Mozambique

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Boer, WF; Ntumi, CP; Correia, AU; Mafuca, JM

    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

  20. When elephants fall asleep: A literature review on elephant rest with case studies on elephant falling bouts, and practical solutions for zoo elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schiffmann, Christian; Hoby, Stefan; Wenker, Christian; Hård, Therese; Scholz, Robert; Clauss, Marcus; Hatt, Jean-Michel

    2018-05-01

    Little attention has been paid to the resting and sleeping behavior of zoo elephants so far. An important concern is when elephants avoid lying down, due to degenerative joint and foot disease, social structure, or stressful environmental changes. Inability or unwillingness to lie down for resting is an important welfare issue, as it may impair sleep. We emphasize the importance of satisfying rest in elephants by reviewing the literature on resting behavior in elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus) as well as the documentation of four cases from European zoos and our own direct observations in a zoo group of four female African elephants during 12 entire days. The common denominator in the case reports is the occurrence of a falling bout out of a standing position subsequently to a cessation of lying rest for different periods of time. Although well-known in horses as "episodic collapse" or "excessive drowsiness," this syndrome has not been described in elephants before. To enable its detection, we recommend nocturnal video monitoring for elephant-keeping institutions. The literature evaluation as well as own observational data suggest an inverse relationship between lying rest and standing rest. Preventative measures consist of enclosure modifications that facilitate lying rest (e.g., sand hills) or standing rest in a leaning position as a substitute. Anecdotal observations suggest that the provision of appropriate horizontal environmental structures may encourage safe, sleep-conducive standing rest. We provide drawings on how to install such structures. Effects of providing such structures should be evaluated in the future. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  1. 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.

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23505714

  2. The Origin and Diversification of Birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brusatte, Stephen L; O'Connor, Jingmai K; Jarvis, Erich D

    2015-10-05

    Birds are one of the most recognizable and diverse groups of modern vertebrates. Over the past two decades, a wealth of new fossil discoveries and phylogenetic and macroevolutionary studies has transformed our understanding of how birds originated and became so successful. Birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs during the Jurassic (around 165-150 million years ago) and their classic small, lightweight, feathered, and winged body plan was pieced together gradually over tens of millions of years of evolution rather than in one burst of innovation. Early birds diversified throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous, becoming capable fliers with supercharged growth rates, but were decimated at the end-Cretaceous extinction alongside their close dinosaurian relatives. After the mass extinction, modern birds (members of the avian crown group) explosively diversified, culminating in more than 10,000 species distributed worldwide today. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. 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.

  4. The winter diet of elephant in Eastern Cape Subtropical Thicket, Addo Elephant National Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R.G.T. Paley

    1998-07-01

    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.

  5. Time to extinction of bird populations

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sæther, B-E.; Engen, S.; Møller, A.P.; Visser, M.E.; Matthysen, E.; Fiedler, W.; Lambrechts, M.M.; Becker, P.H.; Brommer, J.E.; Dickinson, J.; du Feu, C.; Gehlbach, F.R.; Merilä, J.; Rendell, W.; Robertson, R.J.; Thomson, D.L.; Török, J.

    2005-01-01

    The risk of extinction of populations has not previously been empirically related to parameters characterizing their population dynamics. To analyze this relationship, we simulated how the distribution of population dynamical characters changed as a function of time, in both the remaining and the

  6. Are Humans too Numerous to Become Extinct?

    OpenAIRE

    Cairns, John

    2009-01-01

    Some claim that humans are too numerous to become extinct. However, passenger pigeon, once the most numerous birds on the planet, are now extinct. For years, humankind has been damaging its habitat, discharging toxic chemicals into the environment, and having harmful effects on agricultural productivity due to climate change. Humankind s extinction depends on the continuation of various human activities including economic growth, addiction to fossil fuel, over consumption, overpopulation, oc...

  7. The winter diet of elephant in Eastern Cape Subtropical Thicket, Addo Elephant National Park

    OpenAIRE

    R.G.T. Paley; G.I.H. Kerley

    1998-01-01

    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...

  8. Flightless birds: When did the dodo become extinct?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roberts, David L.; Solow, Andrew R.

    2003-11-01

    The extinction of the dodo (Raphus cucullatus L.; Fig. 1) is commonly dated to the last confirmed sighting in 1662, reported by Volkert Evertsz on an islet off Mauritius. By this time, the dodo had become extremely rare - the previous sighting having been 24 years earlier - but the species probably persisted unseen beyond this date. Here we use a statistical method to establish the actual extinction time of the dodo as 1690, almost 30 years after its most recent sighting.

  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. Modeling The Fate of Sumatran Elephants in Bukit Tigapuluh Indonesia: Research Needs & Implications for Population Management

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexander Markus Moßbrucker

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The critically endangered Sumatran elephant persists in mainly small and isolated populations that may require intensive management to be viable in the long term. Population Viability Analysis (PVA provides the opportunity to evaluate conservation strategies and objectives prior to implementation, which can be very valuable for site managers by supporting their decision making process. This study applies PVA to a local population of Sumatran elephants roaming the Bukit Tigapuluh landscape, Sumatra, with the main goal to explore the impact of pre-selected conservation measures and population scenarios on both population growth rate and extinction probability. Sensitivity testing revealed considerable parameter uncertainties that should be addressed by targeted research projects in order to improve the predictive power of the baseline population model. Given that further habitat destruction can be prevented, containing illegal killings appears to be of highest priority among the tested conservation measures and represents a mandatory pre-condition for activities addressing inbreeding depression such as elephant translocation or the establishment of a conservation corridor.

  11. Identification of shedders of elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses among Asian elephants (Elephas maximus in Switzerland.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mathias Ackermann

    Full Text Available Elephants, particularly Asian (Elephas maximus, are threatened by lethal elephant hemorrhagic disease (EHD due to elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHV. At least five of seven known EEHV types have been associated to EHD, with types 1, 4, and 5 predominantly affecting Asian elephants. In Switzerland, at least three Asian elephants have been lost due to EHD but nothing is known about the present EEHV1 circulation. Moreover, the prevalence of other EEHV types has never been assessed. Intermittent shedding of EEHV can be monitored through collecting trunk secretions and analyzing them by PCR methods that discriminate the different EEHV types. To identify EEHV shedders, seven of eight Asian elephants in a Swiss zoo were trained to provide trunk wash samples. These were collected at intervals over a period of four months and tested by PCR for presence of EEHV1 through 6. Moreover, the quality of each sample was assessed by testing for the elephant TNF-alpha gene. Overall, 57% of the samples were valid with five of seven participating elephants identified as EEHV shedders. Two of those shed virus only once, whereas the other three, all closely related among each other, shed virus on multiple occasions. One of the frequent shedders had been in very close contact to all of the three EHD victims. Therefore, we speculate that this particular animal may represent the virus source in all three cases. However, when subtyping was conducted, the presently circulating virus was identified as EEHV1B, while the virus subtype causing EHD had been 1A in all three cases. In addition to four animals excreting EEHV1, a recently introduced animal was observed to shed EEHV3/4. We suggest that the policy of trunk washing to identify and characterize EEHV-shedders is to be endorsed in zoos with ongoing or planned elephant breeding programs.

  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. Birds as biodiversity surrogates

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Larsen, Frank Wugt; Bladt, Jesper Stentoft; Balmford, Andrew

    2012-01-01

    1. Most biodiversity is still unknown, and therefore, priority areas for conservation typically are identified based on the presence of surrogates, or indicator groups. Birds are commonly used as surrogates of biodiversity owing to the wide availability of relevant data and their broad popular...... and applications.?Good surrogates of biodiversity are necessary to help identify conservation areas that will be effective in preventing species extinctions. Birds perform fairly well as surrogates in cases where birds are relatively speciose, but overall effectiveness will be improved by adding additional data...... from other taxa, in particular from range-restricted species. Conservation solutions with focus on birds as biodiversity surrogate could therefore benefit from also incorporating species data from other taxa....

  14. Evolution: How Some Birds Survived When All Other Dinosaurs Died.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brusatte, Stephen L

    2016-05-23

    The end-Cretaceous mass extinction wiped out the dinosaurs, including many birds. But some bird lineages survived. May seed-eating have been the key? Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

    2007-01-01

    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. PMID:17407383

  17. Bird Species and Climate Change. The Global Status Report. A synthesis of current scientific understanding of anthropogenic climate change impacts on global bird species now, and projected future effects

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wormworth, J.; Mallon, K.

    2006-01-01

    The results of a global analysis of current and future impacts of climate change on birds are presented. The report reviews more than 200 research reports to assemble a clear and consistent picture of climatic risk to this important animal group, illustrated with numerous examples and case studies. It is found that: climate change now affects bird species' behaviour, ranges and population dynamics; some bird species are already experiencing strong negative impacts from climate change; and in future, subject to greenhouse gas emissions levels and climatic response, climate change will put large numbers of bird species at risk of extinction, with estimates of extinction rates varying from 2 to 72%, depending on the region, climate scenario and potential for birds to shift to new habitat

  18. Bird Species and Climate Change. The Global Status Report. A synthesis of current scientific understanding of anthropogenic climate change impacts on global bird species now, and projected future effects

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wormworth, J.; Mallon, K. [Climate Risk Pty Limited, Fairlight (Australia)

    2006-07-01

    The results of a global analysis of current and future impacts of climate change on birds are presented. The report reviews more than 200 research reports to assemble a clear and consistent picture of climatic risk to this important animal group, illustrated with numerous examples and case studies. It is found that: climate change now affects bird species' behaviour, ranges and population dynamics; some bird species are already experiencing strong negative impacts from climate change; and in future, subject to greenhouse gas emissions levels and climatic response, climate change will put large numbers of bird species at risk of extinction, with estimates of extinction rates varying from 2 to 72%, depending on the region, climate scenario and potential for birds to shift to new habitat.

  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...

  20. African elephant in a cleft stick

    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

  1. Spotted hyaenas Crocuta crocuta prey on new-born elephant calves in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julia Salnicki

    2001-07-01

    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.

  2. Elephant-to-Human Transmission of Tuberculosis

    Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Podcasts

    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.

  3. 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.

    2013-01-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) can cause fatal hemorrhagic disease in juvenile Asian elephants (Elephas 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. PMID:23505702

  4. 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. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

    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

  6. A fatal elephant attack.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hejna, Petr; Zátopková, Lenka; Safr, Miroslav

    2012-01-01

    A rare case of an elephant attack is presented. A 44-year-old man working as an elephant keeper was attacked by a cow elephant when he tripped over a foot chain while the animal was being medically treated. The man fell down and was consequently repeatedly attacked with elephant tusks. The man sustained multiple stab injuries to both groin regions, a penetrating injury to the abdominal wall with traumatic prolapse of the loops of the small bowel, multiple defects of the mesentery, and incomplete laceration of the abdominal aorta with massive bleeding into the abdominal cavity. In addition to the penetrating injuries, the man sustained multiple rib fractures with contusion of both lungs and laceration of the right lobe of the liver, and comminuted fractures of the pelvic arch and left femoral body. The man died shortly after he had been received at the hospital. The cause of death was attributed to traumatic shock. © 2011 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

  7. Europe's last Mesozoic bird

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Dyke, Gareth J.; Dortangs, Rudi W.; Jagt, John W.; Mulder, Eric W. A.; Schulp, Anne S.; Chiappe, Luis M.

    2002-01-01

    Birds known from more than isolated skeletal elements are rare in the fossil record, especially from the European Mesozoic. This paucity has hindered interpretations of avian evolution immediately prior to, and in the aftermath of, the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) extinction event. We report on a

  8. Water-body use by Asian elephants in Southern Sri Lanka

    OpenAIRE

    Pastorini, J; Nishantha, H G; Janaka, H K; Isler, K; Prithiviraj, F

    2010-01-01

    We assessed water-body use by elephants through monitoring elephant signs around them. Elephant footprints and dung piles were recorded at 25 water bodies fortnightly for one year. Elephants preferred perennial water bodies and avoided those with temporary human dwellings. Human activities did not significantly affect elephant use of water bodies, suggesting low incidence of activities and behavioral adaptation to them by elephants. Elephant signs at perennial water bodies increased in the dr...

  9. Extinction risk escalates in the tropics.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jana C Vamosi

    Full Text Available The latitudinal biodiversity gradient remains one of the most widely recognized yet puzzling patterns in nature. Presently, the high level of extinction of tropical species, referred to as the "tropical biodiversity crisis", has the potential to erode this pattern. While the connection between species richness, extinction, and speciation has long intrigued biologists, these interactions have experienced increased poignancy due to their relevancy to where we should concentrate our conservation efforts. Natural extinction is a phenomenon thought to have its own latitudinal gradient, with lower extinction rates in the tropics being reported in beetles, birds, mammals, and bivalves. Processes that have buffered ecosystems from high extinction rates in the past may also buffer ecosystems against disturbance of anthropogenic origin. While potential parallels between historical and present-day extinction patterns have been acknowledged, they remain only superficially explored and plant extinction patterns have been particularly neglected. Studies on the disappearances of animal species have reached conflicting conclusions, with the rate of extinction appearing either higher or lower in species richness hotspots. Our global study of extinction risk in vascular plants finds disproportionately higher extinction risk in tropical countries, even when indicators of human pressure (GDP, population density, forest cover change are taken into account. Our results are at odds with the notion that the tropics represent a museum of plant biodiversity (places of historically lowered extinction and we discuss mechanisms that may reconcile this apparent contradiction.

  10. Extinction risk escalates in the tropics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vamosi, Jana C; Vamosi, Steven M

    2008-01-01

    The latitudinal biodiversity gradient remains one of the most widely recognized yet puzzling patterns in nature. Presently, the high level of extinction of tropical species, referred to as the "tropical biodiversity crisis", has the potential to erode this pattern. While the connection between species richness, extinction, and speciation has long intrigued biologists, these interactions have experienced increased poignancy due to their relevancy to where we should concentrate our conservation efforts. Natural extinction is a phenomenon thought to have its own latitudinal gradient, with lower extinction rates in the tropics being reported in beetles, birds, mammals, and bivalves. Processes that have buffered ecosystems from high extinction rates in the past may also buffer ecosystems against disturbance of anthropogenic origin. While potential parallels between historical and present-day extinction patterns have been acknowledged, they remain only superficially explored and plant extinction patterns have been particularly neglected. Studies on the disappearances of animal species have reached conflicting conclusions, with the rate of extinction appearing either higher or lower in species richness hotspots. Our global study of extinction risk in vascular plants finds disproportionately higher extinction risk in tropical countries, even when indicators of human pressure (GDP, population density, forest cover change) are taken into account. Our results are at odds with the notion that the tropics represent a museum of plant biodiversity (places of historically lowered extinction) and we discuss mechanisms that may reconcile this apparent contradiction.

  11. 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.

  12. TB in Wild Asian Elephants

    Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Podcasts

    2017-05-10

    Dr. Susan Mikota, co-founder of Elephant Care International, discusses TB in wild Asian elephants.  Created: 5/10/2017 by National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID).   Date Released: 5/10/2017.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  17. Paleogenomics in a temperate environment: shotgun sequencing from an extinct Mediterranean caprine.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Oscar Ramírez

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Numerous endemic mammals, including dwarf elephants, goats, hippos and deers, evolved in isolation in the Mediterranean islands during the Pliocene and Pleistocene. Most of them subsequently became extinct during the Holocene. Recently developed high-throughput sequencing technologies could provide a unique tool for retrieving genomic data from these extinct species, making it possible to study their evolutionary history and the genetic bases underlying their particular, sometimes unique, adaptations. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPALS FINDINGS: A DNA extraction of a approximately 6,000 year-old bone sample from an extinct caprine (Myotragus balearicus from the Balearic Islands in the Western Mediterranean, has been subjected to shotgun sequencing with the GS FLX 454 platform. Only 0.27% of the resulting sequences, identified from alignments with the cow genome and comprising 15,832 nucleotides, with an average length of 60 nucleotides, proved to be endogenous. CONCLUSIONS: A phylogenetic tree generated with Myotragus sequences and those from other artiodactyls displays an identical topology to that generated from mitochondrial DNA data. Despite being in an unfavourable thermal environment, which explains the low yield of endogenous sequences, our study demonstrates that it is possible to obtain genomic data from extinct species from temperate regions.

  18. Ecological consequences of forest elephant declines for Afrotropical forests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poulsen, John R; Rosin, Cooper; Meier, Amelia; Mills, Emily; Nuñez, Chase L; Koerner, Sally E; Blanchard, Emily; Callejas, Jennifer; Moore, Sarah; Sowers, Mark

    2017-10-27

    Poaching is rapidly extirpating African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) from most of their historical range, leaving vast areas of elephant-free tropical forest. Elephants are ecological engineers that create and maintain forest habitat; thus, their loss will have large consequences for the composition and structure of Afrotropical forests. Through a comprehensive literature review, we evaluated the roles of forest elephants in seed dispersal, nutrient recycling, and herbivory and physical damage to predict the cascading ecological effects of their population declines. Loss of seed dispersal by elephants will favor tree species dispersed abiotically and by smaller dispersal agents, and tree species composition will depend on the downstream effects of changes in elephant nutrient cycling and browsing. Loss of trampling and herbivory of seedlings and saplings will result in high tree density with release from browsing pressures. Diminished seed dispersal by elephants and high stem density are likely to reduce the recruitment of large trees and thus increase homogeneity of forest structure and decrease carbon stocks. The loss of ecological services by forest elephants likely means Central African forests will be more like Neotropical forests, from which megafauna were extirpated thousands of years ago. Without intervention, as much as 96% of Central African forests will have modified species composition and structure as elephants are compressed into remaining protected areas. Stopping elephant poaching is an urgent first step to mitigating these effects, but long-term conservation will require land-use planning that incorporates elephant habitat into forested landscapes that are being rapidly transformed by industrial agriculture and logging. © 2017 Society for Conservation Biology.

  19. 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.

  20. Vegetation attached to the elephant trunk.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, Akiko; Sakamoto, Toshihito; Okada, Kenji; Okita, Yutaka

    2013-09-01

    The elephant trunk technique is used as a standard method in the approach to staged repair of extensive thoracic aneurysms. Here, we present a rare case of a graft infection, in which vegetation was attached to the distal end of the elephant trunk. A 36-year old male who had undergone total arch replacement with elephant trunk installation for type A aortic dissection was readmitted for high-grade fever. At the time of admission, Osler's nodules were present and brain magnetic resonance imaging showed multiple small emboli and haemorrhages. Transoesophageal echocardiography could not locate any sign of infection within the cardiac chambers, but disclosed vegetation attached to the elephant trunk. He underwent successful emergent graft replacement of the lesion, and no recurrence of the infection has been observed.

  1. 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

  2. Elephant movement and local community attitudes towards the ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The route commonly traversed by elephants was mapped using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) techniques. Two elephant sightings, footprints ... A majority of the respondents were aware of importance of elephants in tourism, as agents of seed dispersal, sources of bush meat ...

  3. 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.

  4. Current conservation status of Ratites

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Sales

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available Living Ratites, which include several species or subspecies of ostriches, cassowaries, emus, rheas and kiwis, all with an important function in the ecosystem dynamics, endure the danger of extinction similarly to the extinct moas and elephant-birds. Whereas ostriches and emus, except for specific populations, are not seen as being endangered, cassowaries and kiwis are on the brink of extinction. Hunting by humans contributed most to the declining numbers in all families of Ratites. Some conservation management strategies have been developed for conservation of kiwis, one subspecies of cassowary, and some populations of ostriches, emus and rheas. These include captive breeding and release, habitat restoration, and public awareness. However, consideration of the limitations of the above techniques is often ignored.

  5. Seed Dispersal Potential of Asian Elephants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Harich, Franziska K.; Treydte, Anna Christina; Ogutu, Joseph Ochieng

    2016-01-01

    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 As...

  6. 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.

  7. 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'. © 2016 The Author(s).

  8. 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.

  9. Birds on fragmented islands : persistence in the forests of Java and Bali

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Balen, van S.

    1999-01-01

    This study describes, analyses and provides suggestions for the amelioration of the impact of age-long deforestation on the distribution of forest birds on the islands of Java and Bali (Indonesia). The first section deals with colonisation and extinction processes of forest birds in a

  10. Summation by Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Naoko Irie

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Recent empirical evidence for complex cognition in elephants suggests that greater attention to comparative studies between non-human primates and other animals is warranted. We have previously shown that elephants possess the ability to judge the difference between two discrete quantities, and unlike other animals, their choice does not appear to be affected by distance or overall quantity. In this study, we investigated Asian elephants’ ability to perform summation, as exemplified by the ability to combine four quantities into two sums and subsequently compare them. We presented two discrete sums (3–7 to the elephants by baiting two buckets; they were loaded sequentially with two discrete quantities (1–5 pieces of food per bucket. All three elephants selected the larger grand sum significantly more often than the smaller grand sum. Moreover, their performance was not affected by either distance to the bait or the overall quantity evaluated. Studies report that the performance of other animal species on similar tasks declines as distance to the bait decreases and as the overall quantities evaluated increase. These results suggest that the numerical cognition of Asian elephants may be different from that of other animals, but further study is required to elucidate the differences precisely.

  11. Demographic resilience of territorial island birds to extinction: the ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Since 1600, a disproportionate number of avian extinctions have occurred among flightless and island-dwelling species. Some of these happened very rapidly, implying that such populations had low resilience to perturbation. In managing insular populations, there is a need to be able to predict their demographic ...

  12. Range shifts or extinction? Ancient DNA and distribution modelling reveal past and future responses to climate warming in cold-adapted birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lagerholm, Vendela K; Sandoval-Castellanos, Edson; Vaniscotte, Amélie; Potapova, Olga R; Tomek, Teresa; Bochenski, Zbigniew M; Shepherd, Paul; Barton, Nick; Van Dyck, Marie-Claire; Miller, Rebecca; Höglund, Jacob; Yoccoz, Nigel G; Dalén, Love; Stewart, John R

    2017-04-01

    Global warming is predicted to cause substantial habitat rearrangements, with the most severe effects expected to occur in high-latitude biomes. However, one major uncertainty is whether species will be able to shift their ranges to keep pace with climate-driven environmental changes. Many recent studies on mammals have shown that past range contractions have been associated with local extinctions rather than survival by habitat tracking. Here, we have used an interdisciplinary approach that combines ancient DNA techniques, coalescent simulations and species distribution modelling, to investigate how two common cold-adapted bird species, willow and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus and Lagopus muta), respond to long-term climate warming. Contrary to previous findings in mammals, we demonstrate a genetic continuity in Europe over the last 20 millennia. Results from back-casted species distribution models suggest that this continuity may have been facilitated by uninterrupted habitat availability and potentially also the greater dispersal ability of birds. However, our predictions show that in the near future, some isolated regions will have little suitable habitat left, implying a future decrease in local populations at a scale unprecedented since the last glacial maximum. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. Monitoring and controlling ovarian activity in elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thitaram, Chatchote; Brown, Janine L

    2018-03-15

    Both Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants are important keystone, umbrella and flagship species. Paradoxically, world population numbers of both species are declining in many of their natural ranges due mainly to poaching, while over population of elephants in some areas is resulting in serious human-elephant conflict, and modifications of natural habitats that impact biodiversity. Understanding mechanisms of reproductive control is vital to effective population management, and for that reason significant advances have been made in endocrine and ultrasonographic monitoring techniques, particularly in studies of elephants ex situ. However, there remains a need to develop new methods to control ovarian activity, both for enhancing and inhibiting reproduction, to maintain population numbers at levels that ensure species survival and their ability to safely cohabitate with humans and other species. We present an overview of reproductive monitoring methods and how they have contributed to our knowledge of elephant reproductive biology, as well as their application for in situ and ex situ conservation purposes. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. Rethinking Trade-Driven Extinction Risk in Marine and Terrestrial Megafauna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClenachan, Loren; Cooper, Andrew B; Dulvy, Nicholas K

    2016-06-20

    Large animals hunted for the high value of their parts (e.g., elephant ivory and shark fins) are at risk of extinction due to both intensive international trade pressure and intrinsic biological sensitivity. However, the relative role of trade, particularly in non-perishable products, and biological factors in driving extinction risk is not well understood [1-4]. Here we identify a taxonomically diverse group of >100 marine and terrestrial megafauna targeted for international luxury markets; estimate their value across three points of sale; test relationships among extinction risk, high value, and body size; and quantify the effects of two mitigating factors: poaching fines and geographic range size. We find that body size is the principal driver of risk for lower value species, but that this biological pattern is eliminated above a value threshold, meaning that the most valuable species face a high extinction risk regardless of size. For example, once mean product values exceed US$12,557 kg(-1), body size no longer drives risk. Total value scales with size for marine animals more strongly than for terrestrial animals, incentivizing the hunting of large marine individuals and species. Poaching fines currently have little effect on extinction risk; fines would need to be increased 10- to 100-fold to be effective. Large geographic ranges reduce risk for terrestrial, but not marine, species, whose ranges are ten times greater. Our results underscore both the evolutionary and ecosystem consequences of targeting large marine animals and the need to geographically scale up and prioritize conservation of high-value marine species to avoid extinction. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  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. Finding Elephant Flows for Optical Networks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fioreze, Tiago; Oude Wolbers, Mattijs; van de Meent, R.; 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

  17. 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

  18. Opportunities and costs for preventing vertebrate extinctions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conde, Dalia A; Colchero, Fernando; Güneralp, Burak; Gusset, Markus; Skolnik, Ben; Parr, Michael; Byers, Onnie; Johnson, Kevin; Young, Glyn; Flesness, Nate; Possingham, Hugh; Fa, John E

    2015-03-16

    Despite an increase in policy and management responses to the global biodiversity crisis, implementation of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets still shows insufficient progress [1]. These targets, strategic goals defined by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), address major causes of biodiversity loss in part by establishing protected areas (Target 11) and preventing species extinctions (Target 12). To achieve this, increased interventions will be required for a large number of sites and species. The Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) [2], a consortium of conservation-oriented organisations that aims to protect Critically Endangered and Endangered species restricted to single sites, has identified 920 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, conifers and reef-building corals in 588 'trigger' sites [3]. These are arguably the most irreplaceable category of important biodiversity conservation sites. Protected area coverage of AZE sites is a key indicator of progress towards Target 11 [1]. Moreover, effective conservation of AZE sites is essential to achieve Target 12, as the loss of any of these sites would certainly result in the global extinction of at least one species [2]. However, averting human-induced species extinctions within AZE sites requires enhanced planning tools to increase the chances of success [3]. Here, we assess the potential for ensuring the long-term conservation of AZE vertebrate species (157 mammals, 165 birds, 17 reptiles and 502 amphibians) by calculating a conservation opportunity index (COI) for each species. The COI encompasses a set of measurable indicators that quantify the possibility of achieving successful conservation of a species in its natural habitat (COIh) and by establishing insurance populations in zoos (COIc). Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. 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.

  20. Omnivory in birds is a macroevolutionary sink

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Burin, G.; Kissling, W.D.; Guimarães, P.R.; Şekercioğlu, Ç.H.; Quental, T.B.

    2016-01-01

    Diet is commonly assumed to affect the evolution of species, but few studies have directly tested its effect at macroevolutionary scales. Here we use Bayesian models of trait-dependent diversification and a comprehensive dietary database of all birds worldwide to assess speciation and extinction

  1. 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. Physiological stress and refuge behavior by African elephants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David S Jachowski

    Full Text Available Physiological stress responses allow individuals to adapt to changes in their status or surroundings, but chronic exposure to stressors could have detrimental effects. Increased stress hormone secretion leads to short-term escape behavior; however, no studies have assessed the potential of longer-term escape behavior, when individuals are in a chronic physiological state. Such refuge behavior is likely to take two forms, where an individual or population restricts its space use patterns spatially (spatial refuge hypothesis, or alters its use of space temporally (temporal refuge hypothesis. We tested the spatial and temporal refuge hypotheses by comparing space use patterns among three African elephant populations maintaining different fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM concentrations. In support of the spatial refuge hypothesis, the elephant population that maintained elevated FGM concentrations (iSimangaliso used 20% less of its reserve than did an elephant population with lower FGM concentrations (Pilanesberg in a reserve of similar size, and 43% less than elephants in the smaller Phinda reserve. We found mixed support for the temporal refuge hypothesis; home range sizes in the iSimangaliso population did not differ by day compared to nighttime, but elephants used areas within their home ranges differently between day and night. Elephants in all three reserves generally selected forest and woodland habitats over grasslands, but elephants in iSimangaliso selected exotic forest plantations over native habitat types. Our findings suggest that chronic stress is associated with restricted space use and altered habitat preferences that resemble a facultative refuge behavioral response. Elephants can maintain elevated FGM levels for ≥ 6 years following translocation, during which they exhibit refuge behavior that is likely a result of human disturbance and habitat conditions. Wildlife managers planning to translocate animals, or to initiate other

  3. Demography of a forest elephant population

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turkalo, Andrea K.; Wrege, Peter H.

    2018-01-01

    African forest elephants face severe threats from illegal killing for ivory and bushmeat and habitat conversion. Due to their cryptic nature and inaccessible range, little information on the biology of this species has been collected despite its iconic status. Compiling individual based monitoring data collected over 20 years from the Dzanga Bai population in Central African Republic, we summarize sex and age specific survivorship and female age specific fecundity for a cohort of 1625 individually identified elephants. Annual mortality (average = 3.5%) and natality (average = 5.3%) were lower and markedly less variable relative to rates reported for savanna elephant populations. New individuals consistently entered the study system, leading to a 2.5% average annual increase in the registered population. Calf sex ratios among known birth did not differ from parity. A weak seasonal signal in births was detected suggesting increased conceptions during the wet season. Inter-calf intervals and age of primiparity were longer relative to savanna elephant populations. Within the population, females between the ages of 25–39 demonstrated the shortest inter-calf intervals and highest fecundity, and previous calf sex had no influence on the interval. Calf survivorship was high (97%) the first two years after birth and did not differ by sex. Male and female survival began to differ by the age of 13 years, and males demonstrated significantly lower survival relative to females by the age of 20. It is suspected these differences are driven by human selection for ivory. Forest elephants were found to have one of the longest generation times recorded for any species at 31 years. These data provide fundamental understanding of forest elephant demography, providing baseline data for projecting population status and trends. PMID:29447207

  4. The southern elephant seal Mirounga leonina at Gough Island

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    haul-out in December coincided with the elephant seal moulting season, the elephant seals were found on the vegetated areas whilst the majority of fur seals hauled out onto the boulder beach. No interactions between the two species were recorded. Potential predators of elephant seals, i.e. the killer whales Orcinus orca ...

  5. African bees to control African elephants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vollrath, Fritz; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain

    2002-11-01

    Numbers of elephants have declined in Africa and Asia over the past 30 years while numbers of humans have increased, both substantially. Friction between these two keystone species is reaching levels which are worryingly high from an ecological as well as a political viewpoint. Ways and means must be found to keep the two apart, at least in areas sensitive to each species' survival. The aggressive African bee might be one such method. Here we demonstrate that African bees deter elephants from damaging the vegetation and trees which house their hives. We argue that bees can be employed profitably to protect not only selected trees, but also selected areas, from elephant damage.

  6. Spatial and Temporal Habitat Use of an Asian Elephant in Sumatra

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Todd K. Fuller

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Increasingly, habitat fragmentation caused by agricultural and human development has forced Sumatran elephants into relatively small areas, but there is little information on how elephants use these areas and thus, how habitats can be managed to sustain elephants in the future. Using a Global Positioning System (GPS collar and a land cover map developed from TM imagery, we identified the habitats used by a wild adult female elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus in the Seblat Elephant Conservation Center, Bengkulu Province, Sumatra during 2007–2008. The marked elephant (and presumably her 40–60 herd mates used a home range that contained more than expected medium canopy and open canopy land cover. Further, within the home range, closed canopy forests were used more during the day than at night. When elephants were in closed canopy forests they were most often near the forest edge vs. in the forest interior. Effective elephant conservation strategies in Sumatra need to focus on forest restoration of cleared areas and providing a forest matrix that includes various canopy types.

  7. An empirical test of the relative and combined effects of land-cover and climate change on local colonization and extinction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yalcin, Semra; Leroux, Shawn James

    2018-04-14

    Land-cover and climate change are two main drivers of changes in species ranges. Yet, the majority of studies investigating the impacts of global change on biodiversity focus on one global change driver and usually use simulations to project biodiversity responses to future conditions. We conduct an empirical test of the relative and combined effects of land-cover and climate change on species occurrence changes. Specifically, we examine whether observed local colonization and extinctions of North American birds between 1981-85 and 2001-05 are correlated with land-cover and climate change and whether bird life history and ecological traits explain interspecific variation in observed occurrence changes. We fit logistic regression models to test the impact of physical land-cover change, changes in net primary productivity, winter precipitation, mean summer temperature, and mean winter temperature on the probability of Ontario breeding bird local colonization and extinction. Models with climate change, land-cover change, and the combination of these two drivers were the top ranked models of local colonization for 30%, 27%, and 29% of species, respectively. Conversely, models with climate change, land-cover change, and the combination of these two drivers were the top ranked models of local extinction for 61%, 7%, and 9% of species, respectively. The quantitative impacts of land-cover and climate change variables also vary among bird species. We then fit linear regression models to test whether the variation in regional colonization and extinction rate could be explained by mean body mass, migratory strategy, and habitat preference of birds. Overall, species traits were weakly correlated to heterogeneity in species occurrence changes. We provide empirical evidence showing that land-cover change, climate change, and the combination of multiple global change drivers can differentially explain observed species local colonization and extinction. This article is protected

  8. Chlamydia psittaci in Psitacines Birds in Two Zoological Parks of Venezuela

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jose Rodriguez Leo

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available The determination of Chlamydia psittaci (Cp in psittacida birds in zoological parks in Venezuela represents a strategy of conservation and preservation for this group of birds, where multiple species are threatened with extinction and others have lost their capacity of reincorporation to their natural habitat. Through the nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR the 16S subunit of Cp DNAr was amplified in 50 cloacal swab samples from psittacine birds, reporting a frequency of 62 %. The work was carried out in the Zoo Park  Las Delicias (PZD 8% and the Aquarium of Valencia (AV 54%.  The high frequency was associated with a genotype of low concentration and virulence due to the absence of clinical signs of avian chlamydiosis.  These results demonstrate the need to promote the detection of Cp, mainly for the AV that acts as a center of reception of specimens of confiscation, and, like the PZD, have other species vulnerable to extinction with risk of infection to Cp.

  9. Elephant invasion and escalated depletion of environmental ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    For decades, elephants' invasion is known to be associated with severe environmental consequences leading to escalated depletion o environmental resources (plants, water, wildlife and soil). This paper examined the effects of elephants' activity on the environmental resources inHong and Gombi Local Government areas ...

  10. Making sense of human–elephant conflict in Laikipia County, Kenya

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bond, Jennifer Lauren

    2015-01-01

    This article proposes sensemaking theory to understand human–elephant interactions. The article draws on a case study of human–elephant interaction in Laikipia County, Kenya, to understand how farmers make sense of elephants in their crops. Drawing on eight interviews, the analysis showed that re...

  11. Book Review: Evolutionary Ecology of Birds: Life Histories, Mating ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Abstract. Book Title: Evolutionary Ecology of Birds: Life Histories, Mating Systems and Extinction. Book Authors: P.M. Bennett & I.P.F. Owens. Oxford University. Press. 2002. Pp. 272. Price £24.95 (paperback). ISBN 0 19 851089 6.

  12. Towards an Automated Acoustic Detection System for Free Ranging Elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeppelzauer, Matthias; Hensman, Sean; Stoeger, Angela S

    The human-elephant conflict is one of the most serious conservation problems in Asia and Africa today. The involuntary confrontation of humans and elephants claims the lives of many animals and humans every year. A promising approach to alleviate this conflict is the development of an acoustic early warning system. Such a system requires the robust automated detection of elephant vocalizations under unconstrained field conditions. Today, no system exists that fulfills these requirements. In this paper, we present a method for the automated detection of elephant vocalizations that is robust to the diverse noise sources present in the field. We evaluate the method on a dataset recorded under natural field conditions to simulate a real-world scenario. The proposed method outperformed existing approaches and robustly and accurately detected elephants. It thus can form the basis for a future automated early warning system for elephants. Furthermore, the method may be a useful tool for scientists in bioacoustics for the study of wildlife recordings.

  13. Application of stereo photogrammetric techniques for measuring African Elephants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. J Hall-Martin

    1979-12-01

    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.

  14. Temporal bird community dynamics are strongly affected by landscape fragmentation in a Central American tropical forest region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blandón, A.C.; Perelman, S.B.; Ramírez, M.; López, A.; Javier, O.; Robbins, Chandler S.

    2016-01-01

    Habitat loss and fragmentation are considered the main causes of species extinctions, particularly in tropical ecosystems. The objective of this work was to evaluate the temporal dynamics of tropical bird communities in landscapes with different levels of fragmentation in eastern Guatemala. We evaluated five bird community dynamic parameters for forest specialists and generalists: (1) species extinction, (2) species turnover, (3) number of colonizing species, (4) relative species richness, and (5) a homogeneity index. For each of 24 landscapes, community dynamic parameters were estimated from bird point count data, for the 1998–1999 and 2008–2009 periods, accounting for species’ detection probability. Forest specialists had higher extinction rates and a smaller number of colonizing species in landscapes with higher fragmentation, thus having lower species richness in both time periods. Alternatively, forest generalists elicited a completely different pattern, showing a curvilinear association to forest fragmentation for most parameters. Thus, greater community dynamism for forest generalists was shown in landscapes with intermediate levels of fragmentation. Our study supports general theory regarding the expected negative effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on the temporal dynamics of biotic communities, particularly for forest specialists, providing strong evidence from understudied tropical bird communities.

  15. Parrots and macaws: Species in extinction danger?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Castro ramirez, Jose; Moyano P, Edgar A

    1994-01-01

    The paper refers to the privileged position of Colombia due to their position in the tropic, the influence of two oceans, their wide hydrographic net, variety of climates, etc; they make that Colombia occupies first places in biodiversity; but due to the indiscriminate pruning of primary forest, they make that this enormous biological potential is seriously threatened, where many of its birds are in extinction road

  16. Status and trends of amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stuart, Simon N; Chanson, Janice S; Cox, Neil A; Young, Bruce E; Rodrigues, Ana S L; Fischman, Debra L; Waller, Robert W

    2004-12-03

    The first global assessment of amphibians provides new context for the well-publicized phenomenon of amphibian declines. Amphibians are more threatened and are declining more rapidly than either birds or mammals. Although many declines are due to habitat loss and overutilization, other, unidentified processes threaten 48% of rapidly declining species and are driving species most quickly to extinction. Declines are nonrandom in terms of species' ecological preferences, geographic ranges, and taxonomic associations and are most prevalent among Neotropical montane, stream-associated species. The lack of conservation remedies for these poorly understood declines means that hundreds of amphibian species now face extinction.

  17. 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.

  18. Elephant management: a scientific assessment of South Africa

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Scholes, RJ

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available families between Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Kruger 359 xiiiList of figures Chapter 10 1 Values for the environment 448 2 Impact of crop damage costs due to elephants on the economic gross output, the contribution to the gross national income... Impact of elephant crop damage costs on the measures of private and economic viability for a model CBNRM community trust investment in the Okavango Delta, Botswana 459 6 Valuation studies on African elephants 463 7 Summary of main economic values...

  19. The Elephant Trunk Technique: A New Complication

    OpenAIRE

    Neri, Eugenio; Toscano, Thomas; Frati, Giacomo; Sassi, Carlo

    2001-01-01

    We describe a complication that occurred during the 2nd stage of an “elephant trunk” aortic replacement. The patient was a 58-year-old woman who had undergone graft replacement of the ascending aorta and aortic arch with the elephant trunk technique for an acute, Stanford type-A aortic dissection.

  20. Synchrotron imaging of dentition provides insights into the biology of Hesperornis and Ichthyornis, the "last" toothed birds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Dumont, Maïtena; Tafforeau, Paul; Bertin, Thomas; Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan; Field, Daniel; Schulp, Anne; Strilisky, Brandon; Thivichon-Prince, Béatrice; Viriot, Laurent; Louchart, Antoine

    2016-01-01

    Background: The dentitions of extinct organisms can provide pivotal information regarding their phylogenetic position, as well as paleobiology, diet, development, and growth. Extant birds are edentulous (toothless), but their closest relatives among stem birds, the Cretaceous Hesperornithiformes and

  1. Unraveling the drivers of community dissimilarity and species extinction in fragmented landscapes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banks-Leite, Cristina; Ewers, Robert M; Metzger, Jean Paul

    2012-12-01

    Communities in fragmented landscapes are often assumed to be structured by species extinction due to habitat loss, which has led to extensive use of the species-area relationship (SAR) in fragmentation studies. However, the use of the SAR presupposes that habitat loss leads species to extinction but does not allow for extinction to be offset by colonization of disturbed-habitat specialists. Moreover, the use of SAR assumes that species richness is a good proxy of community changes in fragmented landscapes. Here, we assessed how communities dwelling in fragmented landscapes are influenced by habitat loss at multiple scales; then we estimated the ability of models ruled by SAR and by species turnover in successfully predicting changes in community composition, and asked whether species richness is indeed an informative community metric. To address these issues, we used a data set consisting of 140 bird species sampled in 65 patches, from six landscapes with different proportions of forest cover in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. We compared empirical patterns against simulations of over 8 million communities structured by different magnitudes of the power-law SAR and with species-specific rules to assign species to sites. Empirical results showed that, while bird community composition was strongly influenced by habitat loss at the patch and landscape scale, species richness remained largely unaffected. Modeling results revealed that the compositional changes observed in the Atlantic Forest bird metacommunity were only matched by models with either unrealistic magnitudes of the SAR or by models ruled by species turnover, akin to what would be observed along natural gradients. We show that, in the presence of such compositional turnover, species richness is poorly correlated with species extinction, and z values of the SAR strongly underestimate the effects of habitat loss. We suggest that the observed compositional changes are driven by each species reaching its

  2. 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.

  3. Insightful problem solving in an Asian elephant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foerder, Preston; Galloway, Marie; Barthel, Tony; Moore, Donald E; Reiss, Diana

    2011-01-01

    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.

  4. New elephant crisis in Asia-Early warning signs from Myanmar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sampson, Christie; McEvoy, John; Oo, Zaw Min; Chit, Aung Myo; Chan, Aung Nyein; Tonkyn, David; Soe, Paing; Songer, Melissa; Williams, A Christy; Reisinger, Klaus; Wittemyer, George; Leimgruber, Peter

    2018-01-01

    In the southern Bago Yoma mountain range in Myanmar, Asian elephants are being killed at a disturbing rate. This emerging crisis was identified initially through a telemetry study when 7 of 19 of collared elephants were poached within a year of being fitted with a satellite-GPS collar. Subsequent follow up of ground teams confirmed the human caused death or disappearance of at least 19 elephants, including the seven collared individuals, within a 35 km2 area in less than two years. The carcasses of 40 additional elephants were found in areas located across south-central Myanmar once systematic surveys began by our team and collaborators. In addition to the extreme rate of loss, this study documents the targeting of elephants for their skin instead of the more common ivory, an increasing trend in Myanmar. Intensive research programs focused on other conservation problems identified this issue and are now encouraging local authorities to prioritize anti-poaching efforts and improve conservation policies within the country. Myanmar represents one of the last remaining countries in Asia with substantial wildlands suitable for elephants. Increasing rates of human-elephant conflict and poaching events in this country pose a dire threat to the global population.

  5. New elephant crisis in Asia-Early warning signs from Myanmar.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christie Sampson

    Full Text Available In the southern Bago Yoma mountain range in Myanmar, Asian elephants are being killed at a disturbing rate. This emerging crisis was identified initially through a telemetry study when 7 of 19 of collared elephants were poached within a year of being fitted with a satellite-GPS collar. Subsequent follow up of ground teams confirmed the human caused death or disappearance of at least 19 elephants, including the seven collared individuals, within a 35 km2 area in less than two years. The carcasses of 40 additional elephants were found in areas located across south-central Myanmar once systematic surveys began by our team and collaborators. In addition to the extreme rate of loss, this study documents the targeting of elephants for their skin instead of the more common ivory, an increasing trend in Myanmar. Intensive research programs focused on other conservation problems identified this issue and are now encouraging local authorities to prioritize anti-poaching efforts and improve conservation policies within the country. Myanmar represents one of the last remaining countries in Asia with substantial wildlands suitable for elephants. Increasing rates of human-elephant conflict and poaching events in this country pose a dire threat to the global population.

  6. On the Possible Detection of Lightning Storms by Elephants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael C. Kelley

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Theoretical calculations suggest that sounds produced by thunderstorms and detected by a system similar to the International Monitoring System (IMS for the detection of nuclear explosions at distances ≥100 km, are at sound pressure levels equal to or greater than 6 × 10−3 Pa. Such sound pressure levels are well within the range of elephant hearing. Frequencies carrying these sounds might allow for interaural time delays such that adult elephants could not only hear but could also locate the source of these sounds. Determining whether it is possible for elephants to hear and locate thunderstorms contributes to the question of whether elephant movements are triggered or influenced by these abiotic sounds.

  7. 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. 

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. A robust nonparametric method for quantifying undetected extinctions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chisholm, Ryan A; Giam, Xingli; Sadanandan, Keren R; Fung, Tak; Rheindt, Frank E

    2016-06-01

    How many species have gone extinct in modern times before being described by science? To answer this question, and thereby get a full assessment of humanity's impact on biodiversity, statistical methods that quantify undetected extinctions are required. Such methods have been developed recently, but they are limited by their reliance on parametric assumptions; specifically, they assume the pools of extant and undetected species decay exponentially, whereas real detection rates vary temporally with survey effort and real extinction rates vary with the waxing and waning of threatening processes. We devised a new, nonparametric method for estimating undetected extinctions. As inputs, the method requires only the first and last date at which each species in an ensemble was recorded. As outputs, the method provides estimates of the proportion of species that have gone extinct, detected, or undetected and, in the special case where the number of undetected extant species in the present day is assumed close to zero, of the absolute number of undetected extinct species. The main assumption of the method is that the per-species extinction rate is independent of whether a species has been detected or not. We applied the method to the resident native bird fauna of Singapore. Of 195 recorded species, 58 (29.7%) have gone extinct in the last 200 years. Our method projected that an additional 9.6 species (95% CI 3.4, 19.8) have gone extinct without first being recorded, implying a true extinction rate of 33.0% (95% CI 31.0%, 36.2%). We provide R code for implementing our method. Because our method does not depend on strong assumptions, we expect it to be broadly useful for quantifying undetected extinctions. © 2016 Society for Conservation Biology.

