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Sample records for addo elephant national

  1. Ovarian cycle activity varies with respect to age and social status in free-ranging elephants in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    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. Impacts of environmental pressures on the reproductive physiology of subpopulations of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis bicornis) in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Freeman, Elizabeth W.; Meyer, Jordana M.; Bird, Jed; Adendorff, John; Schulte, Bruce A.; Santymire, Rachel M.

    2014-01-01

    Black rhinoceros are an icon for international conservation, yet little is known about their physiology due to their secretive nature. To overcome these challenges, non-invasive methods were used to monitor rhinoceros in two sections of Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, namely Addo and Nyathi. These sections were separated by a public road, and the numbers of elephants, predators and tourists were higher in Addo. Faecal samples (n = 231) were collected (from July 2007 to November 2010) from known individuals and analysed for progestagen and androgen metabolite (FPM and FAM, respectively) concentrations. As biotic factors could impact reproduction, we predicted that demographics, FPM and FAM would vary between sections and with respect to season (calendar and wet/dry), climate and age of the rhinoceros. Mean FPM concentrations from pregnant females were seven times higher (P < 0.05) than samples from non-pregnant rhinoceros. Positive relationships were found between monthly temperatures and FPM from non-pregnant females (r2 = 0.25, P = 0.03) and the percentage of calves born (r = 0.609, P = 0.04). Although FAM peaked in the spring, when the majority of calves (40%) were conceived, no seasonal patterns in male androgen concentrations were found with respect to month of conception and parturition. Females in Addo had a longer inter-calving interval and were less likely to be pregnant (P < 0.05) compared with those in Nyathi. The biotic stressors (e.g. predators and more competitors) within Addo section could be affecting the reproductive physiology of the rhinoceros negatively. Enhanced knowledge about how black rhinoceros populations respond to environmental stressors could guide management strategies for improving reproduction. PMID:27293618

  3. Impacts of environmental pressures on the reproductive physiology of subpopulations of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis bicornis) in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Freeman, Elizabeth W; Meyer, Jordana M; Bird, Jed; Adendorff, John; Schulte, Bruce A; Santymire, Rachel M

    2014-01-01

    Black rhinoceros are an icon for international conservation, yet little is known about their physiology due to their secretive nature. To overcome these challenges, non-invasive methods were used to monitor rhinoceros in two sections of Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, namely Addo and Nyathi. These sections were separated by a public road, and the numbers of elephants, predators and tourists were higher in Addo. Faecal samples (n = 231) were collected (from July 2007 to November 2010) from known individuals and analysed for progestagen and androgen metabolite (FPM and FAM, respectively) concentrations. As biotic factors could impact reproduction, we predicted that demographics, FPM and FAM would vary between sections and with respect to season (calendar and wet/dry), climate and age of the rhinoceros. Mean FPM concentrations from pregnant females were seven times higher (P < 0.05) than samples from non-pregnant rhinoceros. Positive relationships were found between monthly temperatures and FPM from non-pregnant females (r (2) = 0.25, P = 0.03) and the percentage of calves born (r = 0.609, P = 0.04). Although FAM peaked in the spring, when the majority of calves (40%) were conceived, no seasonal patterns in male androgen concentrations were found with respect to month of conception and parturition. Females in Addo had a longer inter-calving interval and were less likely to be pregnant (P < 0.05) compared with those in Nyathi. The biotic stressors (e.g. predators and more competitors) within Addo section could be affecting the reproductive physiology of the rhinoceros negatively. Enhanced knowledge about how black rhinoceros populations respond to environmental stressors could guide management strategies for improving reproduction. PMID:27293618

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

    PubMed

    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

  5. Age Determination by Back Length for African Savanna Elephants: Extending Age Assessment Techniques for Aerial-Based Surveys

    PubMed Central

    Trimble, Morgan J.; van Aarde, Rudi J.; Ferreira, Sam M.; Nørgaard, Camilla F.; Fourie, Johan; Lee, Phyllis C.; Moss, Cynthia J.

    2011-01-01

    Determining the age of individuals in a population can lead to a better understanding of population dynamics through age structure analysis and estimation of age-specific fecundity and survival rates. Shoulder height has been used to accurately assign age to free-ranging African savanna elephants. However, back length may provide an analog measurable in aerial-based surveys. We assessed the relationship between back length and age for known-age elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, and Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa. We also compared age- and sex-specific back lengths between these populations and compared adult female back lengths across 11 widely dispersed populations in five African countries. Sex-specific Von Bertalanffy growth curves provided a good fit to the back length data of known-age individuals. Based on back length, accurate ages could be assigned relatively precisely for females up to 23 years of age and males up to 17. The female back length curve allowed more precise age assignment to older females than the curve for shoulder height does, probably because of divergence between the respective growth curves. However, this did not appear to be the case for males, but the sample of known-age males was limited to ≤27 years. Age- and sex-specific back lengths were similar in Amboseli National Park and Addo Elephant National Park. Furthermore, while adult female back lengths in the three Zambian populations were generally shorter than in other populations, back lengths in the remaining eight populations did not differ significantly, in support of claims that growth patterns of African savanna elephants are similar over wide geographic regions. Thus, the growth curves presented here should allow researchers to use aerial-based surveys to assign ages to elephants with greater precision than previously possible and, therefore, to estimate population variables. PMID:22028925

  6. Accelerator Center: National symbol or white elephant?

    SciTech Connect

    1995-06-02

    This article discusses the possible future of the National Accelerator Center facility in South Africa. This state of the art facility with a 200-megaelectrol-volt proton cyclotron, carries out important nuclear physics research but takes a huge part of South Africa`s total science research budget.

  7. Understanding Long-Term Variations in an Elephant Piosphere Effect to Manage Impacts

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed

    Landman, Marietjie; Schoeman, David S; Kerley, Graham I H

    2013-01-01

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

  10. Problem-Elephant Translocation: Translocating the Problem and the Elephant?

    PubMed Central

    Fernando, Prithiviraj; Leimgruber, Peter; Prasad, Tharaka; Pastorini, Jennifer

    2012-01-01

    Human-elephant conflict (HEC) threatens the survival of endangered Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Translocating “problem-elephants” is an important HEC mitigation and elephant conservation strategy across elephant range, with hundreds translocated annually. In the first comprehensive assessment of elephant translocation, we monitored 16 translocations in Sri Lanka with GPS collars. All translocated elephants were released into national parks. Two were killed within the parks where they were released, while all the others left those parks. Translocated elephants showed variable responses: “homers” returned to the capture site, “wanderers” ranged widely, and “settlers” established home ranges in new areas soon after release. Translocation caused wider propagation and intensification of HEC, and increased elephant mortality. We conclude that translocation defeats both HEC mitigation and elephant conservation goals. PMID:23236404

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

    PubMed

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

    1995-06-01

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

  12. Elephant (Loxodonta africana) Home Ranges in Sabi Sand Reserve and Kruger National Park: A Five-Year Satellite Tracking Study

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

    During a five-year GPS satellite tracking study in Sabi Sand Reserve (SSR) and Kruger National Park (KNP) we monitored the daily movements of an elephant cow (Loxodonta africana) from September 2003 to August 2008. The study animal was confirmed to be part of a group of seven elephants therefore her position is representative of the matriarchal group. We found that the study animal did not use habitat randomly and confirmed strong seasonal fidelity to its summer and winter five-year home ranges. The cow's summer home range was in KNP in an area more than four times that of her SSR winter home range. She exhibited clear park habitation with up to three visits per year travelling via a well-defined northern or southern corridor. There was a positive correlation between the daily distance the elephant walked and minimum daily temperature and the elephant was significantly closer to rivers and artificial waterholes than would be expected if it were moving randomly in KNP and SSR. Transect lines established through the home ranges were surveyed to further understand the fine scale of the landscape and vegetation representative of the home ranges. PMID:19065264

  13. Immunogenetics of the Elephant Seal

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garza, John Carlos

    1999-01-01

    The goals of this cooperative agreement fall into three categories: 1) A basic description of Immunogenetic variation in the northern elephant seal genome; 2) A basic genetic map of the northern elephant seal genome; 3). Microevolutionary forces in the northern elephant seal genome. The results described in this report were acquired using funds from this cooperative agreement together with funds from a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant.

  14. Population and Individual Elephant Response to a Catastrophic Fire in Pilanesberg National Park

    PubMed Central

    Woolley, Leigh-Ann; Millspaugh, Joshua J.; Woods, Rami J.; Janse van Rensburg, Samantha; Mackey, Robin L.; Page, Bruce; Slotow, Rob

    2008-01-01

    In predator-free large herbivore populations, where density-dependent feedbacks occur at the limit where forage resources can no longer support the population, environmental catastrophes may play a significant role in population regulation. The potential role of fire as a stochastic mass-mortality event limiting these populations is poorly understood, so too the behavioural and physiological responses of the affected animals to this type of large disturbance event. During September 2005, a wildfire resulted in mortality of 29 (18% population mortality) and injury to 18, African elephants in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa. We examined movement and herd association patterns of six GPS-collared breeding herds, and evaluated population physiological response through faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (stress) levels. We investigated population size, structure and projected growth rates using a simulation model. After an initial flight response post-fire, severely injured breeding herds reduced daily displacement with increased daily variability, reduced home range size, spent more time in non-tourist areas and associated less with other herds. Uninjured, or less severely injured, breeding herds also shifted into non-tourist areas post-fire, but in contrast, increased displacement rate (both mean and variability), did not adjust home range size and formed larger herds post-fire. Adult cow stress hormone levels increased significantly post-fire, whereas juvenile and adult bull stress levels did not change significantly. Most mortality occurred to the juvenile age class causing a change in post-fire population age structure. Projected population growth rate remained unchanged at 6.5% p.a., and at current fecundity levels, the population would reach its previous level three to four years post-fire. The natural mortality patterns seen in elephant populations during stochastic events, such as droughts, follows that of the classic mortality pattern seen in predator

  15. Of elephants and blind men: Deer management in the U.S. National Parks

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Porter, W.F.; Underwood, H.B.

    1999-01-01

    Overabundant populations of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are becoming common in the eastern United States. Faced with burgeoning deer populations in eastern parks, the National Park Service (NPS) formulated policy based on its long experience with ungulate management in western parks. That the NPS failed to find a management solution acceptable to its many constituencies was inevitable. Like blind men touching different parts of an elephant and disagreeing about its form, those engaged in the debate about deer management in parks are viewing different parts of the ecological system. None has seen the entire system, and consequently, there is neither common agreement on the nature of the problem nor on the solutions. We explore the quandary of deer management in eastern parks by addressing three questions: (1) Can the National Park Service reconcile its management goals with those of its neighbors? (2) Can thresholds be identified for determining when to intervene in natural processes? (3) Is there a scientific foundation for proceeding with effective management of deer? We argue that reconciling the NPS management with that of state conservation agencies is not possible because management policy guides these agencies in opposite directions: the NPS is charged with limiting human impact on ecological processes, and state agencies are charged with exerting human control over population abundance. Questions about thresholds and a scientific basis for management arise from concern that irrupting deer populations are a manifestation of disrupted natural processes. Several population growth paradigms are at the heart of this ecological question. The science provides no consensus about which of these paradigms are appropriate to deer in eastern ecosystems. Thus, it is premature to expect science to identify if or when natural processes have been disrupted. While the NPS cannot effectively achieve its goals without better science, neither can it wait for

  16. Elephant ear

    MedlinePlus

    Elephant ear plants are indoor or outdoor plants with very large, arrow-shaped leaves. Poisoning may occur if you ... The harmful substances in elephant ear plants are: Oxalic acid ... plant Note: Leaves and stems are the most dangerous when eaten ...

  17. Elephant ear

    MedlinePlus

    The harmful substances in elephant ear plants are: Oxalic acid Asparagine, a protein found in this plant Note: ... days to a week if treated correctly. Rarely, oxalic acid may cause swelling severe enough to block the ...

  18. Corridor use by Asian elephants.

    PubMed

    Pan, Wenjing; Lin, Liu; Luo, Aidong; Zhang, Li

    2009-06-01

    There are 18 km of Kunming-Bangkok Highway passing through the Mengyang Nature Reserve of Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Yunnan Province, China. From September 2005 to September 2006 the impact of this highway on movement of wild Asian elephants between the eastern and western part of the nature reserve was studied using track transecting, rural surveys and direct monitoring. Our results showed that the number of crossroad corridors used by Asian elephants diminished from 28 to 23 following the construction of the highway. In some areas, the elephant activity diminished or even disappeared, which indicated a change in their home ranges. The utilization rate of artificial corridors was 44%. We also found that elephants preferred artificial corridors that were placed along their original corridors. During the research, wild elephants revealed their adaptation to the highway. They were found walking across the highway road surface many times and for different reasons. We suggest that the highway management bureau should revise their management strategies to mitigate the potential risks caused by elephants on the road for the safety of the public and to protect this endangered species from harm. It is also very important to protect and maintain current Asian elephants corridors in this region. PMID:21392292

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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

  20. Supporting elephant conservation in Sri Lanka through MODIS imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perera, Kithsiri; Tateishi, Ryutaro

    2012-10-01

    The latest national elephant survey of Sri Lanka (2011) revealed Sri Lanka has 5,879 elephants. The total forest cover for these elephants is about 19,500 sq km (2012 estimation) and estimated forest area is about 30% of the country when smaller green patches are also counted. However, studies have pointed out that a herd of elephants need about a 100 sq km of forest patch to survive. With a high human population density (332 people per sq km, 2010), the pressure for land to feed people and elephants is becoming critical. Resent reports have indicated about 250 elephants are killed annually by farmers and dozens of people are also killed by elephants. Under this context, researchers are investigating various methods to assess the elephant movements to address the issues of Human-Elephant-Conflict (HEC). Apart from various local remedies for the issue, the conservation of elephant population can be supported by satellite imagery based studies. MODIS sensor imagery can be considered as a successful candidate here. Its spatial resolution is low (250m x 250m) but automatically filters out small forest patches in the mapping process. The daily imagery helps to monitor temporal forest cover changes. This study investigated the background information of HEC and used MODIS 250m imagery to suggest applicability of satellite data for Elephant conservations efforts. The elephant movement information was gathered from local authorities and potentials to identify bio-corridors were discussed. Under future research steps, regular forest cover monitoring through MODIS data was emphasized as a valuable tool in elephant conservations efforts.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  2. Eavesdropping on elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Payne, Katy

    2001-05-01

    The Elephant Listening Project is creating an acoustic monitoring program for African forest elephants, an endangered species that lives in dense forests where visual censusing is impossible. In 2002, a 21/2-month continuous recording was made on an array of autonomous recording units (ARUs) surrounding a forest clearing in the Central African Republic. Each day between 10 and 160 forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis), the subjects of Andrea Turkalo's 13-year demographic study, were present on the clearing. Thousands of vocalizations were recorded, most of which contained infrasonic energy. The calls were located in space using software developed in the Bioacoustics Research Program. During daylight hours simultaneous video recordings were made. GPS time-synchronization of video cameras and the ARUs made it possible to identify the elephants responsible for many calls and to examine associated circumstances and behaviors. Recordings were also made on a second acoustic array, permitting a preliminary estimate of propagation and an indication of source level for selected elephant calls. Automatic detection of elephant calls is increasing the feasibility of analyzing long acoustic recordings, and paving the way for finer-tuned analyses, with an ultimate goal of describing forest elephants' acoustic repertoire.

  3. Mammoths, Mastodons, and Elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haynes, Gary

    1993-05-01

    The diminishing population of African and Asian elephants can be compared to the extinction of other elephant-like species, such as mammoths and mastodonts, which occurred more than ten thousand years ago. The purpose of this book is to use the ecology and behavior of modern elephants to create models for reconstructing the life and death of extinct mammoths and mastodonts. The source of the models is a long-term and continuing study of elephants in Zimbabwe, Africa. These models are clearly described with respect to the anatomical, behavioral, and ecological similarities between past and present proboscideans. The implications of these similarities on the life and death of mammoths and mastodonts is explored in detail. The importance of this book is primarily its unifying perspective on living and extinct proboscideans: the fossil record is closely examined and compared to the natural history of surviving elephants. Dr. Haynes's studies of the places where African elephants die (so-called elephant burial grounds) are unique.

  4. Triangulating the provenance of African elephants using mitochondrial DNA

    PubMed Central

    Ishida, Yasuko; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Hondo, Tomoko; Roca, Alfred L

    2013-01-01

    African elephant mitochondrial (mt) DNA follows a distinctive evolutionary trajectory. As females do not migrate between elephant herds, mtDNA exhibits low geographic dispersal. We therefore examined the effectiveness of mtDNA for assigning the provenance of African elephants (or their ivory). For 653 savanna and forest elephants from 22 localities in 13 countries, 4258 bp of mtDNA was sequenced. We detected eight mtDNA subclades, of which seven had regionally restricted distributions. Among 108 unique haplotypes identified, 72% were found at only one locality and 84% were country specific, while 44% of individuals carried a haplotype detected only at their sampling locality. We combined 316 bp of our control region sequences with those generated by previous trans-national surveys of African elephants. Among 101 unique control region haplotypes detected in African elephants across 81 locations in 22 countries, 62% were present in only a single country. Applying our mtDNA results to a previous microsatellite-based assignment study would improve estimates of the provenance of elephants in 115 of 122 mis-assigned cases. Nuclear partitioning followed species boundaries and not mtDNA subclade boundaries. For taxa such as elephants in which nuclear and mtDNA markers differ in phylogeography, combining the two markers can triangulate the origins of confiscated wildlife products. PMID:23798975

  5. A fatal elephant attack.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:22085093

  6. Observations on elephant mortality and bones in water holes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Conybeare, A.; Haynes, Gary

    1984-09-01

    An unusually severe drought in 1982 led to a temporary die-off of elephants at a natural water source in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Compared to living populations, the age structure of the animals killed by drought is strongly biased toward 2-to 8-year-old animals. However, the fresh carcasses of these young elephants were commingled with weathered remains of adults that had died earlier, creating a mixed skeletal sample whose age structure was much closer to that of living populations. Observations of elephant bones that have accumulated due to natural mortality at water holes might provide analogs for paleoecological interpretations of fossil proboscidean assemblages.

  7. Risk and Ethical Concerns of Hunting Male Elephant: Behavioural and Physiological Assays of the Remaining Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Burke, Tarryne; Page, Bruce; Van Dyk, Gus; Millspaugh, Josh; Slotow, Rob

    2008-01-01

    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. PMID:18560517

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-15

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

  9. Assessing the General Education Elephant

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Eubanks, David A.

    2008-01-01

    Determining the success of a general education program can resemble the task of John Godfrey's six blind men in trying to acquaint themselves with an elephant. One man's approach is to feel the tusk and conclude that the elephant is a spear. Another approach leads to thinking that the broad side of the animal is a wall. The many ways of asking and…

  10. Seismic Census Technique for African Elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-12-01

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

  11. Elephant resource-use traditions.

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) use unusual and restricted habitats such as swampy clearings, montane outcrops and dry rivers for a variety of social and ecological reasons. Within these habitats, elephants focus on very specific areas for resource exploitation, resulting in deep caves, large forest clearings and sand pits as well as long-established and highly demarcated routes for moving between resources. We review evidence for specific habitat exploitation in elephants and suggest that this represents socially learned cultural behaviour. Although elephants show high fidelity to precise locations over the very long term, these location preferences are explained neither by resource quality nor by accessibility. Acquiring techniques for exploiting specific resource sites requires observing conspecifics and practice and is evidence for social learning. Elephants possess sophisticated cognitive capacities used to track relationships and resources over their long lifespans, and they have an extended period of juvenile dependency as a result of the need to acquire this considerable social and ecological knowledge. Thus, elephant fidelity to particular sites results in traditional behaviour over generations, with the potential to weaken relationships between resource quality and site preferences. Illustrating the evidence for such powerful traditions in a species such as elephants contributes to understanding animal cognition in natural contexts. PMID:26359083

  12. Using morphometric and analytical techniques to characterize elephant ivory.

    PubMed

    Singh, Rina Rani; Goyal, Surendra Prakash; Khanna, Param Pal; Mukherjee, Pulok Kumar; Sukumar, Raman

    2006-10-16

    There is a need to characterize Asian elephant ivory and compare with African ivory for controlling illegal trade and implementation of national and international laws. In this paper, we characterize ivory of Asian and African elephants using Schreger angle measurements, elemental analysis {X-ray fluorescence (XRF), inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS)} and isotopic analysis. We recorded Schreger angle characteristics of elephant ivory at three different zones in ivory samples of African (n=12) and Asian (n=28) elephants. The Schreger angle ranged from 32 degrees to 145 degrees and 30 degrees to 153 degrees in Asian and African ivory, respectively. Elemental analysis (for Asian and African ivory) by XRF, ICP-AES and ICP-MS provided preliminary data. We attempted to ascertain source of origin of Asian elephant ivory similarly as in African ivory based on isotopes of carbon, nitrogen and strontium. We determined isotopic ratios of carbon (n=31) and nitrogen (n=31) corresponding to diet and rainfall, respectively. Reference ivory samples from five areas within India were analyzed using collagen and powder sample and the latter was found more suitable for forensic analysis. During our preliminary analysis, the range of delta13C values (-13.6+/-0.15 per thousand and -25.6+/-0.15 per thousand) and delta15N values (10.2+/-0.15 per thousand and 3.5+/-0.15 per thousand) were noted. PMID:16891073

  13. Demographic Variables for Wild Asian Elephants Using Longitudinal Observations

    PubMed Central

    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 50th 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. PMID:24376581

  14. How to swallow an elephant

    SciTech Connect

    Powell, K.B.

    1995-03-01

    There is an old East Indian fable of a young man who went to see a wise man. The young man had a question - {open_quotes}How can I become rich and powerful?{close_quotes} The wise man paused for a moment then asked a question in return - {open_quotes}How can you swallow an elephant?{close_quotes} The young man was astounded, {open_quotes}There is no way a man can swallow an elephant!{close_quotes} {open_quotes}Yes, there is,{close_quotes} replied the wise man, {open_quotes}You just have to do it one bite at a time.{close_quotes} Many large problems can only be handled the same way that an elephant is swallowed, one bite at a time. Global warming and other environmental problems are obviously of elephant-swallowing scale. Some have set a goal for our society of reducing atmospheric greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}), by 20%. The cost to accomplish this has been estimated to be about five trillion dollars! As big as this elephant is, I suspect that its size is understated, if all the factors involved are included. The proponents of the plan tell us that it is well worth the cost to save the world. Therein lies another elephant-style problem.

  15. The elephant brain in numbers

    PubMed Central

    Herculano-Houzel, Suzana; Avelino-de-Souza, Kamilla; Neves, Kleber; Porfírio, Jairo; Messeder, Débora; Mattos Feijó, Larissa; Maldonado, José; Manger, Paul R.

    2014-01-01

    What explains the superior cognitive abilities of the human brain compared to other, larger brains? Here we investigate the possibility that the human brain has a larger number of neurons than even larger brains by determining the cellular composition of the brain of the African elephant. We find that the African elephant brain, which is about three times larger than the human brain, contains 257 billion (109) neurons, three times more than the average human brain; however, 97.5% of the neurons in the elephant brain (251 billion) are found in the cerebellum. This makes the elephant an outlier in regard to the number of cerebellar neurons compared to other mammals, which might be related to sensorimotor specializations. In contrast, the elephant cerebral cortex, which has twice the mass of the human cerebral cortex, holds only 5.6 billion neurons, about one third of the number of neurons found in the human cerebral cortex. This finding supports the hypothesis that the larger absolute number of neurons in the human cerebral cortex (but not in the whole brain) is correlated with the superior cognitive abilities of humans compared to elephants and other large-brained mammals. PMID:24971054

  16. Usual Populations, Unusual Individuals: Insights into the Behavior and Management of Asian Elephants in Fragmented Landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Srinivasaiah, Nishant M.; Vaidyanathan, Srinivas; Sinha, Anindya

    2012-01-01

    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-km2 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, in addition to

  17. Simultaneous Visual Discrimination in Asian Elephants

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nissani, Moti; Hoefler-Nissani, Donna; Lay, U. Tin; Htun, U. Wan

    2005-01-01

    Two experiments explored the behavior of 20 Asian elephants ("Elephas aximus") in simultaneous visual discrimination tasks. In Experiment 1, 7 Burmese logging elephants acquired a white+/black- discrimination, reaching criterion in a mean of 2.6 sessions and 117 discrete trials, whereas 4 elephants acquired a black+/white- discrimination in 5.3…

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-07-01

    African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) are an ecologically and economically important species in many African habitats. However, despite the importance of elephants, research on their parasites is limited, especially in wild populations. Currently, we lack genetic tools to identify elephant parasites. We present genetic markers from ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to identify five elephant-specific nematode parasites in the family Strongylidae: Murshidia linstowi, Murshidia longicaudata, Murshidia africana, Quilonia africana, and Khalilia sameera. We collected adult nematodes from feces deposited by wild elephants living in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Using both morphologic and genetic techniques, we found that the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region in rDNA provides a reliable marker to distinguish these species of strongyles. We found no evidence for cryptic genetic species within these morphologic species according to the cox-1 region of mtDNA. Levels of genetic diversity in strongyles from elephants were consistent with the genetic diversity seen within other strongyle species. We anticipate that these results will be a useful tool for identifying gastrointestinal nematode parasites in elephants. PMID:22740536

  19. The dynamics of social networks among female Asian elephants

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21794147

  20. Unmanned aerial survey of elephants.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

    The use of a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) was tested to survey large mammals in the Nazinga Game Ranch in the south of Burkina Faso. The Gatewing ×100™ equipped with a Ricoh GR III camera was used to test animal reaction as the UAS passed, and visibility on the images. No reaction was recorded as the UAS passed at a height of 100 m. Observations, made on a set of more than 7000 images, revealed that only elephants (Loxodonta africana) were easily visible while medium and small sized mammals were not. The easy observation of elephants allows experts to enumerate them on images acquired at a height of 100 m. We, therefore, implemented an aerial strip sample count along transects used for the annual wildlife foot count. A total of 34 elephants were recorded on 4 transects, each overflown twice. The elephant density was estimated at 2.47 elephants/km(2) with a coefficient of variation (CV%) of 36.10%. The main drawback of our UAS was its low autonomy (45 min). Increased endurance of small UAS is required to replace manned aircraft survey of large areas (about 1000 km of transect per day vs 40 km for our UAS). The monitoring strategy should be adapted according to the sampling plan. Also, the UAS is as expensive as a second-hand light aircraft. However the logistic and flight implementation are easier, the running costs are lower and its use is safer. Technological evolution will make civil UAS more efficient, allowing them to compete with light aircraft for aerial wildlife surveys. PMID:23405088

  1. Unmanned Aerial Survey of Elephants

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    The use of a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) was tested to survey large mammals in the Nazinga Game Ranch in the south of Burkina Faso. The Gatewing ×100™ equipped with a Ricoh GR III camera was used to test animal reaction as the UAS passed, and visibility on the images. No reaction was recorded as the UAS passed at a height of 100 m. Observations, made on a set of more than 7000 images, revealed that only elephants (Loxodonta africana) were easily visible while medium and small sized mammals were not. The easy observation of elephants allows experts to enumerate them on images acquired at a height of 100 m. We, therefore, implemented an aerial strip sample count along transects used for the annual wildlife foot count. A total of 34 elephants were recorded on 4 transects, each overflown twice. The elephant density was estimated at 2.47 elephants/km2 with a coefficient of variation (CV%) of 36.10%. The main drawback of our UAS was its low autonomy (45 min). Increased endurance of small UAS is required to replace manned aircraft survey of large areas (about 1000 km of transect per day vs 40 km for our UAS). The monitoring strategy should be adapted according to the sampling plan. Also, the UAS is as expensive as a second-hand light aircraft. However the logistic and flight implementation are easier, the running costs are lower and its use is safer. Technological evolution will make civil UAS more efficient, allowing them to compete with light aircraft for aerial wildlife surveys. PMID:23405088

  2. Elephant natural history: a genomic perspective.

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    We review DNA-based studies of elephants and recently extinct proboscideans. The evidence indicates that little or no nuclear gene flow occurs between African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) and African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis), establishing that they comprise separate species. In all elephant species, males disperse, whereas females remain with their natal social group, leading to discordance in the phylogeography of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA patterns. Improvements in ancient DNA methods have permitted sequences to be generated from an increasing number of proboscidean fossils and have definitively established that the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is the closest living relative of the extinct woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). DNA-based methods have been developed to determine the geographic provenance of confiscated ivory in an effort to aid the conservation of elephants. PMID:25493538

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26407001

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:26407001

  5. Forest Elephant Crisis in the Congo Basin

    PubMed Central

    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

  6. Forest elephant crisis in the Congo Basin.

    PubMed

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

    2007-04-01

    Debate over repealing the ivory trade ban dominates conferences of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Resolving this controversy requires accurate estimates of elephant population trends and rates of illegal killing. Most African savannah elephant populations are well known; however, the status of forest elephants, perhaps a distinct species, in the vast Congo Basin is unclear. We assessed population status and incidence of poaching from line-transect and reconnaissance surveys conducted on foot in sites throughout the Congo Basin. Results indicate that the abundance and range of forest elephants are threatened from poaching that is most intense close to roads. The probability of elephant presence increased with distance to roads, whereas that of human signs declined. At all distances from roads, the probability of elephant occurrence was always higher inside, compared to outside, protected areas, whereas that of humans was always lower. Inside protected areas, forest elephant density was correlated with the size of remote forest core, but not with size of protected area. Forest elephants must be prioritised in elephant management planning at the continental scale. PMID:17407383

  7. Simultaneous Visual Discrimination In Asian Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Nissani, Moti; Hoefler-Nissani, Donna; Lay, U Tin; Htun, U Wan

    2005-01-01

    Two experiments explored the behavior of 20 Asian elephants (Elephas aximus) in simultaneous visual discrimination tasks. In Experiment 1, 7 Burmese logging elephants acquired a white+/black− discrimination, reaching criterion in a mean of 2.6 sessions and 117 discrete trials, whereas 4 elephants acquired a black+/white− discrimination in 5.3 sessions and 293 trials. One elephant failed to reach criterion in the white+/black− task in 9 sessions and 549 trials, and 2 elephants failed to reach criterion in the black+/white− task in 9 sessions and 452 trials. In Experiment 2, 3 elephants learned a large/small transposition problem, reaching criterion within a mean of 1.7 sessions and 58 trials. Four elephants failed to reach criterion in 4.8 sessions and 193 trials. Data from both the black/ white and large/small discriminations showed a surprising age effect, suggesting that elephants beyond the age of 20 to 30 years either may be unable to acquire these visual discriminations or may require an inordinate number of trials to do so. Overall, our results cannot be readily reconciled with the widespread view that elephants possess exceptional intelligence. PMID:15762378

  8. Modeling elephant-mediated cascading effects of water point closure.

    PubMed

    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

  9. Dating Studies of Elephant Tusks Using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

    SciTech Connect

    Sideras-Haddad, E; Brown, T A

    2002-10-03

    A new method for determining the year of birth, the year of death, and hence, the age at death, of post-bomb and recently deceased elephants has been developed. The technique is based on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry radiocarbon analyses of small-sized samples extracted from along the length of a ge-line of an elephant tusk. The measured radiocarbon concentrations in the samples from a tusk can be compared to the {sup 14}C atmospheric bomb-pulse curve to derive the growth years of the initial and final samples from the tusk. Initial data from the application of this method to two tusks will be presented. Potentially, the method may play a significant role in wildlife management practices of African national parks. Additionally, the method may contribute to the underpinnings of efforts to define new international trade regulations, which could, in effect, decrease poaching and the killing of very young animals.

  10. Elephants: Big, Strong and Wise. Young Discovery Library Series.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pfeffer, Pierre

    This book is written for children ages 5 through 10. Part of a series designed to develop their curiosity, fascinate them and educate them, this volume examines the characteristics and natural history of elephants. Topics included are: (1) elephant's ancestors; (2) elephant life; and (3) training elephants for work. Quiz items are included. (YP)

  11. The Elephants Teach: Creative Writing since 1880

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

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

    PubMed

    Wittemyer, George

    2011-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

    Biodiversity conservation strategies are increasingly focused on regions outside national protected areas, where animals face numerous anthropogenic threats and must coexist with human settlements, livestock, and agriculture. The effects of these potential threats are not always clear, but they could have profound implications for population viability. We used savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) as a case study to assess the physiological stress associated with living in a human-livestock-dominated landscape. We collected samples over two 3-month periods in 2007 and 2008. We used fecal DNA to identify 96 individual elephants in a community conservation area (CCA) and measured fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) concentrations as a proxy for stress. The CCA is community Maasai land managed for livestock and wildlife. We compared the FGM concentrations from the CCA to FGM concentrations of 40 elephants in Amboseli National Park and 32 elephants in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, where human settlements and intense livestock grazing were absent. In the CCA, we found no significant individual differences in FGM concentrations among the elephants in 2007 (p = 0.312) or 2008 (p = 0.412) and no difference between years (p = 0.616). The elephants in the CCA had similar FGM concentrations to the Maasai Mara population, but Amboseli elephants had significantly lower FGM concentrations than those in either Maasai Mara or the CCA (Tukey pairwise test, p < 0.001), due primarily to females excreting significantly lower FGM relative to males (p = 0.025). In the CCA, there was no relation among female group size, average pairwise group relatedness, and average group FGM concentration. We found no clear evidence of chronic stress in elephants living on CCA communal land, which is encouraging for conservation strategies promoting the protection of animals living outside protected areas. PMID:23692020

  14. Automated detection of elephants in wildlife video

    PubMed Central

    Zeppelzauer, Matthias

    2015-01-01

    Biologists often have to investigate large amounts of video in behavioral studies of animals. These videos are usually not sufficiently indexed which makes the finding of objects of interest a time-consuming task. We propose a fully automated method for the detection and tracking of elephants in wildlife video which has been collected by biologists in the field. The method dynamically learns a color model of elephants from a few training images. Based on the color model, we localize elephants in video sequences with different backgrounds and lighting conditions. We exploit temporal clues from the video to improve the robustness of the approach and to obtain spatial and temporal consistent detections. The proposed method detects elephants (and groups of elephants) of different sizes and poses performing different activities. The method is robust to occlusions (e.g., by vegetation) and correctly handles camera motion and different lighting conditions. Experiments show that both near- and far-distant elephants can be detected and tracked reliably. The proposed method enables biologists efficient and direct access to their video collections which facilitates further behavioral and ecological studies. The method does not make hard constraints on the species of elephants themselves and is thus easily adaptable to other animal species. PMID:25902006

  15. Asian elephants acquire inaccessible food by blowing.

    PubMed

    Mizuno, Kaori; Irie, Naoko; Hiraiwa-Hasegawa, Mariko; Kutsukake, Nobuyuki

    2016-01-01

    Many animals acquire otherwise inaccessible food with the aid of sticks and occasionally water. As an exception, some reports suggest that elephants manipulate breathing through their trunks to acquire inaccessible food. Here, we report on two female Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Kamine Zoo, Japan, who regularly blew to drive food within their reach. We experimentally investigated this behaviour by placing foods in inaccessible places. The elephants blew the food until it came within accessible range. Once the food was within range, the elephants were increasingly less likely to blow as the distance to the food became shorter. One subject manipulated her blowing duration based on food distance: longer when the food was distant. These results suggest that the elephants used their breath to achieve goals: that is, they used it not only to retrieve the food but also to fine-tune the food position for easy grasping. We also observed individual differences in the elephants' aptitude for this technique, which altered the efficiency of food acquisition. Thus, we added a new example of spontaneous behaviour for achieving a goal in animals. The use of breath to drive food is probably unique to elephants, with their dexterous trunks and familiarity with manipulating the act of blowing, which is commonly employed for self-comfort and acoustic communication. PMID:26541597

  16. African bees to control African elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  17. Identifying transit corridors for elephant using a long time-series

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pittiglio, Claudia; Skidmore, Andrew K.; van Gils, Hein A. M. J.; Prins, Herbert H. T.

    2012-02-01

    The role of corridors in mitigating the effects of landscape fragmentation on biodiversity is controversial. Recent studies have highlighted the need for new approaches in corridor design using long-term datasets. We present a method to identify transit corridors for elephant at a population scale over a large area and an extended period of time using long-term aerial surveys. We investigated environmental and anthropogenic factors directly and indirectly related to the wet versus dry season distribution of elephant and its transit corridors. Four environmental variables predicted the presence of elephant at the landscape scale in both seasons: distance from permanent water, protected areas and settlements and vegetation structure. Path analysis revealed that altitude and monthly average NDVI, and distance from temporary water had a significant indirect effect on elephant distribution at local scale in dry and wet seasons respectively. Five transit corridors connecting Tarangire National Park and the northern as well as south-eastern wet season dispersal areas were identified and matched the wildlife migration routes described in the 1960s. The corridors are stable over the decades, providing landscape connectivity for elephant. Our approach yielded insights how advanced spatial analysis can be integrated with biological data available from long-term datasets to identify actual transit corridors and predictors of species distribution.

  18. Detusking Fence-Breaker Elephants as an Approach in Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Background Human-elephant conflict (HEC) is a recurring problem that appears wherever the range of elephants and humans overlap. Different methods including the use of electric fences are used worldwide to mitigate this conflict. Nonetheless, elephants learn quickly that their tusks do not conduct electricity and use them to break down fences (fence-breakers). Methodology/Principal Findings 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. Conclusions 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. PMID:24614538

  19. Comparison of Four Serological Assays and Culture to Determine Tuberculosis Infection in Captive Elephants in Nepal

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Our team conducted the first comprehensive range country elephant TB survey in January 2006. This collaboration encompassed the work of Dr. Kamal Giri in fulfillment of his M.V.Sc degree at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science; the support of the Department of National Parks and Conserva...

  20. Self-recognition in an Asian elephant.

    PubMed

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

    2006-11-01

    Considered an indicator of self-awareness, mirror self-recognition (MSR) has long seemed limited to humans and apes. In both phylogeny and human ontogeny, MSR is thought to correlate with higher forms of empathy and altruistic behavior. Apart from humans and apes, dolphins and elephants are also known for such capacities. After the recent discovery of MSR in dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), elephants thus were the next logical candidate species. We exposed three Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to a large mirror to investigate their responses. Animals that possess MSR typically progress through four stages of behavior when facing a mirror: (i) social responses, (ii) physical inspection (e.g., looking behind the mirror), (iii) repetitive mirror-testing behavior, and (iv) realization of seeing themselves. Visible marks and invisible sham-marks were applied to the elephants' heads to test whether they would pass the litmus "mark test" for MSR in which an individual spontaneously uses a mirror to touch an otherwise imperceptible mark on its own body. Here, we report a successful MSR elephant study and report striking parallels in the progression of responses to mirrors among apes, dolphins, and elephants. These parallels suggest convergent cognitive evolution most likely related to complex sociality and cooperation. PMID:17075063

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    In Gabon, like elsewhere in Africa, crops are often sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. Wildlife damage to crops can drastically reduce income, amplifying poverty and creating a negative perception of wild animal conservation among rural people. In this context, crop-raiding animals like elephants quickly become "problem animals". To deter elephants from raiding crops beehives have been successfully employed in East Africa; however, this method has not yet been tested in Central Africa. We experimentally examined whether the presence of Apis mellifera adansonii, the African honey bee species present in Central Africa, deters forest elephants (Loxodonta Africana cyclotis) from feeding on fruit trees. We show for the first time that the effectiveness of beehives as deterrents of elephants is related to bee activity. Empty hives and those housing colonies of low bee activity do not deter elephants all the time; but beehives with high bee activity do. Although elephant disturbance of hives does not impede honey production, there is a tradeoff between deterrence and the quantity of honey produced. To best achieve the dual goals of deterring elephants and producing honey colonies must maintain an optimum activity level of 40 to 60 bee movements per minute. Thus, beehives colonized by Apis mellifera adansonii bees can be effective elephant deterrents, but people must actively manage hives to maintain bee colonies at the optimum activity level. PMID:27196059

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    In Gabon, like elsewhere in Africa, crops are often sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. Wildlife damage to crops can drastically reduce income, amplifying poverty and creating a negative perception of wild animal conservation among rural people. In this context, crop-raiding animals like elephants quickly become “problem animals”. To deter elephants from raiding crops beehives have been successfully employed in East Africa; however, this method has not yet been tested in Central Africa. We experimentally examined whether the presence of Apis mellifera adansonii, the African honey bee species present in Central Africa, deters forest elephants (Loxodonta Africana cyclotis) from feeding on fruit trees. We show for the first time that the effectiveness of beehives as deterrents of elephants is related to bee activity. Empty hives and those housing colonies of low bee activity do not deter elephants all the time; but beehives with high bee activity do. Although elephant disturbance of hives does not impede honey production, there is a tradeoff between deterrence and the quantity of honey produced. To best achieve the dual goals of deterring elephants and producing honey colonies must maintain an optimum activity level of 40 to 60 bee movements per minute. Thus, beehives colonized by Apis mellifera adansonii bees can be effective elephant deterrents, but people must actively manage hives to maintain bee colonies at the optimum activity level. PMID:27196059

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

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background There are three species of elephant that exist, the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and two species of African elephant (Loxodonta africana and Loxodonta cyclotis). The populations of all three species are dwindling, and are under threat due to factors, such as habitat destruction and ivory hunting. The species differ in many respects, including in their morphology and response to disease. The availability of elephant genome sequence data from all three elephant species will complement studies of behaviour, genetic diversity, evolution and disease resistance. Findings We present low-coverage Illumina sequence data from two Asian elephants, representing approximately 5X and 2.5X coverage respectively. Both raw and aligned data are available, using the African elephant (L. africana) genome as a reference. Conclusions The data presented here are an important addition to the available genetic and genomic information on Asian and African elephants. PMID:25053995

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-05-01

    Body mass is the primary determinant of an animal's energy requirements. At their optimum walking speed, large animals have lower mass-specific energy requirements for locomotion than small ones. In animals ranging in size from 0.8 g (roach) to 260 kg (zebu steer), the minimum cost of transport (COT(min)) decreases with increasing body size roughly as COT(min)∝body mass (M(b))(-0.316±0.023) (95% CI). Typically, the variation of COT(min) with body mass is weaker at the intraspecific level as a result of physiological and geometric similarity within closely related species. The interspecific relationship estimates that an adult elephant, with twice the body mass of a mid-sized elephant, should be able to move its body approximately 23% cheaper than the smaller elephant. We sought to determine whether adult Asian and sub-adult African elephants follow a single quasi-intraspecific relationship, and extend the interspecific relationship between COT(min) and body mass to 12-fold larger animals. Physiological and possibly geometric similarity between adult Asian elephants and sub-adult African elephants caused body mass to have a no effect on COT(min) (COT(min)∝M(b)(0.007±0.455)). The COT(min) in elephants occurred at walking speeds between 1.3 and ∼1.5 m s(-1), and at Froude numbers between 0.10 and 0.24. The addition of adult Asian elephants to the interspecific relationship resulted in COT(min)∝M (-0.277±0.046)(b). The quasi-intraspecific relationship between body mass and COT(min) among elephants caused the interspecific relationship to underestimate COT(min) in larger elephants. PMID:22496287

  5. Investigating the seismic signal of elephants: using seismology to mitigate elephant human conflict

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Webb, S. J.; Manzi, M.; Naidoo, A.; Raveloson, A.

    2015-12-01

    Human interactions with wild elephants are often a source of conflict, as elephants invade inhabited lands looking for sustenance. In order to mitigate these interactions, a number of elephant defense systems are under development. These include electric fences, bees and the playback of warning calls recorded from elephants. With the discovery that elephants use seismic signals to communicate (O'Connell-Rodwell et al., 2006, Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol.), it is hoped that seismic signals can also be used to help reduce conflict. Our current research project investigates the spectral content of the elephant seismic signal that travels through the ground using a variety of geophones and seismometers. Our experimental setup used a Geometrics Geode 24 channel seismic system with an array of 24 geophones spaced 1 m apart in an area of compact soil overlying weathered granites. Initially we used 14 Hz vertical geophones. The ground and ambient noise conditions were characterized by recording several hammer shots. These were used to identify the air wave, wind noise, and the direct wave, which had a dominant frequency of ~50 Hz. Several trained elephants that 'rumble' on command were then deployed ~5 m perpendicular to a line of 24 (14 Hz) vertical geophones between the 1 and 10 m geophone positions. We recorded a number of different elephants and configurations, and digitally recorded video for comparison. An additional deployment of 20 (14 Hz) horizontal geophones was also used. For all data, the sample interval was 0.25 ms and the recording length was 16 s as the timing of the rumbles could not be precisely controlled. We were able to identify the airwave due to the elephant's rumble with velocities between 305-310 m/s and the ground seismic signal due to the rumble with frequencies between 20-30 Hz. Our next experiment will include broadband seismometers at a further distance, to more fully characterize the frequency content of the elephant signal.

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

    PubMed

    Breuer, Thomas; Maisels, Fiona; Fishlock, Vicki

    2016-10-01

    Poaching has devastated forest elephant populations (Loxodonta cyclotis), and their habitat is dramatically changing. The long-term effects of poaching and other anthropogenic threats have been well studied in savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana), but the impacts of these changes for Central Africa's forest elephants have not been discussed. We examined potential repercussions of these threats and the related consequences for forest elephants in Central Africa by summarizing the lessons learned from savannah elephants and small forest elephant populations in West Africa. Forest elephant social organization is less known than the social organization of savannah elephants, but the close evolutionary history of these species suggests that they will respond to anthropogenic threats in broadly similar ways. The loss of older, experienced individuals in an elephant population disrupts ecological, social, and population parameters. Severe reduction of elephant abundance within Central Africa's forests can alter plant communities and ecosystem functions. Poaching, habitat alterations, and human population increase are probably compressing forest elephants into protected areas and increasing human-elephant conflict, which negatively affects their conservation. We encourage conservationists to look beyond documenting forest elephant population decline and address the causes of these declines when developing conversation strategies. We suggest assessing the effectiveness of the existing protected-area networks for landscape connectivity in light of current industrial and infrastructure development. Longitudinal assessments of the effects of landscape changes on forest elephant sociality and behavior are also needed. Finally, lessons learned from West African elephant population loss and habitat fragmentation should be used to inform strategies for land-use planning and managing human-elephant interactions. PMID:26801000

  7. The elephant knee joint: morphological and biomechanical considerations

    PubMed Central

    Weissengruber, G E; Fuss, F K; Egger, G; Stanek, G; Hittmair, K M; Forstenpointner, G

    2006-01-01

    Elephant limbs display unique morphological features which are related mainly to supporting the enormous body weight of the animal. In elephants, the knee joint plays important roles in weight bearing and locomotion, but anatomical data are sparse and lacking in functional analyses. In addition, the knee joint is affected frequently by arthrosis. Here we examined structures of the knee joint by means of standard anatomical techniques in eight African (Loxodonta africana) and three Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Furthermore, we performed radiography in five African and two Asian elephants and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in one African elephant. Macerated bones of 11 individuals (four African, seven Asian elephants) were measured with a pair of callipers to give standardized measurements of the articular parts. In one Asian and three African elephants, kinematic and functional analyses were carried out using a digitizer and according to the helical axis concept. Some peculiarities of healthy and arthrotic knee joints of elephants were compared with human knees. In contrast to those of other quadruped mammals, the knee joint of elephants displays an extended resting position. The femorotibial joint of elephants shows a high grade of congruency and the menisci are extremely narrow and thin. The four-bar mechanism of the cruciate ligaments exists also in the elephant. The main motion of the knee joint is extension–flexion with a range of motion of 142°. In elephants, arthrotic alterations of the knee joint can lead to injury or loss of the cranial (anterior) cruciate ligament. PMID:16420379

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-11-01

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

  9. The Influence of Social Structure, Habitat, and Host Traits on the Transmission of Escherichia coli in Wild Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Chiyo, Patrick I.; Grieneisen, Laura E.; Wittemyer, George; Moss, Cynthia J.; Lee, Phyllis C.; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Archie, Elizabeth A.