  12. Impact of elephant on two woody trees, Boscia oleoides and Pappea capensis, in an arid thicket-Nama Karoo mosaic, Greater Addo Elephant National Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marietjie Landman

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Despite extensive evidence of the influences of elephant on woody trees in savannah habitats, effects on trees in the succulent thickets of the Eastern Cape are relatively poorly described. Our study investigates the role and intensity of elephant impacts on Pappea capensis and the relatively rare Boscia oleoides in an arid thicket-Nama Karoo mosaic habitat of the Greater Addo Elephant National Park. We show that roughly 19% of the B. oleoides and nearly half of the P. capensis individuals recorded showed signs of elephant impact. Elephant often toppled our study trees, and where these individuals were uprooted, mortalities occurred: B. oleoides ~ 44% of the impacted trees (4 individuals; P. capensis ~ 22% of the impacted trees (29 individuals. Conservation implications: Whilst this study is restricted by limited spatial and temporal replication, P. capensis mortalities caused by elephant occurred at a rate exceeding that of other processes. Our results provide insight into the severity of the measured changes and the need to reduce the impacts. However, it would be critically important to establish the specific driver of elephant–tree interactions before any management intervention is implemented.

  13. Asian elephants in China: estimating population size and evaluating habitat suitability.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Li Zhang

    Full Text Available We monitored the last remaining Asian elephant populations in China over the past decade. Using DNA tools and repeat genotyping, we estimated the population sizes from 654 dung samples collected from various areas. Combined with morphological individual identifications from over 6,300 elephant photographs taken in the wild, we estimated that the total Asian elephant population size in China is between 221 and 245. Population genetic structure and diversity were examined using a 556-bp fragment of mitochondrial DNA, and 24 unique haplotypes were detected from DNA analysis of 178 individuals. A phylogenetic analysis revealed two highly divergent clades of Asian elephants, α and β, present in Chinese populations. Four populations (Mengla, Shangyong, Mengyang, and Pu'Er carried mtDNA from the α clade, and only one population (Nangunhe carried mtDNA belonging to the β clade. Moreover, high genetic divergence was observed between the Nangunhe population and the other four populations; however, genetic diversity among the five populations was low, possibly due to limited gene flow because of habitat fragmentation. The expansion of rubber plantations, crop cultivation, and villages along rivers and roads had caused extensive degradation of natural forest in these areas. This had resulted in the loss and fragmentation of elephant habitats and had formed artificial barriers that inhibited elephant migration. Using Geographic Information System, Global Positioning System, and Remote Sensing technology, we found that the area occupied by rubber plantations, tea farms, and urban settlements had dramatically increased over the past 40 years, resulting in the loss and fragmentation of elephant habitats and forming artificial barriers that inhibit elephant migration. The restoration of ecological corridors to facilitate gene exchange among isolated elephant populations and the establishment of cross-boundary protected areas between China and Laos to secure

  14. 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…

  15. Deciphering the complete mitochondrial genome and phylogeny of the extinct cave bear in the Paleolithic painted cave of Chauvet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bon, Céline; Caudy, Nicolas; De Dieuleveult, Maud; Fosse, Philippe; Philippe, Michel; Maksud, Frédéric; Beraud-Colomb, Éliane; Bouzaid, Eric; Kefi, Rym; Laugier, Christelle; Rousseau, Bernard; Casane, Didier; Van Der Plicht, Johannes; Elalouf, Jean-Marc

    2008-01-01

    Retrieving a large amount of genetic information from extinct species was demonstrated feasible, but complete mitochondrial genome sequences have only been deciphered for the moa, a bird that became extinct a few hundred years ago, and for Pleistocene species, such as the woolly mammoth and the

  16. 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.

  17. Human-elephant conflict in western Thailand: Socio-economic drivers and potential mitigation strategies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matteson, Kevin

    2018-01-01

    Understanding human-wildlife conflict is an important first step in the conservation of highly endangered species that can have adverse effects on human communities, such as elephants. To gain insights into variables that shape attitudes toward elephant conservation in Asia, we surveyed 410 households and 46 plantation owners in seven villages around the Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary in western Thailand, an area of high human-elephant conflict. We sought to evaluate how past experiences with elephants (positive or negative), as well as socio-economic variables (age, income level, gender, and employment type) affect attitudes toward elephant conservation and coexistence in this area. In addition, we quantified deterrence methods currently used and identify potential mitigation strategies supported by community members. In general, less supportive attitudes toward elephant conservation and coexistence were held by individuals older than 35 years of age, those who had previously had experienced negative interactions with elephants, those with lower incomes, and those working in the agricultural sector. Conversely, those who had received benefits from living near elephants (e.g., supplemental income or feelings of pride from hosting volunteers or participating in conservation work) had more supportive views of elephant coexistence. Plantation owners reported using a variety of deterrence methods with varying success, with firecrackers being the most commonly utilized method. Community members identified several potentially beneficial mitigation strategies including forest restorations and patrol teams, adding water sources to wild elephant habitat, and education of local school and community groups. Overall, our results highlight the value of community members receiving benefits from living near elephants and suggest that special incentives may be needed for demographic groups disproportionately affected by elephants (e.g. those at lower income levels, those working in

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  19. Drastic population fluctuations explain the rapid extinction of the passenger pigeon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hung, Chih-Ming; Shaner, Pei-Jen L; Zink, Robert M; Liu, Wei-Chung; Chu, Te-Chin; Huang, Wen-San; Li, Shou-Hsien

    2014-07-22

    To assess the role of human disturbances in species' extinction requires an understanding of the species population history before human impact. The passenger pigeon was once the most abundant bird in the world, with a population size estimated at 3-5 billion in the 1800s; its abrupt extinction in 1914 raises the question of how such an abundant bird could have been driven to extinction in mere decades. Although human exploitation is often blamed, the role of natural population dynamics in the passenger pigeon's extinction remains unexplored. Applying high-throughput sequencing technologies to obtain sequences from most of the genome, we calculated that the passenger pigeon's effective population size throughout the last million years was persistently about 1/10,000 of the 1800's estimated number of individuals, a ratio 1,000-times lower than typically found. This result suggests that the passenger pigeon was not always super abundant but experienced dramatic population fluctuations, resembling those of an "outbreak" species. Ecological niche models supported inference of drastic changes in the extent of its breeding range over the last glacial-interglacial cycle. An estimate of acorn-based carrying capacity during the past 21,000 y showed great year-to-year variations. Based on our results, we hypothesize that ecological conditions that dramatically reduced population size under natural conditions could have interacted with human exploitation in causing the passenger pigeon's rapid demise. Our study illustrates that even species as abundant as the passenger pigeon can be vulnerable to human threats if they are subject to dramatic population fluctuations, and provides a new perspective on the greatest human-caused extinction in recorded history.

  20. Devastating decline of forest elephants in Central Africa

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    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

  1. 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

  2. Tourism revenue as a conservation tool for threatened birds in protected areas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steven, Rochelle; Castley, J Guy; Buckley, Ralf

    2013-01-01

    Many bird populations worldwide are at risk of extinction, and rely heavily on protected area networks for their continued conservation. Tourism to these areas contributes to conservation by generating revenue for management. Here we quantify the contribution of tourism revenue for bird species in the IUCN Red List, using a simple accounting method. Relevant data are available for 90 (16%) of the 562 critically endangered and endangered species. Contributions of tourism to bird conservation are highest, 10-64%, in South America, Africa, and their neighbouring islands. Critically endangered bird species rely on tourism more heavily than endangered species (pmanagement budgets by promoting birdwatching tourism specifically.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  4. Comparative analysis of vestibular ecomorphology in birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benson, Roger B J; Starmer-Jones, Ethan; Close, Roger A; Walsh, Stig A

    2017-12-01

    The bony labyrinth of vertebrates houses the semicircular canals. These sense rotational accelerations of the head and play an essential role in gaze stabilisation during locomotion. The sizes and shapes of the semicircular canals have hypothesised relationships to agility and locomotory modes in many groups, including birds, and a burgeoning palaeontological literature seeks to make ecological interpretations from the morphology of the labyrinth in extinct species. Rigorous tests of form-function relationships for the vestibular system are required to support these interpretations. We test the hypothesis that the lengths, streamlines and angles between the semicircular canals are related to body size, wing kinematics and flying style in birds. To do this, we applied geometric morphometrics and multivariate phylogenetic comparative methods to a dataset of 64 three-dimensional reconstructions of the endosseous labyrinth obtained using micro-computed tomography scanning of bird crania. A strong relationship between centroid size of the semicircular canals and body size indicates that larger birds have longer semicircular canals compared with their evolutionary relatives. Wing kinematics related to manoeuvrability (and quantified using the brachial index) explain a small additional portion of the variance in labyrinth size. We also find strong evidence for allometric shape change in the semicircular canals of birds, indicating that major aspects of the shape of the avian labyrinth are determined by spatial constraints. The avian braincase accommodates a large brain, a large eye and large semicircular canals compared with other tetrapods. Negative allometry of these structures means that the restriction of space within the braincase is intense in small birds. This may explain our observation that the angles between planes of the semicircular canals of birds deviate more strongly from orthogonality than those of mammals, and especially from agile, gliding and flying

  5. Phylogeography of the asian elephant (Elephas maximus) based on mitochondrial DNA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fleischer, R C; Perry, E A; Muralidharan, K; Stevens, E E; Wemmer, C M

    2001-09-01

    Populations of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) have been reduced in size and become highly fragmented during the past 3,000 to 4,000 years. Historical records reveal elephant dispersal by humans via trade and war. How have these anthropogenic impacts affected genetic variation and structure of Asian elephant populations? We sequenced mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to assay genetic variation and phylogeography across much of the Asian elephant's range. Initially we compare cytochrome b sequences (cyt b) between nine Asian and five African elephants and use the fossil-based age of their separation (approximately 5 million years ago) to obtain a rate of about 0.013 (95% CI = 0.011-0.018) corrected sequence divergence per million years. We also assess variation in part of the mtDNA control region (CR) and adjacent tRNA genes in 57 Asian elephants from seven countries (Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia). Asian elephants have typical levels of mtDNA variation, and coalescence analyses suggest their populations were growing in the late Pleistocene. Reconstructed phylogenies reveal two major clades (A and B) differing on average by HKY85/gamma-corrected distances of 0.020 for cyt b and 0.050 for the CR segment (corresponding to a coalescence time based on our cyt b rate of approximately 1.2 million years). Individuals of both major clades exist in all locations but Indonesia and Malaysia. Most elephants from Malaysia and all from Indonesia are in well-supported, basal clades within clade A. thus supporting their status as evolutionarily significant units (ESUs). The proportion of clade A individuals decreases to the north, which could result from retention and subsequent loss of ancient lineages in long-term stable populations or, perhaps more likely, via recent mixing of two expanding populations that were isolated in the mid-Pleistocene. The distribution of clade A individuals appears to have been impacted by human trade in elephants

  6. Establishing the fundamentals for an elephant early warning and monitoring system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeppelzauer, Matthias; Stoeger, Angela S

    2015-09-04

    The decline of habitat for elephants due to expanding human activity is a serious conservation problem. This has continuously escalated the human-elephant conflict in Africa and Asia. Elephants make extensive use of powerful infrasonic calls (rumbles) that travel distances of up to several kilometers. This makes elephants well-suited for acoustic monitoring because it enables detecting elephants even if they are out of sight. In sight, their distinct visual appearance makes them a good candidate for visual monitoring. We provide an integrated overview of our interdisciplinary project that established the scientific fundamentals for a future early warning and monitoring system for humans who regularly experience serious conflict with elephants. We first draw the big picture of an early warning and monitoring system, then review the developed solutions for automatic acoustic and visual detection, discuss specific challenges and present open future work necessary to build a robust and reliable early warning and monitoring system that is able to operate in situ. We present a method for the automated detection of elephant rumbles that is robust to the diverse noise sources present in situ. We evaluated the method on an extensive set of audio data recorded under natural field conditions. Results show that the proposed method outperforms existing approaches and accurately detects elephant rumbles. Our visual detection method shows that tracking elephants in wildlife videos (of different sizes and postures) is feasible and particularly robust at near distances. From our project results we draw a number of conclusions that are discussed and summarized. We clearly identified the most critical challenges and necessary improvements of the proposed detection methods and conclude that our findings have the potential to form the basis for a future automated early warning system for elephants. We discuss challenges that need to be solved and summarize open topics in the context of

  7. Complex vibratory patterns in an elephant larynx.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herbst, Christian T; Svec, Jan G; Lohscheller, Jörg; Frey, Roland; Gumpenberger, Michaela; Stoeger, Angela S; Fitch, W Tecumseh

    2013-11-01

    Elephants' low-frequency vocalizations are produced by flow-induced self-sustaining oscillations of laryngeal tissue. To date, little is known in detail about the vibratory phenomena in the elephant larynx. Here, we provide a first descriptive report of the complex oscillatory features found in the excised larynx of a 25 year old female African elephant (Loxodonta africana), the largest animal sound generator ever studied experimentally. Sound production was documented with high-speed video, acoustic measurements, air flow and sound pressure level recordings. The anatomy of the larynx was studied with computed tomography (CT) and dissections. Elephant CT vocal anatomy data were further compared with the anatomy of an adult human male. We observed numerous unusual phenomena, not typically reported in human vocal fold vibrations. Phase delays along both the inferior-superior and anterior-posterior (A-P) dimension were commonly observed, as well as transverse travelling wave patterns along the A-P dimension, previously not documented in the literature. Acoustic energy was mainly created during the instant of glottal opening. The vestibular folds, when adducted, participated in tissue vibration, effectively increasing the generated sound pressure level by 12 dB. The complexity of the observed phenomena is partly attributed to the distinct laryngeal anatomy of the elephant larynx, which is not simply a large-scale version of its human counterpart. Travelling waves may be facilitated by low fundamental frequencies and increased vocal fold tension. A travelling wave model is proposed, to account for three types of phenomena: A-P travelling waves, 'conventional' standing wave patterns, and irregular vocal fold vibration.

  8. Investigating the depth of thermal burns in elephants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Shakespeare

    2006-06-01

    Full Text Available Histological examination of burn injuries in elephants revealed that the depth was not as severe as expected from clinical observation. Although the actual burn depth was deep, the thickness of elephant skin, especially the dermis, resulted in the lesions being classified as less severe than expected. Examination of skin samples from selected areas showed that most lesions were either superficial (1st degree or superficial partial-thickness (superficial 2nd degree burns with the occasional deep partial thickness (deep 2nd degree wound. These lesions however, resulted in severe complications that eventually led to the death of a number of the elephants.

  9. Do elephants need to sweat? | Wright | African Zoology

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    An adequate rate of evaporative water loss is considered essential for the maintenance of thermal balance in the elephant in warm climatic conditions. Histological studies have failed to reveal the existence of sweat glands in elephant skin. Transepidermal water-loss rate has been measured and shown to be sufficiently ...

  10. Conservation status and recovery strategies for endemic Hawaiian birds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banko, Paul C.; David, Reginald E.; Jacobi, James D.; Banko, Winston E.

    2001-01-01

    Populations of endemic Hawaiian birds declined catastrophically following the colonization of the islands by Polynesians and later cultures. Extinction is still occurring, and recovery programs are urgently needed to prevent the disappearance of many other species. Programs to recover the endemic avifauna incorporate a variety of conceptual and practical approaches that are constrained by biological, financial, social, and legal factors. Avian recovery is difficult to implement in Hawai‘i because a variety of challenging biological factors limit bird populations. Hawaiian birds are threatened by alien predatory mammals, introduced mosquitoes that transmit diseases, alien invertebrate parasites and predators that reduce invertebrate food resources, and alien animals and plants that destroy and alter habitats. Life in the remote Hawaiian Archipelago has imposed other biological constraints to avian recovery, including limited geographical distributions and small population sizes. Recovery of the endemic avifauna is also challenging because resources are insufficient to mitigate the many complex, interacting factors that limit populations. Decisions must be made for allocating limited resources to species teetering on the brink of extinction and those in decline. If funds are spent primarily on saving the rarest species, more abundant species will decline and become more difficult to recover. However, critically rare species will disappear if efforts are directed mainly towards restoring species that are declining but not in immediate danger of becoming extinct. Determining priorities is difficult also because management is needed both to supplement bird populations and to restore habitats of many species. Rare species cannot respond quickly to management efforts intended only to improve habitat and reduce limiting factors. Recovery is slow, if it occurs at all, because years or decades are generally required for habitat rehabilitation and because small populations

  11. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  13. 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

  14. Well-Being Impacts of Human-Elephant Conflict in Khumaga, Botswana: Exploring Visible and Hidden Dimensions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Allison L Mayberry

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available High densities of wild African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana combined with widespread human land-use have increased human-elephant conflict in northern Botswana. Visible impacts (e.g. crop/property damage, injury/fatality of elephants on human well-being are well documented in scholarly literature while hidden impacts (e.g. emotional stress, restricted mobility are less so. This research uses qualitative methods to explore human experiences with elephants and perceived impacts of elephants on human well-being. Findings reveal participants are concerned about food insecurity and associated visible impacts of elephant crop raids. Findings also reveal participants are concerned about reduced safety and restricted mobility as hidden impacts threatening livelihoods and everyday life. Both visible and hidden impacts of elephants contribute to people's negative feelings towards elephants, as does the broader political context. This research emphasises the importance of investigating both visible and hidden impacts of elephants on human well-being to foster holistic understanding of human-elephant conflict scenarios and to inform future mitigation strategies.

  15. The diversity and biogeography of late Pleistocene birds from the lowland Neotropics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steadman, David W.; Oswald, Jessica A.; Rincón, Ascanio D.

    2015-05-01

    The Neotropical lowlands sustain the world's richest bird communities, yet little that we know about their history is based on paleontology. Fossils afford a way to investigate distributional shifts in individual species, and thus improve our understanding of long-term change in Neotropical bird communities. We report a species-rich avian fossil sample from a late Pleistocene tar seep (Mene de Inciarte) in northwestern Venezuela. A mere 175 identified fossils from Mene de Inciarte represent 73 species of birds, among which six are extinct, and eight others no longer occur within 100 km. These 14 species consist mainly of ducks (Anatidae), snipe (Scolopacidae), vultures/condors (Vulturidae), hawks/eagles (Accipitridae), and blackbirds (Icteridae). Neotropical bird communities were richer in the late Pleistocene than today; their considerable extinction may be related to collapse of the large mammal fauna at that time. The species assemblage at Mene de Inciarte suggests that biogeographic patterns, even at continental scales, have been remarkably labile over short geological time frames. Mene de Inciarte is but one of 300 + tar seeps in Venezuela, only two of which have been explored for fossils. We may be on the cusp of an exciting new era of avian paleontology in the Neotropics.

  16. Detection of pathogenic elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus in routine trunk washes from healthy adult Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) by use of a real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanton, Jeffrey J.; Zong, Jian-Chao; Latimer, Erin; Tan, Jie; Herron, Alan; Hayward, Gary S.; Ling, Paul D.

    2013-01-01

    Objective To investigate the pathogenesis and transmission of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV1) by analyzing various elephant fluid samples with a novel EEHV1-specific real-time PCR assay. Animals 5 apparently healthy captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) from the same herd. Procedures A real-time PCR assay was developed that specifically detects EEHV1. The assay was used to evaluate paired whole blood and trunk-wash samples obtained from the 5 elephants during a 15-week period. Deoxyribonucleic acid sequencing and viral gene subtyping analysis were performed on trunk-wash DNA preparations that had positive results for EEHV1. Viral gene subtypes were compared with those associated with past fatal cases of herpesvirus-associated disease within the herd. Results The PCR assay detected viral DNA to a level of 1,200 copies/mL of whole blood. It was used to detect EEHV1 in trunk secretions of 3 of the 5 elephants surveyed during the 15-week period. Viral gene subtyping analysis identified 2 distinct elephant herpesviruses, 1 of which was identical to the virus associated with a previous fatal case of herpesvirus-associated disease within the herd. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance EEHV1 was shed in the trunk secretions of healthy Asian elephants. Trunk secretions may provide a mode of transmission for this virus. Results of this study may be useful for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of EEHV1-associated disease and the overall management of captive elephant populations. PMID:20673092

  17. Bird Integumentary Melanins: Biosynthesis, Forms, Function and Evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galván, Ismael; Solano, Francisco

    2016-01-01

    Melanins are the ubiquitous pigments distributed in nature. They are one of the main pigments responsible for colors in living cells. Birds are among the most diverse animals regarding melanin-based coloration, especially in the plumage, although they also pigment bare parts of the integument. This review is devoted to the main characteristics of bird melanins, including updated views of the formation and nature of melanin granules, whose interest has been raised in the last years for inferring the color of extinct birds and non-avian theropod dinosaurs using resistant fossil feathers. The molecular structure of the two main types of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin, and the environmental and genetic factors that regulate avian melanogenesis are also presented, establishing the main relationship between them. Finally, the special functions of melanin in bird feathers are also discussed, emphasizing the aspects more closely related to these animals, such as honest signaling, and the factors that may drive the evolution of pheomelanin and pheomelanin-based color traits, an issue for which birds have been pioneer study models. PMID:27070583

  18. Bird Integumentary Melanins: Biosynthesis, Forms, Function and Evolution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ismael Galván

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Melanins are the ubiquitous pigments distributed in nature. They are one of the main pigments responsible for colors in living cells. Birds are among the most diverse animals regarding melanin-based coloration, especially in the plumage, although they also pigment bare parts of the integument. This review is devoted to the main characteristics of bird melanins, including updated views of the formation and nature of melanin granules, whose interest has been raised in the last years for inferring the color of extinct birds and non-avian theropod dinosaurs using resistant fossil feathers. The molecular structure of the two main types of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin, and the environmental and genetic factors that regulate avian melanogenesis are also presented, establishing the main relationship between them. Finally, the special functions of melanin in bird feathers are also discussed, emphasizing the aspects more closely related to these animals, such as honest signaling, and the factors that may drive the evolution of pheomelanin and pheomelanin-based color traits, an issue for which birds have been pioneer study models.

  19. A demographic model to predict future growth of the Addo elephant population

    OpenAIRE

    A.M. Woodd

    1999-01-01

    An age-structured demographic model of the growth of the Addo elephant population was developed using parameters calculated from long-term data on the population. The model was used to provide estimates of future population growth. Expansion of the Addo Elephant National Park is currently underway, and the proposed target population size for elephant within the enlarged park is 2700. The model predicts that this population size will be reached during the year 2043, so that the Addo elephant p...

  20. Seed dispersal anachronisms: rethinking the fruits extinct megafauna ate.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paulo R Guimarães

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Some neotropical, fleshy-fruited plants have fruits structurally similar to paleotropical fruits dispersed by megafauna (mammals > 10(3 kg, yet these dispersers were extinct in South America 10-15 Kyr BP. Anachronic dispersal systems are best explained by interactions with extinct animals and show impaired dispersal resulting in altered seed dispersal dynamics. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We introduce an operational definition of megafaunal fruits and perform a comparative analysis of 103 Neotropical fruit species fitting this dispersal mode. We define two megafaunal fruit types based on previous analyses of elephant fruits: fruits 4-10 cm in diameter with up to five large seeds, and fruits > 10 cm diameter with numerous small seeds. Megafaunal fruits are well represented in unrelated families such as Sapotaceae, Fabaceae, Solanaceae, Apocynaceae, Malvaceae, Caryocaraceae, and Arecaceae and combine an overbuilt design (large fruit mass and size with either a single or few ( 100 seeds. Within-family and within-genus contrasts between megafaunal and non-megafaunal groups of species indicate a marked difference in fruit diameter and fruit mass but less so for individual seed mass, with a significant trend for megafaunal fruits to have larger seeds and seediness. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Megafaunal fruits allow plants to circumvent the trade-off between seed size and dispersal by relying on frugivores able to disperse enormous seed loads over long-distances. Present-day seed dispersal by scatter-hoarding rodents, introduced livestock, runoff, flooding, gravity, and human-mediated dispersal allowed survival of megafauna-dependent fruit species after extinction of the major seed dispersers. Megafauna extinction had several potential consequences, such as a scale shift reducing the seed dispersal distances, increasingly clumped spatial patterns, reduced geographic ranges and limited genetic variation and increased among

  1. Linking indices for biodiversity monitoring to extinction risk theory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCarthy, Michael A; Moore, Alana L; Krauss, Jochen; Morgan, John W; Clements, Christopher F

    2014-12-01

    Biodiversity indices often combine data from different species when used in monitoring programs. Heuristic properties can suggest preferred indices, but we lack objective ways to discriminate between indices with similar heuristics. Biodiversity indices can be evaluated by determining how well they reflect management objectives that a monitoring program aims to support. For example, the Convention on Biological Diversity requires reporting about extinction rates, so simple indices that reflect extinction risk would be valuable. We developed 3 biodiversity indices that are based on simple models of population viability that relate extinction risk to abundance. We based the first index on the geometric mean abundance of species and the second on a more general power mean. In a third index, we integrated the geometric mean abundance and trend. These indices require the same data as previous indices, but they also relate directly to extinction risk. Field data for butterflies and woodland plants and experimental studies of protozoan communities show that the indices correlate with local extinction rates. Applying the index based on the geometric mean to global data on changes in avian abundance suggested that the average extinction probability of birds has increased approximately 1% from 1970 to 2009. © 2014 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc., on behalf of the Society for Conservation Biology.

  2. Predicting factors influencing crop raiding by elephants in the ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Nyirenda et al.

    By developing predictive models of binary logistic regression and employing questionnaire surveys, we .... Lupande Game Management Area (GMA), covering an area of 4 840 km2 constitutes the ...... Temporal trends in elephant ... the modern conservation paradigm: Can agricultural communities co- exist with elephant?

  3. Tourism revenue as a conservation tool for threatened birds in protected areas.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rochelle Steven

    Full Text Available Many bird populations worldwide are at risk of extinction, and rely heavily on protected area networks for their continued conservation. Tourism to these areas contributes to conservation by generating revenue for management. Here we quantify the contribution of tourism revenue for bird species in the IUCN Red List, using a simple accounting method. Relevant data are available for 90 (16% of the 562 critically endangered and endangered species. Contributions of tourism to bird conservation are highest, 10-64%, in South America, Africa, and their neighbouring islands. Critically endangered bird species rely on tourism more heavily than endangered species (p<0.02. Many protected areas could also enhance their management budgets by promoting birdwatching tourism specifically.

  4. Tourism Revenue as a Conservation Tool for Threatened Birds in Protected Areas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steven, Rochelle; Castley, J. Guy; Buckley, Ralf

    2013-01-01

    Many bird populations worldwide are at risk of extinction, and rely heavily on protected area networks for their continued conservation. Tourism to these areas contributes to conservation by generating revenue for management. Here we quantify the contribution of tourism revenue for bird species in the IUCN Red List, using a simple accounting method. Relevant data are available for 90 (16%) of the 562 critically endangered and endangered species. Contributions of tourism to bird conservation are highest, 10–64%, in South America, Africa, and their neighbouring islands. Critically endangered bird species rely on tourism more heavily than endangered species (p<0.02). Many protected areas could also enhance their management budgets by promoting birdwatching tourism specifically. PMID:23667498

  5. 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. Crown Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Phylogenomics and Morphology of Extinct Paleognaths Reveal the Origin and Evolution of the Ratites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yonezawa, Takahiro; Segawa, Takahiro; Mori, Hiroshi; Campos, Paula F; Hongoh, Yuichi; Endo, Hideki; Akiyoshi, Ayumi; Kohno, Naoki; Nishida, Shin; Wu, Jiaqi; Jin, Haofei; Adachi, Jun; Kishino, Hirohisa; Kurokawa, Ken; Nogi, Yoshifumi; Tanabe, Hideyuki; Mukoyama, Harutaka; Yoshida, Kunio; Rasoamiaramanana, Armand; Yamagishi, Satoshi; Hayashi, Yoshihiro; Yoshida, Akira; Koike, Hiroko; Akishinonomiya, Fumihito; Willerslev, Eske; Hasegawa, Masami

    2017-01-09

    The Palaeognathae comprise the flightless ratites and the volant tinamous, and together with the Neognathae constitute the extant members of class Aves. It is commonly believed that Palaeognathae originated in Gondwana since most of the living species are found in the Southern Hemisphere [1-3]. However, this hypothesis has been questioned because the fossil paleognaths are mostly from the Northern Hemisphere in their earliest time (Paleocene) and possessed many putative ancestral characters [4]. Uncertainties regarding the origin and evolution of Palaeognathae stem from the difficulty in estimating their divergence times [1, 2] and their remarkable morphological convergence. Here, we recovered nuclear genome fragments from extinct elephant birds, which enabled us to reconstruct a reliable phylogenomic time tree for the Palaeognathae. Based on the tree, we identified homoplasies in morphological traits of paleognaths and reconstructed their morphology-based phylogeny including fossil species without molecular data. In contrast to the prevailing theories, the fossil paleognaths from the Northern Hemisphere were placed as the basal lineages. Combined with our stable divergence time estimates that enabled a valid argument regarding the correlation with geological events, we propose a new evolutionary scenario that contradicts the traditional view. The ancestral Palaeognathae were volant, as estimated from their molecular evolutionary rates, and originated during the Late Cretaceous in the Northern Hemisphere. They migrated to the Southern Hemisphere and speciated explosively around the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. They then extended their distribution to the Gondwana-derived landmasses, such as New Zealand and Madagascar, by overseas dispersal. Gigantism subsequently occurred independently on each landmass. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Surviving and fatal Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus-1A infections in juvenile Asian elephants - lessons learned and recommendations on anti-herpesviral therapy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dastjerdi, Akbar; Seilern-Moy, Katharina; Darpel, Karin; Steinbach, Falko; Molenaar, Fieke

    2016-08-27

    Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses (EEHVs) can cause acute haemorrhagic disease in young Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and clinical EEHV infections account for the majority of their fatalities. The anti-herpesviral drug famciclovir (FCV) has been used routinely to treat viraemic at-risk elephants, but thus far without proven efficacy. This paper presents clinical and virological investigations of two EEHV-1A infected elephants treated with FCV, and discusses anti-herpesvirus therapies of viraemic elephants. Two 1.5 year old male Asian elephants at a zoological collection in the UK developed clinical EEHV-1A infections. Case 1 showed signs of myalgia for the duration of 24 hours before returning back to normal. EEHV-1A DNAemia was confirmed on the day of clinical signs and continued to be present for 18 days in total. Trunk shedding of the virus commenced 10 days after detection of initial DNAemia. Case 2 tested positive for EEHV-1A DNAemia in a routine blood screening sample in the absence of clinical signs. The blood viral load increased exponentially leading up to fatal clinical disease seven days after initial detection of DNAemia. Both calves were treated with 15 mg/kg FCV per rectum on detection of DNAemia and penciclovir, the FCV metabolite, could be detected in the blood at assumed therapeutic levels. The early indicators for clinical disease were a marked absolute and relative drop in white blood cells, particularly monocytes prior to the detection of viraemia. The most prognostic haematological parameter at later stages of the disease was the platelet count showing a continuous sharp decline throughout, followed by a dramatic drop at the time of death. The EEHV-1A viraemic animals investigated here further highlight the ongoing threat posed by these viruses to juvenile Asian elephants. The findings call into question the efficacy of rectal FCV in clinical cases and direct towards the use of alternative anti-herpesvirus drugs and complementary

  8. Survey sequencing and comparative analysis of the elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii genome.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Byrappa Venkatesh

    2007-04-01

    Full Text Available Owing to their phylogenetic position, cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays, skates, and chimaeras provide a critical reference for our understanding of vertebrate genome evolution. The relatively small genome of the elephant shark, Callorhinchus milii, a chimaera, makes it an attractive model cartilaginous fish genome for whole-genome sequencing and comparative analysis. Here, the authors describe survey sequencing (1.4x coverage and comparative analysis of the elephant shark genome, one of the first cartilaginous fish genomes to be sequenced to this depth. Repetitive sequences, represented mainly by a novel family of short interspersed element-like and long interspersed element-like sequences, account for about 28% of the elephant shark genome. Fragments of approximately 15,000 elephant shark genes reveal specific examples of genes that have been lost differentially during the evolution of tetrapod and teleost fish lineages. Interestingly, the degree of conserved synteny and conserved sequences between the human and elephant shark genomes are higher than that between human and teleost fish genomes. Elephant shark contains putative four Hox clusters indicating that, unlike teleost fish genomes, the elephant shark genome has not experienced an additional whole-genome duplication. These findings underscore the importance of the elephant shark as a critical reference vertebrate genome for comparative analysis of the human and other vertebrate genomes. This study also demonstrates that a survey-sequencing approach can be applied productively for comparative analysis of distantly related vertebrate genomes.

  9. Assessing regional and interspecific variation in threshold responses of forest breeding birds through broad scale analyses.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yntze van der Hoek

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Identifying persistence and extinction thresholds in species-habitat relationships is a major focal point of ecological research and conservation. However, one major concern regarding the incorporation of threshold analyses in conservation is the lack of knowledge on the generality and transferability of results across species and regions. We present a multi-region, multi-species approach of modeling threshold responses, which we use to investigate whether threshold effects are similar across species and regions. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We modeled local persistence and extinction dynamics of 25 forest-associated breeding birds based on detection/non-detection data, which were derived from repeated breeding bird atlases for the state of Vermont. We did not find threshold responses to be particularly well-supported, with 9 species supporting extinction thresholds and 5 supporting persistence thresholds. This contrasts with a previous study based on breeding bird atlas data from adjacent New York State, which showed that most species support persistence and extinction threshold models (15 and 22 of 25 study species respectively. In addition, species that supported a threshold model in both states had associated average threshold estimates of 61.41% (SE = 6.11, persistence and 66.45% (SE = 9.15, extinction in New York, compared to 51.08% (SE = 10.60, persistence and 73.67% (SE = 5.70, extinction in Vermont. Across species, thresholds were found at 19.45-87.96% forest cover for persistence and 50.82-91.02% for extinction dynamics. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Through an approach that allows for broad-scale comparisons of threshold responses, we show that species vary in their threshold responses with regard to habitat amount, and that differences between even nearby regions can be pronounced. We present both ecological and methodological factors that may contribute to the different model results, but propose that

  10. Assessing regional and interspecific variation in threshold responses of forest breeding birds through broad scale analyses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Hoek, Yntze; Renfrew, Rosalind; Manne, Lisa L

    2013-01-01

    Identifying persistence and extinction thresholds in species-habitat relationships is a major focal point of ecological research and conservation. However, one major concern regarding the incorporation of threshold analyses in conservation is the lack of knowledge on the generality and transferability of results across species and regions. We present a multi-region, multi-species approach of modeling threshold responses, which we use to investigate whether threshold effects are similar across species and regions. We modeled local persistence and extinction dynamics of 25 forest-associated breeding birds based on detection/non-detection data, which were derived from repeated breeding bird atlases for the state of Vermont. We did not find threshold responses to be particularly well-supported, with 9 species supporting extinction thresholds and 5 supporting persistence thresholds. This contrasts with a previous study based on breeding bird atlas data from adjacent New York State, which showed that most species support persistence and extinction threshold models (15 and 22 of 25 study species respectively). In addition, species that supported a threshold model in both states had associated average threshold estimates of 61.41% (SE = 6.11, persistence) and 66.45% (SE = 9.15, extinction) in New York, compared to 51.08% (SE = 10.60, persistence) and 73.67% (SE = 5.70, extinction) in Vermont. Across species, thresholds were found at 19.45-87.96% forest cover for persistence and 50.82-91.02% for extinction dynamics. Through an approach that allows for broad-scale comparisons of threshold responses, we show that species vary in their threshold responses with regard to habitat amount, and that differences between even nearby regions can be pronounced. We present both ecological and methodological factors that may contribute to the different model results, but propose that regardless of the reasons behind these differences, our results merit a warning that

  11. A Case of an Aortic Abscess around the Elephant Trunk.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fujii, Takeshiro; Kawasaki, Muneyasu; Katayanagi, Tomoyuki; Okuma, Shinnosuke; Masuhara, Hiroshi; Shiono, Noritsugu; Watanabe, Yoshinori

    2015-01-01

    A 52-year-old male patient with a history of total arch replacement using the elephant trunk technique for acute aortic dissection 4 years before visited our hospital with the chief complaint of persistent fever. Chest computed tomography (CT) suggested prosthetic vascular graft infection, which was treated surgically after chemotherapy. The first surgery consisted of debridement of an abscess around the vascular graft and in the aorta around the elephant trunk, and thoracic descending aorta replacement and vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) in view of the risk of bleeding from the peripheral region of the elephant trunk. One week later, omental filling was performed as the second step. This is a very rare case of aortic abscess around the elephant trunk that could successfully be managed by graft-conserving treatment.

  12. Elephant population growth in Kruger National Park, South Africa, under a landscape management approach

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sam M. Ferreira

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available South African National Parks (SANParks manage landscapes rather than numbers of elephants (Loxodonta africana to mitigate the effects that elephants may have on biodiversity, tourism and stakeholder conservation values associated with protected areas. This management philosophy imposes spatial variability of critical resources on elephants. Restoration of such ecological processes through less intensive management predicts a reduction in population growth rates from the eras of intensive management. We collated aerial survey data since 1995 and conducted an aerial total count using a helicopter observation platform during 2015. A minimum of 17 086 elephants were resident in the Kruger National Park (KNP in 2015, growing at 4.2% per annum over the last generation of elephants (i.e. 12 years, compared to 6.5% annual population growth noted during the intensive management era ending in 1994. This may come from responses of elephants to density and environmental factors manifested through reduced birth rates and increased mortality rates. Authorities should continue to evaluate the demographic responses of elephants to landscape scale interventions directed at restoring the limitation of spatial variance in resource distribution on elephant spatiotemporal dynamics and the consequences that may have for other conservation values. Conservation implications: Conservation managers should continue with surveying elephants in a way that allows the extraction of key variables. Such variables should focus on measures that reflect on how theory predicts elephants should respond to management interventions.

  13. Molecular characterization of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from elephants of Nepal.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paudel, Sarad; Mikota, Susan K; Nakajima, Chie; Gairhe, Kamal P; Maharjan, Bhagwan; Thapa, Jeewan; Poudel, Ajay; Shimozuru, Michito; Suzuki, Yasuhiko; Tsubota, Toshio

    2014-05-01

    Mycobacterium tuberculosis was cultured from the lung tissues of 3 captive elephants in Nepal that died with extensive lung lesions. Spoligotyping, TbD1 detection and multi-locus variable number of tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) results suggested 3 isolates belonged to a specific lineage of Indo-Oceanic clade, EAI5 SIT 138. One of the elephant isolates had a new synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) T231C in the gyrA sequence, and the same SNP was also found in human isolates in Nepal. MLVA results and transfer history of the elephants suggested that 2 of them might be infected with M. tuberculosis from the same source. These findings indicated the source of M. tuberculosis infection of those elephants were local residents, presumably their handlers. Further investigation including detailed genotyping of elephant and human isolates is needed to clarify the infection route and eventually prevent the transmission of tuberculosis to susceptible hosts. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Habitat structure and diversity influence the nesting success of an endangered large cavity-nesting bird, the Southern Ground-hornbill

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Leigh Combrink

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Habitat features can have a profound effect on the nesting success of birds. Savannas are often managed with predators and large herbivores as priority species, with little thought to the many bird species that management decisions could affect. Using a data set spanning seven breeding seasons, we examined how nesting success of Southern Ground-hornbills (SGHs Bucorvus leadbeateri in the Kruger National Park varied as a result of various environmental and habitat factors within a radius of 3 km surrounding the nest site. Identifying which factors affect nesting success will allow for targeted management efforts to ensure the long-term survival of SGHs both within and outside of protected areas. Habitat structure and diversity of the vegetation surrounding the nest were the most influential factors on SGH nesting success. SGHs require open grassy areas for foraging and areas with large trees for nesting. Savanna habitat drivers such as elephants and fire should be managed to ensure that sufficient large trees are able to establish in the landscape and to control for bush encroachment. This is especially important in areas earmarked for SGH reintroductions. Nest sites of SGHs should be monitored to mitigate any structural changes in the habitat surrounding the nests. Nests should be modified or artificial nest sites provided, where nests have been damaged or lost, to ensure the continued presence of these birds in African savannas. Conservation implications: Habitat structure and diversity surrounding Southern Groundhornbill nests has a significant impact on their nesting success. This highlights the importance of monitoring vegetation change in savanna habitats where they occur. Management of savanna areas should take factors that influence bush encroachment, such as fire and elephants, into account to ensure the long-term persistence of these birds.

  15. The effects of habitat fragmentation on extinction risk: Mechanisms and synthesis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David H. Reed

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available Across the globe, much current research reflects concerns over the effect of habitat fragmentation on the viability of species and populations. This is an immediate and important concern for the Kingdom of Thailand, where decisions about land use are at a critical juncture. Thailand is in danger of losing species that play a special role in Thai culture and history such as the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus and the tiger (Panthera tigris. We provide a selective review and synthesis of the effects of habitat fragmentation on extinction risk. Our emphasis is on objectives, causal mechanisms, and the validity of some of the arguments that have been made in the debate. Heuristic models are explored to elucidate mechanisms that may affect populations in fragmented landscapes and we point out gaps in our knowledge of this important and complicated question. Our synthesis of the current evidence suggests that fragmenting landscapes usually increases the risk of extinction, especially as the isolation of patches increases or the size of patches decreases. The Kingdom of Thailand, and other countries facing similar circumstances, should seek to connect isolated patches of habitat in order to better protect their remaining biodiversity.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  17. Understanding long-term variations in an elephant piosphere effect to manage impacts.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marietjie Landman

    Full Text Available Surface water availability is a key driver of elephant impacts on biological diversity. Thus, understanding the spatio-temporal variations of these impacts in relation to water is critical to their management. However, elephant piosphere effects (i.e. the radial pattern of attenuating impact are poorly described, with few long-term quantitative studies. Our understanding is further confounded by the complexity of systems with elephant (i.e. fenced, multiple water points, seasonal water availability, varying population densities that likely limit the use of conceptual models to predict these impacts. Using 31 years of data on shrub structure in the succulent thickets of the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, we tested elephant effects at a single water point. Shrub structure showed a clear sigmoid response with distance from water, declining at both the upper and lower limits of sampling. Adjacent to water, this decline caused a roughly 300-m radial expansion of the grass-dominated habitats that replace shrub communities. Despite the clear relationship between shrub structure and ecological functioning in thicket, the extent of elephant effects varied between these features with distance from water. Moreover, these patterns co-varied with other confounding variables (e.g. the location of neighboring water points, which limits our ability to predict such effects in the absence of long-term data. We predict that elephant have the ability to cause severe transformation in succulent thicket habitats with abundant water supply and elevated elephant numbers. However, these piosphere effects are complex, suggesting that a more integrated understanding of elephant impacts on ecological heterogeneity may be required before water availability is used as a tool to manage impacts. We caution against the establishment of water points in novel succulent thicket habitats, and advocate a significant reduction in water provisioning at our study site

  18. Understanding long-term variations in an elephant piosphere effect to manage impacts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landman, Marietjie; Schoeman, David S; Hall-Martin, Anthony J; Kerley, Graham I H

    2012-01-01

    Surface water availability is a key driver of elephant impacts on biological diversity. Thus, understanding the spatio-temporal variations of these impacts in relation to water is critical to their management. However, elephant piosphere effects (i.e. the radial pattern of attenuating impact) are poorly described, with few long-term quantitative studies. Our understanding is further confounded by the complexity of systems with elephant (i.e. fenced, multiple water points, seasonal water availability, varying population densities) that likely limit the use of conceptual models to predict these impacts. Using 31 years of data on shrub structure in the succulent thickets of the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, we tested elephant effects at a single water point. Shrub structure showed a clear sigmoid response with distance from water, declining at both the upper and lower limits of sampling. Adjacent to water, this decline caused a roughly 300-m radial expansion of the grass-dominated habitats that replace shrub communities. Despite the clear relationship between shrub structure and ecological functioning in thicket, the extent of elephant effects varied between these features with distance from water. Moreover, these patterns co-varied with other confounding variables (e.g. the location of neighboring water points), which limits our ability to predict such effects in the absence of long-term data. We predict that elephant have the ability to cause severe transformation in succulent thicket habitats with abundant water supply and elevated elephant numbers. However, these piosphere effects are complex, suggesting that a more integrated understanding of elephant impacts on ecological heterogeneity may be required before water availability is used as a tool to manage impacts. We caution against the establishment of water points in novel succulent thicket habitats, and advocate a significant reduction in water provisioning at our study site, albeit with greater

  19. USE OF COMPOSITE MATERIALS AS A COMPONENT OF TUSK FRACTURE MANAGEMENT IN AN ASIAN ELEPHANT (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) AND AN AFRICAN ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sim, Richard R; Stringer, Elizabeth; Donovan, Dennis; Chappell, Rachael; Flora, Pat; Hall, Jon; Pillay, Selvum; Willis, Benjamin G; McCain, Stephanie

    2017-09-01

    Tusk fractures in Asian (Elephas maximus) and African elephants (Loxodonta africana) can result in damage to the distal end or to longitudinal cracks, potentially progressing to pulpitis. With pulp exposure, endodontic therapy is the treatment of choice, but conservative therapy has sufficed for some elephants. This manuscript describes the use of composite materials as a component of tusk fracture management. A 7-yr-old male Asian elephant fractured the distal end of both tusks with pulp exposure in one. Capping of each tusk with a Kevlar/fiberglass composite prevented further damage, and a modification allowed care of the exposed pulp tissue. A 34-yr-old male African elephant with a longitudinal crack received a carbon fiber/fiberglass composite circumferential wrap to potentially stabilize the crack. Compression of the crack was achieved, but follow-up was truncated due to bacterial pulpitis. Both cases show that composite material allows for lightweight, durable management of tusk fractures with continued radiographic monitoring.

  20. Conventional versus frozen elephant trunk surgery for extensive disease of the thoracic aorta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Di Eusanio, Marco; Borger, Michael; Petridis, Francesco D; Leontyev, Sergey; Pantaleo, Antonio; Moz, Monica; Mohr, Friedrich; Di Bartolomeo, Roberto

    2014-11-01

    To compare early and mid-term outcomes after repair of extensive aneurysm of the thoracic aorta using the conventional elephant trunk or frozen elephant trunk (FET) procedures. Fifty-seven patients with extensive thoracic aneurysmal disease were treated using elephant trunk (n = 36) or FET (n = 21) procedures. Patients with aortic dissection, descending thoracic aorta (DTA) diameter less than 40 mm, and thoracoabdominal aneurysms were excluded from the analysis, as were those who did not undergo antegrade selective cerebral perfusion during circulatory arrest. Short-term and mid-term outcomes were compared according to elephant trunk/FET surgical management. Preoperative and intraoperative variables were similar in the two groups, except for a higher incidence of female sex, coronary artery disease and associated procedures in elephant trunk patients. Hospital mortality (elephant trunk: 13.9% versus FET: 4.8%; P = 0.2), permanent neurologic dysfunction (elephant trunk: 5.7% versus FET: 9.5%; P = 0.4) and paraplegia (elephant trunk: 2.9% versus FET: 4.8%; P = 0.6) rates were similar in the two groups. Follow-up was 100% complete. In the elephant trunk group, 68.4% of patients did not undergo a second-stage procedure during follow-up for a variety of reasons. Of these patients, the DTA diameter was greater than 51 mm in 72.2% and two (6.7%) died due to aortic rupture while awaiting stage-two intervention. Endovascular second-stage procedures were successfully performed in all FET patients with residual DTA aneurysmal disease (n = 3), whereas nine of 11 elephant trunk patients who returned for second-stage procedures required conventional surgical replacement through a lateral thoracotomy. Kaplan-Meier estimate of 4-year survival was 75.8 ± 7.6 and 72.8 ± 10.6 in elephant trunk and FET patients, respectively (log-rank P = 0.8). In patients with extensive aneurysmal disease of thoracic aorta, elephant trunk and FET procedures

  1. Beehive fences as a multidimensional conflict-mitigation tool for farmers coexisting with elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Lucy E; Lala, Fredrick; Nzumu, Hesron; Mwambingu, Emmanuel; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain

    2017-08-01

    Increasing habitat fragmentation and human population growth in Africa has resulted in an escalation in human-elephant conflict between small-scale farmers and free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta Africana). In 2012 Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) implemented the national 10-year Conservation and Management Strategy for the Elephant in Kenya, which includes an action aimed at testing whether beehive fences can be used to mitigate human-elephant conflict. From 2012 to 2015, we field-tested the efficacy of beehive fences to protect 10 0.4-ha farms next to Tsavo East National Park from elephants. We hung a series of beehives every 10 m around the boundary of each farm plot. The hives were linked with strong wire. After an initial pilot test with 2 farms, the remaining 8 of 10 beehive fences also contained 2-dimensional dummy hives between real beehives to help reduce the cost of the fence. Each trial plot had a neighboring control plot of the same size within the same farm. Of the 131 beehives deployed 88% were occupied at least once during the 3.5-year trial. Two hundred and fifty-three elephants, predominantly 20-45 years old entered the community farming area, typically during the crop- ripening season. Eighty percent of the elephants that approached the trial farms were kept out of the areas protected by the beehive fences, and elephants that broke a fence were in smaller than average groups. Beehive fences not only kept large groups of elephants from invading the farmland plots but the farmers also benefited socially and financially from the sale of 228 kg of elephant-friendly honey. As news of the success of the trial spread, a further 12 farmers requested to join the project, bringing the number of beehive fence protected farms to 22 and beehives to 297. This demonstrates positive adoption of beehive fences as a community mitigation tool. Understanding the response of elephants to the beehive fences, the seasonality of crop raiding and fence breaking, and the

  2. 'When elephants battle, the grass suffers.' Power, ivory and the Syrian elephant

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Çakirlar, Canan

    2016-01-01

    The craftsmanship of the ivory objects in Late Bronze Age and Iron Age Eastern Mediterranean leave no doubt as to their intention to impress. Elephant teeth are an important raw material for the manufacture of these objects. Zooarchaeological research shows that cranial, dental, and postcranial

  3. 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. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Fluctuations in the population of southern elephant seals Mirounga ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    and seals (Laws 1973). Predation. Carrick and Ingham (1962) indicated that the killer whale. Orcinus orca is an important predator of elephant seals, es- pecially of immature individuals. Moreover, Condy (1977) suggests that the observed decrease in the elephant seal population at Marion Island is due to a lowered recruit-.

  5. Being stressed outside the park—conservation of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Namibia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ringstad, Iris H; Jackson, Craig R; May, Roel; Fossøy, Frode; Uiseb, Kenneth; Killian, Werner; Palme, Rupert; Røskaft, Eivin

    2017-01-01

    Abstract The conservation of the African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) is of prime importance for many African countries. Interactions between elephants and humans are known to induce stress and thereby have the potential to affect elephants’ fitness. In Namibia, anthropogenic disturbances are increasing due to increasing human population size and development, particularly near protected areas, such as national parks. In this study, we investigated elephant stress levels in relation to their land use, specifically their protection status, comparing elephants within Etosha National Park in Namibia with elephants residing outside the park. We noninvasively collected dung samples of 91 elephants and determined the concentration of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (fGCM), an indicator of physiological stress. Elephants outside the park (N = 35) had significantly higher concentrations of fGCM than those inside ENP (N = 56), suggesting that, despite including community-based conservancies, unprotected areas are more stressful for elephants than protected areas, most likely due to increased interactions with humans. We also found that males had lower fGCM concentrations than females, but no significant effect of age, body size or group size was detected. Additionally, herd sizes were significantly smaller and calf recruitment was potentially lower in unprotected areas. These findings underpin the importance of protected areas such as ENP, while encouraging decision-makers to continue reducing and mitigating potential human-induced disturbances. PMID:29270294

  6. A demographic model to predict future growth of the Addo elephant population

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A.M. Woodd

    1999-07-01

    Full Text Available An age-structured demographic model of the growth of the Addo elephant population was developed using parameters calculated from long-term data on the population. The model was used to provide estimates of future population growth. Expansion of the Addo Elephant National Park is currently underway, and the proposed target population size for elephant within the enlarged park is 2700. The model predicts that this population size will be reached during the year 2043, so that the Addo elephant population can continue to increase for a further 44 years before its target size within the enlarged park is attained.

  7. Fossil avian eggshell preserves ancient DNA

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Oskam, Charlotte L; Haile, James Seymour; McLay, Emma

    2010-01-01

    Owing to exceptional biomolecule preservation, fossil avian eggshell has been used extensively in geochronology and palaeodietary studies. Here, we show, to our knowledge, for the first time that fossil eggshell is a previously unrecognized source of ancient DNA (aDNA). We describe the successful...... isolation and amplification of DNA from fossil eggshell up to 19 ka old. aDNA was successfully characterized from eggshell obtained from New Zealand (extinct moa and ducks), Madagascar (extinct elephant birds) and Australia (emu and owl). Our data demonstrate excellent preservation of the nucleic acids......, evidenced by retrieval of both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from many of the samples. Using confocal microscopy and quantitative PCR, this study critically evaluates approaches to maximize DNA recovery from powdered eggshell. Our quantitative PCR experiments also demonstrate that moa eggshell has...

  8. 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.

  9. Area-based assessment of extinction risk.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hei, Fangliang

    2012-05-01

    Underpinning the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List is the assessment of extinction risk as determined by the size and degree of loss of populations. The IUCN system lists a species as Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable if its population size declines 80%, 50%, or 30% within a given time frame. However, effective implementation of the system faces substantial challenges and uncertainty because geographic scale data on population size and long-term dynamics are scarce. I develop a model to quantify extinction risk using a measure based on a species' distribution, a much more readily obtained quantity. The model calculates the loss of the area of occupancy that is equivalent to the loss of a given proportion of a population. It is a very simple yet general model that has no free parameters and is independent of scale. The model predicted well the distributions of 302 tree species at a local scale and the distributions of 348 species of North American land birds. This area-based model provides a solution to the long-standing problem for IUCN assessments of lack of data on population sizes, and thus it will contribute to facilitating the quantification of extinction risk worldwide.

  10. Predictors of extinction risk of passerine birds in a Central European country

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Koleček, Jaroslav; Albrecht, Tomáš; Reif, J.

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 17, č. 5 (2014), s. 498-506 ISSN 1367-9430 Institutional support: RVO:68081766 Keywords : red list * life history * habitat specialization * distribution * climate change * threatened species * extinction risk * passerine Subject RIV: EG - Zoology Impact factor: 2.852, year: 2014

  11. Geographic variation of stable isotopes in African elephant ivory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ziegler, S.; Merker, S.; Jacob, D.

    2012-04-01

    In 1989, the international community listed the African elephant in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) thus prohibiting commercial ivory trade. Recent surveillance data show that the illegal trade in ivory has been growing worldwide. Long-term preservation of many of the African elephant populations can be supported with a control mechanism that helps with the implementation of remedial conservation action. Therefore, setting up a reference database that predicts the origin of ivory specimens can assist in determining smuggling routes and the provenance of illegal ivory. Our research builds on earlier work to seek an appropriate method for determining the area of origin for individual tusks. Several researchers have shown that the provenance of elephant ivory can be traced by its isotopic composition, but this is the first attempt to produce an integrated isotopic reference database of elephant ivory provenance. We applied a combination of various routine geochemical analyses to measure the stable isotope ratios of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulphur. Up to now, we analysed 606 ivory samples of known geographical origin from African range states, museums and private collections, comprising 22 African elephant range states. The isotopic measurements were superimposed with data layers from vegetation, geology and climate. A regression function for the isotope composition of the water isotopes in precipitation and collagen in ivory was developed to overcome the problem of imprecise origin of some of the sampled material. Multivariate statistics, such as nearest neighborhood and discriminate analysis were applied to eventually allow a statistical determination of the provenance for ivory of unknown origin. Our results suggest that the combination of isotopic parameters have the potential to provide predictable and complementary markers for estimating the origin of seized elephant ivory.

  12. Genetic assessment of captive elephant (Elephas maximus) populations in Thailand

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Thitaram, Chatchote; Somgird, Chaleamchart; Mahasawangkul, Sittidet; Angkavanich, Taweepoke; Roongsri, Ronnachit; Thongtip, Nikorn; Colenbrander, Ben; van Steenbeek, Frank G.; Lenstra, Johannes A.

    2010-01-01

    The genetic diversity and population structure of 136 captive Thai elephants (Elephas maximus) with known region of origin were investigated by analysis of 14 highly polymorphic microsatellite loci. We did not detect significant indications of inbreeding and only a low differentiation of elephants

  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%; pyear 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.

  14. Immune responses of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to commercial tetanus toxoid vaccine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lindsay, William A; Wiedner, Ellen; Isaza, Ramiro; Townsend, Hugh G G; Boleslawski, Maria; Lunn, D P

    2010-02-15

    Although captive elephants are commonly vaccinated annually against tetanus using commercially available tetanus toxoid vaccines marketed for use in horses and livestock, no data exists to prove that tetanus toxoid vaccination produces measurable antibody titers in elephants. An ELISA test was created to measure antibody responses to tetanus toxoid vaccinations in 22 Asian elephants ranging in age from 24 to 56 years (mean age 39 years) over a 7-month period. All animals had been previously vaccinated with tetanus toxoid vaccine, with the last booster administered 4 years before the start of the study. The great majority of elephants had titers prior to booster vaccination, and following revaccination all elephants demonstrated anamnestic increases in titers, indicating that this species does respond to tetanus vaccination. Surprisingly older animals mounted a significantly higher response to revaccination than did younger animals. Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Nepal’s National Red List of Birds

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carol Inskipp

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available The main objectives of the Nepal National Bird Red Data Book were to provide comprehensive and up-to-date accounts of all the bird species found in Nepal, assess their status applying the IUCN Guidelines at Regional Levels, identify threats to all bird species and recommend the most practical measures for their conservation.  It is hoped that the Bird RDB will help Nepal achieve the Convention on Biological Diversity target of preventing the extinction of known threatened species and improving their conservation status.  As population changes of Nepal’s birds have been studied for only a few species, assessments of species’ national status were mainly made by assessing changes in distribution.  Species distribution maps were produced for all of Nepal’s bird species except vagrants and compared to maps that were produced in 1991 using the same mapping system.  Of the 878 bird species recorded, 168 species (19% were assessed as nationally threatened. These comprise 68 (40% Critically Endangered species, 38 (23% Endangered species and 62 (37% Vulnerable species.  A total of 62 species was considered Near Threatened and 22 species Data Deficient.  Over 55% of the threatened birds are lowland grassland specialists, 25% are wetland birds and 24% tropical and sub-tropical broadleaved forest birds.  Larger birds appear to be more threatened than smaller birds with 98 (25% non-passerine species threatened and 67 (14% passerine species.  Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation are the most important threats.  Other threats include chemical poisoning, over-exploitation, climate change, hydropower, invasive species, intensification of agriculture, disturbance, and limited conservation measures and research.  Measures to address these threats are described.  It was also concluded that re-assessments of the status of certain bird groups carried out every five years and the setting up of a national online system for storing and reporting

  16. Habitat relationships of Asian elephants in shifting-cultivation landscapes of Meghalaya, Northeast India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruce G. Marcot; Ashish Kumar; G. Talukdar; A.K. Srivastava

    2011-01-01

    In Asia and India, Asian elephants (Elaphas maximus) attain their highest densities and numbers in Meghalaya, particularly in Garo Hills, of northeast India. Little quantitative work has been done on elephant-habitat relationships in this region where the species' distribution is known to be highly fragmented. If elephants and their habitat...

  17. Diurnal and Nocturnal Activity Time Budgets of Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus in a Zoological Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Denise E. Lukacs

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available The diurnal and nocturnal activity time budgets of five adult female Asian elephants (Elephas maximus were studied in a zoological park for two 24-hour, five 14-hour, and one 9-hour observation periods between May and June 2011. Relatively few studies have looked at detailed daytime and nighttime activity time budgets in captive Asian elephants. Continuous observation was used to measure the activity time budgets of at least one focal animal per observation period. The activity time budgets varied between animals and observation periods. The elephants spent 17-49% of the day (daylight hours standing, 1-9% of the day walking, 19-44% of the day eating, and 1-20% of the day using enrichment items. At night, the elephants spent 29-87% of the observation period standing, 1-19% of the night eating, and 0.1-10% of the night using enrichment items. At night, elephants spent 0-45% of the observation period lying down. Variations in activity time budgets between elephants and observation periods have been observed in other studies of captive and wild elephants. Results of this observational study allow comparison between groups of captive elephants and between captive and wild elephants. Furthermore, results of this study can inform management strategies.

  18. 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

    OpenAIRE

    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 consequences for the population itself and the diversity of plant and animal species in the conservation area. The Kasungu National Park suffers simultaneously from heavy illegal offtake and an elephant probl...

  19. How elephants utilize a miombo-wetland ecosystem in Ugalla landscape, Western Tanzania

    OpenAIRE

    Kalumanga, Elikana

    2015-01-01

    African elephants are ‘keystone’ species with respect to biodiversity conservation in Africa since they maintain habitats that support several animal communities by changing vegetation structure through foraging and by dispersing seeds between landscapes. Elephants are also ‘flagship’ species because, given their impressive size, they can make people sympathetic and stimulate local and international concerns for their protection. Economically, elephants contribute to national revenues as tour...

  20. TB in Captive Elephants

    Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Podcasts

    2017-04-27

    Dr. Barry Kreiswirth, founding director of the Public Health Research Institute, TB Center, at Rutgers University, discusses TB in three captive elephants.  Created: 4/27/2017 by National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID).   Date Released: 4/27/2017.

  1. Climatic variation and age-specific survival in Asian elephants from Myanmar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Hannah S; Courtiol, Alexandre; Mar, Khyne U; Lummaa, Virpi

    2013-05-01

    Concern about climate change has intensified interest in understanding how climatic variability affects animal life histories. Despite such effects being potentially most dramatic in large, long-lived, and slowly reproducing terrestrial mammals, little is known of the effects of climatic variation on survival in those species. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are endangered across their distribution, and inhabit regions characterized by high seasonality of temperature and rainfall. We investigated the effects of monthly climatic variation on survival and causes of death in Asian elephants using a unique demographic data set of 1024 semi-captive, longitudinally monitored elephants from four sites in Myanmar between 1965 and 2000. Temperature had a significant effect on survival in both sexes and across all ages. For elephants between 1 month and 17 years of age, maximal survival was reached at -24 degrees C, and any departures from this temperature increased mortality, whereas neonates and mature elephants had maximal survival at even lower temperatures. Although males experienced higher mortality overall, sex differences in these optimal temperatures were small. Because the elephants spent more time during a year in temperatures above 24 degrees C than in temperatures below it, most deaths occurred at hot (temperatures>24 degrees C) rather than cold periods. Decreased survival at higher temperatures resulted partially from increased deaths from infectious disease and heat stroke, whereas the lower survival in the coldest months was associated with an increase in noninfectious diseases and poor health in general. Survival was also related to rainfall, with the highest survival rates during the wettest months for all ages and sexes. Our results show that even the normal-range monsoon variation in climate can exert a large impact on elephant survival in Myanmar, leading to extensive absolute differences in mortality; switching from favorable to unfavorable climatic

  2. Demographic variables for wild Asian elephants using longitudinal observations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Silva, Shermin; Webber, C Elizabeth; Weerathunga, U S; Pushpakumara, T V; Weerakoon, Devaka K; Wittemyer, George

    2013-01-01

    Detailed demographic data on wild Asian elephants have been difficult to collect due to habitat characteristics of much of the species' remaining range. Such data, however, are critical for understanding and modeling population processes in this endangered species. We present data from six years of an ongoing study of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Uda Walawe National Park, Sri Lanka. This relatively undisturbed population numbering over one thousand elephants is individually monitored, providing cohort-based information on mortality and reproduction. Reproduction was seasonal, such that most births occurred during the long inter-monsoon dry season and peaked in May. During the study, the average age at first reproduction was 13.4 years and the 50(th) percentile inter-birth interval was approximately 6 years. Birth sex ratios did not deviate significantly from parity. Fecundity was relatively stable throughout the observed reproductive life of an individual (ages 11-60), averaging between 0.13-0.17 female offspring per individual per year. Mortalities and injuries based on carcasses and disappearances showed that males were significantly more likely than females to be killed or injured through anthropogenic activity. Overall, however, most observed injuries did not appear to be fatal. This population exhibits higher fecundity and density relative to published estimates on other Asian elephant populations, possibly enhanced by present range constriction. Understanding the factors responsible for these demographic dynamics can shed insight on the future needs of this elephant population, with probable parallels to other populations in similar settings.

  3. Extant-only comparative methods fail to recover the disparity preserved in the bird fossil record.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitchell, Jonathan S

    2015-09-01

    Most extant species are in clades with poor fossil records, and recent studies of comparative methods show they have low power to infer even highly simplified models of trait evolution without fossil data. Birds are a well-studied radiation, yet their early evolutionary patterns are still contentious. The fossil record suggests that birds underwent a rapid ecological radiation after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and several smaller, subsequent radiations. This hypothesized series of repeated radiations from fossil data is difficult to test using extant data alone. By uniting morphological and phylogenetic data on 604 extant genera of birds with morphological data on 58 species of extinct birds from 50 million years ago, the "halfway point" of avian evolution, I have been able to test how well extant-only methods predict the diversity of fossil forms. All extant-only methods underestimate the disparity, although the ratio of within- to between-clade disparity does suggest high early rates. The failure of standard models to predict high early disparity suggests that recent radiations are obscuring deep time patterns in the evolution of birds. Metrics from different models can be used in conjunction to provide more valuable insights than simply finding the model with the highest relative fit. © 2015 The Author(s). Evolution © 2015 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  4. Pulmonary aspergillosis in an African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaim, Ute; Paltian, Vanja; Krudewig, Christiane; Nieder, Anne; Wohlsein, Peter

    2009-04-01

    A 26-year-old female African elephant (Loxodonta africana) with a history of purulent pododermatitis, recurrent abdominal pain, and severe weight loss died spontaneously after a period of deteriorating disease. The main pathological finding was a severe bilateral pyogranulomatous, partially necrotizing pneumonia with numerous intralesional fungal hyphae. At microbiological examination Aspergillus spp. were isolated. The present case indicates that mycotic pneumonia should to be considered as a differential diagnosis of pulmonary disorders in elephants.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Poaching and human encroachment reverse recovery of African savannah elephants in south-east Angola despite 14 years of peace

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chase, Michael J.; Griffin, Curtice R.

    2018-01-01

    With populations of African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) declining across the continent, assessing the status of individual elephant populations is important for conservation. Angola’s elephant population represents a key linkage between the larger populations of Namibia and Botswana. Elephants in Angola were decimated during the 1975–2002 Angolan civil war, but a 2005 survey showed that populations were recolonizing former habitats. Between 2005 and 2015, no research was permitted on elephants in Angola, but elsewhere in Africa many elephant populations experienced a poaching crisis. In 2015, we were able to resume elephant research in Angola. We used aerial surveys and satellite monitoring of collared elephants to determine the current status of elephant populations in Angola and to learn how human populations may be affecting elephant habitat usage. The aerial survey revealed a population of 3,395 ± SE of 797 elephants, but populations had declined 21% from the 2005 estimate. The high number of carcasses observed on the survey suggests that populations may have increased after the 2005 survey but were declining rapidly as of 2015. Satellite-collared elephants avoided areas elephants from preferred habitats near rivers. Taken together, these results suggest that Angola’s elephant population is experiencing intense poaching and may be losing habitat to human settlements. Without action to conserve their populations, Angola’s elephants face an uncertain future. PMID:29538387

  8. Using step width to compare locomotor biomechanics between extinct, non-avian theropod dinosaurs and modern obligate bipeds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bishop, P J; Clemente, C J; Weems, R E; Graham, D F; Lamas, L P; Hutchinson, J R; Rubenson, J; Wilson, R S; Hocknull, S A; Barrett, R S; Lloyd, D G

    2017-07-01

    How extinct, non-avian theropod dinosaurs locomoted is a subject of considerable interest, as is the manner in which it evolved on the line leading to birds. Fossil footprints provide the most direct evidence for answering these questions. In this study, step width-the mediolateral (transverse) distance between successive footfalls-was investigated with respect to speed (stride length) in non-avian theropod trackways of Late Triassic age. Comparable kinematic data were also collected for humans and 11 species of ground-dwelling birds. Permutation tests of the slope on a plot of step width against stride length showed that step width decreased continuously with increasing speed in the extinct theropods ( p < 0.001), as well as the five tallest bird species studied ( p < 0.01). Humans, by contrast, showed an abrupt decrease in step width at the walk-run transition. In the modern bipeds, these patterns reflect the use of either a discontinuous locomotor repertoire, characterized by distinct gaits (humans), or a continuous locomotor repertoire, where walking smoothly transitions into running (birds). The non-avian theropods are consequently inferred to have had a continuous locomotor repertoire, possibly including grounded running. Thus, features that characterize avian terrestrial locomotion had begun to evolve early in theropod history. © 2017 The Author(s).

  9. Quantity and configuration of available elephant habitat and related conservation concerns in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain of Sabah, Malaysia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jason G Estes

    Full Text Available 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

  10. Forest fragmentation and bird community dynamics: inference at regional scales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boulinier, T.; Nichols, J.D.; Hines, J.E.; Sauer, J.R.; Flather, C.H.; Pollock, K.H.

    2001-01-01

    With increasing fragmentation of natural areas and a dramatic reduction of forest cover in several parts of the world, quantifying the impact of such changes on species richness and community dynamics has been a subject of much concern. Here, we tested whether in more fragmented landscapes there was a lower number of area-sensitive species and higher local extinction and turnover rates, which could explain higher temporal variability in species richness. To investigate such potential landscape effects at a regional scale, we merged two independent, large-scale monitoring efforts: the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and the Land Use and Land Cover Classification data from the U.S. Geological Survey. We used methods that accounted for heterogeneity in the probability of detecting species to estimate species richness and temporal changes in the bird communities for BBS routes in three mid-Atlantic U.S. states. Forest breeding bird species were grouped prior to the analyses into area-sensitive and non-area-sensitive species according to previous studies. We tested predictions relating measures of forest structure at one point in time (1974) to species richness at that time and to parameters of forest bird community change over the following 22-yr-period (1975-1996). We used the mean size of forest patches to characterize landscape structure, as high correlations among landscape variables did not allow us to disentangle the relative roles of habitat fragmentation per se and habitat loss. As predicted, together with lower species richness for area-sensitive species on routes surrounded by landscapes with lower mean forest-patch size, we found higher mean year-to-year rates of local extinction. Moreover, the mean year-to-year rates of local turnover (proportion of locally new species) for area-sensitive species were also higher in landscapes with lower mean forest-patch size. These associations were not observed for the non-area-sensitive species group. These

  11. Conflict between conservation and development: cash forest encroachment in Asian elephant distributions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Peng; Wen, Hui; Harich, Franziska K; He, Changhuan; Wang, Lanxin; Guo, Xianming; Zhao, Jianwei; Luo, Aidong; Yang, Hongpei; Sun, Xiao; Yu, Yang; Zheng, Shaobo; Guo, Jing; Li, Li; Zhang, Li

    2017-08-03

    Over the last 4 decades, China has undergone major economic development, resulting in considerable impacts on its wildlife populations and habitats. It is essential to quantify the conflict between development and conservation to assist with policy-making because forestry policies and market trends affected indirectly the distribution of Asian elephants. Here, we mapped the historical distribution of elephants versus human land use. Elephant distributions appear to occur in unbroken natural forests only. However, over the 40-year period, the distribution ranges have become smaller and fragmented, with natural forest area also declining by 16%. The monoculture of cash trees is encroaching on natural forests. Over the past 10 years, rubber plantations have become concentrated in the south, with extensive natural forests and scattered rubber farms being converted to tea plantations, due to changes in governmental policies and product prices. Through mapping the spatial changes in the distribution of rubber and tea plantations, our study is expected to help local managers to incorporate the needs of endangered elephants through creating space when planning plantations, especially in Xishuangbanna and the south part of Pu'er. In conclusion, restoring elephant habitat and establishing ecological corridors are critical for the survival of elephants in this region.

  12. DNA analysis indicates that Asian elephants are native to Borneo and are therefore a high priority for conservation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Prithiviraj Fernando

    2003-10-01

    Full Text Available The origin of Borneo's elephants is controversial. Two competing hypotheses argue that they are either indigenous, tracing back to the Pleistocene, or were introduced, descending from elephants imported in the 16th-18th centuries. Taxonomically, they have either been classified as a unique subspecies or placed under the Indian or Sumatran subspecies. If shown to be a unique indigenous population, this would extend the natural species range of the Asian elephant by 1300 km, and therefore Borneo elephants would have much greater conservation importance than if they were a feral population. We compared DNA of Borneo elephants to that of elephants from across the range of the Asian elephant, using a fragment of mitochondrial DNA, including part of the hypervariable d-loop, and five autosomal microsatellite loci. We find that Borneo's elephants are genetically distinct, with molecular divergence indicative of a Pleistocene colonisation of Borneo and subsequent isolation. We reject the hypothesis that Borneo's elephants were introduced. The genetic divergence of Borneo elephants warrants their recognition as a separate evolutionary significant unit. Thus, interbreeding Borneo elephants with those from other populations would be contraindicated in ex situ conservation, and their genetic distinctiveness makes them one of the highest priority populations for Asian elephant conservation.

  13. Research and management priorities for Hawai‘i forest birds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paxton, Eben H.; Laut, Megan; Vetter, J.P.; Kendall, Steve J.

    2018-01-01

    Hawai‘i’s forest birds face a number of conservation challenges that, if unaddressed, will likely lead to the extinction of multiple species in the coming decades. Threats include habitat loss, invasive plants, non-native predators, and introduced diseases. Climate change is predicted to increase the geographic extent and intensity of these threats, adding urgency to implementation of tractable conservation strategies. We present a set of actionable research and management approaches, identified by conservation practitioners in Hawai’i, that will be critical for the conservation of Hawaiian forest birds in the coming years. We also summarize recent progress on these conservation priorities. The threats facing Hawai‘i’s forest birds are not unique to Hawai‘i, and successful conservation strategies developed in Hawai‘i can serve as a model for other imperiled communities around the world, especially on islands.

  14. Role of Brazilian zoos in ex situ bird conservation: from 1981 to 2005.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Azevedo, Cristiano S; Young, Robert J; Rodrigues, Marcos

    2011-01-01

    Zoos may play an important role in conservation when they maintain and breed large numbers of animals that are threatened with extinction. Bird conservation is in a privileged situation owing to the extensive biological information available about this class. Annual inventories produced by the "Sociedade de Zoológicos do Brasil" in the years 1981, 1990, 2000, and 2005 were analyzed. Variables, such as the number of zoos per geographic region; number of birds held; number of bird species in each IUCN threat category; number of exotic and native bird species; number of potentially breeding bird species; number of bird species in each order; and number of threatened bird species breeding, were analyzed. Brazilian zoos kept more than 350 bird species. The number of bird species and specimens held by the Brazilian Zoos increased from 1981 to 2000, but decreased in 2005. The same pattern was observed for the number of species in each IUCN threat category. Results showed that the potential of the Brazilian zoos in bird conservation needs to be enhanced because they maintain threatened species but do not implement systematic genetic, reproductive, or behavioral management protocols for most species. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  15. Information content and acoustic structure of male African elephant social rumbles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoeger, Angela S; Baotic, Anton

    2016-06-08

    Until recently, the prevailing theory about male African elephants (Loxodonta africana) was that, once adult and sexually mature, males are solitary and targeted only at finding estrous females. While this is true during the state of 'musth' (a condition characterized by aggressive behavior and elevated androgen levels), 'non-musth' males exhibit a social system seemingly based on companionship, dominance and established hierarchies. Research on elephant vocal communication has so far focused on females, and very little is known about the acoustic structure and the information content of male vocalizations. Using the source and filter theory approach, we analyzed social rumbles of 10 male African elephants. Our results reveal that male rumbles encode information about individuality and maturity (age and size), with formant frequencies and absolute fundamental frequency values having the most informative power. This first comprehensive study on male elephant vocalizations gives important indications on their potential functional relevance for male-male and male-female communication. Our results suggest that, similar to the highly social females, future research on male elephant vocal behavior will reveal a complex communication system in which social knowledge, companionship, hierarchy, reproductive competition and the need to communicate over long distances play key roles.

  16. 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.

  17. Fossilized melanosomes and the colour of Cretaceous dinosaurs and birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Fucheng; Kearns, Stuart L; Orr, Patrick J; Benton, Michael J; Zhou, Zhonghe; Johnson, Diane; Xu, Xing; Wang, Xiaolin

    2010-02-25

    Spectacular fossils from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Group of northeastern China have greatly expanded our knowledge of the diversity and palaeobiology of dinosaurs and early birds, and contributed to our understanding of the origin of birds, of flight, and of feathers. Pennaceous (vaned) feathers and integumentary filaments are preserved in birds and non-avian theropod dinosaurs, but little is known of their microstructure. Here we report that melanosomes (colour-bearing organelles) are not only preserved in the pennaceous feathers of early birds, but also in an identical manner in integumentary filaments of non-avian dinosaurs, thus refuting recent claims that the filaments are partially decayed dermal collagen fibres. Examples of both eumelanosomes and phaeomelanosomes have been identified, and they are often preserved in life position within the structure of partially degraded feathers and filaments. Furthermore, the data here provide empirical evidence for reconstructing the colours and colour patterning of these extinct birds and theropod dinosaurs: for example, the dark-coloured stripes on the tail of the theropod dinosaur Sinosauropteryx can reasonably be inferred to have exhibited chestnut to reddish-brown tones.

  18. Preemergence herbicides on weed control in elephant grass pasture

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    Alexandre Magno Brighenti

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum. is an important forage crop that has been proposed as a potential feedstock for bioenergy production. However, weed interference is a major factor limiting elephant grass production. Field experiments were conducted in 2014 and 2015 to evaluate preemergence herbicides for selective weed control in an elephant grass pasture. Herbicide treatments included atrazine + S-metolachlor, atrazine + simazine, ametryn, ethoxysulfuron, S-metolachlor, diuron + hexazinone, sulfentrazone, imazethapyr, and atrazine at label use rates. Weedy and weed-free treatments were included. Atrazine + S-metolachlor, atrazine + simazine, ametryn, ethoxysulfuron, S-metolachlor, sulfentrazone, and atrazine did not cause phytotoxicity on elephantgrass 35 days after treatment (DAT. However, diuron + hexazinone and imazethapyr were the most phytotoxic on elephantgrass, resulting in 81 and 70% phytotoxicity in 2014, and 7 and 6% phytotoxicity in 2015 respectively 35 DAT. All treatments provided effective weed control (>81% with the exception of ethoxysulfuron (0 and 11% in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and atrazine (59% in 2014. These results show that atrazine + S-metolachlor, atrazine + simazine, ametryn, ethoxysulfuron, S-metolachlor, sulfentrazone, and atrazine were selectives when applied in preemergence in elephant grass pasture.

  19. Demographic variables for wild Asian elephants using longitudinal observations.

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    Shermin de Silva

    Full Text Available Detailed demographic data on wild Asian elephants have been difficult to collect due to habitat characteristics of much of the species' remaining range. Such data, however, are critical for understanding and modeling population processes in this endangered species. We present data from six years of an ongoing study of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus in Uda Walawe National Park, Sri Lanka. This relatively undisturbed population numbering over one thousand elephants is individually monitored, providing cohort-based information on mortality and reproduction. Reproduction was seasonal, such that most births occurred during the long inter-monsoon dry season and peaked in May. During the study, the average age at first reproduction was 13.4 years and the 50(th percentile inter-birth interval was approximately 6 years. Birth sex ratios did not deviate significantly from parity. Fecundity was relatively stable throughout the observed reproductive life of an individual (ages 11-60, averaging between 0.13-0.17 female offspring per individual per year. Mortalities and injuries based on carcasses and disappearances showed that males were significantly more likely than females to be killed or injured through anthropogenic activity. Overall, however, most observed injuries did not appear to be fatal. This population exhibits higher fecundity and density relative to published estimates on other Asian elephant populations, possibly enhanced by present range constriction. Understanding the factors responsible for these demographic dynamics can shed insight on the future needs of this elephant population, with probable parallels to other populations in similar settings.

  20. Pandemic H1N1 influenza isolated from free-ranging Northern Elephant Seals in 2010 off the central California coast.

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    Tracey Goldstein

    Full Text Available Interspecies transmission of influenza A is an important factor in the evolution and ecology of influenza viruses. Marine mammals are in contact with a number of influenza reservoirs, including aquatic birds and humans, and this may facilitate transmission among avian and mammalian hosts. Virus isolation, whole genome sequencing, and hemagluttination inhibition assay confirmed that exposure to pandemic H1N1 influenza virus occurred among free-ranging Northern Elephant Seals (Mirounga angustirostris in 2010. Nasal swabs were collected from 42 adult female seals in April 2010, just after the animals had returned to the central California coast from their short post-breeding migration in the northeast Pacific. Swabs from two seals tested positive by RT-PCR for the matrix gene, and virus was isolated from each by inoculation into embryonic chicken eggs. Whole genome sequencing revealed greater than 99% homology with A/California/04/2009 (H1N1 that emerged in humans from swine in 2009. Analysis of more than 300 serum samples showed that samples collected early in 2010 (n = 100 were negative and by April animals began to test positive for antibodies against the pH1N1 virus (HI titer of ≥1∶40, supporting the molecular findings. In vitro characterizations studies revealed that viral replication was indistinguishable from that of reference strains of pH1N1 in canine kidney cells, but replication was inefficient in human epithelial respiratory cells, indicating these isolates may be elephant seal adapted viruses. Thus findings confirmed that exposure to pandemic H1N1 that was circulating in people in 2009 occurred among free-ranging Northern Elephant Seals in 2010 off the central California coast. This is the first report of pH1N1 (A/Elephant seal/California/1/2010 in any marine mammal and provides evidence for cross species transmission of influenza viruses in free-ranging wildlife and movement of influenza viruses between humans and wildlife.

  1. 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

  2. Recursion to food plants by free-ranging Bornean elephant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    English, Megan; Gillespie, Graeme; Goossens, Benoit; Ismail, Sulaiman; Ancrenaz, Marc; Linklater, Wayne

    2015-01-01

    Plant recovery rates after herbivory are thought to be a key factor driving recursion by herbivores to sites and plants to optimise resource-use but have not been investigated as an explanation for recursion in large herbivores. We investigated the relationship between plant recovery and recursion by elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis) in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Sabah. We identified 182 recently eaten food plants, from 30 species, along 14 × 50 m transects and measured their recovery growth each month over nine months or until they were re-browsed by elephants. The monthly growth in leaf and branch or shoot length for each plant was used to calculate the time required (months) for each species to recover to its pre-eaten length. Elephant returned to all but two transects with 10 eaten plants, a further 26 plants died leaving 146 plants that could be re-eaten. Recursion occurred to 58% of all plants and 12 of the 30 species. Seventy-seven percent of the re-eaten plants were grasses. Recovery times to all plants varied from two to twenty months depending on the species. Recursion to all grasses coincided with plant recovery whereas recursion to most browsed plants occurred four to twelve months before they had recovered to their previous length. The small sample size of many browsed plants that received recursion and uneven plant species distribution across transects limits our ability to generalise for most browsed species but a prominent pattern in plant-scale recursion did emerge. Plant recovery time was a good predictor of time to recursion but varied as a function of growth form (grass, ginger, palm, liana and woody) and differences between sites. Time to plant recursion coincided with plant recovery time for the elephant's preferred food, grasses, and perhaps also gingers, but not the other browsed species. Elephants are bulk feeders so it is likely that they time their returns to bulk feed on these grass species when quantities have

  3. Diet and prey availability of terrestrial insectivorous birds prone to extinction in amazonian forest fragments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luiz Augusto Macedo Mestre

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available This study compared niche breath, prey size, and diet variability in two pairs of sympatric species of terrestrial insectivorous birds, each pair containing one species that can persist in small forest fragments and one that does not. The pairs were Myrmeciza ferruginea and Sclerurus rufigularis; and Formicarius colma and F. analis, respectively. The prey availability in forest fragments was also sampled and compared to the availability in continuous forests. Niche breath indices did not differ between pair members, but diet variability differed in the opposite direction from that hypothesized. Although the two bird species most vulnerable to fragmentation fed on larger prey than less vulnerable species, prey availability, including that based on prey size did not differ among fragmented versus continuous forest sites. Thus, diet per se appeared not to be an important cause of extinction-proneness in these species. The simplest explanation proposed, that vulnerability to fragmentation was directly related to territory size, requires testing. However, it was consistent with observations that the bird species feeding on larger prey also need larger territories.Dieta e disponibilidade de presas de aves insetívoras terrestres em fragmentos florestais amazônicos. As aves insetívoras terrestres são um dos grupos mais vulneráveis à fragmentação de florestas tropicais; no entanto algumas espécies desta guilda ainda sobrevivem em fragmentos florestais e em florestas secundárias. Se a sensibilidade destas aves à fragmentação de florestas estivesse associada à dieta, então espécies com a dieta relativamente flexível teriam maior propensão em persistir nos fragmentos florestais. Este estudo comparou sobreposição trófica, amplitude de nicho, tamanho de presas e variabilidade de dieta de dois pares de espécies de aves insetívoras terrestres, onde cada par foi composto por uma espécie que persiste nos fragmentos e outra que n

  4. Tuberculosis serosurveillance and management practices of captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosen, L E; Hanyire, T G; Dawson, J; Foggin, C M; Michel, A L; Huyvaert, K P; Miller, M A; Olea-Popelka, F J

    2018-04-01

    Transfrontier conservation areas represent an international effort to encourage conservation and sustainable development. Their success faces a number of challenges, including disease management in wildlife, livestock and humans. Tuberculosis (TB) affects humans and a multitude of non-human animal species and is of particular concern in sub-Saharan Africa. The Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area encompasses five countries, including Zimbabwe, and is home to the largest contiguous population of free-ranging elephants in Africa. Elephants are known to be susceptible to TB; thus, understanding TB status, exposure and transmission risks to and from elephants in this area is of interest for both conservation and human health. To assess risk factors for TB seroprevalence, a questionnaire was used to collect data regarding elephant management at four ecotourism facilities offering elephant-back tourist rides in the Victoria Falls area of Zimbabwe. Thirty-five working African elephants were screened for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex antibodies using the ElephantTB Stat-Pak and the DPP VetTB Assay for elephants. Six of 35 elephants (17.1%) were seropositive. The risk factor most important for seropositive status was time in captivity. This is the first study to assess TB seroprevalence and risk factors in working African elephants in their home range. Our findings will provide a foundation to develop guidelines to protect the health of captive and free-ranging elephants in the southern African context, as well as elephant handlers through simple interventions. Minimizing exposure through shared feed with other wildlife, routine TB testing of elephant handlers and regular serological screening of elephants are recommended as preventive measures. © 2017 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

  5. 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.

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

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    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.

  7. Prospects for managing African elephant population growth by immunocontraception: a review

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Perdok, A.A.; Boer, de W.F.; Stout, T.A.E.

    2007-01-01

    Immunocontraception has been proposed as a tool for managing African elephant populations threatening to. 'outgrow' a wildlife reserve. To date, however, the only immunocontraceptive technique tested on elephant cows is porcine zona pellucida (pZP) vaccination, in which solubilized pZP is injected

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. A survey of elephant husbandry and foot health in North American zoos.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, Karen D; Shepherdson, David J; Owens, Terrah M; Keele, Mike

    2010-01-01

    The foot health of elephants in human care is a longstanding concern. In 2001, the AZA Standards for Elephant Management and Care were published recommending husbandry to improve foot health. This article reports the results of a 2006 survey: basic statistics describing facility, husbandry, and foot health attributes are reported and relationships among variables are investigated. Median area available to elephants exceeded Standard recommendations (755 ft(2) per elephant indoor and 10,000 ft(2) outdoor). Concrete makes up 69% of indoor area and natural substrates account for 85% of outdzoor area. Elephants in AZA facilities received an average of 45.5 min/day of exercise, and facilities with a structured exercise plan provided significantly more exercise than did facilities without a structured exercise plan (z=-2.522, P=0.012). Enrichment is important to psychological health and may also stimulate activity beneficial to foot health; 95% of institutions had a structured enrichment program. Preventative foot care was nearly universal, and 100% of facilities performed routine nail and pad trimming. However, foot pathology has not been eradicated; 33% of institutions reported at least one pathology in the previous year. This study found a strong inverse relationship between foot pathology and exercise (chi(2)(3)=24.34, Pelephants seemed to experience lower rates of foot pathology and arthritis than Asian elephants; however, this was explained by differences in age.

  11. Are hills like white elephants?

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    Sunil Sharma

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available 'Are Hills Like White Elephants?' is, of course, inspired by Hemingway; the tribute reflects on the abiding relevance of serious art in a changed world and extends the boundaries of his message to other human situations.

  12. Knowledge management and the elephant

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Marcus, G.H.

    2004-01-01

    Full text: I am pleased that NEA is a sponsor of this important conference and that I have been given the opportunity to welcome all of you on behalf of NEA. Knowledge management has been a personal interest of mine for some time now, and I have been gratified to see the increasing interest in this area. This international conference is therefore most timely, and by drawing in experts from across the spectrum of knowledge management, has the potential to help integrate different aspects of this field, and thereby help chart its future course. I would like to try to set the stage for your meeting by posing a few issues that I hope you will consider during the course of this conference.1 Discussing knowledge management sometimes reminds me a little of the parable of the blind men and the elephant - or, if I may be politically correct, of the visually challenged people and the elephant. In this story, a number of sightless men approach an elephant and touch it in different places. 'Ah,' says the first, who is touching the elephant's massive leg, 'An elephant looks like a tree.' 'No,' objects the second, who is holding the ear, 'The elephant is clearly like a giant fan.' 'Come, come,' chides a third, who has grabbed the elephant by its trunk, 'The elephant most resembles a snake.' Others, touching the side of the animal conclude it is like a wall, or feeling the tusk believe it resembles a spear, or grasping the tail likens it to a rope.2 Likewise, in my discussions on knowledge management (KM), I come away with a sense that different nuclear communities have somewhat different perceptions of what it is, and therefore, of what the issues or problems are. For educators, KM is education, and the most important need is to develop the right academic courses to train the next generation of nuclear professionals. Corporate management sees KM in terms of its strategic market advantages, and considers the passing on of corporate knowledge a major need. In some parts of the

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

    OpenAIRE

    E.J. Raubenheimer

    2000-01-01

    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 case...

  14. Causes and correlates of calf mortality in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Khyne U Mar

    Full Text Available Juvenile mortality is a key factor influencing population growth rate in density-independent, predation-free, well-managed captive populations. Currently at least a quarter of all Asian elephants live in captivity, but both the wild and captive populations are unsustainable with the present fertility and calf mortality rates. Despite the need for detailed data on calf mortality to manage effectively populations and to minimize the need for capture from the wild, very little is known of the causes and correlates of calf mortality in Asian elephants. Here we use the world's largest multigenerational demographic dataset on a semi-captive population of Asian elephants compiled from timber camps in Myanmar to investigate the survival of calves (n = 1020 to age five born to captive-born mothers (n = 391 between 1960 and 1999. Mortality risk varied significantly across different ages and was higher for males at any age. Maternal reproductive history was associated with large differences in both stillbirth and liveborn mortality risk: first-time mothers had a higher risk of calf loss as did mothers producing another calf soon (<3.7 years after a previous birth, and when giving birth at older age. Stillbirth (4% and pre-weaning mortality (25.6% were considerably lower than those reported for zoo elephants and used in published population viability analyses. A large proportion of deaths were caused by accidents and lack of maternal milk/calf weakness which both might be partly preventable by supplementary feeding of mothers and calves and work reduction of high-risk mothers. Our results on Myanmar timber elephants with an extensive keeping system provide an important comparison to compromised survivorship reported in zoo elephants. They have implications for improving captive working elephant management systems in range countries and for refining population viability analyses with realistic parameter values in order to predict future population

  15. Chemical composition of elephant grass silages supplemented with different levels of dehydrated cashew bagasse

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    Danillo Glaydson Farias Guerra

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available The objective of the present study was to evaluate the chemical composition of elephant grass silages supplemented with different levels dried cashew bagasse (DCB. Our experiment used a randomized design replicated four times, each replicate consisting of the following five treatments: 100% elephant grass; 95% elephant grass + 5% DCB; 90% elephant grass + 10% DCB; 85% elephant grass + 15% DCB; and 80% elephant grass + 20% DCB. The elephant grass was cut manually to a residual height of 5 cm at 80 days of age, and cashew bagasse was obtained from the processing of cashew stalks used in fruit pulp manufacturing in Mossoró/RN. Plastic buckets were used as experimental silos, and 90 days after ensiling the experimental silos were opened and the contents analyzed. The addition of dried cashew bagasse to silage linearly increased the levels of dried matter and crude protein by 0.59% and 0.13%, respectively, for each 1% addition (P < 0.05. The neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent content of the silages was reduced by 0.22% and 0.09%, respectively, for each 1% addition of the bagasse. The total carbohydrate content was not influenced by the bagasse addition (P > 0.05, and averaged 82.29%. The levels of non-fiber carbohydrate showed linear growth (P < 0.05 as the dehydrated cashew bagasse was added, and pH and ammoniacal nitrogen levels were reduced. The addition of the dehydrated bagasse to elephant grass silage improves its chemical composition, and it can be effectively added up to the level of 20%.