    2014-01-01

    Social structure is proposed to influence the transmission of both directly and environmentally transmitted infectious agents. However in natural populations, many other factors also influence transmission, including variation in individual susceptibility and aspects of the environment that promote or inhibit exposure to infection. We used a population genetic approach to investigate the effects of social structure, environment, and host traits on the transmission of Escherichia coli infecting two populations of wild elephants: one in Amboseli National Park and another in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya. If E. coli transmission is strongly influenced by elephant social structure, E. coli infecting elephants from the same social group should be genetically more similar than E. coli sampled from members of different social groups. However, we found no support for this prediction. Instead, E. coli was panmictic across social groups, and transmission patterns were largely dominated by habitat and host traits. For instance, habitat overlap between elephant social groups predicted E. coli genetic similarity, but only in the relatively drier habitat of Samburu, and not in Amboseli, where the habitat contains large, permanent swamps. In terms of host traits, adult males were infected with more diverse haplotypes, and males were slightly more likely to harbor strains with higher pathogenic potential, as compared to adult females. In addition, elephants from similar birth cohorts were infected with genetically more similar E. coli than elephants more disparate in age. This age-structured transmission may be driven by temporal shifts in genetic structure of E. coli in the environment and the effects of age on bacterial colonization. Together, our results support the idea that, in elephants, social structure often will not exhibit strong effects on the transmission of generalist, fecal-oral transmitted bacteria. We discuss our results in the context of social, environmental

  10. Foetal age determination and development in elephants.

    PubMed

    Hildebrandt, Thomas; Drews, Barbara; Gaeth, Ann P; Goeritz, Frank; Hermes, Robert; Schmitt, Dennis; Gray, Charlie; Rich, Peter; Streich, Wolf Juergen; Short, Roger V; Renfree, Marilyn B

    2007-02-01

    Elephants have the longest pregnancy of all mammals, with an average gestation of around 660 days, so their embryonic and foetal development have always been of special interest. Hitherto, it has only been possible to estimate foetal ages from theoretical calculations based on foetal mass. The recent development of sophisticated ultrasound procedures for elephants has now made it possible to monitor the growth and development of foetuses of known gestational age conceived in captivity from natural matings or artificial insemination. We have studied the early stages of pregnancy in 10 captive Asian and 9 African elephants by transrectal ultrasound. Measurements of foetal crown-rump lengths have provided the first accurate growth curves, which differ significantly from the previous theoretical estimates based on the cube root of foetal mass. We have used these to age 22 African elephant foetuses collected during culling operations. Pregnancy can be first recognized ultrasonographically by day 50, the presumptive yolk sac by about day 75 and the zonary placenta by about day 85. The trunk is first recognizable by days 85-90 and is distinct by day 104, while the first heartbeats are evident from around day 80. By combining ultrasonography and morphology, we have been able to produce the first reliable criteria for estimating gestational age and ontological development of Asian and African elephant foetuses during the first third of gestation. PMID:17164195

  11. Biomechanics of locomotion in Asian elephants.

    PubMed

    Genin, J J; Willems, P A; Cavagna, G A; Lair, R; Heglund, N C

    2010-03-01

    Elephants are the biggest living terrestrial animal, weighing up to five tons and measuring up to three metres at the withers. These exceptional dimensions provide certain advantages (e.g. the mass-specific energetic cost of locomotion is decreased) but also disadvantages (e.g. forces are proportional to body volume while supportive tissue strength depends on their cross-sectional area, which makes elephants relatively more fragile than smaller animals). In order to understand better how body size affects gait mechanics the movement of the centre of mass (COM) of 34 Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) was studied over their entire speed range of 0.4-5.0 m s(-1) with force platforms. The mass-specific mechanical work required to maintain the movements of the COM per unit distance is approximately 0.2 J kg(-1) m(-1) (about 1/3 of the average of other animals ranging in size from a 35 g kangaroo rat to a 70 kg human). At low speeds this work is reduced by a pendulum-like exchange between the kinetic and potential energies of the COM, with a maximum energy exchange of approximately 60% at 1.4 m s(-1). At high speeds, elephants use a bouncing mechanism with little exchange between kinetic and potential energies of the COM, although without an aerial phase. Elephants increase speed while reducing the vertical oscillation of the COM from about 3 cm to 1 cm. PMID:20154184

  12. Insightful problem solving in an Asian elephant.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:21876741

  13. Resource Wars and Conflict Ivory: The Impact of Civil Conflict on Elephants in the Democratic Republic of Congo - The Case of the Okapi Reserve

    PubMed Central

    Beyers, Rene L.; Hart, John A.; Sinclair, Anthony R. E.; Grossmann, Falk; Klinkenberg, Brian; Dino, Simeon

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:22096529

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

    PubMed

    Beyers, Rene L; Hart, John A; Sinclair, Anthony R E; Grossmann, Falk; Klinkenberg, Brian; Dino, Simeon

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:22096529

  15. CLINICAL INFECTION OF TWO CAPTIVE ASIAN ELEPHANTS (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) WITH ELEPHANT ENDOTHELIOTROPIC HERPESVIRUS 1B.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:27010294

  16. Meteorological Controls on the Infrasonic Communication of the African Elephant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larom, David Lee

    Vertical atmospheric temperature and wind gradients exert a marked influence on sound propagation at the infrasonic frequencies used by the African elephant for long-distance communication. Tethered balloon profiles taken at Okaukuejo, Namibia, in the Etosha National Park, are used as input to a computer model of atmospheric sound propagation. The results show that high daytime temperature lapse rates can restrict the calling area A to as little as 20 km ^2. With the formation of the regularly occurring low-level nocturnal radiative temperature inversion, A can expand rapidly to 300 km^2 or more. Calling range commonly triples from one hour before to one hour after sunset. The formation of a nocturnal low level jet reduces calling area after 2200 hours; wind shear makes propagation strongly directional, with enhancement downwind and degradation upwind. The early evening is therefore the optimum calling time at Etosha, with a secondary maximum before dawn. Different topography may lead to a dawn maximum in other parts of the African savannas. Synoptic weather patterns and seasonal change can enhance or dampen the diurnal cycle in calling area. These results explain important facets of elephant behavior, and may contribute to the understanding of territoriality by giving a physical explanation for the evening and dawn chorus in birdsong and animal calls.

  17. Africa's elephants and rhinos: Flagships in crisis.

    PubMed

    Western, D

    1987-11-01

    Despite extensive conservation measures over the last two decades, populations of elephants and rhinos in Africa continue to decline. The plight of the black rhino is especially acute. Poaching for rhino horn and ivory, rather than habitat loss, remains the principal threat to these species. The only long-term hope may lie in the effective protection of small, isolated populations. PMID:21227879

  18. Elephant teeth from the atlantic continental shelf

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Whitmore, F.C., Jr.; Emery, K.O.; Cooke, H.B.S.; Swift, D.J.P.

    1967-01-01

    Teeth of mastodons and mastodons have been recovered by fishermen from at least 40 sites on the continental shelf as deep as 120 meters. Also present are submerged shorelines, peat deposits, lagoonal shells, and relict sands. Evidently elephants and other large mammals ranged this region during the glacial stage of low sea level of the last 25.000 years.

  19. Urinalysis in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Wiedner, Ellen; Alleman, A Rick; Isaza, Ramiro

    2009-12-01

    Urine was collected from 22 healthy female adult Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and analyzed for the purpose of determining normal biochemical and microscopic parameters. Findings included urine that was less concentrated compared to other mammals, predominantly alkaline pH, crystalluria of varying types in all samples, and minimal cellularity. Glucose and urobilinogen were not detected in any samples. Trace ketones and trace bilirubin occurred in two different samples. Trace blood was identified in another sample. Three samples tested positive for protein via dipstick but were confirmed negative through the sulfosalicylic acid test. Two samples contained mucus threads. Bacteria were seen microscopically in four samples, and could be cultured from six others, but, because of the lack of an associated inflammatory response and the heterogeneous populations of organisms observed, were considered to be contaminants from the distal urethra, the vestibulovulva, or the environment. Because of the variability in elephant urine, baseline values for elephants within captive herds should be obtained and regular assessments should be performed over time to allow trending of data. Establishment of normal urine values provides an important tool in elephant health care. PMID:20063811

  20. ELEPHANT ENDOTHELIOTROPIC HERPESVIRUS 5, A NEWLY RECOGNIZED ELEPHANT HERPESVIRUS ASSOCIATED WITH CLINICAL AND SUBCLINICAL INFECTIONS IN CAPTIVE ASIAN ELEPHANTS (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS)

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

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

  2. Complex vibratory patterns in an elephant larynx.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:24133151

  3. Elephant-to-Human Transmission of Tuberculosis, 2009

    PubMed Central

    Warkentin, Jon V.; Dunn, John R.; Schaffner, William; Jones, Timothy F.

    2011-01-01

    In 2009, the Tennessee Department of Health received reports of 5 tuberculin skin test (TST) conversions among employees of an elephant refuge and isolation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from a resident elephant. To determine the extent of the outbreak and identify risk factors for TST conversion, we conducted a cohort study and onsite assessment. Risk for conversion was increased for elephant caregivers and administrative employees working in the barn housing the M. tuberculosis–infected elephant or in offices connected to the barn (risk ratio 20.3, 95% confidence interval 2.8–146.7). Indirect exposure to aerosolized M. tuberculosis and delayed or inadequate infection control practices likely contributed to transmission. The following factors are needed to reduce risk for M. tuberculosis transmission in the captive elephant industry: increased knowledge about M. tuberculosis infection in elephants, improved infection control practices, and specific occupational health programs. PMID:21392425

  4. Seismic waves from elephant vocalizations: A possible communication mode?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Günther, Roland H.; O'Connell-Rodwell, Caitlin E.; Klemperer, Simon L.

    2004-06-01

    We conducted experiments with trained African elephants that show that low-frequency elephant vocalizations produce Rayleigh waves. We model a potential range for these seismic waves, under ideal conditions, of c. 2 km. In appropriate conditions, surface waves from an elephant's infrasonic vocalizations might propagate further than airborne sound and provide advantages over acoustic communication. However, if we use the detection capabilities of the human ear as a benchmark for the signal-detection thresholds of elephants, our estimates of attenuation and ambient seismic noise suggest that the seismic detection range is unlikely to exceed the acoustic detection range under normal atmospheric conditions. We conclude that elephants may benefit from seismic detection in circumstances where the range of acoustic communication is limited, or in cases where multimodal communication is advantageous. Given our current understanding, elephants are unlikely to rely on seismic waves as their primary mode for long-range communication.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-03-01

    The use of plasma as a life-saving tool for neonatal African elephants (Loxodonta africana) that failed passive transfer of immunoglobulins is proposed. The methodology of blood sampling, plasma extraction, and plasma storage is described. Values for cellular component sedimentation and biochemical parameters of extracted plasma that was collected from 2 female elephants is presented. The proposal for a central plasma bank for elephants in European zoos is suggested. PMID:19368242

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    With increased scrutiny surrounding the welfare of elephants in zoological institutions, it is important to have empirical evidence on their current welfare status. If elephants are not receiving adequate exercise, it could lead to obesity, which can lead to many issues including acyclicity and potentially heart disease. The goal of the current study was to compare the walking rates of elephants in the wild versus elephants in zoos to determine if elephants are walking similar distances relative to their wild counterparts. Eleven wild elephants throughout different habitats and locations in Botswana were compared to 8 elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Direct comparisons revealed no significant difference in average walking rates of zoo elephants when compared with wild elephants. These results suggest that elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park walk similar rates to those of wild elephants and may be meeting their exercise needs. PMID:26963741

  7. Isoleucine epimerization ages of the dwarf elephants of Sicily

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belluomini, Giorgio; Bada, Jeffrey L.

    1985-07-01

    The isoleucine epimerization reaction has been used to date tooth enamel from dwarf elephants collected from the Sicilian caves of Spinagallo and Puntali. Elephant teeth from the Isernia la Pineta deposit in central Italy, dated at ˜700 ka by potassium-argon (K-Ar) and paleomagnetics, were used for calibration of the isoleucine epimerization rate. The ages determined for the dwarf elephants found at the Spinagallo Cave are considerably older than the more robust dwarf species found at the Puntali Cave. These dates suggest that more than one invasion of continental elephants have taken place on Sicily. The subsequent isolation of the continental species has apparently produced varying stages of dwarfism.

  8. CLINICAL INFECTION OF CAPTIVE ASIAN ELEPHANTS (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) WITH ELEPHANT ENDOTHELIOTROPIC HERPESVIRUS 4.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:27010293

  9. KINETICS OF VIRAL LOADS AND GENOTYPIC ANALYSIS OF ELEPHANT ENDOTHELIOTROPIC HERPESVIRUS-1 INFECTION IN CAPTIVE ASIAN ELEPHANTS (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS)

    PubMed Central

    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

  10. Baltimore Zoo digester project. Final report. [Elephants

    SciTech Connect

    Gibson, P.W.

    1980-01-01

    The results of a project to produce methane using the manure from zoo animals as a feedstock is presented. Two digesters are in operation, the first (built in 1974) utilizing wastes from the Hippo House and a second (built in 1980) utilizing wastes from the Elephant House. Demonstrations on the utilization of the gas were performed during zoo exhibits. The Elephant House Digester has a capacity of 4200 gallons and a floating gas dome which can retain at least 150 cu ft of gas. Solar energy has been incorporated into the design to maintain digester temperature at 95/sup 0/F. The system produces 50 cu ft per day. After cleaning the gas, it is used to generate electricity to power an electric light, a roof fan, and an air conditioner. The gas is also used to operate a gas range and a gas lamp. During the opening day exhibit, 50 meals were cooked using the bio-gas from just 2 elephants. (DMC)

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

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

  12. My College Education: Looking at the Whole Elephant

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Merrow, John

    2006-01-01

    In a well-known fable, several blind men are asked to describe an elephant. One says, ''An elephant is flat, like a pancake," another says that it's "like a big snake." Their descriptions are accurate but limited, based on whichever part of the beast each happens to be holding--the ear, the trunk, and so forth. America's "system" of higher…

  13. Resisting Elephants Lurking in the Music Education Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Regelski, Thomas A.

    2014-01-01

    Music education has many "elephants" in its classrooms: obvious major problems that go unmentioned and suffered silently. Two of the larger, more problematic "elephants" are identified, analyzed, and critiqued: (1) the hegemony of university schools of music on school music and the resulting focus in school music on…

  14. Large brains and cognition: where do elephants fit in?

    PubMed

    Hart, Benjamin L; Hart, Lynette A; Pinter-Wollman, Noa

    2008-01-01

    Among terrestrial mammals, elephants share the unique status, along with humans and great apes, of having large brains, being long-lived and having offspring that require long periods of dependency. Elephants have the largest brains of all terrestrial mammals, including the greatest volume of cerebral cortex. In contrast to what one might expect from such a large-brained species, the performance of elephants in cognitive feats, such as tool use, visual discrimination learning and tests of "insight" behavior, is unimpressive in comparison to the performance by chimpanzees and, of course, humans. Where elephants do seem to excel is in long-term, extensive spatial-temporal and social memory. In addition, elephants appear to be somewhat unique among non-human species in their reactions to disabled and deceased conspecifics, exhibiting behaviors that are mindful of "theory-of-mind" phenomena. Information gleaned from studies on the neural cytoarchitecture of large brains reveals that the neurons of the cerebral cortex of elephants are much less densely populated than in large-brained primates. The interactions between cortical neurons would appear to be more global and less compartmentalized into local areas, and cortical information processing slower, than in great apes and humans. Although focused neural cytoarchitecture studies on the elephant are needed, this comparative perspective on the cortical neural cytoarchitecture appears to relate to differences in behavior between elephants and their primate counterparts. PMID:17617460

  15. 38. ELEPHANT BOILERS 1905: Photocopy of April 1905 photograph ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    38. ELEPHANT BOILERS - 1905: Photocopy of April 1905 photograph showing elephant boilers along the west wall of the Washington and Mason Street powerhouse and car barn. View looking west on first floor of building. - San Francisco Cable Railway, Washington & Mason Streets, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA

  16. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in captive elephants (Elephaus maximus maximus) in Sri Lanka.

    PubMed

    Dangolla, A; Ekanayake, D K; Rajapakse, R P V J; Dubey, J P; Silva, I D

    2006-04-15

    Serum samples collected during August 2003-June 2004 from 45 privately owned captive and 8 elephants from the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage were tested for the presence of antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii using the direct modified agglutination test (MAT). Antibodies were found in sera of 14 of 45 (32%) privately owned elephants with titers of 1:25 in three, 1:50 in three, 1:100 in three, 1:200 in three, and 1:400 in three elephants. The elephants from Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage were seronegative. This is the first report of T. gondii seroprevalence in elephants in Sri Lanka. PMID:16414192

  17. Development and evaluation of an interferon-γ release assay in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Paudel, Sarad; Villanueva, Marvin A; Mikota, Susan K; Nakajima, Chie; Gairhe, Kamal P; Subedi, Suraj; Rayamajhi, Nabin; Sashika, Mariko; Shimozuru, Michito; Matsuba, Takashi; Suzuki, Yasuhiko; Tsubota, Toshio

    2016-08-01

    We developed an interferon-γ release assay (IGRA) specific for Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Whole blood collected from forty captive Asian elephants was stimulated with three different mitogens i.e., phytohemagglutinin (PHA), pokweed mitogen (PWM) and phorbol myristate aceteate/ionomycin (PMA/I). A sandwich ELISA that was able to recognize the recombinant elephant interferon-γ (rEIFN-γ) as well as native interferon-γ from the Asian elephants was performed using anti-elephant IFN-γ rabbit polyclonal antibodies as capture antibodies and biotinylated anti-elephant IFN-γ rabbit polyclonal antibodies as detection antibodies. PMA/I was the best mitogen to use as a positive control for an Asian elephant IGRA. The development of an Asian elephant-specific IGRA that detects native IFN-γ in elephant whole blood provides promising results for its application as a potential diagnostic tool for diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB) in Asian elephants. PMID:26983683

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

    PubMed

    Stoeger, Angela S; Manger, Paul

    2014-10-01

    In the last decade clear evidence has accumulated that elephants are capable of vocal production learning. Examples of vocal imitation are documented in African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants, but little is known about the function of vocal learning within the natural communication systems of either species. We are also just starting to identify the neural basis of elephant vocalizations. The African elephant diencephalon and brainstem possess specializations related to aspects of neural information processing in the motor system (affecting the timing and learning of trunk movements) and the auditory and vocalization system. Comparative interdisciplinary (from behavioral to neuroanatomical) studies are strongly warranted to increase our understanding of both vocal learning and vocal behavior in elephants. PMID:25062469

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

    PubMed Central

    Stoeger, Angela S; Manger, Paul

    2014-01-01

    In the last decade clear evidence has accumulated that elephants are capable of vocal production learning. Examples of vocal imitation are documented in African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants, but little is known about the function of vocal learning within the natural communication systems of either species. We are also just starting to identify the neural basis of elephant vocalizations. The African elephant diencephalon and brainstem possess specializations related to aspects of neural information processing in the motor system (affecting the timing and learning of trunk movements) and the auditory and vocalization system. Comparative interdisciplinary (from behavioral to neuroanatomical) studies are strongly warranted to increase our understanding of both vocal learning and vocal behavior in elephants. PMID:25062469

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    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. 

  1. Why Was the Elephant Late in Getting on the Ark? Elephant Riddles and Other Jokes in the Classroom.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kazemek, Francis E.

    1999-01-01

    Discusses why elephant riddles are viable catalysts for word play and language development in the primary grades. Explores some relationships between children's thinking and elephant riddles. Offers some suggestions for incorporating them as a regular part of the classroom flow. (SR)

  2. Distribution and load of elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses in tissues from associated fatalities of Asian elephants.

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-15

    Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses (EEHVs) are the cause of a highly fatal haemorrhagic disease in elephants primarily affecting young Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in both captivity and in the wild. The viruses have emerged as a significant threat to Asian elephant conservation, critically affecting overall sustainability of their population. So far insight into the pathogenesis of EEHV infections has been restricted to examination of EEHV-infected tissues. However, little is known about distribution and burden of the viruses within the organs of fatal cases, crucial elements in the understanding of the virus pathogenesis. This study was therefore undertaken to assess the extent of organ and cell involvement in fatal cases of EEHV-1A, 1B and 5 using a quantitative real-time PCR. EEHV-1 and 5 DNA were detectable in all the tissues examined, albeit with substantial differences in the viral DNA load. The highest EEHV-1A DNA load was observed in the liver, followed by the heart, thymus and tongue. EEHV-1B and 5 showed the highest DNA load in the heart, followed by tongue and liver. This study provides new insights into EEHV pathogenicity and has implications in choice of sample type for disease investigation and virus isolation. PMID:27102836

  3. "The Elephant in the Dark Room": Merrick and Menacing Mimicry in Bernard Pomerance's "The Elephant Man"

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sasani, Samira

    2015-01-01

    This paper tries to look at Pomerance's "The Elephant Man," from a new perspective from which no critic has investigated the play, before. Applying postcolonial theory of Homi K. Bhabha to the play, the author scrutinizes how "mimicry strategy", employed by the colonizer and the Other, can be threatening for both and how the…

  4. Putting the elephant back in the herd: elephant relative quantity judgments match those of other species.

    PubMed

    Perdue, Bonnie M; Talbot, Catherine F; Stone, Adam M; Beran, Michael J

    2012-09-01

    The ability to discriminate between quantities has been observed in many species. Typically, when an animal is given a choice between two sets of food, accurate performance (i.e., choosing the larger amount) decreases as the ratio between two quantities increases. A recent study reported that elephants did not exhibit ratio effects, suggesting that elephants may process quantitative information in a qualitatively different way from all other nonhuman species that have been tested (Irie-Sugimoto et al. in Anim Cogn 12:193-199, 2009). However, the results of this study were confounded by several methodological issues. We tested two African elephants (Loxodonta africana) to more thoroughly investigate relative quantity judgment in this species. In contrast to the previous study, we found evidence of ratio effects for visible and nonvisible sequentially presented sets of food. Thus, elephants appear to represent and compare quantities in much the same way as other species, including humans when they are prevented from counting. Performance supports an accumulator model in which quantities are represented as analog magnitudes. Furthermore, we found no effect of absolute magnitude on performance, providing support against an object-file model explanation of quantity judgment. PMID:22692435

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

    PubMed

    Gobush, Kathleen; Kerr, Ben; Wasser, Samuel

    2009-02-01

    We use genetic measures of relatedness and observations of female bonding to examine the demographic signature of historically heavy poaching of a population of free-ranging African elephants. We collected dung samples to obtain DNA and observed behaviour from 102 elephant families over a 25-month period in 2003-2005 in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. Poaching reduced the population by 75% in the decade prior to the 1989 ivory trade ban; park records indicate that poaching dropped significantly in Mikumi following the ban. Using 10 microsatellite loci, DNA was genotyped in 203 elephants and pair-wise relatedness was calculated among adult females within and between groups. The Mikumi population is characterized by small group size, considerable variation in group relatedness, females with no first-order adult relatives and females that form only weak social bonds. We used gene-drop analysis and a model of a genetically intact pedigree to compare our observed Mikumi group relatedness to a simulated genetically intact unpoached expectation. The majority of groups in Mikumi contain 2 to 3 adults; of these, 45% were classified as genetically disrupted. Bonding, quantified with a pair-wise association index, was significantly correlated with relatedness; however only half of the females formed strong bonds with other females, and relatedness was substantially lower for a given bond strength as compared to an unpoached population. Female African elephants without kin demonstrated considerable behavioural plasticity in this disturbed environment, grouping with other females lacking kin, with established groups, or remaining alone, unable to form any stable adult female-bonds. We interpret these findings as the remaining effect of poaching disturbance in Mikumi, despite a drop in the level of poaching since the commercial trade in ivory was banned 15 years ago. PMID:19175507

  6. Tuberculosis in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Peninsular Malaysia.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:23414617

  7. Shackleton's men: life on Elephant Island.

    PubMed

    Piggott, Jan R

    2004-09-01

    The experiences of the 22 men from Ernest Shackleton's Endurance expedition of 1914-1916 who were marooned on Elephant Island during the Antarctic winter are not as well known as the narrative of the ship being beset and sunk, and Shackleton's open boat journey to South Georgia to rescue them. Frank Wild was left in charge of the marooned men by Shackleton and saved them from starvation and despair. The morale of the men in the face of extreme exposure to the elements, the ingenuity of their devices for survival and their diet, conversation and entertainments all reveal heroic qualities of Shackletonian endurance. PMID:15350763

  8. Will Elephants Soon Disappear from West African Savannahs?

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    Precipitous declines in Africa's native fauna and flora are recognized, but few comprehensive records of these changes have been compiled. Here, we present population trends for African elephants in the 6,213,000 km2 Sudano-Sahelian range of West and Central Africa assessed through the analysis of aerial and ground surveys conducted over the past 4 decades. These surveys are focused on the best protected areas in the region, and therefore represent the best case scenario for the northern savanna elephants. A minimum of 7,745 elephants currently inhabit the entire region, representing a minimum decline of 50% from estimates four decades ago for these protected areas. Most of the historic range is now devoid of elephants and, therefore, was not surveyed. Of the 23 surveyed elephant populations, half are estimated to number less than 200 individuals. Historically, most populations numbering less than 200 individuals in the region were extirpated within a few decades. Declines differed by region, with Central African populations experiencing much higher declines (−76%) than those in West Africa (−33%). As a result, elephants in West Africa now account for 86% of the total surveyed. Range wide, two refuge zones retain elephants, one in West and the other in Central Africa. These zones are separated by a large distance (∼900 km) of high density human land use, suggesting connectivity between the regions is permanently cut. Within each zone, however, sporadic contacts between populations remain. Retaining such connectivity should be a high priority for conservation of elephants in this region. Specific corridors designed to reduce the isolation of the surveyed populations are proposed. The strong commitment of governments, effective law enforcement to control the illegal ivory trade and the involvement of local communities and private partners are all critical to securing the future of elephants inhabiting Africa's northern savannas. PMID:21731620

  9. Random recursive trees and the elephant random walk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kürsten, Rüdiger

    2016-03-01

    One class of random walks with infinite memory, so-called elephant random walks, are simple models describing anomalous diffusion. We present a surprising connection between these models and bond percolation on random recursive trees. We use a coupling between the two models to translate results from elephant random walks to the percolation process. We calculate, besides other quantities, exact expressions for the first and the second moment of the root cluster size and of the number of nodes in child clusters of the first generation. We further introduce another model, the skew elephant random walk, and calculate the first and second moment of this process.

  10. An Asian Elephant Imitates Human Speech

    PubMed Central

    Stoeger, Angela S.; Mietchen, Daniel; Oh, Sukhun; de Silva, Shermin; Herbst, Christian T.; Kwon, Soowhan; Fitch, W. Tecumseh

    2012-01-01

    Summary Vocal imitation has convergently evolved in many species, allowing learning and cultural transmission of complex, conspecific sounds, as in birdsong [1, 2]. Scattered instances also exist of vocal imitation across species, including mockingbirds imitating other species or parrots and mynahs producing human speech [3, 4]. Here, we document a male Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) that imitates human speech, matching Korean formants and fundamental frequency in such detail that Korean native speakers can readily understand and transcribe the imitations. To create these very accurate imitations of speech formant frequencies, this elephant (named Koshik) places his trunk inside his mouth, modulating the shape of the vocal tract during controlled phonation. This represents a wholly novel method of vocal production and formant control in this or any other species. One hypothesized role for vocal imitation is to facilitate vocal recognition by heightening the similarity between related or socially affiliated individuals [1, 2]. The social circumstances under which Koshik’s speech imitations developed suggest that one function of vocal learning might be to cement social bonds and, in unusual cases, social bonds across species. PMID:23122846

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

    Most organisms need to acquire various resources to survive and reproduce. Individuals should adjust their behavior to make optimal use of the landscape and limit the costs of trade-offs emerging from the use of these resources. Here we study how African elephants Loxodonta africana travel to foraging places between regular visits to waterholes. Elephant herds were tracked using GPS collars during two consecutive dry seasons in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. We segmented each individual movement track at each visit to water to define foraging trips, and then used trip-level statistics to build an understanding of movement strategies. Travel speed within these individually-consistent movement bouts was also analyzed to understand if speed was better linked to distance to water or progression in the trip over time. We found that elephants went further from water when drinking less often, which could result from a trade-off between drinking and foraging in less depleted, far from water, places. Speed increased towards the beginning and the end of the trips, and was also greater than observed during the wet season, suggesting that elephants were trying to save time. Numerous short trips traveled at greater speed, particularly when commuting to a different waterhole, was tentatively explained by the inability to drink at specific waterholes due to intra-specific interference. Unexpectedly elephants did not always minimize travel time by drinking at the closest waterhole, but the extra distance traveled remained never more than a few kilometers. Our results show how individuals may adjust movement behavior to deal with resource trade-offs at the landscape scale. We also highlight how behavioral context, here progression in the trip, may be more important than spatial context, here distance to water, in explaining animal movement patterns. PMID:23554989

  12. The Elephant Vanishes: impact of human-elephant conflict on people's wellbeing.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:22819603

  13. Devastating decline of forest elephants in central Africa.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

    African forest elephants- taxonomically and functionally unique-are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002-2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced. PMID:23469289

  14. On the Possible Detection of Lightning Storms by Elephants.

    PubMed

    Kelley, Michael C; Garstang, Michael

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:26487406

  15. Subclinical hypocalcaemia in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    van der Kolk, J H; van Leeuwen, J P T M; van den Belt, A J M; van Schaik, R H N; Schaftenaar, W

    2008-04-12

    The hypothesis that hypocalcaemia may play a role in dystocia in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) was investigated. The objectives of the study were to measure the total calcium concentration in elephant plasma; assess the changes in parameters of calcium metabolism during a feeding trial; investigate a possible relationship between calcium metabolism and dystocia; and assess bone mineralisation in captive Asian elephants in vivo. The following parameters were measured: total and ionised calcium, inorganic phosphorous and magnesium, the fractional excretions of these minerals, intact parathyroid hormone, 25-OH-D(3) and 1,25-OH-D(3). Radiographs were taken from tail vertebrae for assessment of bone mineralisation. The mean (sd) heparinised plasma total calcium concentration was 2.7 (0.33) mmol/l (n=43) ranging from 0.84 to 3.08 mmol/l in 11 Asian elephants. There was no significant correlation between plasma total calcium concentration and age. Following feeding of a calcium rich ration to four captive Asian elephant cows, plasma total and ionised calcium peaked at 3.6 (0.24) mmol/l (range 3.4 to 3.9 mmol/l) and 1.25 (0.07) mmol/l (range 1.17 to 1.32 mmol/l), respectively. Plasma ionised calcium concentrations around parturition in four Asian elephant cows ranged from 0.37 to 1.1 mmol/l only. The present study indicates that captive Asian elephants might be hypocalcaemic, and that, in captive Asian elephants, the normal plasma concentration of total calcium should actually be around 3.6 mmol/l and normal plasma concentration of ionised calcium around 1.25 mmol/l. Given the fact that elephants absorb dietary calcium mainly from the intestine, it could be concluded that elephants should be fed calcium-rich diets at all times, and particularly around parturition. In addition, normal values for ionised calcium in captive Asian elephants should be reassessed. PMID:18408195

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25983398

  17. On the Possible Detection of Lightning Storms by Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Kelley, Michael C.; Garstang, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Simple Summary We use data similar to that taken by the International Monitoring System for the detection of nuclear explosions, to determine whether elephants might be capable of detecting and locating the source of sounds generated by thunderstorms. Knowledge that elephants might be capable of responding to such storms, particularly at the end of the dry season when migrations are initiated, is of considerable interest to management and conservation. Abstract 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. PMID:26487406

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-12-01

    A 4.0-kg cholelith was found within the abdominal cavity of a dead wild African elephant (Loxodonta africana) in Eritrea. Analysis of this cholelith by histochemistry, electron microscopy, electrospray mass spectroscopy, and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy revealed it was composed of bile alcohols but no calcium, bilirubin, or cholesterol. Bacteria were also found in the cholelith. Similar, but smaller, bile stones have been identified previously in other wild African elephants and an excavated mammoth (Mammuthus columbi). Choleliths have been reported only once in a captive Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Elephants, along with hyraxes (Procavia capensis) and manatees (Trichechus manatus), are unique among mammals in producing only bile alcohols and no bile acids, which may predispose them to cholelithiasis, particularly in association with bacterial infection. Dietary factors may also play an important role in cholelith formation. PMID:17312726

  19. The Proteus syndrome: the Elephant Man diagnosed.

    PubMed Central

    Tibbles, J A; Cohen, M M

    1986-01-01

    Sir Frederick Treves first showed Joseph Merrick, the famous Elephant Man, to the Pathological Society of London in 1884. A diagnosis of neurofibromatosis was suggested in 1909 and was widely accepted. There is no evidence, however, of café au lait spots or histological proof of neurofibromas. It is also clear that Joseph Merrick's manifestations were much more bizarre than those commonly seen in neurofibromatosis. Evidence indicates that Merrick suffered from the Proteus syndrome and had the following features compatible with this diagnosis: macrocephaly; hyperostosis of the skull; hypertrophy of long bones; and thickened skin and subcutaneous tissues, particularly of the hands and feet, including plantar hyperplasia, lipomas, and other unspecified subcutaneous masses. Images FIG 1 FIG 2 FIG 3 FIG 4 PMID:3092979

  20. Hydrothermal calcite in the Elephant Moraine

    SciTech Connect

    Faure, G.; Taylor, K.S.; Jones, L.M.

    1986-01-01

    In the course of geologic mapping of the Elephant Moraine on the east antarctic ice sheet, Faure and Taylor (1985) collected several specimens of black botryoidal calcite, composed of radiating acicular crystals that resemble stromatolites. Calcite from this and other specimens is significantly enriched in strontium-87 (the strontium-87/strontium-86 ratio equals 0.71417 +/- 0.00002), carbon-12 (delta carbon-13 equals -22.9 parts per thousand, PDB standard) and oxygen-16 (delta oxygen-18 equals -21.1 parts per thousand, standard mean ocean water) compared with calcite of marine origin. The enrichment in carbon-12 is similar to that of calcite associated with coal in the Allan Hills. The enrichment in oxygen-16 indicates that the calcite from the Elephant Moraine could only have precipitated in isotopic equilibrium with glacial melt water. Therefore, the temperature at which the black calcite precipitated from water of that isotope composition was about 85/sup 0/C. A temperature of this magnitude implies that the black calcite formed as a result of volcanic activity under the east antarctic ice sheet. The enrichment of the black calcite in carbon-12 suggests that it formed in part from carbon dioxide derived from the coal seams of the Weller Formation in the Beacon Supergroup. The isotopic composition of strontium in the black calcite is similar to that of carbonate beds and concretions in the Beacon rocks of southern Victoria Land. A volcanic-hydrothermal origin is also consistent with the very low total organic carbon content of 0.15% in the calcite.

  1. Population pharmacokinetics of pyrazinamide in elephants.

    PubMed

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

    2005-10-01

    This study was undertaken to characterize the population pharmacokinetics (PK), therapeutic dose, and preferred route of administration for pyrazinamide (PZA) in elephants. Twenty-three African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants infected with or in contact with others culture positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis were dosed under treatment conditions. PZA was dosed daily at 20-30 mg/kg via oral (fasting or nonfasting state) or rectal (enema or suppository) administration. Blood samples were collected 0-24 h postdose. Population PK was estimated using nonlinear mixed effect modeling. Drug absorption was rapid with T(max) at or before 2 h regardless of the method of drug administration. C(max) at a mean dose of 25.6 (+/-4.6) mg/kg was 19.6 (+/-9.5 microg/mL) for PZA given orally under fasting conditions. Under nonfasting conditions at a mean dose of 26.1 +/- 4.2 mg/kg, C(max) was 25% (4.87 +/- 4.89 microg/mL) and area under concentration curve (AUC) was 30% of the values observed under fasting conditions. Mean rectal dose of 32.6 +/- 15.2 mg/kg yielded C(max) of 12.3 +/- 6.3 microg/mL, but comparable AUC to PZA administered orally while fasting. Both oral and rectal administration of PZA appeared to be acceptable and oral dosing is preferred because of the higher C(max) and lower inter-subject variability. A starting dose of 30 mg/kg is recommended with drug monitoring between 1 and 2 h postdose. Higher doses may be required if the achieved C(max) values are below the recommended 20-50 microg/mL range. PMID:16207301

  2. Field application of serodiagnostics to identify elephants with Tuberculosis prior to case confirmation by culture

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Three serologic methods for antibody detection in elephant tuberculosis (TB), multiantigen print immunoassay (MAPIA), ElephantTB STAT-PAK kit, and DPP VetTB test, were validated prospectively using serial serum samples from 14 captive elephants in 5 countries which were diagnosed with TB by positive...

  3. Elephant trunk technique for hybrid aortic arch repair.

    PubMed

    Miyamoto, Yuji

    2014-03-01

    The original elephant trunk technique was developed by Borst in 1983 for the treatment of aortic arch aneurysms. This technique reduced operative risks, but was associated with cumulative mortality rates of 6.9 % for the first stage and 7.5 % for the second stage. Patients also waited a long time between two major surgical procedures. Only 50.4 % of patients underwent the second-stage surgery, and there was a significant interval mortality rate of 10.7 %. With the advent of stent-graft techniques, two different hybrid elephant trunk techniques were developed. One technique is first-stage elephant trunk graft placement followed by second-stage endovascular completion. The conventional elephant trunk graft provides a good landing zone for the stent-graft, and endovascular completion is a useful alternative to conventional second-stage surgery. This method has few major complications, and a postoperative paraplegia rate of 1.1 %. The other technique is the frozen elephant trunk technique. This technique eliminates the need for subsequent endovascular completion, and is particularly useful for the treatment of acute type A dissection because it can achieve a secure seal. However, it is associated with a higher rate of spinal cord ischemia than other methods such as the original elephant trunk technique. The left subclavian artery (LSA) is often lost when performing a hybrid elephant trunk procedure. Revascularization of the LSA should be performed to prevent arm ischemia and neurological complications such as paraplegia or stroke, although the level of evidence for this recommendation is low. PMID:23943042

  4. Elephant low-frequency vocalizations propagate in the ground and seismic playbacks of these vocalizations are detectable by wild African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Connell-Rodwell, Caitlin E.; Wood, Jason D.; Gunther, Roland; Klemperer, Simon; Rodwell, Timothy C.; Puria, Sunil; Sapolsky, Robert; Kinzley, Colleen; Arnason, Byron T.; Hart, Lynette A.

    2001-05-01

    Seismic correlates of low-frequency vocalizations in African and Asian elephants propagate in the ground at different velocities, with the potential of traveling farther than their airborne counterparts. A semblance technique applied to linear moveouts on narrow-bandpass-filtered data, coupled with forward modeling, demonstrates that the complex waves observed are the interference of an air wave and a Rayleigh wave traveling at the appropriate velocities. The Rayleigh wave appears to be generated at or close to the elephant, either by coupling through the elephant's body or through the air near the body to the ground. Low-frequency elephant vocalizations were reproduced seismically and played back to both a captive elephant and to elephant breeding herds in the wild, monitoring the elephants' behavioral responses, spacing between herd members and time spent at the water hole as an index of heightened vigilance. Breeding herds detected and responded appropriately to seismically transmitted elephant warning calls. The captive studies promise to elucidate a vibrotactile threshold of sensitivity for the elephant foot. Elephants may benefit from the exploitation of seismic cues as an additional communication modality, thus expanding their signaling repertoire and extending their range of potential communication and eavesdropping beyond that possible with airborne sound.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Smet, Anna F; Byrne, Richard W

    2014-11-01

    Factors influencing the abilities of different animals to use cooperative social cues from humans are still unclear, in spite of long-standing interest in the topic. One of the few species that have been found successful at using human pointing is the African elephant (Loxodonta africana); despite few opportunities for learning about pointing, elephants follow a pointing gesture in an object-choice task, even when the pointing signal and experimenter's body position are in conflict, and when the gesture itself is visually subtle. Here, we show that the success of captive African elephants at using human pointing is not restricted to situations where the pointing signal is sustained until the time of choice: elephants followed human pointing even when the pointing gesture was withdrawn before they had responded to it. Furthermore, elephants rapidly generalised their response to a type of social cue they were unlikely to have seen before: pointing with the foot. However, unlike young children, they showed no sign of evaluating the 'rationality' of this novel pointing gesture according to its visual context: that is, whether the experimenter's hands were occupied or not. PMID:24942107

  7. Diagnosis of Tuberculosis in Three Zoo Elephants and a Human Contact - Oregon, 2013.

    PubMed

    Zlot, Amy; Vines, Jennifer; Nystrom, Laura; Lane, Lindsey; Behm, Heidi; Denny, Justin; Finnegan, Mitch; Hostetler, Trevor; Matthews, Gloria; Storms, Tim; DeBess, Emilio

    2016-01-01

    In 2013, public health officials in Multnomah County, Oregon, started an investigation of a tuberculosis (TB) outbreak among elephants and humans at a local zoo. The investigation ultimately identified three bull elephants with active TB and 118 human contacts of the elephants. Ninety-six (81%) contacts were evaluated, and seven close contacts were found to have latent TB infection. The three bulls were isolated and treated (elephants with TB typically are not euthanized) to prevent infection of other animals and humans, and persons with latent infection were offered treatment. Improved TB screening methods for elephants are needed to prevent exposure of human contacts. PMID:26741355

  8. 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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. 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.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  10. The occurrence of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus): first case of EEHV4 in Asia.

    PubMed

    Sripiboon, Supaphen; Tankaew, Pallop; Lungka, Grishda; Thitaram, Chatchote

    2013-03-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is a type of herpesvirus that causes acute hemorrhagic disease in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and is often fatal, especially in calves. This study describes the postmortem evaluation of two captive-born Asian elephants (2 and 3 yr of age, respectively) diagnosed with EEHV in Thailand. Both elephants presented only mild depression, lethargy, and anorexia before death within 24 hr of symptom onset. Necropsies were performed, and tissue samples were tested for EEHV viral presence using polymerase chain reaction. Molecular and phylogenetic evidence illustrated two types of EEHV, which were closely related to EEHV1A in Case 1 and EEHV4 in Case 2. Pathologic findings differed between the cases. More specific organ tropism was found in Case 1, where mainly the cardiovascular system was affected. In contrast, in Case 2, hemorrhages were noted in most organs, including in the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. This report is the first to document EEHV4 in Asia and the second case of this strain to be identified in an elephant worldwide. PMID:23505709

  11. Positive Reinforcement Training for a Trunk Wash in Nepal's Working Elephants: Demonstrating Alternatives to Traditional Elephant Training Techniques

    PubMed Central

    Fagen, Ariel; Acharya, Narayan; Kaufman, Gretchen E.

    2016-01-01

    Many trainers of animals in the zoo now rely on positive reinforcement training to teach animals to voluntarily participate in husbandry and veterinary procedures in an effort to improve behavioral reliability, captive management, and welfare. However, captive elephant handlers in Nepal still rely heavily on punishment- and aversion-based methods. The aim of this project was to determine the effectiveness of secondary positive reinforcement (SPR) in training free-contact elephants in Nepal to voluntarily participate in a trunk wash for the purpose of tuberculosis testing. Five female elephants, 4 juveniles and 1 adult, were enrolled in the project. Data were collected in the form of minutes of training, number of offers made for each training task, and success rate for each task in performance tests. Four out of 5 elephants, all juveniles, successfully learned the trunk wash in 35 sessions or fewer, with each session lasting a mean duration of 12 min. The elephants’ performance improved from a mean success rate of 39.0% to 89.3% during the course of the training. This study proves that it is feasible to efficiently train juvenile, free-contact, traditionally trained elephants in Nepal to voluntarily and reliably participate in a trunk wash using only SPR techniques. PMID:24410366

  12. Comparison of glycoprotein B (gB) variants of the elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) isolated from Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Fickel, J; Lieckfeldt, D; Richman, L K; Streich, W J; Hildebrandt, T B; Pitra, C

    2003-01-01

    The recently described elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHV) have been associated with the deaths of numerous captive elephants. A proposed tool for the detection of EEHV infection in elephants is the PCR-based screening for EEHV-DNA in whole blood samples. Unfortunately, this detection method has only been successful in post-mortem analyses or in animals already displaying clinical signs of EEHV disease, thus rendering this method unsuitable for identification of carrier elephants. Here, we focus on glycoprotein B (gB) for serologic assay development, since gB is an envelope protein known to induce a neutralising antibody response in other herpesvirus infections. We sequenced the entire gB gene from five Asian elephants with EEHV, representing four different gB variants. Computer-aided methods were used to predict functionally important regions within EEHVgB. An extra-cytoplasmic region of 153 amino acids was predicted to be under positive selection and may potentially contain antigenic determinants that will be useful for future serologic assay development. PMID:12441228

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

    PubMed Central

    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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Campos-Arceiz, Ahimsa; Blake, Steve

    2011-11-01

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

  15. Devastating Decline of Forest Elephants in Central Africa

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    African forest elephants– taxonomically and functionally unique–are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002–2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced. PMID:23469289

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-01

    In March 2009, a 25-yr-old captive female African elephant (Loxodonta africana) underwent an exploratory laparoscopy after several weeks of diarrhea, submandibular and ventral edema, and swelling on medial and lateral aspects of all feet. Although there have been recent advances in laparoscopic vasectomies in free-ranging African elephants in South Africa utilizing specially designed rigid laparoscopes and insufflation devices, this was the first attempt at using these same techniques for an exploratory purpose. The elephant was sedated in a static restraint chute and remained standing for the duration of the procedure. Laparoscopy provided visibility of the dorsal abdomen, enabled collection of reproductive tract biopsies and peritoneal fluid samples, and allowed for instillation of antibiotics and crystalloid fluids directly into the abdominal cavity. Abdominal exploration, collection of tissue samples, and local therapy is possible via standing laparoscopy in megavertebrates. PMID:25632688

  17. Elephant trunks in aortic surgery: fresh and frozen.

    PubMed

    Hagl, Christian; Pichlmaier, Maximilian; Khaladj, Nawid

    2013-03-01

    Aneurysmal diseases are often silent but can cause potentially life-threatening complications in cases of dissection or rupture. Surgical strategies depend on the involved part of the aorta and frequently require extracorporeal circulation and circulatory arrest. From data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aneurysm disease is the 18th most common cause of death in all individuals, and the incidence is certain to increase as our population ages. This article discusses different treatment options introduced in the past few decades to address multifocal pathologic conditions of the thoracic aorta. These include the conventional elephant trunk procedure introduced by Hans Borst in 1983, with several modifications, and also hybrid procedures combining open surgical and endovascular techniques: the so-called frozen elephant trunk. Advantages and drawbacks of both techniques will be discussed based on personal and practical perspectives, with specific mention of the elephant trunk procedure in acute aortic dissections. PMID:23410783

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-08-01

    Northern Botswana and adjacent areas, have the world's largest population of African elephant (Loxodonta africana). However, a 100 years ago elephants were rare following excessive hunting. Simultaneously, ungulate populations were severely reduced by decease. The ecological effects of the reduction in large herbivores must have been substantial, but are little known. Today, however, ecosystem changes following the increase in elephant numbers cause considerable concern in Botswana. This was the background for the "BONIC" project, investigating the interactions between the increasing elephant population and other ecosystem components and processes. Results confirm that the ecosystem is changing following the increase in elephant and ungulate populations, and, presumably, developing towards a situation resembling that before the reduction of large herbivores. We see no ecological reasons to artificially change elephant numbers. There are, however, economic and social reasons to control elephants, and their range in northern Botswana may have to be artificially restricted. PMID:15387059

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:22448519

  20. Geographic variation of stable isotopes in African elephant ivory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  1. Review of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses and Acute Hemorrhagic Disease.

    PubMed

    Long, Simon Y; Latimer, Erin M; Hayward, Gary S

    2016-01-01

    More than 100 young captive and wild Asian elephants are known to have died from a rapid-onset, acute hemorrhagic disease caused primarily by multiple distinct strains of two closely related chimeric variants of a novel herpesvirus species designated elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV1A and EEHV1B). These and two other species of Probosciviruses (EEHV4 and EEHV5) are evidently ancient and likely nearly ubiquitous asymptomatic infections of adult Asian elephants worldwide that are occasionally shed in trunk wash secretions. Although only a handful of similar cases have been observed in African elephants, they also have proved to harbor their own multiple and distinct species of Probosciviruses-EEHV2, EEHV3, EEHV6, and EEHV7-found in lung and skin nodules or saliva. For reasons that are not yet understood, approximately 20% of Asian elephant calves appear to be susceptible to the disease when primary infections are not controlled by normal innate cellular and humoral immune responses. Sensitive specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) DNA blood tests have been developed, routine monitoring has been established, the complete large DNA genomes of each of the four Asian EEHV species have now been sequenced, and PCR gene subtyping has provided unambiguous evidence that this is a sporadic rather than epidemic disease that it is not being spread among zoos or other elephant housing facilities. Nevertheless, researchers have not yet been able to propagate EEHV in cell culture, determine whether or not human antiherpesvirus drugs are effective inhibitors, or develop serology assays that can distinguish between antibodies against the multiple different EEHV species. PMID:26912715

  2. Freezing African Elephant Semen as a New Population Management Tool

    PubMed Central

    Hermes, Robert; Saragusty, Joseph; Göritz, Frank; Bartels, Paul; Potier, Romain; Baker, Barbara; Streich, W. Jürgen; Hildebrandt, Thomas B.

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23483917

  3. Skewed birth sex ratio and premature mortality in elephants.

    PubMed

    Saragusty, Joseph; Hermes, Robert; Göritz, Frank; Schmitt, Dennis L; Hildebrandt, Thomas B

    2009-10-01

    Sex allocation theories predict equal offspring number of both sexes unless differential investment is required or some competition exists. Left undisturbed, elephants reproduce well and in approximately even numbers in the wild. We report an excess of males are born and substantial juvenile mortality occurs, perinatally, in captivity. Studbook data on captive births (CB, n=487) and premature deaths (PD, <5 years of age; n=164) in Asian and African elephants in Europe and North America were compared with data on Myanmar timber (Asian) elephants (CB, n=3070; PD, n=738). Growth in CB was found in three of the captive populations. A significant excess of male births occurred in European Asian elephants (ratio: 0.61, P=0.044) and in births following artificial insemination (0.83, P=0.003), and a numerical inclination in North American African elephants (0.6). While juvenile mortality in European African and Myanmar populations was 21-23%, it was almost double (40-45%) in all other captive populations. In zoo populations, 68-91% of PD were within 1 month of birth with stillbirth and infanticide being major causes. In Myanmar, 62% of juvenile deaths were at >6 months with maternal insufficient milk production, natural hazards and accidents being the main causes. European Asian and Myanmar elephants PD was biased towards males (0.71, P=0.024 and 0.56, P<0.001, respectively). The skewed birth sex ratio and high juvenile mortality hinder efforts to help captive populations become self-sustaining. Efforts should be invested to identify the mechanism behind these trends and seek solutions for them. PMID:19058933

  4. The effects of body size and climate on post-weaning survival of elephant seals at Heard Island

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McMahon, Clive R; New, Leslie; Fairley, E.J.; Hindell, M.A.; Burton, H.R.

    2015-01-01

    The population size of southern elephant seals in the southern Indian and Pacific Oceans decreased precipitously between the 1950s and 1990s. To investigate the reasons behind this, we studied the population of southern elephant seals at Heard Island between 1949 and 1954, using data collected by the early Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions. Seals were marked and measured (lengths) as weaned pups, and resighted at Heard and Marion islands and in the Vestfold Hills, Antarctica in subsequent years. Bayesian state-space mark-recapture models were used to determine post-weaning survival. Yearling survival was consistently lower (ϕy: 0.28–0.40) than sub-adult survival (ϕs: 0.79–0.83). We found evidence for constant sub-adult survival and time-dependent resight probabilities. Weaning length was an important determinate of yearling survival, with the probability of survival increasing with individual length. There was some suggestion that the Southern Annular Mode influenced yearling survival but this evidence was not strong. Nonetheless, our results provide further support showing that size at independence affects yearling survival. Given the known sensitivity of southern elephant seal populations to survival early in life, it is possible that the decline in population size at Heard Island between the 1950s and 1990s like that at Macquarie Island was due to low yearling survival mediated through maternal ability to produce large pups and the dominant environmental conditions mothers experience during pregnancy.

  5. Beveled reversed elephant trunk procedure for complex aortic aneurysm.

    PubMed

    Fujikawa, Takuya; Yamamoto, Shin; Sekine, Yuji; Oshima, Susumu; Kasai, Reo; Sasaguri, Shiro

    2016-03-01

    The reversed elephant trunk procedure uses an inverted graft for distal aortic replacement before aortic arch replacement in patients with mega aorta, to reduce the risk in the second stage. However, the conventional technique restricts the maximum diameter of the inverted graft to the aortic graft diameter. We employed a beveled reversed elephant trunk procedure to overcome the discrepancy between graft diameters in a 54-year-old woman with a severely twisted ascending aortic graft and enlarging chronic dissection of the aortic arch and descending thoracic aorta. The patient was discharged with a satisfactory repair and no neurologic deficit. PMID:25406402

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-12-01

    Widespread poaching prior to the 1989 ivory ban greatly altered the demographic structure of matrilineal African elephant (Loxodonta africana) family groups in many populations by decreasing the number of old, adult females. We assessed the long-term impacts of poaching by investigating genetic, physiological, and reproductive correlates of a disturbed social structure resulting from heavy poaching of an African elephant population in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania, prior to 1989. We examined fecal glucocorticoid levels and reproductive output among 218 adult female elephants from 109 groups differing in size, age structure, and average genetic relatedness over 25 months from 2003 to 2005. The distribution in group size has changed little since 1989, but the number of families with tusked old matriarchs has increased by 14.2%. Females from groups that lacked an old matriarch, first-order adult relatives, and strong social bonds had significantly higher fecal glucocorticoid values than those from groups with these features (all females R(2)= 0.31; females in multiadult groups R(2)= 0.46). Females that frequented isolated areas with historically high poaching risk had higher fecal glucocorticoid values than those in low poaching risk areas. Females with weak bonds and low group relatedness had significantly lower reproductive output (R(2)[U]=0.21). Females from disrupted groups, defined as having observed average group relatedness 1 SD below the expected mean for a simulated unpoached family, had significantly lower reproductive output than females from intact groups, despite many being in their reproductive prime. These results suggest that long-term negative impacts from poaching of old, related matriarchs have persisted among adult female elephants 1.5 decades after the 1989 ivory ban was implemented. PMID:18759771

  7. Stable isotope series from elephant ivory reveal lifetime histories of a true dietary generalist.

    PubMed

    Codron, Jacqueline; Codron, Daryl; Sponheimer, Matt; Kirkman, Kevin; Duffy, Kevin J; Raubenheimer, Erich J; Mélice, Jean-Luc; Grant, Rina; Clauss, Marcus; Lee-Thorp, Julia A

    2012-06-22

    Longitudinal studies have revealed how variation in resource use within consumer populations can impact their dynamics and functional significance in communities. Here, we investigate multi-decadal diet variations within individuals of a keystone megaherbivore species, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana), using serial stable isotope analysis of tusks from the Kruger National Park, South Africa. These records, representing the longest continuous diet histories documented for any extant species, reveal extensive seasonal and annual variations in isotopic--and hence dietary--niches of individuals, but little variation between them. Lack of niche distinction across individuals contrasts several recent studies, which found relatively high levels of individual niche specialization in various taxa. Our result is consistent with theory that individual mammal herbivores are nutritionally constrained to maintain broad diet niches. Individual diet specialization would also be a costly strategy for large-bodied taxa foraging over wide areas in spatio-temporally heterogeneous environments. High levels of within-individual diet variability occurred within and across seasons, and persisted despite an overall increase in inferred C(4) grass consumption through the twentieth century. We suggest that switching between C(3) browsing and C(4) grazing over extended time scales facilitates elephant survival through environmental change, and could even allow recovery of overused resources. PMID:22337695

  8. Stable isotope series from elephant ivory reveal lifetime histories of a true dietary generalist

    PubMed Central

    Codron, Jacqueline; Codron, Daryl; Sponheimer, Matt; Kirkman, Kevin; Duffy, Kevin J.; Raubenheimer, Erich J.; Mélice, Jean-Luc; Grant, Rina; Clauss, Marcus; Lee-Thorp, Julia A.

    2012-01-01

    Longitudinal studies have revealed how variation in resource use within consumer populations can impact their dynamics and functional significance in communities. Here, we investigate multi-decadal diet variations within individuals of a keystone megaherbivore species, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana), using serial stable isotope analysis of tusks from the Kruger National Park, South Africa. These records, representing the longest continuous diet histories documented for any extant species, reveal extensive seasonal and annual variations in isotopic—and hence dietary—niches of individuals, but little variation between them. Lack of niche distinction across individuals contrasts several recent studies, which found relatively high levels of individual niche specialization in various taxa. Our result is consistent with theory that individual mammal herbivores are nutritionally constrained to maintain broad diet niches. Individual diet specialization would also be a costly strategy for large-bodied taxa foraging over wide areas in spatio-temporally heterogeneous environments. High levels of within-individual diet variability occurred within and across seasons, and persisted despite an overall increase in inferred C4 grass consumption through the twentieth century. We suggest that switching between C3 browsing and C4 grazing over extended time scales facilitates elephant survival through environmental change, and could even allow recovery of overused resources. PMID:22337695

  9. Interactive patterns of vocal communication in African elephant herds (Loxodonta africana)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Connell-Rodwell, Caitlin E.; Wyman, Megan T.; Hart, Lynette A.; Redfield, Shay

    2001-05-01

    This study examines the interactive nature of vocalizations produced within African elephant herds during waterhole visits at Etosha National Park, Namibia. The temporal organization and physical characteristics of 1025 vocalizations, documented within 14.8 h of acoustic field recordings, were analyzed using a variety of statistical tests. Temporal distribution analyses indicated that calls were clumped in time (Kologorov-Smirnov, average significant p=0.00158) and the majority of the calls occurred after herds began the process of departing a waterhole (Wilcoxon signed rank, p=0.0012). In addition, 84% of all calls began within 30 s of another call. Based on the analysis of the temporal patterning of calls, a conversational series of vocalizations was defined as calls separated by less than 30 s of silence. The majority of calls in a conversational series are overlapping or contiguous, indicating that multiple elephants are involved in the exchange. A variety of physical characteristics (duration, frequency, frequency modulation, and frequency at peak amplitude) was compared across three different call types. These conversational call patterns may function to maintain intragroup cohesion and coordination as well as intergroup resource sharing and competition reduction. [Work supported by: Namibia Nature Foundation, Etosha Ecological Institute, UC Davis Block, Jastro Shields, and Faculty Research Grants.

  10. Elephants can determine ethnicity, gender, and age from acoustic cues in human voices

    PubMed Central

    McComb, Karen; Shannon, Graeme; Sayialel, Katito N.; Moss, Cynthia

    2014-01-01

    Animals can accrue direct fitness benefits by accurately classifying predatory threat according to the species of predator and the magnitude of risk associated with an encounter. Human predators present a particularly interesting cognitive challenge, as it is typically the case that different human subgroups pose radically different levels of danger to animals living around them. Although a number of prey species have proved able to discriminate between certain human categories on the basis of visual and olfactory cues, vocalizations potentially provide a much richer source of information. We now use controlled playback experiments to investigate whether family groups of free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Amboseli National Park, Kenya can use acoustic characteristics of speech to make functionally relevant distinctions between human subcategories differing not only in ethnicity but also in sex and age. Our results demonstrate that elephants can reliably discriminate between two different ethnic groups that differ in the level of threat they represent, significantly increasing their probability of defensive bunching and investigative smelling following playbacks of Maasai voices. Moreover, these responses were specific to the sex and age of Maasai presented, with the voices of Maasai women and boys, subcategories that would generally pose little threat, significantly less likely to produce these behavioral responses. Considering the long history and often pervasive predatory threat associated with humans across the globe, it is likely that abilities to precisely identify dangerous subcategories of humans on the basis of subtle voice characteristics could have been selected for in other cognitively advanced animal species. PMID:24616492

  11. Elephants can determine ethnicity, gender, and age from acoustic cues in human voices.

    PubMed

    McComb, Karen; Shannon, Graeme; Sayialel, Katito N; Moss, Cynthia

    2014-04-01

    Animals can accrue direct fitness benefits by accurately classifying predatory threat according to the species of predator and the magnitude of risk associated with an encounter. Human predators present a particularly interesting cognitive challenge, as it is typically the case that different human subgroups pose radically different levels of danger to animals living around them. Although a number of prey species have proved able to discriminate between certain human categories on the basis of visual and olfactory cues, vocalizations potentially provide a much richer source of information. We now use controlled playback experiments to investigate whether family groups of free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Amboseli National Park, Kenya can use acoustic characteristics of speech to make functionally relevant distinctions between human subcategories differing not only in ethnicity but also in sex and age. Our results demonstrate that elephants can reliably discriminate between two different ethnic groups that differ in the level of threat they represent, significantly increasing their probability of defensive bunching and investigative smelling following playbacks of Maasai voices. Moreover, these responses were specific to the sex and age of Maasai presented, with the voices of Maasai women and boys, subcategories that would generally pose little threat, significantly less likely to produce these behavioral responses. Considering the long history and often pervasive predatory threat associated with humans across the globe, it is likely that abilities to precisely identify dangerous subcategories of humans on the basis of subtle voice characteristics could have been selected for in other cognitively advanced animal species. PMID:24616492

  12. Reconciling Apparent Conflicts between Mitochondrial and Nuclear Phylogenies in African Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Georgiadis, Nicholas J.; David, Victor A.; Zhao, Kai; Stephens, Robert M.; Kolokotronis, Sergios-Orestis; Roca, Alfred L.

    2011-01-01

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

  13. A visual health assessment of captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) housed in India.

    PubMed

    Ramanathan, Anand; Mallapur, Avanti

    2008-06-01

    A visual health assessment and survey questionnaire was conducted on 81 Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) housed in 10 animal facilities throughout India between November 2004 and February 2005. The survey questionnaire consisted of 10 questions that evaluated the health of the elephants, and they were completed after visually assessing each individual elephant. The information collected was ranked on a scale that was used to statistically compare the health among the study subjects. This study documented that 43.21% of the captive elephants surveyed exhibited hyperkeratosis. A significant proportion of the elephants owned by tourist camps had poor skin condition when compared with elephants from zoos and at a forest camp. Similarly, captive-born individuals were found to have better skin condition than animals that were caught from the wild. Sixty (74.1%) of the captive elephants that were observed during this study had fissures in their footpads, 20% of which were severe. The prevalence of foot fissures was significantly higher in females. A greater proportion of elephants owned by tourist camps displayed vertical and horizontal toenail cracks in comparison with the forest camp and zoo elephants. It was noted that 76.9% of the wounded animals and 80% of those having abscesses were housed at temples and tourist camps. Also, approximately 8.5% of the captive elephant population observed during this study had eye-related problems, and they were all housed at temples and tourist camps. In conclusion, it was evident that elephants housed at temples or tourist camps exhibited poor skin condition with wounds and abscesses. These findings suggest that the overall condition of the elephants housed at tourist camps was poor compared with elephants housed at zoos and at the forest camp. PMID:18634204

  14. Change in Mesoherbivore Browsing Is Mediated by Elephant and Hillslope Position

    PubMed Central

    Lagendijk, D. D. Georgette; Thaker, Maria; de Boer, Willem F.; Page, Bruce R.; Prins, Herbert H. T.; Slotow, Rob

    2015-01-01

    Elephant are considered major drivers of ecosystems, but their effects within small-scale landscape features and on other herbivores still remain unclear. Elephant impact on vegetation has been widely studied in areas where elephant have been present for many years. We therefore examined the combined effect of short-term elephant presence (< 4 years) and hillslope position on tree species assemblages, resource availability, browsing intensity and soil properties. Short-term elephant presence did not affect woody species assemblages, but did affect height distribution, with greater sapling densities in elephant access areas. Overall tree and stem densities were also not affected by elephant. By contrast, slope position affected woody species assemblages, but not height distributions and densities. Variation in species assemblages was statistically best explained by levels of total cations, Zinc, sand and clay. Although elephant and mesoherbivore browsing intensities were unaffected by slope position, we found lower mesoherbivore browsing intensity on crests with high elephant browsing intensity. Thus, elephant appear to indirectly facilitate the survival of saplings, via the displacement of mesoherbivores, providing a window of opportunity for saplings to grow into taller trees. In the short-term, effects of elephant can be minor and in the opposite direction of expectation. In addition, such behavioural displacement promotes recruitment of saplings into larger height classes. The interaction between slope position and elephant effect found here is in contrast with other studies, and illustrates the importance of examining ecosystem complexity as a function of variation in species presence and topography. The absence of a direct effect of elephant on vegetation, but the presence of an effect on mesoherbivore browsing, is relevant for conservation areas especially where both herbivore groups are actively managed. PMID:26083248

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

    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. PMID:25136107

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25136107

  17. Elmer and His Elephant Friends. Literature in the Art Room.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sigan, Jackie

    2000-01-01

    Describes a first-grade lesson that combines art and literature in which students learn how to mix colors. Explains that they listen to the story "Elmer" by David McKee and then create their own patchwork elephants just like Elmer. Discusses how the students made the jungle scene. (CMK)

  18. Elephants classify human ethnic groups by odor and garment color.

    PubMed

    Bates, Lucy A; Sayialel, Katito N; Njiraini, Norah W; Moss, Cynthia J; Poole, Joyce H; Byrne, Richard W

    2007-11-20

    Animals can benefit from classifying predators or other dangers into categories, tailoring their escape strategies to the type and nature of the risk. Studies of alarm vocalizations have revealed various levels of sophistication in classification. In many taxa, reactions to danger are inflexible, but some species can learn the level of threat presented by the local population of a predator or by specific, recognizable individuals. Some species distinguish several species of predator, giving differentiated warning calls and escape reactions; here, we explore an animal's classification of subgroups within a species. We show that elephants distinguish at least two Kenyan ethnic groups and can identify them by olfactory and color cues independently. In the Amboseli ecosystem, Kenya, young Maasai men demonstrate virility by spearing elephants (Loxodonta africana), but Kamba agriculturalists pose little threat. Elephants showed greater fear when they detected the scent of garments previously worn by Maasai than by Kamba men, and they reacted aggressively to the color associated with Maasai. Elephants are therefore able to classify members of a single species into subgroups that pose different degrees of danger. PMID:17949977

  19. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) reassure others in distress.

    PubMed

    Plotnik, Joshua M; de Waal, Frans B M

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24688856

  20. Elephants Also Like Coffee: Trends and Drivers of Human-Elephant Conflicts in Coffee Agroforestry Landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bal, P.; Nath, C. D.; Nanaya, K. M.; Kushalappa, C. G.; Garcia, C.

    2011-05-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  1. Erratum: Erratum to: Elephants Also Like Coffee: Trends and Drivers of Human-Elephant Conflicts in Coffee Agroforestry Landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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. Longitudinal study of Asian elephants, Elephas maximus, indicates intermittent shedding of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus 1 during pregnancy

    PubMed Central

    Bennett, Laura; Dunham, Stephen; Yon, Lisa; Chapman, Sarah; Kenaghan, Megan; Purdie, Laura; Tarlinton, Rachael

    2015-01-01

    Introduction EEHV-1 is a viral infection of elephants that has been associated with a fatal haemorrhagic syndrome in Asian elephants. Previous studies have suggested that pregnant animals may shed more virus than non-pregnant animals. Methods This study examined whether pregnancy affected the frequency or magnitude of shedding of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus 1 (EEHV1) using Taq man real-time PCR on trunk washes from four female elephants from a UK collection over three time periods between 2011 and 2014. These periods included pregnancies in two animals (period 1 and period 3). Behavioural observations made by keepers were also assessed. Results During period 1 there was a high degree of social hierarchical instability which led to a hierarchy change, and was associated with aggressive behaviour. Also during period 1 EEHV-1 shedding was of a higher magnitude and frequency than in the latter two time periods. Conclusions These results suggest that there is no clear relationship between shedding and pregnancy, and that behavioural stressors may be related to an increase in EEHV-1 shedding. PMID:26392899

  3. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in elephants (Elephus maximus indicus) in Thailand.

    PubMed

    Tuntasuvan, D; Mohkaew, K; Dubey, J P

    2001-02-01

    Serum samples from captive 156 elephants (Elephus maximus indicus) from Thailand were examined for antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii using the modified agglutination test (MAT) and the latex agglutination test (LAT). Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 45.5% of 156 elephants by MAT (> or = 1:50) and 25.6% of 156 elephants by LAT (> or = 1:64). This is the first report of T. gondii infection in E. maximus indicus from Asia. PMID:11227899

  4. An investigation into resting behavior in Asian elephants in UK zoos.

    PubMed

    Williams, Ellen; Bremner-Harrison, Samantha; Harvey, Naomi; Evison, Emma; Yon, Lisa

    2015-01-01

    Maintaining adequate welfare in captive elephants is challenging. Few studies have investigated overnight rest behavior in zoo elephants, yet time spent resting has been identified as a welfare indicator in some species. We investigated resting behavior in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in UK zoos, with the aim of identifying patterns or preferences in lying rest. Details of standing (SR) and lying (LR) rest behavior were identified by observing video footage of inside enclosures collected for 14 elephants (2 male, 12 female) housed at three UK zoos (Zoo A: 18 nights; Zoo B: 27 nights; Zoo C: 46 nights) from 16:00 to 08:30 (approximately). Elephants engaged in a mean of 58-337 min rest per night. Time of night affected mean duration of LR bouts (P < 0.001); longest bouts were observed between 22:01 and 06:00. Elephants showed a substrate preference when lying to rest; LR was not observed on concrete or tiled flooring. Where sand was available (to 11/14 elephants), all elephants engaged in LR on sand flooring. Only two elephants engaged in LR on rubber flooring (available to 7/14 elephants). Mean duration of rest bouts was greater when a conspecific was within two body lengths than when conspecifics were not (P < 0.01). Our study indicated that elephants show substrate preferences when choosing an area for rest and engage in more rest when conspecifics are in close proximity. The results of this study could be used as a basis for future studies investigating the link between rest and welfare in captive elephants. PMID:26189573

  5. An Improved Real Time Image Detection System for Elephant Intrusion along the Forest Border Areas

    PubMed Central

    Sugumar, S. J.; Jayaparvathy, R.

    2014-01-01

    Human-elephant conflict is a major problem leading to crop damage, human death and injuries caused by elephants, and elephants being killed by humans. In this paper, we propose an automated unsupervised elephant image detection system (EIDS) as a solution to human-elephant conflict in the context of elephant conservation. The elephant's image is captured in the forest border areas and is sent to a base station via an RF network. The received image is decomposed using Haar wavelet to obtain multilevel wavelet coefficients, with which we perform image feature extraction and similarity match between the elephant query image and the database image using image vision algorithms. A GSM message is sent to the forest officials indicating that an elephant has been detected in the forest border and is approaching human habitat. We propose an optimized distance metric to improve the image retrieval time from the database. We compare the optimized distance metric with the popular Euclidean and Manhattan distance methods. The proposed optimized distance metric retrieves more images with lesser retrieval time than the other distance metrics which makes the optimized distance method more efficient and reliable. PMID:24574886

  6. Elephant (Elephas maximus) Health and Management in Asia: Variations in Veterinary Perspectives

    PubMed Central

    Miller, David; Jackson, Bradford; Riddle, Heidi S.; Stremme, Christopher; Miller, Thaddeus

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25688328

  7. Ivory Harvesting Pressure on the Genome of the African Elephant: A Phenotypic Shift to Tusklessness.

    PubMed

    Raubenheimer, Erich J; Miniggio, Hilde D

    2016-09-01

    The unique chequered pattern of elephant ivory has made it a desired commodity for the production of various works of art. The demand however outstrips the supply and with soaring prices, illegal tusk harvesting is thriving on the African continent. Formal restrictions placed on trade in elephant products have been ineffective in reversing the rapid decline in elephant numbers. We are presently facing the reality of extinction of free roaming elephant on the African continent. This paper describes the histogenesis of the chequered pattern, the genomic impact of ivory harvesting on the phenotype of breeding herds, and the contribution of science to tracing the origin of illegal ivory. PMID:26920555

  8. An improved real time image detection system for elephant intrusion along the forest border areas.

    PubMed

    Sugumar, S J; Jayaparvathy, R

    2014-01-01

    Human-elephant conflict is a major problem leading to crop damage, human death and injuries caused by elephants, and elephants being killed by humans. In this paper, we propose an automated unsupervised elephant image detection system (EIDS) as a solution to human-elephant conflict in the context of elephant conservation. The elephant's image is captured in the forest border areas and is sent to a base station via an RF network. The received image is decomposed using Haar wavelet to obtain multilevel wavelet coefficients, with which we perform image feature extraction and similarity match between the elephant query image and the database image using image vision algorithms. A GSM message is sent to the forest officials indicating that an elephant has been detected in the forest border and is approaching human habitat. We propose an optimized distance metric to improve the image retrieval time from the database. We compare the optimized distance metric with the popular Euclidean and Manhattan distance methods. The proposed optimized distance metric retrieves more images with lesser retrieval time than the other distance metrics which makes the optimized distance method more efficient and reliable. PMID:24574886

  9. Wild Asian elephants distinguish aggressive tiger and leopard growls according to perceived danger.

    PubMed

    Thuppil, Vivek; Coss, Richard G

    2013-10-23

    Prey species exhibit antipredator behaviours such as alertness, aggression and flight, among others, in response to predators. The nature of this response is variable, with animals reacting more strongly in situations of increased vulnerability. Our research described here is the first formal study to investigate night-time antipredator behaviour in any species of elephants, Asian or African. We examined the provocative effects of elephant-triggered tiger and leopard growls while elephants attempted to crop-raid. Tigers opportunistically prey on elephant calves, whereas leopards pose no threat; therefore, we predicted that the elephant response would be reflective of this difference. Elephants reacted similarly cautiously to the simulated presence of felids of both species by eventually moving away, but differed markedly in their more immediate behavioural responses. Elephants retreated silently to tiger-growl playbacks, whereas they responded with aggressive vocalizations, such as trumpets and grunts, to leopard-growl playbacks. Elephants also lingered in the area and displayed alert or investigative behaviours in response to leopard growls when compared with tiger growls. We anticipate that the methods outlined here will promote further study of elephant antipredator behaviour in a naturalistic context, with applications for conservation efforts as well. PMID:24026347

  10. Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection as a zoonotic disease: transmission between humans and elephants.

    PubMed Central

    Michalak, K.; Austin, C.; Diesel, S.; Bacon, M. J.; Zimmerman, P.; Maslow, J. N.

    1998-01-01

    Between 1994 and 1996, three elephants from an exotic animal farm in Illinois died of pulmonary disease due to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In October 1996, a fourth living elephant was culture-positive for M. tuberculosis. Twenty-two handlers at the farm were screened for tuberculosis (TB); eleven had positive reactions to intradermal injection with purified protein derivative. One had smear-negative, culture-positive active TB. DNA fingerprint comparison by IS6110 and TBN12 typing showed that the isolates from the four elephants and the handler with active TB were the same strain. This investigation indicates transmission of M. tuberculosis between humans and elephants. PMID:9621200

  11. Elephant (Elephas maximus) Health and Management in Asia: Variations in Veterinary Perspectives.

    PubMed

    Miller, David; Jackson, Bradford; Riddle, Heidi S; Stremme, Christopher; Schmitt, Dennis; Miller, Thaddeus

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25688328

  12. Three Blind Men and the Elephant

    SciTech Connect

    Long, J S

    2007-02-13

    Just like the blind men in the popular story of perceiving the elephant, the three major constituencies participating in the energy debate have greatly different perceptions of the problem. The constituency that is worried about climate change believes the energy problem is caused by profligate use of fossil fuel that has dramatically changed our atmosphere. The energy security group sees dangerous reliance on foreign sources of oil increasingly held by countries hostile to the US. The economic vitality group sees high energy prices and their effect on the economy and our life-style. Just like the blind men, each of the three constituencies perceives a different problem. And just as with the blind men, while each perspective is right as a piece of the elephant, it takes all the perspectives together to actually solve the problem. Environmentalists focus on solutions responding to the scientific consensus that greenhouse gases are creating rapid climate change. The tipping point has come: it is now a consensus position among scientists the global warming is being affected by anthropogenic activity to 90% certainty according to the last IPCC report. Although they still struggle with the prediction of how much global temperatures will rise if we do nothing--is it 5 deg or 10 under BAU? This group believes that we cannot afford to take a chance because we get only one chance. We can not afford to do this kind of experiment with the Earth. Any choice which decreases our CO{sub 2} footprint is favored, even if it means a decrease in standard of living. The energy security constituency sees the geo-politics of oil becoming increasingly dire. They look at oil money being used to fund anti-American activities of groups such as the Wahabis in Saudi Arabia, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the infamous Al Qaeda. They quip that the Iraq war is the first war where we are paying for both sides. They note Iran and the Shia throughout the Middle East seeing the possibility of controlling

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:23505713

  15. Point Prevalence and Incidence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in captive elephants in the United States

    PubMed Central

    Feldman, Melissa; Isaza, Ramiro; Prins, Cindy; Hernandez, Jorge

    2013-01-01

    Background Captive elephants infected with tuberculosis are implicated as an occupational source of zoonotic tuberculosis. However, accurate estimates of prevalence and incidence of elephant tuberculosis from well-defined captive populations are lacking in the literature. Studies published in recent years contain a wide range of prevalence estimates calculated from summary data. Incidence estimates of elephant tuberculosis in captive elephants are not available. Objective This study estimated the annual point prevalence, annual incidence, cumulative incidence, and incidence density of tuberculosis in captive elephants within the USA during the past 52 years. Animals and Methods We combined existing elephant census records from captive elephants in the USA with tuberculosis culture results obtained from trunk washes or at necropsy. This data set included 15 years where each elephant was screened annually. Results Between 1960 and 1996, the annual point prevalence of tuberculosis complex mycobacteria for both species was 0. From 1997 through 2011, the median point prevalence within the Asian elephant population was 5.1%, with a range from 0.3% to 6.7%. The incidence density was 9.7 cases/1000 elephant years (95% CI: 7.0–13.4). In contrast, the annual point prevalence during the same time period within the African elephant population remained 0 and the incidence density was 1.5 cases/1000 elephant years (95% CI: 0.7–4.0). Conclusions The apparent increase in new cases noted after 1996 resulted from a combination of both index cases and the initiation of mandatory annual tuberculosis complex (MTBC) screening in 1997 for all the elephants. This study found lower annual point prevalence estimates than previously reported in the literature. These discrepancies in prevalence estimates are primarily due to differences in terminology and calculation methods. Using the same intensive testing regime, the incidence of tuberculosis differed significantly between Asian and

  16. Rates of reinforcement and measures of compliance in free and protected contact elephant management systems.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Megan L; Perdue, Bonnie M; Bloomsmith, Mollie A; Maple, Terry L

    2015-01-01

    Protected contact is an alternative to traditional captive elephant training techniques that emerged as a result of concerns for animal welfare and personnel safety. The present study documented the behavior of elephants and their animal care professionals to determine rates of reinforcement and measures of compliance under two handling systems. Behavioral data were collected from animal care professionals and elephants during the elephants' baths in both free contact (FC) and protected contact (PC). Positive reinforcement, in the form of food, was delivered, on average, nearly eight times more frequently in the PC condition. Further, the mean rate at which the animal care professionals used the ankus in the FC condition as negative reinforcement was similar to the mean rate at which they provided positive reinforcement to the elephants in the FC condition. Latencies between verbal commands and the elephants' behaviors demonstrated an inconsistent pattern, but were generally longer in the PC condition. The mean percent of "refusals" by the elephants was higher for most behaviors across elephants in the PC condition. The findings suggest that animal care professionals did not heavily rely on positive reinforcement in the FC condition to elicit desired behaviors from the elephants, but this was the case in the PC condition. We propose that longer latencies and higher mean percent of refusals by the elephants may indicate that they were exercising choice or control over their environment, which has been associated with improved well-being. Additional studies of this kind are needed to enable other institutions to make informed decisions about elephant management and welfare. PMID:26179311

  17. Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection of Domesticated Asian Elephants, Thailand

    PubMed Central

    Angkawanish, Taweepoke; Sirimalaisuwan, Anucha; Kaewsakhorn, Thattawan; Boonsri, Kittikorn; Rutten, Victor P.M.G.

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:21122228

  18. Asteroid Lightcurve Analysis at Elephant Head Observatory: 2013 August- October

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alkema, Michael S.

    2014-01-01

    Photometric observations of two main-belt asteroids, 541 Deborah and 1468 Zomba, were made from Elephant Head Observatory during 2013 August to October. The period and amplitude results are, respectively, P = 29.368 ± 0.005 h, A = 0.10 ± 0.01 mag; P = 2.773 ± 0.001 h, A = 0.34 ± 0.02 mag.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  20. Elephant trail runoff and sediment dynamics in northern Thailand.

    PubMed

    Sidle, Roy C; Ziegler, Alan D

    2010-01-01

    Although elephants may exert various impacts on the environment, no data are available on the effects of elephant trails on runoff, soil erosion, and sediment transport to streams during storms. We monitored water and sediment fluxes from an elephant trail in northern Thailand during seven monsoon storms representing a wide range of rainfall energies. Runoff varied from trivial amounts to 353 mm and increased rapidly in tandem with expanding contributing areas once a threshold of wetting occurred. Runoff coefficients during the two largest storms were much higher than could be generated from the trail itself, implying a 4.5- to 7.9-fold increase in the drainage areas contributing to storm runoff. Clockwise hysteresis patterns of suspended sediment observed during most storms was amplified by a "first flush" of sediment early on the hydrograph in which easily entrained sediment was transported. As runoff areas expanded during the latter part of large storms, discharge increased but sediment concentrations declined. Thus, sediment flux was better correlated to kinetic energy of rainfall on the falling limbs of most storm hydrographs compared to rising limbs. Based on a power function relationship between sediment flux and storm kinetic energy, the estimated annual sediment yield from the trail for 135 storms in 2005 was 308 to 375 Mg ha(-1) yr(-1), higher than from most disturbed land surfaces in the tropics. The eight largest storms (30% of total storm energy) in 2005 transported half of the total annual sediment. These measurements together with site investigations reveal that highly interconnected elephant trails, together with other source areas, directly link runoff and sediment to streams. PMID:20400583

  1. RESULTS OF THE MEGAVERTEBRATE ANALGESIA SURVEY: ELEPHANTS AND RHINO.

    PubMed

    Kottwitz, Jack; Boothe, Matthew; Harmon, Roy; Citino, Scott B; Zuba, Jeffery R; Boothe, Dawn M

    2016-03-01

    An online survey utilizing Survey Monkey linked through the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians listserve examined current practices in megavertebrate analgesia. Data collected included drugs administered, dosing regimens, ease of administration, efficacy, and adverse events. Fifty-nine facilities (38 housing elephants, 33 housing rhinoceroses) responded. All facilities administered nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), with phenylbutazone (0.25-10 mg/kg) and flunixin meglumine (0.2-4 mg/kg) being most common. Efficacy was reported as "good" to "excellent" for these medications. Opioids were administered to elephants (11 of 38) and rhinoceroses (7 of 33), with tramadol (0.5-3.0 mg/kg) and butorphanol (0.05-1.0 mg/kg) being most common. Tramadol efficacy scores were highly variable in both elephants and rhinoceroses. While drug choices were similar among institutions, substantial variability in dosing regimens and reported efficacy between and within facilities indicates the need for pharmacokinetic studies and standardized methods of analyzing response to treatment to establish dosing regimens and clinical trials to establish efficacy and safety. PMID:27010292

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    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 (<20 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. PMID:27282468

  3. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) reassure others in distress

    PubMed Central

    de Waal, Frans B.M.

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24688856

  4. The Clactonian elephant butchery site at Southfleet Road, Ebbsfleet, UK

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wenban-Smith, F. F.; Allen, P.; Bates, M. R.; Parfitt, S. A.; Preece, R. C.; Stewart, J. R.; Turner, C.; Whittaker, J. E.

    2006-07-01

    Archaeological excavations at Southfleet Road, Ebbsfleet, Kent, have revealed a complex sequence of fossiliferous Middle Pleistocene sediments containing lithic artefacts. An incomplete skeleton of straight-tusked elephant Palaeoloxodon antiquus was found in lacustrine sediments in close association with a cluster of mint condition cores, flakes and notched flake-tools, some with evidence of use-damage. These finds appear to reflect in situ tool production and butchery of the elephant carcass. A far larger concentration of similar artefacts, again in mint condition, occurred nearby in the same horizon. These finds were overlain by a fluvial gravel containing abundant handaxes, some also in mint condition. A range of fossils, including pollen, molluscs and small vertebrates, indicates temperate conditions with local woodland coeval with the elephant butchery. The sediments appear to have formed during the early part of an interglacial, almost certainly MIS 11. As well as providing rare undisturbed evidence of human behaviour, the site supports the existence of a distinctive non-handaxe Clactonian core/flake-tool industry in southeast England at this period. Copyright

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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 (<20 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. PMID:27282468

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

    PubMed

    Stansfield, F J; Allen, W R

    2012-06-01

    The ovaries of eight African elephant foetuses and their mothers between 2 and 22 months of gestation, and those of two cycling and two lactating elephants, were examined grossly, histologically and immunocytochemically, with emphasis on the development and regression of accessory corpora lutea (CL) of pregnancy and the steroidogenic capacities of the accessory CL and the foetal ovaries. The results supported recent findings that the accessory CL form as a result of luteinisation, with and without ovulation, of medium-sized follicles during the 3-week inter-luteal period of the oestrous cycle. They enlarge significantly and become steroidogenically active around 5 weeks of gestation, probably in response to the placental lactogen which is secreted by the implanting trophoblast of the conceptus. The large luteal cells stained strongly for 3β hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3βHSD) activity throughout the 22-month gestation period although they showed vacuolation and other degenerative changes in the final months of gestation coincident with hypertrophy and hyperplasia of 3βHSD-positive interstitial cells in the foetal gonads. It is proposed that the progestagens secreted by the enlarged gonads of the elephant foetus may function both to assist the maternal ovaries in supporting the pregnancy state and to induce torpor and intrauterine immobility of the rapidly growing foetus. PMID:22457432

  7. Elephant behaviour and conservation: social relationships, the effects of poaching, and genetic tools for management.

    PubMed

    Archie, Elizabeth A; Chiyo, Patrick I

    2012-02-01

    Genetic tools are increasingly valuable for understanding the behaviour, evolution, and conservation of social species. In African elephants, for instance, genetic data provide basic information on the population genetic causes and consequences of social behaviour, and how human activities alter elephants' social and genetic structures. As such, African elephants provide a useful case study to understand the relationships between social behaviour and population genetic structure in a conservation framework. Here, we review three areas where genetic methods have made important contributions to elephant behavioural ecology and conservation: (1) understanding kin-based relationships in females and the effects of poaching on the adaptive value of elephant relationships, (2) understanding patterns of paternity in elephants and how poaching can alter these patterns, and (3) conservation genetic tools to census elusive populations, track ivory, and understand the behavioural ecology of crop-raiding. By comparing studies from populations that have experienced a range of poaching intensities, we find that human activities have a large effect on elephant behaviour and genetic structure. Poaching disrupts kin-based association patterns, decreases the quality of elephant social relationships, and increases male reproductive skew, with important consequences for population health and the maintenance of genetic diversity. In addition, we find that genetic tools to census populations or gather forensic information are almost always more accurate than non-genetic alternatives. These results contribute to a growing understanding of poaching on animal behaviour, and how genetic tools can be used to understand and conserve social species. PMID:21880086

  8. Response of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) to Seasonal Changes in Rainfall

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    The factors that trigger sudden, seasonal movements of elephants are uncertain. We hypothesized that savannah elephant movements at the end of the dry season may be a response to their detection of distant thunderstorms. Nine elephants carrying Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers were tracked over seven years in the extremely dry and rugged region of northwestern Namibia. The transition date from dry to wet season conditions was determined annually from surface- and satellite-derived rainfall. The distance, location, and timing of rain events relative to the elephants were determined using the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) satellite precipitation observations. Behavioral Change Point Analysis (BCPA) was applied to four of these seven years demonstrating a response in movement of these elephants to intra- and inter-seasonal occurrences of rainfall. Statistically significant changes in movement were found prior to or near the time of onset of the wet season and before the occurrence of wet episodes within the dry season, although the characteristics of the movement changes are not consistent between elephants and years. Elephants in overlapping ranges, but following separate tracks, exhibited statistically valid non-random near-simultaneous changes in movements when rainfall was occurring more than 100 km from their location. While the environmental trigger that causes these excursions remains uncertain, rain-system generated infrasound, which can travel such distances and be detected by elephants, is a possible trigger for such changes in movement. PMID:25299514

  9. Heart rate variability in relation to stress in the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Vézina-Audette, Raphaël; Herry, Christophe; Burns, Patrick; Frasch, Martin; Chave, Emmanuelle; Theoret, Christine

    2016-03-01

    This study describes a safe, reliable, and accessible means to measure heart rate (HR) and HR variability (HRV) and evaluates the use of HRV as a physiological correlate of stress in the Asian elephant. A probabilistic model indicates that HRV measurements may adequately distinguish between stressed and non-stressed elephants. PMID:26933266

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    The factors that trigger sudden, seasonal movements of elephants are uncertain. We hypothesized that savannah elephant movements at the end of the dry season may be a response to their detection of distant thunderstorms. Nine elephants carrying Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers were tracked over seven years in the extremely dry and rugged region of northwestern Namibia. The transition date from dry to wet season conditions was determined annually from surface- and satellite-derived rainfall. The distance, location, and timing of rain events relative to the elephants were determined using the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) satellite precipitation observations. Behavioral Change Point Analysis (BCPA) was applied to four of these seven years demonstrating a response in movement of these elephants to intra- and inter-seasonal occurrences of rainfall. Statistically significant changes in movement were found prior to or near the time of onset of the wet season and before the occurrence of wet episodes within the dry season, although the characteristics of the movement changes are not consistent between elephants and years. Elephants in overlapping ranges, but following separate tracks, exhibited statistically valid non-random near-simultaneous changes in movements when rainfall was occurring more than 100 km from their location. While the environmental trigger that causes these excursions remains uncertain, rain-system generated infrasound, which can travel such distances and be detected by elephants, is a possible trigger for such changes in movement. PMID:25299514

  12. Heart rate variability in relation to stress in the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)

    PubMed Central

    Vézina-Audette, Raphaël; Herry, Christophe; Burns, Patrick; Frasch, Martin; Chave, Emmanuelle; Theoret, Christine

    2016-01-01

    This study describes a safe, reliable, and accessible means to measure heart rate (HR) and HR variability (HRV) and evaluates the use of HRV as a physiological correlate of stress in the Asian elephant. A probabilistic model indicates that HRV measurements may adequately distinguish between stressed and non-stressed elephants. PMID:26933266

  13. Tuberculosis surveillance of elephants (Elephas maximus) in Nepal at the captive-wild interface

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A comprehensive elephant tuberculosis (TB) survey using culture and four serological screening tests was conducted in Nepal. Private and government-owned male and female captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) were included in the study. The mean reported age was 38 years (range 5-60 years). A tot...

  14. Validation of a new radiographic protocol for Asian elephant feet and description of their radiographic anatomy.

    PubMed

    Mumby, C; Bouts, T; Sambrook, L; Danika, S; Rees, E; Parry, A; Rendle, M; Masters, N; Weller, R

    2013-10-01

    Foot problems are extremely common in elephants and radiography is the only imaging method available but the radiographic anatomy has not been described in detail. The aims of this study were to develop a radiographic protocol for elephant feet using digital radiography, and to describe the normal radiographic anatomy of the Asian elephant front and hind foot. A total of fifteen cadaver foot specimens from captive Asian elephants were radiographed using a range of projections and exposures to determine the best radiographic technique. This was subsequently tested in live elephants in a free-contact setting. The normal radiographic anatomy of the Asian elephant front and hind foot was described with the use of three-dimensional models based on CT reconstructions. The projection angles that were found to be most useful were 65-70° for the front limb and 55-60° in the hind limb. The beam was centred 10-15 cm proximal to the cuticle in the front and 10-15 cm dorsal to the plantar edge of the sole in the hind foot depending on the size of the foot. The protocol developed can be used for larger-scale diagnostic investigations of captive elephant foot disorders, while the normal radiographic anatomy described can improve the diagnostic reliability of elephant feet radiography. PMID:24048633

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

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibanda, Mbulisi; Murwira, Amon

    2012-10-01

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

  17. First reported case of elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus infection in Laos.

    PubMed

    Bouchard, Bertrand; Xaymountry, Bounmy; Thongtip, Nikorn; Lertwatcharasarakul, Preeda; Wajjwalku, Worawidh

    2014-09-01

    The elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is now recognized as one of the main causes of death of young Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in North American zoos. Its impact in wild and domestic elephant populations in Asia is not clearly understood. This article describes the first case of EEHV infection in Lao People's Democratic Republic of a 2.5-yr-old domestic male Asian elephant. Clinical signs and pathological findings reported here are consistent with previous infections in Asian elephant calves. Phylogenetic analyses showed 100% homology with other EEHV-1A strains identified in Asia, Europe, and North America. Contamination of the molecular assays was ruled out, because the DNA polymerase sequence identified in this study differed from the positive control by two base pairs. PMID:25314848

  18. Forensic species identification of elephant (Elephantidae) and giraffe (Giraffidae) tail hair using light microscopy.

    PubMed

    Yates, Bonnie C; Espinoza, Edgard O; Baker, Barry W

    2010-09-01

    Here we present methods for distinguishing tail hairs of African elephants (Loxodonta africana), Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), and giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) from forensic contexts. Such hairs are commonly used to manufacture jewelry artifacts that are often sold illegally in the international wildlife trade. Tail hairs from these three species are easily confused macroscopically, and morphological methods for distinguishing African and Asian tail hairs have not been published. We used cross section analysis and light microscopy to analyze the tail hair morphology of 18 individual African elephants, 18 Asian elephants, and 40 giraffes. We found that cross-sectional shape, pigment placement, and pigment density are useful morphological features for distinguishing the three species. These observations provide wildlife forensic scientists with an important analytical tool for enforcing legislation and international treaties regulating the trade in elephant parts. PMID:20549391

  19. Some clinico-pathologic findings in elephants (Elephas maximus) infected with Fasciola jacksoni.

    PubMed

    Caple, I W; Jainudeen, M R; Buick, T D; Song, C Y

    1978-01-01

    Severe submandibular and ventral abdominal oedema was observed in an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) in which liver flukes (Fasciola jacksoni) were recovered from the bile ducts at post-mortem examination. Clinico-pathologic examination of blood samples and serum from this elephant and another 8 elephants showed that most had anemia and hypoproteinemia. Fecal samples from 6 of the elephants contained from 6 to 83 eggs per gram. Treatment of elephants with nitroxynil (10 mg/kg) by subcutaneous injection produced severe local reactions at the injection site. Feces collected 2 and 4 months after treatment were free of trematode eggs. Hematologic values measured 4 months after treatment showed that the hemoglobin concentration, packed cell volume, erythrocyte count and plasma protein concentration had increased to within the normal range. PMID:633508

  20. Quantity and Configuration of Available Elephant Habitat and Related Conservation Concerns in the Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain of Sabah, Malaysia

    PubMed Central

    Estes, Jason G.; Othman, Nurzhafarina; Ismail, Sulaiman; Ancrenaz, Marc; Goossens, Benoit; Ambu, Laurentius N.; Estes, Anna B.; Palmiotto, Peter A.

    2012-01-01

    The approximately 300 (298, 95% CI: 152–581) elephants in the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo are a priority sub-population for Borneo's total elephant population (2,040, 95% CI: 1,184–3,652). Habitat loss and human-elephant conflict are recognized as the major threats to Bornean elephant survival. In the Kinabatangan region, human settlements and agricultural development for oil palm drive an intense fragmentation process. Electric fences guard against elephant crop raiding but also remove access to suitable habitat patches. We conducted expert opinion-based least-cost analyses, to model the quantity and configuration of available suitable elephant habitat in the Lower Kinabatangan, and called this the Elephant Habitat Linkage. At 184 km2, 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 km2). During high flood levels, available habitat is reduced to only 61 km2. As a consequence, short-term elephant densities are likely to surge during floods to 4.83 km−2 (95% CI: 2.46–9.41), among the highest estimated for forest-dwelling elephants in Asia or Africa. During severe floods, the configuration of remaining elephant habitat and the surge in elephant density may put two villages at elevated risk of human-elephant conflict. Lower Kinabatangan elephants are vulnerable to the natural disturbance regime of the river due to their limited dispersal options. Twenty bottlenecks less than one km wide throughout the Elephant Habitat Linkage, have the potential to further reduce access to suitable habitat. Rebuilding landscape connectivity to isolated habitat patches and to the North Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (less than 35 km inland) are conservation priorities that would increase the quantity of available habitat, and may work as a mechanism to allow population release, lower elephant density, reduce human-elephant

  1. Asian Elephants in China: Estimating Population Size and Evaluating Habitat Suitability

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Li; Dong, Lu; Lin, Liu; Feng, Limin; Yan, Fan; Wang, Lanxin; Guo, Xianming; Luo, Aidong

    2015-01-01

    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 their natural

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

    PubMed

    Zhang, Li; Dong, Lu; Lin, Liu; Feng, Limin; Yan, Fan; Wang, Lanxin; Guo, Xianming; Luo, Aidong

    2015-01-01

    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 their natural

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

    PubMed Central

    Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Morfeld, Kari A.; Carlstead, Kathy

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. Elephants also like coffee: trends and drivers of human-elephant conflicts in coffee agroforestry landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:21359868

  6. Erratum to: Elephants also like coffee: Trends and drivers of human-elephant conflicts in coffee agroforestry landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:21751010

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

    PubMed

    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

  8. Effects of social disruption in elephants persist decades after culling

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Multi-level fission-fusion societies, characteristic of a number of large brained mammal species including some primates, cetaceans and elephants, are among the most complex and cognitively demanding animal social systems. Many free-ranging populations of these highly social mammals already face severe human disturbance, which is set to accelerate with projected anthropogenic environmental change. Despite this, our understanding of how such disruption affects core aspects of social functioning is still very limited. Results We now use novel playback experiments to assess decision-making abilities integral to operating successfully within complex societies, and provide the first systematic evidence that fundamental social skills may be significantly impaired by anthropogenic disruption. African elephants (Loxodonta africana) that had experienced separation from family members and translocation during culling operations decades previously performed poorly on systematic tests of their social knowledge, failing to distinguish between callers on the basis of social familiarity. Moreover, elephants from the disrupted population showed no evidence of discriminating between callers when age-related cues simulated individuals on an increasing scale of social dominance, in sharp contrast to the undisturbed population where this core social ability was well developed. Conclusions Key decision-making abilities that are fundamental to living in complex societies could be significantly altered in the long-term through exposure to severely disruptive events (e.g. culling and translocation). There is an assumption that wildlife responds to increasing pressure from human societies only in terms of demography, however our study demonstrates that the effects may be considerably more pervasive. These findings highlight the potential long-term negative consequences of acute social disruption in cognitively advanced species that live in close-knit kin-based societies, and

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    The chorioallantoic placenta connects mother and fetus in eutherian pregnancies. In order to understand the evolution of the placenta and provide further understanding of placenta biology, we sequenced the transcriptome of a term placenta of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and compared these data with RNA sequence and microarray data from other eutherian placentas including human, mouse, and cow. We characterized the composition of 55,910 expressed sequence tag (i.e., cDNA) contigs using our custom annotation pipeline. A Markov algorithm was used to cluster orthologs of human, mouse, cow, and elephant placenta transcripts. We found 2,963 genes are commonly expressed in the placentas of these eutherian mammals. Gene ontology categories previously suggested to be important for placenta function (e.g., estrogen receptor signaling pathway, cell motion and migration, and adherens junctions) were significantly enriched in these eutherian placenta–expressed genes. Genes duplicated in different lineages and also specifically expressed in the placenta contribute to the great diversity observed in mammalian placenta anatomy. We identified 1,365 human lineage–specific, 1,235 mouse lineage–specific, 436 cow lineage–specific, and 904 elephant-specific placenta-expressed (PE) genes. The most enriched clusters of human-specific PE genes are signal/glycoprotein and immunoglobulin, and humans possess a deeply invasive human hemochorial placenta that comes into direct contact with maternal immune cells. Inference of phylogenetically conserved and derived transcripts demonstrates the power of comparative transcriptomics to trace placenta evolution and variation across mammals and identified candidate genes that may be important in the normal function of the human placenta, and their dysfunction may be related to human pregnancy complications. PMID:22546564

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:17050843

  11. Elevated carboxyhemoglobin in a marine mammal, the northern elephant seal

    PubMed Central

    Tift, Michael S.; Ponganis, Paul J.; Crocker, Daniel E.