  16. The dynamics of social networks among female Asian elephants

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    de Silva Shermin

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Patterns in the association of individuals can shed light on the underlying conditions and processes that shape societies. Here we characterize patterns of association in a population of wild Asian Elephants at Uda Walawe National Park in Sri Lanka. We observed 286 individually-identified adult female elephants over 20 months and examined their social dynamics at three levels of organization: pairs of individuals (dyads, small sets of direct companions (ego-networks, and the population level (complete networks. Results Corroborating previous studies of this and other Asian elephant populations, we find that the sizes of elephant groups observed in the field on any particular day are typically small and that rates of association are low. In contrast to earlier studies, our longitudinal observations reveal that individuals form larger social units that can be remarkably stable across years while associations among such units change across seasons. Association rates tend to peak in dry seasons as opposed to wet seasons, with some cyclicity at the level of dyads. In addition, we find that individuals vary substantially in their fidelity to companions. At the ego-network level, we find that despite these fluctuations, individuals associate with a pool of long-term companions. At the population level, social networks do not exhibit any clear seasonal structure or hierarchical stratification. Conclusions This detailed longitudinal study reveals different social dynamics at different levels of organization. Taken together, these results demonstrate that low association rates, seemingly small group sizes, and fission-fusion grouping behavior mask hidden stability in the extensive and fluid social affiliations in this population of Asian elephants.

  17. Patterns and Determinants of Habitat Occupancy by the Asian Elephant in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Devcharan Jathanna

    Full Text Available Understanding species distribution patterns has direct ramifications for the conservation of endangered species, such as the Asian elephant Elephas maximus. However, reliable assessment of elephant distribution is handicapped by factors such as the large spatial scales of field studies, survey expertise required, the paucity of analytical approaches that explicitly account for confounding observation processes such as imperfect and variable detectability, unequal sampling probability and spatial dependence among animal detections. We addressed these problems by carrying out 'detection--non-detection' surveys of elephant signs across a c. 38,000-km(2 landscape in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India. We analyzed the resulting sign encounter data using a recently developed modeling approach that explicitly addresses variable detectability across space and spatially dependent non-closure of occupancy, across sampling replicates. We estimated overall occupancy, a parameter useful to monitoring elephant populations, and examined key ecological and anthropogenic drivers of elephant presence. Our results showed elephants occupied 13,483 km(2 (SE = 847 km(2 corresponding to 64% of the available 21,167 km(2 of elephant habitat in the study landscape, a useful baseline to monitor future changes. Replicate-level detection probability ranged between 0.56 and 0.88, and ignoring it would have underestimated elephant distribution by 2116 km(2 or 16%. We found that anthropogenic factors predominated over natural habitat attributes in determining elephant occupancy, underscoring the conservation need to regulate them. Human disturbances affected elephant habitat occupancy as well as site-level detectability. Rainfall is not an important limiting factor in this relatively humid bioclimate. Finally, we discuss cost-effective monitoring of Asian elephant populations and the specific spatial scales at which different population parameters can be estimated. We

  18. Avian malaria Plasmodium relictum in native Hawaiian forest birds: epizootiology and demographic impacts on ‵apapane Himatione sanguinea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atkinson, Carter T.; Samuel, Michael D.

    2010-01-01

    The role of introduced avian malaria Plasmodium relictum in the decline and extinction of native Hawaiian forest birds has become a classic example of the potential effect of invasive diseases on biological diversity of naïve populations. However, empirical evidence describing the impact of avian malaria on fitness of Hawai‵i's endemic forest birds is limited, making it difficult to determine the importance of disease among the suite of potential limiting factors affecting the distribution and abundance of this threatened avifauna. We combined epidemiological force-of-infection with multistate capture––recapture models to evaluate a 7-year longitudinal study of avian malaria in ‵apapane, a relatively common native honeycreeper within mid-elevation Hawaiian forests. We found that malaria transmission was seasonal in this mid-elevation forest; transmission peaked during fall and during some years produced epizootic mortality events. Estimated annual mortality of hatch-year birds typically exceeded 50% and mortality of adults exceeded 25% during epizootics. The substantial impact of avian malaria on this relatively common native species demonstrates the key role this disease has played in the decline and extinction of Hawaiian forest birds.

  19. 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

  20. Low ecological disparity in Early Cretaceous birds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitchell, Jonathan S.; Makovicky, Peter J.

    2014-01-01

    Ecological divergence is thought to be coupled with evolutionary radiations, yet the strength of this coupling is unclear. When birds diversified ecologically has received much less attention than their hotly debated crown divergence time. Here, we quantify how accurately skeletal morphology can predict ecology in living and extinct birds, and show that the earliest known assemblage of birds (= pygostylians) from the Jehol Biota (≈ 125 Ma) was substantially impoverished ecologically. The Jehol avifauna has few representatives of highly preservable ecomorphs (e.g. aquatic forms) and a notable lack of ecomorphological overlap with the pterosaur assemblage (e.g. no large or aerially foraging pygostylians). Comparisons of the Jehol functional diversity with modern and subfossil avian assemblages show that taphonomic bias alone cannot explain the ecomorphological impoverishment. However, evolutionary simulations suggest that the constrained ecological diversity of the Early Cretaceous pygostylians is consistent with what is expected from a relatively young radiation. Regardless of the proximate biological explanation, the anomalously low functional diversity of the Jehol birds is evidence both for ecological vacancies in Cretaceous ecosystems, which were subsequently filled by the radiation of crown Aves, and for discordance between taxonomic richness and ecological diversity in the best-known Mesozoic ecosystem. PMID:24870044

  1. Runx family genes in a cartilaginous fish, the elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Giselle Sek Suan Nah

    Full Text Available The Runx family genes encode transcription factors that play key roles in hematopoiesis, skeletogenesis and neurogenesis and are often implicated in diseases. We describe here the cloning and characterization of Runx1, Runx2, Runx3 and Runxb genes in the elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii, a member of Chondrichthyes, the oldest living group of jawed vertebrates. Through the use of alternative promoters and/or alternative splicing, each of the elephant shark Runx genes expresses multiple isoforms similar to their orthologs in human and other bony vertebrates. The expression profiles of elephant shark Runx genes are similar to those of mammalian Runx genes. The syntenic blocks of genes at the elephant shark Runx gene loci are highly conserved in human, but represented by shorter conserved blocks in zebrafish indicating a higher degree of rearrangements in this teleost fish. Analysis of promoter regions revealed conservation of binding sites for transcription factors, including two tandem binding sites for Runx that are totally conserved in the distal promoter regions of elephant shark Runx1-3. Several conserved noncoding elements (CNEs, which are putative cis-regulatory elements, and miRNA binding sites were identified in the elephant shark and human Runx gene loci. Some of these CNEs and miRNA binding sites are absent in teleost fishes such as zebrafish and fugu. In summary, our analysis reveals that the genomic organization and expression profiles of Runx genes were already complex in the common ancestor of jawed vertebrates.

  2. Elephant trunk in a small-calibre true lumen for chronic aortic dissection: cause of haemolytic anaemia?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Araki, Haruna; Kitamura, Tadashi; Horai, Tetsuya; Shibata, Ko; Miyaji, Kagami

    2014-12-01

    The elephant trunk technique for aortic dissection is useful for reducing false lumen pressure; however, a folded vascular prosthesis inside the aorta can cause haemolysis. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether an elephant trunk in a small-calibre lumen can cause haemolysis. Inpatient and outpatient records were retrospectively reviewed. Two cases of haemolytic anaemia after aortic surgery using the elephant trunk technique were identified from 2011 to 2013. A 64-year-old man, who underwent graft replacement of the ascending aorta for acute Stanford type A aortic dissection, presented with enlargement of the chronic dissection of the descending aorta and moderate aortic regurgitation. A two-stage surgery was scheduled. Total arch replacement with an elephant trunk in the true lumen and concomitant aortic valve replacement were performed. Postoperatively, he developed severe haemolytic anaemia because of the folded elephant trunk. The anaemia improved after the second surgery, including graft replacement of the descending aorta. Similarly, a 61-year-old man, who underwent total arch replacement for acute Stanford type A aortic dissection, presented with enlargement of the chronic dissection of the descending aorta. Graft replacement of the descending aorta with an elephant trunk inserted into the true lumen was performed. The patient postoperatively developed haemolytic anaemia because of the folded elephant trunk, which improved after additional stent grafting into the elephant trunk. A folded elephant trunk in a small-calibre lumen can cause haemolysis. Therefore, inserting an elephant trunk in a small-calibre true lumen during surgery for chronic aortic dissection should be avoided. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. All rights reserved.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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. Rates of morphological evolution are heterogeneous in Early Cretaceous birds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lloyd, Graeme T.

    2016-01-01

    The Early Cretaceous is a critical interval in the early history of birds. Exceptional fossils indicate that important evolutionary novelties such as a pygostyle and a keeled sternum had already arisen in Early Cretaceous taxa, bridging much of the morphological gap between Archaeopteryx and crown birds. However, detailed features of basal bird evolution remain obscure because of both the small sample of fossil taxa previously considered and a lack of quantitative studies assessing rates of morphological evolution. Here we apply a recently available phylogenetic method and associated sensitivity tests to a large data matrix of morphological characters to quantify rates of morphological evolution in Early Cretaceous birds. Our results reveal that although rates were highly heterogeneous between different Early Cretaceous avian lineages, consistent patterns of significantly high or low rates were harder to pinpoint. Nevertheless, evidence for accelerated evolutionary rates is strongest at the point when Ornithuromorpha (the clade comprises all extant birds and descendants from their most recent common ancestors) split from Enantiornithes (a diverse clade that went extinct at the end-Cretaceous), consistent with the hypothesis that this key split opened up new niches and ultimately led to greater diversity for these two dominant clades of Mesozoic birds. PMID:27053742

  5. International trade of CITES listed bird species in China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Linlin; Jiang, Zhigang

    2014-01-01

    Commercial trade of wild birds may devastate wild bird populations. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) controls the trade of wild species listed in its appendices to avoid these species being threatened by international trade. China used to be one of the major trading countries with significant bird trade with foreign countries; on the other hand, China is a country with unique avian fauna, many Important Bird Areas and critically endangered bird species. What is the role of the country in world wild bird trade? What kind of insights can we extract from trade records for improving future management of wild bird trade in the country? We retrieved and analyzed international trade records of the CITES listed bird species of China from 1981 to 2010 from the CITES Trade Database maintained by United Nations Environment Program and World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). We found that: (1) International trade of live birds in China peaked during the late 1990s, then decreased to the level before the surge of trade in a few years, the trade dynamics of wild birds may be affected by governmental policy and the outbreak of avian influenza during the period. (2) Most frequently traded CITES Appendix listed birds in China were parrots, most of which were exotic species to the country. (3) Birds were mainly traded for commercial purpose. Exotic birds in trade were mainly captive-bred while the most Chinese birds traded internationally were captured from the wild. Since many bird species in international trade are threatened to extinction, China should take stricter measures on importing of wild-captured birds and should collaborate with the countries of original in the international bird trade to avoid unsustainable harvesting of wild birds. It is urgent for China to carry out population surveys on those domestic bird species once in significant international trade and to make better conservation decisions based on

  6. International Trade of CITES Listed Bird Species in China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Linlin; Jiang, Zhigang

    2014-01-01

    Commercial trade of wild birds may devastate wild bird populations. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) controls the trade of wild species listed in its appendices to avoid these species being threatened by international trade. China used to be one of the major trading countries with significant bird trade with foreign countries; on the other hand, China is a country with unique avian fauna, many Important Bird Areas and critically endangered bird species. What is the role of the country in world wild bird trade? What kind of insights can we extract from trade records for improving future management of wild bird trade in the country? We retrieved and analyzed international trade records of the CITES listed bird species of China from 1981 to 2010 from the CITES Trade Database maintained by United Nations Environment Program and World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). We found that: (1) International trade of live birds in China peaked during the late 1990s, then decreased to the level before the surge of trade in a few years, the trade dynamics of wild birds may be affected by governmental policy and the outbreak of avian influenza during the period. (2) Most frequently traded CITES Appendix listed birds in China were parrots, most of which were exotic species to the country. (3) Birds were mainly traded for commercial purpose. Exotic birds in trade were mainly captive-bred while the most Chinese birds traded internationally were captured from the wild. Since many bird species in international trade are threatened to extinction, China should take stricter measures on importing of wild-captured birds and should collaborate with the countries of original in the international bird trade to avoid unsustainable harvesting of wild birds. It is urgent for China to carry out population surveys on those domestic bird species once in significant international trade and to make better conservation decisions based on

  7. Do elephants need to sweat?

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    (1936) measured a daily water intake of about ISO f by his elephant of 3 672 kg under cool ... the edge and the remaining tissue is stiffened by outwardly directed delicate fIngers of .... sity Council for fInancial assistance. Figure 3 (upper) is ...

  8. 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

  9. A Phororhacoid bird from the Eocene of Africa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mourer-Chauviré, Cécile; Tabuce, Rodolphe; Mahboubi, M'hammed; Adaci, Mohammed; Bensalah, Mustapha

    2011-10-01

    The bird fossil record is globally scarce in Africa. The early Tertiary evolution of terrestrial birds is virtually unknown in that continent. Here, we report on a femur of a large terrestrial new genus discovered from the early or early middle Eocene (between ˜52 and 46 Ma) of south-western Algeria. This femur shows all the morphological features of the Phororhacoidea, the so-called Terror Birds. Most of the phororhacoids were indeed large, or even gigantic, flightless predators or scavengers with no close modern analogs. It is likely that this extinct group originated in South America, where they are known from the late Paleocene to the late Pleistocene (˜59 to 0.01 Ma). The presence of a phororhacoid bird in Africa cannot be explained by a vicariant mechanism because these birds first appeared in South America well after the onset of the mid-Cretaceous Gondwana break up (˜100 million years old). Here, we propose two hypotheses to account for this occurrence, either an early dispersal of small members of this group, which were still able of a limited flight, or a transoceanic migration of flightless birds from South America to Africa during the Paleocene or earliest Eocene. Paleogeographic reconstructions of the South Atlantic Ocean suggest the existence of several islands of considerable size between South America and Africa during the early Tertiary, which could have helped a transatlantic dispersal of phororhacoids.

  10. PROPOSED SIMPLE METHOD FOR ELECTROCARDIOGRAM RECORDING IN FREE-RANGING ASIAN ELEPHANTS (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chai, Norin; Pouchelon, Jean Louis; Bouvard, Jonathan; Sillero, Leonor Camacho; Huynh, Minh; Segalini, Vincent; Point, Lisa; Croce, Veronica; Rigaux, Goulven; Highwood, Jack; Chetboul, Valérie

    2016-03-01

    Electrocardiography represents a relevant diagnostic tool for detecting cardiac disease in animals. Elephants can present various congenital and acquired cardiovascular diseases. However, few electrophysiologic studies have been reported in captive elephants, mainly due to challenging technical difficulties in obtaining good-quality electrocardiogram (ECG) tracings, and no data are currently available for free-ranging Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). The purpose of this pilot prospective study was to evaluate the feasibility of using a simple method for recording ECG tracings in wild, apparently healthy, unsedated Asian elephants (n = 7) in the standing position. Successful six-lead recordings (I, II, III, aVR, aVL, and aVF) were obtained, with the aVL lead providing the best-quality tracings in most animals. Variables measured in the aVL lead included heart rate, amplitudes and duration of the P waves, QRS complexes, T and U waves, and duration of the PR, QT, and QU intervals. A negative deflection following positive P waves, representative of an atrial repolarization wave (Ta wave), was observed for five out of the seven elephants.

  11. The Effects of Urban Sprawl on Birds at Multiple Levels of Biological Organization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert Blair

    2004-12-01

    Full Text Available Urban sprawl affects the environment in myriad ways and at multiple levels of biological organization. In this paper I explore the effects of sprawl on native bird communities by comparing the occurrence of birds along gradients of urban land use in southwestern Ohio and northern California and by examining patterns at the individual, species, community, landscape, and continental levels. I do this by assessing the distribution and abundance of all bird species occupying sites of differing land-use intensity in Ohio and California. Additionally, I conducted predation experiments using artificial nests, tracked the nest fate of American Robins and Northern Cardinals, and assessed land cover in these sites. At the individual level, predation on artificial nests decreased with urbanization; however, this trend was not reflected in the nesting success of robins and cardinals, which did not increase with urbanization. At the species level, sprawl affected local patterns of extinction and invasion; the density of different species peaked at different levels of urbanization. At the community level, species richness and diversity peaked at moderate levels of urbanization, and the number of low-nesting species and of species with multiple broods increased with urbanization. The community-level results may reflect both the species-level patterns of local extinction and invasion as well as broader landscape-level patterns. At the landscape level, a linear combination of spatial heterogeneity and density of woody patches accurately predicted both species richness and Shannon Diversity. At the continental level, local extinction of endemic species, followed by the invasion of ubiquitous weedy species, leads to faunal homogenization between ecoregions.

  12. Usual populations, unusual individuals: insights into the behavior and management of Asian elephants in fragmented landscapes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nishant M Srinivasaiah

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: A dearth in understanding the behavior of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus at the scale of populations and individuals has left important management issues, particularly related to human-elephant conflict (HEC, unresolved. Evaluation of differences in behavior and decision-making among individual elephants across groups in response to changing local ecological settings is essential to fill this gap in knowledge and to improve our approaches towards the management and conservation of elephants. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We hypothesized certain behavioral decisions that would be made by Asian elephants as reflected in their residence time and movement rates, time-activity budgets, social interactions and group dynamics in response to resource availability and human disturbance in their habitat. This study is based on 200 h of behavioral observations on 60 individually identified elephants and a 184-km(2 grid-based survey of their natural and anthropogenic habitats within and outside the Bannerghatta National Park, southern India during the dry season. At a general population level, the behavioral decisions appeared to be guided by the gender, age and group-type of the elephants. At the individual level, the observed variation could be explained only by the idiosyncratic behaviors of individuals and that of their associating conspecific individuals. Recursive partitioning classification trees for residence time of individual elephants indicated that the primary decisions were taken by individuals, independently of their above-mentioned biological and ecological attributes. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Decision-making by Asian elephants thus appears to be determined at two levels, that of the population and, more importantly, the individual. Models based on decision-making by individual elephants have the potential to predict conflict in fragmented landscapes that, in turn, could aid in mitigating HEC. Thus, we must target individuals

  13. Generation and characterization of antibodies against Asian elephant (Elephas maximus IgG, IgM, and IgA.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alan F Humphreys

    Full Text Available Asian elephant (Elephas maximus immunity is poorly characterized and understood. This gap in knowledge is particularly concerning as Asian elephants are an endangered species threatened by a newly discovered herpesvirus known as elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV, which is the leading cause of death for captive Asian elephants born after 1980 in North America. While reliable diagnostic assays have been developed to detect EEHV DNA, serological assays to evaluate elephant anti-EEHV antibody responses are lacking and will be needed for surveillance and epidemiological studies and also for evaluating potential treatments or vaccines against lethal EEHV infection. Previous studies have shown that Asian elephants produce IgG in serum, but they failed to detect IgM and IgA, further hampering development of informative serological assays for this species. To begin to address this issue, we determined the constant region genomic sequence of Asian elephant IgM and obtained some limited protein sequence information for putative serum IgA. The information was used to generate or identify specific commercial antisera reactive against IgM and IgA isotypes. In addition, we generated a monoclonal antibody against Asian elephant IgG. These three reagents were used to demonstrate that all three immunoglobulin isotypes are found in Asian elephant serum and milk and to detect antibody responses following tetanus toxoid booster vaccination or antibodies against a putative EEHV structural protein. The results indicate that these new reagents will be useful for developing sensitive and specific assays to detect and characterize elephant antibody responses for any pathogen or vaccine, including EEHV.

  14. Osedax borings in fossil marine bird bones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kiel, Steffen; Kahl, Wolf-Achim; Goedert, James L.

    2011-01-01

    The bone-eating marine annelid Osedax consumes mainly whale bones on the deep-sea floor, but recent colonization experiments with cow bones and molecular age estimates suggesting a possible Cretaceous origin of Osedax indicate that this worm might be able grow on a wider range of substrates. The suggested Cretaceous origin was thought to imply that Osedax could colonize marine reptile or fish bones, but there is currently no evidence that Osedax consumes bones other than those of mammals. We provide the first evidence that Osedax was, and most likely still is, able to consume non-mammalian bones, namely bird bones. Borings resembling those produced by living Osedax were found in bones of early Oligocene marine flightless diving birds (family Plotopteridae). The species that produced these boreholes had a branching filiform root that grew to a length of at least 3 mm, and lived in densities of up to 40 individuals per square centimeter. The inclusion of bird bones into the diet of Osedax has interesting implications for the recent suggestion of a Cretaceous origin of this worm because marine birds have existed continuously since the Cretaceous. Bird bones could have enabled this worm to survive times in the Earth's history when large marine vertebrates other than fish were rare, specifically after the disappearance of large marine reptiles at the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event and before the rise of whales in the Eocene.

  15. A Protection plan of wildlife in a danger of extinction

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lee, Sang Don; Park, Yong Ha; Suh, Jung Soo [Korea Environment Institute, Seoul (Korea)

    1998-12-01

    This report collected data on the present situation of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, insects, invertebrates, and 43 kinds of plants, which is in a danger of extinction, and their habitat, by the article 2 of 1998 Natural Environmental Conservation Act, as a part of 'Establishment of Biological diversity strategy'. This will utilize as a basic data for protection management to establish the recovery plan for each species. 358 refs., 43 figs., 3 tabs.

  16. Stress and body condition are associated with climate and demography in Asian elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Hannah S; Mar, Khyne U; Thitaram, Chatchote; Courtiol, Alexandre; Towiboon, Patcharapa; Min-Oo, Zaw; Htut-Aung, Ye; Brown, Janine L; Lummaa, Virpi

    2015-01-01

    Establishing links between ecological variation, physiological markers of stress and demography is crucial for understanding how and why changes in environmental conditions affect population dynamics, and may also play a key role for conservation efforts of endangered species. However, detailed longitudinal studies of long-lived species are rarely available. We test how two markers of stress and body condition vary through the year and are associated with climatic conditions and large-scale mortality and fertility variation in the world's largest semi-captive population of Asian elephants employed in the timber industry in Myanmar. Glucocorticoid metabolites (used as a proxy for stress levels in 75 elephants) and body weight (used as a proxy for condition in 116 elephants) were monitored monthly across a typical monsoon cycle and compared with birth and death patterns of the entire elephant population over half a century (n = 2350). Our results show seasonal variation in both markers of stress and condition. In addition, this variation is correlated with population-level demographic variables. Weight is inversely correlated with population mortality rates 1 month later, and glucocorticoid metabolites are negatively associated with birth rates. Weight shows a highly positive correlation with rainfall 1 month earlier. Determining the factors associated with demography may be key to species conservation by providing information about the correlates of mortality and fertility patterns. The unsustainability of the studied captive population has meant that wild elephants have been captured and tamed for work. By elucidating the correlates of demography in captive elephants, our results offer management solutions that could reduce the pressure on the wild elephant population in Myanmar.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Being stressed outside the park — conservation of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Namibia

    OpenAIRE

    Hunninck, Louis; Ringstad, Iris; Jackson, Craig Ryan; May, Roelof Frans; Fossøy, Frode; Uiseb, Kenneth; Killian, Werner; Røskaft, Eivin

    2017-01-01

    The conservation of the African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) is of prime importance for many African countries. Interactions between elephants and humans are known to induce stress and thereby have the potential to affect elephants’ fitness. In Namibia, anthropogenic disturbances are increasing due to increasing human population size and development, particularly near protected areas, such as national parks. In this study, we investigated elephant stress levels in relation to their l...

  20. Dodo-Bird or Dressing Up the Pig and the Politics of Psychotherapy: A Reply to Vandenberghe and de Sousa (2005)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cautilli, Joseph

    2006-01-01

    It is fitting that the concept of all having one and having prizes is attributed to the Dodo-Bird. The dodo was a flightless bird. In shape and form it was similar to the modern turkey. The dodo was native to Mauritius, where it lived for thousands of years before domestic animals brought to Mauritius hunted it to extinction. The last live…

  1. Elephant reproduction: improvement of breeding efficiency and development of a breeding strategy

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Thitaram, C.

    2009-01-01

    The efficiency of reproduction of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) has become of major concern. Captive breeding programs worldwide have met with limited success and few ex situ elephant populations are self-sustaining. The low birth rate and high mortality cause the captive population to

  2. Long-distance translocations to create a second millerbird population and reduce extinction risk

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holly Freifeld,; Sheldon Plentovich,; Chris Farmer,; Charles Kohley,; Peter Luscomb,; Work, Thierry M.; Daniel Tsukayama,; George Wallace,; Mark MacDonald,; Sheila Conant,

    2016-01-01

    Translocation is a conservation tool used with increasing frequency to create additional populations of threatened species. In addition to following established general guidelines for translocations, detailed planning to account for unique circumstances and intensive post-release monitoring to document outcomes and guide management are essential components of these projects. Recent translocation of the critically endangered Nihoa millerbird (Acrocephalus familiaris kingi) provides an example of this planning and monitoring. The Nihoa millerbird is a passerine bird endemic to Nihoa Island in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The closely related, ecologically similar Laysan millerbird (Acrocephalus familiaris familiaris) went extinct on Laysan Island in the early 20th century when the island was denuded by introduced rabbits. To reduce extinction risk, we translocated 50 adult Nihoa millerbirds more than 1000 km by sea to Laysan, which has recovered substantially in the past century and has ample habitat and a rich prey-base for millerbirds. Following five years of intensive background research and planning, including development of husbandry techniques, fundraising, and regulatory compliance, translocations occurred in 2011 and 2012. Of 11 females in each cohort, 8 (2011 cohort) and 11 (2012 cohort) produced at least one brood of fledglings during their first year on Laysan. At the conclusion of monitoring in September 2014, 37 of the translocated birds were known to survive, and the population was estimated at 164 birds. The reintroduction of millerbirds to Laysan represents a milestone in the island's ongoing restoration.

  3. Extinction risk is most acute for the world's largest and smallest vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ripple, William J; Wolf, Christopher; Newsome, Thomas M; Hoffmann, Michael; Wirsing, Aaron J; McCauley, Douglas J

    2017-10-03

    Extinction risk in vertebrates has been linked to large body size, but this putative relationship has only been explored for select taxa, with variable results. Using a newly assembled and taxonomically expansive database, we analyzed the relationships between extinction risk and body mass (27,647 species) and between extinction risk and range size (21,294 species) for vertebrates across six main classes. We found that the probability of being threatened was positively and significantly related to body mass for birds, cartilaginous fishes, and mammals. Bimodal relationships were evident for amphibians, reptiles, and bony fishes. Most importantly, a bimodal relationship was found across all vertebrates such that extinction risk changes around a body mass breakpoint of 0.035 kg, indicating that the lightest and heaviest vertebrates have elevated extinction risk. We also found range size to be an important predictor of the probability of being threatened, with strong negative relationships across nearly all taxa. A review of the drivers of extinction risk revealed that the heaviest vertebrates are most threatened by direct killing by humans. By contrast, the lightest vertebrates are most threatened by habitat loss and modification stemming especially from pollution, agricultural cropping, and logging. Our results offer insight into halting the ongoing wave of vertebrate extinctions by revealing the vulnerability of large and small taxa, and identifying size-specific threats. Moreover, they indicate that, without intervention, anthropogenic activities will soon precipitate a double truncation of the size distribution of the world's vertebrates, fundamentally reordering the structure of life on our planet.

  4. [Intravascular Hemolysis Caused by Stenosis of an Elephant Trunk;Report of a Case].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takamaru, Rikako; Kawahito, Koji; Aizawa, Kei; Misawa, Yoshio

    2017-07-01

    Symptomatic intravascular hemolysis after prosthetic aortic graft replacement is rare. It is primarily attributed to mechanical injury of red blood cells caused by stenosis of the vascular graft. A 50-year-old man presented with hemolytic anemia, 5 years after total arch replacement with an elephant trunk for type A aortic dissection. The hemolysis was caused by graft stenosis of the elephant trunk. Endovascular treatment for the stenotic elephant trunk was successfully performed. The postoperative course was uneventful, and the hemolysis was resolved immediately after operation.

  5. Non-invasive assessment of reproductive status and stress in captive Asian elephants in three south Indian zoos.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kumar, Vinod; Palugulla Reddy, Vivekananda; Kokkiligadda, Adiseshu; Shivaji, Sisinthy; Umapathy, Govindhaswamy

    2014-05-15

    Asian elephants in captivity need immediate attention to be bred so as to meet the increasing demand for captive elephants and to overcome the dependence on supplementing the captive stock with wild animals. Unfortunately, captive breeding programs across the globe have met with limited success and therefore more effort is needed to improve breeding in captivity. Endocrine profiling of reproductive hormones (progestagens and androgens) and the stress hormone (glucocorticoids) could facilitate better management and breeding strategies. In the present study, we investigated reproductive and stress physiology of 12 captive Asian elephants for 10-27 months using a non-invasive method based on steroid analysis of 1700 elephant dung samples. Most of the elephants were cycling regularly. Males during musth showed increased fecal androgen metabolite concentrations and exhibited a slight increase in fecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels. Elephants used in public festivals and processions showed significantly increased in faecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels. The results indicate that captive elephants require periodic health care, better husbandry practices and scientific management for sustainable captive population. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. Serosurveillance for pandemic influenza A (H1N1 2009 virus infection in domestic elephants, Thailand.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Weena Paungpin

    Full Text Available The present study conducted serosurveillance for the presence of antibody to pandemic influenza A (H1N1 2009 virus (H1N1pdm virus in archival serum samples collected between 2009 and 2013 from 317 domestic elephants living in 19 provinces situated in various parts of Thailand. To obtain the most accurate data, hemagglutination-inhibition (HI assay was employed as the screening test; and sera with HI antibody titers ≥20 were further confirmed by other methods, including cytopathic effect/hemagglutination based-microneutralization (microNT and Western blot (WB assays using H1N1pdm matrix 1 (M1 or hemagglutinin (HA recombinant protein as the test antigen. Conclusively, the appropriate assays using HI in conjunction with WB assays for HA antibody revealed an overall seropositive rate of 8.5% (27 of 317. The prevalence of antibody to H1N1pdm virus was 2% (4/172 in 2009, 32% (17/53 in 2010, 9% (2/22 in 2011, 12% (1/8 in 2012, and 5% (3/62 in 2013. Notably, these positive serum samples were collected from elephants living in 7 tourist provinces of Thailand. The highest seropositive rate was obtained from elephants in Phuket, a popular tourist beach city. Young elephants had higher seropositive rate than older elephants. The source of H1N1pdm viral infection in these elephants was not explored, but most likely came from close contact with the infected mahouts or from the infected tourists who engaged in activities such as elephant riding and feeding. Nevertheless, it could not be excluded that elephant-to-elephant transmission did occur.

  7. Tourism-induced disturbance of wildlife in protected areas: A case study of free ranging elephants in Sri Lanka

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eranga Ranaweerage

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Tourism-induced disturbance is a growing concern in wildlife conservation worldwide. This case study in a key protected area in Sri Lanka, examined the behavioral changes of Asian elephants in the context of elephant watching tourism activities. Observations of different age–sex-group classes of elephants were conducted focusing on the feeding activity of elephants in the presence vs. absence of tourists. Frequency and duration of alert, fear, stress and aggressive behaviors of elephants were significantly high in the presence of tourists and these behaviors occurred at a cost of feeding time. Tourist behavior, vehicle noise, close distances and time of the tours were closely associated with the behavioral changes of elephants. It is important to monitor tourism effects on endangered species such as Asian elephants and to take proper measures including controlled tourist behavior and vehicle activity in protected areas in order to reduce disturbance of wildlife behavior.

  8. Successful artificial insemination in the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus using chilled and frozen-thawed semen

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wongkalasin Warut

    2009-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Artificial insemination (AI using frozen-thawed semen is well established and routinely used for breeding in various mammalian species. However, there is no report of the birth of elephant calves following AI with frozen-thawed semen. The objective of the present study was to investigate the fertilizing ability of chilled and frozen-thawed semen in the Asian elephant following artificial insemination (AI. Methods Semen samples were collected by from 8 bulls (age range, 12-to 42-years by manual stimulation. Semen with high quality were either cooled to 4°C or frozen in liquid nitrogen (-196°C before being used for AI. Blood samples collected from ten elephant females (age range, 12-to 52-years were assessed for estrus cycle and elephants with normal cycling were used for AI. Artificial insemination series were conducted during 2003 to 2008; 55 and 2 AI trials were conducted using frozen-thawed and chilled semen, respectively. Pregnancy was detected using transrectal ultrasonography and serum progestagen measurement. Results One female (Khod inseminated with chilled semen became pregnant and gave birth in 2007. The gestation length was 663 days and the sex of the elephant calf was male. One female (Sao inseminated with frozen-thawed semen showed signs of pregnancy by increasing progestagen levels and a fetus was observed for 5 months by transrectal ultrasonography. Conclusion This is the first report showing pregnancy following AI with frozen-thawed semen in the Asian elephant. Successful AI in the Asian elephant using either chilled or frozen-thawed semen is a stepping stone towards applying this technology for genetic improvement of the elephant population.

  9. Chemical purification of Gunungpati elephant foot yam flour to improve physical and chemical quality on processed food

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paramita, Octavianti; Wahyuningsih, Ansori, Muhammad

    2017-03-01

    This study was aimed at improving the physicochemical quality of elephant foot yam flour in Gunungpati, Semarang by chemical purification. The utilization of elephant foot yam flour in several processed food was also discussed in this study. The flour purification discussed in this study was expected to become a reference for the manufacturers of elephant foot yam flour and its processed food in Gunungpati. This study modified the elephant foot yam flour using pre - gelatinization method. The physical and chemical quality of each elephant foot yam flour purification sample were assessed using proximate analysis. The likability test was conducted for its processed food. 20 grams of elephant foot yam flour was put into a beaker glass, then 60 ml of water was added. The suspension was then heated at a temperature of 60 ° C and 70 ° C while stirred until it was homogeneous and thickened for 10, 30 and 60 minutes. The flour which had been heated was then cooled at room temperature for 1 hour and then at a temperature of 0 ° C until it was frozen. Furthermore, flour was dried in an oven at a temperature of 60 ° C for 9 hours. The dried flour was sifted with a 80 mesh sieve. Chemical test was conducted after elephant foot yam was pre-gelatinized to determine changes in the quality flour: test levels of protein, fat, crude fiber content, moisture content, ash content and starch content. In addition, color tests and granular test on elephant foot yam flour were also conducted. The pre-gelatinization as chemical treatment on elephant foot yam flour in this study was able to change the functional properties of elephant foot yam flour towards a better processing characterized by a brighter color (L = 70, a = 6 and b = 12), the hydrolysis of polysaccharides flour into shorter chain (flour content decreased to 44%), the expansion of granules in elephant foot yam resulting in a process - ready flour, and better monolayer water content of 9%. The content of protein and fiber

  10. Optimal graft diameter and location reduce postoperative complications after total arch replacement with long elephant trunk for arch aneurysm.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kondoh, Haruhiko; Funatsu, Toshihiro; Toda, Koich; Kainuma, Satoshi; Kuki, Satoru; Taniguchi, Kazuhiro

    2011-08-01

    Total arch replacement with an elephant trunk is a standard treatment for arch aneurysm, but serious complications, such as paraplegia and peripheral embolization caused by flapping of the elephant trunk, remain. Moreover, dilation of the descending aorta and retrograde flow into the peri-graft space at the distal elephant trunk are frequent problems. We hypothesized that optimal graft diameter and location would reduce complications after total arch replacement with a long elephant trunk by achieving complete thrombosis and minimal dilation of the descending aorta around the elephant trunk. We treated 65 patients with arch aneurysm by total arch replacement with a long elephant trunk anastomosed at the base of the innominate artery. The graft diameter was undersized (10%-20% of the distal aorta's diameter). Elephant trunk length was determined by preoperative computed tomography to locate the distal end at Th6 to Th8. Thrombosis around the elephant trunk, diameter of the descending aorta, and distance between the descending aorta and the graft near the distal end of the elephant trunk were evaluated using computed tomography. The distal end of the elephant trunk was located at Th 8 ± 1. There were no operative deaths, 3 patients (5%) died in the hospital, and 3 patients (5%) experienced spinal cord injury, including 1 in whom permanent paraplegia developed. Computed tomography revealed complete thrombosis around the elephant trunk in 58 patients (89%). The descending aorta did not dilate further, and distance between the descending aorta and the graft progressively decreased. Optimal graft diameter and location minimized postoperative complications, with complete thrombosis and no dilation of the descending aorta around the long elephant trunk in most patients. Copyright © 2011 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

  11. 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

  12. 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 contact and vocal communication following a distress event than in control periods. In addition, bystanders affiliated with each other, and matched the behavior and emotional state of the first distressed individual, suggesting emotional contagion. The initial distress responses were overwhelmingly directed toward ambiguous stimuli, thus making it difficult to determine if bystanders reacted to the distressed individual or showed a delayed response to the same stimulus. Nonetheless, the directionality of the contacts and their nature strongly suggest attention toward the emotional states of conspecifics. The elephants’ behavior is therefore best classified with similar consolation responses by apes, possibly based on convergent evolution of empathic capacities.

  13. Attitudes Towards Forest Elephant Conservation Around a Protected Area in Northern Congo

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Félicien Nsonsi

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available An assessment of local attitudes towards conservation can guide wildlife managers in the effective application of measurements to improve these perceptions. Here we conducted a quantitative questionnaire survey around a protected area in northern Congo surveying 314 households living in four villages around the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park. We investigated the impact of the benefits of a conservation project (led by an international non-governmental organisation, the experience with human-elephant conflict and the respondents' socio-economic profile on local people's attitudes towards forest elephant conservation. Using multivariate analysis, we found overall positive attitudes towards elephant conservation with more positive answers in the village where a conservation project is based. Furthermore, people employed in the conservation project stated more positive attitudes compared to logging company employees famers, natural resource users and people conducting other jobs. Experience of human elephant conflict negatively impacted people's perceptions. Socio-economic variables, such as ethnic group, education level or salary category had relatively little impact on people's responses. Qualitative statements largely supported the questionnaire results. We discuss our results in the light of the limits of attitude surveys and suggest further investigations to identify the activities needed to foster positive attitudes for elephant conservation in all villages around the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in partnership with the logging company.

  14. 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.

  15. African elephants can use human pointing cues to find hidden food.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smet, Anna F; Byrne, Richard W

    2013-10-21

    How animals gain information from attending to the behavior of others has been widely studied, driven partly by the importance of referential pointing in human cognitive development [1-4], but species differences in reading human social cues remain unexplained. One explanation is that this capacity evolved during domestication [5, 6], but it may be that only those animals able to interpret human-like social cues were successfully domesticated. Elephants are a critical taxon for this question: despite their longstanding use by humans, they have never been domesticated [7]. Here we show that a group of 11 captive African elephants, seven of them significantly as individuals, could interpret human pointing to find hidden food. We suggest that success was not due to prior training or extensive learning opportunities. Elephants successfully interpreted pointing when the experimenter's proximity to the hiding place was varied and when the ostensive pointing gesture was visually subtle, suggesting that they understood the experimenter's communicative intent. The elephant's native ability in interpreting social cues may have contributed to its long history of effective use by man. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Spectrum of antibody profiles in tuberculous elephants, cervids, and cattle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyashchenko, Konstantin P; Gortázar, Christian; Miller, Michele A; Waters, W Ray

    2018-02-01

    Using multi-antigen print immunoassay and DPP ® VetTB Assay approved in the United States for testing captive cervids and elephants, we analyzed antibody recognition of MPB83 and CFP10/ESAT-6 antigens in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), fallow deer (Dama dama), elk (Cervus elaphus), and cattle (Bos taurus) infected with Mycobacterium bovis. Serum IgG reactivity to MPB83 was found in the vast majority of tuberculous cattle and cervid species among which white-tailed deer and elk also showed significant CFP10/ESAT-6 recognition rates with added serodiagnostic value. In contrast, the infected elephants developed antibody responses mainly to CFP10/ESAT-6 with MPB83 reactivity being relatively low. The findings demonstrate distinct patterns of predominant antigen recognition by different animal hosts in tuberculosis. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  17. Micro-evolutionary diversification among Indian Ocean parrots: temporal and spatial changes in phylogenetic diversity as a consequence of extinction and invasion

    OpenAIRE

    Jackson, H; Jones, C G; Agapow, P-M; Tatayah, V; Groombridge, Jim J.

    2015-01-01

    Almost 90% of global bird extinctions have occurred on islands. The loss of endemic spe- cies from island systems can dramatically alter evolutionary trajectories of insular species biodiversity, resulting in a loss of evolutionary diversity important for species adaptation to changing environments. The Western Indian Ocean islands have been the scene of evolution for a large number of endemic parrots. Since their discovery in the 16th cen- tury, many of these parrots have become extinct or h...

  18. 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.

  19. Mechanical analysis of feeding behavior in the extinct "terror bird" Andalgalornis steulleti (Gruiformes: Phorusrhacidae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Federico J Degrange

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available The South American phorusrhacid bird radiation comprised at least 18 species of small to gigantic terrestrial predators for which there are no close modern analogs. Here we perform functional analyses of the skull of the medium-sized (approximately 40 kg patagornithine phorusrhacid Andalgalornis steulleti (upper Miocene-lower Pliocene, Andalgalá Formation, Catamarca, Argentina to assess its mechanical performance in a comparative context. Based on computed tomographic (CT scanning and morphological analysis, the skull of Andalgalornis steulleti is interpreted as showing features reflecting loss of intracranial immobility. Discrete anatomical attributes permitting such cranial kinesis are widespread phorusrhacids outgroups, but this is the first clear evidence of loss of cranial kinesis in a gruiform bird and may be among the best documented cases among all birds. This apomorphic loss is interpreted as an adaptation for enhanced craniofacial rigidity, particularly with regard to sagittal loading. We apply a Finite Element approach to a three-dimensional (3D model of the skull. Based on regression analysis we estimate the bite force of Andalgalornis at the bill tip to be 133 N. Relative to results obtained from Finite Element Analysis of one of its closest living relatives (seriema and a large predatory bird (eagle, the phorusrhacid's skull shows relatively high stress under lateral loadings, but low stress where force is applied dorsoventrally (sagittally and in "pullback" simulations. Given the relative weakness of the skull mediolaterally, it seems unlikely that Andalgalornis engaged in potentially risky behaviors that involved subduing large, struggling prey with its beak. We suggest that it either consumed smaller prey that could be killed and consumed more safely (e.g., swallowed whole or that it used multiple well-targeted sagittal strikes with the beak in a repetitive attack-and-retreat strategy.

  20. Toward quantification of the impact of 21st-century deforestation on the extinction risk of terrestrial vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tracewski, Łukasz; Butchart, Stuart H M; Di Marco, Moreno; Ficetola, Gentile F; Rondinini, Carlo; Symes, Andy; Wheatley, Hannah; Beresford, Alison E; Buchanan, Graeme M

    2016-10-01

    Conservation actions need to be prioritized, often taking into account species' extinction risk. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List provides an accepted, objective framework for the assessment of extinction risk. Assessments based on data collected in the field are the best option, but the field data to base these on are often limited. Information collected through remote sensing can be used in place of field data to inform assessments. Forests are perhaps the best-studied land-cover type for use of remote-sensing data. Using an open-access 30-m resolution map of tree cover and its change between 2000 and 2012, we assessed the extent of forest cover and loss within the distributions of 11,186 forest-dependent amphibians, birds, and mammals worldwide. For 16 species, forest loss resulted in an elevated extinction risk under red-list criterion A, owing to inferred rapid population declines. This number increased to 23 when data-deficient species (i.e., those with insufficient information for evaluation) were included. Under red-list criterion B2, 484 species (855 when data-deficient species were included) were considered at elevated extinction risk, owing to restricted areas of occupancy resulting from little forest cover remaining within their ranges. The proportion of species of conservation concern would increase by 32.8% for amphibians, 15.1% for birds, and 24.7% for mammals if our suggested uplistings are accepted. Central America, the Northern Andes, Madagascar, the Eastern Arc forests in Africa, and the islands of Southeast Asia are hotspots for these species. Our results illustrate the utility of satellite imagery for global extinction-risk assessment and measurement of progress toward international environmental agreement targets. © 2016 Society for Conservation Biology.

  1. Omnivory in birds is a macroevolutionary sink.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burin, Gustavo; Kissling, W Daniel; Guimarães, Paulo R; Şekercioğlu, Çağan H; Quental, Tiago B

    2016-04-07

    Diet is commonly assumed to affect the evolution of species, but few studies have directly tested its effect at macroevolutionary scales. Here we use Bayesian models of trait-dependent diversification and a comprehensive dietary database of all birds worldwide to assess speciation and extinction dynamics of avian dietary guilds (carnivores, frugivores, granivores, herbivores, insectivores, nectarivores, omnivores and piscivores). Our results suggest that omnivory is associated with higher extinction rates and lower speciation rates than other guilds, and that overall net diversification is negative. Trait-dependent models, dietary similarity and network analyses show that transitions into omnivory occur at higher rates than into any other guild. We suggest that omnivory acts as macroevolutionary sink, where its ephemeral nature is retrieved through transitions from other guilds rather than from omnivore speciation. We propose that these dynamics result from competition within and among dietary guilds, influenced by the deep-time availability and predictability of food resources.

  2. The Butterflies of Barro Colorado Island, Panama: Local Extinction since the 1930s.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yves Basset

    Full Text Available Few data are available about the regional or local extinction of tropical butterfly species. When confirmed, local extinction was often due to the loss of host-plant species. We used published lists and recent monitoring programs to evaluate changes in butterfly composition on Barro Colorado Island (BCI, Panama between an old (1923-1943 and a recent (1993-2013 period. Although 601 butterfly species have been recorded from BCI during the 1923-2013 period, we estimate that 390 species are currently breeding on the island, including 34 cryptic species, currently only known by their DNA Barcode Index Number. Twenty-three butterfly species that were considered abundant during the old period could not be collected during the recent period, despite a much higher sampling effort in recent times. We consider these species locally extinct from BCI and they conservatively represent 6% of the estimated local pool of resident species. Extinct species represent distant phylogenetic branches and several families. The butterfly traits most likely to influence the probability of extinction were host growth form, wing size and host specificity, independently of the phylogenetic relationships among butterfly species. On BCI, most likely candidates for extinction were small hesperiids feeding on herbs (35% of extinct species. However, contrary to our working hypothesis, extinction of these species on BCI cannot be attributed to loss of host plants. In most cases these host plants remain extant, but they probably subsist at lower or more fragmented densities. Coupled with low dispersal power, this reduced availability of host plants has probably caused the local extinction of some butterfly species. Many more bird than butterfly species have been lost from BCI recently, confirming that small preserves may be far more effective at conserving invertebrates than vertebrates and, therefore, should not necessarily be neglected from a conservation viewpoint.