    2014-01-01

    Low concentrations of endogenous carbon monoxide (CO), generated primarily through degradation of heme from heme-proteins, have been shown to maintain physiological function of organs and to exert cytoprotective effects. However, high concentrations of carboxyhemoglobin (COHb), formed by CO binding to hemoglobin, potentially prevent adequate O2 delivery to tissues by lowering arterial O2 content. Elevated heme-protein concentrations, as found in marine mammals, are likely associated with greater heme degradation, more endogenous CO production and, consequently, elevated COHb concentrations. Therefore, we measured COHb in elephant seals, a species with large blood volumes and elevated hemoglobin and myoglobin concentrations. The levels of COHb were positively related to the total hemoglobin concentration. The maximum COHb value was 10.4% of total hemoglobin concentration. The mean (±s.e.m.) value in adult seals was 8.7±0.3% (N=6), while juveniles and pups (with lower heme-protein contents) had lower mean COHb values of 7.6±0.2% and 7.1±0.3%, respectively (N=9 and N=9, respectively). Serial samples over several hours revealed little to no fluctuation in COHb values. This consistent elevation in COHb suggests that the magnitude and/or rate of heme-protein turnover is much higher than in terrestrial mammals. The maximum COHb values from this study decrease total body O2 stores by 7%, thereby reducing the calculated aerobic dive limit for this species. However, the constant presence of elevated CO in blood may also protect against potential ischemia–reperfusion injury associated with the extreme breath-holds of elephant seals. We suggest the elephant seal represents an ideal model for understanding the potential cytoprotective effects, mechanisms of action and evolutionary adaptation associated with chronically elevated concentrations of endogenously produced CO. PMID:24829326

  12. Elephant Seals and Temperature Data: Calibrations and Limitations.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simmons, S. E.; Tremblay, Y.; Costa, D. P.

    2006-12-01

    In recent years with technological advances, instruments deployed on diving marine animals have been used to sample the environment in addition to their behavior. Of all oceanographic variables one of the most valuable and easiest to record is temperature. Here we report on a series of lab calibration and field validation experiments that consider the accuracy of temperature measurements from animal borne ocean samplers. Additionally we consider whether sampling frequency or animal behavior affects the quality of the temperature data collected by marine animals. Rapid response, external temperature sensors on eight Wildlife Computers MK9 time-depth recorders (TDRs) were calibrated using water baths at the Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, CA). These water baths are calibrated using a platinum thermistor to 0.001° C. Instruments from different production batches were calibrated before and after deployments on adult female northern elephant seals, to examine tag performance over time and under `normal' usage. Tag performance in the field was validated by comparisons with temperature data from a Seabird CTD. In April/May of 2004, casts to 200m were performed over the Monterey Canyon using a CTD array carrying MK9s. These casts were performed before and after the release of a juvenile elephant seal from the boat. The seal was also carrying an MK9 TDR, allowing the assessment of any animal effect on temperature profiles. Sampling frequency during these field validations was set at one second intervals and the data from TDRs on both the CTD and the seals was sub-sampled at four, eight, 30 and 300 (5 min) seconds. The sub-sampled data was used to determine thermocline depth, a thermocline depth zone and temperature gradients and assess whether sampling frequency or animal behavior affects the quality of temperature data. Preliminary analyses indicate that temperature sensors deployed on elephant seals can provide water column temperature data of high quality and

  13. Elevated carboxyhemoglobin in a marine mammal, the northern elephant seal.

    PubMed

    Tift, Michael S; Ponganis, Paul J; Crocker, Daniel E

    2014-05-15

    Low concentrations of endogenous carbon monoxide (CO), generated primarily through degradation of heme from heme-proteins, have been shown to maintain physiological function of organs and to exert cytoprotective effects. However, high concentrations of carboxyhemoglobin (COHb), formed by CO binding to hemoglobin, potentially prevent adequate O2 delivery to tissues by lowering arterial O2 content. Elevated heme-protein concentrations, as found in marine mammals, are likely associated with greater heme degradation, more endogenous CO production and, consequently, elevated COHb concentrations. Therefore, we measured COHb in elephant seals, a species with large blood volumes and elevated hemoglobin and myoglobin concentrations. The levels of COHb were positively related to the total hemoglobin concentration. The maximum COHb value was 10.4% of total hemoglobin concentration. The mean (± s.e.m.) value in adult seals was 8.7 ± 0.3% (N=6), while juveniles and pups (with lower heme-protein contents) had lower mean COHb values of 7.6 ± 0.2% and 7.1 ± 0.3%, respectively (N=9 and N=9, respectively). Serial samples over several hours revealed little to no fluctuation in COHb values. This consistent elevation in COHb suggests that the magnitude and/or rate of heme-protein turnover is much higher than in terrestrial mammals. The maximum COHb values from this study decrease total body O2 stores by 7%, thereby reducing the calculated aerobic dive limit for this species. However, the constant presence of elevated CO in blood may also protect against potential ischemia-reperfusion injury associated with the extreme breath-holds of elephant seals. We suggest the elephant seal represents an ideal model for understanding the potential cytoprotective effects, mechanisms of action and evolutionary adaptation associated with chronically elevated concentrations of endogenously produced CO. PMID:24829326

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

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    PubMed

    Horak, Ivan G; Welman, Shaun; Hallam, Stacey L; Lutermann, Heike; Mzilikazi, Nomakwezi

    2011-01-01

    Several studies on ticks infesting small mammals, including elephant shrews, have been conducted in South Africa; however, these studies have included only a single four-toed elephant shrew and no hedgehogs. This study thus aimed to identify and quantify the ixodid ticks infesting four-toed elephant shrews and Southern African hedgehogs. Four-toed elephant shrews (Petrodromus tetradactylus) were trapped in dense shrub undergrowth in a nature reserve in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal. They were separately housed, first in cages and later in glass terraria fitted with wire-mesh bases to allow detached ticks to fall through for collection. Southern African hedgehogs (Atelerix frontalis) were hand caught on a farm in the eastern region of the Northern Cape Province and all visible ticks were collected by means of tweezers while the animals were anaesthetised. The ticks from each animal were preserved separately in 70% ethanol for later identification and counting. The immature stages of five ixodid tick species were collected from the elephant shrews, of which Rhipicephalus muehlensi was the most common. It has not been recorded previously on any species of elephant shrew. Three ixodid tick species were collected from the hedgehogs. Large numbers of adult Haemaphysalis colesbergensis, which has not been encountered previously on hedgehogs, were collected from these animals. Four-toed elephant shrews are good hosts of the larvae and nymphs of R. muehlensi, and Southern African hedgehogs are good hosts of adult H. colesbergensis. PMID:23327207

  16. Field Application of Serodiagnostics To Identify Elephants with Tuberculosis prior to Case Confirmation by Culture

    PubMed Central

    Greenwald, Rena; Esfandiari, Javan; Mikota, Susan; Miller, Michele; Moller, Torsten; Vogelnest, Larry; Gairhe, Kamal P.; Robbe-Austerman, Suelee; Gai, Jackie; Waters, W. Ray

    2012-01-01

    Three serologic methods for antibody detection in elephant tuberculosis (TB), the multiantigen print immunoassay (MAPIA), ElephantTB STAT-PAK kit, and DPP VetTB test, were evaluated using serial serum samples from 14 captive elephants infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in 5 countries. In all cases, serological testing was performed prior to the diagnosis of TB by mycobacterial culture of trunk wash or tissue samples collected at necropsy. All elephants produced antibody responses to M. tuberculosis antigens, with 13/14 recognizing ESAT-6 and/or CFP10 proteins. The findings supported the high serodiagnostic test accuracy in detecting infections months to years before M. tuberculosis could be isolated from elephants. The MAPIA and/or DPP VetTB assay demonstrated the potential for monitoring antimycobacterial therapy and predicting TB relapse in treated elephants when continuously used in the posttreatment period. History of exposure to TB and past treatment information should be taken into consideration for proper interpretation of the antibody test results. Data suggest that the more frequent trunk wash culture testing of seropositive elephants may enhance the efficiency of the TB diagnostic algorithm, leading to earlier treatment with improved outcomes. PMID:22695162

  17. Behavioral changes in female Asian elephants when given access to an outdoor yard overnight.

    PubMed

    Powell, David M; Vitale, Cathy

    2016-07-01

    A study was conducted at the Bronx Zoo to determine whether providing elephants with access to an outdoor corral at night had any significant effects on behavior, use of space, and use of a sand corral. Activity budgets for three female Asian elephants were compared when the subjects were housed indoors overnight and when they were given access to an outdoor yard overnight. Observations were recorded via infrared video cameras between the hours of 1900 and 0700 during the months of July-September. Two of the three elephants showed a significant preference for spending time outdoors, whereas, the third elephant spent most of her time indoors. Standing and play behavior increased when the elephants had outdoor access while lying down and feeding behavior decreased. Swaying behavior decreased significantly when the elephants had access to the outdoor yard. The elephants made very little use of a sand-floor stall regardless of whether or not they had access to outdoors. The results of this study, suggest that having access to alternate areas overnight can promote well-being by reducing repetitive behavior and allowing animals to express their preferences for different locations. The relative importance of choice alone vs. the behavioral opportunities provided by choice options for zoo animals is discussed. Zoo Biol. 35:298-303, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27128882

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

    Several small, enclosed reserves in southern Africa are experiencing significant elephant population growth, which has resulted in associated environmental damage and changes in biodiversity. Although several techniques exist to control elephant populations, e.g., culling, relocation, and immunocontraception, the technique of laparoscopic vasectomy of free-ranging bull elephants was investigated. Bilateral vasectomies were performed in 45 elephants. Of these elephants, one died within 24 hr of recovery and two had complications during surgery but recovered uneventfully. Histologic examination confirmed the resected tissue as ductus deferens in all the bulls. Most animals recovered uneventfully and showed no abnormal behavior after surgery. Complications recorded included incisional dehiscence, 1 full-thickness and 2 partial-thickness lacerations of the large intestine, and initial sling-associated complications, for example, deep radial nerve paresis. One bull was found dead 6 weeks after surgery without showing any prior abnormal signs. Vasectomy in free-ranging African bull elephants may be effectively performed in their normal environment. The surgical procedure can be used as a realistic population management tool in free-ranging elephants without major anesthetic, surgical, or postoperative complications. PMID:24437080

  19. Evidence of means-end behavior in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Irie-Sugimoto, Naoko; Kobayashi, Tessei; Sato, Takao; Hasegawa, Toshikazu

    2008-04-01

    The present study explores to what extent Asian elephants show "means-end" behavior. We used captive Asian elephants (N = 2) to conduct four variations of the Piagetian "support" problem, which involves a goal object that is out of reach, but rests on a support within reach. In the first condition, elephants were simultaneously presented with two identical trays serving as the "support", with the bait on one tray and the other tray left empty. In the next two conditions, the bait was placed on one tray, while additional bait was placed beside the other tray. In the last condition, both trays contained bait, but one of the trays had a small gap which prevented the elephants from reaching the reward. Subjects were required to choose and pull either tray with their trunk and to obtain the bait (i.e. goal). Results showed that one elephant performed all of the support problems significantly above chance after several sessions, suggesting that the elephant was capable of understanding that pulling the tray was the "means" for achieving the "end" of obtaining the bait. This study showed that elephants show means-end behavior when subjected to a Piagetian "support" task, and indicates that such goal-directed behavior occurs in species other than primates. PMID:18087732

  20. Skeletal development in the African elephant and ossification timing in placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Hautier, Lionel; Stansfield, Fiona J; Allen, W R Twink; Asher, Robert J

    2012-06-01

    We provide here unique data on elephant skeletal ontogeny. We focus on the sequence of cranial and post-cranial ossification events during growth in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana). Previous analyses on ossification sequences in mammals have focused on monotremes, marsupials, boreoeutherian and xenarthran placentals. Here, we add data on ossification sequences in an afrotherian. We use two different methods to quantify sequence heterochrony: the sequence method and event-paring/Parsimov. Compared with other placentals, elephants show late ossifications of the basicranium, manual and pedal phalanges, and early ossifications of the ischium and metacarpals. Moreover, ossification in elephants starts very early and progresses rapidly. Specifically, the elephant exhibits the same percentage of bones showing an ossification centre at the end of the first third of its gestation period as the mouse and hamster have close to birth. Elephants show a number of features of their ossification patterns that differ from those of other placental mammals. The pattern of the initiation of the ossification evident in the African elephant underscores a possible correlation between the timing of ossification onset and gestation time throughout mammals. PMID:22298853

  1. A single glycine-alanine exchange directs ligand specificity of the elephant progestin receptor.

    PubMed

    Wierer, Michael; Schrey, Anna K; Kühne, Ronald; Ulbrich, Susanne E; Meyer, Heinrich H D

    2012-01-01

    The primary gestagen of elephants is 5α-dihydroprogesterone (DHP), which is unlike all other mammals studied until now. The level of DHP in elephants equals that of progesterone in other mammals, and elephants are able to bind DHP with similar affinity to progesterone indicating a unique ligand-binding specificity of the elephant progestin receptor (PR). Using site-directed mutagenesis in combination with in vitro binding studies we here report that this change in specificity is due to a single glycine to alanine exchange at position 722 (G722A) of PR, which specifically increases DHP affinity while not affecting binding of progesterone. By conducting molecular dynamics simulations comparing human and elephant PR ligand-binding domains (LBD), we observed that the alanine methyl group at position 722 is able to push the DHP A-ring into a position similar to progesterone. In the human PR, the DHP A-ring position is twisted towards helix 3 of PR thereby disturbing the hydrogen bond pattern around the C3-keto group, resulting in a lower binding affinity. Furthermore, we observed that the elephant PR ligand-binding pocket is more rigid than the human analogue, which probably explains the higher affinity towards both progesterone and DHP. Interestingly, the G722A substitution is not elephant-specific, rather it is also present in five independent lineages of mammalian evolution, suggesting a special role of the substitution for the development of distinct mammalian gestagen systems. PMID:23209719

  2. Field application of serodiagnostics to identify elephants with tuberculosis prior to case confirmation by culture.

    PubMed

    Lyashchenko, Konstantin P; Greenwald, Rena; Esfandiari, Javan; Mikota, Susan; Miller, Michele; Moller, Torsten; Vogelnest, Larry; Gairhe, Kamal P; Robbe-Austerman, Suelee; Gai, Jackie; Waters, W Ray

    2012-08-01

    Three serologic methods for antibody detection in elephant tuberculosis (TB), the multiantigen print immunoassay (MAPIA), ElephantTB STAT-PAK kit, and DPP VetTB test, were evaluated using serial serum samples from 14 captive elephants infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in 5 countries. In all cases, serological testing was performed prior to the diagnosis of TB by mycobacterial culture of trunk wash or tissue samples collected at necropsy. All elephants produced antibody responses to M. tuberculosis antigens, with 13/14 recognizing ESAT-6 and/or CFP10 proteins. The findings supported the high serodiagnostic test accuracy in detecting infections months to years before M. tuberculosis could be isolated from elephants. The MAPIA and/or DPP VetTB assay demonstrated the potential for monitoring antimycobacterial therapy and predicting TB relapse in treated elephants when continuously used in the posttreatment period. History of exposure to TB and past treatment information should be taken into consideration for proper interpretation of the antibody test results. Data suggest that the more frequent trunk wash culture testing of seropositive elephants may enhance the efficiency of the TB diagnostic algorithm, leading to earlier treatment with improved outcomes. PMID:22695162

  3. How much Dillenia indica seed predation occurs from Asian elephant dung?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sekar, Nitin; Giam, Xingli; Sharma, Netra Prasad; Sukumar, Raman

    2016-01-01

    Elephants are thought to be effective seed dispersers, but research on whether elephant dung effectively protects seeds from seed predation is lacking. Quantifying rates of seed predation from elephant dung will facilitate comparisons between elephants and alternative dispersers, helping us understand the functional role of megaherbivores in ecosystems. We conducted an experiment to quantify the predation of Dillenia indica seeds from elephant dung in Buxa Reserve, India from December 2012 to April 2013. Using dung boluses from the same dung pile, we compared the number of seeds in boluses that are a) opened immediately upon detection (control boluses), b) made available only to small seed predators (<3 mm wide) for 1-4 months, and c) made available to all seed predators and secondary dispersers for 1-4 months. Using a model built on this experiment, we estimated that seed predation by small seed predators (most likely ants and termites) destroys between 82.9% and 96.4% of seeds in elephant dung between the time of defecation and the median germination date for D. indica. Exposure to larger seed predators and secondary dispersers did not lead to a significant additional reduction in the number of seeds per dung bolus. Our findings suggest that post-dispersal seed predation by small insects (<3 mm) substantially reduces but does not eliminate the success of elephants as dispersers of D. indica in a tropical moist forest habitat.

  4. Analysis and experiments with an elephant's trunk robot

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hannan, M. W.; Walker, I. D.

    2001-01-01

    The area of tentacle and trunk type biological manipulation is not new, but there has been little progress in the development and application of a physical device to simulate these types of manipulation. Our research in this area is based on using an 'elephant trunk' robot. In this paper, we review the construction of the robot and how it compares to biological manipulators. We then apply our previously designed kinematic model to describe the kinematics of the robot. We finish by providing some examples of motion planning and intelligent manipulation using the robot.

  5. Non-Gaussian propagator for elephant random walks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    da Silva, M. A. A.; Cressoni, J. C.; Schütz, Gunter M.; Viswanathan, G. M.; Trimper, Steffen

    2013-08-01

    For almost a decade the consensus has held that the random walk propagator for the elephant random walk (ERW) model is a Gaussian. Here we present strong numerical evidence that the propagator is, in general, non-Gaussian and, in fact, non-Lévy. Motivated by this surprising finding, we seek a second, non-Gaussian solution to the associated Fokker-Planck equation. We prove mathematically, by calculating the skewness, that the ERW Fokker-Planck equation has a non-Gaussian propagator for the superdiffusive regime. Finally, we discuss some unusual aspects of the propagator in the context of higher order terms needed in the Fokker-Planck equation.

  6. Age profiles in elephant and mammoth bone assemblages

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  7. Age group estimation in free-ranging African elephants based on acoustic cues of low-frequency rumbles

    PubMed Central

    Stoeger, Angela S.; Zeppelzauer, Matthias; Baotic, Anton

    2015-01-01

    Animal vocal signals are increasingly used to monitor wildlife populations and to obtain estimates of species occurrence and abundance. In the future, acoustic monitoring should function not only to detect animals, but also to extract detailed information about populations by discriminating sexes, age groups, social or kin groups, and potentially individuals. Here we show that it is possible to estimate age groups of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) based on acoustic parameters extracted from rumbles recorded under field conditions in a National Park in South Africa. Statistical models reached up to 70 % correct classification to four age groups (infants, calves, juveniles, adults) and 95 % correct classification when categorising into two groups (infants/calves lumped into one group versus adults). The models revealed that parameters representing absolute frequency values have the most discriminative power. Comparable classification results were obtained by fully automated classification of rumbles by high-dimensional features that represent the entire spectral envelope, such as MFCC (75 % correct classification) and GFCC (74 % correct classification). The reported results and methods provide the scientific foundation for a future system that could potentially automatically estimate the demography of an acoustically monitored elephant group or population. PMID:25821348

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

    Elephants are thought to possess excellent long-term spatial-temporal and social memory, both memory types being at least in part hippocampus dependent. Although the hippocampus has been extensively studied in common laboratory mammalian species and humans, much less is known about comparative hippocampal neuroanatomy, and specifically that of the elephant. Moreover, the data available regarding hippocampal size of the elephant are inconsistent. The aim of the current study was to re-examine hippocampal size and provide a detailed neuroanatomical description of the hippocampus in the African elephant. In order to examine the hippocampal size the perfusion-fixed brains of three wild-caught adult male African elephants, aged 20-30 years, underwent MRI scanning. For the neuroanatomical description brain sections containing the hippocampus were stained for Nissl, myelin, calbindin, calretinin, parvalbumin and doublecortin. This study demonstrates that the elephant hippocampus is not unduly enlarged, nor specifically unusual in its internal morphology. The elephant hippocampus has a volume of 10.84 ± 0.33 cm³ and is slightly larger than the human hippocampus (10.23 cm(3)). Histological analysis revealed the typical trilaminated architecture of the dentate gyrus (DG) and the cornu ammonis (CA), although the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus appears to have supernumerary sublaminae compared to other mammals. The three main architectonic fields of the cornu ammonis (CA1, CA2, and CA3) could be clearly distinguished. Doublecortin immunostaining revealed the presence of adult neurogenesis in the elephant hippocampus. Thus, the elephant exhibits, for the most part, what might be considered a typically mammalian hippocampus in terms of both size and architecture. PMID:23728481

  9. Isotopic tracking of change in diet and habitat use in african elephants.

    PubMed

    Koch, P L; Heisinger, J; Moss, C; Carlson, R W; Fogel, M L; Behrensmeyer, A K

    1995-03-01

    The carbon, nitrogen, and strontium isotope compositions of elephants in Amboseli Park, Kenya, were measured to examine changes in diet and habitat use since the 1960s. Carbon isotope ratios, which reflect the photosynthetic pathway of food plants, record a shift in diet from trees and shrubs to grass. Strontium isotope ratios, which reflect the geologic age of bedrock, document the concentration of elephants within the park. The high isotopic variability produced by behavioral and ecological shifts, if it is representative of other East African elephant populations, may complicate the use of isotopes as indicators of the source region of ivory. PMID:17812610

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

    PubMed

    Wasser, S K; Brown, L; Mailand, C; Mondol, S; Clark, W; Laurie, C; Weir, B S

    2015-07-01

    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. PMID:26089357

  11. THE IMPACT OF ELEPHANT ENDOTHELIOTROPIC HERPESVIRUS ON THE CAPTIVE ASIAN ELEPHANT (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) POPULATION OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND (1995-2013).

    PubMed

    Kendall, Rebecca; Howard, Lauren; Masters, Nic; Grant, Robyn

    2016-06-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is one of the most devastating infections and causes of mortality in captive Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus ) populations. Eight confirmed fatal EEHV cases have occurred since 1995 within the captive Asian elephant population of the United Kingdom and Ireland. This report aims to review the impact of EEHV on the captive Asian elephant population in the United Kingdom and Ireland, document and compare fatal cases, and recommend a framework of monitoring within the United Kingdom and Ireland to increase the success of treatment of EEHV hemorrhagic disease (EEHV HD) in the future. Six zoologic institutions (which include zoos, safari parks, and wildlife parks) that currently house or have previously housed a captive Asian elephant group were included in this report. Medical records and postmortem results were collected from four of these institutions for each confirmed fatal case. EEHV HD was found to be responsible for 29.6% of fatalities in Asian elephants born in captivity in the United Kingdom and Ireland between 1995 and 2013. Following a review of all the cases, it is shown that although clinical signs may be associated with specific EEHV species, the swiftness of disease progression means that most body tissues are impacted 1-6 days following the presentation of visible clinical signs and treatment is less likely to succeed. Therefore, EEHV monitoring should consist of conducting regular polymerase chain reaction analysis of whole blood samples from at-risk, young Asian elephants aged 1-8 yr in order for subclinical viremia to be identified early and treatment to be started before the appearance of visible clinical signs. PMID:27468010

  12. Tuberculosis in elephants-a reemergent disease: diagnostic dilemmas, the natural history of infection, and new immunological tools.

    PubMed

    Maslow, J N; Mikota, S K

    2015-05-01

    Tuberculosis (TB) in elephants has been described since ancient times. However, it was not until 1996 when infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis was identified in a herd of circus elephants that significant research into this disease began. The epidemiology and natural history of TB were unknown in elephants since there had been no comprehensive screening programs, and diagnostic techniques developed for cervidae and bovidae were of unknown value. And, while precepts of test and slaughter were the norm for cattle and deer, this was considered untenable for an endangered species. With no precedent for the treatment of TB in animals, treatment regimens for elephants were extrapolated from human protocols, which guided changes to the Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants. In the absence of diagnostic testing to confirm cure in elephants, the efficacy of these treatment regimens is only beginning to be understood as treated elephants die and are examined postmortem. However, because of pressures arising from public relations related to elephant husbandry and the added considerations of TB infection in animals (whether real or imagined), sharing of information to aid in research and treatment has been problematic. Here we review the challenges and successes of the diagnosis of tuberculosis in elephants and discuss the natural history of the disease to put the work of Landolfi et al on the immunological response to tuberculosis in elephants in perspective. PMID:25633896

  13. The Social and Ecological Integration of Captive-Raised Adolescent Male African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) into a Wild Population

    PubMed Central

    Evans, Kate; Moore, Randall; Harris, Stephen

    2013-01-01

    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 explored further. PMID

  14. Evidence and potential risk factors of tuberculosis among captive Asian elephants and wildlife staff in Peninsular Malaysia.

    PubMed

    Yakubu, Yusuf; Ong, Bee Lee; Zakaria, Zunita; Hassan, Latiffah; Mutalib, Abdul Rahim; Ngeow, Yun Fong; Verasahib, Khebir; Razak, Mohd Firdaus Ariff Abdul

    2016-03-01

    Elephant tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an important re-emerging zoonosis with considerable conservation and public health risk. We conducted prospective cohort and cross-sectional studies in elephants and wildlife staff respectively in order to identify potential risk factors associated with TB in captive Asian elephants and their handlers in Peninsular Malaysia. Sixty elephants in six different facilities were screened for TB longitudinally using the ElephantTB STAT-PAK and DPP VetTB assays from February 2012 to May 2014, and 149 wildlife staff were examined for tuberculosis infection using the QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-tube (QFT) assay from January to April, 2012. Information on potential risk factors associated with infection in both elephants and staff were collected using questionnaires and facility records. The overall seroprevalence of TB amongst the elephants was 23.3% (95% CI: 13.8-36.3) and the risk of seroconversion was significantly higher among elephants with assigned mahouts [p=0.022, OR=4.9 (95% CI: 1.3-18.2)]. The percentage of QFT responders among wildlife staff was 24.8% (95% CI: 18.3-32.7) and the risk of infection was observed to be significantly associated with being a zoo employee [p=0.018, OR=2.7 (95% CI: 1.2-6.3)] or elephant handler [p=0.035, OR=4.1 (95% CI: 1.1-15.5)]. These findings revealed a potential risk of TB infection in captive elephants and handlers in Malaysia, and emphasize the need for TB screening of newly acquired elephants, isolating sero-positive elephants and performing further diagnostic tests to determine their infection status, and screening elephant handlers for TB, pre- and post-employment. PMID:26775804

  15. Multiphasic strain differentiation of atypical mycobacteria from elephant trunk wash.

    PubMed

    Chan, Kok-Gan; Loke, Mun Fai; Ong, Bee Lee; Wong, Yan Ling; Hong, Kar Wai; Tan, Kian Hin; Kaur, Sargit; Ng, Hien Fuh; Abdul Razak, Mfa; Ngeow, Yun Fong

    2015-01-01

    Background. Two non-tuberculous mycobacterial strains, UM_3 and UM_11, were isolated from the trunk wash of captive elephants in Malaysia. As they appeared to be identical phenotypes, they were investigated further by conventional and whole genome sequence-based methods of strain differentiation. Methods. Multiphasic investigations on the isolates included species identification with hsp65 PCR-sequencing, conventional biochemical tests, rapid biochemical profiling using API strips and the Biolog Phenotype Microarray analysis, protein profiling with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, repetitive sequence-based PCR typing and whole genome sequencing followed by phylogenomic analyses. Results. The isolates were shown to be possibly novel slow-growing schotochromogens with highly similar biological and genotypic characteristics. Both strains have a genome size of 5.2 Mbp, G+C content of 68.8%, one rRNA operon and 52 tRNAs each. They qualified for classification into the same species with their average nucleotide identity of 99.98% and tetranucleotide correlation coefficient of 0.99999. At the subspecies level, both strains showed 98.8% band similarity in the Diversilab automated repetitive sequence-based PCR typing system, 96.2% similarity in protein profiles obtained by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, and a genomic distance that is close to zero in the phylogenomic tree constructed with conserved orthologs. Detailed epidemiological tracking revealed that the elephants shared a common habitat eight years apart, thus, strengthening the possibility of a clonal relationship between the two strains. PMID:26587340

  16. Source levels of northern elephant seal vocalizations in-air

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Insley, Stephen J.; Southall, Brandon L.

    2005-09-01

    Accurate measurements of vocalization sound-pressure levels are necessary to determine the acoustical active space of animals in natural and human-altered ambient noise conditions. Despite this basic need, such data are limited or nonexistent for most species. Our study characterized aerial ambient noise and vocalization source levels for northern elephant seals during the breeding season. Subjects were adult males, lactating females, and dependent offspring (pups) at An~o Nuevo State Reserve. Source level measurements were made using a Type 1 sound level meter and calibrated microphones on-axis: (1) at 1 m; (2) at several known distances (laser measured); and (3) simultaneously at 1 m and a second known distance. Concurrent ambient noise conditions were measured in situ (non-weighted 5 min Leq integrated averages) and recorded for later spectral analysis. Measurements were made at two sites, one relatively noisy and the other relatively quiet, to determine whether animals compensate for higher noise conditions by increasing source levels (Lombard effect). Results indicate a wide range in signal strength, particularly for adult males whose vocalization source levels appear to be correlated with dominance rank and related to ambient noise conditions. The Lombard effect was not observed for adult females or elephant seal pups.

  17. Multiphasic strain differentiation of atypical mycobacteria from elephant trunk wash

    PubMed Central

    Chan, Kok-Gan; Loke, Mun Fai; Ong, Bee Lee; Wong, Yan Ling; Hong, Kar Wai; Tan, Kian Hin; Kaur, Sargit; Ng, Hien Fuh; Abdul Razak, MFA

    2015-01-01

    Background. Two non-tuberculous mycobacterial strains, UM_3 and UM_11, were isolated from the trunk wash of captive elephants in Malaysia. As they appeared to be identical phenotypes, they were investigated further by conventional and whole genome sequence-based methods of strain differentiation. Methods. Multiphasic investigations on the isolates included species identification with hsp65 PCR-sequencing, conventional biochemical tests, rapid biochemical profiling using API strips and the Biolog Phenotype Microarray analysis, protein profiling with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, repetitive sequence-based PCR typing and whole genome sequencing followed by phylogenomic analyses. Results. The isolates were shown to be possibly novel slow-growing schotochromogens with highly similar biological and genotypic characteristics. Both strains have a genome size of 5.2 Mbp, G+C content of 68.8%, one rRNA operon and 52 tRNAs each. They qualified for classification into the same species with their average nucleotide identity of 99.98% and tetranucleotide correlation coefficient of 0.99999. At the subspecies level, both strains showed 98.8% band similarity in the Diversilab automated repetitive sequence-based PCR typing system, 96.2% similarity in protein profiles obtained by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, and a genomic distance that is close to zero in the phylogenomic tree constructed with conserved orthologs. Detailed epidemiological tracking revealed that the elephants shared a common habitat eight years apart, thus, strengthening the possibility of a clonal relationship between the two strains. PMID:26587340

  18. Underwater and surface behavior of homing juvenile northern elephant seals.

    PubMed

    Matsumura, Moe; Watanabe, Yuuki Y; Robinson, Patrick W; Miller, Patrick J O; Costa, Daniel P; Miyazaki, Nobuyuki

    2011-02-15

    Northern elephant seals, Mirounga angustirostris, travel between colonies along the west coast of North America and foraging areas in the North Pacific. They also have the ability to return to their home colony after being experimentally translocated. However, the mechanisms of this navigation are not known. Visual information could serve an important role in navigation, either primary or supplementary. We examined the role of visual cues in elephant seal navigation by translocating three seals and recording their heading direction continuously using GPS, and acceleration and geomagnetic data loggers while they returned to the colony. The seals first reached the coast and then proceeded to the colony by swimming along the coast. While underwater the animals exhibited a horizontally straight course (mean net-to-gross displacement ratio=0.94±0.02). In contrast, while at the surface they changed their headings up to 360 deg. These results are consistent with the use of visual cues for navigation to the colony. The seals may visually orient by using landmarks as they swim along the coast. We further assessed whether the seals could maintain a consistent heading while underwater during drift dives where one might expect that passive spiraling during drift dives could cause disorientation. However, seals were able to maintain the initial course heading even while underwater during drift dives where there was spiral motion (to within 20 deg). This behavior may imply the use of non-visual cues such as acoustic signals or magnetic fields for underwater orientation. PMID:21270312

  19. Periocular anterior adnexal anatomy and clinical adnexal examination of the adult Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Wong, Michael A; Isaza, Ramiro; Cuthbert, J Kelly; Brooks, Dennis E; Samuelson, Don A

    2012-12-01

    Formalin preserved ocular-associated anterior adnexa tissues from five necropsied Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) were dissected with attention to the palpebrae, conjunctiva, nictitating membranes, nasolacrimal ducts, and periocular glandular tissues. Gross and histologic examination revealed that lacrimal and tarsal glands were not present. Evidence of the lacrimal drainage apparatus, including lacrimal punctae or any remnant of lacrimal sacs, was also absent. In contrast, well-developed sebaceous glands associated with accessory hairs along the palpebrae were exceptionally abundant. Mixed-secreting accessory lacrimal glands were noted in the deep stroma posterior to the tarsus of both palpebrae and the gland of the nictitating membrane. Apparently, the Asian elephant has developed a novel tear system in the absence of lacrimal and tarsal (meibomian) glands. Clinical examinations and bacterial cultures of the visible periocular tissues were performed on eight living adult Asian elephants to confirm the postmortem anatomic findings and provide guidance to the clinician during examination of the elephant conjunctiva. PMID:23272346

  20. Human fatalities from wild elephant attacks--a study of fourteen cases.

    PubMed

    Das, Sobhan Kr; Chattopadhyay, Saurabh

    2011-05-01

    Human-wild elephant conflicts are frequently reported from various parts of the country. Encroaching of animal habitat by human civilization is a primary reason for this. The present study comprises of fourteen autopsy cases conducted at the department of Forensic Medicine, B.S Medical College, Bankura, West Bengal, India over a period of three years. The study attempts to find out the nature of injuries caused by wild elephant attack and the common factors contributing to human-wild elephant conflict so that vulnerable population can be cautioned to avoid conflicts. A distinct seasonal as well as diurnal variation of attack incidences was noted. Attacks were sudden and unprovoked. Killer elephants were wild tuskers in all the cases. Victims were from the low socioeconomic group and the cause of death was due to trampling on the vital organs like chest and head. PMID:21550563

  1. Do Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) apply causal reasoning to tool-use tasks?

    PubMed

    Nissani, Moti

    2006-01-01

    Two experiments addressed contradictory claims about causal reasoning in elephants. In Experiment 1, 4 Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) were pretrained to remove a lid from the top of a bucket and retrieve a food reward. Subsequently, in the first 5 critical trials, when the lid was placed alongside the bucket and no longer obstructed access to the reward, each elephant continued to remove the lid before retrieving the reward. Experiment 2, which involved 11 additional elephants and variations of the original design, yielded similarly counterintuitive observations. Although the results are open to alternative interpretations, they appear more consistent with associative learning than with causal reasoning. Future applications of Fabrean methodologies (J. H. Fabre, 1915) to animal cognition are proposed. PMID:16435969

  2. Chronic sole ulcerations associated with degenerative bone disease in two Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Luikart, Kimberly A; Stover, Susan M

    2005-12-01

    Chronic foot lesions and degenerative joint disease are common causes of morbidity in elephants. Lesions may become intractable and progressive despite intensive treatment regimens. The forelimbs of two Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) with chronic nonhealing sole ulcerations were examined using manual dissection and computed tomography. Both elephants had abnormal limb conformation that preceded the development of sole ulcerations. In both cases, sole ulcers were associated with remodeling and degeneration of underlying bones of the digits. Conformational abnormalities and altered weight distribution in these individuals may have induced compensatory bony degeneration and secondary ulcer formation. Sole ulcerations associated with digital abnormalities may have a guarded prognosis for resolution, even with aggressive treatment. Because limb conformational abnormalities could predispose to or result from chronic digital lesions, elephants with conformational abnormalities may have increased likelihood of having chronic sole ulcerations. PMID:17312727

  3. Reproductive cessation and post-reproductive lifespan in Asian elephants and pre-industrial humans

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Introduction Short post-reproductive lifespan is widespread across species, but prolonged post-reproductive life-stages of potential adaptive significance have been reported only in few mammals with extreme longevity. Long post-reproductive lifespan contradicts classical evolutionary predictions of simultaneous senescence in survival and reproduction, and raises the question of whether extreme longevity in mammals promotes such a life-history. Among terrestrial mammals, elephants share the features with great apes and humans, of having long lifespan and offspring with long dependency. However, little data exists on the frequency of post-reproductive lifespan in elephants. Here we use extensive demographic records on semi-captive Asian elephants (n = 1040) and genealogical data on pre-industrial women (n = 5336) to provide the first comparisons of age-specific reproduction, survival and post-reproductive lifespan in both of these long-lived species. Results We found that fertility decreased after age 50 in elephants, but the pattern differed from a total loss of fertility in menopausal women with many elephants continuing to reproduce at least until the age of 65 years. The probability of entering a non-reproductive state increased steadily in elephants from the earliest age of reproduction until age 65, with the longer living elephants continuing to reproduce until older ages, in contrast to humans whose termination probability increased rapidly after age 35 and reached 1 at 56 years, but did not depend on longevity. Post-reproductive lifespan reached 11–17 years in elephants and 26–27 years in humans living until old age (depending on method), but whereas half of human adult lifespan (of those reproductive females surviving to the age of 5% fecundity) was spent as post-reproductive, only one eighth was in elephants. Consequently, although some elephants have long post-reproductive lifespans, relatively few individuals reach such a phase and the

  4. Phylogenomic analyses reveal convergent patterns of adaptive evolution in elephant and human ancestries.

    PubMed

    Goodman, Morris; Sterner, Kirstin N; Islam, Munirul; Uddin, Monica; Sherwood, Chet C; Hof, Patrick R; Hou, Zhuo-Cheng; Lipovich, Leonard; Jia, Hui; Grossman, Lawrence I; Wildman, Derek E

    2009-12-01

    Specific sets of brain-expressed genes, such as aerobic energy metabolism genes, evolved adaptively in the ancestry of humans and may have evolved adaptively in the ancestry of other large-brained mammals. The recent addition of genomes from two afrotherians (elephant and tenrec) to the expanding set of publically available sequenced mammalian genomes provided an opportunity to test this hypothesis. Elephants resemble humans by having large brains and long life spans; tenrecs, in contrast, have small brains and short life spans. Thus, we investigated whether the phylogenomic patterns of adaptive evolution are more similar between elephant and human than between either elephant and tenrec lineages or human and mouse lineages, and whether aerobic energy metabolism genes are especially well represented in the elephant and human patterns. Our analyses encompassed approximately 6,000 genes in each of these lineages with each gene yielding extensive coding sequence matches in interordinal comparisons. Each gene's nonsynonymous and synonymous nucleotide substitution rates and dN/dS ratios were determined. Then, from gene ontology information on genes with the higher dN/dS ratios, we identified the more prevalent sets of genes that belong to specific functional categories and that evolved adaptively. Elephant and human lineages showed much slower nucleotide substitution rates than tenrec and mouse lineages but more adaptively evolved genes. In correlation with absolute brain size and brain oxygen consumption being largest in elephants and next largest in humans, adaptively evolved aerobic energy metabolism genes were most evident in the elephant lineage and next most evident in the human lineage. PMID:19926857

  5. Causes and Correlates of Calf Mortality in Captive Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus)

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    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 size of the Asian

  6. Molecular Characterization of Adipose Tissue in the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    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 size of the Asian

  9. Long-Term Monitoring of Dzanga Bai Forest Elephants: Forest Clearing Use Patterns

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Jathanna, Devcharan; Karanth, K Ullas; Kumar, N Samba; Karanth, Krithi K; Goswami, Varun R

    2015-01-01

    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 emphasize the need

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

    PubMed Central

    Jathanna, Devcharan; Karanth, K. Ullas; Kumar, N. Samba; Karanth, Krithi K.; Goswami, Varun R.

    2015-01-01

    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-km2 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 km2 (SE = 847 km2) corresponding to 64% of the available 21,167 km2 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 km2 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 emphasize the need to

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    This study quantified social life events hypothesized to affect the welfare of zoo African and Asian elephants, focusing on animals that were part of a large multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional elephant welfare study in North America. Age was calculated based on recorded birth dates and an age-based account of life event data for each elephant was compiled. These event histories included facility transfers, births and deaths of offspring, and births and deaths of non-offspring herd mates. Each event was evaluated as a total number of events per elephant, lifetime rate of event exposure, and age at first event exposure. These were then compared across three categories: species (African vs. Asian); sex (male vs. female); and origin (imported vs. captive-born). Mean age distributions differed (p<0.05) between the categories: African elephants were 6 years younger than Asian elephants, males were 12 years younger than females, and captive-born elephants were 20 years younger than imported elephants. Overall, the number of transfers ranged from 0 to 10, with a 33% higher age-adjusted transfer rate for imported African than imported Asian elephants, and 37% lower rate for imported females than males (p<0.05). Other differences (p<0.05) included a 96% higher rate of offspring births for captive-born females than those imported from range countries, a 159% higher rate of birthing event exposures for captive-born males than for their imported counterparts, and Asian elephant females being 4 years younger than African females when they produced their first calf. In summarizing demographic and social life events of elephants in North American zoos, we found both qualitative and quantitative differences in the early lives of imported versus captive-born elephants that could have long-term welfare implications. PMID:27415437

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    This study quantified social life events hypothesized to affect the welfare of zoo African and Asian elephants, focusing on animals that were part of a large multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional elephant welfare study in North America. Age was calculated based on recorded birth dates and an age-based account of life event data for each elephant was compiled. These event histories included facility transfers, births and deaths of offspring, and births and deaths of non-offspring herd mates. Each event was evaluated as a total number of events per elephant, lifetime rate of event exposure, and age at first event exposure. These were then compared across three categories: species (African vs. Asian); sex (male vs. female); and origin (imported vs. captive-born). Mean age distributions differed (p<0.05) between the categories: African elephants were 6 years younger than Asian elephants, males were 12 years younger than females, and captive-born elephants were 20 years younger than imported elephants. Overall, the number of transfers ranged from 0 to 10, with a 33% higher age-adjusted transfer rate for imported African than imported Asian elephants, and 37% lower rate for imported females than males (p<0.05). Other differences (p<0.05) included a 96% higher rate of offspring births for captive-born females than those imported from range countries, a 159% higher rate of birthing event exposures for captive-born males than for their imported counterparts, and Asian elephant females being 4 years younger than African females when they produced their first calf. In summarizing demographic and social life events of elephants in North American zoos, we found both qualitative and quantitative differences in the early lives of imported versus captive-born elephants that could have long-term welfare implications. PMID:27415437

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  16. Effect of cooled storage on quality and DNA integrity of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) spermatozoa.

    PubMed

    Imrat, P; Mahasawangkul, S; Gosálvez, J; Suthanmapinanth, P; Sombutputorn, P; Jansittiwate, S; Thongtip, N; Pinyopummin, A; Colenbrander, B; Holt, W V; Stout, T A E

    2012-01-01

    Artificial insemination (AI) is a potentially useful tool for breeding captive elephants because it facilitates efforts to minimise inbreeding. However, cooled storage of elephant semen markedly reduces fertility. This study compared the effects on semen-quality parameters, including sperm DNA fragmentation, of storing elephant semen at 4°C or 15°C in a commonly-used diluent (TEST) or a diluent developed to protect against sperm DNA damage (BullMax). Storing elephant semen for >24 h in either extender at either temperature resulted in decreases in sperm motility, viability, acrosome integrity and DNA integrity (P < 0.05); the decrease in motility was especially rapid. A subjective impression of circular sperm movement in TEST was confirmed by a higher curvilinear velocity and amplitude of lateral head displacement, but lower straight-line velocity and linearity than in BullMax. Initial percentages of spermatozoa with fragmented DNA (%SDF) did not differ between extenders or temperatures, but the rate of increase in %SDF during a 48-h incubation at 37°C was higher in TEST than in BullMax (P < 0.05). In conclusion, BullMax allows more linear movement and better preserves DNA stability of stored elephant spermatozoa than TEST. Sperm DNA stability during incubation at 37°C is a promising, discriminative parameter for selecting semen storage conditions of bulls for elephant AI. PMID:22951013

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

    PubMed Central

    Kaplan, Gisela; Rogers, Lesley J.

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25071994

  18. Potential Mechanisms for Cancer Resistance in Elephants and Comparative Cellular Response to DNA Damage in Humans

    PubMed Central

    Abegglen, Lisa M.; Caulin, Aleah F.; Chan, Ashley; Lee, Kristy; Robinson, Rosann; Campbell, Michael S.; Kiso, Wendy K.; Schmitt, Dennis L.; Waddell, Peter J; Bhaskara, Srividya; Jensen, Shane T.; Maley, Carlo C.; Schiffman, Joshua D.

    2016-01-01

    IMPORTANCE Evolutionary medicine may provide insights into human physiology and pathophysiology, including tumor biology. OBJECTIVE To identify mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and compare cellular response to DNA damage among elephants, healthy human controls, and cancer-prone patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS). DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A comprehensive survey of necropsy data was performed across 36 mammalian species to validate cancer resistance in large and long-lived organisms, including elephants (n = 644). The African and Asian elephant genomes were analyzed for potential mechanisms of cancer resistance. Peripheral blood lymphocytes from elephants, healthy human controls, and patients with LFS were tested in vitro in the laboratory for DNA damage response. The study included African and Asian elephants (n = 8), patients with LFS (n = 10), and age-matched human controls (n = 11). Human samples were collected at the University of Utah between June 2014 and July 2015. EXPOSURES Ionizing radiation and doxorubicin. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Cancer mortality across species was calculated and compared by body size and life span. The elephant genome was investigated for alterations in cancer-related genes. DNA repair and apoptosis were compared in elephant vs human peripheral blood lymphocytes. RESULTS Across mammals, cancer mortality did not increase with body size and/or maximum life span (eg, for rock hyrax, 1% [95%CI, 0%–5%]; African wild dog, 8%[95%CI, 0%–16%]; lion, 2%[95%CI, 0% –7%]). Despite their large body size and long life span, elephants remain cancer resistant, with an estimated cancer mortality of 4.81% (95%CI, 3.14%–6.49%), compared with humans, who have 11% to 25%cancer mortality. While humans have 1 copy (2 alleles) of TP53, African elephants have at least 20 copies (40 alleles), including 19 retrogenes (38 alleles) with evidence of transcriptional activity measured by reverse transcription polymerase chain

  19. A multiwavelength study of young stars in the Elephant Trunk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    López Martí, B.; Bayo, A.; Morales Calderón, M.; Barrado, D.

    2013-05-01

    We present the results of a multiwavelength study of young stars in IC 1396A, ``the Elephant Trunk Nebula''. Our targets are selected combining optical, near-infrared and mid-infrared photometry. Near-infrared and optical spectroscopy are used to confirm their youth and to derive spectral types for these objects, showing that they are early to mid-M stars, and that our sample includes some of the lowest-mass objects reported so far in the region. The photometric and spectroscopic information is used to construct the spectral energy distributions and to study the properties of the stars (mass, age, accretion, disks, spatial location). The implications for the triggered star formation picture are discussed.

  20. Performance of rotary kiln reactor for the elephant grass pyrolysis.

    PubMed

    De Conto, D; Silvestre, W P; Baldasso, C; Godinho, M

    2016-10-01

    The influence of process conditions (rotary speed/temperature) on the performance of a rotary kiln reactor for non-catalytic pyrolysis of a perennial grass (elephant grass) was investigated. The product yields, the production of non-condensable gases as well as the biochar properties were evaluated. The maximum H2 yield was close to that observed for catalytic pyrolysis processes, while the bio-oil yield was higher than reported for pyrolysis of other biomass in rotary kiln reactors. A H2/CO ratio suitable for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) was obtained. The biochars presented an alkaline pH (above 10) and interesting contents of nutrients, as well as low electrical conductivity, indicating a high potential as soil amendment. PMID:27367811

  1. Safety and pitfalls in frozen elephant trunk implantation.

    PubMed

    Damberg, Anneke; Schälte, Gereon; Autschbach, Rüdiger; Hoffman, Andras

    2013-09-01

    The frozen elephant trunk (FET) procedure, or open stent grafting, is a tool for the combined open and endovascular treatment via a median sternotomy of extensive aortic disease involving both aortic arch and descending thoracic aorta. The technique aims to stabilize the maximum extent of the thoracic aorta in one step, with the goal of either rendering a secondary intervention to the downstream aorta unnecessary or producing an easy landing zone for secondary thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) or open surgery. Even though large case series have reported good results, we still have no conclusive evidence as to which patients and what kind of pathologies benefit from this technique. The surgical sequences described for total arch replacement with the FET procedure are just as varied as the associated devices and indications. This article focuses on important perioperative and surgical aspects, as well as potential complications during FET procedures. PMID:24109583

  2. Forest or the trees: At what scale do elephants make foraging decisions?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shrader, Adrian M.; Bell, Caroline; Bertolli, Liandra; Ward, David

    2012-07-01

    For herbivores, food is distributed spatially in a hierarchical manner ranging from plant parts to regions. Ultimately, utilisation of food is dependent on the scale at which herbivores make foraging decisions. A key factor that influences these decisions is body size, because selection inversely relates to body size. As a result, large animals can be less selective than small herbivores. Savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) are the largest terrestrial herbivore. Thus, they represent a potential extreme with respect to unselective feeding. However, several studies have indicated that elephants prefer specific habitats and certain woody plant species. Thus, it is unclear at which scale elephants focus their foraging decisions. To determine this, we recorded the seasonal selection of habitats and woody plant species by elephants in the Ithala Game Reserve, South Africa. We expected that during the wet season, when both food quality and availability were high, that elephants would select primarily for habitats. This, however, does not mean that they would utilise plant species within these habitats in proportion to availability, but rather would show a stronger selection for habitats compared to plants. In contrast, during the dry season when food quality and availability declined, we expected that elephants would shift and select for the remaining high quality woody species across all habitats. Consistent with our predictions, elephants selected for the larger spatial scale (i.e. habitats) during the wet season. However, elephants did not increase their selection of woody species during the dry season, but rather increased their selection of habitats relative to woody plant selection. Unlike a number of earlier studies, we found that that neither palatability (i.e. crude protein, digestibility, and energy) alone nor tannin concentrations had a significant effect for determining the elephants' selection of woody species. However, the palatability:tannin ratio was

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed Central

    Greenwald, Rena; Lyashchenko, Olena; Esfandiari, Javan; Miller, Michele; Mikota, Susan; Olsen, John H.; Ball, Ray; Dumonceaux, Genevieve; Schmitt, Dennis; Moller, Torsten; Payeur, Janet B.; Harris, Beth; Sofranko, Denise; Waters, W. Ray; Lyashchenko, Konstantin P.

    2009-01-01

    Tuberculosis (TB) in elephants is a reemerging zoonotic disease caused primarily by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Current methods for screening and diagnosis rely on trunk wash culture, which has serious limitations due to low test sensitivity, slow turnaround time, and variable sample quality. Innovative and more efficient diagnostic tools are urgently needed. We describe three novel serologic techniques, the ElephantTB Stat-Pak kit, multiantigen print immunoassay, and dual-path platform VetTB test, for rapid antibody detection in elephants. The study was performed with serum samples from 236 captive African and Asian elephants from 53 different locations in the United States and Europe. The elephants were divided into three groups based on disease status and history of exposure: (i) 26 animals with culture-confirmed TB due to M. tuberculosis or Mycobacterium bovis, (ii) 63 exposed elephants from known-infected herds that had never produced a culture-positive result from trunk wash samples, and (iii) 147 elephants without clinical symptoms suggestive of TB, with consistently negative trunk wash culture results, and with no history of potential exposure to TB in the past 5 years. Elephants with culture-confirmed TB and a proportion of exposed but trunk wash culture-negative elephants produced robust antibody responses to multiple antigens of M. tuberculosis, with seroconversions detectable years before TB-positive cultures were obtained from trunk wash specimens. ESAT-6 and CFP10 proteins were immunodominant antigens recognized by elephant antibodies during disease. The serologic assays demonstrated 100% sensitivity and 95 to 100% specificity. Rapid and accurate antibody tests to identify infected elephants will likely allow earlier and more efficient treatment, thus limiting transmission of infection to other susceptible animals and to humans. PMID:19261770

  5. Molecular Characterization of Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines Interleukin-1β and Interleukin-8 in Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Swami, Shelesh Kumar; Vijay, Anushri; Nagarajan, Govindasamy; Kaur, Ramneek; Srivastava, Meera

    2016-01-01

    Interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-8 are pro-inflammatory cytokines produced primarily by monocytes and macrophages in response to a variety of microbial and nonmicrobial agents. As yet, no molecular data have been reported for IL-1β and IL-8 of the Asian elephant. In the present study, we have cloned and sequenced the cDNA encoding IL-1β and IL-8 of the Asian elephant. The open reading frame (ORF) of Asian elephant IL-1β is 789 bp in length, encoded a propeptide of 263 amino acid polypeptide. The predicted protein revealed the presence of IL-1 family signature motif and an ICE cut site. Whereas, IL-8 contained 321 bp of open reading frame. Interestingly, the predicted protein sequence of 106 aa, contains an ELR motif immediately upstream of the CQC residues, common in all vertebrate IL-8 molecules. Identity levels of the nucleic acid and deduced amino acid sequences of Asian elephant IL-1β ranged from 68.48 (Squirrel monkey) to 98.57% (African elephant), and 57.78 (Sheep) to 98.47% (African elephant), respectively, whereas that of IL-8 ranged from 72.9% (Human) to 87.8% (African elephant), and 63.2 (human, gorilla, chimpanzee) to 74.5% (African elephant, buffalo), respectively. The phylogenetic analysis based on deduced amino acid sequenced showed that the Asian elephant IL-1β and IL-8 were most closely related to African elephant. Molecular characterization of these two cytokines, IL-1β and IL-8, in Asian elephant provides fundamental information necessary to progress the study of functional immune responses in this animal and gives the potential to use them to manipulate the immune response as recombinant proteins. PMID:26849252

  6. Characterizing Sleep Behavior of the Wild Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis bicornis)

    PubMed Central

    Santymire, Rachel; Meyer, Jordana; Freeman, Elizabeth W.

    2012-01-01

    Study Objectives: The objectives of this study were to characterize sleep patterns and determine factors, including sex, age, season, and environmental pressures, that influence sleep in the endangered black rhinoceros (rhino; Diceros bicornis bicornis). Design: To noninvasively observe sleep behavior of wild rhinos, digital infrared cameras were erected on poles at two bedding sites from September 2009 to March 2010. Setting: The study site was located in South Africa's Addo Elephant National Park (AENP) in the Main Camp (Addo) and Nyathi sections. Participants: A total of 2,417 photos captured rhino sleep behavior on eight individual rhinos during 40 separate sleeping bouts (Addo, n = 15; Nyathi, n = 25). Inventions: N/A. Results: Results demonstrated that age and season did not affect rhino sleep behavior (P > 0.05); however, sex did influence the length of sleep bouts with males (n = 27; mean, 105.6 ± 11.3 min; range, 14.0–202.0 min) sleeping longer (F1,48 = 6.93, P = 0.01) than females (n = 13; mean, 58.6 ± 10.4 min; range, 11.0–132.0 min). Park section did not influence the length of sleep episodes, but did affect (rw40 = 0.88; P < 0.025) the time at which rhinos slept (Addo, 20:00–24:00; Nyathi, 20:00–04:00). Conclusions: This is the first study to characterize sleep behavior in wild black rhinos. This study resulted in a greater understanding of the biologic factors that affect sleep in wild rhinos and can provide information to assist their management and conservation. Citation: Santymire R; Meyer J; Freeman EW. Characterizing sleep behavior of the wild black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis bicornis). SLEEP 2012;35(11):1569-1574. PMID:23115406

  7. Home Range and Ranging Behaviour of Bornean Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) Females

    PubMed Central

    Alfred, Raymond; Ahmad, Abd Hamid; Payne, Junaidi; Williams, Christy; Ambu, Laurentius Nayan; How, Phua Mui; Goossens, Benoit

    2012-01-01

    Background Home range is defined as the extent and location of the area covered annually by a wild animal in its natural habitat. Studies of African and Indian elephants in landscapes of largely open habitats have indicated that the sizes of the home range are determined not only by the food supplies and seasonal changes, but also by numerous other factors including availability of water sources, habitat loss and the existence of man-made barriers. The home range size for the Bornean elephant had never been investigated before. Methodology/Principal Findings The first satellite tracking program to investigate the movement of wild Bornean elephants in Sabah was initiated in 2005. Five adult female elephants were immobilized and neck collars were fitted with tracking devices. The sizes of their home range and movement patterns were determined using location data gathered from a satellite tracking system and analyzed by using the Minimum Convex Polygon and Harmonic Mean methods. Home range size was estimated to be 250 to 400 km2 in a non-fragmented forest and 600 km2 in a fragmented forest. The ranging behavior was influenced by the size of the natural forest habitat and the availability of permanent water sources. The movement pattern was influenced by human disturbance and the need to move from one feeding site to another. Conclusions/Significance Home range and movement rate were influenced by the degree of habitat fragmentation. Once habitat was cleared or converted, the availability of food plants and water sources were reduced, forcing the elephants to travel to adjacent forest areas. Therefore movement rate in fragmented forest was higher than in the non-fragmented forest. Finally, in fragmented habitat human and elephant conflict occurrences were likely to be higher, due to increased movement bringing elephants into contact more often with humans. PMID:22347469

  8. African Elephant Alarm Calls Distinguish between Threats from Humans and Bees

    PubMed Central

    Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Vollrath, Fritz; Savage, Anne

    2014-01-01

    The Samburu pastoralists of Northern Kenya co-exist with African elephants, Loxodonta africana, and compete over resources such as watering holes. Audio playback experiments demonstrate that African elephants produce alarm calls in response to the voices of Samburu tribesmen. When exposed to adult male Samburu voices, listening elephants exhibited vigilance behavior, flight behavior, and produced vocalizations (rumbles, roars and trumpets). Rumble vocalizations were most common and were characterized by increased and more variable fundamental frequencies, and an upward shift in the first [F1] and second [F2] formant locations, compared to control rumbles. When exposed to a sequence of these recorded rumbles, roars and trumpets, listening elephants also exhibited vigilance and flight behavior. The same behavior was observed, in lesser degrees, both when the roars and trumpets were removed, and when the second formants were artificially lowered to levels typical of control rumbles. The “Samburu alarm rumble” is acoustically distinct from the previously described “bee alarm rumble.” The bee alarm rumbles exhibited increased F2, while Samburu alarm rumbles exhibited increased F1 and F2, compared to controls. Moreover, the behavioral reactions to the two threats were different. Elephants exhibited vigilance and flight behavior in response to Samburu and bee stimuli and to both alarm calls, but headshaking behavior only occurred in response to bee sounds and bee alarm calls. In general, increasingly threatening stimuli elicited alarm calls with increases in F0 and in formant locations, and increasing numbers of these acoustic cues in vocal stimuli elicited increased vigilance and flight behavior in listening elephants. These results show that African elephant alarm calls differentiate between two types of threat and reflect the level of urgency of threats. PMID:24586753

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    The Samburu pastoralists of Northern Kenya co-exist with African elephants, Loxodonta africana, and compete over resources such as watering holes. Audio playback experiments demonstrate that African elephants produce alarm calls in response to the voices of Samburu tribesmen. When exposed to adult male Samburu voices, listening elephants exhibited vigilance behavior, flight behavior, and produced vocalizations (rumbles, roars and trumpets). Rumble vocalizations were most common and were characterized by increased and more variable fundamental frequencies, and an upward shift in the first [F1] and second [F2] formant locations, compared to control rumbles. When exposed to a sequence of these recorded rumbles, roars and trumpets, listening elephants also exhibited vigilance and flight behavior. The same behavior was observed, in lesser degrees, both when the roars and trumpets were removed, and when the second formants were artificially lowered to levels typical of control rumbles. The "Samburu alarm rumble" is acoustically distinct from the previously described "bee alarm rumble." The bee alarm rumbles exhibited increased F2, while Samburu alarm rumbles exhibited increased F1 and F2, compared to controls. Moreover, the behavioral reactions to the two threats were different. Elephants exhibited vigilance and flight behavior in response to Samburu and bee stimuli and to both alarm calls, but headshaking behavior only occurred in response to bee sounds and bee alarm calls. In general, increasingly threatening stimuli elicited alarm calls with increases in F0 and in formant locations, and increasing numbers of these acoustic cues in vocal stimuli elicited increased vigilance and flight behavior in listening elephants. These results show that African elephant alarm calls differentiate between two types of threat and reflect the level of urgency of threats. PMID:24586753

  11. Roadless Wilderness Area Determines Forest Elephant Movements in the Congo Basin

    PubMed Central

    Blake, Stephen; Deem, Sharon L.; Strindberg, Samantha; Maisels, Fiona; Momont, Ludovic; Isia, Inogwabini-Bila; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Karesh, William B.; Kock, Michael D.

    2008-01-01

    A dramatic expansion of road building is underway in the Congo Basin fuelled by private enterprise, international aid, and government aspirations. Among the great wilderness areas on earth, the Congo Basin is outstanding for its high biodiversity, particularly mobile megafauna including forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis). The abundance of many mammal species in the Basin increases with distance from roads due to hunting pressure, but the impacts of road proliferation on the movements of individuals are unknown. We investigated the ranging behaviour of forest elephants in relation to roads and roadless wilderness by fitting GPS telemetry collars onto a sample of 28 forest elephants living in six priority conservation areas. We show that the size of roadless wilderness is a strong determinant of home range size in this species. Though our study sites included the largest wilderness areas in central African forests, none of 4 home range metrics we calculated, including core area, tended toward an asymptote with increasing wilderness size, suggesting that uninhibited ranging in forest elephants no longer exists. Furthermore we show that roads outside protected areas which are not protected from hunting are a formidable barrier to movement while roads inside protected areas are not. Only 1 elephant from our sample crossed an unprotected road. During crossings her mean speed increased 14-fold compared to normal movements. Forest elephants are increasingly confined and constrained by roads across the Congo Basin which is reducing effective habitat availability and isolating populations, significantly threatening long term conservation efforts. If the current road development trajectory continues, forest wildernesses and the forest elephants they contain will collapse. PMID:18958284

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:27293715

  13. 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

    PubMed Central

    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

  14. 78 FR 77194 - Golden Elephant Glass Technology, Inc., and Pacific Alliance Corp.; Order of Suspension of Trading

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-12-20

    ... From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION Golden Elephant Glass Technology, Inc., and Pacific Alliance Corp.; Order of Suspension of Trading... accurate information concerning the securities of Golden Elephant Glass Technology, Inc. because it has...

  15. Antibacterial Activity of Elephant Garlic and Its Effect against U2OS Human Osteosarcoma Cells

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Zehao; Ren, Jianwu

    2013-01-01

    Objective(s): The present study was designed to investigate the antibacterial function and pharmacological effect of elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) on U2OS human osteosarcoma cells. Materials and Methods: Seven kinds of bacteria were reconstituted, inoculated and tested in this research to evaluate elephant garlic antibacterial activity. By the means of FACS analysis, cell proliferation assay, confocal laser scanning microscopy and Transwell migration assays, the effect of elephant garlic against U2OS human osteosarcoma cells was unveiled. Rerults: The antimicrobial activity of elephant garlic was stronger than ampicillin when used against Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus thuringiensis, Staphylococcus actinomycetes, and gray actinomycetes. Even at a very low concentration (12.5%), elephant garlic still had an antibacterial effect on common bacteria E. coli and S. aureus. The G0/G1 ratio of elephant garlic treated group cells increased while S phase decreased. Elephant garlic extract inhibited the growth of human osteosarcoma cells, U2OS, through preventing the transition from G1 phase to S phase. It reduced osteosarcoma cell, U2OS, invasion ability and significantly increased the proportion of apoptosis. It significantly affected the cytoskeleton generation. Conclusion: Elephant garlic exhibits antibacterial property and has an inhibitory effect on osteosarcoma cells (U2OS) proliferation and cell activity, suggesting the mechanism of its anticancer effects on U2OS human osteosarcoma cells. PMID:24379966

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

    PubMed

    Hacker, Charlotte E; Miller, Lance J

    2016-07-01

    Elephants in the wild face several conservation issues. With the rebranding of zoos as conservation and education pioneers, they have the ability to both educate and inspire guests to action. The purpose of this research was to analyze visitor perceptions and attitudes toward elephant conservation and outcomes post-exhibit visit. A one-page survey was randomly administered to assess perceptions of elephant behavior, attitudes about elephant conservation, and intended conservation-related outcomes from September 2013 to January 2014. Principle component analysis identified three major components: concern for elephants in zoos, importance of elephants in the wild, and modification of nature. Visitors who scored highly on conservation intent were those with positive attitudes towards elephants in the wild and negative attitudes regarding the modification of nature. The greatest changes in conservation intent were a result of a self-reported up-close encounter and the ability to witness active behaviors. Providing guests with the opportunity to witness or experience such occurrences may aid in a more successful delivery of the zoo's conservation message. Further research into guest emotions and affective states in relation to viewing elephants in a zoological institution would provide greater insight into improving the guest experience and helping zoos meet their conservation mission. Zoo Biol. 35:355-361, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27291643

  17. Observation of a Rayleigh Wave Induced by Infrasonic Elephant Vocalizations: a Possible Communication Mode?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gunther, R.; O'Connell-Rodwell, C. E.; Klemperer, S.; Rodwell, T. C.; Haines, S.; Goldman, M.; Evans, J. R.

    2003-12-01

    A variety of animals such as arthropods, amphibians, reptiles, fish and rodents communicate by creating and sensing ground vibrations rather than, or in addition to, sound waves. There is evidence that this may be the case for elephants as well. We set out to characterize the Rayleigh wave generated by near-source coupling during elephant low frequency rumble vocalizations (25 Hz lasting 3-7 seconds), using standard engineering-scale seismology equipment. We used a 60-channel GeometricsT seismograph to record data from vertical and horizontal geophones and from microphones, placed along a 168-m cable near Salinas, CA. Seismic wave-speed for body waves (1400 m/s) and surface waves (440 m/s) and the air-wave velocity (340 m/s) were established using a sledgehammer source. Trained elephants vocalized on command at one end of our seismic recording spread. The vocalization was strongest at 25 to 28 Hz (with strong higher harmonics), with a duration of 3 to 4 seconds, and repeated multiple times with separations of 2 to 5 seconds. Unlike an explosive seismic source, the duration of the elephant vocalization is tens of times longer than the characteristic period of the source, lasting far longer than the total propagation time along our seismic recording spread (less than 500 ms), so that different propagating modes cannot be separated by different arrival times. Unlike a VibroseisTM sweep, the elephant rumble is relatively monotonic with no characteristic onset, ruling out the use of deconvolution techniques to recognize the signals. Using a semblance technique applied to linear moveouts on narrow-bandpass-filtered data, coupled with forward modeling, we demonstrate that the complex waves observed are the interference of an air wave and a Rayleigh wave traveling at the appropriate velocities. The Rayleigh wave appears to be generated at or close to the elephant, either by coupling through the elephant's body or through the air near the body to the ground. In our

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  1. The natural thermoluminescence of meteorites. 7: Ordinary chondrites from the Elephant Moraine region, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Benoit, P. H.; Roth, J.; Sears, H.; Sears, D. W. G.

    1994-01-01

    We report natural and induced thermoluminescence (TL) measurements for meteorites from the Elephant Moraine region (76 deg 17 min S, 157 deg 20 min E) of Antarctica. We use our data to identify fragmented meteorites (i.e., 'pairings'); our dataset of 107 samples represents at most 73 separate meteorite falls. Pairing groups are generally confined to single icefields, or to adjacent icefields, but a small proportion cross widely separated icefields in the region, suggesting that the fields can be considered as a single unit. Meteorites from this region have high natural TL levels, which indicates that they have small terrestrial surface exposure ages (less than 12,500 years). There do not appear to be significant differences in natural TL levels (and hence surface exposure ages) between individual blue icefields in the region. The proportion of reheated meteorites from the Elephant Moraine region is similar to that of other Antarctic sites and modern falls, consistent with the uniformity of the meteoritic flux in this regard. An unusual subset of H-chondrites, with high induced TL peak temperatures, is absent among the data for meteorites collected in the Elephant Moraine region, which stresses their similarity to modern falls. We suggest that the Elephant Moraine region, which stresses their similarity to modern falls. We suggest that the Elephant Moraine icefields formed through shallow ablation of the ice. Unlike the Allan Hills sites to the south, lateral transport is probably less important relative to the infall of meteorites in concentrating meteorites on these icefields.

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:25830107

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

    PubMed

    Stoeger, Angela S; Baotic, Anton

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27273586

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25830107

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:27010258

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-01

    The follicular reserve and its ontogeny in the elephant are of interest because elephants have the longest reproductive life of all land-based mammals. They also have the longest recorded pregnancy, which allows a protracted view of the series of significant events involved in the development of the embryonic and fetal gonads. The large elephant population of Zimbabwe provided the opportunity to collect conceptuses from elephants culled for management reasons and hunted professionally. Five embryos aged 76-96 days and the ovaries of four fetuses aged 4.8-11.2 months were fixed in 4% buffered formalin and studied by conventional histological sectioning and a stereological protocol to calculate the follicle reserve of each fetus. These observations enabled the conclusion that the migration of primordial germ cells into the indifferent gonad terminates at around 76 days of gestation while entry of oogonia into meiosis along with first follicle formation starts at around 5 months. Peak numbers of follicles are present by mid-gestation towards the end of the 6-month mitotic-meiotic transition period. It appears that the cortex of the elephant fetal ovary at mid-gestation (11 months) has already reached a developmental stage exhibited by the ovaries of many other mammals at full term. PMID:22991581

  7. Elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii) provides insights into the evolution of Hox gene clusters in gnathostomes.

    PubMed

    Ravi, Vydianathan; Lam, Kevin; Tay, Boon-Hui; Tay, Alice; Brenner, Sydney; Venkatesh, Byrappa

    2009-09-22

    We have sequenced and analyzed Hox gene clusters from elephant shark, a holocephalian cartilaginous fish. Elephant shark possesses 4 Hox clusters with 45 Hox genes that include orthologs for a higher number of ancient gnathostome Hox genes than the 4 clusters in tetrapods and the supernumerary clusters in teleost fishes. Phylogenetic analysis of elephant shark Hox genes from 7 paralogous groups that contain all of the 4 members indicated an ((AB)(CD)) topology for the order of Hox cluster duplication, providing support for the 2R hypothesis (i.e., 2 rounds of whole-genome duplication during the early evolution of vertebrates). Comparisons of noncoding sequences of the elephant shark and human Hox clusters have identified a large number of conserved noncoding elements (CNEs), which represent putative cis-regulatory elements that may be involved in the regulation of Hox genes. Interestingly, in fugu more than 50% of these ancient CNEs have diverged beyond recognition in the duplicated (HoxA, HoxB, and HoxD) as well as the singleton (HoxC) Hox clusters. Furthermore, the b-paralogs of the duplicated fugu Hox clusters are virtually devoid of unique ancient CNEs. In contrast to fugu Hox clusters, elephant shark and human Hox clusters have lost fewer ancient CNEs. If these ancient CNEs are indeed enhancers directing tissue-specific expression of Hox genes, divergence of their sequences in vertebrate lineages might have led to altered expression patterns and presumably the functions of their associated Hox genes. PMID:19805301

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

    PubMed Central

    Stoeger, Angela S.; Baotic, Anton

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27273586

  9. Molecular identification of the strongyloid nematode Oesophagostomum aculeatum in the Asian wild elephant Elephas maximus.

    PubMed

    Phuphisut, O; Maipanich, W; Pubampen, S; Yindee, M; Kosoltanapiwat, N; Nuamtanong, S; Ponlawat, A; Adisakwattana, P

    2016-07-01

    The transmission of zoonoses by wildlife, including elephants, is a growing global concern. In this study, we screened for helminth infections among Asian wild elephants (Elephas maximus) of the Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary, Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Elephant faecal samples (45) were collected from the sanctuary grounds during January through November 2013 and assayed individually using the tetranucleotide microsatellite technique. Microscopic examination indicated a high prevalence of strongylids (93.0%) and low prevalences of trichurids (2.3%) and ascarids (2.3%). To identify the strongylid species, small subunit (SSU) rDNA sequences were amplified from copro-DNA and compared with sequences in GenBank. The generated SSU-rDNA sequences comprised five distinct haplotypes that were closely related to Oesophagostomum aculeatum. A phylogenetic analysis that incorporated related nematodes yielded a tree separated into two main clades, one containing our samples and human and domestic animal hookworms and the other consisting of Strongyloides. The present results indicate that O. aculeatum in local elephants is a potential source of helminthiasis in human and domestic animals in this wild-elephant irrupted area. PMID:26213101

  10. Development enhances hypometabolism in northern elephant seal pups (Mirounga angustirostris)

    PubMed Central

    Tift, Michael S.; Ranalli, Elizabeth C.; Houser, Dorian S.; Ortiz, Rudy M.; Crocker, Daniel E.

    2013-01-01

    Summary Investigation into the development of oxygen storage capacity in air-breathing marine predators has been performed, but little is known about the development of regulatory factors that influence oxygen utilization. Strategies for efficiently using oxygen stores should enable marine predators to optimize time spent foraging underwater. We describe the developmental patterns of oxygen use during voluntary breath-holds in northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) at 2 and 7 weeks post-weaning. We measured 1) changes in oxygen consumption (VO2), and 2) changes in venous pH, partial pressure of oxygen (pO2), haemoglobin saturation (sO2), oxygen content (O2ct), partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2), haematocrit (Hct) and total haemoglobin (tHb). To examine the effect of the dive response on the development of oxygen utilization, voluntary breath-hold experiments were conducted in and out of water. Suppression of VO2 during voluntary breath-holds increased significantly between 2 and 7 weeks post-weaning, reaching a maximum suppression of 53% below resting metabolic rate and 56% below Kleiber’s standard metabolic rate. From 2 to 7 weeks post-weaning, breath-hold VO2 was reduced by 52%. Between the two age classes, this equates to a mean breath-hold VO2 reduction of 16% from resting VO2. Breath-hold VO2 also declined with increasing breath-hold duration, but there was no direct effect of voluntary submergence on reducing VO2. Age did not influence rates of venous pO2 depletion during breath-holds. However, voluntary submergence did result in slower pO2 depletion rates when compared to voluntary terrestrial apnoeas. The differences in whole body VO2 during breath-holds (measured at recovery) and venous pO2 (reflective of tissue O2-use measured during breath-holds), likely reflects metabolic suppression in hypoxic, vasoconstricted tissues. Consistent pCO2 values at the end of all voluntary breath-holds (59.0 ± 0.7 mmHg) suggests the physiological cue

  11. Development enhances hypometabolism in northern elephant seal pups (Mirounga angustirostris).

    PubMed

    Tift, Michael S; Ranalli, Elizabeth C; Houser, Dorian S; Ortiz, Rudy M; Crocker, Daniel E

    2013-10-01

    Investigation into the development of oxygen storage capacity in air-breathing marine predators has been performed, but little is known about the development of regulatory factors that influence oxygen utilization. Strategies for efficiently using oxygen stores should enable marine predators to optimize time spent foraging underwater.We describe the developmental patterns of oxygen use during voluntary breath-holds in northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) at 2 and 7 weeks post-weaning. We measured 1) changes in oxygen consumption (VO2), and 2) changes in venous pH, partial pressure of oxygen (pO2), haemoglobin saturation (sO2), oxygen content (O2ct), partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2), haematocrit (Hct) and total haemoglobin (tHb). To examine the effect of the dive response on the development of oxygen utilization, voluntary breath-hold experiments were conducted in and out of water.Suppression of VO2 during voluntary breath-holds increased significantly between 2 and 7 weeks post-weaning, reaching a maximum suppression of 53% below resting metabolic rate and 56% below Kleiber's standard metabolic rate. From 2 to 7 weeks post-weaning, breath-hold VO2 was reduced by 52%. Between the two age classes, this equates to a mean breath-hold VO2 reduction of 16% from resting VO2. Breath-hold VO2 also declined with increasing breath-hold duration, but there was no direct effect of voluntary submergence on reducing VO2.Age did not influence rates of venous pO2 depletion during breath-holds. However, voluntary submergence did result in slower pO2 depletion rates when compared to voluntary terrestrial apnoeas. The differences in whole body VO2 during breath-holds (measured at recovery) and venous pO2 (reflective of tissue O2-use measured during breath-holds), likely reflects metabolic suppression in hypoxic, vasoconstricted tissues.Consistent pCO2 values at the end of all voluntary breath-holds (59.0 ± 0.7 mmHg) suggests the physiological cue for stimulating

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

    PubMed

    Humphreys, Alan F; Tan, Jie; Peng, RongSheng; Benton, Susan M; Qin, Xiang; Worley, Kim C; Mikulski, Rose L; Chow, Dar-Chone; Palzkill, Timothy G; Ling, Paul D

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25658336

  13. Generation and Characterization of Antibodies against Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) IgG, IgM, and IgA

    PubMed Central

    Humphreys, Alan F.; Tan, Jie; Peng, RongSheng; Benton, Susan M.; Qin, Xiang; Worley, Kim C.; Mikulski, Rose L.; Chow, Dar-Chone; Palzkill, Timothy G.; Ling, Paul D.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25658336

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

    PubMed

    Smet, Anna F; Byrne, Richard W

    2014-07-01

    How do animals determine when others are able and disposed to receive their communicative signals? In particular, it is futile to make a silent gesture when the intended audience cannot see it. Some non-human primates use the head and body orientation of their audience to infer visual attentiveness when signalling, but whether species relying less on visual information use such cues when producing visual signals is unknown. Here, we test whether African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are sensitive to the visual perspective of a human experimenter. We examined whether the frequency of gestures of head and trunk, produced to request food, was influenced by indications of an experimenter's visual attention. Elephants signalled significantly more towards the experimenter when her face was oriented towards them, except when her body faced away from them. These results suggest that elephants understand the importance of visual attention for effective communication. PMID:25013015

  15. Hydrographic Description and Habitat use of Eddies by Northern Elephant Seals in the North East Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Costa, D. P.; Simmons, S.; Robinson, P.; Tremblay, Y.; Hassrick, J.; Walli, A.

    2006-12-01

    Northern elephant seals range widely over the North East Pacific Ocean. As part of the Tagging of Pacific Pelagics program we have followed the migratory patterns and habitat utilization of these animals. Habitat utilization has been defined by a combination of satellite remote sensing and animal bourn sensors. Previous work has shown that elephant seals forage around frontal systems and regions of high thermal gradients. Here we examine the foraging behavior of 4 elephant seals that were found to forage within eddies that formed along the coast of Southeastern Alaska (Haida & Sitka) and the Alaska Peninsula. Animal movements were observed using ARGOS locations and were correlated with eddies that were defined by satellite derived sea surface height anomaly data. All animals carried time depth and temperature sensors, while one animal carried a CTD instrument. We used these in situ data to examine the thermal profile of these eddies and the variation in the animals diving behavior as it migrated through the eddy.

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:21397564

  17. Clinical and historical aspects of the Elephant Man: exploring the facts and the myths.

    PubMed

    Huntley, Catherine; Hodder, Angus; Ramachandran, Manoj

    2015-01-15

    Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, presented to the Royal London Hospital in 1884 with an obscure condition that puzzled his contemporaries, and fascinates clinicians to this day. Throughout the 1900s, a number of theories were advanced to explain the numerous growths that covered his body: neurofibromatosis, Proteus syndrome, and a combination of childhood injury, fibrous dysplasia, and pyarthrosis. The debate continued throughout the 20th century without resolution. Today, new consensus on the genetic and clinical diagnosis of neurofibromatosis and Proteus syndrome has allowed advancements in the Elephant Man's diagnosis. Using recent clinical diagnostic criteria it is now possible to conclude that Joseph Merrick was in all likelihood suffering from Proteus syndrome. Nevertheless, details of his genotype remain unknown. Obtaining intact DNA from the Elephant Man's skeleton is challenging, yet it is possible that sequencing Merrick's genome could provide genetic confirmation of his clinical diagnosis, and shed light on the process of tumourigenesis. PMID:25280594

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

    Although neocortical neuronal morphology has been documented in the adult giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) and African elephant (Loxodonta africana), no research has explored the cortical architecture in newborns of these species. To this end, the current study examined the morphology of neurons from several cortical areas in the newborn giraffe and elephant. After cortical neurons were stained with a modified Golgi technique (N = 153), dendritic branching and spine distributions were analyzed by using computer-assisted morphometry. The results showed that newborn elephant neurons were considerably larger in terms of all dendritic and spine measures than newborn giraffe neurons. Qualitatively, neurons in the newborns appeared morphologically comparable to those in their adult counterparts. Neurons in the newborn elephant differed considerably from those observed in other placental mammals, including the giraffe, particularly with regard to the morphology of spiny projection neurons. Projection neurons were observed in both species, with a much larger variety in the elephant (e.g., flattened pyramidal, nonpyramidal multipolar, and inverted pyramidal neurons). Although local circuit neurons (i.e., interneurons, neurogliaform, Cajal-Retzius neurons) resembled those observed in other eutherian mammals, these were usually spiny, which contrasts with their adult, aspiny equivalents. Newborn projection neurons were smaller than the adult equivalents in both species, but newborn interneurons were approximately the same size as their adult counterparts. Cortical neuromorphology in the newborn giraffe is thus generally consistent with what has been observed in other cetartiodactyls, whereas newborn and adult elephant morphology appears to deviate substantially from what is commonly observed in other placental mammals. PMID:26104263

  19. Birth seasonality and calf mortality in a large population of Asian elephants

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    In seasonal environments, many species concentrate their reproduction in the time of year most likely to maximize offspring survival. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) inhabit regions with seasonal climate, but females can still experience 16-week reproductive cycles throughout the year. Whether female elephants nevertheless concentrate births on periods with maximum offspring survival prospects remains unknown. We investigated the seasonal timing of births, and effects of birth month on short- and long-term mortality of Asian elephants, using a unique demographic data set of 2350 semicaptive, longitudinally monitored logging elephants from Myanmar experiencing seasonal variation in both workload and environmental conditions. Our results show variation in birth rate across the year, with 41% of births occurring between December and March. This corresponds to the cool, dry period and the beginning of the hot season, and to conceptions occurring during the resting, nonlogging period between February and June. Giving birth during the peak December to March period improves offspring survival, as the odds for survival between age 1 and 5 years are 44% higher for individuals born during the high birth rate period than those conceived during working months. Our results suggest that seasonal conditions, most likely maternal workload and/or climate, limit conception rate and calf survival in this population through effects on maternal stress, estrus cycles, or access to mates. This has implications for improving the birth rate and infant survival in captive populations by limiting workload of females of reproductive age. As working populations are currently unsustainable and supplemented through the capture of wild elephants, it is imperative to the conservation of Asian elephants to understand and alleviate the effects of seasonal conditions on vital rates in the working population in order to reduce the pressure for further capture from the wild. PMID:24198940

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  2. Implementing immunocontraception in free-ranging African elephants at Makalali conservancy.

    PubMed

    Delsink, A K; van Altena, J J; Grobler, D; Bertschinger, H J; Kirkpatrick, J F; Slotow, R

    2007-03-01

    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-term management 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. PMID:17665762

  3. Molecular population genetics of the southern elephant seal Mirounga leonina.

    PubMed Central

    Slade, R W; Moritz, C; Hoelzel, A R; Burton, H R

    1998-01-01

    Southern elephant seals breed on sub-Antarctic islands and have a circumpolar distribution. We assayed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and nuclear DNA (nDNA) variation in the three main populations in the south Atlantic, south Indian, and south Pacific oceans, and a smaller continental population in South America. Population structure of mtDNA was strong and not consistent with isolation by distance. The nDNA loci, although less informative, were consistent with the mtDNA results. Geographic structure appears to be dominated by historical processes, not contemporary gene flow. Uncorrected levels of nucleotide diversity for mtDNA control region I (2.86%) and nDNA (0.09%) were similar to those in humans and mice. Mutation rates for control region I (75 x 10(-9) substitutions per site per year) and nDNA (1.23 x 10(-9)) were similar to those in other mammals. Female effective population size and total effective population size were roughly equal at approximately 4 x 10(4), indicating a twofold greater rate of drift for mtDNA. Effective breeding sex ratio of four to five females per male was estimated from nucleotide diversity and mutation rates for mtDNA and nDNA, and was much less than behavioral observations would suggest. There was no evidence for selection at any of the assayed loci. PMID:9691049

  4. Leadership in elephants: the adaptive value of age

    PubMed Central

    McComb, Karen; Shannon, Graeme; Durant, Sarah M.; Sayialel, Katito; Slotow, Rob; Poole, Joyce; Moss, Cynthia

    2011-01-01

    The value of age is well recognized in human societies, where older individuals often emerge as leaders in tasks requiring specialized knowledge, but what part do such individuals play in other social species? Despite growing interest in how effective leadership might be achieved in animal social systems, the specific role that older leaders may play in decision-making has rarely been experimentally investigated. Here, we use a novel playback paradigm to demonstrate that in African elephants (Loxodonta africana), age affects the ability of matriarchs to make ecologically relevant decisions in a domain critical to survival—the assessment of predatory threat. While groups consistently adjust their defensive behaviour to the greater threat of three roaring lions versus one, families with younger matriarchs typically under-react to roars from male lions despite the severe danger they represent. Sensitivity to this key threat increases with matriarch age and is greatest for the oldest matriarchs, who are likely to have accumulated the most experience. Our study provides the first empirical evidence that individuals within a social group may derive significant benefits from the influence of an older leader because of their enhanced ability to make crucial decisions about predatory threat, generating important insights into selection for longevity in cognitively advanced social mammals. PMID:21411454

  5. ASTER Observations of the Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bleiweiss, M.; Schmugge, T.

    2005-12-01

    Since the launch of NASA's Terra satellite in December 1999 the ASTER instrument has made more that 2 dozen of observations of the Elephant Butte Reservoir located on the Rio Grande river in central New Mexico. The first observations were in June 2000 and the most recent were in May 2005. This period includes low water levels resulting from the the recent drought conditions and the earlier full high water conditions in 2000. There was about a 30 m change in water level during this time. The area of the reservoir was estimated for each of these scenes and compared the with known water levels. The ASTER data were the Level 2 products which include both the visible reflectance and the thermal infrared (surface temperature). Both spectral regions provide good contrasts between water and surrounding land. This contrast makes the area estimation straightforward. there was a large range in surface water area observed from 30,000 km*2 to more than 75,000 km*2. An approximately linear relation between area and water level was found.

  6. Exposure history of the lunar meteorite, Elephant Moraine 87521

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vogt, S.; Herzog, G. F.; Eugster, O.; Michel, TH.; Niedermann, S.; Kraehenbuhl, U.; Middleton, R.; Dezfouly-Arjomandy, B.; Fink, D.; Klein, J.

    1993-01-01

    We report the noble gas concentrations and the Al-26, Be-10, Cl-36, and Ca-41 activities of the Antarctic lunar meteorite Elephant Moraine 87521. Although the actual exposure history of the meteorite may have been more complex, the following model history accounts satisfactorily for the cosmogenic nuclide data: A first stage of lunar irradiation for about 1 Ma at a depth of 1-5 g/sq cm followed, not necessarily directly, by a second one for 26 Ma at about 565 g/sq cm; launch from the moon less than 0.1 Ma ago; and arrival on earth 15-50 ka ago. The small concentration of trapped gases shows that except for some material that may have been introduced at the moment of launch, EET 87521 spent less than 1 Ma at a lunar depth less than 1 g/sq cm. EET 87521 has a K/Ar age in the range 3.0-3.4 Ga, which is typical for lunar mare basalts.

  7. Of Penguins, Pinnipeds, and Poisons: Anesthesia on Elephant Island.

    PubMed

    Firth, Paul G

    2016-07-01

    Although Ernest Shackleton's Endurance Antarctic expedition of 1914 to 1916 is a famous epic of survival, the medical achievements of the two expedition doctors have received little formal examination. Marooned on Elephant Island after the expedition ship sank, Drs. Macklin and McIlroy administered a chloroform anesthetic to crew member Perce Blackborow to amputate his frostbitten toes. As the saturated vapor pressure of chloroform at 0°C is 71.5 mmHg and the minimum alveolar concentration is 0.5% of sea-level atmospheric pressure (3.8 mmHg), it would have been feasible to induce anesthesia at a low temperature. However, given the potentially lethal hazards of a light chloroform anesthetic, an adequate and constant depth of anesthesia was essential. The pharmacokinetics of the volatile anesthetic, administered via the open-drop technique in the frigid environment, would have been unfamiliar to the occasional anesthetist. To facilitate vaporization of the chloroform, the team burned penguin skins and seal blubber under overturned lifeboats to increase the ambient temperature from -0.5° to 26.6°C. Chloroform degrades with heat to chlorine and phosgene, but buildup of these poisonous gases did not occur due to venting of the confined space by the stove chimney. The anesthetic went well, and the patient-and all the ship's crew-survived to return home. PMID:27148920

  8. Swimming speed and foraging strategies of northern elephant seals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hassrick, Jason L.; Crocker, Daniel E.; Zeno, Ramona L.; Blackwell, Susanna B.; Costa, Daniel P.; Le Boeuf, Burney J.

    2007-02-01

    We investigated swimming speed, a key variable in both the management of oxygen stores and foraging strategies, and its relationship to diving behaviour in northern elephant seals , Mirounga angustirostris. Swimming speed significantly reduced the dive duration and time at depth for presumed foraging dives, but increased with dive depth. This suggests that the extended duration of deep dives is made possible by physiological adjustments and not by changes in swimming speed or effort. Swimming speeds were similar across sex and age classes despite different predicted minimum cost of transport speeds. All seals exhibited characteristic dive shapes and swimming speed patterns that support their putative functions, but two-dimensional dive shapes and swimming angles varied between sexes and age classes. Mean dive angles on descent were markedly shallow, suggesting use of negative buoyancy to cover horizontal distance while diving. Buoyancy also appeared to affect two-dimensional dive shapes and ability to use extended gliding behaviours between surface and deep foraging zones. Significant differences in diving behaviour between sexes and between young and adult females were evident for various phases of the dive cycle, potentially resulting from physical constraints or differences in dive functionality.

  9. Leadership in elephants: the adaptive value of age.

    PubMed

    McComb, Karen; Shannon, Graeme; Durant, Sarah M; Sayialel, Katito; Slotow, Rob; Poole, Joyce; Moss, Cynthia

    2011-11-01

    The value of age is well recognized in human societies, where older individuals often emerge as leaders in tasks requiring specialized knowledge, but what part do such individuals play in other social species? Despite growing interest in how effective leadership might be achieved in animal social systems, the specific role that older leaders may play in decision-making has rarely been experimentally investigated. Here, we use a novel playback paradigm to demonstrate that in African elephants (Loxodonta africana), age affects the ability of matriarchs to make ecologically relevant decisions in a domain critical to survival-the assessment of predatory threat. While groups consistently adjust their defensive behaviour to the greater threat of three roaring lions versus one, families with younger matriarchs typically under-react to roars from male lions despite the severe danger they represent. Sensitivity to this key threat increases with matriarch age and is greatest for the oldest matriarchs, who are likely to have accumulated the most experience. Our study provides the first empirical evidence that individuals within a social group may derive significant benefits from the influence of an older leader because of their enhanced ability to make crucial decisions about predatory threat, generating important insights into selection for longevity in cognitively advanced social mammals. PMID:21411454

  10. Birth-death branching models. Application to African elephant populations.

    PubMed

    Corbacho, Casimiro; Molina, Manuel; Mota, Manuel; Ramos, Alfonso

    2013-09-01

    Branching models have a long history of biological applications, particularly in population dynamics. In this work, our interest is the development of mathematical models to describe the demographic dynamics of socially structured animal populations, focusing our attention on lineages, usually matrilines, as the basic structure in the population. Significant efforts have been made to develop models based on the assumption that all individuals behave identically with respect to reproduction. However, the reproduction phase has a large random component that involves not only demographic but also environmental factors that change across range distribution of species. In the present work, we introduce new classes of birth-death branching models which take such factors into account. We assume that both, the offspring probability distribution and the death probabilities may be different in each generation, changing either predictably or unpredictably in relation to habitat features. We consider the genealogical tree generated by observation of the process until a pre-set generation. We determine the probability distributions of the random variables representing the number of dead or living individuals having at least one ancestor alive, living individuals whose ancestors are all dead, and dead individuals whose ancestors are all dead, explicitly obtaining their principal moments. Also, we derive the probability distributions corresponding to the partial and total numbers of such biological variables, obtaining in particular the distribution of the total number of matriarchs in the genealogical tree. We apply the proposed models to describe the demographic dynamics of African elephant populations living in different habitats. PMID:23648183

  11. Elephant shark genome provides unique insights into gnathostome evolution

    PubMed Central

    Venkatesh, Byrappa; Lee, Alison P.; Ravi, Vydianathan; Maurya, Ashish K.; Lian, Michelle M.; Swann, Jeremy B.; Ohta, Yuko; Flajnik, Martin F.; Sutoh, Yoichi; Kasahara, Masanori; Hoon, Shawn; Gangu, Vamshidhar; Roy, Scott W.; Irimia, Manuel; Korzh, Vladimir; Kondrychyn, Igor; Lim, Zhi Wei; Tay, Boon-Hui; Tohari, Sumanty; Kong, Kiat Whye; Ho, Shufen; Lorente-Galdos, Belen; Quilez, Javier; Marques-Bonet, Tomas; Raney, Brian J.; Ingham, Philip W.; Tay, Alice; Hillier, LaDeana W.; Minx, Patrick; Boehm, Thomas; Wilson, Richard K.; Brenner, Sydney; Warren, Wesley C.

    2014-01-01

    The emergence of jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes) from jawless vertebrates was accompanied by major morphological and physiological innovations, such as hinged jaws, paired fins and immunoglobulin-based adaptive immunity. Gnathostomes subsequently diverged into two groups, the cartilaginous fishes and the bony vertebrates. Here we report the whole-genome analysis of a cartilaginous fish, the elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii). We find that the C. milii genome is the slowest evolving of all known vertebrates, including the ‘living fossil’ coelacanth, and features extensive synteny conservation with tetrapod genomes, making it a good model for comparative analyses of gnathostome genomes. Our functional studies suggest that the lack of genes encoding secreted calcium-binding phosphoproteins in cartilaginous fishes explains the absence of bone in their endoskeleton. Furthermore, the adaptive immune system of cartilaginous fishes is unusual: it lacks the canonical CD4 co-receptor and most transcription factors, cytokines and cytokine receptors related to the CD4 lineage, despite the presence of polymorphic major histocompatibility complex class II molecules. It thus presents a new model for understanding the origin of adaptive immunity. PMID:24402279

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  14. Eccrine carcinoma in the foot of an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Grabarević, Zeljko; Kurilj, Andrea Gudan; Hohsteter, Marko; Artuković, Branka; Hinke-Bruckmann, Angelica; Dzaja, Petar; Hutinec, Zdenka; Seiwerth, Sven; Bata, Ingeborg

    2013-12-01

    A case of eccrine carcinoma of the interdigital foot glands in a 39-yr-old female Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) from Zagreb Zoo is described. The tumor between the toenails of the right forefoot was surgically removed 3 yr before postmortem examination (2003), and the histopathologic diagnosis was compound eccrine carcinoma characterized with glandular tubular and papillary proliferations, mild cellular pleomorphism, proliferation of the myoepithelial cells with mucoid secretions, and necrosis. Immunohistochemistry revealed strong immunoreactivity to S-100 protein, estrogen, and high-molecular weight cytokeratin. This elephant also had chronic renal fibrosis with uremia. PMID:24450067

  15. A Bioenergetics Approach to Understanding the Population Consequences of Disturbance: Elephant Seals as a Model System.