  3. The Butterflies of Barro Colorado Island, Panama: Local Extinction since the 1930s.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Basset, Yves; Barrios, Héctor; Segar, Simon; Srygley, Robert B; Aiello, Annette; Warren, Andrew D; Delgado, Francisco; Coronado, James; Lezcano, Jorge; Arizala, Stephany; Rivera, Marleny; Perez, Filonila; Bobadilla, Ricardo; Lopez, Yacksecari; Ramirez, José Alejandro

    2015-01-01

    Few data are available about the regional or local extinction of tropical butterfly species. When confirmed, local extinction was often due to the loss of host-plant species. We used published lists and recent monitoring programs to evaluate changes in butterfly composition on Barro Colorado Island (BCI, Panama) between an old (1923-1943) and a recent (1993-2013) period. Although 601 butterfly species have been recorded from BCI during the 1923-2013 period, we estimate that 390 species are currently breeding on the island, including 34 cryptic species, currently only known by their DNA Barcode Index Number. Twenty-three butterfly species that were considered abundant during the old period could not be collected during the recent period, despite a much higher sampling effort in recent times. We consider these species locally extinct from BCI and they conservatively represent 6% of the estimated local pool of resident species. Extinct species represent distant phylogenetic branches and several families. The butterfly traits most likely to influence the probability of extinction were host growth form, wing size and host specificity, independently of the phylogenetic relationships among butterfly species. On BCI, most likely candidates for extinction were small hesperiids feeding on herbs (35% of extinct species). However, contrary to our working hypothesis, extinction of these species on BCI cannot be attributed to loss of host plants. In most cases these host plants remain extant, but they probably subsist at lower or more fragmented densities. Coupled with low dispersal power, this reduced availability of host plants has probably caused the local extinction of some butterfly species. Many more bird than butterfly species have been lost from BCI recently, confirming that small preserves may be far more effective at conserving invertebrates than vertebrates and, therefore, should not necessarily be neglected from a conservation viewpoint.

  4. Onboard Acoustic Recording from Diving Elephant Seals

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Fletcher, Stacia

    1996-01-01

    The aim of this project was to record sounds impinging on free-ranging northern elephant seals, Mirounga angustirostris, a first step in determining the importance of LFS to these animals as they dive...

  5. The Asian Elephant: Ecology and Management

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    or simply interested in elephant ecology and management in. Africa. the ... also discussed. The final chapters cover some problems of interaction between ... phylogeny and evolution now available. One such section ... animal and plant parasitic nematodes. .... infonnation on the adaptations to pollination in vygies, the photo-.

  6. Forage mass and stocking rate of elephant grass pastures managed under agroecological and conventional systems

    OpenAIRE

    Clair Jorge Olivo; Carlos Alberto Agnolin; Priscila Flôres Aguirre; Cláudia Marques de Bem; Tiago Luís da Ros de Araújo; Michelle Schalemberg Diehl; Gilmar Roberto Meinerz

    2014-01-01

    The objective was to evaluate elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.) pastures, under the agroecological and conventional systems, as forage mass and stocking rate. In the agroecological system, the elephant grass was established in rows spaced by 3.0 m from each other. During the cool season ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) was established between these rows, which allowed the development of spontaneous growth species during the warm season. In the conventional system the elephant gra...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  8. Wild Animals and Justice : The Case of the Dead Elephant in the Room

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kopnina, H.N.

    2016-01-01

    Elephants, the largest terrestrial representatives of the animal kingdom, are highorder mammals with complex ethology and social dynamics, looming large both in natural landscapes and cultural settings in diverse locations.1 Elephants are “wonderful or terrible, depending on where or who you are.”2

  9. Limitations on K-T mass extinction theories based upon the vertebrate record

    Science.gov (United States)

    Archibald, J. David; Bryant, Laurie J.

    1988-01-01

    Theories of extinction are only as good as the patterns of extinction that they purport to explain. Often such patterns are ignored. For the terminal Cretaceous events, different groups of organisms in different environments show different patterns of extinction that to date cannot be explained by a single causal mechanism. Several patterns of extinction (and/or preservational bias) can be observed for the various groups of vertebrates from the uppermost Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation and lower Paleocene Tullock Formation in eastern Montana. The taxonomic level at which the percentage of survivals (or extinctions) is calculated will have an effect upon the perception of faunal turnover. In addition to the better known mammals and better publicized dinosaurs, there are almost 60 additional species of reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish in the HELL Creek Formation. Simple arithmetic suggests only 33 percent survival of these vertebrates from the Hell Creek Fm. into the Tullock Fm. A more critical examination of the data shows that almost all Hell Creek species not found in the Tullock are represented in one of the following categories; extremely rare forms, elasmobranch fish that underwent rapid speciation taxa that although not known or rare in the Tullock, are found elsewhere. Each of the categories is largely the result of the following biases: taphonomy, ecological differences, taxonomic artifact paleogeography. The two most important factors appear to be the possible taphonomic biases and the taxonomic artifacts. The extinction patterns among the vertebrates do not appear to be attributable to any single cause, catastrophic or otherwise.

  10. Elephant movement closely tracks precipitation-driven vegetation dynamics in a Kenyan forest-savanna landscape.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bohrer, Gil; Beck, Pieter Sa; Ngene, Shadrack M; Skidmore, Andrew K; Douglas-Hamilton, Ian

    2014-01-01

    This study investigates the ranging behavior of elephants in relation to precipitation-driven dynamics of vegetation. Movement data were acquired for five bachelors and five female family herds during three years in the Marsabit protected area in Kenya and changes in vegetation were mapped using MODIS normalized difference vegetation index time series (NDVI). In the study area, elevations of 650 to 1100 m.a.s.l experience two growth periods per year, while above 1100 m.a.s.l. growth periods last a year or longer. We find that elephants respond quickly to changes in forage and water availability, making migrations in response to both large and small rainfall events. The elevational migration of individual elephants closely matched the patterns of greening and senescing of vegetation in their home range. Elephants occupied lower elevations when vegetation activity was high, whereas they retreated to the evergreen forest at higher elevations while vegetation senesced. Elephant home ranges decreased in size, and overlapped less with increasing elevation. A recent hypothesis that ungulate migrations in savannas result from countervailing seasonally driven rainfall and fertility gradients is demonstrated, and extended to shorter-distance migrations. In other words, the trade-off between the poor forage quality and accessibility in the forest with its year-round water sources on the one hand and the higher quality forage in the low-elevation scrubland with its seasonal availability of water on the other hand, drives the relatively short migrations (the two main corridors are 20 and 90 km) of the elephants. In addition, increased intra-specific competition appears to influence the animals' habitat use during the dry season indicating that the human encroachment on the forest is affecting the elephant population.

  11. 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. © 2011 The Author(s)

  12. Is painting by elephants in zoos as enriching as we are led to believe?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Megan English

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available The relationship between the activity of painting and performance of stereotyped and other stress-related behaviour was investigated in four captive Asian elephants at Melbourne Zoo, Australia. The activity involved the elephant being instructed to paint on a canvas by its keeper in front of an audience. Painting by elephants in zoos is commonly believed to be a form of enrichment, but this assumption had not been based on any systematic research. If an activity is enriching we would expect stress-related behaviour to be reduced but we found no evidence of the elephants anticipating the painting activity and no effect on the performance of stereotyped or other stress-related behaviour either before or after the painting session. This indicates that the activity does not fulfil one of the main aims of enrichment. However, if an elephant was not selected to paint on a given day this was associated with higher levels of non-interactive behaviour, a possible indicator of stress. Behavioural observations associated with ear, eye and trunk positions during the painting session showed that the elephant’s attentiveness to the painting activity or to the keeper giving instruction varied between individuals. Apart from positive reinforcement from the keeper, the results indicated that elephants gain little enrichment from the activity of painting. Hence, the benefits of this activity appear to be limited to the aesthetic appeal of these paintings to the people viewing them.

  13. Dynamics of forage accumulation in Elephant grass subjected to rotational grazing intensities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Braulio Maia de Lana Sousa

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available We assessed the accumulation dynamics of forage and its components in Elephant grass cv. Napier (Pennisetum purpureum Schum. that were subjected to three post-grazing height treatments (30, 50, and 70 cm from February through May 2009 (experiment one and December 2009 through May 2010 (experiment two. In experiment one, the grazing events started when the light interception by the canopy reached 95%. The same was adopted for experiment two, except for the first grazing event, which was based on the height of the apical meristems of basal tillers. The experimental design for both experiments was a randomized complete block with three replications. The pastures that were managed at a post-grazing height of 30 cm exhibited lower rates of leaf and stem growth, total growth and forage accumulation than those that were managed at 50 or 70 cm, indicating that post-grazing height affects Elephant grass. The pastures that were managed at 50 cm exhibited relatively stable accumulation rates and less stem accumulation. Pastures managed at 70 cm of pos-grazing height presented more leaf and stem accumulation. Most apical meristems of Elephant grass should be removed in the first grazing when they reach the post-grazing target height of 50 cm. The elevation in the residual post-grazing height, especially in the summer, raises the regrowth vigor in the Elephant grass cv. Napier pasture. The post-grazing height of 30 cm reduces the growth of the Elephant grass cv. Napier.

  14. 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.

  15. Estimating population sizes for elusive animals: the forest elephants of Kakum National Park, Ghana.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eggert, L S; Eggert, J A; Woodruff, D S

    2003-06-01

    African forest elephants are difficult to observe in the dense vegetation, and previous studies have relied upon indirect methods to estimate population sizes. Using multilocus genotyping of noninvasively collected samples, we performed a genetic survey of the forest elephant population at Kakum National Park, Ghana. We estimated population size, sex ratio and genetic variability from our data, then combined this information with field observations to divide the population into age groups. Our population size estimate was very close to that obtained using dung counts, the most commonly used indirect method of estimating the population sizes of forest elephant populations. As their habitat is fragmented by expanding human populations, management will be increasingly important to the persistence of forest elephant populations. The data that can be obtained from noninvasively collected samples will help managers plan for the conservation of this keystone species.

  16. Potential factors affecting semen quality in the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pongsopavijitr Pornsawan

    2008-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background One of the major obstacles in using artificial insemination to manage genetics of elephant population in captivity is the large variations in semen quality among ejaculates within the same and among individuals. The objectives of this study were to determine the influences of (1 age (2 seasonality (3 and circulating testosterone (SrTest, triiodothyronine (SrT3 and tetraiodothyronine (SrT4, as well as seminal (4 testosterone (SpTest, zinc (SpZn and protein (SpTP on semen quality in the Asian elephant Methods Analyses, including motility, viability and morphology were performed in semen samples collected twice monthly from 13 elephant bulls (age range, 10-to 72-years by manual stimulation between July 2004 and June 2005. Serum samples obtained monthly were assessed for SrTest, SrT3, SrT4, and seminal plasma samples were evaluated for, SpTest, SpZn and SpTP. Results The highest semen quality was observed at age 23 to 43 years. Percentages of progressive motility and viable sperm were lowest at age 51 to 70 years (P Conclusion This study indicates that age and seasonality had influence on semen characteristics in the Asian elephant. The knowledge obtained in this study will improve our understanding of the reproductive biology of this species.

  17. Camera traps to study the forest elephant's (Loxodonta cyclotis) response to chilli pepper repellent devices in Gamba, Gabon

    OpenAIRE

    Steeve Ngama; Lisa Korte; Mireille Johnson; Cédric Vermeulen; Jérôme Bindelle

    2018-01-01

    In Central Africa, Gabon is a forested country with a rich biodiversity where conflict between wild animals and humans is common and causes innumerable damage to crops. The worst crop raiders are elephants, which can destroy an entire crop in a single night. These raids threaten people's livelihoods as well as elephants because angry farmers often retaliate with killing campaigns against crop raiding elephants. To keep elephants out of farms the use of chilli pepper is recommended as a non-le...

  18. The influence of speed and size on avian terrestrial locomotor biomechanics: Predicting locomotion in extinct theropod dinosaurs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P J Bishop

    Full Text Available How extinct, non-avian theropod dinosaurs moved is a subject of considerable interest and controversy. A better understanding of non-avian theropod locomotion can be achieved by better understanding terrestrial locomotor biomechanics in their modern descendants, birds. Despite much research on the subject, avian terrestrial locomotion remains little explored in regards to how kinematic and kinetic factors vary together with speed and body size. Here, terrestrial locomotion was investigated in twelve species of ground-dwelling bird, spanning a 1,780-fold range in body mass, across almost their entire speed range. Particular attention was devoted to the ground reaction force (GRF, the force that the feet exert upon the ground. Comparable data for the only other extant obligate, striding biped, humans, were also collected and studied. In birds, all kinematic and kinetic parameters examined changed continuously with increasing speed, while in humans all but one of those same parameters changed abruptly at the walk-run transition. This result supports previous studies that show birds to have a highly continuous locomotor repertoire compared to humans, where discrete 'walking' and 'running' gaits are not easily distinguished based on kinematic patterns alone. The influences of speed and body size on kinematic and kinetic factors in birds are developed into a set of predictive relationships that may be applied to extinct, non-avian theropods. The resulting predictive model is able to explain 79-93% of the observed variation in kinematics and 69-83% of the observed variation in GRFs, and also performs well in extrapolation tests. However, this study also found that the location of the whole-body centre of mass may exert an important influence on the nature of the GRF, and hence some caution is warranted, in lieu of further investigation.

  19. The influence of speed and size on avian terrestrial locomotor biomechanics: Predicting locomotion in extinct theropod dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bishop, P J; Graham, D F; Lamas, L P; Hutchinson, J R; Rubenson, J; Hancock, J A; Wilson, R S; Hocknull, S A; Barrett, R S; Lloyd, D G; Clemente, C J

    2018-01-01

    How extinct, non-avian theropod dinosaurs moved is a subject of considerable interest and controversy. A better understanding of non-avian theropod locomotion can be achieved by better understanding terrestrial locomotor biomechanics in their modern descendants, birds. Despite much research on the subject, avian terrestrial locomotion remains little explored in regards to how kinematic and kinetic factors vary together with speed and body size. Here, terrestrial locomotion was investigated in twelve species of ground-dwelling bird, spanning a 1,780-fold range in body mass, across almost their entire speed range. Particular attention was devoted to the ground reaction force (GRF), the force that the feet exert upon the ground. Comparable data for the only other extant obligate, striding biped, humans, were also collected and studied. In birds, all kinematic and kinetic parameters examined changed continuously with increasing speed, while in humans all but one of those same parameters changed abruptly at the walk-run transition. This result supports previous studies that show birds to have a highly continuous locomotor repertoire compared to humans, where discrete 'walking' and 'running' gaits are not easily distinguished based on kinematic patterns alone. The influences of speed and body size on kinematic and kinetic factors in birds are developed into a set of predictive relationships that may be applied to extinct, non-avian theropods. The resulting predictive model is able to explain 79-93% of the observed variation in kinematics and 69-83% of the observed variation in GRFs, and also performs well in extrapolation tests. However, this study also found that the location of the whole-body centre of mass may exert an important influence on the nature of the GRF, and hence some caution is warranted, in lieu of further investigation.

  20. The influence of speed and size on avian terrestrial locomotor biomechanics: Predicting locomotion in extinct theropod dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, D. F.; Lamas, L. P.; Hutchinson, J. R.; Rubenson, J.; Hancock, J. A.; Wilson, R. S.; Hocknull, S. A.; Barrett, R. S.; Lloyd, D. G.; Clemente, C. J.

    2018-01-01

    How extinct, non-avian theropod dinosaurs moved is a subject of considerable interest and controversy. A better understanding of non-avian theropod locomotion can be achieved by better understanding terrestrial locomotor biomechanics in their modern descendants, birds. Despite much research on the subject, avian terrestrial locomotion remains little explored in regards to how kinematic and kinetic factors vary together with speed and body size. Here, terrestrial locomotion was investigated in twelve species of ground-dwelling bird, spanning a 1,780-fold range in body mass, across almost their entire speed range. Particular attention was devoted to the ground reaction force (GRF), the force that the feet exert upon the ground. Comparable data for the only other extant obligate, striding biped, humans, were also collected and studied. In birds, all kinematic and kinetic parameters examined changed continuously with increasing speed, while in humans all but one of those same parameters changed abruptly at the walk-run transition. This result supports previous studies that show birds to have a highly continuous locomotor repertoire compared to humans, where discrete ‘walking’ and ‘running’ gaits are not easily distinguished based on kinematic patterns alone. The influences of speed and body size on kinematic and kinetic factors in birds are developed into a set of predictive relationships that may be applied to extinct, non-avian theropods. The resulting predictive model is able to explain 79–93% of the observed variation in kinematics and 69–83% of the observed variation in GRFs, and also performs well in extrapolation tests. However, this study also found that the location of the whole-body centre of mass may exert an important influence on the nature of the GRF, and hence some caution is warranted, in lieu of further investigation. PMID:29466362

  1. Activity budgets and the relationship between feeding and stereotypic behaviors in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in a Zoo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rees, Paul A

    2009-03-01

    Activity budgets were studied in eight Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) at Chester Zoo (UK) for 35 days, between January and November 1999. Recordings were made between 10:00 and 16:00 hr (with most behavior frequencies calculated between 10:00 and 14:00 hr). The elephants exhibited variation in activity depending on their age, sex, the time of day and the time of year. Only the five adult cows exhibited stereotypic behavior, with frequencies ranging from 3.9 to 29.4% of all observations. These elephants exhibited individual, diurnal and seasonal variation in stereotypic behavior. This has implications for studies that use short sampling periods and may make comparisons of data collected at different times of the day or year invalid. The six adult elephants spent 27.4-41.4% of the time feeding (between 10:00 and 14:00 hr), 22.9-42.0% standing still, 6.1-19.2% walking and 3.9-9.6% dusting. The hypothesis that the frequency of stereotypic behavior in adult cow elephants was negatively correlated with the frequency of feeding behavior was tested and was found to be true. Stereotypic behavior increased in frequency toward the end of the day-while waiting to return to the elephant house for food--and elephants spent more time stereotyping during the winter months than during the summer months. Elephants were inactive (i.e. exhibited behaviors other than locomotion) for between 70.1 and 93.9% of the time. Creating more opportunities for elephants to exhibit foraging behavior and the introduction of greater unpredictability into management regimes, especially feeding times, may reduce the frequency of stereotypic behavior and increase general activity levels.

  2. 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.

  3. Management Training of Sumatra Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus and Daily Behavior in Flying Squad WWF Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Arum Ratnasari

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Flying squad is an established strategy in the effort to resolve the conflict elephants in Tesso Nilo National Park. Flying squad utilizes trainedelephants to chase away wild elephants that come out the national park area. The study aims to identify management training and daily behavior ofSumatran elephant. The study was conducted in the Flying Squad WWF's Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau in March-April 2016 using focal animalsampling and interview. The elephant training curriculum consist of basic training, advanced training and exercise development by combined verbalcommands, visual, and physical. The measured success of training will be seen if the elephants could perform mahout’s commands without any error.Percentage of ingestive behavior showed the highest value at noon, while percentage of shelter seeking and other behavior showed the highest valueat night. It caused the elephants do more displacement to get the food at noon.Keywords: daily behavior, flying squad, focal animal sampling, sumatran elephant, training management

  4. Long-Term Bird Assemblage Trends in Areas of High and Low Human Population Density

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barrett, K.; Romagosa, C.M.; Williams, M.I.

    2008-01-01

    Urban areas are expanding globally, and the impact of high human population density (HHPD) on bird species richness remains unresolved. Studies primarily focus on species richness along an urban-to-rural gradient; however, some studies have analyzed larger-scale patterns and found results that contrast with those obtained at smaller scales. To move the discussion beyond static species richness patterns, we analyzed the effect of HHPD on bird assemblage dynamics (year-to-year extinction probability, turnover, changes in species richness) across the United States over a 25-year period. We found that bird assemblages in both high and low human population density areas changed significantly over the period of record. Specifically, bird assemblages increased in species richness on average. Assemblage change in areas of HHPD was not significantly different from assemblage change in areas with LHPD. These results suggest that human population density alone does not alter the persistence of avian assemblage patterns.

  5. Recursion to food plants by free-ranging Bornean elephant

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Megan English

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available Plant recovery rates after herbivory are thought to be a key factor driving recursion by herbivores to sites and plants to optimise resource-use but have not been investigated as an explanation for recursion in large herbivores. We investigated the relationship between plant recovery and recursion by elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Sabah. We identified 182 recently eaten food plants, from 30 species, along 14 × 50 m transects and measured their recovery growth each month over nine months or until they were re-browsed by elephants. The monthly growth in leaf and branch or shoot length for each plant was used to calculate the time required (months for each species to recover to its pre-eaten length. Elephant returned to all but two transects with 10 eaten plants, a further 26 plants died leaving 146 plants that could be re-eaten. Recursion occurred to 58% of all plants and 12 of the 30 species. Seventy-seven percent of the re-eaten plants were grasses. Recovery times to all plants varied from two to twenty months depending on the species. Recursion to all grasses coincided with plant recovery whereas recursion to most browsed plants occurred four to twelve months before they had recovered to their previous length. The small sample size of many browsed plants that received recursion and uneven plant species distribution across transects limits our ability to generalise for most browsed species but a prominent pattern in plant-scale recursion did emerge. Plant recovery time was a good predictor of time to recursion but varied as a function of growth form (grass, ginger, palm, liana and woody and differences between sites. Time to plant recursion coincided with plant recovery time for the elephant’s preferred food, grasses, and perhaps also gingers, but not the other browsed species. Elephants are bulk feeders so it is likely that they time their returns to bulk feed on these grass species when

  6. Impact of alternative metrics on estimates of extent of occurrence for extinction risk assessment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joppa, Lucas N; Butchart, Stuart H M; Hoffmann, Michael; Bachman, Steve P; Akçakaya, H Resit; Moat, Justin F; Böhm, Monika; Holland, Robert A; Newton, Adrian; Polidoro, Beth; Hughes, Adrian

    2016-04-01

    In International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessments, extent of occurrence (EOO) is a key measure of extinction risk. However, the way assessors estimate EOO from maps of species' distributions is inconsistent among assessments of different species and among major taxonomic groups. Assessors often estimate EOO from the area of mapped distribution, but these maps often exclude areas that are not habitat in idiosyncratic ways and are not created at the same spatial resolutions. We assessed the impact on extinction risk categories of applying different methods (minimum convex polygon, alpha hull) for estimating EOO for 21,763 species of mammals, birds, and amphibians. Overall, the percentage of threatened species requiring down listing to a lower category of threat (taking into account other Red List criteria under which they qualified) spanned 11-13% for all species combined (14-15% for mammals, 7-8% for birds, and 12-15% for amphibians). These down listings resulted from larger estimates of EOO and depended on the EOO calculation method. Using birds as an example, we found that 14% of threatened and near threatened species could require down listing based on the minimum convex polygon (MCP) approach, an approach that is now recommended by IUCN. Other metrics (such as alpha hull) had marginally smaller impacts. Our results suggest that uniformly applying the MCP approach may lead to a one-time down listing of hundreds of species but ultimately ensure consistency across assessments and realign the calculation of EOO with the theoretical basis on which the metric was founded. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology.

  7. Tuberculosis at the human-animal interface: an emerging disease of elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mikota, Susan K; Maslow, Joel N

    2011-05-01

    Over the past 15 years, cases of infection with organisms of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex have been diagnosed among captive elephants in the United States and worldwide. Outbreak investigations have documented that among staff employed at facilities housing infected animals, skin test conversion to purified protein derivative have been documented. Clonal spread among animals in close contact and even inter-species spread between elephant and human has been documented. Detection of actively infected animals relies on samples obtained by trunk wash. Diagnosis has been augmented by the development of a multi-antigen serologic assay with excellent specificity and sensitivity. Treatment regimens are still in development with efficacy largely unknown due to a paucity of both premortem follow-up and necropsy data of treated animals. The epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis in elephants require additional careful study of clinical data. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zacarias, Daniel; Bini, Luis Mauricio; Loyola, Rafael

    2016-01-01

    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? 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. 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. Research in this field should be expanded to additional countries

  9. PRODUCTION OF PRINTING AND WRITING PAPER GRADE PULP FROM ELEPHANT GRASS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcela Freitas Andrade

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available The main goal of this study was to characterize chemically and morphologically elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum, and evaluate the potential of its fibers for production of printing and writing paper grade pulp. The elephant grass was chemically and morphologically characterized and cooked by the soda process to two different degrees of delignification (kappa 17.5 and 10.6. The resulting pulps were fully bleached by the O-D*-(EP-D sequence and characterized for their beatability, drainability and physical-mechanical properties. The lignin content (20.2% was low, indicating that this grass should be easier to pulp. The morphological analyses of the elephant grass indicated a short fiber material, similar to hardwoods. The soda pulp from elephant grass cooked to kappa number 17.5 presented higher screened yield than 10.6 kappa pulp, with alkali demands of 15.0% and 20.0%, respectively. The total active chlorine required by the 17.5 and 10.6 kappa pulps, were 42.1 and 35.1 kg/odt pulp, respectively, to achieve an ISO brightness of approximately 90.0%. The bleached soda pulps cooked to 17.5 and 10.6 kappa number showed similar refinability and resistance to drainage, but the tensile and burst index were highest for the 17.5 kappa pulp at beating energy consumptions in the range of 0-6 Wh. It was concluded that both 10.6 and 17.5 kappa pulps from elephant grass are suitable for the production of printing and writing paper grade pulps, but the highest kappa 17.5 pulp is more economically attractive given its highest pulping yield, despite the significantly increased of chemical demand for bleaching A produção de papel para impressão e escrita Grau de celulose a partir de capim-elefante.

  10. VITAL SIGNS AND FIRST OCCURRENCES IN NORMAL AND ABNORMAL NEWBORN ASIAN ELEPHANT ( ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) CALVES.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiedner, Ellen; Kiso, Wendy K; Aria, Janice; Isaza, Ramiro; Lindsay, William; Jacobson, Gary; Jacobson, Kathy; Schmitt, Dennis

    2017-12-01

    Sixteen years of medical records documenting 19 births within a herd of Asian elephants ( Elephas maximus) at a private facility in the southeastern United States were reviewed. Of the 19 calves, 11 were normal at birth, requiring no additional veterinary care, and eight were abnormal, requiring veterinary care immediately or within the first week of birth. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate morphometrics, vital signs, and behavioral milestones in newborn calves both normal and abnormal. Blood work and urinalysis results from all calves were compared to values for adult elephants. Medical management of abnormal calves is described. All calves had faster heart rates and respiratory rates than did adult elephants, but rectal temperatures were the same. Calves were precocious with regard to sitting and standing but could be very slow to nurse. The most-common medical conditions of newborn calves were umbilical abnormalities and problems associated with nursing. Two calves required cardiopulmonary resuscitation after birth but made full recoveries. Some conditions were not apparent at birth but were recognized a few hours or days later. Following veterinary intervention, six of the eight calves made full recoveries, suggesting that early identification and treatment of problems can greatly decrease mortality. This is the first report of multiple veterinary and behavioral parameters in normal and abnormal neonatal Asian elephants from a facility with a calf survival rate above 90%. This information may be helpful to other elephant-holding facilities in providing care to their newborn elephant calves.

  11. Expression of Wnt signaling skeletal development genes in the cartilaginous fish, elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii).

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'Souza, Damian G; Rana, Kesha; Milley, Kristi M; MacLean, Helen E; Zajac, Jeffrey D; Bell, Justin; Brenner, Sydney; Venkatesh, Byrappa; Richardson, Samantha J; Danks, Janine A

    2013-11-01

    Jawed vertebrates (Gnasthostomes) are broadly separated into cartilaginous fishes (Chondricthyes) and bony vertebrates (Osteichthyes). Cartilaginous fishes are divided into chimaeras (e.g. ratfish, rabbit fish and elephant shark) and elasmobranchs (e.g. sharks, rays and skates). Both cartilaginous fish and bony vertebrates are believed to have a common armoured bony ancestor (Class Placodermi), however cartilaginous fish are believed to have lost bone. This study has identified and investigated genes involved in skeletal development in vertebrates, in the cartilaginous fish, elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii). Ctnnb1 (β-catenin), Sfrp (secreted frizzled protein) and a single Sost or Sostdc1 gene (sclerostin or sclerostin domain-containing protein 1) were identified in the elephant shark genome and found to be expressed in a number of tissues, including cartilage. β-catenin was also localized in several elephant shark tissues. The expression of these genes, which belong to the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, is required for normal bone formation in mammals. These findings in the cartilaginous skeleton of elephant shark support the hypothesis that the common ancestor of cartilaginous fishes and bony vertebrates had the potential for making bone. Crown Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. Elephants in space the past, present and future of life and the universe

    CERN Document Server

    Moore, Ben

    2014-01-01

    This book is about the history and future of life and the universe, written at a level that any educated lay-person can understand and enjoy. It describes our place in time and space, how we got here and where we are going. It will take you on a journey from the beginning of time to the end of the universe to uncover our origins and reveal our destiny. It will explain how mankind acquired this knowledge starting from the beginning of civilization when the ancient Greeks first began to ask questions about the nature of the world around them. Ben Moore takes us on a path of discovery that connects astrophysics with subjects as varied as biology, neuroscience and evolution; from the origin of atoms to how stars shine and die, from ants and elephants to space travel and extra-terrestrial life. But as our universe grows older and its stars fade away and stop shining, can life continue for eternity or is all life destined for complete extinction? And what is the purpose of all of this anyway?! On the German edition...

  13. 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.

  14. Making sense of elephants in the shamba

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bond, Jennifer Lauren

    . The discussion posited that institutional failures such as the lack of an efficient compensation policy, politics, and the top-down approach to wildlife policy indirectly impact on farmers’ perceptions and subsequent sensemaking processes regarding their interactions with elephants in their crops. This article...

  15. Inferring ecological and behavioral drivers of African elephant movement using a linear filtering approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boettiger, Alistair N; Wittemyer, George; Starfield, Richard; Volrath, Fritz; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Getz, Wayne M

    2011-08-01

    Understanding the environmental factors influencing animal movements is fundamental to theoretical and applied research in the field of movement ecology. Studies relating fine-scale movement paths to spatiotemporally structured landscape data, such as vegetation productivity or human activity, are particularly lacking despite the obvious importance of such information to understanding drivers of animal movement. In part, this may be because few approaches provide the sophistication to characterize the complexity of movement behavior and relate it to diverse, varying environmental stimuli. We overcame this hurdle by applying, for the first time to an ecological question, a finite impulse-response signal-filtering approach to identify human and natural environmental drivers of movements of 13 free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta africana) from distinct social groups collected over seven years. A minimum mean-square error (MMSE) estimation criterion allowed comparison of the predictive power of landscape and ecological model inputs. We showed that a filter combining vegetation dynamics, human and physical landscape features, and previous movement outperformed simpler filter structures, indicating the importance of both dynamic and static landscape features, as well as habit, on movement decisions taken by elephants. Elephant responses to vegetation productivity indices were not uniform in time or space, indicating that elephant foraging strategies are more complex than simply gravitation toward areas of high productivity. Predictions were most frequently inaccurate outside protected area boundaries near human settlements, suggesting that human activity disrupts typical elephant movement behavior. Successful management strategies at the human-elephant interface, therefore, are likely to be context specific and dynamic. Signal processing provides a promising approach for elucidating environmental factors that drive animal movements over large time and spatial

  16. A large-scale deforestation experiment: Effects of patch area and isolation on Amazon birds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferraz, G.; Nichols, J.D.; Hines, J.E.; Stouffer, P.C.; Bierregaard, R.O.; Lovejoy, T.E.

    2007-01-01

    As compared with extensive contiguous areas, small isolated habitat patches lack many species. Some species disappear after isolation; others are rarely found in any small patch, regardless of isolation. We used a 13-year data set of bird captures from a large landscape-manipulation experiment in a Brazilian Amazon forest to model the extinction-colonization dynamics of 55 species and tested basic predictions of island biogeography and metapopulation theory. From our models, we derived two metrics of species vulnerability to changes in isolation and patch area. We found a strong effect of area and a variable effect of isolation on the predicted patch occupancy by birds.

  17. 9 CFR 93.104 - Certificate for pet birds, commercial birds, zoological birds, and research birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 1 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Certificate for pet birds, commercial birds, zoological birds, and research birds. 93.104 Section 93.104 Animals and Animal Products ANIMAL... (INCLUDING POULTRY) AND ANIMAL PRODUCTS IMPORTATION OF CERTAIN ANIMALS, BIRDS, FISH, AND POULTRY, AND CERTAIN...

  18. Radiation Protection Elephants in the Room

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vetter, R. J.

    2004-01-01

    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 e lephants 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 evolution of the system of

  19. Virginia ESI: BIRDS (Bird Polygons)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set contains sensitive biological resource data for wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, diving birds, pelagic birds, passerine birds, and gulls...

  20. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wittemyer, George; Daballen, David; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain

    2013-01-01

    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 influenced by human

  2. Late Pleistocene Megafaunal Extinction Consistent With YDB Impact Hypothesis at Younger Dryas Onset

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kennett, J. P.; Kennett, D. J.

    2008-12-01

    At least 35 mammal and 19 bird genera became extinct across North America near the end of the Pleistocene. Modern increases in stratigraphic and dating resolution suggest that this extinction occurred relatively rapidly near 12.9 ka (11 radiocarbon kyrs). Within the context of a long-standing debate about its cause, Firestone et al., (2007) proposed that this extinction resulted from an extraterrestrial (ET) impact over North America at 12.9 ka. This hypothesis predicts that the extinction of most of these animals should have occurred abruptly at 12.9 ka. To test this hypothesis, we have critically examined radiocarbon ages and the extinction stratigraphy of these taxa. From a large data pool, we selected only radiocarbon dates with low error margins with a preference for directly dated biological materials (e.g., bone, dung, etc.) and modern chemical purification techniques. A relatively small number of acceptable dates indicate that at least 16 animal genera and several other species became extinct close to 12.9 ka. These taxa include the most common animals of the late Pleistocene such as horses, camels, and mammoths. Also, the remains of extinct taxa are reportedly found up to, but not above, the base of a widely distributed carbon-rich layer called the black mat. This stratum forms an abrupt, major biostratigraphic boundary at the Younger Dryas onset (12.9 ka), which also contains multiple ET markers comprising the impact layer (the YDB). Surviving animal populations were abruptly reduced at the YDB (e.g., Bison), with major range restrictions and apparent evolutionary bottlenecks. The abruptness of this major extinction is inconsistent with the hypotheses of human overkill and climatic change. We argue that extinction ages older than 12.9 ka for many less common species result from the Signor-Lipps effect, but the impact hypothesis predicts that as new dates are acquired, they will approach ever closer to 12.9 ka. The megafaunal extinction is strongly

  3. Climate change and the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris population in Baja California, Mexico.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    María C García-Aguilar

    Full Text Available The Earth's climate is warming, especially in the mid- and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. The northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris breeds and haul-outs on islands and the mainland of Baja California, Mexico, and California, U.S.A. At the beginning of the 21st century, numbers of elephant seals in California are increasing, but the status of Baja California populations is unknown, and some data suggest they may be decreasing. We hypothesize that the elephant seal population of Baja California is experiencing a decline because the animals are not migrating as far south due to warming sea and air temperatures. Here we assessed population trends of the Baja California population, and climate change in the region. The numbers of northern elephant seals in Baja California colonies have been decreasing since the 1990s, and both the surface waters off Baja California and the local air temperatures have warmed during the last three decades. We propose that declining population sizes may be attributable to decreased migration towards the southern portions of the range in response to the observed temperature increases. Further research is needed to confirm our hypothesis; however, if true, it would imply that elephant seal colonies of Baja California and California are not demographically isolated which would pose challenges to environmental and management policies between Mexico and the United States.

  4. Streptococcus agalactiae in elephants - A comparative study with isolates from human and zoo animal and livestock origin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eisenberg, Tobias; Rau, Jörg; Westerhüs, Uta; Knauf-Witzens, Tobias; Fawzy, Ahmad; Schlez, Karen; Zschöck, Michael; Prenger-Berninghoff, Ellen; Heydel, Carsten; Sting, Reinhard; Glaeser, Stefanie P; Pulami, Dipen; van der Linden, Mark; Ewers, Christa

    2017-05-01

    Streptococcus (S.) agalactiae represents a significant pathogen for humans and animals. However, there are only a few elderly reports on S. agalactiae infections in wild and zoo elephants even though this pathogen has been isolated comparatively frequently in these endangered animal species. Consequently, between 2004 and 2015, we collected S. agalactiae isolates from African and Asian elephants (n=23) living in four different zoos in Germany. These isolates were characterised and compared with isolates from other animal species (n=20 isolates) and humans (n=3). We found that the isolates from elephants can be readily identified by classical biochemistry and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Further characterisations for epidemiological issues were achieved using Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy, capsule typing and molecular fingerprinting (PFGE, RAPD PCR). We could demonstrate that our elephant isolate collection contained at least six different lineages that were representative for their source of origin. Despite generally broad antimicrobial susceptibility of S. agalactiae, many showed tetracycline resistance in vitro. S. agalactiae plays an important role in bacterial infections not only in cattle and humans, but also in elephants. Comparative studies were able to differentiate S. agalactiae isolates from elephants into different infectious clusters based on their epidemiological background. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. The Flight of Birds and Other Animals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Colin J. Pennycuick

    2015-09-01

    Flight programme, which does these comparisons, also had provision for including contributions due to extracting energy from the atmosphere (soaring, or intermittent bounding flight in small birds (Passerines. It has been known for some time that the feathered surface allows the bird to delay or reverse detachment of the boundary layer, although exactly how this works remains a mystery, which might have practical applications. The bird wing was in use in past times, when birds were still competing with pterosaurs, although these had less efficient wings. The birds that survived the extinction that killed the pterosaurs and dinosaurs have (today an automatic spherical navigator, which enables them to cross the Pacific and find New Zealand on the other side. Bats have never had such a device, and pterosaurs probably did not either. Animals, when seen from a zoological point of view, are adapted to whatever problems they had to deal with in earlier times.

  6. Human cowpox virus infection acquired from a circus elephant in Germany.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hemmer, Christoph J; Littmann, Martina; Löbermann, Micha; Meyer, Hermann; Petschaelis, Angelika; Reisinger, Emil C

    2010-09-01

    A 40-year-old Asian circus elephant developed mouth and trunk ulcers. Three weeks later, her 19-year-old animal warden noticed a vesicle on his forearm, evolving into a scab. Identical cowpox strains were isolated from lesions of the elephant and the warden. Cowpox virus could no longer be isolated after the scab disappeared, but PCR still revealed orthopox DNA. Healing was complete seven weeks later, leaving a 1 cm scar. Copyright © 2010 International Society for Infectious Diseases. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Temporal Dynamics of Recovery from Extinction Shortly after Extinction Acquisition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Archbold, Georgina E.; Dobbek, Nick; Nader, Karim

    2013-01-01

    Evidence suggests that extinction is new learning. Memory acquisition involves both short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM) components; however, few studies have examined early phases of extinction retention. Retention of auditory fear extinction was examined at various time points. Shortly (1-4 h) after extinction acquisition…

  8. Equilibrium Bird Species Diversity in Atlantic Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valente, Luis; Illera, Juan Carlos; Havenstein, Katja; Pallien, Tamara; Etienne, Rampal S; Tiedemann, Ralph

    2017-06-05

    Half a century ago, MacArthur and Wilson proposed that the number of species on islands tends toward a dynamic equilibrium diversity around which species richness fluctuates [1]. The current prevailing view in island biogeography accepts the fundamentals of MacArthur and Wilson's theory [2] but questions whether their prediction of equilibrium can be fulfilled over evolutionary timescales, given the unpredictable and ever-changing nature of island geological and biotic features [3-7]. Here we conduct a complete molecular phylogenetic survey of the terrestrial bird species from four oceanic archipelagos that make up the diverse Macaronesian bioregion-the Azores, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, and Madeira [8, 9]. We estimate the times at which birds colonized and speciated in the four archipelagos, including many previously unsampled endemic and non-endemic taxa and their closest continental relatives. We develop and fit a new multi-archipelago dynamic stochastic model to these data, explicitly incorporating information from 91 taxa, both extant and extinct. Remarkably, we find that all four archipelagos have independently achieved and maintained a dynamic equilibrium over millions of years. Biogeographical rates are homogeneous across archipelagos, except for the Canary Islands, which exhibit higher speciation and colonization. Our finding that the avian communities of the four Macaronesian archipelagos display an equilibrium diversity pattern indicates that a diversity plateau may be rapidly achieved on islands where rates of in situ radiation are low and extinction is high. This study reveals that equilibrium processes may be more prevalent than recently proposed, supporting MacArthur and Wilson's 50-year-old theory. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. An attitude assessment of human-elephant conflict in a critical wildlife corridor within the Terai Arc Landscape, India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Biba Jasmine

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available This study entails an attitude assessment of the local people living at Mankanthpur Village, one of the bottlenecks in the Bailparao-Kotabagh corridor, Terai West Forest Division, on the issue of elephant conservation, human-(wildlife elephant conflict, and the measures to mitigate it.  Data was collected through a questionnaire survey and several group discussions among the villagers.  The frequency of crop raids and group size of elephants were calculated.  Sixty-two crop raids took place during the study period (February–April 2010, and a mean sighting of 1.08 elephants per day was recorded.  Data from the survey reflects that about 3.53ha of crop land was damaged by the elephants during the survey period.  The people residing on the fringes of the park and in the villages along the Bailparao-Kotabagh Corridor were surveyed about the conflict impact.  Survey results indicate that the most effective management measures used were a combination of loud noise and scaring away elephants using fire.  Local peoples’ views regarding the current status of elephant raids and conservation were also documented.  Peoples’ reaction to compensation schemes was studied; 89% of the respondents feel an effective approach to compensation is a way to reduce sufferings due to conflict with wildlife.  Attempts to reduce the conflict by forming local elephant control teams and enclosing the affected village with a tall cemented wall are under trial.  The underlying assumption in this study is that if damage severely affects the livelihood of local communities, getting their active support, which is essential for conservation, will be difficult. 

  10. Elephant's foot phenomenon in liquid storage tanks

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Chen, C.Q.

    1983-01-01

    This paper presents a method for analyzing the seismic response of a flat bottomed cylindrical liquid storage tank to vertical earthquake excitation. Here, vertical earthquake acceleration is considered to correspond to an increase in the density of a stored liquid. Taking into account the vertical and horizontal earthquake loads, hydrostatic pressure, and considering restrictive moment and shear forces at shell-bottom welded joint, the author has calculated circumferential and longitudinal stresses. These are combined to more accurately approximate the stresses at the base shell course. The calculated result closely conforms to the actual damage, termed ''elephant's foot,'' observed in the fuel storage tanks damaged in the Tangshan earthquake. This result shows that the ''elephant's foot'' phenomenon is not caused by buckling of the tank shell due to longitudinal compressive stresses resulting from horizontal earthquake acceleration, but rather by the combined stresses in the base shell course of the storage tank exceeding the yield strength of the shell course material. The effect due to vertical earthquake load is more than the effect from the horizontal load. Finally, some earthquake resistant methods to prevent the ''elephant's foot'' phenomenon are suggested by the author.

  11. Predicting Hotspots of Human-Elephant Conflict to Inform Mitigation Strategies in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ying Chen

    Full Text Available Research on the spatial patterns of human-wildlife conflict is fundamental to understanding the mechanisms underlying it and to identifying opportunities for mitigation. In the state of Xishuangbanna, containing China's largest tropical forest, an imbalance between nature conservation and economic development has led to increasing conflicts between humans and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus, as both elephant numbers and conversion of habitable land to rubber plantations have increased over the last several decades. We analyzed government data on the compensation costs of elephant-caused damage in Xishuangbanna between 2008 and 2012 to understand the spatial and temporal patterns of conflict, in terms of their occurrence, frequency and distribution. More than 18,261 incidents were reported, including episodes involving damage to rubber trees (n = 10,999, damage to crops such as paddy, upland rice, corn, bananas and sugarcane (n = 11,020, property loss (n = 689 and attacks on humans (n = 19. The conflict data reconfirmed the presence of elephants in areas which have lacked records since the late 1990s. Zero Altered Negative Binomial models revealed that the risk of damage to crops and plantations increased with proximity to protected areas, increasing distance from roads, and lower settlement density. The patterns were constant across seasons and types of crop damaged. Damage to rubber trees was essentially incidental as elephants searched for crops to eat. A predictive map of risks revealed hotspots of conflict within and around protected areas, the last refuges for elephants in the region, and along habitat corridors connecting them. Additionally, we analyzed how mitigation efforts can best diminish the risk of conflict while minimizing financial costs and adverse biological impacts. Our analytical approach can be adopted, adjusted and expanded to other areas with historical records of human-wildlife conflict.

  12. Predicting Hotspots of Human-Elephant Conflict to Inform Mitigation Strategies in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Ying; Marino, Jorgelina; Chen, Yong; Tao, Qing; Sullivan, Casey D; Shi, Kun; Macdonald, David W

    2016-01-01

    Research on the spatial patterns of human-wildlife conflict is fundamental to understanding the mechanisms underlying it and to identifying opportunities for mitigation. In the state of Xishuangbanna, containing China's largest tropical forest, an imbalance between nature conservation and economic development has led to increasing conflicts between humans and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), as both elephant numbers and conversion of habitable land to rubber plantations have increased over the last several decades. We analyzed government data on the compensation costs of elephant-caused damage in Xishuangbanna between 2008 and 2012 to understand the spatial and temporal patterns of conflict, in terms of their occurrence, frequency and distribution. More than 18,261 incidents were reported, including episodes involving damage to rubber trees (n = 10,999), damage to crops such as paddy, upland rice, corn, bananas and sugarcane (n = 11,020), property loss (n = 689) and attacks on humans (n = 19). The conflict data reconfirmed the presence of elephants in areas which have lacked records since the late 1990s. Zero Altered Negative Binomial models revealed that the risk of damage to crops and plantations increased with proximity to protected areas, increasing distance from roads, and lower settlement density. The patterns were constant across seasons and types of crop damaged. Damage to rubber trees was essentially incidental as elephants searched for crops to eat. A predictive map of risks revealed hotspots of conflict within and around protected areas, the last refuges for elephants in the region, and along habitat corridors connecting them. Additionally, we analyzed how mitigation efforts can best diminish the risk of conflict while minimizing financial costs and adverse biological impacts. Our analytical approach can be adopted, adjusted and expanded to other areas with historical records of human-wildlife conflict.

  13. Ultrasonographically documented early pregnancy loss in an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lueders, Imke; Drews, Barbara; Niemuller, Cheryl; Gray, Charlie; Rich, Peter; Fickel, Jörns; Wibbelt, Gudrun; Göritz, Frank; Hildebrandt, Thomas B

    2010-01-01

    Early embryonic resorption or fetal loss is known to occur occasionally in captive elephants; however, this has mostly been reported anecdotally. The present study documents the case of a 24-year-old, multiparous Asian elephant cow that suffered embryonic death and resorption at around 18 weeks of gestation. From ovulation onwards, this female was sonographically examined 58 times. Blood was collected twice weekly for progestagen determination via enzyme immunoassay. On Day 42 after ovulation, a small quantity of fluid was detected in the uterine horn, which typically indicates the presence of a developing conceptus. Repeated inspections followed what appeared to be a normal pregnancy until Day 116. However, on Day 124, signs of embryonic life were absent. Progestagen concentrations started declining two weeks later, reaching baseline levels one month after embryonic death. Retrospectively, ultrasound examination revealed several abnormalities in the uterine horn. Besides an existing leiomyoma, multiple small cystic structures had formed in the endometrium at the implantation site and later in the placenta. These pathological findings were considered as possible contributors to the early pregnancy failure. PCR for endotheliotropic elephant herpes virus (EEHV) (which had occurred previously in the herd) as well as serology for other infectious organisms known to cause abortion in domestic animals did not yield any positive results. Although no definitive reason was found for this pregnancy to abort, this ultrasonographically and endocrinologically documented study of an early pregnancy loss provides important insights into the resorption process in Asian elephants.

  14. Molecular Indicators of Chronic Stress in a Model Pinniped - The Northern Elephant Seal

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    Pinniped - The Northern Elephant Seal Cory Champagne , Jane Kyudyakov, & Dorian Houser National Marine Mammal Foundation 2240 Shelter Island Dr, Suite...in studies of stress and its impacts ( Champagne et al, 2012). Measurements will be conducted in juvenile elephant seals that reliably haul out each...their large adipose stores) and a reduced amino acid release (potentially resulting from a protein sparing adaptation during fasting; Champagne et

  15. Risk factors for saddle-related skin lesions on elephants used in the tourism industry in Thailand.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Magda, Scarlett; Spohn, Olivia; Angkawanish, Taweepoke; Smith, Dale A; Pearl, David L

    2015-05-19

    Lesions related to working conditions and improper saddle design are a concern for a variety of working animals including elephants. The objectives of the present study were to determine the prevalence of cutaneous lesions in anatomic regions (i.e., neck, girth, back, tail) in contact with saddle-related equipment among elephants in Thailand working in the tourism industry, and to identify potential risk factors associated with these lesions. Data for this cross-sectional study were collected between May 2007 and July 2007 on 194 elephants from 18 tourism camps across Thailand. There was a high prevalence (64.4 %; 95 % CI 57.3 - 71.2) of active lesions, most often located on the back region. Using multilevel multivariable logistic regression modelling containing a random intercept for camp we identified the following risk factors: increasing elephant age, the use of rice sacks as padding material in contact with the skin, and the provision of a break for the elephants. Working hours had a quadratic relationship with the log odds of an active lesion where the probability of an active lesion initially increased with the number of working hours per day and then declined possibly reflecting a "healthy worker" bias where only animals without lesions continue to be able to work these longer hours. While we recognize that the cross-sectional nature of the study posed some inferential limitations, our results offer several potential intervention points for the prevention of these lesions. Specifically, we recommend the following until longitudinal studies can be conducted: increased monitoring of older elephants and the back region of all elephants, working less than 6 hours per day, and the avoidance of rice sacks as padding material in contact with skin.

  16. A method for determining the extent of thermal burns in elephants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Shakespeare

    2006-06-01

    Full Text Available A practical method was developed to assess the extent of burns suffered by elephants caught in bush fires. In developing this method, the surface areas of the different body parts of juvenile, subadult and adult elephants were first determined using standard equations, and then expressed as a percentage of the total body surface area. When viewed from a distance, the burnt proportion of all body segments is estimated, converted to percentages of total body surface area, and then summed to determine the extent of burns suffered.

  17. Rethinking Extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Niv, Yael; Daw, Nathaniel; Phelps, Elizabeth A.

    2015-01-01

    Extinction serves as the leading theoretical framework and experimental model to describe how learned behaviors diminish through absence of anticipated reinforcement. In the past decade, extinction has moved beyond the realm of associative learning theory and behavioral experimentation in animals and has become a topic of considerable interest in the neuroscience of learning, memory, and emotion. Here, we review research and theories of extinction, both as a learning process and as a behavioral technique, and consider whether traditional understandings warrant a re-examination. We discuss the neurobiology, cognitive factors, and major computational theories, and revisit the predominant view that extinction results in new learning that interferes with expression of the original memory. Additionally, we reconsider the limitations of extinction as a technique to prevent the relapse of maladaptive behavior, and discuss novel approaches, informed by contemporary theoretical advances, that augment traditional extinction methods to target and potentially alter maladaptive memories. PMID:26447572

  18. 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

  19. Seasonal atmospheric extinction

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mikhail, J.S.

    1979-01-01

    Mean monochromatic extinction coefficients at various wavelengths at the Kottamia Observatory site have shown the existence of a seasonal variation of atmospheric extinction. The extinction of aerosol compontnts with wavelengths at winter represent exceedingly good conditions. Spring gives the highest extinction due to aerosol. (orig.)

  20. Food and feeding behaviour of Asiatic elephant (Elephas maximus Linn.) in Kuldiha Wild Life Sanctuary, Odisha, India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mohapatra, Kalpana K; Patra, A K; Paramanik, D S

    2013-01-01

    The feeding behaviour of Asiatic elephant (Elephas maximus) with food reference was studied in Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha during 2007 to 2009. Though the study area houses a good number of plant species only 71 species were identified as elephant fodder plants. The food trail of elephant was observed as twig breaking, bark peeling, branch breaking, stem twisting uprooting and flower plucking in different regions of study area during different seasons. Alteration of predominantly browsing strategy with that of grazing around the year was related to seasonal variation of food plants. Consumption of tree species (56%) was highest as compared to shrubs (20%), herbs (14%) and climbers (10%). A high degree of variation in dicot- monocot ratio (61:10)) was marked during identification of elephant fodder plant by direct observation. Microscopic analysis of dung showing a high degree of variation in average dicot- monocot ratio suggested that the food plant selection of elephant was highly opportunistic and seasonal. The elephants extensively fed on the plant species like Careya arborea, Kydia calycina, Helicteres isora, Mallotus philippinensis, Aegle marmelos, Zizyphus mauritiona, Bauhinia racemosa, Bauhinia vahlii, Mimosa pudica, Asparagus racemosus, Smilax zeylanica and Diosporea species. They were fond of Madhuca indica (Mahula) flowers in winter and fruits of Mangifera indica (Mango) in summer. They were never found feeding on Tectona grandis and Eucalyptus maculate inside the study area.

  1. Discovery Learning: Zombie, Phoenix, or Elephant?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bakker, Arthur

    2018-01-01

    Discovery learning continues to be a topic of heated debate. It has been called a zombie, and this special issue raises the question whether it may be a phoenix arising from the ashes to which the topic was burnt. However, in this commentary I propose it is more like an elephant--a huge topic approached by many people who address different…

  2. Molecular phylogenetics of mastodon and Tyrannosaurus rex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Organ, Chris L; Schweitzer, Mary H; Zheng, Wenxia; Freimark, Lisa M; Cantley, Lewis C; Asara, John M

    2008-04-25

    We report a molecular phylogeny for a nonavian dinosaur, extending our knowledge of trait evolution within nonavian dinosaurs into the macromolecular level of biological organization. Fragments of collagen alpha1(I) and alpha2(I) proteins extracted from fossil bones of Tyrannosaurus rex and Mammut americanum (mastodon) were analyzed with a variety of phylogenetic methods. Despite missing sequence data, the mastodon groups with elephant and the T. rex groups with birds, consistent with predictions based on genetic and morphological data for mastodon and on morphological data for T. rex. Our findings suggest that molecular data from long-extinct organisms may have the potential for resolving relationships at critical areas in the vertebrate evolutionary tree that have, so far, been phylogenetically intractable.

  3. The influence of chemical methods (acid modification) on elephant foot yam flour to improve physical and chemical quality on processed food

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paramita, Octavianti; Wahyuningsih, Ansori, Muhammad

    2018-03-01

    This study was aimed at improving the physicochemical quality of elephant foot yam flour in Gunungpati, Semarang by acid modification. The utilization of elephant foot yam flour in several processed food was also discussed in this study. The flour of the experimental result discussed in this study was expected to become a reference for the manufacturers of elephant foot yam flour and its processed food in Gunungpati. This study modified the elephant foot yam flour using acid modification method. The physical and chemical quality of each elephant foot yam flour of the experimental result sample were assessed using proximate analysis. The resulting tuber flour weighed 50 grams and the soaked in acid solution with various concentrations 5 %, 10 % and 15 % with soaking duration 30, 60 and 90 minutes at temperature 35 °C. The resulting suspension was washed 3 times, filtered and then dried by cabinet dryer using 46 °C for 2 days. The dried flour was sifted with a 80 mesh sieve. Chemical test was conducted after elephant foot yam was acid modification to determine changes in the quality flour: test levels of protein, fat, crude fiber content, moisture content, ash content and starch content. In addition, color tests and granular test on elephant foot yam flour were also conducted. The acid modification as chemical treatment on elephant foot yam flour in this study was able to change the functional properties of elephant foot yam flour towards a better processing characterized by a brighter color (L = 80, a = 8 and b = 12), the hydrolysis of polysaccharides flour into shorter chain (flour content decreased to 72%), the expansion of granules in elephant foot yam resulting in a process - ready flour, and better monolayer water content of 11%. The content of protein and fiber on the elephant foot yam flour also can be maintained at a level of 8% and 1.9% levels.

  4. Delayed postpartum fetotomy in an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaftenaar, Willem

    2013-03-01

    A 37-yr-old Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) started parturition after 640 days of pregnancy but no fetal parts entered the birth canal. Despite veterinary intervention, the calf was not delivered. After 13 mo calving resumed and a full-term dead calf advanced into and lodged within the vagina. With standing xylazine tranquilization, the dam received a vagino-vestibulotomy to permit total fetotomy of the calf, which presented with bilateral carpal arthrogryposis. Severe infection of the caudal vaginal vestibulum complicated wound healing, and over the following year two corrective surgeries were performed, which resolved the fistula 3 mo after the second debridement. The elephant not only survived the procedures but also resumed normal estrous cycles, as demonstrated by blood progesterone concentration monitoring.

  5. THE PERCEPTION OF COMMUNITY TOWARDS THE DISTURBANCE OF SUMATERAN ELEPHANT (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS SUMATRANUS IN OGAN KOMERING ILIR REGENCY

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anita Rianti

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Research of elephant conflict with community have been conducted in Sungai Menang District, Ogan Komering Ilir Regency, South Sumatera Province. This study was conducted in three villages in September through December 2015. This study aimed to identify the perception and socio-economic characteristics of the community related to the conflict towards elephant conservation value. Data was collected through structured interview, while respondents were selected intentionally (purposive sampling. The results are shown that the level of community education in the village of Gajah Mati dan Gajah Mulya are low, 51% and 47% respectively, which are elementary school graduates, while the level of education in the village of Gajah Mukti is 58% of high school graduates. The majority of respondents are in productive age classes and worked as a farmer. The average income per month of people in the village of Gajah Mati is Rp1,814,583, while in Gajah Mukti and Gajah Mulya Village are Rp1,158,750 and Rp1,060,833 respectively. Elephants disturbance occur in all respondent villages and has an impact on the community perception of the elephant conservation becomes negative. Most respondents want that the elephants are relocated to Padang Sugihan Wildlife Sanctuary which is suitable for the habitat of the elephants.

  6. Steers performance in dwarf elephant grass pastures alone or mixed with Arachis pintoi.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crestani, Steben; Ribeiro Filho, Henrique Mendonça Nunes; Miguel, Marcolino Frederico; de Almeida, Edison Xavier; Santos, Flávio Augusto Portela

    2013-08-01

    The inclusion of legumes in pasture reduces the need for mineral nitrogen applications and the pollution of groundwater; however, the agronomic and animal husbandry advantages with tropical legumes are still little known. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of the use of forage peanut (Arachis pintoi cv. Amarillo) in dwarf elephant grass pastures (Pennisetum purpureum cv. BRS Kurumi) on forage intake and animal performance. The experimental treatments were dwarf elephant grass fertilized with 200 kg N/ha, and dwarf elephant grass mixed with forage peanut without mineral fertilizers. The animals used for the experiment were 12 Charolais steers (body weight (BW) = 288 ± 5.2 kg) divided into four lots (two per treatment). Pastures were managed under intermittent stocking with an herbage allowance of 5.4 kg dry matter of green leaves/100 kg BW. Dry matter intake (mean = 2.44% BW), the average daily gain (mean = 0.76 kg), and the stocking rate (mean = 3.8 AU/ha) were similar between the studied pastures, but decreased drastically in last grazing cycle with the same herbage allowance. The presence of peanut in dwarf elephant grass pastures was enough to sustain the stocking rate, but did not allow increasing forage intake and animal performance.

  7. Physiological stress responses in wild Asian elephants Elephas maximus in a human-dominated landscape in the Western Ghats, southern India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vijayakrishnan, Sreedhar; Kumar, Mavatur Ananda; Umapathy, G; Kumar, Vinod; Sinha, Anindya

    2018-05-16

    Increasing anthropogenic pressures on forests, especially in the tropical regions of the world, have restricted several large mammalian species such as the Asian elephant to fragmented habitats within human-dominated landscapes. In this study, we assessed the effects of an anthropogenic landscape and its associated conflict with humans on the physiological stress responses displayed by Asian elephants in the Anamalai Hills of the Western Ghats mountains in south India. We have quantified faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) concentrations in focal individual elephants within and across herds, inhabiting both anthropogenic and natural habitats, and evaluated their physiological responses to different socio-ecological situations between November 2013 and April 2014. Physiological stress responses varied significantly among the tested elephant age- and sex categories but not across different types of social organisation. Adults generally showed higher FGM concentrations, even in the absence of stressors, than did any other age category. Males also appeared to have higher stress responses than did females. Although there was no significant variation in mean stress levels between elephants on the plateau in the absence of human interactions and those in adjacent, relatively undisturbed forest habitats, FGM concentrations increased significantly for adult and subadult individuals as well as for calves following drives, during which elephants were driven off aggressively by people. Our study emphasises the general importance of understanding individual variation in physiology and behaviour within a population of a seriously threatened mammalian species, the Asian elephant, and specifically highlights the need for long-term monitoring of the stress physiology and behavioural responses of individual elephants across both human-dominated and natural landscapes. Such studies would not only provide comprehensive insights into the adaptive biology of elephants in changing

  8. Improving extinction projections across scales and habitats using the countryside species-area relationship.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martins, Inês Santos; Pereira, Henrique Miguel

    2017-10-10

    The species-area relationship (SAR) has been often used to project species extinctions as a consequence of habitat loss. However, recent studies have suggested that the SAR may overestimate species extinctions, at least in the short-term. We argue that the main reason for this overestimation is that the classic SAR ignores the persistence of species in human-modified habitats. We use data collected worldwide to analyse what is the fraction of bird and plant species that remain in different human-modified habitats at the local scale after full habitat conversion. We observe that both taxa have consistent responses to the different land-use types, with strongest reductions in species richness in cropland across the globe, and in pasture in the tropics. We show that the results from these studies cannot be linearly scaled from plots to large regions, as this again overestimates the impacts of land-use change on biodiversity. The countryside SAR provides a unifying framework to incorporate both the effect of species persistence in the landscape matrix and the non-linear response of the proportion of species extinctions to sampling area, generating more realistic projections of biodiversity loss.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Prolonged fasting increases glutathione biosynthesis in postweaned northern elephant seals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vázquez-Medina, José Pablo; Zenteno-Savín, Tania; Forman, Henry Jay; Crocker, Daniel E.; Ortiz, Rudy M.

    2011-01-01

    SUMMARY Northern elephant seals experience prolonged periods of absolute food and water deprivation (fasting) while breeding, molting or weaning. The postweaning fast in elephant seals is characterized by increases in the renin–angiotensin system, expression of the oxidant-producing protein Nox4, and NADPH oxidase activity; however, these increases are not correlated with increased oxidative damage or inflammation. Glutathione (GSH) is a potent reductant and a cofactor for glutathione peroxidases (GPx), glutathione-S transferases (GST) and 1-cys peroxiredoxin (PrxVI) and thus contributes to the removal of hydroperoxides, preventing oxidative damage. The effects of prolonged food deprivation on the GSH system are not well described in mammals. To test our hypothesis that GSH biosynthesis increases with fasting in postweaned elephant seals, we measured circulating and muscle GSH content at the early and late phases of the postweaning fast in elephant seals along with the activity/protein content of glutamate-cysteine ligase [GCL; catalytic (GCLc) and modulatory (GCLm) subunits], γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), glutathione disulphide reductase (GR), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH), GST and PrxVI, as well as plasma changes in γ-glutamyl amino acids, glutamate and glutamine. GSH increased two- to four-fold with fasting along with a 40–50% increase in the content of GCLm and GCLc, a 75% increase in GGT activity, a two- to 2.5-fold increase in GR, G6PDH and GST activities and a 30% increase in PrxVI content. Plasma γ-glutamyl glutamine, γ-glutamyl isoleucine and γ-glutamyl methionine also increased with fasting whereas glutamate and glutamine decreased. Results indicate that GSH biosynthesis increases with fasting and that GSH contributes to counteracting hydroperoxide production, preventing oxidative damage in fasting seals. PMID:21430206

  12. Interspecific interference competition at the resource patch scale: do large herbivores spatially avoid elephants while accessing water?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferry, Nicolas; Dray, Stéphane; Fritz, Hervé; Valeix, Marion

    2016-11-01

    Animals may anticipate and try to avoid, at some costs, physical encounters with other competitors. This may ultimately impact their foraging distribution and intake rates. Such cryptic interference competition is difficult to measure in the field, and extremely little is known at the interspecific level. We tested the hypothesis that smaller species avoid larger ones because of potential costs of interference competition and hence expected them to segregate from larger competitors at the scale of a resource patch. We assessed fine-scale spatial segregation patterns between three African herbivore species (zebra Equus quagga, kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros and giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis) and a megaherbivore, the African elephant Loxodonta africana, at the scale of water resource patches in the semi-arid ecosystem of Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Nine waterholes were monitored every two weeks during the dry season of a drought year, and observational scans of the spatial distribution of all herbivores were performed every 15 min. We developed a methodological approach to analyse such fine-scale spatial data. Elephants increasingly used waterholes as the dry season progressed, as did the probability of co-occurrence and agonistic interaction with elephants for the three study species. All three species segregated from elephants at the beginning of the dry season, suggesting a spatial avoidance of elephants and the existence of costs of being close to them. However, contrarily to our expectations, herbivores did not segregate from elephants the rest of the dry season but tended to increasingly aggregate with elephants as the dry season progressed. We discuss these surprising results and the existence of a trade-off between avoidance of interspecific interference competition and other potential factors such as access to quality water, which may have relative associated costs that change with the time of the year. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology

  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. Alabama ESI: BIRDS (Bird Polygons)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set contains sensitive biological resource data for wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, diving birds, seabirds, passerine birds, gulls, and terns...

  15. Maryland ESI: BIRDS (Bird Polygons)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set contains sensitive biological resource data for wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, diving birds, seabirds, passerine birds, and gulls and...

  16. Recent records of birds of conservation concern in the extreme north of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcelo Fischer Barcellos dos Santos

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Our goal is to communicate the occurrence of conservation concern bird species in an Atlantic Forest area of Rio Grande do Sul, in the town of Iraí (27°11’49”S, 53°14’32”W. Compositional data was collected from September 2006 to September 2008 through 364h of field work effort. We registered 23 bird species of conservation interest: sixteen are threatened with extinction in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, four are Near Threatened worldwide (including two regionally threatened, other four are near threatened regionally, and one species is uncommon in the state with poor records. Bird composition in the area shows the importance of conservation and restoration of forests in Iraí, as well as others located in the extreme north of Rio Grande do Sul, since these areas could represent one of the last remaining refuges for a great number of threatened bird species in that region.

  17. 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.

  18. Meiosis in elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum, pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (Poaceae, Poales and their interspecific hybrids

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    Vânia Helena Techio

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available The cultivated and sexually compatible species Pennisetum purpureum (elephant grass, 2n = 4x = 28 and Pennisetum glaucum (pearl millet, 2n = 2x = 14 can undergo hybridization which favors the amplification of their genetic background and the introgression of favorable alleles into breeding programs. The main problem with interspecific hybrids of these species is infertility due to triploidy (2n = 3x = 21. This study describes meiosis in elephant grass x pearl millet hybrids and their progenitors. Panicles were prepared according to the conventional protocol for meiotic studies and Alexander’s stain was used for assessing pollen viability. Pearl millet accessions presented regular meiosis with seven bivalents and high pollen viability. For elephant grass, 14 bivalents in diakinesis and metaphase I were observed. The BAG 63 elephant grass accession, derived from tissue culture, presented a high frequency of meiotic abnormalities. The three hybrid accessions presented a high frequency of abnormalities characterized by irregular chromosomal segregation which resulted in the formation of sterile pollen.

  19. Nearby grandmother enhances calf survival and reproduction in Asian elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lahdenperä, Mirkka; Mar, Khyne U; Lummaa, Virpi

    2016-06-10

    Usually animals reproduce into old age, but a few species such as humans and killer whales can live decades after their last reproduction. The grandmother hypothesis proposes that such life-history evolved through older females switching to invest in their existing (grand)offspring, thereby increasing their inclusive fitness and selection for post-reproductive lifespan. However, positive grandmother effects are also found in non-menopausal taxa, but evidence of their associated fitness effects is rare and only a few tests of the hypothesis in such species exist. Here we investigate the grandmother effects in Asian elephants. Using a multigenerational demographic dataset on semi-captive elephants in Myanmar, we found that grandcalves from young mothers (years) had 8 times lower mortality risk if the grandmother resided with her grandcalf compared to grandmothers residing elsewhere. Resident grandmothers also decreased their daughters' inter-birth intervals by one year. In contrast to the hypothesis predictions, the grandmother's own reproductive status did not modify such grandmother benefits. That elephant grandmothers increased their inclusive fitness by enhancing their daughter's reproductive rate and success irrespective of their own reproductive status suggests that fitness-enhancing grandmaternal effects are widespread, and challenge the view that grandmother effects alone select for menopause coupled with long post-reproductive lifespan.

  20. Functional and phylogenetic structure of island bird communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Si, Xingfeng; Cadotte, Marc W; Zeng, Di; Baselga, Andrés; Zhao, Yuhao; Li, Jiaqi; Wu, Yiru; Wang, Siyu; Ding, Ping

    2017-05-01

    Biodiversity change in anthropogenically transformed habitats is often nonrandom, yet the nature and importance of the different mechanisms shaping community structure are unclear. Here, we extend the classic Theory of Island Biogeography (TIB) to account for nonrandom processes by incorporating species traits and phylogenetic relationships into a study of faunal relaxation following habitat loss and fragmentation. Two possible mechanisms can create nonrandom community patterns on fragment islands. First, small and isolated islands might consist of similar or closely related species because they are environmentally homogeneous or select for certain shared traits, such as dispersal ability. Alternatively, communities on small islands might contain more dissimilar or distantly related species than on large islands because limited space and resource availability result in greater competitive exclusion among species with high niche overlap. Breeding birds were surveyed on 36 islands and two mainland sites annually from 2010 to 2014 in the Thousand Island Lake region, China. We assessed community structure of breeding birds on these subtropical land-bridge islands by integrating species' trait and evolutionary distances. We additionally analysed habitat heterogeneity and variance in size ratios to distinguish biotic and abiotic processes of community assembly. Results showed that functional-phylogenetic diversity increased with island area, and decreased with isolation. Bird communities on the mainland were more diverse and generally less clustered than island bird communities and not different than randomly assembled communities. Bird communities on islands tend to be functionally similar and phylogenetically clustered, especially on small and isolated islands. The nonrandom decline in species diversity and change in bird community structure with island area and isolation, along with the relatively homogeneous habitats on small islands, support the environmental

  1. Nutritional evaluation of fodder, its preference and crop raiding by wild Asian elephant (Elephas maximus in Sonitpur District of Assam, India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bidyut Jyoti Das

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Aim: The present investigation was carried out to evaluate the nutritive value of fodder in natural habitat, cultivated crops and their preference by wild Asian elephant (Elephas maximus in forest and non-forest areas in four seasons using field observation in Sonitpur District of Assam; since, there were frequent incidences of crop raiding by wild elephant leading to loss of property and human-elephant conflict. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted in four seasons. The study included forest areas of Sonai-Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary, part of Nameri National Park and high human-elephant conflicted areas of non-forest near to the sanctuary and parks. The consumed fodders were identified, collected and evaluated. The proximate composition was determined using AOAC (1990. Results: Total 39 different fodder species of 18 families including herbs, climber, grasses, paddy seeds, paddy saplings, plants and its leaves, bark, fruits, and roots were recorded to be utilized by elephants. The first three family of fodder that elephant relished more were Poaceae (46.15%, Musaceae (7.69% and Zingiberaceae (5.13% respectively. The crude protein content of fodder in all seasons, total ash content only in winter and post monsoon seasons and neutral detergent fiber content of fodder between forest and non-forest were significant (p<0.05. Elephants preferred to forage more on nutritionally rich fodder than poor natural fodder. Incidence of crop raiding was more in post monsoon season could be due to availability of nutritionally rich fodder than the poor natural fodder and generally happened in the night. Conclusions: The study revealed that during post monsoon season, there were abundant nutritionally rich sources of cultivated crops than the fodder of natural habitat that might provoke the wild elephants to raid crops. Poaceae shared a major portion of their diet. The findings will definitely help nutritionist, ecologist and policy makers to understand

  2. Status of the globally threatened forest birds of northeast Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Glauco Alves Pereira

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available The Atlantic Forest of northeast Brazil hosts a unique biota which is among the most threatened in the Neotropics. Near-total conversion of forest habitat to sugar cane monocultures has left the region's endemic forest-dependent avifauna marooned in a few highly-fragmented and degraded forest remnants. Here we summarise the current status of 16 globally threatened species based on surveys conducted over the last 11 years. We found a bleak situation for most of these species and consider that three endemics: Glaucidium mooreorum (Pernambuco Pygmy-owl, Cichlocolaptes mazarbarnetti (Cryptic Treehunter and Philydor novaesi (Alagoas Foliage-gleaner are most likely globally extinct. Some positive news can, however, be reported for both Leptodon forbesi (White-collared Kite and Synallaxis infuscata (Pinto's Spinetail which may warrant re-evaluation of their respective red list statuses. We outline a road map to prioritise conservation interventions in the region directed at preventing the extinction of this suite of threatened bird species and their companion biota.

  3. Deep-ocean foraging northern elephant seals bioaccumulate persistent organic pollutants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peterson, Sarah H.; Peterson, Michael G.; Debier, Cathy; Covaci, Adrian; Dirtu, Alin C.; Malarvannan, Govindan; Crocker, Daniel E.; Schwarz, Lisa K.; Costa, Daniel P.

    2015-01-01

    As top predators in the northeast Pacific Ocean, northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) are vulnerable to bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Our study examined a suite of POPs in blubber (inner and outer) and blood (serum) of free-ranging northern elephant seals. For adult females (N = 24), we satellite tracked and sampled the same seals before and after their approximately seven month long foraging trip. For males, we sampled different adults and sub-adults before (N = 14) and after (N = 15) the same foraging trip. For females, we calculated blubber burdens for all compounds. The highest POP concentrations in males and females were found for ∑ DDTs and ∑ PCBs. In blubber and serum, males had significantly greater concentrations than females for almost all compounds. For males and females, ∑ DDT and ∑ PBDEs were highly correlated in blubber and serum. While ∑ PCBs were highly correlated with ∑ DDTs and ∑ PBDEs in blubber and serum for males, ∑ PCBs showed weaker correlations with both compounds in females. As females gained mass while foraging, concentrations of nearly all POPs in inner and outer blubber significantly decreased; however, the absolute burden in blubber significantly increased, indicating ingestion of contaminants while foraging. Additionally, we identified three clusters of seal foraging behavior, based on geography, diving behavior, and stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes, which corresponded with differences in ∑ DDTs, ∑ PBDEs, MeO-BDE 47, as well as the ratio of ∑ DDTs to ∑ PCBs, indicating the potential for behavior to heighten or mitigate contaminant exposure. The greatest concentrations of ∑ DDTs and ∑ PBDEs were observed in the cluster that foraged closer to the coast and had blood samples more enriched in 13 C. Bioaccumulation of POPs by elephant seals supports mesopelagic food webs as a sink for POPs and highlights elephant seals as a potential sentinel of contamination in deep

  4. Deep-ocean foraging northern elephant seals bioaccumulate persistent organic pollutants

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Peterson, Sarah H., E-mail: sarahpeterson23@gmail.com [Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (United States); Peterson, Michael G. [Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, 130 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States); Debier, Cathy [Institut des Sciences de la Vie, Université catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 2/L7.05.08, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium); Covaci, Adrian [Toxicological Center, Campus Drie Eiken, Universiteit Antwerpen, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk (Belgium); Dirtu, Alin C. [Toxicological Center, Campus Drie Eiken, Universiteit Antwerpen, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk (Belgium); Department of Chemistry, “Al. I. Cuza” University of Iasi, 700506 Iasi (Romania); Malarvannan, Govindan [Toxicological Center, Campus Drie Eiken, Universiteit Antwerpen, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk (Belgium); Crocker, Daniel E. [Department of Biology, Sonoma State University, 1801 East Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (United States); Schwarz, Lisa K. [Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (United States); Costa, Daniel P. [Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (United States)

    2015-11-15

    As top predators in the northeast Pacific Ocean, northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) are vulnerable to bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Our study examined a suite of POPs in blubber (inner and outer) and blood (serum) of free-ranging northern elephant seals. For adult females (N = 24), we satellite tracked and sampled the same seals before and after their approximately seven month long foraging trip. For males, we sampled different adults and sub-adults before (N = 14) and after (N = 15) the same foraging trip. For females, we calculated blubber burdens for all compounds. The highest POP concentrations in males and females were found for ∑ DDTs and ∑ PCBs. In blubber and serum, males had significantly greater concentrations than females for almost all compounds. For males and females, ∑ DDT and ∑ PBDEs were highly correlated in blubber and serum. While ∑ PCBs were highly correlated with ∑ DDTs and ∑ PBDEs in blubber and serum for males, ∑ PCBs showed weaker correlations with both compounds in females. As females gained mass while foraging, concentrations of nearly all POPs in inner and outer blubber significantly decreased; however, the absolute burden in blubber significantly increased, indicating ingestion of contaminants while foraging. Additionally, we identified three clusters of seal foraging behavior, based on geography, diving behavior, and stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes, which corresponded with differences in ∑ DDTs, ∑ PBDEs, MeO-BDE 47, as well as the ratio of ∑ DDTs to ∑ PCBs, indicating the potential for behavior to heighten or mitigate contaminant exposure. The greatest concentrations of ∑ DDTs and ∑ PBDEs were observed in the cluster that foraged closer to the coast and had blood samples more enriched in {sup 13}C. Bioaccumulation of POPs by elephant seals supports mesopelagic food webs as a sink for POPs and highlights elephant seals as a potential sentinel of contamination in

  5. Forage mass and stocking rate of elephant grass pastures managed under agroecological and conventional systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Clair Jorge Olivo

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available The objective was to evaluate elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum. pastures, under the agroecological and conventional systems, as forage mass and stocking rate. In the agroecological system, the elephant grass was established in rows spaced by 3.0 m from each other. During the cool season ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam. was established between these rows, which allowed the development of spontaneous growth species during the warm season. In the conventional system the elephant grass was established singularly in rows spaced 1.4 m from each other. Organic and chemical fertilizers were applied at 150 kg of N/ha/year with in the pastures under agroecological and conventional systems, respectively. Lactating Holstein cows which received 5.0 kg/day supplementary concentrate feed were used for evaluation. The experimental design was completely randomized, with two treatments (agroecological and conventional systems two replications (paddocks and independent evaluations (grazing cycles. The pastures were used during the whole year for the agroecological system and for 195 days in the conventional year. The average values of forage mass were 3.5 and 4.2 t/ha and the stocking rates were 2.08 and 3.23 AU/ha for the respective systems. The results suggest that the use of the elephant grass under the agroecological system allows for best distribution of forage and stocking rate to be more uniform throughout the year than the use of elephant grass in conventional system.

  6. Estimated Number of Birds Killed by House Cats (Felis catus in Canada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter Blancher

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Predation by house cats (Felis catus is one of the largest human-related sources of mortality for wild birds in the United States and elsewhere, and has been implicated in extinctions and population declines of several species. However, relatively little is known about this topic in Canada. The objectives of this study were to provide plausible estimates for the number of birds killed by house cats in Canada, identify information that would help improve those estimates, and identify species potentially vulnerable to population impacts. In total, cats are estimated to kill between 100 and 350 million birds per year in Canada (> 95% of estimates were in this range, with the majority likely to be killed by feral cats. This range of estimates is based on surveys indicating that Canadians own about 8.5 million pet cats, a rough approximation of 1.4 to 4.2 million feral cats, and literature values of predation rates from studies conducted elsewhere. Reliability of the total kill estimate would be improved most by better knowledge of feral cat numbers and diet in Canada, though any data on birds killed by cats in Canada would be helpful. These estimates suggest that 2-7% of birds in southern Canada are killed by cats per year. Even at the low end, predation by house cats is probably the largest human-related source of bird mortality in Canada. Many species of birds are potentially vulnerable to at least local population impacts in southern Canada, by virtue of nesting or feeding on or near ground level, and habitat choices that bring them into contact with human-dominated landscapes where cats are abundant. Because cat predation is likely to remain a primary source of bird mortality in Canada for some time, this issue needs more scientific attention in Canada.

  7. Intestinal protozoa of the African elephant Loxodonta africana ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The digestive tract of 15 elephants from South Africa and two from Zaïre were sampled in order to determine the identity, density and population composition of the intestinal protozoa. The following orders were represented: Gymnostomatida, Trichostomatida and Entodiniomorphida. Altogether 17 species were identified, ...

  8. 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

  9. Extinction risk assessment for the species survival plan (SSP) population of the Bali mynah (Leucopsar rothschildi).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Earnhardt, Joanne M; Thompson, Steven D; Faust, Lisa J

    2009-05-01

    The Bali mynah Species Survival Plan (SSP), an Association of Zoos and Aquariums program, strives to maintain the genetic and demographic health of its population, avoid unplanned changes in size, and minimize the risk of population extinction. The SSP population meets current demographic and genetic objectives with a population size of 209 birds at 61 institutions and 96% genetic diversity (GD) retained from the source population. However, participating institutions have expressed concerns regarding space allocation, target population size (TPS), breeding restrictions, inbreeding depression, and harvest in relation to future population availability and viability. Based on these factors, we assess five questions with a quantitative risk assessment, specifically a population viability analysis (PVA) using ZooRisk software. Using an individual-based stochastic model, we project potential population changes under different conditions (e.g. changes in TPS and genetic management) to identify the most effective management actions. Our projections indicate that under current management conditions, population decline and extinction are unlikely and that although GD will decline over 100 years the projected loss does not exceed levels acceptable to population managers (less than 90% GD retained). Model simulations indicate that the combination of two genetic management strategies (i.e. priority breeding based on mean kinship and inbreeding avoidance) benefits the retention of GD and reduces the accumulation of inbreeding. The current TPS (250) is greater than necessary to minimize the risk of extinction for the SSP population but any reduction in TPS must be accompanied by continued application of genetic management. If carefully planned, birds can be harvested for transfer to Bali for a reintroduction program without jeopardizing the SSP population.

  10. Visual cues given by humans are not sufficient for Asian elephants (Elephas maximus to find hidden food.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joshua M Plotnik

    Full Text Available Recent research suggests that domesticated species--due to artificial selection by humans for specific, preferred behavioral traits--are better than wild animals at responding to visual cues given by humans about the location of hidden food. \\Although this seems to be supported by studies on a range of domesticated (including dogs, goats and horses and wild (including wolves and chimpanzees animals, there is also evidence that exposure to humans positively influences the ability of both wild and domesticated animals to follow these same cues. Here, we test the performance of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus on an object choice task that provides them with visual-only cues given by humans about the location of hidden food. Captive elephants are interesting candidates for investigating how both domestication and human exposure may impact cue-following as they represent a non-domesticated species with almost constant human interaction. As a group, the elephants (n = 7 in our study were unable to follow pointing, body orientation or a combination of both as honest signals of food location. They were, however, able to follow vocal commands with which they were already familiar in a novel context, suggesting the elephants are able to follow cues if they are sufficiently salient. Although the elephants' inability to follow the visual cues provides partial support for the domestication hypothesis, an alternative explanation is that elephants may rely more heavily on other sensory modalities, specifically olfaction and audition. Further research will be needed to rule out this alternative explanation.

  11. Visual cues given by humans are not sufficient for Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to find hidden food.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plotnik, Joshua M; Pokorny, Jennifer J; Keratimanochaya, Titiporn; Webb, Christine; Beronja, Hana F; Hennessy, Alice; Hill, James; Hill, Virginia J; Kiss, Rebecca; Maguire, Caitlin; Melville, Beckett L; Morrison, Violet M B; Seecoomar, Dannah; Singer, Benjamin; Ukehaxhaj, Jehona; Vlahakis, Sophia K; Ylli, Dora; Clayton, Nicola S; Roberts, John; Fure, Emilie L; Duchatelier, Alicia P; Getz, David

    2013-01-01

    Recent research suggests that domesticated species--due to artificial selection by humans for specific, preferred behavioral traits--are better than wild animals at responding to visual cues given by humans about the location of hidden food. \\Although this seems to be supported by studies on a range of domesticated (including dogs, goats and horses) and wild (including wolves and chimpanzees) animals, there is also evidence that exposure to humans positively influences the ability of both wild and domesticated animals to follow these same cues. Here, we test the performance of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) on an object choice task that provides them with visual-only cues given by humans about the location of hidden food. Captive elephants are interesting candidates for investigating how both domestication and human exposure may impact cue-following as they represent a non-domesticated species with almost constant human interaction. As a group, the elephants (n = 7) in our study were unable to follow pointing, body orientation or a combination of both as honest signals of food location. They were, however, able to follow vocal commands with which they were already familiar in a novel context, suggesting the elephants are able to follow cues if they are sufficiently salient. Although the elephants' inability to follow the visual cues provides partial support for the domestication hypothesis, an alternative explanation is that elephants may rely more heavily on other sensory modalities, specifically olfaction and audition. Further research will be needed to rule out this alternative explanation.

  12. Hemorrhagic Septicemia in Asian Elephants Elephas maximus in Karnataka state, India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B.R. Harish

    2009-03-01

    Full Text Available The wild animal’s health is of serious biodiversity concern and influenced by several factors like infectious, nutritional, environmental, behavioral and physiological factors. Among which infectious agents are crippling the wild life in terms of huge mortality and morbidity and terminating the life of several endangered species. The most common occurrence and Hemorrhagic Septicemia (HS or Pasturellosis has long been recognized as a serious disease in elephants. The present study revealed the occurrence of Hemorrhagic Septicemia (HS in three national parks of Karnataka state among elephants. The disease was diagnosed based on the clinical signs, gross lesions, histopathology and microbiological findings.

  13. Bimodal extinction without cross-modal extinction.

    OpenAIRE

    Inhoff, A W; Rafal, R D; Posner, M J

    1992-01-01

    Three patients with unilateral neurological injury were clinically examined. All showed consistent unilateral extinction in the tactile and visual modalities on simultaneous intramodal stimulation. There was virtually no evidence for cross-modal extinction, however, so that contralateral stimulation of one modality would have extinguished perception of ipsilateral stimuli in the other modality. It is concluded that the attentional system controlling the encoding of tactile and visual stimuli ...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  15. Discovery of the elusive leptin in birds: identification of several 'missing links' in the evolution of leptin and its receptor.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeremy W Prokop

    Full Text Available Leptin is a pleiotropic protein best known for regulation of appetite and fat storage in mammals. While many leptin orthologs have been identified among vertebrates, an authentic leptin in birds has remained elusive and controversial. Here we identify leptin sequence from the Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus (pfleptin, and identify sequences from two other birds (mallard and zebra finch, and 'missing' vertebrates (elephant shark, alligator, Indian python, Chinese soft-shelled turtle, and coelacanth. The pattern of genes surrounding leptin (snd1, rbm28 is syntenic between the falcon and mammalian genomes. Phylogenetic analysis of all known leptin protein sequences improves our understanding of leptin's evolution. Structural modeling of leptin orthologs highlights a highly conserved hydrophobic core in the four-helix cytokine packing domain. A docked model of leptin with the leptin receptor for Peregrine falcon reveals several conserved amino acids important for the interaction and possible coevolution of leptin with its receptor. We also show for the first time, an authentic avian leptin sequence that activates the JAK-STAT signaling pathway. These newly identified sequences, structures, and tools for avian leptin and its receptor will allow elucidation of the function of these proteins in feral and domestic birds.

  16. Predictors of elephant poaching in a wildlife crime hotspot

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Zafra-Calvo, Noelia; Lobo, J.M.; Prada, C.

    2018-01-01

    Understanding the spatial distribution of elephant carcasses in relation to ecological characteristics and human activities is critical to developing targeted management strategies for reducing poaching. We employ a spatial modelling approach to quantify the relative contribution of multiple...

  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. Rethinking Extinction

    OpenAIRE

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Niv, Yael; Daw, Nathaniel; Phelps, Elizabeth A.

    2015-01-01

    Extinction serves as the leading theoretical framework and experimental model to describe how learned behaviors diminish through absence of anticipated reinforcement. In the past decade, extinction has moved beyond the realm of associative learning theory and behavioral experimentation in animals and has become a topic of considerable interest in the neuroscience of learning, memory, and emotion. Here, we review research and theories of extinction, both as a learning process and as a behavior...

  19. Blood dynamics of mercury and selenium in northern elephant seals during the lactation period

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Habran, Sarah, E-mail: S.Habran@ulg.ac.be [Laboratory for Oceanology - MARE Center B6c, University of Liege, 4000 Liege (Belgium); Debier, Cathy, E-mail: cathy.debier@uclouvain.be [Unite de Biochimie de la Nutrition, Institut des Sciences de la vie, Universite catholique de Louvain, Place Croix du Sud 2/8, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium); Crocker, Daniel E., E-mail: crocker@sonoma.edu [Department of Biology, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (United States); Houser, Dorian S., E-mail: biomimetica@cox.net [BIOMIMETICA, Santee, CA 92071 (United States); Das, Krishna, E-mail: Krishna.Das@ulg.ac.be [Laboratory for Oceanology - MARE Center B6c, University of Liege, 4000 Liege (Belgium)

    2011-10-15

    The effects of reproduction and maternal investment (i.e., milk transfer) on trace element levels remain poorly understood in marine mammals. We examined the blood dynamics of mercury (Hg) and selenium (Se) during lactation in the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), a top predator from the North Pacific Ocean. Total Hg and Se levels were measured in whole blood and milk of 10 mother-pup pairs on days 5 and 22 of lactation. Both Hg and Se were transferred to offspring through the milk. Results suggested that the maternal transfer of Se was prominent during lactation, whereas the Hg transfer was larger during gestation. The lactation period affected Hg and Se levels in the blood of elephant seal mothers and pups. Physiological processes and their relationship to body condition should be considered carefully when interpreting trace element levels in the framework of biomonitoring. - Graphical abstract: Display Omitted Highlights: > The lactation period affects Hg and Se blood levels in elephant seal mothers and pups. > The Hg maternal transfer to offspring is larger during gestation. > The Se maternal transfer to offspring is prominent during lactation via the milk. - Blood levels of total Hg and Se are modified during the 4-week lactating period in northern elephant seals.

  20. Fermentative characteristics and nutritional value of elephant grass silage added with dehydrated banana peel

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lara Maria Santos Brant

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this study was to evaluate the fermentative losses and nutritional value of elephant grass silages with the increasing of inclusion levels of dehydrated banana peel. The experiment was conducted in a completely randomized design, with six treatments and four replications, being the silage exclusively from elephant grass, and five levels of inclusion of banana peel to the elephant grass silage, as the following - 5; 10; 15; 20 and 25%, being added based on natural matter. The addition of the banana peel in the silage reduced linearly (p < 0.05 the pH, the ammoniacal nitrogen and the losses of the fermentative process. In addition, the inclusion of banana peel increased linearly (p < 0.05 the dry matter and non-fibrous carbohydrates. On the other hand, the neutral detergent fiber and the acid detergent fiber were linearly reduced with the inclusion of the banana peel (p < 0.05, but there was no change in the dry matter digestibility in situ. The inclusion of dehydrated banana peel in elephant grass silage reduces the losses of the fermentation process with more consistent results at the 25% inclusion level, however, it reduces the silage nutritional value due to fibrous and protein quality.

  1. Blood dynamics of mercury and selenium in northern elephant seals during the lactation period

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Habran, Sarah; Debier, Cathy; Crocker, Daniel E.; Houser, Dorian S.; Das, Krishna

    2011-01-01

    The effects of reproduction and maternal investment (i.e., milk transfer) on trace element levels remain poorly understood in marine mammals. We examined the blood dynamics of mercury (Hg) and selenium (Se) during lactation in the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), a top predator from the North Pacific Ocean. Total Hg and Se levels were measured in whole blood and milk of 10 mother-pup pairs on days 5 and 22 of lactation. Both Hg and Se were transferred to offspring through the milk. Results suggested that the maternal transfer of Se was prominent during lactation, whereas the Hg transfer was larger during gestation. The lactation period affected Hg and Se levels in the blood of elephant seal mothers and pups. Physiological processes and their relationship to body condition should be considered carefully when interpreting trace element levels in the framework of biomonitoring. - Graphical abstract: Display Omitted Highlights: → The lactation period affects Hg and Se blood levels in elephant seal mothers and pups. → The Hg maternal transfer to offspring is larger during gestation. → The Se maternal transfer to offspring is prominent during lactation via the milk. - Blood levels of total Hg and Se are modified during the 4-week lactating period in northern elephant seals.