    PubMed

    Costa, Daniel P; Schwarz, Lisa; Robinson, Patrick; Schick, Robert S; Morris, Patricia A; Condit, Richard; Crocker, Daniel E; Kilpatrick, A Marm

    2016-01-01

    Using long-term empirical data, we developed a complete population consequences of acoustic disturbance (PCAD) model and application for northern elephant seals. We assumed that the animals would not successfully forage while in a 100-km-diameter disturbance region within their foraging and transit paths. The decrease in lipid gain due to exposure was then translated to changes in birth rate and pup survival. Given their large foraging range, elephant seals were resilient to such a disturbance, showing no population-level effects. However, similar track analysis showed that given their more coastal nature, California sea lions were within a 25-km-diameter region of disturbance more often. PMID:26610956

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

    PubMed

    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

  17. BASELINE LEVELS OF TRACE METALS IN BLOOD OF CAPTIVE ASIAN ELEPHANTS (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS)

    PubMed Central

    Wiedner, Ellen B.; Takeuchi, Noel Y.; Isaza, Ramiro; Barber, David

    2013-01-01

    Whole blood from 33 healthy captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) was analyzed for 12 trace elements: aluminum, chromium, manganese, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, arsenic, selenium, cadmium, mercury, and lead for the purpose of estimating preliminary baseline population parameters for these minerals. Metals were quantified by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy. Baseline ranges for all animals and for all trace elements were comparable to normal concentrations reported in other species. This is the first report of normal trace element levels in the blood of captive elephants. PMID:22946424

  18. Ligament of the head of the femur in the orangutan and Indian elephant.

    PubMed Central

    Crelin, E. S.

    1988-01-01

    A literature search revealed that for over 100 years there has been a consensus that the ligament of the head of the femur (LHF) is absent in the orangutan and elephant. A dissection of the hip joints of an adult orangutan and an adult Indian elephant exposed, in each joint, a robust LHF that is functionally important. These LHFs are easily overlooked during a cursory examination of the hip joints because of the way they differ from the human LHF. Images FIG. 1 FIG. 2 FIG. 3 FIG. 4 FIG. 5 FIG. 6 PMID:3201784

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:24698789

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

    The Asian elephant Elephas maximus and the African elephant Loxodonta africana that diverged 5-7 million years ago exhibit differences in their physiology, behaviour and morphology. A comparative genomics approach would be useful and necessary for evolutionary and functional genetic studies of elephants. We performed sequencing of E. maximus and map to L. africana at ~15X coverage. Through comparative sequence analyses, we have identified Asian elephant specific homozygous, non-synonymous single nucleotide variants (SNVs) that map to 1514 protein coding genes, many of which are involved in olfaction. We also present the first report of a high-coverage transcriptome sequence in E. maximus from peripheral blood lymphocytes. We have identified 103 novel protein coding transcripts and 66-long non-coding (lnc)RNAs. We also report the presence of 181 protein domains unique to elephants when compared to other Afrotheria species. Each of these findings can be further investigated to gain a better understanding of functional differences unique to elephant species, as well as those unique to elephantids in comparison with other mammals. This work therefore provides a valuable resource to explore the immense research potential of comparative analyses of transcriptome and genome sequences in the Asian elephant. PMID:26648035

  1. Frozen elephant trunk surgery—the Bologna’s experience

    PubMed Central

    Pantaleo, Antonio; Murana, Giacomo; Pellicciari, Giovanni; Castrovinci, Sebastiano; Berretta, Paolo; Folesani, Gianluca; Di Bartolomeo, Roberto

    2013-01-01

    Background Different approaches are available to treat patients with complex and extensive diseases of the thoracic aorta. This study aims to report and comment on our experience with the frozen elephant trunk (FET) technique. Methods Between January 2007 and July 2012, 122 patients (male: 86.9%; mean age: 61 years) underwent extensive thoracic aorta surgery using the FET approach with an E-vita open prosthesis. The most frequent indications for surgery included residual type A chronic dissection (45.9%), extensive degenerative aneurysm of the thoracic aorta (27%), and type A acute aortic dissection (7.4%). Sixty-nine patients had already undergone cardiac/aortic interventions through a median sternotomy. A total of 60 associated procedures were performed, with 76.6% on the aortic root. Selective antegrade cerebral perfusion and moderate hypothermia were used in all cases. Results Overall, hospital mortality was 15.2%. Post-operatively, 7.4% and 9.0% of patients were complicated by permanent neurologic dysfunction and spinal cord injury, respectively. For the surviving patients, 1- and 3-year freedom from all-cause mortality was (91.7±2.8)% and (79.1±6.1)%, respectively. 1- and 3-year freedom from re-intervention was (83.1±3.5)% and (74.1±4.3)%, respectively. Conclusions In our experience, FET surgery allowed treatment of complex patients with extensive thoracic aortic diseases with satisfactory short- and mid-term results. Acute and chronic dissections represent interesting subsets for FET application. While further larger and longer-term studies are required to show the survival benefits of the FET technique versus other types of management, new strategies for spinal cord injury (paraplegia/paraparesis) reduction should also be researched. PMID:24109567

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    For more than three decades, foot and musculoskeletal conditions have been documented among both Asian [Elephas maximus] and African [Loxodonta africana] elephants in zoos. Although environmental factors have been hypothesized to play a contributing role in the development of foot and musculoskeletal pathology, there is a paucity of evidence-based research assessing risk. We investigated the associations between foot and musculoskeletal health conditions with demographic characteristics, space, flooring, exercise, enrichment, and body condition for elephants housed in North American zoos during 2012. Clinical examinations and medical records were used to assess health indicators and provide scores to quantitate conditions. Using multivariable regression models, associations were found between foot health and age [P value = 0.076; Odds Ratio = 1.018], time spent on hard substrates [P value = 0.022; Odds Ratio = 1.014], space experienced during the night [P value = 0.041; Odds Ratio = 1.008], and percent of time spent in indoor/outdoor exhibits during the day [P value < 0.001; Odds Ratio = 1.003]. Similarly, the main risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders included time on hard substrate [P value = 0.002; Odds Ratio = 1.050] and space experienced in indoor/outdoor exhibits [P value = 0.039; Odds Ratio = 1.037]. These results suggest that facility and management changes that decrease time spent on hard substrates will improve elephant welfare through better foot and musculoskeletal health. PMID:27415763

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    For more than three decades, foot and musculoskeletal conditions have been documented among both Asian [Elephas maximus] and African [Loxodonta africana] elephants in zoos. Although environmental factors have been hypothesized to play a contributing role in the development of foot and musculoskeletal pathology, there is a paucity of evidence-based research assessing risk. We investigated the associations between foot and musculoskeletal health conditions with demographic characteristics, space, flooring, exercise, enrichment, and body condition for elephants housed in North American zoos during 2012. Clinical examinations and medical records were used to assess health indicators and provide scores to quantitate conditions. Using multivariable regression models, associations were found between foot health and age [P value = 0.076; Odds Ratio = 1.018], time spent on hard substrates [P value = 0.022; Odds Ratio = 1.014], space experienced during the night [P value = 0.041; Odds Ratio = 1.008], and percent of time spent in indoor/outdoor exhibits during the day [P value < 0.001; Odds Ratio = 1.003]. Similarly, the main risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders included time on hard substrate [P value = 0.002; Odds Ratio = 1.050] and space experienced in indoor/outdoor exhibits [P value = 0.039; Odds Ratio = 1.037]. These results suggest that facility and management changes that decrease time spent on hard substrates will improve elephant welfare through better foot and musculoskeletal health. PMID:27415763

  4. Assigning African elephant DNA to geographic region of origin: Applications to the ivory trade

    PubMed Central

    Wasser, Samuel K.; Shedlock, Andrew M.; Comstock, Kenine; Ostrander, Elaine A.; Mutayoba, Benezeth; Stephens, Matthew

    2004-01-01

    Resurgence of illicit trade in African elephant ivory is placing the elephant at renewed risk. Regulation of this trade could be vastly improved by the ability to verify the geographic origin of tusks. We address this need by developing a combined genetic and statistical method to determine the origin of poached ivory. Our statistical approach exploits a smoothing method to estimate geographic-specific allele frequencies over the entire African elephants' range for 16 microsatellite loci, using 315 tissue and 84 scat samples from forest (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) and savannah (Loxodonta africana africana) elephants at 28 locations. These geographic-specific allele frequency estimates are used to infer the geographic origin of DNA samples, such as could be obtained from tusks of unknown origin. We demonstrate that our method alleviates several problems associated with standard assignment methods in this context, and the absolute accuracy of our method is high. Continent-wide, 50% of samples were located within 500 km, and 80% within 932 km of their actual place of origin. Accuracy varied by region (median accuracies: West Africa, 135 km; Central Savannah, 286 km; Central Forest, 411 km; South, 535 km; and East, 697 km). In some cases, allele frequencies vary considerably over small geographic regions, making much finer discriminations possible and suggesting that resolution could be further improved by collection of samples from locations not represented in our study. PMID:15459317

  5. Engaging the Racial Elephant: How Leadership on Racial Literacy Improves Schools

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Coleman, Sherry; Stevenson, Howard C.

    2014-01-01

    When it comes to diversity work in independent schools--especially regarding race--the research makes it clear that there is one very large and rather noisy elephant in most independent schools. If not acknowledged and addressed, it will keep schools from fulfilling not only their diversity missions but also their overall missions--especially…

  6. Encounters with Insignificance in Teaching and Learning: Gus Van Sant's "Elephant"

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sandlos, Karyn

    2009-01-01

    This article explores how a curriculum of film becomes organized by the teacher's worries about what film may open up in class. The author focuses on her own worries about showing Gus Van Sant's (2003) film, "Elephant," an elliptical and dreamlike study of the murders in 1999 of twelve students and a teacher at Columbine High School, to a class of…

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-09-01

    Over the last few decades, rhinoceroses and elephants became important icons in the saga of wildlife conservation. Recent surveys estimate the wild Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephant populations to be, at most, 50 250 and 637 600 respectively. For the five rhinoceros species, black (Diceros bicornis), white (Ceratotherium simum), Indian (Rhinoceros unicornis), Javan (Rhinoceros sondaicus) and Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus Sumatrensis), the population estimates of 3610, 11 330, 2400, 60 and 300, respectively, are of even greater concern. Protected against habitat loss, poaching and left undisturbed, rhinoceros and elephants reproduce well in the wild. But small and decreasing populations make successful captive management of these taxa increasingly important. In captivity, however, most populations face possible 'extinction' because of historically poor reproductive performance. From the first descriptions of the reproductive anatomy and the oestrous cycle (Laws 1969; Kassam and Lasley 1981; Balke et al. 1988a,b; Plotka et al. 1988; Godfrey et al. 1991) to the present use of advanced assisted reproduction technologies, researchers have strive to understand the function and dysfunction of the reproductive biology of these charismatic species. This paper reviewed the current knowledge on rhinoceros and elephant reproduction biology, reproductive cycle, gestation, dystocia, reproductive pathology, oestrous induction and artificial insemination, sperm sexing, IVF and contraception, and how this knowledge is or might be used to aid species conservation for maximal reproductive efficiency and enhancement of genetic management. PMID:17688600

  8. Using Elephant's Toothpaste as an Engaging and Flexible Curriculum Alignment Project

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Eldridge, Daniel S.

    2015-01-01

    There is an increasing focus across all educational sectors to ensure that learning objectives are aligned with learning activities and assessments. An attractive approach previously published is that of curriculum alignment projects. This paper discusses the use of the fun and famous "Elephant's Toothpaste" experiment as a customizable…

  9. Abandonment of the name Elephant Canyon Formation in southeastern Utah: Physical and temporal implications

    SciTech Connect

    Loope, D.B. ); Sanderson, G.A. ); Verville, G.J.

    1990-10-01

    At its type locality near the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers, the Elephant Canyon Formation consists of about 1,000 ft (310 m) of cyclically interbedded sandstones, limestones, and shales. The base of the formation was previously interpreted as an angular unconformity, with Wolfcampian (Lower Permian) strata resting directly on a Missourian (lower Upper Pennsylvanian) sequence composed of similar-appearing strata called the Honaker Trail Formation. The authors however, have traced individual strata within the lower Elephant Canyon and upper Honaker Trail and have found no evidence of the angular unconformity that supposedly defines their contact. After recollecting the type section of the Elephant Canyon, they found faunal evidence indicating that the lower 450 ft (138 m) of the formation is uppermost Pennsylvanian (Virgilian) in age rather than Permian (Wolfcampian). Owing to the illusory nature of the angular unconformity and the lack of biostratigraphic evidence for a major stratigraphic break at the base of the type section, they are here abandoning Elephant Canyon Formation and reinstating the pre-1962, lithostratigraphically-based terminology. Until better physical correlations between the type locality of the Rico Formation and the Canyonlands area are available, they recommend the informal term lower Cutler beds rather than Rico Formation for the rocks below the Cedar Mesa Sandstone and above the upper member of the Hermosa Formation. In addition, interpretations of the origin and history of the Meander Anticline based on the existence of an angular unconformity within the upper Paleozoic strata of the study area must be modified.

  10. TUBERCULOSIS IN ELEPHANTS: AN UPDATE ON DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT; IMPLICATIONS FOR CONTROL IN RANGE COUNTRIES

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Tuberculosis has been detected in captive elephants in the U.S. and Europe (Lewerin 2005; Mikota 2000, 2001; Moller 2005). Culture of samples collected by a trunk wash procedure is the current method of diagnosis. Culture has inherent limitations as a primary diagnostic technique. Failure to isol...

  11. Asteroid Lightcurve Analysis at Elephant Head Observatory: 2012 November - 2013 April

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alkema, Michael S.

    2013-07-01

    Thirteen asteroids were observed from Elephant Head Observatory from 2012 November to 2013 April: the main-belt asteroids 227 Philosophia, 331 Etheridgea, 577 Rhea, 644 Cosima, 850 Altona, 906 Repsolda, 964 Subamara, 973 Aralia, 1016 Anitra, 1024 Hale, 2034 Bernoulli, 2556 Louise, and Jupiter Trojan 3063 Makhaon.

  12. Diurnal and nocturnal activity budgets of zoo elephants in an outdoor facility.

    PubMed

    Horback, Kristina M; Miller, Lance J; Andrews, Jeff R M; Kuczaj, Stan A

    2014-01-01

    The present study examined the activity budgets of 15 African elephants (1 bull, 6 cows, 2 male juveniles, 2 female juveniles, and 4 male calves) living at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park during the summers of 2010 and 2011. Onsite behavioral data (n = 600 hr) were collected for approximately 12 weeks from 0400 to 0830 and 1100 to 2400 during the 2010 and 2011 summer season. Foraging was the most common behavior state during the day followed by resting, and walking. During the evening hours, the elephants spent majority of their time foraging, resting, and sleeping. The average rate of self-maintenance behavior events (dust, wallow, etc.) increased from 0600 to 0700, 1100 to 1500, and from 1700 to 1900. Positive social behavior events (touch other, play, etc.) remained high from 0500 to 2300, with peaks at 0600, 1300, 1500, and 1900. Negative social events occurred at low rates throughout the day and night, with peaks at 0600, 1900, and 2200. The majority of positive behavior events during the daylight and nighttime hours involved the mother-calf pairs. Furthermore, the calves and juveniles initiated approximately 60% of all social events during the daytime and 57% of all social interactions at night. The results of this study demonstrate the differences between diurnal and nocturnal activity budgets of a multi-age and sex elephant herd in a zoological facility, which highlights the importance of managing elephants to meet their 24 hr behavioral needs. PMID:25113850

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:20797354

  14. An epidemiological approach to welfare research in zoos: the Elephant Welfare Project.

    PubMed

    Carlstead, Kathy; Mench, Joy A; Meehan, Cheryl; Brown, Janine L

    2013-01-01

    Multi-institutional studies of welfare have proven to be valuable in zoos but are hampered by limited sample sizes and difficulty in evaluating more than just a few welfare indicators. To more clearly understand how interactions of husbandry factors influence the interrelationships among welfare outcomes, epidemiological approaches are needed as well as multifactorial assessments of welfare. Many questions have been raised about the housing and care of elephants in zoos and whether their environmental and social needs are being met in a manner that promotes good welfare. This article describes the background and rationale for a large-scale study of elephant welfare in North American zoos funded by the (U.S.) Institute of Museum and Library Services. The goals of this project are to document the prevalence of positive and negative welfare states in 291 elephants exhibited in 72 Association of Zoos and Aquariums zoos and then determine the environmental, management, and husbandry factors that impact elephant welfare. This research is the largest scale nonhuman animal welfare project ever undertaken by the zoo community, and the scope of environmental variables and welfare outcomes measured is unprecedented. PMID:24079487

  15. Predicting body weight from body measurements in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Hile, M E; Hintz, H F; Erb, H N

    1997-12-01

    Accurate estimates of body weight can be useful in the evaluations of feeding programs, nutritional status and general health, and in calculation of dose levels (such as for anesthesia)-thus providing a valuable tool for captive elephant management. We used body measurements of 75 Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to predict body weight. Weight, heart girth, height at the withers, body length, and foot-pad circumference were measured. All possible linear regressions of weight on one, two, three, or four body measurements were calculated. The highest correlation with a single measurement was that between heart girth and weight (R2 = 0.90). The data were also divided into age groups (1-13, 18-28, 29-39, and 40-57 yr), and all possible linear regressions were calculated for each group (there were no elephants aged 14-17 yr). Adding body length or pad circumference to heart girth resulted in a slight increase in R2. We conclude that body weight in Asian elephants can be predicted from body measurements and that heart girth is the best predictor. A second body measurement might improve predictive accuracy for some age groups. PMID:9523637

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:23413007

  17. Sex-specific foraging strategies and resource partitioning in the southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina)

    PubMed Central

    Lewis, Rebecca; O'Connell, Tamsin C; Lewis, Mirtha; Campagna, Claudio; Hoelzel, A. Rus

    2006-01-01

    The evolution of resource specializations is poorly understood, especially in marine systems. The southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) is the largest of the phocid seals, sexually dimorphic, and thought to prey predominantly on fish and squid. We collected vibrissae from male and female southern elephant seals, and assessed stable C and N isotope ratios along the length of the vibrissae. Given that whiskers grow slowly, this sampling strategy reflects any variation in feeding behaviour over a period of time. We found that isotopic variation among females was relatively small, and that the apparent prey choice and trophic level of females was different from that for males. Further, males showed a very broad range of trophic/prey choice positions, grouped into several clusters, and this included isotopic values too low to match a broad range of potential fish and cephalopod prey tested. One of these clusters overlapped with data for South American sea lions (Otaria flavescens), which were measured for comparison. Both male southern elephant seals and southern sea lions forage over the continental shelf, providing the potential for competition. We discuss the possibility that individual southern elephant seals are pursuing specialist foraging strategies to avoid competition, both with one another, and with the South American sea lions that breed nearby. PMID:17015314

  18. Successful foraging zones of southern elephant seals from the Kerguelen Islands in relation to oceanographic conditions.

    PubMed

    Bailleul, Frédéric; Charrassin, Jean-Benoît; Monestiez, Pascal; Roquet, Fabien; Biuw, Martin; Guinet, Christophe

    2007-11-29

    Southern elephant seals, Mirounga leonina, undertake large-scale oceanic movements to access favourable foraging areas. Successful foraging areas of elephant seals from the Kerguelen Islands are investigated here in relation to oceanographic parameters. Movements and diving activity of the seals as well as oceanographic data were collected through a new generation of satellite relayed devices measuring and transmitting locations, pressure, temperature and salinity. For the first time, we have associated foraging behaviour, determined by high increased sinuosity in tracks, and dive density (i.e. number of dives performed per kilometre covered), and changes in body condition, determined by variations in drift rate obtained from drift dives, to identify the oceanographic conditions of successful foraging zones for this species. Two main sectors, one close to the Antarctic continent and the other along the Polar Front (PF), where both foraging activity and body condition increase, seem to be of particular interest for the seals. Within these regions, some seals tended to focus their foraging activity on zones with particular temperature signatures. Along the Antarctic continent, some seals targeted colder waters on the sea bottom during benthic dives, while at the PF the favourable zones tended to be warmer. The possible negative effect of colder waters in Antarctic on the swimming performances of potential fish or squid prey could explain the behaviour of elephant seals in these zones, while warmer waters within the PF could correspond to the optimal conditions for potential myctophid prey of elephant seals. PMID:17472917

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:20033989

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    PubMed

    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

  2. Northern elephant seal platelets: analysis of shape change and response to platelet agonists.

    PubMed

    Field, C L; Walker, N J; Tablin, F

    2001-02-15

    Blood platelets have a vital role in the maintenance of normal mammalian hemostasis. Rapid pressure changes and temperatures lower than 20 degrees C cause activation of human and terrestrial mammal platelets. Elephant seals are routinely subjected to pressures as high as 150 atm, yet do not suffer from the thrombotic effects of platelet activation associated with rapid decompression. We examined the ultrastructure of Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) platelets and their functional and morphological response to various platelet agonists. Unstimulated elephant seal platelets are discoid cells, with a microtubule coil, randomly dispersed alpha and dense granules, and glycogen granules. There are well-defined areas of membranous invaginations that indicate the presence of an open canalicular system (OCS). Aggregometry was used to determine the response of elephant seal platelets to various platelet agonists. Dose-dependent curves were generated for thrombin, collagen, and adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Platelet response to thrombin was dose-dependent and was maximal at 2.5 U/ml. Platelets collected in sodium citrate had blunted responses to both ADP and collagen. ADP stimulation caused only reversible, primary activation (shape change) at > or = 5 microM, while platelets did not aggregate in response to any concentration of collagen. Platelets collected in sodium heparin did respond fully to both to ADP and collagen. There was small, reversible shape change in response to ristocetin, but no response to epinephrine. Decreased sensitivity of elephant seal platelets to agonists may be a protective mechanism developed in response to rapid pressure changes and cold temperatures associated with adaptation to an extreme environment. PMID:11248288

  3. Range-wide mtDNA phylogeography yields insights into the origins of Asian elephants.

    PubMed

    Vidya, T N C; Sukumar, Raman; Melnick, Don J

    2009-03-01

    Recent phylogeographic studies of the endangered Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) reveal two highly divergent mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages, an elucidation of which is central to understanding the species's evolution. Previous explanations for the divergent clades include introgression of mtDNA haplotypes between ancestral species, allopatric divergence of the clades between Sri Lanka or the Sunda region and the mainland, historical trade of elephants, and retention of divergent lineages due to large population sizes. However, these studies lacked data from India and Myanmar, which host approximately 70 per cent of all extant Asian elephants. In this paper, we analyse mtDNA sequence data from 534 Asian elephants across the species's range to explain the current distribution of the two divergent clades. Based on phylogenetic reconstructions, estimates of times of origin of clades, probable ancestral areas of origin inferred from dispersal-vicariance analyses and the available fossil record, we believe both clades originated from Elephas hysudricus. This probably occurred allopatrically in different glacial refugia, the alpha clade in the Myanmar region and the beta clade possibly in southern India-Sri Lanka, 1.6-2.1Myr ago. Results from nested clade and dispersal-vicariance analyses indicate a subsequent isolation and independent diversification of the beta clade in both Sri Lanka and the Sunda region, followed by northward expansion of the clade. We also find more recent population expansions in both clades based on mismatch distributions. We therefore suggest a contraction-expansion scenario during severe climatic oscillations of the Quaternary, with range expansions from different refugia during warmer interglacials leading to the varying geographical overlaps of the two mtDNA clades. We also demonstrate that trade in Asian elephants has not substantially altered the species's mtDNA population genetic structure. PMID:19019786

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. Pharmacokinetics and intramuscular bioavailability of a single dose of butorphanol in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Tana, Leann M; Isaza, Ramiro; Koch, David E; Hunter, Robert P

    2010-09-01

    Captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are susceptible to lameness resulting from foot and joint pain, including chronic arthritis. In the past, opioid analgesics, such as butorphanol, have been used clinically for pain management. However, dosages used in treating elephants were often extrapolated from data in horses, with no pharmacokinetic information on the specific agents used in elephant species. In this pharmacokinetic study, six adult captive Asian elephants (5 female, 1 male castrate) were administered a 0.015 mg/kg dose of butorphanol by both i.v. and i.m. routes. A complete crossover design was used with a 3-wk washout period between treatments. Serial blood samples were collected immediately prior to butorphanol administration and at 5, 10, 20, and 40 min and 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 24 h after administration. The butorphanol analysis was performed using a validated liquid chromatography-mass spectrophotometric assay with a limit of quantitation of 0.025 ng/ml. The mean Cmax after i.m. administration was 7.9 ng/ml, with a corresponding Tmax, of 40 min and t(1/3), of 7.1 h. After i.v. administration, the mean Vd(ss) was 1.4 L/kg and the mean Cl(p) was 0.26 L/kg/h. Mean i.m. bioavailability was 37%. The results indicate that butorphanol used at 0.015 mg/kg i.m. or i.v. could be useful in elephants when given for pain control. PMID:20945638

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2006-01-01

    The uniquely designed limbs of the African elephant, Loxodonta africana, support the weight of the largest terrestrial animal. Besides other morphological peculiarities, the feet are equipped with large subcutaneous cushions which play an important role in distributing forces during weight bearing and in storing or absorbing mechanical forces. Although the cushions have been discussed in the literature and captive elephants, in particular, are frequently affected by foot disorders, precise morphological data are sparse. The cushions in the feet of African elephants were examined by means of standard anatomical and histological techniques, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In both the forelimb and the hindlimb a 6th ray, the prepollex or prehallux, is present. These cartilaginous rods support the metacarpal or metatarsal compartment of the cushions. None of the rays touches the ground directly. The cushions consist of sheets or strands of fibrous connective tissue forming larger metacarpal/metatarsal and digital compartments and smaller chambers which were filled with adipose tissue. The compartments are situated between tarsal, metatarsal, metacarpal bones, proximal phalanges or other structures of the locomotor apparatus covering the bones palmarly/plantarly and the thick sole skin. Within the cushions, collagen, reticulin and elastic fibres are found. In the main parts, vascular supply is good and numerous nerves course within the entire cushion. Vater–Pacinian corpuscles are embedded within the collagenous tissue of the cushions and within the dermis. Meissner corpuscles are found in the dermal papillae of the foot skin. The micromorphology of elephant feet cushions resembles that of digital cushions in cattle or of the foot pads in humans but not that of digital cushions in horses. Besides their important mechanical properties, foot cushions in elephants seem to be very sensitive structures. PMID:17118065

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

    PubMed Central

    Roca, Alfred L; Ishida, Yasuko; Nikolaidis, Nikolas; Kolokotronis, Sergios-Orestis; Fratpietro, Stephen; Stewardson, Kristin; Hensley, Shannon; Tisdale, Michele; Boeskorov, Gennady; Greenwood, Alex D

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19747392

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

    In this case report, the authors investigated immunolocalization of inhibin α and inhibin/activin βA and βB subunits, as well as steroidogenic enzymes, in the testes of an African elephant. Testes were collected from a reproductively active male African elephant (24 yr old) at autopsy. Histologically, all types of spermatogenic cells including mature-phase spermatozoa were found in the seminiferous tubules. Positive immunostaining for inhibin α and inhibin/activin βA and βB subunits was observed in Sertoli and Leydig cells. In addition, P450scc, 3βHSD, P450c17, and P450arom were also detected in the cytoplasm of Leydig cells. These results suggested that Leydig cells of adult African elephant testes have the ability to synthesize progestin, androgen, and estrogen, whereas both Sertoli and Leydig cells appear as a major source of inhibin secretion in the male African elephant. PMID:27468011

  9. In the elephant's seed shadow: the prospects of domestic bovids as replacement dispersers of three tropical Asian trees.

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

    As populations of the world's largest animal species decline, it is unclear how ecosystems will react to their local extirpation. Due to the unique ecological characteristics of megaherbivores such as elephants, seed dispersal is one ecosystem process that may be affected as populations of large animals are decimated. In typically disturbed South Asian ecosystems, domestic bovids (cattle, Bosprimigenius, and buffalo, Bubalus bubalis) may often be the species most available to replace Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) as endozoochorous dispersers of large-fruited mammal-dispersed species. We use feeding trials, germination trials, and movement data from the tropical moist forests of Buxa Tiger Reserve (India) to examine whether domestic bovids are viable replacements for elephants in the dispersal of three large- fruited species: Dillenia indica, Artocarpus chaplasha, and Careya arborea. We find that (1) once consumed, seeds are between 2.5 (C. arborea) and 26.5 (D. indica) times more likely to pass undigested into elephant dung than domestic bovid dung; and (2) seeds from elephant dung germinated as well as or better than seeds taken from bovid dung for all plant species, with D. indica seeds from elephant dung 1.5 times more likely to germinate. Furthermore, since wild elephants have less constrained movements than even free-roaming domestic bovids, we calculate that maximum dispersal by elephants is between 9.5 and 11.2 times farther than that of domestic bovids, with about 20% of elephant-dispersed seeds being moved farther than the maximum distance seeds are moved by bovids. Our findings suggest that, while bovids are able to disperse substantial numbers of seeds over moderate distances for two of the three study species, domestic bovids will be unable to routinely emulate the reliable, long-distance dispersal of seeds executed by elephants in this tropical moist forest. Thus while domestic bovids can attenuate the effects of losing elephants as dispersers

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jordaan, M.

    2012-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    Obesity-related health and reproductive problems may be contributing to non-sustainability of zoo African elephant (Loxodonta africana) populations. However, a major constraint in screening for obesity in elephants is lack of a practical method to accurately assess body fat. Body condition scoring (BCS) is the assessment of subcutaneous fat stores based on visual evaluation and provides an immediate appraisal of the degree of obesity of an individual. The objective of this study was to develop a visual BCS index for female African elephants and validate it using ultrasound measures of subcutaneous fat. To develop the index, standardized photographs were collected from zoo (n = 50) and free-ranging (n = 57) female African elephants for identifying key body regions and skeletal features, which were then used to visually determine body fat deposition patterns. This information was used to develop a visual BCS method consisting of a list of body regions and the physical criteria for assigning an overall score on a 5-point scale, with 1 representing the lowest and 5 representing the highest levels of body fat. Results showed that as BCS increased, ultrasound measures of subcutaneous fat thickness also increased (P<0.01), indicating the scores closely coincide with physical measures of fat reserves. The BCS index proved to be reliable and repeatable based on high intra- and inter-assessor agreement across three assessors. In comparing photographs of wild vs. captive African elephants, the median BCS in the free-ranging individuals (BCS = 3, range 1-5) was lower (P<0.001) than that of the zoo population (BCS = 4, range 2-5). In sum, we have developed the first validated BCS index for African elephants. This tool can be used to examine which factors impact body condition in zoo and free-ranging elephants, providing valuable information on how it affects health and reproductive potential of individual elephants. PMID:24718304

  12. Tuberculosis in Elephants: Antibody Responses to Defined Antigens of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Potential for Early Diagnosis, and Monitoring of Treatment

    PubMed Central

    Lyashchenko, Konstantin P.; Greenwald, Rena; Esfandiari, Javan; Olsen, John H.; Ball, Ray; Dumonceaux, Genevieve; Dunker, Freeland; Buckley, Carol; Richard, Michael; Murray, Suzan; Payeur, Janet B.; Andersen, Peter; Pollock, John M.; Mikota, Susan; Miller, Michele; Sofranko, Denise; Waters, W. Ray

    2006-01-01

    Tuberculosis (TB) in elephants is a re-emerging zoonotic disease caused primarily by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Current diagnosis relies on trunk wash culture, the only officially recognized test, which has serious limitations. Innovative and efficient diagnostic methods are urgently needed. Rapid identification of infected animals is a crucial prerequisite for more effective control of TB, as early diagnosis allows timely initiation of chemotherapy. Serology has diagnostic potential, although key antigens have not been identified and optimal immunoassay formats are not established. To characterize the humoral responses in elephant TB, we tested 143 serum samples collected from 15 elephants over time. These included 48 samples from five culture-confirmed TB cases, of which four were in Asian elephants infected with M. tuberculosis and one was in an African elephant with Mycobacterium bovis. Multiantigen print immunoassay (MAPIA) employing a panel of 12 defined antigens was used to identify serologic correlates of active disease. ESAT-6 was the immunodominant antigen recognized in elephant TB. Serum immunoglobulin G antibodies to ESAT-6 and other proteins were detected up to 3.5 years prior to culture of M. tuberculosis from trunk washes. Antibody levels to certain antigens gradually decreased in response to antitubercular therapy, suggesting the possibility of treatment monitoring. In addition to MAPIA, serum samples were evaluated with a recently developed rapid test (RT) based on lateral flow technology (ElephantTB STAT-PAK). Similarly to MAPIA, infected elephants were identified using the RT up to 4 years prior to positive culture. These findings demonstrate the potential for TB surveillance and treatment monitoring using the RT and MAPIA, respectively. PMID:16829608

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

    PubMed

    Wallis, Michael

    2009-02-01

    Pituitary prolactin shows an episodic pattern of molecular evolution, with occasional short bursts of rapid change imposed on a generally rather slow evolutionary rate. In mammals, episodes of rapid change occurred in the evolution of primates, cetartiodactyls, rodents and the elephant. The bursts of rapid evolution in cetartiodactyls and rodents were followed by duplications of the prolactin gene that gave rise to large families of prolactin-related proteins including placental lactogens, while in primates the burst was followed by corresponding duplications of the related GH gene. The position in elephant is less clear. Extensive data relating to the genomic sequences of elephant and two additional members of the group Afrotheria are now available, and have been used here to characterize the prolactin genes in these species and explore whether additional prolactin-related genes are present. The results confirm the rapid evolution of elephant (Loxodonta africana) prolactin - the sequence of elephant prolactin is substantially different from that predicted for the ancestral placental mammal. Hyrax (Procavia capensis) prolactin is even more divergent but tenrec (Echinops telfairi) prolactin is strongly conserved. No evidence was obtained from searches of public databases for additional genes encoding prolactin-like proteins in any of these species. Detailed analysis of evolutionary rates, and other factors, indicates that the episode of rapid change in hyrax, and probably elephant, was adaptive, though the nature of the associated biological change(s) is not clear. PMID:19017712

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:24006812

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:22496296

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:23785105

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:23613804

  18. Paleomagnetic and rock-magnetic studies of the Permian Cutler and Elephant Canyon formations in Utah.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gose, W. A.; Helsley, C. E.

    1972-01-01

    Study of the Permian Cutler formation and the upper 15 meters of the Permian Elephant Canyon formation at 0.6-meter stratigraphic intervals southwest of Moab in eastern Utah. The directions of natural remanent magnetization show a pronounced streak distribution, but thermal demagnetization successfully isolates the stable paleomagnetic direction. All directions are reversed, and no significant long-term change in pole position is observed throughout the entire section. The pole calculated from the Elephant Canyon data lies at 43.6 N, 119.6 E; the Cutler pole lies at 44.4 N, 116.2 E. Rock-magnetic analyses suggest that the secondary magnetization results from the iron hydroxides and was acquired after recent surface exposure.

  19. Ancient DNA reveals elephant birds and kiwi are sister taxa and clarifies ratite bird evolution.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Kieren J; Llamas, Bastien; Soubrier, Julien; Rawlence, Nicolas J; Worthy, Trevor H; Wood, Jamie; Lee, Michael S Y; Cooper, Alan

    2014-05-23

    The evolution of the ratite birds has been widely attributed to vicariant speciation, driven by the Cretaceous breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana. The early isolation of Africa and Madagascar implies that the ostrich and extinct Madagascan elephant birds (Aepyornithidae) should be the oldest ratite lineages. We sequenced the mitochondrial genomes of two elephant birds and performed phylogenetic analyses, which revealed that these birds are the closest relatives of the New Zealand kiwi and are distant from the basal ratite lineage of ostriches. This unexpected result strongly contradicts continental vicariance and instead supports flighted dispersal in all major ratite lineages. We suggest that convergence toward gigantism and flightlessness was facilitated by early Tertiary expansion into the diurnal herbivory niche after the extinction of the dinosaurs. PMID:24855267

  20. How low can you go? Physical production mechanism of elephant infrasonic vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Herbst, Christian T; Stoeger, Angela S; Frey, Roland; Lohscheller, Jörg; Titze, Ingo R; Gumpenberger, Michaela; Fitch, W Tecumseh

    2012-08-01

    Elephants can communicate using sounds below the range of human hearing ("infrasounds" below 20 hertz). It is commonly speculated that these vocalizations are produced in the larynx, either by neurally controlled muscle twitching (as in cat purring) or by flow-induced self-sustained vibrations of the vocal folds (as in human speech and song). We used direct high-speed video observations of an excised elephant larynx to demonstrate flow-induced self-sustained vocal fold vibration in the absence of any neural signals, thus excluding the need for any "purring" mechanism. The observed physical principles of voice production apply to a wide variety of mammals, extending across a remarkably large range of fundamental frequencies and body sizes, spanning more than five orders of magnitude. PMID:22859490

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

    PubMed Central

    Stansfield, Fiona J.

    2015-01-01

    The importance of assigning an accurate estimate of age and sex to elephant carcasses found in the wild has increased in recent years with the escalation in levels of poaching throughout Africa. Irregularities identified in current ageing techniques prompted the development of a new method to describe molar progression throughout life. Elephant mandibles (n = 323) were studied and a point near the distal dental alveolus was identified as being most useful in ranking each jaw according to molar progression. These ‘Age Reference Lines’ were then associated with an age scale based on previous studies and Zimbabwean mandibles of known age. The new ranking produced a single age scale that proved useful for both male and female mandibles up to the maximum lifespan age of 70–75 years. Methods to aid in molar identification and the sexing of found jaws were also identified. PMID:25970428

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

    PubMed

    Stansfield, Fiona J

    2015-01-01

    The importance of assigning an accurate estimate of age and sex to elephant carcasses found in the wild has increased in recent years with the escalation in levels of poaching throughout Africa. Irregularities identified in current ageing techniques prompted the development of a new method to describe molar progression throughout life. Elephant mandibles (n = 323) were studied and a point near the distal dental alveolus was identified as being most useful in ranking each jaw according to molar progression. These 'Age Reference Lines' were then associated with an age scale based on previous studies and Zimbabwean mandibles of known age. The new ranking produced a single age scale that proved useful for both male and female mandibles up to the maximum lifespan age of 70-75 years. Methods to aid in molar identification and the sexing of found jaws were also identified. PMID:25970428

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

    A fatal case of encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) involving an African elephant ( Loxodonta africana ) occurred in November 2013 at the Réserve Africaine de Sigean, France. An adult female was found dead without any preliminary symptoms. Gross pathologic changes consisted of petechiae and hemorrhages on mucosae and internal organs, abundant transudate in the abdominal and pericardial cavities, and myocarditis. Histopathologic examination showed extensive degeneration and necrosis of ventricular cardiomyocytes with concurrent lymphoplasmocytic and eosinophilic infiltrate. An EMCV was isolated from several organs and considered the causative agent of the myocarditis. The same strain of virus was also isolated in rodents captured on zoo premises and considered to be the reservoir of the virus. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first EMCV case in a captive African elephant in Europe. PMID:26056902

  5. The efficacy of an experimental oil-adjuvanted encephalomyocarditis vaccine in elephants, mice and pigs.

    PubMed

    Hunter, P; Swanepoel, S P; Esterhuysen, J J; Raath, J P; Bengis, R G; van der Lugt, J J

    1998-01-01

    An oil-adjuvanted inactivated encephalomyocarditis (EMC) vaccine was developed to protect a wild population of elephants against a natural outbreak of disease. The experimental vaccine was initially tested for efficacy by challenging mice and pigs. Mice showed protection against challenge and pigs developed high antibody levels. Since both vaccinated and control pigs failed to develop clinical disease, apparently due to the low virulence of the strain in this species, protection in pigs could not be evaluated. Vaccinated elephants developed high antibody titers which protected all vaccinates from a challenge roughly two months post-vaccination, whereas controls developed fatal or sub-clinical myocarditis. This is the first report of an inactivated EMC vaccine inducing high antibody titers in domestic and wild animal species. Due to the potency of this vaccine and the acceptability of the oil adjuvant used, it has potential for use in animals in zoological collections as well as in the pig industry. PMID:9607009

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-10-01

    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. PMID:21752502

  7. Radiographic imaging and possible causes of a carpal varus deformity in an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Kaulfers, Carola; Geburek, Florian; Feige, Karsten; Knieriem, Andreas

    2010-12-01

    The carpal region of an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) with a clinically obvious varus deformity of the carpus was examined radiographically with a standard portable x-ray unit. Several dorsopalmar radiographs were taken at a short source-to-image distance, moving the beam center along the carpus. To obtain a single image of the carpal region, radiographs were assembled digitally using a composite technique. Radiographs revealed a deviation of the limb's axis of approximately 25 degrees in the region of distal physis of the radius and ulna and a wedge-shaped epiphysis of the ulna. Healed physitis due to trauma and subluxation of the middle carpal joint are discussed as possible causes of the deformity. The radiographic technique described proved to be helpful to evaluate a relatively large anatomic area in the carpal region of an adult Asian elephant with a varus deformity and may be an alternative tool to previously described single image radiography. PMID:21370652

  8. The ELEPHANT criteria in medical education: can medical education be fun?

    PubMed

    Gifford, Hugh; Varatharaj, Aravinthan

    2010-01-01

    'Hilarity and a good nature [and] a breezy cheerfulness help enormously in the study and in the practice of medicine,' said Sir William Osler, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, pioneering medical educationalist, and arguably one of the greatest physicians of all time (Osler W. 1905 ). We present evidence that (1) Encouraging Learning, (2) Entertaining People, and (3) Having a Nice Time are dangerously powerful adjuncts to medical education. These are, by acronym, the ELEPHANT criteria. Encouraging is the motivating heart of the matter. Entertainment engages the mind and has been shown to enhance working memory and recall. Enjoyment is associated with deep learning, which comes with a whole host of benefits. However, learning in fear and misery can be an effective tool--but for other reasons--and the pessimistic personality type may respond badly to 'fun learning.' Even so, medical education that fulfills the ELEPHANT criteria can be an effective tool in training young doctors. PMID:20218834

  9. Diagnosis and treatment of presumptive pyelonephritis in an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Sanchez, Carlos R; Murray, Suzan; Montali, Richard J; Spelman, Lucy H

    2004-09-01

    A 37-yr-old female Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) presented with anorexia, restlessness, and dark-colored urine. Urinalyses showed hematuria, leukocyturia, isosthenuria, proteinuria, granular casts, and no calcium oxalate crystals. Bloodwork revealed azotemia. Urine culture revealed a pure growth of Streptococcus zooepidemicus resistant to sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim but susceptible to cephalosporins. A presumptive diagnosis of pyelonephritis was made based on bloodwork, urinalysis, and urine culture. The animal was treated with intravenous ceftiofur, and intravenous and per rectum fluids were given for hydration. The elephant's attitude and appetite returned to normal, the abnormal blood parameters resolved, and urinary calcium oxalate crystals reappeared after treatment, supporting presumptive diagnosis. Follow-up ultrasonography revealed an abnormal outline of both kidneys with parenchymal hyperechogenicity and multiple uterine leiomyomas. PMID:15526898

  10. Evidence of Positive Selection in Mitochondrial Complexes I and V of the African Elephant

    PubMed Central

    Finch, Tabitha M.; Zhao, Nan; Korkin, Dmitry; Frederick, Katy H.; Eggert, Lori S.

    2014-01-01

    As species evolve, they become adapted to their local environments. Detecting the genetic signature of selection and connecting that to the phenotype of the organism, however, is challenging. Here we report using an integrative approach that combines DNA sequencing with structural biology analyses to assess the effect of selection on residues in the mitochondrial DNA of the two species of African elephants. We detected evidence of positive selection acting on residues in complexes I and V, and we used homology protein structure modeling to assess the effect of the biochemical properties of the selected residues on the enzyme structure. Given the role these enzymes play in oxidative phosphorylation, we propose that the selected residues may contribute to the metabolic adaptation of forest and savanna elephants to their unique habitats. PMID:24695069

  11. Serodiagnosis of Tuberculosis in Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) in Southern India: A Latent Class Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Dendukuri, Nandini; Cheeran, Jacob Varghese; Sukumar, Raman

    2012-01-01

    Background Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a causative agent of chronic tuberculosis disease, is widespread among some animal species too. There is paucity of information on the distribution, prevalence and true disease status of tuberculosis in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). The aim of this study was to estimate the sensitivity and specificity of serological tests to diagnose M. tuberculosis infection in captive elephants in southern India while simultaneously estimating sero-prevalence. Methodology/Principal Findings Health assessment of 600 elephants was carried out and their sera screened with a commercially available rapid serum test. Trunk wash culture of select rapid serum test positive animals yielded no animal positive for M. tuberculosis isolation. Under Indian field conditions where the true disease status is unknown, we used a latent class model to estimate the diagnostic characteristics of an existing (rapid serum test) and new (four in-house ELISA) tests. One hundred and seventy nine sera were randomly selected for screening in the five tests. Diagnostic sensitivities of the four ELISAs were 91.3–97.6% (95% Credible Interval (CI): 74.8–99.9) and diagnostic specificity were 89.6–98.5% (95% CI: 79.4–99.9) based on the model we assumed. We estimate that 53.6% (95% CI: 44.6–62.8) of the samples tested were free from infection with M. tuberculosis and 15.9% (97.5% CI: 9.8 - to 24.0) tested positive on all five tests. Conclusions/Significance Our results provide evidence for high prevalence of asymptomatic M. tuberculosis infection in Asian elephants in a captive Indian setting. Further validation of these tests would be important in formulating area-specific effective surveillance and control measures. PMID:23166708

  12. Pharmacokinetics of amoxicillin trihydrate in male Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) following intramuscular administration.

    PubMed

    Sinphithakkul, P; Klangkaew, N; Sanyathitiseree, P; Giorgi, M; Kumagai, S; Poapolathep, A; Poapolathep, S

    2016-06-01

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the pharmacokinetic characteristics of amoxicillin (AMX) trihydrate in male Asian elephants, Elephas maximus, following intramuscular administration at two dosages of 5.5 and 11 mg/kg body weight (b.w.). Blood samples were collected from 0.5 up to 72 h. The concentration of AMX in elephant plasma was measured using liquid chromatography electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. AMX was measurable up to 24 h after administration at two dosages. Peak plasma concentration (Cmax ) was 1.20 ± 0.39 μg/mL after i.m. administration at a dosage of 5.5 mg/kg b.w., whereas it was 3.40 ± 0.63 μg/mL at a dosage of 11 mg/kg b.w. A noncompartment model was developed to describe the disposition of AMX in Asian elephants. Based on the preliminary findings found in this research, the dosage of 5.5 and 11 mg/kg b.w. produced drug plasma concentrations higher than 0.25 mg/mL for 24 h after i.m. administration. Thereafter, i.m. administration with AMX at a dosage of 5.5 mg/kg b.w. appeared a more suitable dose than 11 mg/kg b.w. However, more studies are needed to determine AMX clinical effectiveness in elephants. PMID:26411748

  13. The formation of elephant-trunk globules in the Rosette nebula: CO observations

    SciTech Connect

    Schneps, M.H.; Ho, P.T.P.; Barrett, A.H.

    1980-08-15

    The prominent elephant-trunk globules in the northwest quadrant of the Rosette nebula have been observed in the microwave lines of CO and /sup 13/CO (J=1..-->..0). The CO emission closely follows the optical outline of the obscuring material and leaves little doubt that the emission is associated with the globules. The physical characteristics derived are typical of those observed in other dust globules which are not necessarily associated with H II regions.

  14. Lactotransferrin in Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) Seminal Plasma Correlates with Semen Quality

    PubMed Central

    Kiso, Wendy K.; Selvaraj, Vimal; Nagashima, Jennifer; Asano, Atsushi; Brown, Janine L.; Schmitt, Dennis L.; Leszyk, John; Travis, Alexander J.; Pukazhenthi, Budhan S.

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23976974

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

    PubMed

    Bennett, Elizabeth L

    2015-02-01

    Illegal hunting of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) for ivory is causing rapid declines in their populations. Since 2007, illegal ivory trade has more than doubled. African elephants are facing the most serious conservation crisis since 1989, when international trade was banned. One solution proposed is establishment of a controlled legal trade in ivory. High prices for ivory mean that the incentives to obtain large quantities are high, but the quantity of tusks available for trade are biologically constrained. Within that context, effective management of a legal ivory trade would require robust systems to be in place to ensure that ivory from illegally killed elephants cannot be laundered into a legal market. At present, that is not feasible due to corruption among government officials charged with implementing wildlife-related legislation. With organized criminal enterprises involved along the whole commodity chain, corruption enables the laundering of illegal ivory into legal or potentially legal markets. Poachers and traffickers can rapidly pay their way out of trouble, so the financial incentives to break the law heavily outweigh those of abiding by it. Maintaining reliable permitting systems and leak-proof chains of custody in this context is challenging, and effective management breaks down. Once illegal ivory has entered the legal trade, it is difficult or impossible for enforcement officers to know what is legal and illegal. Addressing corruption throughout a trade network that permeates countries across the globe will take decades, if it can ever be achieved. That will be too late for wild African elephants at current rates of loss. If we are to conserve remaining wild populations, we must close all markets because, under current levels of corruption, they cannot be controlled in a way that does not provide opportunities for illegal ivory being laundered into legal markets. PMID:25103555

  16. Oxidative stress in northern elephant seals: Integration of omics approaches with ecological and experimental studies.

    PubMed

    Crocker, Daniel E; Khudyakov, Jane I; Champagne, Cory D

    2016-10-01

    Northern elephant seals experience conditions that increase oxidative stress (OS), including extended fasting, ischemia and hypoxia during breath-holds, and immune responses during colonial breeding. Increased OS is suggested by increases in tissue and plasma concentrations of pro-oxidant enzymes NADPH oxidase and xanthine oxidase (XO). Serum cortisol concentrations were positively associated with XO concentrations and damage markers. Elephant seals exhibit robust anti-oxidant responses as evidenced by increases in anti-oxidant enzymes in plasma and tissues. These responses were sufficient to prevent oxidative damage during breath-holds and extended fasts in juveniles. However, high rates of energy expenditure during breeding were associated with increased evidence for oxidative damage to lipids, proteins and DNA in adults. We integrated investigations of the fasting metabolome and muscle and blubber transcriptomes into our oxidative stress studies. Non-targeted metabolomics analysis of fasting seals identified 227 known metabolites in plasma, including those related to glutathione and purine metabolism. Changes in plasma metabolites suggested that glutathione biosynthesis increased during fasting in weaned pups but not in lactating females. We produced the first reference sequence for elephant seals by RNA sequencing of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue transcriptomes and de novo transcriptome assembly. We annotated muscle and adipose transcripts and identified thousands of genes, including potential mediators of OS. This resource provides elephant seal-specific gene sequences, complements existing metabolite and protein expression studies and provides tools for examining cellular responses to OS in a variety of contexts. We examined changes in tissue gene expression in response to experimental elevation of plasma cortisol. Responses included downregulation of Negative Regulator of Reactive Oxygen Species (NRROS) in muscle, a regulator that limits reactive oxygen

  17. Northern elephant seal field bioacoustics and aerial auditory masked hearing thresholds in three pinnipeds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Southall, Brandon Lee

    This dissertation comprises four interrelated studies on acoustic communication (including both signal production and signal reception) in pinnipeds, primarily northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris). Field measurements of vocalization parameters were obtained in elephant seal breeding rookeries. Additionally, auditory masking experiments were conducted with individuals representing three pinniped species, including a northern elephant seal. This study quantified how aerial noise masks aerial hearing and provided preliminary data on auditory frequency filtering. All of these studies were conducted in air for a variety of practical and theoretical reasons. Some governmental, media, and research organizations have recently become concerned with the impacts of underwater anthropogenic noise on aquatic animals. However, little consideration has been given to the dual pressures imposed by aerial and underwater noise on amphibious marine mammals such as the pinnipeds. This dissertation sought to provide some basic data bearing on this matter by investigating aerial signals and aerial masked hearing. Data were obtained on aerial vocalization source levels, signal directivity patterns, natural aerial ambient noise, signal propagation properties, multi-modal aspects of signaling, motivation-specific signal variability, aerial critical masking ratios, and auditory filter bandwidths. The results indicate that different signal components may be more readily detectable in variable noise conditions, frequency resolution likely affects detection ranges, developmental and motivational factors affect signal parameters, and that some pinnipeds apparently detect signals over masking noise relatively well both in air and water. Using the northern elephant seal as a representative model, a model for quantifying constraints on vocal communication was developed to provide first-order predictions about detection ranges for signals in variable noise conditions.

  18. Successful Repair of Type I Endoleak Using the Frozen Elephant Trunk Technique

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Seon Hee; Song, Seunghwan; Kim, Sang-pil; Lee, Chung Won; Son, Joohyung

    2016-01-01

    Thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) has emerged as an effective therapy for a variety of thoracic aortic pathologies. However, various types of endoleak remain a major concern, and its treatment is often challenging. We report a case of type I endoleak occurring 19 months after zone II hybrid TEVAR. The endoleak was successfully repaired by the frozen elephant trunk technique, without removal of a previous stent graft, combined with ascending aorta and total arch replacement. PMID:27525241

  19. Lactate flux and gluconeogenesis in fasting, weaned northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris).

    PubMed

    Tavoni, Stephen K; Champagne, Cory D; Houser, Dorian S; Crocker, Daniel E

    2013-05-01

    Elephant seals maintain rates of endogenous glucose production (EGP) typical of post-absorptive mammals despite enduring prolonged periods of food deprivation concurrent with low rates of glucose oxidation. These high rates of EGP suggest extensive glucose recycling during fasting. We investigated lactate metabolism in fasting elephant seals to assess its role in glucose recycling. Whole-animal glucose and lactate fluxes were measured as the rates of appearance of glucose and lactate (Ra gluc and Ra lac, respectively) using a primed constant infusion of [U-(14)C] lactate and [6-(3)H] glucose, and we calculated the minimum contribution of lactate to gluconeogenesis (GNG lac). Ra lac was high compared to resting values in other species (3.21 ± 0.71 mmol min(-1)* kg(-1)), did not change between 14 ± 1 and 31 ± 8 days of fasting and varied directly with Ra glu. The minimum GNG lac was 44.6 ± 6.0% of EGP, varied directly with plasma lactate levels, and did not change over the fast. Ra lac and Ra glu both varied directly with plasma insulin concentrations. These data suggest that lactate is the predominant gluconeogenic precursor in fasting elephant seals and that high rates of glucose recycling through Cori cycle activity contribute to the maintenance of EGP during fasting. High levels of Cori cycle activity and EGP may be important components of metabolic adaptations that maintain glucose production while avoiding ketosis during extended fasting or are related to sustained metabolic alterations associated with extended breath-holds in elephant seals. PMID:23180193

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    SUMMARY 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. PMID

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

    PubMed

    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

  2. Factors affecting phytoplankton distribution and production in the Elephant Island area, Antarctica

    SciTech Connect

    Helbling, E.W.

    1993-01-01

    During the austral summer of four years, 1990 to 1993, studies on phytoplankton were performed in the Elephant Island area as one component of the US Antarctica Marine Living Resources program. In addition to continuous measurements (temperature, salinity, chlorophyll-a, beam attenuation) made on ship's intake water, a profiling CTD-rosette unit was used to obtain water column characteristics (temperature, salinity, chlorophyll-a, attenuation of solar radiation, beam attenuation) from the surface to 750m depth and also water samples from at least 10 depths for chemical and biological analyses. The sampling grid consisted of an average of 70 stations, all of which were occupied two times each year. The Elephant Island area is a transition zone between the rich coastal areas, where phytoplankton can develop dense blooms, and pelagic waters where the phytoplankton biomass is in general very low. A frontal zone was usually found to the north of Elephant Island and over the continental slope, and high phytoplankton biomass was in general associated with this frontal region. Although the location of this frontal system showed seasonal movement in a north-south direction, it seems to be a consistent feature from year to year. There seems to be considerable year-to-year variability in physical (water temperatures and salinity) and phytoplankton characteristics within the study area, in regard to both distributional patterns in surface waters and to profile characteristics in the upper 100m of the water column. With shallow upper mixed layer depths of less than 50 m, phytoplankton can attain relatively high concentrations. Optimum light conditions for growth occurred when the mixed layer was less than 55% of the euphotic zone. As the area around Elephant Island is characterized by relatively strong and frequent winds, the depth of the upper mixed layer at many stations approached the depth of the euphotic zone, with the result that growth of phytoplankton was light limited.

  3. Results of a second survey to assess the reproductive status of female Asian and African elephants in North America.

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-01

    Surveys are being conducted to monitor the reproductive health of elephants managed by the TAG/SSP. This study summarizes results of a 2005 survey and compares data to one conducted in 2002. Surveys were returned for 100% and 79.0% of Asian and African elephants, respectively. Of those, 79.3% of Asian and 92.1% of African elephants had weekly progestagen data to assess ovarian cyclicity. For Asian elephants, acyclicity rates were similar between the 2002 and 2005 surveys (13.3% versus 10.9%), whereas irregular cycling increased in 2005 (2.6% versus 7.6%), respectively. For African elephants, the percentages of both acyclicity (22.0% versus 31.2%) and irregular cycling females (5.2% versus 11.8%) increased. In both species, ovarian inactivity was more prevalent in the older age categories (>30 years of age), but for African elephants also occurred in the reproductive aged groups. Reproductive tract pathologies did not account for the majority of acyclicity problems. Several females changed cyclicity status between the two surveys, including from noncycling to cycling, suggesting this is not an irreversible condition. However, seven African females went from cycling to abnormal or no cyclic activity. In summary, the incidence of ovarian acyclicity in Asian elephants is low and stable, but appears to be increasing in African females. These findings reinforce the need for long-term reproductive monitoring programs and continuous reproductive surveys, even for females not being considered for breeding. With more data we hope to determine what factors are related to changes in ovarian status and how to reverse the trend towards acyclicity. PMID:20391465

  4. Geographic variations in the composition of ivory of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Raubenheimer, E J; Brown, J M; Rama, D B; Dreyer, M J; Smith, P D; Dauth, J

    1998-08-01

    Tracing the source of origin of illegal ivory will contribute to the identification of poorly managed game parks and facilitate steps taken to prevent the African elephant from becoming extinct. This study was aimed at establishing a database on the composition of ivory obtained from elephant sanctuary areas in Southern Africa. Fragments of elephant ivory from seven geographically distinct areas in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana were analysed for inorganic and organic content. A total of 20 elements was detected in the inorganic fraction of ivory, some in concentrations as low as 0.25 microg/g. The concentrations of calcium, phosphate, magnesium, fluoride, cobalt and zinc showed statistically significant differences (p < 0.007) between ivory obtained from different regions. Analyses of the organic fraction identified 17 amino acids. Ivory from arid regions showed significantly lower proline plus hydroxyproline content and under-hydroxylation of lysine residues. This study indicates that chemical analyses of ivory could be beneficial in tracing the source of illegal ivory. PMID:9758047

  5. New evidence for hybrid zones of forest and savanna elephants in Central and West Africa.

    PubMed

    Mondol, Samrat; Moltke, Ida; Hart, John; Keigwin, Michael; Brown, Lisa; Stephens, Matthew; Wasser, Samuel K

    2015-12-01

    The African elephant consists of forest and savanna subspecies. Both subspecies are highly endangered due to severe poaching and habitat loss, and knowledge of their population structure is vital to their conservation. Previous studies have demonstrated marked genetic and morphological differences between forest and savanna elephants, and despite extensive sampling, genetic evidence of hybridization between them has been restricted largely to a few hybrids in the Garamba region of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Here, we present new genetic data on hybridization from previously unsampled areas of Africa. Novel statistical methods applied to these data identify 46 hybrid samples--many more than have been previously identified--only two of which are from the Garamba region. The remaining 44 are from three other geographically distinct locations: a major hybrid zone along the border of the DRC and Uganda, a second potential hybrid zone in Central African Republic and a smaller fraction of hybrids in the Pendjari-Arli complex of West Africa. Most of the hybrids show evidence of interbreeding over more than one generation, demonstrating that hybrids are fertile. Mitochondrial and Y chromosome data demonstrate that the hybridization is bidirectional, involving males and females from both subspecies. We hypothesize that the hybrid zones may have been facilitated by poaching and habitat modification. The localized geography and rarity of hybrid zones, their possible facilitation from human pressures, and the high divergence and genetic distinctness of forest and savanna elephants throughout their ranges, are consistent with calls for separate species classification. PMID:26577954

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-11

    Network resilience to perturbation is fundamental to functionality in systems ranging from synthetic communication networks to evolved social organization [1]. While theoretical work offers insight into causes of network robustness, examination of natural networks can identify evolved mechanisms of resilience and how they are related to the selective pressures driving structure. Female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) exhibit complex social networks with node heterogeneity in which older individuals serve as connectivity hubs [2, 3]. Recent ivory poaching targeting older elephants in a well-studied population has mirrored the targeted removal of highly connected nodes in the theoretical literature that leads to structural collapse [4, 5]. Here we tested the response of this natural network to selective knockouts. We find that the hierarchical network topology characteristic of elephant societies was highly conserved across the 16-year study despite ∼70% turnover in individual composition of the population. At a population level, the oldest available individuals persisted to fill socially central positions in the network. For analyses using known mother-daughter pairs, social positions of daughters during the disrupted period were predicted by those of their mothers in years prior, were unrelated to individual histories of family mortality, and were actively built. As such, daughters replicated the social network roles of their mothers, driving the observed network resilience. Our study provides a rare bridge between network theory and an evolved system, demonstrating social redundancy to be the mechanism by which resilience to perturbation occurred in this socially advanced species. PMID:26711491

  7. Volatile organic compound emissions from elephant grass and bamboo cultivars used as potential bioethanol crop

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crespo, E.; Graus, M.; Gilman, J. B.; Lerner, B. M.; Fall, R.; Harren, F. J. M.; Warneke, C.

    2013-02-01

    Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from elephant grass (Miscanthus gigantus) and black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) were measured online in semi-field chamber and plant enclosure experiments during growth and harvest using proton-transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS), proton-transfer reaction ion-trap mass spectrometry (PIT-MS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Both cultivars are being considered for second-generation biofuel production. Before this study, no information was available on their yearly VOC emissions. This exploratory investigation shows that black bamboo is a strong isoprene emitter (daytime 28,516 ng gdwt-1 h-1) and has larger VOC emissions, especially for wound compounds from the hexanal and hexenal families, than elephant grass. Daytime emissions of methanol, acetaldehyde, acetone + propanal and acetic acid of black bamboo were 618, 249, 351, and 1034 ng gdwt-1 h-1, respectively. In addition, it is observed that elephant grass VOC emissions after harvesting strongly depend on the seasonal stage. Not taking VOC emission variations throughout the season for annual and perennial species into account, may lead to an overestimation of the impact on local air quality in dry periods. In addition, our data suggest that the use of perennial grasses for extensive growing for biofuel production have lower emissions than woody species, which might be important for regional atmospheric chemistry.

  8. Protein catabolism in suckling and fasting northern elephant seal pups (Mirounga anglstirostris).

    PubMed

    Houser, D S; Costa, D P

    2001-11-01

    Nursing elephant seal pups are hypothesized to be preadapted to the postweaning fast, yet no comparison of lipid or protein use for meeting metabolic costs has been made between these contrasting nutritional periods. To address this, protein catabolism was estimated in five elephant seal pups from measurements of urea turnover made twice during nursing and twice during the postweaning fast. Changes in body composition were measured in ten separate weaned pups via tritiated water dilution and matched to fasting urea turnover measurements in order to assess errors in protein catabolism derived from urea turnover rates. Estimates of lean mass loss based upon urea turnover and tritiated water dilution were in general agreement, supporting estimates of protein catabolism derived from urea turnover measurements. Protein catabolism was estimated to contribute less than 4% to the average metabolic rate of suckling and fasting pups implying strict protein conservation during both periods and supporting the shypothesis that suckling pups are pre-adapted to fasting. It is proposed that strict protein conservation across suckling and fasting compensates for relative reductions in maternal investment associated with the abbreviated lactation period of the elephant seal. PMID:11765972

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clemins, Patrick J.; Johnson, Michael T.

    2003-04-01

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

  10. The Influence of Rainfall, Vegetation, Elephants and People on Fire Frequency of Miombo Woodlands, Northern Mozambique

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ribeiro, N. S.; Okin, G. S.; Shugart, H. H.; Swap, R. J.

    2008-12-01

    Miombo woodlands are important in southern Africa as they occupy over 50% of the land and, their good and services support a large proportion of people in the region. Anthropogenic fires occur in miombo every year especially in the dry season (May - October). This study explores the influence of annual rainfall, elephant density, human density and corridors, and vegetation on the fire frequency. It was carried out in Niassa Reserve located in northern Mozambique, the largest and more pristine conservation area of miombo woodlands in the world. We used a time series analysis and statistical t-test of MODIS-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) to explore the relationship between biomass and fire frequency. The influence of rainfall, elephants, people and vegetation on fire return was explored using a stepwise logistic regression analysis. The results of this study indicate that fire frequency is higher in places with high biomass at beginning of the dry season. In these areas fire seems to be more intense and to strongly reduce biomass in the late dry season. Land cover is the strongest predictor of fire frequency, but elephant density, annual rainfall and human corridors are also important.

  11. The influence of rainfall, vegetation, elephants and people on fire frequency of miombo woodlands, northern Mozambique

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ribeiro, N. S.; Okin, G. S.; Shugart, H.; Swap, R.

    2007-12-01

    Miombo woodlands are important in southern Africa as they occupy over 50% of the land and, their good and services support a large proportion of people in the region. Anthropogenic fires occur in miombo every year especially in the dry season (May - October). This study explores the influence of annual rainfall, elephant density, human density and corridors, and vegetation on the fire frequency. It was carried out in Niassa Reserve located in northern Mozambique, the largest and more pristine conservation area of miombo woodlands in the world. We used a time series analysis and statistical t-test of MODIS-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) to explore the relationship between biomass and fire frequency. The influence of rainfall, elephants, people and vegetation on fire return was explored using a stepwise logistic regression analysis. The results of this study indicate that fire frequency is higher in places with high biomass at beginning of the dry season. In these areas fire seems to be more intense and to strongly reduce biomass in the late dry season. Land cover is the strongest predictor of fire frequency, but elephant density, annual rainfall and human corridors are also important.

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

    PubMed

    Hasenjager, Matthew J; Bergl, Richard A

    2015-01-01

    Repetitive movement patterns are commonly observed in zoo elephants. The extent to which these behaviors constitute a welfare concern varies, as their expression ranges from stereotypies to potentially beneficial anticipatory behaviors. Nevertheless, their occurrence in zoo animals is often viewed negatively. To better identify conditions that prompt their performance, observations were conducted on six African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the North Carolina Zoo. Individuals spent most of their time engaged in feeding, locomotion, resting, and repetitive behavior. Both generalized estimating equation and zero-inflated negative binomial models were used to identify factors associated with increased rates of repetitive behavior. Time of day in conjunction with location on- or off-exhibit best explained patterns of repetitive behavior. Repetitive behaviors occurred at a lower rate in the morning when on-exhibit, as compared to afternoons on-exhibit or at any time of day off-exhibit. Increased repetitive behavior rates observed on-exhibit in the afternoon prior to the evening transfer and feeding were possibly anticipatory responses towards those events. In contrast, consistently elevated frequencies of repetitive behavior off-exhibit at all times of day could be related to differences in exhibit complexity between off-exhibit and on-exhibit areas, as well as a lack of additional foraging opportunities. Our study contributes valuable information on captive elephant behavior and represents a good example of how behavioral research can be employed to improve management of zoo animals. PMID:25919392

  13. How are trace elements mobilized during the postweaning fast in Northern elephant seals?

    PubMed

    Habran, Sarah; Crocker, Daniel E; Debier, Cathy; Das, Krishna

    2012-10-01

    Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) pups undergo a substantial intertissue reorganization of protein, minerals, and other cellular components during their postweaning development, which might entail the mobilization of associated contaminants. The authors investigated the changes in concentrations of 11 elements (Ca, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Ni, Pb, Se, V, and Zn) in a longitudinal study on 22 northern elephant seal pups during the postweaning fast. Slight changes in most element concentrations were observed in blood throughout the fast. Circulating levels of Hg, Se, and Cu appeared less altered during the postweaning fast than measured during suckling. Despite the considerable fat utilization, element concentrations, except Fe, in blubber remained stable throughout the fast, which suggests that elements are mobilized from blubber as efficiently as lipids. As indicators of the placental transfer, concentrations in lanugo hair revealed the existence of maternal transfer and accumulation of all assayed trace elements during fetal development. In addition, the new pelage, rapidly produced after weaning, appeared to be an important elimination route for toxic metals such as Hg, Cd, and Pb. The high mineral content detected in pup hair suggests that this species would be more exposed to trace elements than other phocids (except Cd and Pb). Nevertheless, this statement needs further monitoring and toxicological studies to determine better the exposition to trace elements and its potential impact on the health of the northern elephant seal. PMID:22833380

  14. PHARMACOKINETIC STUDY OF ORAL ε-AMINOCAPROIC ACID IN THE NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL (MIROUNGA ANGUSTIROSTRIS).

    PubMed

    Kaye, Sarrah; Johnson, Shawn; Arnold, Robert D; Nie, Ben; Davis, Joshua T; Gulland, Frances; Abou-Madi, Noha; Fletcher, Daniel J

    2016-06-01

    ε-Aminocaproic acid (EACA) is a lysine analogue antifibrinolytic drug used to treat bleeding disorders in humans and domestic animals. Its use in zoological medicine is rare, and dosage is anecdotal. One possible application of EACA is to treat bleeding associated with prepatent Otostrongylus arteritis in Northern elephant seals ( Mirounga angustirostris ) presenting to wildlife rehabilitation centers. This study used an in vitro model of hyperfibrinolysis and a thromboelastograph-based assay to estimate the therapeutic plasma concentration of EACA in elephant seals (85 μg/ml, 95% confidence interval = 73.8-96.8 μg/ml). A concurrent pharmacokinetic study of orally administered, single-dose EACA found that doses of 75 and 100 mg/kg achieved therapeutic plasma concentrations (>85 μg/ml), but the drug was rapidly eliminated and remained in the therapeutic range for only 0.4 and 1.5 hr, respectively. Models of repeated oral dosing at 100 mg/kg every 6 hr predict that therapeutic plasma concentration will be maintained for 31.7% (7.6 hr) of a 24-hr period. More frequent dosing would be required to maintain continuous therapeutic concentrations but would be impractical in a wildlife rehabilitation setting. Further pharmacodynamic studies to evaluate the duration of action of EACA in elephant seals and a prospective, placebo-controlled study are needed to determine if EACA is effective in decreasing bleeding associated with prepatent Otostrongylus arteritis and other bleeding disorders in this species. PMID:27468014

  15. A profile of carbohydrate metabolites in the fasting northern elephant seal.

    PubMed

    Champagne, Cory D; Boaz, Segal M; Fowler, Melinda A; Houser, Dorian S; Costa, Daniel P; Crocker, Daniel E

    2013-06-01

    Northern elephant seals endure prolonged periods of food deprivation at multiple life-history stages and simultaneous with energetically costly activities-including reproduction and development. Most mammals decrease their energy expenditure while fasting, with simultaneous reductions in gluconeogenesis and circulating glucose concentration. Paradoxically, elephant seals maintain high rates of both energy expenditure and gluconeogenesis, and high blood glucose concentrations throughout fasting. We therefore characterized the suite of changes that occur in carbohydrate metabolites during fasting in northern elephant seals. Using a broad-based metabolomics platform we investigated fasting during two states-lactation in adult females and the post-weaning developmental period in pups. A total of 227 metabolites were detected in seal plasma; 31 associated with carbohydrate metabolism were analyzed in the present study. Several compounds showed similar responses during lactation and the post-weaning fast (e.g. glycerol and mesaconate) whereas other compounds displayed quite different abundances between groups (e.g. citrate and pyruvate). This work found that, while the changes that occur with fasting were frequently similar in lactating females and developing pups, the relative abundance of compounds often varied markedly. These differences suggest that the metabolic strategies used to endure prolonged fasts are influenced by life-history or nutrient constraints. PMID:23542762

  16. Second-generation ethanol production from elephant grass at high total solids.

    PubMed

    Menegol, Daiane; Fontana, Roselei Claudete; Dillon, Aldo José Pinheiro; Camassola, Marli

    2016-07-01

    The enzymatic hydrolysis of Pennisetum purpureum (elephant grass) was evaluated at high total solid levels (from 4% to 20% (w/v)) in a concomitant ball milling treatment in a rotating hydrolysis reactor (RHR). The greatest glucose yield was 20.17% when 4% (w/v) untreated biomass was employed. When sugars obtained from enzymatic hydrolysis were submitted to fermentation with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the greatest ethanol yield was 22.61% when 4% (w/v) untreated biomass was employed; however, the highest glucose concentration (12.47g/L) was obtaining using 20% (w/v) solids and highest ethanol concentration (6.1g/L) was obtained using 16% (w/v) solids. When elephant grass was hydrolyzed in the rotating hydrolysis reactor, ethanol production was about double that was produced when the biomass was hydrolyzed in a static reactor (SR). These data indicate that it is possible to produce ethanol from elephant grass when milling treatment and enzymatic hydrolysis are performed at the same time. PMID:27023383

  17. Cyclic changes in cortisol across the estrous cycle in parous and nulliparous Asian elephants

    PubMed Central

    Fanson, Kerry V; Keeley, Tamara; Fanson, Benjamin G

    2014-01-01

    In the context of reproduction, glucocorticoids (GCs) are generally considered to have negative effects. However, in well-studied model species, GCs fluctuate predictability across the estrous cycles, and short-term increases promote healthy ovarian function. Reproductive challenges have plagued captive elephant populations, which are not currently self-sustaining. Efforts to understand reproductive dysfunction in elephants have focused on the suppressive effects of cortisol, but the potential permissive or stimulatory effects of cortisol are unknown. In this study, we provide a detailed examination of cortisol patterns across the estrous cycle in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Time series analysis was used to analyze cortisol and progesterone data for a total of 73 cycles from eight females. We also compared cortisol profiles between females that successfully conceived and females that failed to conceive despite repeated mating attempts. Our results revealed that cortisol fluctuates predictably across the estrous cycle, with a peak during the second half of the follicular phase followed by low levels throughout the luteal phase. Furthermore, this pattern was significantly altered in nulliparous females; cortisol concentrations did not decline during the luteal phase to the same extent as in parous females. This study highlights the complexity of cortisol signaling and suggests future directions for understanding the role of cortisol in reproductive dysfunction. PMID:24623735

  18. Paleocene emergence of elephant relatives and the rapid radiation of African ungulates

    PubMed Central

    Gheerbrant, Emmanuel

    2009-01-01

    Elephants are the only living representatives of the Proboscidea, a formerly diverse mammalian order whose history began with the 55-million years (mys) old Phosphatherium. Reported here is the discovery from the early late Paleocene of Morocco, ca. 60 mys, of the oldest and most primitive elephant relative, Eritherium azzouzorum n.g., n.sp., which is one of the earliest known representatives of modern placental orders. This well supported stem proboscidean is extraordinarily primitive and condylarth-like. It provides the first dental evidence of a resemblance between the proboscideans and African ungulates (paenungulates) on the one hand and the louisinines and early macroscelideans on the other. Eritherium illustrates the origin of the elephant order at a previously unknown primitive stage among paenungulates and “ungulates.” The primitive morphology of Eritherium suggests a recent and rapid paenungulate radiation after the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, probably favoured by early endemic African paleoecosystems. At a broader scale, Eritherium provides a new old calibration point of the placental tree and supports an explosive placental radiation. The Ouled Abdoun basin, which yields the oldest known African placentals, is a key locality for elucidating phylogeny and early evolution of paenungulates and other related endemic African lineages. PMID:19549873

  19. 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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Obesity has a negative effect on health and welfare of many species, and has been speculated to be a problem for zoo elephants. To address this concern, we assessed the body condition of 240 elephants housed in North American zoos based on a set of standardized photographs using a 5-point Body Condition Score index (1 = thinnest; 5 = fattest). A multi-variable regression analysis was then used to determine how demographic, management, housing, and social factors were associated with an elevated body condition score in 132 African (Loxodonta africana) and 108 Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants. The highest BCS of 5, suggestive of obesity, was observed in 34% of zoo elephants. In both species, the majority of elephants had elevated BCS, with 74% in the BCS 4 (40%) and 5 (34%) categories. Only 22% of elephants had BCS 3, and less than 5% of the population was assigned the lowest BCS categories (BCS 1 and 2). The strongest multi-variable model demonstrated that staff-directed walking exercise of 14 hours or more per week and highly unpredictable feeding schedules were associated with decreased risk of BCS 4 or 5, while increased diversity in feeding methods and being female was associated with increased risk of BCS 4 or 5. Our data suggest that high body condition is prevalent among North American zoo elephants, and management strategies that help prevent and mitigate obesity may lead to improvements in welfare of zoo elephants. PMID:27415629

  20. Development and Validation of Quantitative Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction Assays to Detect Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses-2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

    PubMed Central

    Stanton, Jeffrey J.; Nofs, Sally; Peng, Rongsheng; Hayward, Gary S.; Ling, Paul D.

    2012-01-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHV) can cause lethal hemorrhagic disease in both African and Asian elephants. At least seven EEHV types have been described, and sensitive real-time PCR tests have been developed for EEHV1A and 1B, which are associated with the majority of characterized Asian elephant deaths. Despite growing knowledge of the different EEHV types, the prevalence of each type within African and Asian elephants remains to be determined and there is considerable need for diagnostic tests to detect and discriminate between each EEHV species for clinical management of African and Asian elephants that develop illness from one or more of these viruses. To begin to address these issues, we developed real-time PCR assays for EEHV2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Overall, each assay had robust PCR efficiency, a dynamic linear range over 5 log10 concentrations, a limit of detection of 10 copies/test reaction with 100% sensitivity, and low intra- and inter-assay variability. Each assay proved to be specific for the EEHV targets for which it was designed, with the exception of EEHV3 and EEHV4, which was expected because of greater DNA sequence similarity between these two EEHV species than the others. These new tools will be useful for conducting surveys of EEHV prevalence within captive and range country elephants, for diagnostic testing of elephants with suspected EEHV-associated disease, and for managing the treatment of elephants with EEHV-induced illness. PMID:22842286

  1. 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.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Obesity has a negative effect on health and welfare of many species, and has been speculated to be a problem for zoo elephants. To address this concern, we assessed the body condition of 240 elephants housed in North American zoos based on a set of standardized photographs using a 5-point Body Condition Score index (1 = thinnest; 5 = fattest). A multi-variable regression analysis was then used to determine how demographic, management, housing, and social factors were associated with an elevated body condition score in 132 African (Loxodonta africana) and 108 Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants. The highest BCS of 5, suggestive of obesity, was observed in 34% of zoo elephants. In both species, the majority of elephants had elevated BCS, with 74% in the BCS 4 (40%) and 5 (34%) categories. Only 22% of elephants had BCS 3, and less than 5% of the population was assigned the lowest BCS categories (BCS 1 and 2). The strongest multi-variable model demonstrated that staff-directed walking exercise of 14 hours or more per week and highly unpredictable feeding schedules were associated with decreased risk of BCS 4 or 5, while increased diversity in feeding methods and being female was associated with increased risk of BCS 4 or 5. Our data suggest that high body condition is prevalent among North American zoo elephants, and management strategies that help prevent and mitigate obesity may lead to improvements in welfare of zoo elephants. PMID:27415629

  2. Monitoring great ape and elephant abundance at large spatial scales: measuring effectiveness of a conservation landscape.

    PubMed

    Stokes, Emma J; Strindberg, Samantha; Bakabana, Parfait C; Elkan, Paul W; Iyenguet, Fortuné C; Madzoké, Bola; Malanda, Guy Aimé F; Mowawa, Brice S; Moukoumbou, Calixte; Ouakabadio, Franck K; Rainey, Hugo J

    2010-01-01

    Protected areas are fundamental to biodiversity conservation, but there is growing recognition of the need to extend beyond protected areas to meet the ecological requirements of species at larger scales. Landscape-scale conservation requires an evaluation of management impact on biodiversity under different land-use strategies; this is challenging and there exist few empirical studies. In a conservation landscape in northern Republic of Congo we demonstrate the application of a large-scale monitoring program designed to evaluate the impact of conservation interventions on three globally threatened species: western gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants, under three land-use types: integral protection, commercial logging, and community-based natural resource management. We applied distance-sampling methods to examine species abundance across different land-use types under varying degrees of management and human disturbance. We found no clear trends in abundance between land-use types. However, units with interventions designed to reduce poaching and protect habitats--irrespective of land-use type--harboured all three species at consistently higher abundance than a neighbouring logging concession undergoing no wildlife management. We applied Generalized-Additive Models to evaluate a priori predictions of species response to different landscape processes. Our results indicate that, given adequate protection from poaching, elephants and gorillas can profit from herbaceous vegetation in recently logged forests and maintain access to ecologically important resources located outside of protected areas. However, proximity to the single integrally protected area in the landscape maintained an overriding positive influence on elephant abundance, and logging roads--even subject to anti-poaching controls--were exploited by elephant poachers and had a major negative influence on elephant distribution. Chimpanzees show a clear preference for unlogged or more mature forests

  3. Monitoring Great Ape and Elephant Abundance at Large Spatial Scales: Measuring Effectiveness of a Conservation Landscape

    PubMed Central

    Stokes, Emma J.; Strindberg, Samantha; Bakabana, Parfait C.; Elkan, Paul W.; Iyenguet, Fortuné C.; Madzoké, Bola; Malanda, Guy Aimé F.; Mowawa, Brice S.; Moukoumbou, Calixte; Ouakabadio, Franck K.; Rainey, Hugo J.

    2010-01-01

    Protected areas are fundamental to biodiversity conservation, but there is growing recognition of the need to extend beyond protected areas to meet the ecological requirements of species at larger scales. Landscape-scale conservation requires an evaluation of management impact on biodiversity under different land-use strategies; this is challenging and there exist few empirical studies. In a conservation landscape in northern Republic of Congo we demonstrate the application of a large-scale monitoring program designed to evaluate the impact of conservation interventions on three globally threatened species: western gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants, under three land-use types: integral protection, commercial logging, and community-based natural resource management. We applied distance-sampling methods to examine species abundance across different land-use types under varying degrees of management and human disturbance. We found no clear trends in abundance between land-use types. However, units with interventions designed to reduce poaching and protect habitats - irrespective of land-use type - harboured all three species at consistently higher abundance than a neighbouring logging concession undergoing no wildlife management. We applied Generalized-Additive Models to evaluate a priori predictions of species response to different landscape processes. Our results indicate that, given adequate protection from poaching, elephants and gorillas can profit from herbaceous vegetation in recently logged forests and maintain access to ecologically important resources located outside of protected areas. However, proximity to the single integrally protected area in the landscape maintained an overriding positive influence on elephant abundance, and logging roads – even subject to anti-poaching controls - were exploited by elephant poachers and had a major negative influence on elephant distribution. Chimpanzees show a clear preference for unlogged or more mature

  4. Three Conservation Applications of Astronaut Photographs of Earth: Tidal Flat Loss (Japan), Elephant Impacts on Vegetation (Botswana), and Seagrass and Mangrove Monitoring (Australia)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lulla, Kamlesh P.; Robinson, Julie A.; Minorukashiwagi; Maggiesuzuki; Duanenellis, M.; Bussing, Charles E.; Leelong, W. J.; McKenzie, Andlen J.

    2000-01-01

    NASA photographs taken from low Earth orbit can provide information relevant to conservation biology. This data source is now more accessible due to improvements in digitizing technology, Internet file transfer, and availability of image processing software. We present three examples of conservation-related projects that benefited from using orbital photographs. (1) A time series of photographs from the Space Shuttle showing wetland conversion in Japan was used as a tool for communicating about the impacts of tidal flat loss. Real-time communication with astronauts about a newsworthy event resulted in acquiring current imagery. These images and the availability of other high resolution digital images from NASA provided timely public information on the observed changes. (2) A Space Shuttle photograph of Chobe National Park in Botswana was digitally classified and analyzed to identify the locations of elephant-impacted woodland. Field validation later confirmed that areas identified on the image showed evidence of elephant impacts. (3) A summary map from intensive field surveys of seagrasses in Shoalwater Bay, Australia was used as reference data for a supervised classification of a digitized photograph taken from orbit. The classification was able to distinguish seagrasses, sediments and mangroves with accuracy approximating that in studies using other satellite remote sensing data. Orbital photographs are in the public domain and the database of nearly 400,000 photographs from the late 1960s to the present is available at a single searchable location on the Internet. These photographs can be used by conservation biologists for general information about the landscape and in quantitative applications.

  5. A simple and inexpensive molecular method for sexing and identification of the forensic samples of elephant origin.

    PubMed

    Gupta, Sandeep K; Thangaraj, Kumarasamy; Singh, Lalji

    2006-07-01

    The population of the Asian elephant is being dramatically reduced due to poaching of the ivory from the male. As poaching occurs in remote forests, it often takes weeks or longer for it to be discovered and it is therefore often very difficult to determine the sex of the decomposed body. Data suggest that in the recent past, over 2000 male elephants have been poached in South India. We have developed a technique based on molecular markers to determine that the carcass is an elephant and that it is a male. Using DNA sequence information from Genbank, we have developed two primer pairs: one for the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the other for the sex-determining region of Y chromosome (SRY) gene of the Indian elephant. After PCR amplification of known elephant DNA, we found that the mtDNA was common in both males and females, whereas the SRY-specific amplicon was observed only in the male. PMID:16882222

  6. Trade in the hammer for a power driver—perspectives on the frozen elephant trunk repair for aortic arch disease

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Like a power driver for which the bit can be changed for each screw that is turned, improvement of brain protection strategies and the development of hybrid techniques have provided us with the ability to offer tailored repair options for patients with complex thoracic disease involving the arch. Variations of the frozen elephant trunk operation have been the most versatile of the newer hybrid approaches to repair complex thoracic aortic pathology. The frozen elephant trunk procedure includes the use of circulatory arrest in combination with suturing a stentgraft into the arch, and may reduce the risk of stroke and endoleaks. This article describes various methods of performing the frozen elephant trunk procedure with a focus on preoperative considerations including the etiology of disease, the time and urgency of presentation, and the indications to operate. PMID:24109573

  7. Early primary--rather than primordial follicles constitute the main follicular reserve in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Stansfield, Fiona J; Picton, Helen M; Nöthling, J O

    2011-01-01

    Information on the ovarian follicle reserve in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is lacking. This study set out to determine the ratios of early preantral follicles and their relative dimensions in the ovaries of 16 African elephant aged 10-34 years. The ovaries were sectioned histologically. Follicles were counted and classified according to expansion of the pre-granulosa cells. Early primary follicles were the most common (75.8%±11.8%), followed by true primary follicles (23.8%±11.8%), whereas primordial follicles were the most rare (<2%). Measurements made on at least 100 early preantral follicles from each animal (n=1464) indicate that growth in oocyte and nuclear diameters started with transition to the true primary stage P<0.01. This, together with the observed ratios between the three types of early preantral follicles suggest that both classical primordial and early primary follicles contribute to the ovarian reserve in the African elephant. PMID:21126835

  8. Elemental Analysis of Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) Teeth Using X-ray Fluorescence and a Comparison to Other Species.

    PubMed

    Nganvongpanit, Korakot; Brown, Janine L; Buddhachat, Kittisak; Somgird, Chaleamchat; Thitaram, Chatchote

    2016-03-01

    Elemental composition in bone of the different species has variation depending on genetic and environmental factors especially their food habitat. The aims of this study were to conduct an elemental analysis of Asian elephant teeth, both deciduous (first molar, second molar, and tusk) and permanent (molar and tusk), and compare the elemental composition of permanent teeth among 15 species, mostly mammalian. These teeth were analyzed using X-ray fluorescence at two voltages: 15 and 50 kV. In Asian elephants, deciduous tusk showed a lower Ca/Zn ratio compared to permanent tusk, because of the lack of Zn in permanent molars. Ca/Fe ratio was higher in deciduous than permanent molars. For permanent teeth, elephant molars presented a high Ca/Pb ratio but no Ca/Zn, Ca/Sr, and Zn/Fe ratios because of the lack of Zn and Sr in the samples tested. The key elemental ratios for differentiating elephant deciduous and permanent tusk were Ca/P and Ca/Zn. The considerable variation in elemental ratio data across 15 species was observed. All tooth samples contained Ca and P, which was not surprising; however, Pb also was present in all samples and Cd in a large majority, suggesting exposure to environmental contaminants. From discriminant analysis, the combination of Ca/P+Ca/Zn+Ca/Pb+Ca/Fe+Ca/Sr+Zn/Fe can generate two equations that successfully classified six (dog, pig, goat, tapir, monkey, and elephant) out of 15 species at 100 % specificity. In conclusion, determining the elemental profile of teeth may serve as a tool to identify the tooth "type" of elephants and to potentially classify other species. PMID:26194819

  9. Are the long-term effects of mesobrowsers on woodland dynamics substitutive or additive to those of elephants?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Kane, Christopher A. J.; Duffy, Kevin J.; Page, Bruce R.; Macdonald, David W.

    2011-09-01

    The large spectrum of existing literature on browser-woodland dynamics, both from savanna and temperate biomes, converges towards concluding that all browsers importantly impact woody plants. In this context a crucial question in the current debate about reintroducing elephant culling, is whether the long-term effects of elephants and mesobrowsers are similar. If the two groups impact the same woody species in the same habitats, sufficiently high biomass-densities of mesobrowsers may, following removal of elephants, continue to heavily impact earlier life-history stages of the same suite of woody plants that elephant impacted, preventing these species from maturing. Thus, as existing mature trees die from natural causes and fade from the system, a similar end-point for woodland structure and composition is achieved. We reviewed 49 years of literature on the savanna browser guild, performing a meta-analysis on the disparate data on the guild's woody plant species use (3677 records) and habitat use (894 records). Mesobrowsers' and elephants' extensive overlap in habitat use and staple woody species diet, together with evidence of their influencing each others' abundance and of their dietary separation increasing with resource depletion, implies that the two groups impact the same core woody species in the same habitats. It therefore seems probable that high biomass-density mesobrowsers may have a long-term substitutive effect to that of elephant on woodland dynamics. Consequently management wanting a particular state of savanna woodland, should consider the biomass-density of both groups, rather than just focus on the system's perceived keystone species. Such principles may also apply to temperate and other systems.

  10. Whither the elephant?: the continuing development of clinical leadership in the UK National Health Services.

    PubMed

    Edmonstone, John Duncan

    2014-01-01

    The paper revisits the theme of clinical leadership in UK countries, following an earlier (2009) review. It examines the competency-based approach; considers the emerging voices of clinical leaders; explores the results of evaluation research studies; identifies learning from intra-UK and international comparisons and considers the issue of leader development versus leadership development. It concludes that there is little conceptual clarity; that there continues to be a major disconnect between clinicians and managers; that different approaches to developing clinical leaders are emerging in different parts of the UK and that the major challenge remains to develop leadership, rather than leaders. PMID:24639381

  11. Short-term and delayed effects of mother death on calf mortality in Asian elephants

    PubMed Central

    Mar, Khyne U.; Lummaa, Virpi

    2016-01-01

    Long-lived, highly social species with prolonged offspring dependency can show long postreproductive periods. The Mother hypothesis proposes that a need for extended maternal care of offspring together with increased maternal mortality risk associated with old age select for such postreproductive survival, but tests in species with long postreproductive periods, other than humans and marine mammals, are lacking. Here, we investigate the Mother hypothesis with longitudinal data on Asian elephants from timber camps of Myanmar 1) to determine the costs of reproduction on female age-specific mortality risk within 1 year after calving and 2) to quantify the effects of mother loss on calf survival across development. We found that older females did not show an increased immediate mortality risk after calving. Calves had a 10-fold higher mortality risk in their first year if they lost their mother, but this decreased with age to only a 1.1-fold higher risk in the fifth year. We also detected delayed effects of maternal death: calves losing their mother during early ages still suffered from increased mortality risk at ages 3–4 and during adolescence but such effects were weaker in magnitude. Consequently, the Mother hypothesis could account for the first 5 years of postreproductive survival, but there were no costs of continued reproduction on the immediate maternal mortality risk. However, the observed postreproductive lifespan of females surviving to old age commonly exceeds 5 years in Asian elephants, and further studies are thus needed to determine selection for (postreproductive) lifespan in elephants and other comparably long-lived species. PMID:26792972

  12. A standardised faecal collection protocol for intestinal helminth egg counts in Asian elephants, Elephas maximus

    PubMed Central

    Lynsdale, Carly L.; Santos, Diogo J. Franco dos; Hayward, Adam D.; Mar, Khyne U.; Htut, Win; Aung, Htoo Htoo; Soe, Aung Thura; Lummaa, Virpi

    2015-01-01

    The quantitative assessment of parasite infection is necessary to measure, manage and reduce infection risk in both wild and captive animal populations. Traditional faecal flotation methods which aim to quantify parasite burden, such as the McMaster egg counting technique, are widely used in veterinary medicine, agricultural management and wildlife parasitology. Although many modifications to the McMaster method exist, few account for systematic variation in parasite egg output which may lead to inaccurate estimations of infection intensity through faecal egg counts (FEC). To adapt the McMaster method for use in sampling Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), we tested a number of possible sources of error regarding faecal sampling, focussing on helminth eggs and using a population of over 120 semi-captive elephants distributed across northern Myanmar. These included time of day of defecation, effects of storage in 10% formalin and 10% formol saline and variation in egg distribution between and within faecal boluses. We found no significant difference in the distribution of helminth eggs within faecal matter or for different defecation times, however, storage in formol saline and formalin significantly decreased egg recovery. This is the first study to analyse several collection and storage aspects of a widely-used traditional parasitology method for helminth parasites of E. maximus using known host individuals. We suggest that for the modified McMaster technique, a minimum of one fresh sample per elephant collected from any freshly produced bolus in the total faecal matter and at any point within a 7.5 h time period (7.30am–2.55 pm) will consistently represent parasite load. This study defines a protocol which may be used to test pre-analytic factors and effectively determine infection load in species which produce large quantities of vegetative faeces, such as non-ruminant megaherbivores. PMID:26236632

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Salivary samples were collected over a 24-hr period from one group of six juvenile (7-12 years) and one group of three adult (24-25 years) African elephant females, Loxodonta africana, and the cortisol concentration was measured in unextracted samples by EIA. Samples were collected during May, June, and November 2012 (n = 147) using cotton swabs at 4-hr intervals from 20:00 to 20:00 of the next day (seven samples per animal in each trial). The animals are kept under standard zoo management: the herd is maintained in their indoor enclosures until 10:00 and then released into the outdoor enclosures until 21:00-21:30 (May/June) and 18:30-19:00 (November). No adult elephant bull was present at the zoo during this time. The results demonstrate a clear diurnal pattern of cortisol secretion with the lowest concentration observed at 20:00 (2.03 ± 0.08 ng/ml saliva) and the peak concentrations at 08:00 (5.26 ± 0.35 ng/ml saliva). Although the cortisol values were higher in the adult cows compared to the juvenile cows in the May-June period, the differences were not significant. However, the values obtained in November from the juvenile group were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than the concentrations measured in this group in June. In conclusion, salivary cortisol in zoo elephants follows a circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) adapted to daily zoo husbandry routines. PMID:26748465

  14. Prolonged fasting activates Nrf2 in post-weaned elephant seals.

    PubMed

    Vázquez-Medina, José Pablo; Soñanez-Organis, José G; Rodriguez, Ruben; Viscarra, Jose A; Nishiyama, Akira; Crocker, Daniel E; Ortiz, Rudy M

    2013-08-01

    Elephant seals naturally experience prolonged periods of absolute food and water deprivation (fasting). In humans, rats and mice, prolonged food deprivation activates the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and increases oxidative damage. In elephant seals, prolonged fasting activates RAS without increasing oxidative damage likely due to an increase in antioxidant defenses. The mechanism leading to the upregulation of antioxidant defenses during prolonged fasting remains elusive. Therefore, we investigated whether prolonged fasting activates the redox-sensitive transcription factor Nrf2, which controls the expression of antioxidant genes, and if such activation is potentially mediated by systemic increases in RAS. Blood and skeletal muscle samples were collected from seals fasting for 1, 3, 5 and 7 weeks. Nrf2 activity and nuclear content increased by 76% and 167% at week 7. Plasma angiotensin II (Ang II) and transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) were 5000% and 250% higher at week 7 than at week 1. Phosphorylation of Smad2, an effector of Ang II and TGF signaling, increased by 120% at week 7 and by 84% in response to intravenously infused Ang II. NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4) mRNA expression, which is controlled by smad proteins, increased 430% at week 7, while Nox4 protein expression, which can activate Nrf2, was 170% higher at week 7 than at week 1. These results demonstrate that prolonged fasting activates Nrf2 in elephant seals and that RAS stimulation can potentially result in increased Nox4 through Smad phosphorylation. The results also suggest that Nox4 is essential to sustain the hormetic adaptive response to oxidative stress in fasting seals. PMID:23619404

  15. Identifying foraging events in deep diving southern elephant seals, Mirounga leonina, using acceleration data loggers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gallon, S.; Bailleul, F.; Charrassin, J.-B.; Guinet, C.; Bost, C.-A.; Handrich, Y.; Hindell, M.