  2. The impact of an increasing elephant population on the woody vegetation in southern Sabi Sand Wildtuin, South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kay Hiscocks

    1999-07-01

    Full Text Available In 1961, a fence was erected between privately owned Sabi Sand Wildtuin (SSW and the Kruger National Park (KNP, which largely prevented elephants entering the SSW. In 1993, the fence was removed. This lead to a rapid influx of elephants into the SSW during the winter months, most of which move back into the KNP during the wet summer season. In 1993, the SSW elephant population was 1/1045 ha but increased to 1/305.8 ha in 1996. It more than doubled to 1/146 ha in 1998. This study was undertaken on the property Kingston, in southern SSW, to assess the impact of elephants on woody vegetation and determine why they show seasonal dietary preferences for specific tree parts. Vegetation utilisation was recorded on a five kilometer transect of vehicle track in 1996 and repeated in 1998. From the transect, species density was calculated for those trees impacted on. Trees that had been newly bark stripped were recorded in 1996 and 1998. Cambium samples were collected in summer and winter from eight tree species. Field observations of elephants impacting on woody vegetation augmented the data base. Transect analysis showed a strong correlation between tree utilisation and density. The most visual damage was of Combretum apiculatum, Acacia burkei, Pterocarpus rotundifolius and Grewia species. Tree damage increased by 73 from 1996 to 1998. Significantly higher levels of nitrogen, sodium and magnesium were found in the species most regularly bark stripped. Bull elephants were responsible for 94 of the trees seen uprooted. The results suggested that SSW can sustain the present elephant population, but further influx at the present rate of increase, will have a negative impact on the reserve.

  3. Kinetic study of the catalytic pyrolysis of elephant grass using Ti-MCM-41

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fontes, Maria do Socorro Braga; Melo, Dulce Maria de Araujo; Rodrigues, Glicelia, E-mail: socorro.fontes@yahoo.com.br [Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, RN (Brazil); Barros, Joana Maria de Farias [Universidade Federal de Campina Grande (UFCG), Cuite, PB (Brazil). Dept. de Quimica; Braga, Renata Martins [Universidade Federal da Paraiba (UFPB/CEAR/DEER), Joao Pessoa, PB (Brazil). Centro de Energias Alternativas e Renovaveis. Dept. de Engenharia de Energia Renovaveis

    2014-08-15

    This work aimed to study the kinetics of thermal and catalytic pyrolysis using Ti-MCM-41 as catalyst in order to assess the catalytic pyrolysis efficiency compared to thermal pyrolysis of elephant grass. Ti-MCM-41 molecular sieve was synthesized by hydrothermal method from hydrogel with the following molar composition: 1.00 CTMABr: 4.00 SiO{sub 2}:X TiO{sub 2}: 1 + X Na{sub 2}O: 200.00 H{sub 2}O, which structure template used was cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTMABr). The materials synthesized were characterized by X-ray diffraction, IR spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis and specific area by the BET method, for subsequent application in the biomass pyrolysis process. The kinetic models proposed by Vyazovkin and Flynn-Wall were used to determine the apparent activation energy involved in the thermal and catalytic pyrolysis of elephant grass and the results showed that the catalyst used was effective in reducing the apparent activation energy involved in the thermal decomposition of elephant grass. (author)

  4. THROMBOELASTOGRAPHY IN THE HEALTHY ASIAN ELEPHANT (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Perrin, Kathryn L.; Krogh, Anne K.; Kjelgaard-Hansen, Mads

    2018-01-01

    elephants. Kaolin-activated TEG was performed on whole blood at 60 min and 24 hr postsampling (to replicate shipment to an external laboratory) as well as on freeze–thawed plasma samples, 12–14 mo postsampling. Reference intervals were calculated for fresh whole blood and freeze–thawed plasma samples...

  5. Modeling galactic extinction

    OpenAIRE

    Cecchi-Pestellini, C.; Mulas, G.; Casu, S.; Iatì, M. A.; Saija, R.; Cacciola, A.; Borghese, F.; Denti, P.

    2011-01-01

    We present a model for interstellar extinction dust, in which we assume a bimodal distribution of extinction carriers, a dispersion of core-mantle grains, supplemented by a collection of PAHs in free molecular form. We use state-of-the-art methods to calculate the extinction due to macroscopic dust particles, and the absorption cross-sections of PAHs in four different charge states. While successfull for most of observed Galactic extinction curves, in few cases the model cannot provide reliab...

  6. 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.

  7. Walking Behavior of Zoo Elephants: Associations between GPS-Measured Daily Walking Distances and Environmental Factors, Social Factors, and Welfare Indicators.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

    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.

  8. [Perception and attitude of rural community to the construction of Asian elephant conservation corridors in Xishuangbanna].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Zheng-Ling; Chen, Ming-Yong; Wu, Zhao-Lu; Wang, Qian; Dong, Yong-Hua

    2009-06-01

    By using contingent valuation method (CVM), an investigation was made from November 2007 to March 2008 on the perception and attitude of 196 households in 5 villages within 2 planned Asian elephant conservation corridors in Xishuangbanna to the construction of the corridors. 80.61% of the interviewees conditionally supported the corridors construction. The main factors affecting the interviewees' support willingness included their education level, per capita income, and perceptions to Asian elephant protection, human-elephant relations, and corridor utilization patterns and its beneficiaries, among which, the interviewees' awareness of Asian elephant conservation, corridor utilization patterns, and corridor beneficiaries had strong influence on the support willingness, with the correlation coefficient being 0.231, 0.236, and -0.304, respectively. The rural community holding the land tenure played a key role in the corridors construction. To effectively design and planning the construction of biological conservation corridor, it is necessary to have a deep understanding on the perceptions and attitudes of rural community to the construction of the corridor and to obtain their support and participation for this construction.

  9. Density-dependent cladogenesis in birds.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Albert B Phillimore

    2008-03-01

    Full Text Available A characteristic signature of adaptive radiation is a slowing of the rate of speciation toward the present. On the basis of molecular phylogenies, studies of single clades have frequently found evidence for a slowdown in diversification rate and have interpreted this as evidence for density dependent speciation. However, we demonstrated via simulation that large clades are expected to show stronger slowdowns than small clades, even if the probability of speciation and extinction remains constant through time. This is a consequence of exponential growth: clades, which, by chance, diversify at above the average rate early in their history, will tend to be large. They will also tend to regress back to the average diversification rate later on, and therefore show a slowdown. We conducted a meta-analysis of the distribution of speciation events through time, focusing on sequence-based phylogenies for 45 clades of birds. Thirteen of the 23 clades (57% that include more than 20 species show significant slowdowns. The high frequency of slowdowns observed in large clades is even more extreme than expected under a purely stochastic constant-rate model, but is consistent with the adaptive radiation model. Taken together, our data strongly support a model of density-dependent speciation in birds, whereby speciation slows as ecological opportunities and geographical space place limits on clade growth.

  10. The relative host status of rock elephant shrews Elephantulus ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    1991-10-18

    Oct 18, 1991 ... rocky terrain, occur in South Africa (Smithers 1983) and the distribution of ... elephant shrews on northern and on southern slopes on the farm 'Preezfon- .... this has caused paralysis in Angora goat kids (Fourie et al. 1988a).

  11. Meteorology and elephant infrasound at Etosha National Park, Namibia

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Larom, D

    1997-03-01

    Full Text Available are used to estimate elephant infrasonic calling range and calling area, Directionality and calling range are shown to be controlled by the diurnal cycle in wind (shear) and temperature. Low-level nocturnal radiative temperature inversions and low surface...

  12. Century-scale Changes in Environmental Synchrony and Variability and their Effects on Populations of Birds and Reproduction of Trees

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koenig, W.

    2016-12-01

    The ecological impacts of modern global climate change are detectable in a wide variety of phenomena ranging from shifts in species ranges to changes in community composition and human disease dynamics. Thus far, however, little attention has been given to temporal changes in environmental spatial synchrony-the coincident change in abundance or value across the landscape-or environmental variability, despite the importance of these factors as drivers of population rescue and extinction and reproductive dynamics of both animal and plant populations. We quantified spatial synchrony of widespread North American wintering birds species using Audubon Christmas Bird Counts over the past 50 years and seed set variability (mast fruiting) among trees over the past century and found that both spatial synchrony of the birds and seed set variability have significantly increased over these time periods. The first of these results was mirrored by significant increases in spatial synchrony of mean maximum air temperature across North America, primarily during the summer, while the second is consistent with the hypothesis that climate change is resulting in greater seed set variability. These findings suggest the potential for temporal changes in envioronmental synchrony and variability to be affecting a wide range of ecological phenomena by influencing the probability of population rescue and extinction and by affecting ecosystem processes that rely on the resource pulses provided by mast fruiting plants.

  13. 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......-tier level bonds, indicating the importance of direct benefits in the emergence of complex, hierarchical social relations among elephants. Future directions and conservation implications are discussed....

  14. Columbia River ESI: BIRDS (Bird Polygons)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set contains sensitive biological resource data for wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, diving birds, seabirds, passerine birds, gulls, and terns in...

  15. Sequencing and analysis of full-length cDNAs, 5'-ESTs and 3'-ESTs from a cartilaginous fish, the elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii).

    KAUST Repository

    Brenner, Sydney

    2012-10-08

    Cartilaginous fishes are the most ancient group of living jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes) and are, therefore, an important reference group for understanding the evolution of vertebrates. The elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii), a holocephalan cartilaginous fish, has been identified as a model cartilaginous fish genome because of its compact genome (∼910 Mb) and a genome project has been initiated to obtain its whole genome sequence. In this study, we have generated and sequenced full-length enriched cDNA libraries of the elephant shark using the \\'oligo-capping\\' method and Sanger sequencing. A total of 6,778 full-length protein-coding cDNA and 10,701 full-length noncoding cDNA were sequenced from six tissues (gills, intestine, kidney, liver, spleen, and testis) of the elephant shark. Analysis of their polyadenylation signals showed that polyadenylation usage in elephant shark is similar to that in mammals. Furthermore, both coding and noncoding transcripts of the elephant shark use the same proportion of canonical polyadenylation sites. Besides BLASTX searches, protein-coding transcripts were annotated by Gene Ontology, InterPro domain, and KEGG pathway analyses. By comparing elephant shark genes to bony vertebrate genes, we identified several ancient genes present in elephant shark but differentially lost in tetrapods or teleosts. Only ∼6% of elephant shark noncoding cDNA showed similarity to known noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs). The rest are either highly divergent ncRNAs or novel ncRNAs. In addition to full-length transcripts, 30,375 5\\'-ESTs and 41,317 3\\'-ESTs were sequenced and annotated. The clones and transcripts generated in this study are valuable resources for annotating transcription start sites, exon-intron boundaries, and UTRs of genes in the elephant shark genome, and for the functional characterization of protein sequences. These resources will also be useful for annotating genes in other cartilaginous fishes whose genomes have been targeted for

  16. Sequencing and analysis of full-length cDNAs, 5'-ESTs and 3'-ESTs from a cartilaginous fish, the elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii).

    KAUST Repository

    Brenner, Sydney; Kodzius, Rimantas; Tan, Yue Ying; Tay, Alice; Tay, Boon-Hui; Venkatesh, Byrappa

    2012-01-01

    Cartilaginous fishes are the most ancient group of living jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes) and are, therefore, an important reference group for understanding the evolution of vertebrates. The elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii), a holocephalan cartilaginous fish, has been identified as a model cartilaginous fish genome because of its compact genome (∼910 Mb) and a genome project has been initiated to obtain its whole genome sequence. In this study, we have generated and sequenced full-length enriched cDNA libraries of the elephant shark using the 'oligo-capping' method and Sanger sequencing. A total of 6,778 full-length protein-coding cDNA and 10,701 full-length noncoding cDNA were sequenced from six tissues (gills, intestine, kidney, liver, spleen, and testis) of the elephant shark. Analysis of their polyadenylation signals showed that polyadenylation usage in elephant shark is similar to that in mammals. Furthermore, both coding and noncoding transcripts of the elephant shark use the same proportion of canonical polyadenylation sites. Besides BLASTX searches, protein-coding transcripts were annotated by Gene Ontology, InterPro domain, and KEGG pathway analyses. By comparing elephant shark genes to bony vertebrate genes, we identified several ancient genes present in elephant shark but differentially lost in tetrapods or teleosts. Only ∼6% of elephant shark noncoding cDNA showed similarity to known noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs). The rest are either highly divergent ncRNAs or novel ncRNAs. In addition to full-length transcripts, 30,375 5'-ESTs and 41,317 3'-ESTs were sequenced and annotated. The clones and transcripts generated in this study are valuable resources for annotating transcription start sites, exon-intron boundaries, and UTRs of genes in the elephant shark genome, and for the functional characterization of protein sequences. These resources will also be useful for annotating genes in other cartilaginous fishes whose genomes have been targeted for whole

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E.J. Raubenheimer

    1999-07-01

    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.

  18. Prolonged fasting increases purine recycling in post-weaned northern elephant seals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soñanez-Organis, José Guadalupe; Vázquez-Medina, José Pablo; Zenteno-Savín, Tania; Aguilar, Andres; Crocker, Daniel E; Ortiz, Rudy M

    2012-05-01

    Northern elephant seals are naturally adapted to prolonged periods (1-2 months) of absolute food and water deprivation (fasting). In terrestrial mammals, food deprivation stimulates ATP degradation and decreases ATP synthesis, resulting in the accumulation of purines (ATP degradation byproducts). Hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyl transferase (HGPRT) salvages ATP by recycling the purine degradation products derived from xanthine oxidase (XO) metabolism, which also promotes oxidant production. The contributions of HGPRT to purine recycling during prolonged food deprivation in marine mammals are not well defined. In the present study we cloned and characterized the complete and partial cDNA sequences that encode for HGPRT and xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) in northern elephant seals. We also measured XO protein expression and circulating activity, along with xanthine and hypoxanthine plasma content in fasting northern elephant seal pups. Blood, adipose and muscle tissue samples were collected from animals after 1, 3, 5 and 7 weeks of their natural post-weaning fast. The complete HGPRT and partial XOR cDNA sequences are 771 and 345 bp long and encode proteins of 218 and 115 amino acids, respectively, with conserved domains important for their function and regulation. XOR mRNA and XO protein expression increased 3-fold and 1.7-fold with fasting, respectively, whereas HGPRT mRNA (4-fold) and protein (2-fold) expression increased after 7 weeks in adipose tissue and muscle. Plasma xanthine (3-fold) and hypoxanthine (2.5-fold) levels, and XO (1.7- to 20-fold) and HGPRT (1.5- to 1.7-fold) activities increased during the last 2 weeks of fasting. Results suggest that prolonged fasting in elephant seal pups is associated with increased capacity to recycle purines, which may contribute to ameliorating oxidant production and enhancing the supply of ATP, both of which would be beneficial during prolonged food deprivation and appear to be adaptive in this species.

  19. Bird populations on the Island of Tinian: persistence despite wholesale loss of native forests

    Science.gov (United States)

    Camp, Richard J.; Amidon, Frederick A.; Marshall, Ann P.; Pratt, Thane K.

    2012-01-01

    Bird habitat on the island of Tinian, Mariana Islands, has been substantially altered, and only around 5% of the island has native forest today. The modern bird fauna is likely to be a subset of the original avifauna where only species tolerant to native forest loss and human disturbance have survived. Avian surveys were conducted on the island in 2008 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide current densities and abundances of the remaining species, and assess population trends using data collected from previous surveys. During the three surveys (1982, 1996, and 2008), 18 species were detected, and abundances and trends were assessed for 11 species. Five of the nine native species and one alien bird have increased since 1982. Three native birds—Mariana Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopusroseicapilla), Micronesian Honeyeater (Myzomela rubratra), and Tinian Monarch (Monarcha takatsukasae)—have decreased since 1982. Trends for the remaining two birds (one native and one alien) were considered relatively stable. Only five birds, including the Tinian Monarch, showed significant differences among regions of Tinian by year. Increased development on Tinian may result in increases in habitat clearing and expansion of human-dominated habitats, and declines in some bird populations would likely continue or be exacerbated with these actions. Expanded development activities on Tinian would also mean increased cargo movement between Guam and Tinian, elevating the probability of transporting the Brown Tree Snake (Boiga irregularis) to Tinian, which would lead to precipitous decreases and extinctions.

  20. Using interviews and biological sign surveys to infer seasonal use of forested and agricultural portions of a human-dominated landscape by Asian elephants in Nepal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamichhane, Babu Ram; Subedi, Naresh; Pokheral, Chiranjibi Prasad; Dhakal, Maheshwar; Acharya, Krishna Prasad; Pradhan, Narendra Man Babu; Smith, James L. David; Malla, Sabita; Thakuri, Bishnu Singh; Yackulic, Charles B.

    2018-01-01

    Understanding how wide-ranging animals use landscapes in which human use is highly heterogeneous is important for determining patterns of human–wildlife conflict and designing mitigation strategies. Here, we show how biological sign surveys in forested components of a human-dominated landscape can be combined with human interviews in agricultural portions of a landscape to provide a full picture of seasonal use of different landscape components by wide-ranging animals and resulting human–wildlife conflict. We selected Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Nepal to illustrate this approach. Asian elephants are threatened throughout their geographic range, and there are large gaps in our understanding of their landscape-scale habitat use. We identified all potential elephant habitat in Nepal and divided the potential habitat into sampling units based on a 10 km by 10 km grid. Forested areas within grids were surveyed for signs of elephant use, and local villagers were interviewed regarding elephant use of agricultural areas and instances of conflict. Data were analyzed using single-season and multi-season (dynamic) occupancy models. A single-season occupancy model applied to data from 139 partially or wholly forested grid cells estimated that 0.57 of grid cells were used by elephants. Dynamic occupancy models fit to data from interviews across 158 grid cells estimated that monthly use of non-forested, human-dominated areas over the preceding year varied between 0.43 and 0.82 with a minimum in February and maximum in October. Seasonal patterns of crop raiding by elephants coincided with monthly elephant use of human-dominated areas, and serious instances of human–wildlife conflict were common. Efforts to mitigate human–elephant conflict in Nepal are likely to be most effective if they are concentrated during August through December when elephant use of human-dominated landscapes and human–elephant conflict are most common.

  1. Late Holocene extinction of the New Zealand owlet-nightjar Aegotheles novaezealandiae

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Holdaway, R.N.; Jones, M.D.; Beavan Athfield, N.R.

    2002-01-01

    The New Zealand owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles novaezealandiae) was a small (c. 150 g), almost flightless endemic bird that was widely distributed before human settlement. It was extinct before European settlement and has not so far been found definitely in a Polynesian cultural context. A series of accelerator mass spectrometry 14C ages on gelatin from owlet-nightjar bones from non-cultural deposits was analysed using Bayesian statistics. The results indicate that the owlet-nightjar may have begun to decline before Polynesian settlement. Such a decline would be consistent with the effects of predation by a new predator-most probably the Pacific rat Rattus exulans. (author). 46 refs., 3 figs., 2 tabs

  2. A comparative haematological analysis of Asian Elephants Elephas maximus Linnaeus, 1758 (Mammalia: Proboscidea: Elephantidae managed under different captive conditions in Sri Lanka

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R.K.D. Mel

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available Haematological parameters were assessed from elephants of three institutions in Sri Lanka with different captive conditions, in order to evaluate if different captive conditions influence the physiology of the animals. The institutions were: The National Zoological Gardens (NZG, where elephants live a comparatively sedentary lifestyle, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (PEO, where elephants are allowed to walk and engage in intra-specific behaviours, and Millennium Elephant Foundation (MEF, where the elephants are used for tourist rides. Four adult females were examined from the NZG, while only two males and two females could be examined from PEO and MEF respectively. All animals were sampled on four consecutive days. Blood glucose levels, total white blood cells (WBC, red blood cells (RBC, packed cell volume (PCV, mean corpuscular volume (MCV and differential white blood cell counts were carried out. Certain blood parameters of the elephants from NZG differed significantly from the parameters of the elephants from PEO and MEF. These were, the total WBC counts (Kruskal-Wallis, H=21.92, 2d.f., P=0.000, the lymphocyte count (Kruskal-Wallis, H=16.40, 2d.f., P=0.00 and the Neutrophil: Lymphocyte ratios (Kruskal-Wallis , H=14.58, 2d.f., P less than 0.05. PCV , blood glucose levels and monocyte counts were also shown to be significantly different among the three groups (Kruskal-Wallis P less than 0.000. We suggest that differences in the stress levels associated with the different management methods might influence these haematological values.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Birkett, Patricia J; Vanak, Abi T; Muggeo, Vito M R; Ferreira, Salamon M; Slotow, Rob

    2012-01-01

    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. 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. 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 other extrinsic shifts in ecological studies, rather than arbitrarily fixed definitions

  4. 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

  5. Long-term maintenance of immediate or delayed extinction is determined by the extinction-test interval

    OpenAIRE

    Johnson, Justin S.; Escobar, Martha; Kimble, Whitney L.

    2010-01-01

    Short acquisition-extinction intervals (immediate extinction) can lead to either more or less spontaneous recovery than long acquisition-extinction intervals (delayed extinction). Using rat subjects, we observed less spontaneous recovery following immediate than delayed extinction (Experiment 1). However, this was the case only if a relatively long extinction-test interval was used; a relatively short extinction-test interval yielded the opposite result (Experiment 2). Previous data appear co...

  6. Selecting for extinction: nonrandom disease-associated extinction homogenizes amphibian biotas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Kevin G; Lips, Karen R; Chase, Jonathan M

    2009-10-01

    Studying the patterns in which local extinctions occur is critical to understanding how extinctions affect biodiversity at local, regional and global spatial scales. To understand the importance of patterns of extinction at a regional spatial scale, we use data from extirpations associated with a widespread pathogenic agent of amphibian decline, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) as a model system. We apply novel null model analyses to these data to determine whether recent extirpations associated with Bd have resulted in selective extinction and homogenization of diverse tropical American amphibian biotas. We find that Bd-associated extinctions in this region were nonrandom and disproportionately, but not exclusively, affected low-occupancy and endemic species, resulting in homogenization of the remnant amphibian fauna. The pattern of extirpations also resulted in phylogenetic homogenization at the family level and ecological homogenization of reproductive mode and habitat association. Additionally, many more species were extirpated from the region than would be expected if extirpations occurred randomly. Our results indicate that amphibian declines in this region are an extinction filter, reducing regional amphibian biodiversity to highly similar relict assemblages and ultimately causing amplified biodiversity loss at regional and global scales.

  7. Endovascular Retrieval of Entrapped Elephant Trunk Graft During Complex Hybrid Aortic Arch Repair

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Damodharan, Karthikeyan, E-mail: drdkarthik@hotmail.com [Singapore General Hospital, Department of Diagnostic Radiology (Singapore); Chao, Victor T. T., E-mail: victor.chao.t.t@singhealth.com.sg [National Heart Centre, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery (Singapore); Tay, Kiang Hiong, E-mail: tay.kiang.hiong@singhealth.com.sg [Singapore General Hospital, Department of Diagnostic Radiology (Singapore)

    2016-12-15

    Entrapment of the elephant trunk graft within the false lumen is a rare complication of surgical repair of an aortic dissection. This is normally retrieved by emergent open surgery. We describe a technique of endovascular retrieval of the dislodged graft, during hybrid aortic arch repair. The elephant trunk was cannulated through and through from a femoral access and the free end of the wire was snared and retrieved from a brachial access. The wire was externalised from both accesses and was used to reposition the graft into the true lumen using a body flossing technique.

  8. Endoparasitic infections in free-ranging Asiatic elephants of Mudumalai and Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vimalraj, P G; Jayathangaraj, M G

    2015-09-01

    Free-ranging Asiatic elephants dung samples from various forest divisions of Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary (MWLS) and Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary (AWLS) were examined for identification of endoparasitic infection. The dung samples revealed 100 % endoparasitic infection, with a high prevalence of Strongyles (64 %) in MWLS and Anoplocephala sp. (46 %) in AWLS. Similarly, from the same samples egg per gram of feces was done to ascertain the individual parasitic load. The present research paper communicates the high parasitic prevalence of free-ranging Asian elephants in dry seasons of (February-June 2010) MWLS and AWLS.

  9. Heat storage in Asian elephants during submaximal exercise: behavioral regulation of thermoregulatory constraints on activity in endothermic gigantotherms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowe, M F; Bakken, G S; Ratliff, J J; Langman, V A

    2013-05-15

    Gigantic size presents both opportunities and challenges in thermoregulation. Allometric scaling relationships suggest that gigantic animals have difficulty dissipating metabolic heat. Large body size permits the maintenance of fairly constant core body temperatures in ectothermic animals by means of gigantothermy. Conversely, gigantothermy combined with endothermic metabolic rate and activity likely results in heat production rates that exceed heat loss rates. In tropical environments, it has been suggested that a substantial rate of heat storage might result in a potentially lethal rise in core body temperature in both elephants and endothermic dinosaurs. However, the behavioral choice of nocturnal activity might reduce heat storage. We sought to test the hypothesis that there is a functionally significant relationship between heat storage and locomotion in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), and model the thermoregulatory constraints on activity in elephants and a similarly sized migratory dinosaur, Edmontosaurus. Pre- and post-exercise (N=37 trials) measurements of core body temperature and skin temperature, using thermography were made in two adult female Asian elephants at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, LA, USA. Over ambient air temperatures ranging from 8 to 34.5°C, when elephants exercised in full sun, ~56 to 100% of active metabolic heat production was stored in core body tissues. We estimate that during nocturnal activity, in the absence of solar radiation, between 5 and 64% of metabolic heat production would be stored in core tissues. Potentially lethal rates of heat storage in active elephants and Edmontosaurus could be behaviorally regulated by nocturnal activity.

  10. CEPF Western Ghats Special Series: An overview of Asian Elephants in the Western Ghats, southern India: implications for the conservation of Western Ghats ecology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. Baskaran

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available The Western Ghats region is a global biodiversity hotspot and the source of all the major rivers of peninsular India. The conservation of this region is important for the biodiversity it harbours, and for ecological functions that include climate stability, erosion control, clean water and air, which are essential to safeguard economic growth, social stability and quality of life for the people of peninsular India. Possessing a unique diversity in topography, climate, vegetation, faunal communities, endemism and human communities, the Western Ghats is also known for its spectacular assemblage of larger mammals, including 25% of the global population of Asian Elephants. There are four major landscapes in the Western Ghats: (1 Uttara Kannada, (2 Brahmagiri-Nilgiris, (3 Anamalai-Nelliyampathy-High Range, and (4 Periyar-Agasthyamalai, spread across 30,000km2, harbouring a minimum 10,000 elephants in six different populations with signs of an increasing trend in some populations. The second landscape (Brahmagiri-Nilgiris with over 50% of the Ghats elephant population, along with its contiguity to the Eastern Ghats elephant landscape, forms the single largest global population of Asian Elephants. However, major threats to the long-term conservation of the elephant include further fragmentation of habitat, continued poaching of bulls for ivory, and escalation in human-elephant conflicts resulting in public antagonism toward the species. The goals of management should thus be to: (1 consolidate habitats and preserve corridors to avoid further fragmentation; (2 take steps through integrated land use planning at the landscape level to reduce human-elephant conflicts; and (3 build up a demographically and genetically viable elephant population by protecting the tusked males from ivory poaching. Being a wide-ranging umbrella species, ensuring the long-term conservation of Asian Elephants in the Ghats implies protecting its biodiversity and ecological

  11. Complete mitochondrial genomes of living and extinct pigeons revise the timing of the columbiform radiation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soares, André E R; Novak, Ben J; Haile, James; Heupink, Tim H; Fjeldså, Jon; Gilbert, M Thomas P; Poinar, Hendrik; Church, George M; Shapiro, Beth

    2016-10-26

    Pigeons and doves (Columbiformes) are one of the oldest and most diverse extant lineages of birds. However, the nature and timing of the group's evolutionary radiation remains poorly resolved, despite recent advances in DNA sequencing and assembly and the growing database of pigeon mitochondrial genomes. One challenge has been to generate comparative data from the large number of extinct pigeon lineages, some of which are morphologically unique and therefore difficult to place in a phylogenetic context. We used ancient DNA and next generation sequencing approaches to assemble complete mitochondrial genomes for eleven pigeons, including the extinct Ryukyu wood pigeon (Columba jouyi), the thick-billed ground dove (Alopecoenas salamonis), the spotted green pigeon (Caloenas maculata), the Rodrigues solitaire (Pezophaps solitaria), and the dodo (Raphus cucullatus). We used a Bayesian approach to infer the evolutionary relationships among 24 species of living and extinct pigeons and doves. Our analyses indicate that the earliest radiation of the Columbidae crown group most likely occurred during the Oligocene, with continued divergence of major clades into the Miocene, suggesting that diversification within the Columbidae occurred more recently than has been reported previously.

  12. Interstellar extinction correlations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jones, A.P.; Williams, D.A.; Duley, W.W.

    1987-01-01

    A recently proposed model for interstellar grains in which the extinction arises from small silicate cores with mantles of hydrogenated amorphous carbon (HAC or α-C:H), and large, but thinly coated, silicate grains can successfully explain many of the observed properties of interstellar dust. The small silicate cores give rise to the 2200 A extinction feature. The extinction in the visual is produced by the large silicates and the HAC mantles on the small cores, whilst the far UV extinction arises in the HAC mantles with a small contribution form the silicate grains. The grain model requires that the silicate material is the more resilient component and that variations in the observed extinction from region to region are due to the nature and depletion of the carbon in the HAC mantles. (author)

  13. Exploring the Relationship between Skeletal Mass and Total Body Mass in Birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martin-Silverstone, Elizabeth; Vincze, Orsolya; McCann, Ria; Jonsson, Carl H W; Palmer, Colin; Kaiser, Gary; Dyke, Gareth

    2015-01-01

    Total body mass (TBM) is known to be related to a number of different osteological features in vertebrates, including limb element measurements and total skeletal mass. The relationship between skeletal mass and TBM in birds has been suggested as a way of estimating the latter in cases where only the skeleton is known (e.g., fossils). This relationship has thus also been applied to other extinct vertebrates, including the non-avian pterosaurs, while other studies have used additional skeletal correlates found in modern birds to estimate TBM. However, most previous studies have used TBM compiled from the literature rather than from direct measurements, producing values from population averages rather than from individuals. Here, we report a new dataset of 487 extant birds encompassing 79 species that have skeletal mass and TBM recorded at the time of collection or preparation. We combine both historical and new data for analyses with phylogenetic control and find a similar and well-correlated relationship between skeletal mass and TBM. Thus, we confirm that TBM and skeletal mass are accurate proxies for estimating one another. We also look at other factors that may have an effect on avian body mass, including sex, ontogenetic stage, and flight mode. While data are well-correlated in all cases, phylogeny is a major control on TBM in birds strongly suggesting that this relationship is not appropriate for estimating the total mass of taxa outside of crown birds, Neornithes (e.g., non-avian dinosaurs, pterosaurs). Data also reveal large variability in both bird skeletal and TBM within single species; caution should thus be applied when using published mass to test direct correlations with skeletal mass and bone lengths.

  14. Social-ecological predictors of global invasions and extinctions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lotz, Aaron; Allen, Craig R.

    2013-01-01

    Most assessments of resilience have been focused on local conditions. Studies focused on the relationship between humanity and environmental degradation are rare, and are rarely comprehensive. We investigated multiple social-ecological factors for 100 countries around the globe in relation to the percentage of invasions and extinctions within each country. These 100 countries contain approximately 87% of the world’s population, produce 43% of the world’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP), and take up 74% of the earth’s total land area. We used an information theoretic approach to determine which models were most supported by our data, utilizing an a priori set of plausible models that included a combination of 15 social-ecological variables, each social-ecological factor by itself, and selected social-ecological factors grouped into three broad classes. These variables were per capita GDP, export-import ratio, tourism, undernourishment, energy efficiency, agricultural intensity, rainfall, water stress, wilderness protection, total biodiversity, life expectancy, adult literacy, pesticide regulation, political stability, and female participation in government. Our results indicate that as total biodiversity and total land area increase, the percentage of endangered birds also increases. As the independent variables (agricultural intensity, rainfall, water stress, and total biodiversity) in the ecological class model increase, the percentage of endangered mammals in a country increases. The percentage of invasive birds and mammals in a country increases as per capita GDP increases. As life expectancy increases, the percentage of invasive and endangered birds and mammals increases. Although our analysis does not determine mechanisms, the patterns observed in this study provide insight into the dynamics of a complex, global, social-ecological system.

  15. Social-Ecological Predictors of Global Invasions and Extinctions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aaron Lotz

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Most assessments of resilience have been focused on local conditions. Studies focused on the relationship between humanity and environmental degradation are rare, and are rarely comprehensive. We investigated multiple social-ecological factors for 100 countries around the globe in relation to the percentage of invasions and extinctions within each country. These 100 countries contain approximately 87% of the world's population, produce 43% of the world's per capita gross domestic product (GDP, and take up 74% of the earth's total land area. We used an information theoretic approach to determine which models were most supported by our data, utilizing an a priori set of plausible models that included a combination of 15 social-ecological variables, each social-ecological factor by itself, and selected social-ecological factors grouped into three broad classes. These variables were per capita GDP, export-import ratio, tourism, undernourishment, energy efficiency, agricultural intensity, rainfall, water stress, wilderness protection, total biodiversity, life expectancy, adult literacy, pesticide regulation, political stability, and female participation in government. Our results indicate that as total biodiversity and total land area increase, the percentage of endangered birds also increases. As the independent variables (agricultural intensity, rainfall, water stress, and total biodiversity in the ecological class model increase, the percentage of endangered mammals in a country increases. The percentage of invasive birds and mammals in a country increases as per capita GDP increases. As life expectancy increases, the percentage of invasive and endangered birds and mammals increases. Although our analysis does not determine mechanisms, the patterns observed in this study provide insight into the dynamics of a complex, global, social-ecological system.

  16. An assessment of human-elephant conflict in Manas National Park, Assam, India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N.K. Nath

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available An assessment of human-elephant conflict was carried out in the fringe villages around Manas National Park, Assam during 2005-06. The available forest department conflict records since 1991 onwards were also incorporated during analysis. Conflict was intense in the months of July-August and was mostly concentrated along the forest boundary areas, decreasing with distance from the Park. Crop damage occurred during two seasons; paddy (the major crop suffered the most due to raiding. Crop maturity and frequency of raiding were positively correlated. Single bull elephants were involved in conflicts more frequently (59% than female herds (41%, while herds were involved in majority of crop raiding cases. Of the single elephants, 88% were makhnas and 11.9% were tuskers. The average herd size recorded was 8 individuals, with group size ranging up to 16. Mitigation measures presently adopted involve traditional drive-away techniques including making noise by shouting, drum beating, bursting fire crackers and firing gun shots into the air, and using torch light, pelting stones and throwing burning torches. Kunkis have been used in severe cases. Machans are used for guarding the crops. Combinations of methods are most effective. Family herds were easily deflected, while single bulls were difficult to ward off. Affected villagers have suggested methods like regular patrolling (39% by the Forest Department officials along the Park boundary, erection of a concrete wall (18% along the Park boundary, electric fencing (13%, simply drive away (13%, culling (11% and lighting the Park boundary during night hours (6%. Attempts to reduce conflict by changing the traditional cropping pattern by introducing some elephant-repellent alternative cash crops (e.g. lemon and chilli are under experiment.

  17. Medical management of bilateral corneal opacity in an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus: A case report

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pranab Paul

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Objective: This study was aimed at studying efficacy of medical management of corneal opacity in an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus. Material and methods: A 42 years old male Asian elephant was brought to the Teaching Veterinary Hospital (TVH at Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU with a history of chronic lacrimation and impaired vision. On clinical examination, the animal was found apparently healthy. Opthalmological examination tentatively revealed the condition as corneal opacity. The left eye was much more affected as compared to the right one. Medical management was instituted with topical administration of ciprofloxacin, dexamethasone, subconjunctival prednisolone and dexamethasone along with intramuscular ketoprofen (at 1 mg/Kg bwt and vitamin A (at 5000 IU/Kg bwt. Results: The “mahout” (elepenat caretaker of the elephant was kept in close contact over cell phone to follow up the progress of the condition. Clinical examination after 19 days revealed complete recovery of the cornel opacity. There was no sign of lacrimation and the animal regained its normal vision. Conclusion: The treatment protocol successfully eliminated the discomfort along with corneal opacity and lacrimation in an Asian elephant. [J Adv Vet Anim Res 2018; 5(1.000: 98-100

  18. Influence of dominance status on adrenal activity and ovarian cyclicity status in captive African elephants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Proctor, Christine M; Freeman, Elizabeth W; Brown, Janine L

    2010-01-01

    The North American African (Loxodonta africana) elephant population is not self-sustaining, in part because of a high rate of abnormal ovarian activity. About 12% of adult females exhibit irregular cycles and 31% do not cycle at all. Our earlier work revealed a relationship between dominance status and ovarian acyclicity, with dominant females being more likely to not cycle normally. One theory is that dominant females may be expending more energy to maintaining peace within the captive herd than for supporting reproduction. The goal of this study was to determine if there was a relationship among dominance status, serum cortisol concentrations, and ovarian acyclicity. We hypothesized that adrenal glucocorticoid activity would be increased in dominant, noncycling elephants as compared with subdominant individuals. Blood samples were collected weekly over a 2-year period in 81 females of known dominance and cyclicity status, and analyzed for cortisol. Based on a path analysis model (Reticular Action Model Or Near Approximation [RAMONA]), noncycling, dominant African elephant females did not have higher mean serum cortisol concentrations, or exhibit more variability (i.e., coefficient of variation, standard deviation) in cortisol secretion. This study suggests that alterations in adrenal activity are not related to dominance status nor contribute directly to acyclicity in captive African elephants.

  19. Saving our shared birds: Partners in Flight tri-national vision for landbird conservation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berlanga, Humberto; Kennedy, Judith A.; Rich, Terrell D.; Arizmendi, Maria del Coro; Beardmore, Carol J.; Blancher, Peter J.; Butcher, Gregory S.; Couturier, Andrew R.; Dayer, Ashley A.; Demarest, Dean W.; Easton, Wendy E.; Gustafson, Mary; Iñigo-Elias, Eduardo E.; Krebs, Elizabeth A.; Panjabi, Arvind O.; Rodriguez Contreras, Vicente; Rosenberg, Kenneth V.; Ruth, Janet M.; Santana Castellon, Eduardo; Vidal, Rosa Ma.; Will, Tom

    2010-01-01

    effort within each country, as well as a tri-national strategy to address issues throughout the full life cycles of our birds. Today more than ever, it is urgent for the people of Canada, Mexico, and the United States to work together to keep common birds common, prevent extinction of our bird species at greatest risk, and ensure the diversity and abundance of birdlife across North America and throughout the hemisphere, far into the future. Saving Our Shared Birds shows the way forward.

  20. Statistical parametric mapping of the regional distribution and ontogenetic scaling of foot pressures during walking in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Panagiotopoulou, Olga; Pataky, Todd C; Hill, Zoe; Hutchinson, John R

    2012-05-01

    Foot pressure distributions during locomotion have causal links with the anatomical and structural configurations of the foot tissues and the mechanics of locomotion. Elephant feet have five toes bound in a flexible pad of fibrous tissue (digital cushion). Does this specialized foot design control peak foot pressures in such giant animals? And how does body size, such as during ontogenetic growth, influence foot pressures? We addressed these questions by studying foot pressure distributions in elephant feet and their correlation with body mass and centre of pressure trajectories, using statistical parametric mapping (SPM), a neuro-imaging technology. Our results show a positive correlation between body mass and peak pressures, with the highest pressures dominated by the distal ends of the lateral toes (digits 3, 4 and 5). We also demonstrate that pressure reduction in the elephant digital cushion is a complex interaction of its viscoelastic tissue structure and its centre of pressure trajectories, because there is a tendency to avoid rear 'heel' contact as an elephant grows. Using SPM, we present a complete map of pressure distributions in elephant feet during ontogeny by performing statistical analysis at the pixel level across the entire plantar/palmar surface. We hope that our study will build confidence in the potential clinical and scaling applications of mammalian foot pressures, given our findings in support of a link between regional peak pressures and pathogenesis in elephant feet.

  1. 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.

  2. Bizarre tubercles on the vertebrae of Eocene fossil birds indicate an avian disease without modern counterpart

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayr, Gerald

    2007-08-01

    Remains of fossil birds with numerous bony tubercles on the cervical vertebrae are reported from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany and the Late Eocene of the Quercy fissure fillings in France. These structures, which are unknown from extant birds and other vertebrates, were previously described for an avian skeleton from Messel but considered a singular feature of this specimen. The new fossils are from a different species of uncertain phylogenetic affinities and show that tuberculated vertebrae have a wider taxonomic, temporal, and geographic distribution. In contrast to previous assumptions, they are no ontogenetic feature and arise from the vertebral surface. It is concluded that they are most likely of pathologic origin and the first record of a Paleogene avian disease. Their regular and symmetrical arrangement over most of the external vertebral surface indicates a systemic disorder caused by factors that do not affect extant birds, such as especially high-dosed phytohormones or extinct pathogens.

  3. Facilitation of extinction and re-extinction of operant behavior in mice by chlordiazepoxide and D-cycloserine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leslie, Julian C; Norwood, Kelly

    2013-05-01

    The aim was to compare operant extinction with re-extinction following re-acquisition and to investigate neuropharmacological mechanisms through administration of drugs potentiating GABAergic or glutamatergic systems. Groups of C57Bl/6 mice were trained to lever press for food on a fixed ratio schedule, then extinguished with or without pre-session chlordiazepoxide or post-session d-cycloserine administration (15mg/kg in each case), then retrained to lever press for food, then re-extinguished with or without pre-session chlordiazepoxide or post-session d-cycloserine. Under vehicle injections, extinction and re-extinction curves were indistinguishable, but drug treatments showed that there was less resistance to extinction in the re-extinction phase. Chlordiazepoxide facilitated extinction and re-extinction, with an earlier effect during re-extinction. d-Cycloserine also facilitated extinction and re-extinction, with some evidence of an earlier effect during re-extinction. These results replicate and extend earlier findings with operant extinction, but differ from some previous reports of d-cycloserine on re-extinction of Pavlovian conditioned fear. Implications for accounts of the similarities and differences between neural mechanisms of extinction following either Pavlovian or operant conditioning, and applications of these findings, are discussed. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Bird communities in three forest types in the Pernambuco Centre of Endemism, Alagoas, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lahert W. Lobo-Araújo

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available The Pernambuco Center of Endemism (PCE in northeastern Brazil is highly fragmented and degraded. Despite its potential conservation importance the bird fauna in this area is still relatively unknown and there are many remnant fragments that have not been systematically surveyed. Here, we report the results of bird surveys in five forest fragments (one pioneer, two ombrophilous and two seasonal. In total, 162 taxa were recorded, 12 of which are endemic to the PCE. The frequency of endangered species was lower than what has been reported in studies from the same area and most of the taxa considered to be at risk of extinction were sub-species of uncertain taxonomic validity. The comparatively low number of endemic/threatened species may be due to the small size of the fragments in the present study - a consequence of the high levels of habitat loss in this region. Analysis of species richness patterns indicates that ombrophilous forest fragments are acting as refuges for those bird species that are most sensitive to environmental degradation.

  5. Mean latitudinal range sizes of bird assemblages in six Neotropical forest chronosequences

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dunn, Robert R.; Romdal, Tom Skovlund

    2005-01-01

    Aim The geographical range size frequency distributions of animal and plant assemblages are among the most important factors affecting large-scale patterns of diversity. Nonetheless, the relationship between habitat type and the range size distributions of species forming assemblages remains poorly...... towards more small ranged species occurs. Even relatively old secondary forests have bird species with larger average ranges than mature forests. As a consequence, conservation of secondary forests alone will miss many of the species most at risk of extinction and most unlikely to be conserved in other...

  6. Long-Term Maintenance of Immediate or Delayed Extinction Is Determined by the Extinction-Test Interval

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Justin S.; Escobar, Martha; Kimble, Whitney L.

    2010-01-01

    Short acquisition-extinction intervals (immediate extinction) can lead to either more or less spontaneous recovery than long acquisition-extinction intervals (delayed extinction). Using rat subjects, we observed less spontaneous recovery following immediate than delayed extinction (Experiment 1). However, this was the case only if a relatively…

  7. Elephant Elephas maximus Linnaeus (Proboscidea: Elephantidae migration paths in the Nilgiri Hills, India in the late 1970s

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E.R.C. Davidar

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available The study presented was carried out in 1978 with the support of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC. Its objective was to investigate the impediments to elephant movement in the Nilgiri Hills, in the Western Ghats of India, in an attempt to suggest positive steps to encourage movement through the provision of corridors. The report was left unpublished, but given its importance as a reference document for the conservation of the Asian elephant in the Nilgiris, in 2011 the last two authors decided to publish it. The process of habitat fragmentation has been going on ever since man started agriculture. But this problem has, of late, become much more acute due to mounting pressure on land. The corridor concept applied to wildlife is the provision of a free and, as far as possible, unimpeded way for the passage of wild animals between two wildlife zones. A corridor’s more important function is to prevent wild animals from getting isolated in small pocket-like islands. Maintaining elephant habitat connectivity in and around the Nilgiris rests upon the understanding that elephant populations of the several protected areas of the now Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve must remain active. The first author surveyed the Nilgiris on foot and on elephant back for several months in 1978. It was concluded that four areas (the Nilgiri north slopes and Deccan Plateau, the south and southeastern slopes, the Gudalur Plateau, and the upper plateau harboured together 10 corridors that needed to be maintained, or restored, or even partially restored.

  8. Renaut bodies in nerves of the trunk of the African elephant, Loxodonta africana.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Witter, Kirsti; Egger, Gunter F; Boeck, Peter

    2007-05-01

    Renaut bodies are loosely textured, cell-sparse structures in the subperineurial space of peripheral nerves, frequently found at sites of nerve entrapment. The trunk of the elephant is a mobile, richly innervated organ, which serves for food gathering, object grasping and as a tactile organ. These functions of the trunk lead to distortion and mechanical compression of its nerves, which can therefore be expected to contain numerous Renaut bodies. Samples of the trunk wall of an adult African elephant (Loxodonta africana) were examined histologically using conventional staining methods, immunohistochemistry, and lectin histochemistry. Architecture of nerve plexuses and occurrence of Renaut bodies in the elephant trunk were compared with those in tissues surrounding the nasal vestibule of the pig. Prominent nerve plexuses were found in all layers of the elephant trunk. Almost all (81%) nerve profiles contained Renaut bodies, a basophilic, discrete subperineurial layer resembling cushions around the nerve core. In contrast, Renaut bodies were seen in only 15% of nerve profiles in the porcine nasal vestibule. Within Renaut bodies, fusiform fibroblasts and round, ruff-like cells were placed into a matrix of acidic glycosaminoglycans with delicate collagen and very few reticular fibers. The turgor of this matrix is thought to protect nerves against compression and shearing strain. Renaut bodies are readily stained with alcian blue (pH 2.5) favorably in combination with immunohistochemical markers of nerve fibers. They should be regarded as a physiological response to repeated mechanical insults and are distinct from pathological alterations. alterations. (c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  9. Targeted habitat restoration can reduce extinction rates in fragmented forests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newmark, William D; Jenkins, Clinton N; Pimm, Stuart L; McNeally, Phoebe B; Halley, John M

    2017-09-05

    The Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania and the Atlantic Forest of Brazil are two of the most fragmented biodiversity hotspots. Species-area relationships predict that their habitat fragments will experience a substantial loss of species. Most of these extinctions will occur over an extended time, and therefore, reconnecting fragments could prevent species losses and allow locally extinct species to recolonize former habitats. An empirical relaxation half-life vs. area relationship for tropical bird communities estimates the time that it takes to lose one-half of all species that will be eventually lost. We use it to estimate the increase in species persistence by regenerating a forest connection 1 km in width among the largest and closest fragments at 11 locations. In the Eastern Arc Mountains, regenerating 8,134 ha of forest would create >316,000 ha in total of restored contiguous forest. More importantly, it would increase the persistence time for species by a factor of 6.8 per location or ∼2,272 years, on average, relative to individual fragments. In the Atlantic Forest, regenerating 6,452 ha of forest would create >251,000 ha in total of restored contiguous forest and enhance species persistence by a factor of 13.0 per location or ∼5,102 years, on average, relative to individual fragments. Rapidly regenerating forest among fragments is important, because mean time to the first determined extinction across all fragments is 7 years. We estimate the cost of forest regeneration at $21-$49 million dollars. It could provide one of the highest returns on investment for biodiversity conservation worldwide.

  10. Extinction and the fossil record

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, ,. J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1994-01-01

    The author examines evidence of mass extinctions in the fossil record and searches for reasons for such large extinctions. Five major mass extinctions eliminated at least 40 percent of animal genera in the oceans and from 65 to 95 percent of ocean species. Questions include the occurrence of gradual or catastrophic extinctions, causes, environment, the capacity of a perturbation to cause extinctions each time it happens, and the possibility and identification of complex events leading to a mass extinction.

  11. Extinctions. Paleontological baselines for evaluating extinction risk in the modern oceans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Finnegan, Seth; Anderson, Sean C; Harnik, Paul G; Simpson, Carl; Tittensor, Derek P; Byrnes, Jarrett E; Finkel, Zoe V; Lindberg, David R; Liow, Lee Hsiang; Lockwood, Rowan; Lotze, Heike K; McClain, Craig R; McGuire, Jenny L; O'Dea, Aaron; Pandolfi, John M

    2015-05-01

    Marine taxa are threatened by anthropogenic impacts, but knowledge of their extinction vulnerabilities is limited. The fossil record provides rich information on past extinctions that can help predict biotic responses. We show that over 23 million years, taxonomic membership and geographic range size consistently explain a large proportion of extinction risk variation in six major taxonomic groups. We assess intrinsic risk-extinction risk predicted by paleontologically calibrated models-for modern genera in these groups. Mapping the geographic distribution of these genera identifies coastal biogeographic provinces where fauna with high intrinsic risk are strongly affected by human activity or climate change. Such regions are disproportionately in the tropics, raising the possibility that these ecosystems may be particularly vulnerable to future extinctions. Intrinsic risk provides a prehuman baseline for considering current threats to marine biodiversity. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  12. TL dating of vases with elephant ears in Yuan Dynasty

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Xia Junding; Wang Weida; Leung, P.L.

    2005-01-01

    Thermoluminescence (TL) dating using an activation method in pre-dose technique was described. Three vases in underglaze blue with elephant ears and one vase in underglaze red with elephant ears in Yuan Dynasty were dated by this method. The results show that the TL ages are all less than 100 a B.P., and in which sbc 648 and sbc 649 were imitated in recent years. This method is quick, convenient and reliable for porcelain dating with the age of less than 1000 a B.P.. As a comparison, a porcelain sample with underglaze blue in Yuan Dynasty was dated too, and its TL age is 620 ± 140 B.P.. In addition, some complex factors associated with dating have been discussed and a resolution has been raised, which will help improve the accuracy of TL dating. (authors)

  13. 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

    on age- and tactic-specific paternity success in male African elephants are the first from a free-ranging population and demonstrate that paternity success increases dramatically with age, with the small number of older bulls in the competitive state of musth being the most successful sires. However......, nonmusth males sired 20% of genotyped calves, and 60% of mature bulls (>20 years old) were estimated to have sired offspring during the 5-year study period. The 3 most successful males sired less than 20% of the genotyped offspring. Hence, contrary to prediction from behavior and life-history traits......, 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...

  14. The Dartmouth Elephant plasma facility

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lynch, K. A.

    2017-12-01

    The Elephant facility in the Dartmouth Dept of Physics and Astronomyis a 1m by 2m chamber with a microwave-resonant plasma source togetherwith a higher energy electron/ion electrostatic gun. In this chamber weaim to re-create features of the auroral ionosphere including both thethermal plasma background, and the precipitating energetic auroral beam.We can manipulate the position and attitude of various sensors withinthe chamber and monitor their response to the various sources. Recentefforts have focussed on the sheath environment near and around thermalion RPA sensors and the small payloads which carry them into theionosphere.

  15. Determinants of bird species richness, endemism, and island network roles in Wallacea and the West Indies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dalsgaard, Bo; Carstensen, Daniel Wisbech; Fjeldså, Jon

    2014-01-01

    , and network roles indicates that historical climate had little effects on extinction-immigration dynamics. This is in contrast to the strong effect of historical climate observed on the mainland, possibly because surrounding oceans buffer against strong climate oscillations and because geography is a strong....... Here, we evaluate the potential additional effects of historical climate on breeding land bird richness and endemism in Wallacea and the West Indies. Furthermore, on the basis of species distributions, we identify island biogeographical network roles and examine their association with geography......, current and historical climate, and bird richness/endemism. We found that island geography, especially island area but also isolation and elevation, largely explained the variation in island species richness and endemism. Current and historical climate only added marginally to our understanding...

  16. Major P.J. Pretorius and the decimation of the Addo elephant herd in 1919-1920: important reassessments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M.T. Hoffman

    1993-09-01

    Full Text Available Between June 1919 and August 1920, the largest population of elephants in South Africa at the time was reduced from about 130 to 16 individuals by one man. Major P. J. Pretorius. Conflict between farmers and the elephants over dwindling water resources, coupled with the threat that the elephants posed to the future agricultural development of the region, precipitated the Provincial Administration's extermination order. Major Pretorius' figure of "120-odd" elephants killed during the year is reasonably accurate and the fate of the animal products is traced. Most of the skins were processed, by Pretorius himself, to make whips. A few specimens can be traced to local and overseas museums. Because records of the sex and age of animals killed by Major Pretorius have either been lost or were never detailed, reconstruction of the Addo elephant herd before the decimation, is difficult. Finally, details of the alleged public debate are discussed. It is concluded that it was probably a handful of individuals that convinced the Provincial Administration to spare 16 animals. The Rev J.R.L. Kingon as well as Major Pretorius himself are two key figures in the debate. There is little evidence to confirm the view that a public outcry, in the modem sense of the word, stopped the killing. Six photographs are included as an appendix. They show Major Pretorius at work in the Addo Bush.

  17. Biological extinction in earth history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raup, D. M.

    1986-01-01

    Virtually all plant and animal species that have ever lived on the earth are extinct. For this reason alone, extinction must play an important role in the evolution of life. The five largest mass extinctions of the past 600 million years are of greatest interest, but there is also a spectrum of smaller events, many of which indicate biological systems in profound stress. Extinction may be episodic at all scales, with relatively long periods of stability alternating with short-lived extinction events. Most extinction episodes are biologically selective, and further analysis of the victims and survivors offers the greatest chance of deducing the proximal causes of extinction. A drop in sea level and climatic change are most frequently invoked to explain mass extinctions, but new theories of collisions with extraterrestrial bodies are gaining favor. Extinction may be constructive in a Darwinian sense or it may only perturb the system by eliminating those organisms that happen to be susceptible to geologically rare stresses.

  18. Biological Extinction in Earth History

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raup, David M.

    1986-03-01

    Virtually all plant and animal species that have ever lived on the earth are extinct. For this reason alone, extinction must play an important role in the evolution of life. The five largest mass extinctions of the past 600 million years are of greatest interest, but there is also a spectrum of smaller events, many of which indicate biological systems in profound stress. Extinction may be episodic at all scales, with relatively long periods of stability alternating with short-lived extinction events. Most extinction episodes are biologically selective, and further analysis of the victims and survivors offers the greatest chance of deducing the proximal causes of extinction. A drop in sea level and climatic change are most frequently invoked to explain mass extinctions, but new theories of collisions with extraterrestrial bodies are gaining favor. Extinction may be constructive in a Darwinian sense or it may only perturb the system by eliminating those organisms that happen to be susceptible to geologically rare stresses.

  19. Metapopulation extinction risk: dispersal's duplicity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Higgins, Kevin

    2009-09-01

    Metapopulation extinction risk is the probability that all local populations are simultaneously extinct during a fixed time frame. Dispersal may reduce a metapopulation's extinction risk by raising its average per-capita growth rate. By contrast, dispersal may raise a metapopulation's extinction risk by reducing its average population density. Which effect prevails is controlled by habitat fragmentation. Dispersal in mildly fragmented habitat reduces a metapopulation's extinction risk by raising its average per-capita growth rate without causing any appreciable drop in its average population density. By contrast, dispersal in severely fragmented habitat raises a metapopulation's extinction risk because the rise in its average per-capita growth rate is more than offset by the decline in its average population density. The metapopulation model used here shows several other interesting phenomena. Dispersal in sufficiently fragmented habitat reduces a metapopulation's extinction risk to that of a constant environment. Dispersal between habitat fragments reduces a metapopulation's extinction risk insofar as local environments are asynchronous. Grouped dispersal raises the effective habitat fragmentation level. Dispersal search barriers raise metapopulation extinction risk. Nonuniform dispersal may reduce the effective fraction of suitable habitat fragments below the extinction threshold. Nonuniform dispersal may make demographic stochasticity a more potent metapopulation extinction force than environmental stochasticity.

  20. Water conservation in fasting northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lester, Christopher W; Costa, Daniel P

    2006-11-01

    Prolonged terrestrial fasting is a key element in the life history of elephant seals. While on land seals typically fast without access to fresh water, and thus must maintain positive water balance by reductions in water loss such that they can subsist primarily on metabolic water production (MWP). The terrestrial apnea demonstrated by seals may reduce respiratory evaporative water loss (REWL) to levels that allow seals to make a net gain of water from MWP. We empirically measured REWL in 13 fasting northern elephant seal pups and determined the effects on water conservation of a breathing mode that incorporates a regular pattern of apneas, of > or =1 min in duration, followed by eupneic recovery, compared with a breathing mode with no apneas longer than 20 s and resembling typical breathing patterns in other mammals (normative breathing). Overall REWL fell 41% from 0.075+/-0.013 g min(-1) (mean +/- s.d.) during normative breathing to 0.044+/-0.006 g min(-1) during apneic breathing. The decline in REWL is attributed to a decrease in overall ventilation rate, made possible by a decline in metabolic rate along with an increase in oxygen extraction that would occur during apneic breathing. Data on the range of ambient humidity conditions at the local breeding site were collected and used to bound the range of environmental conditions used in laboratory measurements. Our data showed that the observed variations in ambient humidity had no significant effect on REWL. A combination of apneic breathing and the complex nasal turbinates allows fasting elephant seals to reduce REWL well below the rate of MWP so that they can maintain water balance during the fast.

  1. Lactotransferrin in Asian elephant (Elephas maximus seminal plasma correlates with semen quality.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wendy K Kiso

    Full Text Available Asian elephants (Elephas maximus have highly variable ejaculate quality within individuals, greatly reducing the efficacy of artificial insemination and making it difficult to devise a sperm cryopreservation protocol for this endangered species. Because seminal plasma influences sperm function and physiology, including sperm motility, the objectives of this study were to characterize the chemistry and protein profiles of Asian elephant seminal plasma and to determine the relationships between seminal plasma components and semen quality. Ejaculates exhibiting good sperm motility (≥65% expressed higher percentages of spermatozoa with normal morphology (80.3±13.0 vs. 44.9±30.8% and positive Spermac staining (51.9±14.5 vs. 7.5±14.4%, in addition to higher total volume (135.1±89.6 vs. 88.8±73.1 ml and lower sperm concentration (473.0±511.2 vs. 1313.8±764.7×10⁶ cells ml⁻¹ compared to ejaculates exhibiting poor sperm motility (≤10%; P<0.05. Comparison of seminal plasma from ejaculates with good versus poor sperm motility revealed significant differences in concentrations of creatine phosphokinase, alanine aminotransferase, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and glucose. These observations suggest seminal plasma influences semen quality in elephants. One- and two-dimensional (2D gel electrophoresis revealed largely similar compositional profiles of seminal plasma proteins between good and poor motility ejaculates. However, a protein of ∼80 kDa was abundant in 85% of ejaculates with good motility, and was absent in 90% of poor motility ejaculates (P<0.05. We used mass spectrometry to identify this protein as lactotransferrin, and immunoblot analysis to confirm this identification. Together, these findings lay a functional foundation for understanding the contributions of seminal plasma in the regulation of Asian elephant sperm motility, and for improving semen collection and storage in this endangered species.

  2. How should the psychological well-being of zoo elephants be objectively investigated?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mason, Georgia J; Veasey, Jake S

    2010-01-01

    Animal welfare (sometimes termed "well-being") is about feelings - states such as "suffering" or "contentment" that we can infer but cannot measure directly. Welfare indices have been developed from two main sources: studies of suffering humans, and of research animals deliberately subjected to challenges known to affect emotional state. We briefly review the resulting indices here, and discuss how well they are understood for elephants, since objective welfare assessment should play a central role in evidence-based elephant management. We cover behavioral and cognitive responses (approach/avoidance; intention, redirected and displacement activities; vigilance/startle; warning signals; cognitive biases, apathy and depression-like changes; stereotypic behavior); physiological responses (sympathetic responses; corticosteroid output - often assayed non-invasively via urine, feces or even hair; other aspects of HPA function, e.g. adrenal hypertrophy); and the potential negative effects of prolonged stress on reproduction (e.g. reduced gametogenesis; low libido; elevated still-birth rates; poor maternal care) and health (e.g. poor wound-healing; enhanced disease rates; shortened lifespans). The best validated, most used welfare indices for elephants are corticosteroid outputs and stereotypic behavior. Indices suggested as valid, partially validated, and/or validated but not yet applied within zoos include: measures of preference/avoidance; displacement movements; vocal/postural signals of affective (emotional) state; startle/vigilance; apathy; salivary and urinary epinephrine; female acyclity; infant mortality rates; skin/foot infections; cardio-vascular disease; and premature adult death. Potentially useful indices that have not yet attracted any validation work in elephants include: operant responding and place preference tests; intention and vacuum movements; fear/stress pheromone release; cognitive biases; heart rate, pupil dilation and blood pressure

  3. Stress before extinction learning enhances and generalizes extinction memory in a predictive learning task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meir Drexler, Shira; Hamacher-Dang, Tanja C; Wolf, Oliver T

    2017-05-01

    In extinction learning, the individual learns that a previously acquired association (e.g. between a threat and its predictor) is no longer valid. This learning is the principle underlying many cognitive-behavioral psychotherapeutic treatments, e.g. 'exposure therapy'. However, extinction is often highly-context dependent, leading to renewal (relapse of extinguished conditioned response following context change). We have previously shown that post-extinction stress leads to a more context-dependent extinction memory in a predictive learning task. Yet as stress prior to learning can impair the integration of contextual cues, here we aim to create a more generalized extinction memory by inducing stress prior to extinction. Forty-nine men and women learned the associations between stimuli and outcomes in a predictive learning task (day 1), extinguished them shortly after an exposure to a stress/control condition (day 2), and were tested for renewal (day 3). No group differences were seen in acquisition and extinction learning, and a renewal effect was present in both groups. However, the groups differed in the strength and context-dependency of the extinction memory. Compared to the control group, the stress group showed an overall reduced recovery of responding to the extinguished stimuli, in particular in the acquisition context. These results, together with our previous findings, demonstrate that the effects of stress exposure on extinction memory depend on its timing. While post-extinction stress makes the memory more context-bound, pre-extinction stress strengthens its consolidation for the acquisition context as well, making it potentially more resistant to relapse. These results have implications for the use of glucocorticoids as extinction-enhancers in exposure therapy. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Resource wars and conflict ivory: the impact of civil conflict on elephants in the Democratic Republic of Congo--the case of the Okapi Reserve.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rene L Beyers

    Full Text Available Human conflict generally has substantial negative impacts on wildlife and conservation. The recent civil war (1995-2006 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC resulted in a significant loss of wildlife, including elephants, due to institutional collapse, lawlessness and unbridled exploitation of natural resources such as minerals, wood, ivory and bushmeat. We used data from distance sampling surveys conducted before and after the war in a protected forest, the Okapi Faunal Reserve, to document changes in elephant abundance and distribution. We employed Generalized Additive Models to relate changes in elephant distribution to human and environmental factors. Populations declined by nearly fifty percent coinciding with a major increase in elephant poaching as indicated by reports of ivory trade during the war. Our results suggest that humans influenced elephant distribution far more than habitat, both before and after the war, but post-war models explained more of the variation. Elephant abundance declined more, closer to the park boundary and to areas of intense human activity. After the war, elephant densities were relatively higher in the centre of the park where they were better protected, suggesting that this area may have acted as a refuge. In other sites in Eastern DRC, where no protection was provided, elephants were even more decimated. Post-war dynamics, such as weakened institutions, human movements and availability of weapons, continue to affect elephants. Survival of remaining populations and recovery will be determined by these persistent factors and by new threats associated with growing human populations and exploitation of natural resources. Prioritizing wildlife protection, curbing illegal trade in ivory and bushmeat, and strengthening national institutions and organizations in charge of conservation will be crucial to counter these threats.

  5. Comment on "Whole-genome analyses resolve early branches in the tree of life of modern birds".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitchell, Kieren J; Cooper, Alan; Phillips, Matthew J

    2015-09-25

    Jarvis et al. (Research Articles, 12 December 2014, p. 1320) presented molecular clock analyses that suggested that most modern bird orders diverged just after the mass extinction event at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (about 66 million years ago). We demonstrate that this conclusion results from the use of a single inappropriate maximum bound, which effectively precludes the Cretaceous diversification overwhelmingly supported by previous molecular studies. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  6. Temporal factors in the extinction of fear in inbred mouse strains differing in extinction efficacy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacPherson, Kathryn; Whittle, Nigel; Camp, Marguerite; Gunduz-Cinar, Ozge; Singewald, Nicolas; Holmes, Andrew

    2013-07-05

    Various neuropsychiatric conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are characterized by deficient fear extinction, but individuals differ greatly in risk for these. While there is growing evidence that fear extinction is influenced by certain procedural variables, it is unclear how these influences might vary across individuals and subpopulations. To model individual differences in fear extinction, prior studies identified a strain of inbred mouse, 129S1/SvImJ (S1), which exhibits a profound deficit in fear extinction, as compared to other inbred strains, such as C57BL/6J (B6). Here, we assessed the effects of procedural variables on the impaired extinction phenotype of the S1 strain and, by comparison, the extinction-intact B6 strain. The variables studied were 1) the interval between conditioning and extinction, 2) the interval between cues during extinction training, 3) single-cue exposure before extinction training, and 4) extinction of a second-order conditioned cue. Conducting extinction training soon after ('immediately') conditioning attenuated fear retrieval in S1 mice and impaired extinction in B6 mice. Spacing cue presentations with long inter-trial intervals during extinction training augmented fear in S1 and B6 mice. The effect of spacing was lost with one-trial fear conditioning in B6, but not S1 mice. A single exposure to a conditioned cue before extinction training did not alter extinction retrieval, either in B6 or S1 mice. Both the S1 and B6 strains exhibited robust second-order fear conditioning, in which a cue associated with footshock was sufficient to serve as a conditioned exciter to condition a fear association to a second cue. B6 mice extinguished the fear response to the second-order conditioned cue, but S1 mice failed to do so. These data provide further evidence that fear extinction is strongly influenced by multiple procedural variables and is so in a highly strain-dependent manner. This suggests that the efficacy of

  7. Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection of domesticated Asian elephants, Thailand.

    OpenAIRE

    2011-01-01

    Four Asian elephants were confirmed to be infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis by bacterial culture, other diagnostic procedures, and sequencing of 16S–23S rDNA internal transcribed spacer region, 16S rRNA, and gyrase B gene sequences. Genotyping showed that the infectious agents originated from 4 sources in Thailand. To identify infections, a combination of diagnostic assays is essential.

  8. 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

  9. Clinical leadership: the elephant in the room.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edmonstone, John

    2009-01-01

    The article explores the concept of clinical leadership in the National Health Service in the UK by seeking to establish a workable definition and by contrasting it with managerial leadership, focussing on the 'disconnected hierarchy' in professional organizations. It proposes that the problems faced by clinical leadership relate to the current nature of general management in the NHS and concludes by suggesting that clinical leadership is the 'elephant in the room'-often ignored or unaddressed.

  10. Extinction produces context inhibition and multiple-context extinction reduces response recovery in human predictive learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glautier, Steven; Elgueta, Tito; Nelson, James Byron

    2013-12-01

    Two experiments with human participants were used to investigate recovery of an extinguished learned response after a context change using ABC designs. In an ABC design, the context changes over the three successive stages of acquisition (context A), extinction (context B), and test (context C). In both experiments, we found reduced recovery in groups that had extinction in multiple contexts, and that the extinction contexts acquired inhibitory strength. These results confirm those of previous investigations, that multiple-context extinction can produce less response recovery than single-context extinction, and they also provide new evidence for the involvement of contextual inhibitory processes in extinction in humans. The foregoing results are broadly in line with a protection-from-extinction account of response recovery. Yet, despite the fact that we detected contextual inhibition, predictions based on protection-from-extinction were not fully reliable for the single- and multiple-context group differences that we observed in (1) rates of extinction and (2) the strength of context inhibition. Thus, although evidence was obtained for a protection-from-extinction account of response recovery, this account can not explain all of the data.

  11. Age, origins and extinctions of the avifauna of Macaronesia: a synthesis of phylogenetic and fossil information

    Science.gov (United States)

    Illera, Juan Carlos; Rando, Juan Carlos; Richardson, David S.; Emerson, Brent C.

    2012-09-01

    Understanding the age, origins and extinction of oceanic island biota has captivated the interest of evolutionary biologists since Darwin and Wallace. Because oceanic islands are discrete entities of small geographical size but with considerable habitat diversity, they provide ideal templates within which to study evolutionary processes. The peripheral North Atlantic islands, collectively referred to as Macaronesia, are considered a hot spot of biodiversity due to the fact that they contain a large proportion of endemic taxa (ca 25%). Recent molecular studies are providing insight into the patterns of colonization and radiation within the extant avifauna, while paleontological studies have described many extinct avian species, sometimes identifying the causes and chronology of extinction. The aim of this review is to develop an understanding of the evolutionary and biogeographic history of the macaronesian avifauna, combining information from phylogenetic and paleontological studies. We then compare patterns for Macaronesia with those of other oceanic archipelagos to evaluate to what extent patterns may be generalised across regions. Phylogenetic analyses have confirmed the close relationships between endemic macaronesian avifauna and the closest mainland areas (Europe and Africa), however, in contrast to other archipelagos of a similar age, we show that most extant birds appear to have colonized macaronesian archipelagos relatively recently, within the last four million years, despite some islands being approximately 30 million years old. Fossil records support the idea that higher species richness previously existed, with recent dating on bone collagen of selected extinct species suggesting that their extinction coincided with the arrival of aboriginal people ca 2500 years ago in the Canary Islands, or the arrival of Europeans across all the macaronesian islands in the 14th century. It is plausible that these human mediated extinctions may have selectively acted

  12. The Bird.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hannon, Jean

    2001-01-01

    Students use a dead bird to learn about bird life, anatomy, and death. Students examine a bird body and discuss what happened to the bird. Uses outdoor education as a resource for learning about animals. (SAH)

  13. Modern examples of extinctions

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lövei, Gabor L

    2013-01-01

    No species lives forever, and extinction is the ultimate fate of all living species. The fossil record indicates that a recent extinction wave affecting terrestrial vertebrates was parallel with the arrival of modern humans to areas formerly uninhabited by them. These modern instances of extinction...

  14. Extended aortic repair using frozen elephant trunk technique for Marfan syndrome with acute aortic dissection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uchida, Naomichi; Katayama, Akira; Kuraoka, Masatsugu; Katayama, Keijiro; Takahashi, Shinya; Takasaki, Taiichi; Sueda, Taijiro

    2013-01-01

    The aim of this study was to analyze midterm results of frozen elephant trunk technique for Marfan syndrome with acute aortic dissection. Between February 1999 and August 2011 we performed arch replacement uisng frozen elephant trunk technique for acute aortic dissection in 8 patients with Marfan syndrome containing two complicated type B dissections and six type A dissections.Five patients compromised annulo-aortic ectasia who performed Bentall operation. No patients died in the initial operation. Fate of false lumen on the stent graft border was expressed by CT scan follow-up that were patent in 0, thrombosis in 5 and absorption in 3 patients. One patient who had new aortic dissection 8 years after initial surgery required the Crawford V operation. Ten-years-survival rate was 100% and ten years-event free rate was 67%. Frozen elephant trunk technique was feasible for Marfan syndrome with acute aortic dissection and might become alternative prophylactic treatment to the downstream aorta for acute aortic dissection.

  15. Why do elephants flap their ears? | Wright | African Zoology

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The blood flow in the ear of the African elephant Loxodonta africana was measured In anaesthetized animals using the dye dilution technique at the same time as the arterio-venous temperature difference. The calculated heat loss from the ear is shown to be a substantial proportion of the total metabolic heat-loss ...

  16. Oxygen isotope fractionation between bird eggshell calcite and body water: application to fossil eggs from Lanzarote (Canary Islands)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lazzerini, Nicolas; Lécuyer, Christophe; Amiot, Romain; Angst, Delphine; Buffetaut, Eric; Fourel, François; Daux, Valérie; Betancort, Juan Francisco; Flandrois, Jean-Pierre; Marco, Antonio Sánchez; Lomoschitz, Alejandro

    2016-10-01

    Oxygen and carbon isotope compositions of fossil bird eggshell calcite (δ18Ocalc and δ13Ccalc) are regularly used to reconstruct paleoenvironmental conditions. However, the interpretation of δ18Ocalc values of fossil eggshells has been limited to qualitative variations in local climatic conditions as oxygen isotope fractionations between calcite, body fluids, and drinking water have not been determined yet. For this purpose, eggshell, albumen water, and drinking water of extant birds have been analyzed for their oxygen and carbon isotope compositions. Relative enrichments in 18O relative to 16O between body fluids and drinking water of +1.6 ± 0.9 ‰ for semi-aquatic birds and of +4.4 ± 1.9 ‰ for terrestrial birds are observed. Surprisingly, no significant dependence to body temperature on the oxygen isotope fractionation between eggshell calcite and body fluids is observed, suggesting that bird eggshells precipitate out of equilibrium. Two empirical equations relating the δ18Ocalc value of eggshell calcite to the δ18Ow value of ingested water have been established for terrestrial and semi-aquatic birds. These equations have been applied to fossil eggshells from Lanzarote in order to infer the ecologies of the Pleistocene marine bird Puffinus sp. and of the enigmatic giant birds from the Pliocene. Both δ13Ccalc and δ18Ocalc values of Puffinus eggshells point to a semi-aquatic marine bird ingesting mostly seawater, whereas low δ13Ccalc and high δ18Ocalc values of eggshells from the Pliocene giant bird suggest a terrestrial lifestyle. This set of equations can help to quantitatively estimate the origin of waters ingested by extinct birds as well as to infer either local environmental or climatic conditions.

  17. Community-based human-elephant conflict mitigation: The value of an evidence-based approach in promoting the uptake of effective methods.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Donny Gunaryadi

    Full Text Available Human-elephant conflict (HEC is a serious threat to elephants and can cause major economic losses. It is widely accepted that reduction of HEC will often require community-based methods for repelling elephants but there are few tests of such methods. We tested community-based crop-guarding methods with and without novel chili-based elephant deterrents and describe changes in farmers' willingness to adopt these methods following our demonstration of their relative effectiveness. In three separate field-trials that took place over almost two years (October 2005 -May 2007 in two villages adjacent to Way Kambas National Park (WKNP in Indonesia, we found that community-based crop-guarding was effective at keeping Asian elephants (Elephas maximus out of crop fields in 91.2% (52 out of 57, 87.6% (156 out of 178, and 80.0% (16 out of 20 of attempted raids. Once the method had been shown to be effective at demonstration sites, farmers in 16 villages around WKNP voluntarily adopted it during the July 2008 to March 2009 period and were able to repel elephants in 73.9% (150 out of 203 of attempted raids, with seven villages repelling 100% of attempted raids. These 16 villages had all experienced high levels of HEC in the preceding years; e.g. they accounted for >97% of the 742 HEC incidents recorded for the entire park in 2006. Our work shows, therefore, that a simple evidence-based approach can facilitate significant reductions in HEC at the protected area scale.

  18. A phantom extinction? New insights into extinction dynamics of the Don-hare Lepus tanaiticus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prost, S; Knapp, M; Flemmig, J; Hufthammer, A K; Kosintsev, P; Stiller, M; Hofreiter, M

    2010-09-01

    The Pleistocene to Holocene transition was accompanied by a worldwide extinction event affecting numerous mammalian species. Several species such as the woolly mammoth and the giant deer survived this extinction wave, only to go extinct a few thousand years later during the Holocene. Another example for such a Holocene extinction is the Don-hare, Lepus tanaiticus, which inhabited the Russian plains during the late glacial. After being slowly replaced by the extant mountain hare (Lepus timidus), it eventually went extinct during the middle Holocene. Here, we report the phylogenetic relationship of L. tanaiticus and L. timidus based on a 339-basepair (bp) fragment of the mitochondrial D-loop. Phylogenetic tree- and network reconstructions do not support L. tanaiticus and L. timidus being different species. Rather, we suggest that the two taxa represent different morphotypes of a single species and the extinction of 'L. tanaiticus' represents the disappearance of a local morphotype rather than the extinction of a species.

  19. Identifying the World's Most Climate Change Vulnerable Species: A Systematic Trait-Based Assessment of all Birds, Amphibians and Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foden, Wendy B.; Butchart, Stuart H. M.; Stuart, Simon N.; Vié, Jean-Christophe; Akçakaya, H. Resit; Angulo, Ariadne; DeVantier, Lyndon M.; Gutsche, Alexander; Turak, Emre; Cao, Long; Donner, Simon D.; Katariya, Vineet; Bernard, Rodolphe; Holland, Robert A.; Hughes, Adrian F.; O’Hanlon, Susannah E.; Garnett, Stephen T.; Şekercioğlu, Çagan H.; Mace, Georgina M.

    2013-01-01

    Climate change will have far-reaching impacts on biodiversity, including increasing extinction rates. Current approaches to quantifying such impacts focus on measuring exposure to climatic change and largely ignore the biological differences between species that may significantly increase or reduce their vulnerability. To address this, we present a framework for assessing three dimensions of climate change vulnerability, namely sensitivity, exposure and adaptive capacity; this draws on species’ biological traits and their modeled exposure to projected climatic changes. In the largest such assessment to date, we applied this approach to each of the world’s birds, amphibians and corals (16,857 species). The resulting assessments identify the species with greatest relative vulnerability to climate change and the geographic areas in which they are concentrated, including the Amazon basin for amphibians and birds, and the central Indo-west Pacific (Coral Triangle) for corals. We found that high concentration areas for species with traits conferring highest sensitivity and lowest adaptive capacity differ from those of highly exposed species, and we identify areas where exposure-based assessments alone may over or under-estimate climate change impacts. We found that 608–851 bird (6–9%), 670–933 amphibian (11–15%), and 47–73 coral species (6–9%) are both highly climate change vulnerable and already threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List. The remaining highly climate change vulnerable species represent new priorities for conservation. Fewer species are highly climate change vulnerable under lower IPCC SRES emissions scenarios, indicating that reducing greenhouse emissions will reduce climate change driven extinctions. Our study answers the growing call for a more biologically and ecologically inclusive approach to assessing climate change vulnerability. By facilitating independent assessment of the three dimensions of climate change vulnerability

  20. Effect of supplementing crossbt·ed lactating dairy cows fed elephant ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Effect of supplementing lactating c.rosshrcd dairy cows fed on elephant grass based diets with labjab hay ... causes a reduction in overall digestibility of herbage dry matter. ..... Selected Topics in animal. Nutrition. ... Working paper No. 99:pp.

  1. Late Quaternary Megafaunal Extinctions in Northern Eurasia: Latest Results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stuart, Anthony

    2010-05-01

    Anthony J. Stuart1 & Adrian M. Lister2 1 Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK. Email: tony.s@megafauna.org.uk 2 Department of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK. Email: a.lister@nhm.ac.uk. The global extinction of many spectacular species of megafauna (large terrestrial mammals, together with a few large reptiles and birds) within the last c. 50,000 years (Late Quaternary) has been attributed on the one hand to ‘overkill' by human hunters and on the other to environmental change. However, in spite of more than half a century of active interest and research the issue remains unresolved, largely because there are insufficient dated records of megafaunal species for most parts of the world. Northern Eurasia is an especially fruitful region in which to research megafaunal extinctions as it has a wealth of megafaunal material and crucially most extinctions occurred well within the range of radiocarbon dating. Our approach, in a series of projects over the last decade funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), involves amassing radiocarbon dates made directly on megafaunal material from across the entire region: a) by submitting a substantial number of samples (so far c. 500 dates) for AMS dating at Oxford (ORAU); b) obtaining AMS dates from colleagues working on aDNA projects; and c) carefully screening (‘auditing') dates from the literature. The dates (calibrated using OxCal) are plotted as time-sliced maps and as chronological/geographical charts. In our previous work we targeted a range of extinct species from Northern Eurasia: woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, giant deer, cave bear (in collaboration with Martina Pacher), cave lion, and spotted hyaena (which survives today only in Sub-Saharan Africa). By this means we have established a reliable chronology for these extinctions which we are able to compare with the climatic, vegetational and

  2. Coastal Resources Atlas: Long Island: BIRDS (Bird Polygons)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set contains sensitive biological resource data for wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, diving birds, seabirds, passerine birds, and gulls and...

  3. Meiosis in elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum), pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) (Poaceae, Poales) and their interspecific hybrids

    OpenAIRE

    Techio, Vânia Helena; Davide, Lisete Chamma; Pereira, Antônio Vander

    2006-01-01

    The cultivated and sexually compatible species Pennisetum purpureum (elephant grass, 2n = 4x = 28) and Pennisetum glaucum (pearl millet, 2n = 2x = 14) can undergo hybridization which favors the amplification of their genetic background and the introgression of favorable alleles into breeding programs. The main problem with interspecific hybrids of these species is infertility due to triploidy (2n = 3x = 21). This study describes meiosis in elephant grass x pearl millet hybrids and their proge...

  4. The Late Ordovician Extinction: How it became the best understood of the five major extinctions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sheehan, P.

    2003-04-01

    The end Ordovician extinction has become arguably the best-understood major extinction event in Earth History. A plethora of workers have established the pattern of faunal change and causes of the extinction with remarkably little disagreement. The first indication of increased extinction at the end of the Ordovician was a graph of global diversity patterns by Norman Newell in 1967, although he did not recognize it as a major event. The presence of a major extinction event became clear as William Berry and Art Boucot assembled data for Silurian correlation charts in the late 1960s. The first reports of North African glaciation in the late 1960s provided a cause for the extinction and study of the event snowballed. It was no accident that recognition of the extinction began in North America, because it was there that the extinction completely overturned faunas in the epicontinental seas. Glacio-eustatic regression of shallow seaway coincided with the disappearance of endemic Laurentian faunas and replacement by a highly cosmopolitan fauna in the Silurian. Once the event was established in North America, paleontologists soon found evidence of the event around the globe. The well-documented Hirnantia Fauna was found to correspond to the glacial interval, and Pat Brenchley soon recognized that there were two pulses of extinction, at the beginning and end of the glaciation. At the same time that the faunal changes were being documented geologic studies of the glaciation provided information on the environmental changes associated with the extinction. The timing of the glacial maximum was established in Africa and by the presence of dropstones in high latitude marine rocks. The 1990s saw geochemical techniques employed that allowed examination of atmospheric CO2 and temperature changes. In many places carbonate deposition declined. Glacio-eustatic regression was obvious in many areas, and a sea-level decline in the range of 50-100 m was established. Shallow

  5. 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.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  6. Quantitative interpretation of tracks for determination of body mass.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom Schanz

    Full Text Available To better understand the biology of extinct animals, experimentation with extant animals and innovative numerical approaches have grown in recent years. This research project uses principles of soil mechanics and a neoichnological field experiment with an African elephant to derive a novel concept for calculating the mass (i.e., the weight of an animal from its footprints. We used the elephant's footprint geometry (i.e., vertical displacements, diameter in combination with soil mechanical analyses (i.e., soil classification, soil parameter determination in the laboratory, Finite Element Analysis (FEA and gait analysis for the back analysis of the elephant's weight from a single footprint. In doing so we validated the first component of a methodology for calculating the weight of extinct dinosaurs. The field experiment was conducted under known boundary conditions at the Zoological Gardens Wuppertal with a female African elephant. The weight of the elephant was measured and the walking area was prepared with sediment in advance. Then the elephant was walked across the test area, leaving a trackway behind. Footprint geometry was obtained by laser scanning. To estimate the dynamic component involved in footprint formation, the velocity the foot reaches when touching the subsoil was determined by the Digital Image Correlation (DIC technique. Soil parameters were identified by performing experiments on the soil in the laboratory. FEA was then used for the backcalculation of the elephant's weight. With this study, we demonstrate the adaptability of using footprint geometry in combination with theoretical considerations of loading of the subsoil during a walk and soil mechanical methods for prediction of trackmakers weight.

  7. Modelling interstellar extinction: Pt. 1

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jones, A.P.

    1988-01-01

    Several methods of calculating the extinction of porous silicate grains are discussed, these include effective medium theories and hollow spherical shells. Porous silicate grains are shown to produce enhanced infrared, ultraviolet and far-ultraviolet extinction and this effect can be used to reduce the abundance of carbon required to match the average interstellar extinction, however, matching the visual extinction is rather more problematical. We have shown that the enhanced extinction at long and short wavelengths have different origins, and have explained why the visual extinction is little affected by porosity. The implications of porous grains in the interstellar medium are discussed with particular reference to surface chemistry, the polarization of starlight, and their dynamical evolution. (author)

  8. Widespread correlations between climatic niche evolution and species diversification in birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooney, Christopher R; Seddon, Nathalie; Tobias, Joseph A

    2016-07-01

    The adaptability of species' climatic niches can influence the dynamics of colonization and gene flow across climatic gradients, potentially increasing the likelihood of speciation or reducing extinction in the face of environmental change. However, previous comparative studies have tested these ideas using geographically, taxonomically and ecologically restricted samples, yielding mixed results, and thus the processes linking climatic niche evolution with diversification remain poorly understood. Focusing on birds, the largest and most widespread class of terrestrial vertebrates, we test whether variation in species diversification among clades is correlated with rates of climatic niche evolution and the extent to which these patterns are modified by underlying gradients in biogeography and species' ecology. We quantified climatic niches, latitudinal distribution and ecological traits for 7657 (˜75%) bird species based on geographical range polygons and then used Bayesian phylogenetic analyses to test whether niche evolution was related to species richness and rates of diversification across genus- and family-level clades. We found that the rate of climatic niche evolution has a positive linear relationship with both species richness and diversification rate at two different taxonomic levels (genus and family). Furthermore, this positive association between labile climatic niches and diversification was detected regardless of variation in clade latitude or key ecological traits. Our findings suggest either that rapid adaptation to unoccupied areas of climatic niche space promotes avian diversification, or that diversification promotes adaptation. Either way, we propose that climatic niche evolution is a fundamental process regulating the link between climate and biodiversity at global scales, irrespective of the geographical and ecological context of speciation and extinction. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2016 British Ecological Society.

  9. Is the modern koala ( Phascolarctos cinereus) a derived dwarf of a Pleistocene giant? Implications for testing megafauna extinction hypotheses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Price, Gilbert J.

    2008-12-01

    The modern Australian koala ( Phascolarctos cinereus) is commonly regarded as a dwarf descendent of a Late Pleistocene giant koala ( Ph. stirtoni). The implication of that hypothesis is that the giant koala survived the Late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction "event", albeit as a smaller body-sized form. It is important to be able to constrain rates of Late Pleistocene faunal turnover, an aspect reliant on having accurate taxonomic information of extinct species. The koala dwarfing hypothesis is tested here by using a temporally-constrained biogeographical record of fossil koalas, and a morphological character analysis. The contemporary occurrence of both taxa in pre-Late Pleistocene deposits and significant differences in dental morphologies between those forms suggests that the modern koala is not a derived dwarf of the Pleistocene giant koala. Thus, the giant-form was among a number of other giant mammals, lizards and birds that suffered extinction sometime during the Late Pleistocene. The potential phenomenon of dwarfing of other Late Pleistocene and Recent faunas, such as grey kangaroos, is commonly used as a test for or against various megafaunal extinction hypotheses. However, the results of this study also demonstrate that the dwarfing hypothesis has not been adequately tested for a suite of other taxa. Thus, until the dwarfing hypothesis can be more fully tested, a clear understanding of the fate of Late Pleistocene faunas that apparently survived the extinction "event", and the origins of many extant forms will remain elusive.

  10. Blood Volume and Other Hematologic Values in Young Elephant Seals (Mirounga angustirostris)

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Simpson, John G; Gilmartin, William G; Ridgway, Sam H

    1970-01-01

    ... (Mirounga angustirostris) by a method that could be accurate to 2 percent. The blood volumes of 7 young northern elephant seals were analyzed using a dilution of radioactive iodinated human serum albumin...

  11. Environmental status of the Lake Michigan region. Volume 14. Birds of the Lake Michigan drainage basin

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wallace, G.J.

    1977-07-01

    This report characterizes the bird life found in 100 counties of the four states peripheral to Lake Michigan. It discusses major habitats (the Lake Michigan shoreline, inland lakes, rivers and streams, marshes, fields and open spaces, and woodlots) and associates specific birds with habitats according to preferences for space and food. It also discusses the special attributes of state parks and lakeshores, refuges and sanctuaries, and other special areas which are attractive to avifauna. Patterns of historical occurrence and abundance, and the influence of pesticides and pollution, disease, and hunting pressure are explored to place present occurrence in a modern perspective. Migration patterns are discussed to explain increases and decreases which occur in nonresident avifauna of the Basin. The distribution and habits of birds that occur regularly in the Basin are described in an annotated list; a more complete list is presented in a table which encapsulates data for rapid and convenient reference. Separate sections deal with extinct, extirpated, and introduced species, and with endangered, threatened, and declining species.

  12. Topographic and geomorphologic controls on the distribution of vegetation formations in Elephant Point (Livingston Island, Maritime Antarctica).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruiz-Fernández, Jesús; Oliva, Marc; García-Hernández, Cristina

    2017-06-01

    This article focuses on the spatial distribution of vegetation formations in Elephant Point, an ice-free area of 1.16km 2 located in Livingston Island (South Shetland Islands, Antarctica). Fieldwork carried out in January 2014 consisted of floristic surveys and designation of a vegetation map. We have examined these data in a GIS environment together with topographical and geomorphological features existing in the peninsula in order to infer the factors controlling vegetation distribution. This has allowed quantifying the total area covered by the four different vegetation formations distributed across the peninsula, proliferating mainly on bedrock plateaus and Holocene raised beaches. Grass formation is essentially composed of Deschampsia antarctica, distributed almost exclusively on raised beaches, and covering 4.1% of the ice-free surface. The remaining three formations are fundamentally composed of cryptogam species. The first of which is fruticose lichen and moss formation, present on high bedrock plateaus and principally formed by lichens such as Usnea aurantiaco-atra. The next is the crustose lichen formation, spreading on bedrock plateaus near the coast populated by bird colonies. In this case, ornitocoprophilous lichens such as Caloplaca regalis, Xanthoria elegans and Haematomma erythromma are predominant. Together, both formations have colonised 5.1% of the peninsula. The last variety, moss carpet and moss cushion formation, occupies 1.4% of the deglaciated surface, spreading primarily in flooded areas, stabilised talus slopes, and bedrock plateaus as well. Therefore, the total surface colonised by vegetation is 12.2ha, which comprises 10.5% of the peninsula. Due to the retreat of the Rotch Dome glacier, 20.1ha remain ice-free since 1956 (17.3% of the deglaciated area). Ever since, even though the Antarctic Peninsula has registered one of the most significant temperature rises on Earth, vegetation has only colonised 0.04ha of this new space, which merely

  13. A novel application of mark-recapture to examine behaviour associated with the online trade in elephant ivory

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCrea, Rachel S.; Roberts, David L.

    2017-01-01

    The illegal trade in elephant ivory is driving the unlawful killing of elephants such that populations are now suffering unsustainable reductions. The internet is increasingly being used as a platform to conduct illegal wildlife trade, including elephant ivory. As a globally accessible medium the internet is as highly attractive to those involved in the illegal trade as it is challenging to regulate. Characterising the online illegal wildlife (ivory) trade is complex, yet key to informing enforcement activities. We applied mark-recapture to investigate behaviour associated with the online trade in elephant ivory on eBay UK as a generalist online marketplace. Our results indicate that trade takes place via eBay UK, despite its policy prohibiting this, and that two distinct trading populations exist, characterised by the pattern of their ivory sales. We suggest these may represent a large number of occasional (or non-commercial) sellers and a smaller number of dedicated (or commercial) sellers. Directing resource towards reducing the volume of occasional sales, such as through education, would enable greater focus to be placed upon characterising the extent and value of the illegal, “commercial” online ivory trade. MRC has the potential to characterise the illegal trade in ivory and diverse wildlife commodities traded using various online platforms. PMID:28289565

  14. Extinction Events Can Accelerate Evolution

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lehman, Joel; Miikkulainen, Risto

    2015-01-01

    Extinction events impact the trajectory of biological evolution significantly. They are often viewed as upheavals to the evolutionary process. In contrast, this paper supports the hypothesis that although they are unpredictably destructive, extinction events may in the long term accelerate...... evolution by increasing evolvability. In particular, if extinction events extinguish indiscriminately many ways of life, indirectly they may select for the ability to expand rapidly through vacated niches. Lineages with such an ability are more likely to persist through multiple extinctions. Lending...... computational support for this hypothesis, this paper shows how increased evolvability will result from simulated extinction events in two computational models of evolved behavior. The conclusion is that although they are destructive in the short term, extinction events may make evolution more prolific...

  15. Natal site fidelity by breeding female southern elephant seals in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Of the four types of terrestrial haulout periods undertaken by southern elephant seals Mirounga leonina, only the purpose of the winter haulout is unknown. Returning to a haulout site from distant pelagic foraging grounds bears significant costs in terms of increased energy expenditure, reduced foraging time and increased ...