    2013-04-01

    Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) range widely throughout the Southern Ocean and are associated with important habitats (e.g., ice edges, shelf) where they accumulate energy to fuel their reproductive efforts on land. Knowledge of the fine scale foraging behaviour used to garner this energy, however, is limited. For the first time, acceleration loggers were deployed on three adult southern elephant seals during a translocation study at Kerguelen Island. The aims of the study were to (1) identify prey capture attempts using 2-D accelerometer tags deployed on the head of southern elephant seals, (2) compare the number of foraging dives identified by simple dive depth profiles and accelerometer profiles and (3) compare dive characteristics between prey encounter and non-prey encounter dives. The 2-D loggers recorded depth every second, surge and heave accelerations at 8 or 16 Hz and were carried for periods between 23 and 121 h. Rapid head movements were interpreted to be associated with prey encounter events. Acceleration data detected possible prey encounter events in 39-52% of dives whilst 67-80% of dives were classified as foraging dives when using dive depth profiles alone. Prey encounters occurred in successive dives during days and nights and lasted between tenths of a second and 7.6 min. Binomial linear mixed effect models showed that seals were diving significantly deeper and increased both descent rate and bottom duration when encountering prey. Dive duration, however, did not significantly increase during dives with prey encounters. These results are in accordance with optimal foraging theory, which predicts that deep divers should increase both their transit rates and the time spent at depth when a profitable prey patch is encountered. These findings indicate that this technique is promising as it more accurately detects possible prey encounter events compared with dive depth profiles alone and thus provides a better understanding of seal foraging

  16. Gestating for 22 months: luteal development and pregnancy maintenance in elephants

    PubMed Central

    Lueders, Imke; Niemuller, Cheryl; Rich, Peter; Gray, Charlie; Hermes, Robert; Goeritz, Frank; Hildebrandt, Thomas B.

    2012-01-01

    The corpus luteum, a temporally established endocrine gland, formed on the ovary from remaining cells of the ovulated follicle, plays a key role in maintaining the early mammalian pregnancy by secreting progesterone. Despite being a monovular species, 2–12 corpora lutea (CLs) were found on the elephant ovaries during their long pregnancy lasting on average 640 days. However, the function and the formation of the additional CLs and their meaning remain unexplained. Here, we show from the example of the elephant, the close relationship between the maternally determined luteal phase length, the formation of multiple luteal structures and their progestagen secretion, the timespan of early embryonic development until implantation and maternal recognition. Through three-dimensional and Colour Flow ultrasonography of the ovaries and the uterus, we conclude that pregnant elephants maintain active CL throughout gestation that appear as main source of progestagens. Two LH peaks during the follicular phase ensure the development of a set of 5.4 ± 2.7 CLs. Accessory CLs (acCLs) form prior to ovulation after the first luteinizing hormone (LH) peak, while the ovulatory CL (ovCL) forms after the second LH peak. After five to six weeks (the normal luteal phase lifespan), all existing CLs begin to regress. However, they resume growing as soon as an embryo becomes ultrasonographically apparent on day 49 ± 2. After this time, all pregnancy CLs grow significantly larger than in a non-conceptive luteal phase and are maintained until after parturition. The long luteal phase is congruent with a slow early embryonic development and luteal rescue only starts ‘last minute’, with presumed implantation of the embryo. Our findings demonstrate a highly successful reproductive solution, different from currently described mammalian models. PMID:22719030

  17. A standardised faecal collection protocol for intestinal helminth egg counts in Asian elephants, Elephas maximus.

    PubMed

    Lynsdale, Carly L; Santos, Diogo J Franco Dos; Hayward, Adam D; Mar, Khyne U; Htut, Win; Aung, Htoo Htoo; Soe, Aung Thura; Lummaa, Virpi

    2015-12-01

    The quantitative assessment of parasite infection is necessary to measure, manage and reduce infection risk in both wild and captive animal populations. Traditional faecal flotation methods which aim to quantify parasite burden, such as the McMaster egg counting technique, are widely used in veterinary medicine, agricultural management and wildlife parasitology. Although many modifications to the McMaster method exist, few account for systematic variation in parasite egg output which may lead to inaccurate estimations of infection intensity through faecal egg counts (FEC). To adapt the McMaster method for use in sampling Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), we tested a number of possible sources of error regarding faecal sampling, focussing on helminth eggs and using a population of over 120 semi-captive elephants distributed across northern Myanmar. These included time of day of defecation, effects of storage in 10% formalin and 10% formol saline and variation in egg distribution between and within faecal boluses. We found no significant difference in the distribution of helminth eggs within faecal matter or for different defecation times, however, storage in formol saline and formalin significantly decreased egg recovery. This is the first study to analyse several collection and storage aspects of a widely-used traditional parasitology method for helminth parasites of E. maximus using known host individuals. We suggest that for the modified McMaster technique, a minimum of one fresh sample per elephant collected from any freshly produced bolus in the total faecal matter and at any point within a 7.5 h time period (7.30am-2.55 pm) will consistently represent parasite load. This study defines a protocol which may be used to test pre-analytic factors and effectively determine infection load in species which produce large quantities of vegetative faeces, such as non-ruminant megaherbivores. PMID:26236632

  18. Ultrastructural alterations of frozen-thawed Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) spermatozoa.

    PubMed

    Sa-Ardrit, M; Saikhun, J; Thongtip, N; Damyang, M; Mahasawangkul, S; Angkawanish, T; Jansittiwate, S; Faisaikarm, T; Kitiyanant, Y; Pavasuthipaisit, K; Pinyopummin, A

    2006-04-01

    Intact plasma and acrosome membranes and functional mitochondria following cryopreservation are important attributes for the fertilizing ability of spermatozoa. In the present study, functional and ultrastructural changes of Asian elephant spermatozoa after cryopreservation either in TEST + glycerol or HEPT + dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) were evaluated by fluorescent techniques and electron microscopy. Sperm frozen in TEST + glycerol had higher proportion of sperm with intact plasma (49.1 +/- 9.2% vs. 30.9 +/- 3.9%) and acrosomal (53.7 +/- 4.9% vs. 35.8 +/- 6.1%) membranes, as well as active mitochondria (57.0 +/- 7.2% vs. 42.0 +/- 5.0%) than those cryopreserved in HEPT + DMSO. The results obtained from electron microscopy were similar to those obtained by fluorescence microscopy. The percentage of normal spermatozoa was higher when spermatozoa were frozen in TEST + glycerol than those frozen in HEPT + DMSO (31.8 +/- 5.6 vs. 28.5 +/- 6.4). The ultrastructural alterations revealed by transmission electron microscopy could be classified as (i) distension of plasma membrane, while the acrosome was swollen; (ii) disruption or loss of plasma membrane, while acrosome was swollen with distended outer acrosomal membrane; (iii) disruption or loss of plasma and outer acrosomal membrane with leakage of acrosome content; (iv) extensive vesiculation of plasma and outer acrosomal membrane and leakage of acrosome content; (v) a complete loss of both plasma membrane and outer acrosomal membrane; and (vi) swelling of mitochondria. These findings suggest that the freezing and thawing procedure caused structural damage to elephant spermatozoa, especially in the plasma membrane, acrosome and mitochondria. Fluorescence and electron microscopic evaluations are potentially a powerful tool in the analysis of elephant spermatozoa after freezing and thawing. PMID:16533357

  19. Eye Histology and Ganglion Cell Topography of Northern Elephant Seals (Mirounga angustirostris).

    PubMed

    Smodlaka, Hrvoje; Khamas, Wael A; Palmer, Lauren; Lui, Bryan; Borovac, Josip A; Cohn, Brian A; Schmitz, Lars

    2016-06-01

    Northern elephant seals are one of the deepest diving marine mammals. As northern elephant seals often reach the bathypelagic zone, it is usually assumed that their eyes possess evolutionary adaptations that provide better ability to see in dim or scotopic environments. The purpose of this study was to carefully describe anatomical and histological traits of the eye that may improve light sensitivity. Northern elephant seals have large, somewhat elliptical eyes, with equatorial and anteroposterior diameters of 5.03 and 4.4 cm, respectively. The cornea is large in diameter and the lens is completely spherical. The iris has pronounced constrictor and dilator muscles, whereas the ciliary muscle is notably less developed. The tapetum lucidum is more prominent than in other pinnipeds, making up about 63% of retinal thickness in the posterior aspect of the globe. Within the retina, the pigmented epithelium lacks pigment except for the region close to the ora serrata. Parts of the photoreceptor and outer nuclear layers are folded. Although the photoreceptor layer is composed predominantly of rods, cone photoreceptors were also observed. Cells within the retinal ganglion cell layer are arranged in a single level. Ganglion cells reach their maximum density (∼1,300 cells per mm(2) ) dorsal to the optic disc, whereas the periphery of the retina is sparsely populated (<100 cells per mm(2) ). All above mentioned features are consistent with the predicted evolutionary adaptations to the photic environment of the bathypelagic zone. Anat Rec, 299:798-805, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:26950409

  20. Variation in the composition of milk of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) throughout lactation.

    PubMed

    Abbondanza, Frances N; Power, Michael L; Dickson, Melissa A; Brown, Janine; Oftedal, Olav T

    2013-01-01

    We investigated milk nutrient composition from three Asian elephant cows over the first 3 years of lactation, including two consecutive lactations in one cow. Body mass gain is presented for three calves during the first year. Milk samples (n = 74) were analyzed for dry matter (DM), fat, crude protein (CP), sugar, ash, calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K); gross energy (GE) was calculated. Concentrations of most nutrients changed over lactation: DM, fat, CP, Ca, P, and GE were positively correlated to calf age; sugar was negatively correlated to calf age. GE doubled between birth (1 kcal/g) and 2 years of age (2 kcal/g). After accounting for calf age, GE, fat, Ca, and P concentrations differed among the cows. Milk composition also differed between two lactations from the same cow. When milk nutrients were expressed on a mg per kcal basis, the pattern changes: CP, Ca, and P remained relatively constant over lactation on a per energy basis. Calf mass quadrupled over the first year of life; mass gain was linear at 0.9 kg/day. Asian elephant milk composition is variable, both across lactations and between cows, complicating efforts to determine representative values for comparative studies and for the formulation of elephant milk formulas. The fact that CP, Ca, and P were all relatively constant when expressed on a per energy basis may be of biological significance. The increase in nutrient density over lactation undoubtedly limits maternal water loss, reducing the volume of milk necessary to support the calf. PMID:22588804

  1. Holocene elephant seal distribution implies warmer-than-present climate in the Ross Sea

    PubMed Central

    Hall, B. L.; Hoelzel, A. R.; Baroni, C.; Denton, G. H.; Le Boeuf, B. J.; Overturf, B.; Töpf, A. L.

    2006-01-01

    We show that southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) colonies existed proximate to the Ross Ice Shelf during the Holocene, well south of their core sub-Antarctic breeding and molting grounds. We propose that this was due to warming (including a previously unrecognized period from ≈1,100 to 2,300 14C yr B.P.) that decreased coastal sea ice and allowed penetration of warmer-than-present climate conditions into the Ross Embayment. If, as proposed in the literature, the ice shelf survived this period, it would have been exposed to environments substantially warmer than present. PMID:16801535

  2. The impacts of permafrost degradation in paraglacial environments in Elephant Point (Livingston Island, Antarctica)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oliva, Marc; Ruiz-Fernández, Jesús

    2015-04-01

    Elephant Point constitutes an ice-free environment of only 1.16 km2 in the south-western corner of Livingston Island (South Shetland Islands, Antarctica). In January 2014 we conducted a detailed geomorphological mapping in situ, examining the distribution of processes and landforms in Elephant Point. Four main geomorphological environments were identified: proglacial area, moraine system, bedrock plateaus and marine terraces. The ice cap covering most part of the western half of this island has significantly retreated during the last decades in parallel to the accelerated warming trend recorded in the Antarctic Peninsula. Between 1956 and 2010 this rapid retreat has exposed 17.3% of the present-day land surface in Elephant Point. Two of these geomorphological units are located in this new ice-free area: a polygenic moraine stretching from the western to the eastern edges of the peninsula and a relatively flat proglacial environment. The glacier sat next to the northern slope of the moraine in 1956, but the retreat of the Rotch dome glacier during the last decades left these environments free of glacier ice. Following the deglaciation, the postglacial dynamics in these areas showed the characteristic response of paraglacial systems. Very different geomorphological processes occur today in the northern and southern slopes of the moraine, which is related to the different stage of paraglacial adjustment in both sides. The southern slope shows a low to moderate activity of slope processes operating on coarser sediments that have built pronival ramparts, debris flows and alluvial fans. By contrast, mass wasting processes are very active in the northern slope, which is composed of fine-grained unconsolidated sediments. Here, ice-rich permafrost has been observed in slumps degrading the moraine. The sediments of the moraine are being mobilized down-slope in large amounts by landslides and slumps. Up to 9.6% of the surface of the moraine is affected by retrogressive

  3. Elephant Moraine 87521 - The first lunar meteorite composed of predominantly mare material

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Warren, Paul H.; Kallemeyn, Gregory W.

    1989-01-01

    This paper presents the results of trace-element analyses and detailed petrography obtained for the Elephant Moraine 87521 meteorite (EET87521) found recently in Antarctica. Its high values found for the Fe/Mn ratio and the bulk-Co content indicate that the EET87521 is not, as was originally classified, a eucrite. Moreover, its low Ga/Al and Na/Ca ratios exclude the possibility that it is an SNC meteorite. These and other characteristics (e.g., a very low Ti content) of the EET87521 suggest its affinity with very-low-Ti high-alumina varieties of lunar mare basalt.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-15

    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 (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 ocean food webs. PMID

  5. Chemical compatibility study of Cooley L18KU, Herculite, and Elephant Mat with Hanford tank waste

    SciTech Connect

    Mercado, J.E.

    1998-06-23

    An independent chemical compatibility review of various wrapping and absorbent/padding materials was conducted to evaluate resistance to chemicals and constituents present in liquid waste from the Hanford underground tanks. These materials will be used to wrap long-length contaminated equipment when such equipment is removed from the tanks and prepared for transportation and subsequent disposal or storage. The materials studied were Cooley L18KU, Herculite, and Elephant Mat. The study concludes that these materials are appropriate for use in this application.

  6. Foraging habitats of southern elephant seals, Mirounga leonina, from the Northern Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muelbert, Monica M. C.; de Souza, Ronald B.; Lewis, Mirtha N.; Hindell, Mark A.

    2013-04-01

    Elephant Island (EI) is uniquely placed to provide southern elephant seals (SES) breeding there with potential access to foraging grounds in the Weddell Sea, the frontal zones of the South Atlantic Ocean, the Patagonian shelf and the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). Quantifying where seals from EI forage therefore provides insights into the types of important habitats available, and which are of particular importance to elephant seals. Twenty nine SES (5 sub-adult males—SAM and 24 adult females—AF) were equipped with SMRU CTD-SLDRs during the post-breeding (PB 2008, 2009) and post-moulting (PM 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) trips to sea. There were striking intra-annual and inter-sex differences in foraging areas, with most of the PB females remaining within 150 km of EI. One PB AF travelled down the WAP as did 16 out of the 20 PM females and foraged near the winter ice-edge. Most PM sub-adult males remained close to EI, in areas similar to those used by adult females several months earlier, although one SAM spent the early part of the winter foraging on the Patagonian Shelf. The waters of the Northern Antarctic Peninsula (NAP) contain abundant resources to support the majority of the Islands' SES for the summer and early winter, such that the animals from this population have shorter migrations than those from most other populations. Sub-adult males and PB females are certainly taking advantage of these resources. However, PM females did not remain there over the winter months, instead they used the same waters at the ice-edge in the southern WAP that females from both King George Island and South Georgia used. Females made more benthic dives than sub-adult males—again this contrasts with other sites where SAMs do more benthic diving. Unlike most other populations studied to date EI is a relatively southerly breeding colony located on the Antarctic continental shelf. EI seals are using shelf habitats more than other SES populations but some individuals still

  7. New antifungal and cytotoxic steroidal saponins from the bulbs of an elephant garlic mutant.

    PubMed

    Sata, N; Matsunaga, S; Fusetani, N; Nishikawa, H; Takamura, S; Saito, T

    1998-10-01

    Saponins in bulbs of a mutant of elephant garlic were investigated, and three new steroidal saponins named yayoisaponins A-C were obtained together with the known dioscin and aginoside. Their structures, including the relative stereochemistry, were elucidated by spectral data interpretation, while the absolute stereochemistry of the sugar moieties was assigned on the basis of a chiral gas chromatographic analysis of the acid hydrolysates. Yayoisaponins A-C and aginoside exhibited not only in vitro cytotoxicity against P388 cells at 2.1 micrograms/ml, but also antifungal activity against Mortierella ramanniana at 10 micrograms/disk. PMID:9836426

  8. Holocene elephant seal distribution implies warmer-than-present climate in the Ross Sea.

    PubMed

    Hall, B L; Hoelzel, A R; Baroni, C; Denton, G H; Le Boeuf, B J; Overturf, B; Töpf, A L

    2006-07-01

    We show that southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) colonies existed proximate to the Ross Ice Shelf during the Holocene, well south of their core sub-Antarctic breeding and molting grounds. We propose that this was due to warming (including a previously unrecognized period from approximately 1,100 to 2,300 (14)C yr B.P.) that decreased coastal sea ice and allowed penetration of warmer-than-present climate conditions into the Ross Embayment. If, as proposed in the literature, the ice shelf survived this period, it would have been exposed to environments substantially warmer than present. PMID:16801535

  9. Free-swimming northern elephant seals have low field metabolic rates that are sensitive to an increased cost of transport.

    PubMed

    Maresh, Jennifer L; Simmons, Samantha E; Crocker, Daniel E; McDonald, Birgitte I; Williams, Terrie M; Costa, Daniel P

    2014-05-01

    Widely ranging marine predators often adopt stereotyped, energy-saving behaviours to minimize the energetic cost of transport while maximizing energy gain. Environmental and anthropogenic disturbances can disrupt energy balance by prompting avoidance behaviours that increase transport costs, thereby decreasing foraging efficiency. We examined the ability of 12 free-ranging, juvenile northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) to mitigate the effects of experimentally increased transport costs by modifying their behaviour and/or energy use in a compensatory manner. Under normal locomotion, elephant seals had low energy requirements (106.5±28.2 kJ kg(-1) day(-1)), approaching or even falling below predictions of basal requirements. Seals responded to a small increase in locomotion costs by spending more time resting between dives (149±44 s) compared with matched control treatments (102±11 s; P<0.01). Despite incurred costs, most other dive and transit behaviours were conserved across treatments, including fixed, rhythmic swimming gaits. Because of this, and because each flipper stroke had a predictable effect on total costs (P<0.001), total energy expenditure was strongly correlated with time spent at sea under both treatments (P<0.0001). These results suggest that transiting elephant seals have a limited capacity to modify their locomotory behaviour without increasing their transport costs. Based on this, we conclude that elephant seals and other ocean predators occupying similar niches may be particularly sensitive to increased transport costs incurred when avoiding unanticipated disturbances. PMID:24790099

  10. Morphology and surface topography of the schistosome Bivitellobilharzia nairi from the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) in Sri Lanka.

    PubMed

    Rajapakse, R P V J; Iwagami, M; Wickramasinghe, S; Walker, S M; Agatsuma, T

    2013-09-01

    Bivitellobilharzia nairi was first recorded from an Indian elephant (Elephas maximus) in Berlin. Infections with this parasite have become increasingly important in E. maximus maximus populations in Sri Lanka. The present work is the first morphological description of this schistosome from Sri Lanka. A number of adult worms were recovered from a dead Asian elephant near the elephant orphanage, Pinnawala, in Sri Lanka. The observed clinical features of the infected elephant included emaciation, subventral oedema and anaemia. Post-mortem results indicated that the liver was enlarged and adult schistosomes were found in the blood vessels of the liver parenchyma. The total number of worms recovered from a portion of the liver was 129,870, which is an average of 22 worms per 100 g of liver. The present study uses both light microscopic and scanning electron microscope (SEM) techniques for the morphological and topographical characterization of this parasite and to permit comparison with other species of schistosomes. Morphologically, these worms correspond very well to the description of B. nairi by Dutt & Srivastava (1955). Moreover, it is clear that B. nairi is a distinctive species easily differentiated from other schistosomes. The SEM study of the tegument of male worms shows that the surface of B. nairi is smoother than in other schistosomes. PMID:22989615

  11. Detection and characterization of a Cryptosporidium isolate from a southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) from the Antarctic peninsula.

    PubMed

    Rengifo-Herrera, C; Ortega-Mora, L M; Gómez-Bautista, M; García-Moreno, F T; García-Párraga, D; Castro-Urda, J; Pedraza-Díaz, S

    2011-02-01

    The presence of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in 221 fecal samples from different species of Antarctic pinnipeds was investigated by immunofluorescence microscopy and PCR. Cryptosporidium, a skunk-like genotype, was detected only in a southern elephant seal. Giardia was not detected. This is the first report of a Cryptosporidium sp. in Antarctic marine mammals. PMID:21169427

  12. Satellites, the All-Seeing Eyes in the Sky: Counting Elephant Seals from Space

    PubMed Central

    McMahon, Clive R.; Howe, Hamish; van den Hoff, John; Alderman, Rachael; Brolsma, Henk; Hindell, Mark A.

    2014-01-01

    Regular censuses are fundamental for the management of animal populations but, are logistically challenging for species living in remote regions. The advent of readily accessible, high resolution satellite images of earth mean that it is possible to resolve relatively small (0.6 m) objects, sufficient to discern large animals. To illustrate how these advances can be used to count animals in remote regions, individual elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) were counted using satellite imagery. We used an image taken on 10/10/2011 to count elephant seals (n = 1790±306 (95%CL)) on the isthmus of Macquarie Island, an estimate which overlapped with concurrent ground counts (n = 1991). The number of individuals per harem estimated using the two approaches were highly correlated, with a slope close to one and the estimated intercept also encompassing zero. This proof of concept opens the way for satellites to be used as a standard censusing technique for inaccessible and cryptically coloured species. Quantifying the population trends of higher order predators provides an especially informative and tractable indicator of ecosystem health. PMID:24651378

  13. Renal function in suckling and fasting pups of the northern elephant seal.

    PubMed

    Houser, D S; Crocker, D E; Webb, P M; Costa, D P

    2001-06-01

    Elephant seals fast for prolonged periods without access to water. This is made possible, in part, by reductions in urine production. However, the mechanisms involved in reducing urine production are not understood. In this study, glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was measured in five northern elephant seal pups (Mirounga angustirostris) via the inulin clearance technique. Measurements were made during day 9 and day 18-22 of nursing and the second and eighth week of the postweaning fast. Plasma aldosterone and cortisol concentrations, quantified by radioimmunoassay, were measured in eight other weanlings during the second and eighth week of the fast. Mean GFR was 79.3+/-29.3 ml/min during the early suckling period and 78.2+/-17.1, 89.8+/-52.7, and 80.4+/-12.2 ml/min during the late suckling, early fasting and late fasting periods, respectively. Differences between nursing and fasting were insignificant, possibly because reduced protein oxidation during suckling and rapid recruitment of protein for tissue synthesis obviated the need for postprandial hyperfiltration. Alternatively, maintenance of GFR during fasting may facilitate urea concentration by compensating for reductions in the fractional excretion of urea. It is further hypothesized that aldosterone is primarily responsible for mediating renal water reabsorption in this system. PMID:11423313

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-01

    A 21-year-old male African elephant (Loxodonta africana) died suddenly with no previous medical history. Grossly, there were severe multifocal epicardial and endocardial hemorrhages of the atria and ventricles, hydropericardium, multifocal pleural hemorrhages, and severe pulmonary congestion and edema. Histologically, there was fibrinoid vasculitis and thrombosis in the heart and lung and myocardial necrosis. Citrobacter freundii was isolated in abundance in pure culture from liver and heart samples. Low levels of multiples types of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV-6, EEHV-2B, and EEHV-3A) were detected in spleen samples, but not in heart samples. The levels of EEHV DNA found were much lower than those usually associated with acute EEHV hemorrhagic disease, and many other genomic loci that would normally be found in such cases were evidently below the level of detection. Therefore, these findings are unlikely to indicate lethal EEHV disease. Polymerase chain reaction for encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) and toxicology for oleander (Nerium oleander) were negative. Stress, resulting from recent transport, and antimicrobial therapy may have contributed to the death of this animal. PMID:26179092

  15. Minimum audible angles for aerial pure tones in a northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holt, Marla M.; Schusterman, Ronald J.; Southall, Brandon L.; Kastak, David

    2005-04-01

    Recent work has shown that several pinniped species localize aerial broadband signals as accurately as some terrestrial carnivores. Additionally, both harbor seals and California sea lions can better localize both the lower and higher frequencies of their hearing range compared to performance at intermediate frequencies. These results are congruent with the duplex theory of sound localization which states that low frequencies are localized by interaural time differences while high frequencies are localized by interaural intensity differences. Northern elephant seals are land breeding pinnipeds whose range of best hearing sensitivity is shifted toward lower frequencies compared to other pinnipeds tested thus far. In this study, we tested a female northern elephant seal in a hemi-anechoic chamber at six frequencies ranging between 0.8 and 16 kHz that were presented at levels approximately 25 dB above threshold. A left/right behavioral procedure was used to measure minimum audible angles (MAAs) at 75 percent correct discrimination. MAAs ranged from approximately three to fifteen degrees. Best performance occurred at the lower frequencies while worse performance occurred at the two highest test frequencies. Unlike sea lions and harbor seals, this subject showed a decreased ability to utilize interaural intensity differences above 4 kHz.

  16. Satellites, the all-seeing eyes in the sky: counting elephant seals from space.

    PubMed

    McMahon, Clive R; Howe, Hamish; van den Hoff, John; Alderman, Rachael; Brolsma, Henk; Hindell, Mark A

    2014-01-01

    Regular censuses are fundamental for the management of animal populations but, are logistically challenging for species living in remote regions. The advent of readily accessible, high resolution satellite images of earth mean that it is possible to resolve relatively small (0.6 m) objects, sufficient to discern large animals. To illustrate how these advances can be used to count animals in remote regions, individual elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) were counted using satellite imagery. We used an image taken on 10/10/2011 to count elephant seals (n = 1790 ± 306 (95%CL)) on the isthmus of Macquarie Island, an estimate which overlapped with concurrent ground counts (n = 1991). The number of individuals per harem estimated using the two approaches were highly correlated, with a slope close to one and the estimated intercept also encompassing zero. This proof of concept opens the way for satellites to be used as a standard censusing technique for inaccessible and cryptically coloured species. Quantifying the population trends of higher order predators provides an especially informative and tractable indicator of ecosystem health. PMID:24651378

  17. Pharmacokinetics of a single subcutaneous dose of sustained release buprenorphine in northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris).

    PubMed

    Molter, Christine M; Barbosa, Lorraine; Johnson, Shawn; Knych, Heather K; Chinnadurai, Sathya K; Wack, Raymund F

    2015-03-01

    Information regarding analgesics in pinnipeds is limited. This study aimed to establish the pharmacokinetic parameters of a single subcutaneous dose of sustained release buprenorphine (Buprenorphine SR) in juvenile northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) with regard to its potential to provide long-lasting analgesia that requires infrequent dosing. Seals (n=26) were administered a single dose of sustained release buprenorphine at 0.12 mg/kg s.c. Blood samples were collected from the extradural intervertebral vein at 0 hr and at three or four of the following time points: 0.5, 1, 2, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 96, 120, and 144 hr. Seals were examined daily for systemic and local adverse reactions. Plasma was analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry for buprenorphine and norbuprenorphine concentrations. A noncompartmental analysis for pharmacokinetic parameters was calculated using standard methods and equations. An average maximum concentration of 1.21 ng/ml (0.3-2.9 ng/ml) was detected 12 hr postadministration. Concentrations were quantifiable up to 144 hr postadministration but were below those expected to provide analgesia in some other species. No systemic adverse effects were noted in healthy seals receiving sustained release buprenorphine. Cellulitis or abscesses at the injection site were observed in 6/26 (23%) seals between 24 and 168 hr postadministration. Adverse local effects suggest that this drug should be used with caution in northern elephant seals. PMID:25831576

  18. Genitourinary and pulmonary multidrug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Dumonceaux, Genevieve A; St Leger, Judy; Olsen, John H; Burton, Michael S; Ashkin, David; Maslow, Joel N

    2011-12-01

    A female Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) developed vaginal and trunk discharge. Cultures were positive for pan-susceptible Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Isoniazid and pyrazinamide were given rectally and monitored by serum levels. After being trained at 10 mo to accept oral dosing, treatment was changed and rifampin was added. Oral medications were administered for another 10 mo. A year after completion of therapy, the vaginal discharge increased and cultures yielded M. tuberculosis, resistant to isoniazid and rifampin. Treatment with oral ethambutol, pyrazinamide, and enrofloxacin and intramuscular amikacin was initiated. Although followup cultures became negative, adverse reactions to medications precluded treatment completion. Due to public health concerns related to multidrug resistant M. tuberculosis (MDR-TB), the elephant was euthanized. Postmortem smears from the lung, peribronchial, and abdominal lymph nodes yielded acid-fast bacteria, although cultures were negative. This case highlights important considerations in the treatment of M. tuberculosis in animals and the need for a consistent approach to diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. PMID:22204067

  19. Seasonal rhythms of salivary cortisol secretion in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Menargues Marcilla, Asunción; Urios, Vicente; Limiñana, Rubén

    2012-04-01

    Salivary cortisol has been recently used to assess welfare of captive and free-ranging animals. However, rhythms of cortisol secretion may vary annually and thus, it is necessary to take into account these rhythms when evaluating the physiological significance of fluctuations of this hormone throughout the year as stress indicator in animals. Here, we analyze monthly differences in cortisol secretion in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) during a year. Saliva samples of eight adult female Asian elephants were collected and analyzed using Radioimmunoassay. Results revealed an overall seasonal pattern of salivary cortisol secretion and significant differences in cortisol concentration among months were found. Overall, the highest cortisol levels were recorded in October, and then decreased until reaching the lowest concentration in April. However, some individual variations were found respect this annual overall trend. The occurrence of this annual pattern of cortisol secretion should be taken into account when using cortisol as a tool to assess animal welfare in captive animal at zoological parks, as well as it opens new questions to further analyze this pattern and its variations, as well as the endogenous mechanisms controlling it. PMID:22366473

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-01

    In public discussions of animal rights and welfare, we as members and proponents of zoological institutions often face significant challenges addressing the concerns of our detractors due to an unfortunate deficiency in systematically collected and published data on the animals in our collections. In the case of elephants, there has been a paucity of information describing their use of space within captive environments. Here, using collar-mounted GPS recording devices, we documented the use of exhibit space and resources by a herd of five adult female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) housed at Disney's Animal Kingdom((R)). We found that dominant animals within the herd used a greater percentage of the available space and subordinate females avoided narrow or enclosed regions of the enclosure that we termed "restricted flow areas." In their use of other resources, dominant females demonstrated increased occupation of the watering hole over subordinate females, but all females demonstrated relatively equivalent use of the mud wallow. Overall, our results provide preliminary evidence that position within the dominancy hierarchy impacts the percentage of space occupied in a captive setting and may contribute to resource accessibility. These findings can be applied to future decisions on exhibit design and resource distribution for this species. PMID:19418496

  1. Southern Ocean frontal structure and sea-ice formation rates revealed by elephant seals

    PubMed Central

    Charrassin, J.-B.; Hindell, M.; Rintoul, S. R.; Roquet, F.; Sokolov, S.; Biuw, M.; Costa, D.; Boehme, L.; Lovell, P.; Coleman, R.; Timmermann, R.; Meijers, A.; Meredith, M.; Park, Y.-H.; Bailleul, F.; Goebel, M.; Tremblay, Y.; Bost, C.-A.; McMahon, C. R.; Field, I. C.; Fedak, M. A.; Guinet, C.

    2008-01-01

    Polar regions are particularly sensitive to climate change, with the potential for significant feedbacks between ocean circulation, sea ice, and the ocean carbon cycle. However, the difficulty in obtaining in situ data means that our ability to detect and interpret change is very limited, especially in the Southern Ocean, where the ocean beneath the sea ice remains almost entirely unobserved and the rate of sea-ice formation is poorly known. Here, we show that southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) equipped with oceanographic sensors can measure ocean structure and water mass changes in regions and seasons rarely observed with traditional oceanographic platforms. In particular, seals provided a 30-fold increase in hydrographic profiles from the sea-ice zone, allowing the major fronts to be mapped south of 60°S and sea-ice formation rates to be inferred from changes in upper ocean salinity. Sea-ice production rates peaked in early winter (April–May) during the rapid northward expansion of the pack ice and declined by a factor of 2 to 3 between May and August, in agreement with a three-dimensional coupled ocean–sea-ice model. By measuring the high-latitude ocean during winter, elephant seals fill a “blind spot” in our sampling coverage, enabling the establishment of a truly global ocean-observing system. PMID:18695241

  2. Southern Ocean frontal structure and sea-ice formation rates revealed by elephant seals.

    PubMed

    Charrassin, J-B; Hindell, M; Rintoul, S R; Roquet, F; Sokolov, S; Biuw, M; Costa, D; Boehme, L; Lovell, P; Coleman, R; Timmermann, R; Meijers, A; Meredith, M; Park, Y-H; Bailleul, F; Goebel, M; Tremblay, Y; Bost, C-A; McMahon, C R; Field, I C; Fedak, M A; Guinet, C

    2008-08-19

    Polar regions are particularly sensitive to climate change, with the potential for significant feedbacks between ocean circulation, sea ice, and the ocean carbon cycle. However, the difficulty in obtaining in situ data means that our ability to detect and interpret change is very limited, especially in the Southern Ocean, where the ocean beneath the sea ice remains almost entirely unobserved and the rate of sea-ice formation is poorly known. Here, we show that southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) equipped with oceanographic sensors can measure ocean structure and water mass changes in regions and seasons rarely observed with traditional oceanographic platforms. In particular, seals provided a 30-fold increase in hydrographic profiles from the sea-ice zone, allowing the major fronts to be mapped south of 60 degrees S and sea-ice formation rates to be inferred from changes in upper ocean salinity. Sea-ice production rates peaked in early winter (April-May) during the rapid northward expansion of the pack ice and declined by a factor of 2 to 3 between May and August, in agreement with a three-dimensional coupled ocean-sea-ice model. By measuring the high-latitude ocean during winter, elephant seals fill a "blind spot" in our sampling coverage, enabling the establishment of a truly global ocean-observing system. PMID:18695241

  3. Condition and mass impact oxygen stores and dive duration in adult female northern elephant seals.

    PubMed

    Hassrick, J L; Crocker, D E; Teutschel, N M; McDonald, B I; Robinson, P W; Simmons, S E; Costa, D P

    2010-02-15

    The range of foraging behaviors available to deep-diving, air-breathing marine vertebrates is constrained by their physiological capacity to breath-hold dive. We measured body oxygen stores (blood volume and muscle myoglobin) and diving behavior in adult female northern elephant seals, Mirounga angustirostris, to investigate age-related effects on diving performance. Blood volume averaged 74.4+/-17.0 liters in female elephant seals or 20.2+/-2.0% of body mass. Plasma volume averaged 32.2+/-7.8 liters or 8.7+/-0.7% of body mass. Absolute plasma volume and blood volume increased independently with mass and age. Hematocrit decreased weakly with mass but did not vary with age. Muscle myoglobin concentration, while higher than previously reported (7.4+/-0.7 g%), did not vary with mass or age. Pregnancy status did not influence blood volume. Mean dive duration, a proxy for physiological demand, increased as a function of how long seals had been at sea, followed by mass and hematocrit. Strong effects of female body mass (range, 218-600 kg) on dive duration, which were independent of oxygen stores, suggest that larger females had lower diving metabolic rates. A tendency for dives to exceed calculated aerobic limits occurred more frequently later in the at-sea migration. Our data suggest that individual physiological state variables and condition interact to determine breath-hold ability and that both should be considered in life-history studies of foraging behavior. PMID:20118309

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    We evaluated 255 African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants living in 68 North American zoos over one year to quantify housing and social variables. All parameters were quantified for the both the day and the night and comparisons were made across these time periods as well as by species and sex. To assess housing, we evaluated not only total exhibit size, but also individual animals’ experiences based on the time they spent in the unique environments into which the exhibits were subdivided. Variables developed to assess housing included measurements of area as a function of time (Total Space Experience), environment type (Indoor, Outdoor, In/Out Choice) and time spent on hard and soft flooring. Over the year, Total Space Experience values ranged from 1,273 square feet to 169,692 square feet, with Day values significantly greater than Night values (p<0.001). Elephants spent an average of 55.1% of their time outdoors, 28.9% indoors, and 16% in areas with a choice between being in or out. Time spent on hard flooring substrate ranged from 0% to 66.7%, with Night values significantly greater than Day (p<0.001). Social factors included number of animals functionally housed together (Social Experience) and social group characteristics such as time spent with juveniles and in mixed-sex groups. Overall Social Experience scores ranged from 1 to 11.2 and were significantly greater during the Day than at Night (p<0.001). There were few significant social or housing differences between African (N = 138) and Asian (N = 117) species or between males (N = 54) and females (N = 201). The most notable exception was Total Space Experience, with African and male elephants having larger Total Space Experience than Asian and female elephants, respectively (P-value<0.05). The housing and social variables evaluated herein have been used in a series of subsequent epidemiological analyses relating to various elephant welfare outcomes. PMID:27414034

  5. The Influence of Life History Milestones and Association Networks on Crop-Raiding Behavior in Male African Elephants

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Factors that influence learning and the spread of behavior in wild animal populations are important for understanding species responses to changing environments and for species conservation. In populations of wildlife species that come into conflict with humans by raiding cultivated crops, simple models of exposure of individual animals to crops do not entirely explain the prevalence of crop raiding behavior. We investigated the influence of life history milestones using age and association patterns on the probability of being a crop raider among wild free ranging male African elephants; we focused on males because female elephants are not known to raid crops in our study population. We examined several features of an elephant association network; network density, community structure and association based on age similarity since they are known to influence the spread of behaviors in a population. We found that older males were more likely to be raiders than younger males, that males were more likely to be raiders when their closest associates were also raiders, and that males were more likely to be raiders when their second closest associates were raiders older than them. The male association network had sparse associations, a tendency for individuals similar in age and raiding status to associate, and a strong community structure. However, raiders were randomly distributed between communities. These features of the elephant association network may limit the spread of raiding behavior and likely determine the prevalence of raiding behavior in elephant populations. Our results suggest that social learning has a major influence on the acquisition of raiding behavior in younger males whereas life history factors are important drivers of raiding behavior in older males. Further, both life-history and network patterns may influence the acquisition and spread of complex behaviors in animal populations and provide insight on managing human-wildlife conflict. PMID:22347468

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    We evaluated 255 African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants living in 68 North American zoos over one year to quantify housing and social variables. All parameters were quantified for the both the day and the night and comparisons were made across these time periods as well as by species and sex. To assess housing, we evaluated not only total exhibit size, but also individual animals' experiences based on the time they spent in the unique environments into which the exhibits were subdivided. Variables developed to assess housing included measurements of area as a function of time (Total Space Experience), environment type (Indoor, Outdoor, In/Out Choice) and time spent on hard and soft flooring. Over the year, Total Space Experience values ranged from 1,273 square feet to 169,692 square feet, with Day values significantly greater than Night values (p<0.001). Elephants spent an average of 55.1% of their time outdoors, 28.9% indoors, and 16% in areas with a choice between being in or out. Time spent on hard flooring substrate ranged from 0% to 66.7%, with Night values significantly greater than Day (p<0.001). Social factors included number of animals functionally housed together (Social Experience) and social group characteristics such as time spent with juveniles and in mixed-sex groups. Overall Social Experience scores ranged from 1 to 11.2 and were significantly greater during the Day than at Night (p<0.001). There were few significant social or housing differences between African (N = 138) and Asian (N = 117) species or between males (N = 54) and females (N = 201). The most notable exception was Total Space Experience, with African and male elephants having larger Total Space Experience than Asian and female elephants, respectively (P-value<0.05). The housing and social variables evaluated herein have been used in a series of subsequent epidemiological analyses relating to various elephant welfare outcomes. PMID:27414034

  8. Blood oxygen depletion is independent of dive function in a deep diving vertebrate, the northern elephant seal.

    PubMed

    Meir, Jessica U; Robinson, Patrick W; Vilchis, L Ignacio; Kooyman, Gerald L; Costa, Daniel P; Ponganis, Paul J

    2013-01-01

    Although energetics is fundamental to animal ecology, traditional methods of determining metabolic rate are neither direct nor instantaneous. Recently, continuous blood oxygen (O2) measurements were used to assess energy expenditure in diving elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris), demonstrating that an exceptional hypoxemic tolerance and exquisite management of blood O2 stores underlie the extraordinary diving capability of this consummate diver. As the detailed relationship of energy expenditure and dive behavior remains unknown, we integrated behavior, ecology, and physiology to characterize the costs of different types of dives of elephant seals. Elephant seal dive profiles were analyzed and O2 utilization was classified according to dive type (overall function of dive: transit, foraging, food processing/rest). This is the first account linking behavior at this level with in vivo blood O2 measurements in an animal freely diving at sea, allowing us to assess patterns of O2 utilization and energy expenditure between various behaviors and activities in an animal in the wild. In routine dives of elephant seals, the blood O2 store was significantly depleted to a similar range irrespective of dive function, suggesting that all dive types have equal costs in terms of blood O2 depletion. Here, we present the first physiological evidence that all dive types have similarly high blood O2 demands, supporting an energy balance strategy achieved by devoting one major task to a given dive, thereby separating dive functions into distinct dive types. This strategy may optimize O2 store utilization and recovery, consequently maximizing time underwater and allowing these animals to take full advantage of their underwater resources. This approach may be important to optimizing energy expenditure throughout a dive bout or at-sea foraging trip and is well suited to the lifestyle of an elephant seal, which spends > 90% of its time at sea submerged making diving its most "natural

  9. Ancient Duplications and Expression Divergence in the Globin Gene Superfamily of Vertebrates: Insights from the Elephant Shark Genome and Transcriptome

    PubMed Central

    Opazo, Juan C.; Toloza-Villalobos, Jessica; Burmester, Thorsten; Venkatesh, Byrappa; Storz, Jay F.

    2015-01-01

    Comparative analyses of vertebrate genomes continue to uncover a surprising diversity of genes in the globin gene superfamily, some of which have very restricted phyletic distributions despite their antiquity. Genomic analysis of the globin gene repertoire of cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes) should be especially informative about the duplicative origins and ancestral functions of vertebrate globins, as divergence between Chondrichthyes and bony vertebrates represents the most basal split within the jawed vertebrates. Here, we report a comparative genomic analysis of the vertebrate globin gene family that includes the complete globin gene repertoire of the elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii). Using genomic sequence data from representatives of all major vertebrate classes, integrated analyses of conserved synteny and phylogenetic relationships revealed that the last common ancestor of vertebrates possessed a repertoire of at least seven globin genes: single copies of androglobin and neuroglobin, four paralogous copies of globin X, and the single-copy progenitor of the entire set of vertebrate-specific globins. Combined with expression data, the genomic inventory of elephant shark globins yielded four especially surprising findings: 1) there is no trace of the neuroglobin gene (a highly conserved gene that is present in all other jawed vertebrates that have been examined to date), 2) myoglobin is highly expressed in heart, but not in skeletal muscle (reflecting a possible ancestral condition in vertebrates with single-circuit circulatory systems), 3) elephant shark possesses two highly divergent globin X paralogs, one of which is preferentially expressed in gonads, and 4) elephant shark possesses two structurally distinct α-globin paralogs, one of which is preferentially expressed in the brain. Expression profiles of elephant shark globin genes reveal distinct specializations of function relative to orthologs in bony vertebrates and suggest hypotheses about

  10. Enriching the captive elephant population genetic pool through artificial insemination with frozen-thawed semen collected in the wild.

    PubMed

    Hildebrandt, T B; Hermes, R; Saragusty, J; Potier, R; Schwammer, H M; Balfanz, F; Vielgrader, H; Baker, B; Bartels, P; Göritz, F

    2012-10-01

    The first successful AI in an elephant was reported in 1998, using fresh semen. Since then almost 40 calves have been produced through AI in both Asian and African elephants worldwide. Following these successes, with the objective of enriching the captive population with genetic material from the wild, we evaluated the possibility of using frozen-thawed semen collected from wild bulls for AI in captivity. Semen, collected from a 36-yr-old wild African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) in South Africa was frozen using the directional freezing technique. This frozen-thawed semen was used for four inseminations over two consecutive days, two before and two after ovulation, in a 26-yr-old female African savanna elephant in Austria. Insemination dose of 1200 × 10(6) cells per AI with 61% motility resulted in pregnancy, which was confirmed through ultrasound examination 75, 110 and 141 days after the AI procedure. This represents the first successful AI using wild bull frozen-thawed semen in elephants. The incorporation of AI with frozen-thawed semen into the assisted reproduction toolbox opens the way to preserve and transport semen between distant individuals in captivity or, as was done in this study, between wild and captive populations, without the need to transport stressed or potentially disease-carrying animals or to remove animals from the wild. In addition, cryopreserved spermatozoa, in combination with AI, are useful methods to extend the reproductive lifespan of individuals beyond their biological lifespan and an important tool for genetic diversity management and phenotype selection in these endangered mammals. PMID:22898009

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    Factors that influence learning and the spread of behavior in wild animal populations are important for understanding species responses to changing environments and for species conservation. In populations of wildlife species that come into conflict with humans by raiding cultivated crops, simple models of exposure of individual animals to crops do not entirely explain the prevalence of crop raiding behavior. We investigated the influence of life history milestones using age and association patterns on the probability of being a crop raider among wild free ranging male African elephants; we focused on males because female elephants are not known to raid crops in our study population. We examined several features of an elephant association network; network density, community structure and association based on age similarity since they are known to influence the spread of behaviors in a population. We found that older males were more likely to be raiders than younger males, that males were more likely to be raiders when their closest associates were also raiders, and that males were more likely to be raiders when their second closest associates were raiders older than them. The male association network had sparse associations, a tendency for individuals similar in age and raiding status to associate, and a strong community structure. However, raiders were randomly distributed between communities. These features of the elephant association network may limit the spread of raiding behavior and likely determine the prevalence of raiding behavior in elephant populations. Our results suggest that social learning has a major influence on the acquisition of raiding behavior in younger males whereas life history factors are important drivers of raiding behavior in older males. Further, both life-history and network patterns may influence the acquisition and spread of complex behaviors in animal populations and provide insight on managing human-wildlife conflict. PMID:22347468

  12. Blood Oxygen Depletion Is Independent of Dive Function in a Deep Diving Vertebrate, the Northern Elephant Seal

    PubMed Central

    Meir, Jessica U.; Robinson, Patrick W.; Vilchis, L. Ignacio; Kooyman, Gerald L.; Costa, Daniel P.; Ponganis, Paul J.

    2013-01-01

    Although energetics is fundamental to animal ecology, traditional methods of determining metabolic rate are neither direct nor instantaneous. Recently, continuous blood oxygen (O2) measurements were used to assess energy expenditure in diving elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris), demonstrating that an exceptional hypoxemic tolerance and exquisite management of blood O2 stores underlie the extraordinary diving capability of this consummate diver. As the detailed relationship of energy expenditure and dive behavior remains unknown, we integrated behavior, ecology, and physiology to characterize the costs of different types of dives of elephant seals. Elephant seal dive profiles were analyzed and O2 utilization was classified according to dive type (overall function of dive: transit, foraging, food processing/rest). This is the first account linking behavior at this level with in vivo blood O2 measurements in an animal freely diving at sea, allowing us to assess patterns of O2 utilization and energy expenditure between various behaviors and activities in an animal in the wild. In routine dives of elephant seals, the blood O2 store was significantly depleted to a similar range irrespective of dive function, suggesting that all dive types have equal costs in terms of blood O2 depletion. Here, we present the first physiological evidence that all dive types have similarly high blood O2 demands, supporting an energy balance strategy achieved by devoting one major task to a given dive, thereby separating dive functions into distinct dive types. This strategy may optimize O2 store utilization and recovery, consequently maximizing time underwater and allowing these animals to take full advantage of their underwater resources. This approach may be important to optimizing energy expenditure throughout a dive bout or at-sea foraging trip and is well suited to the lifestyle of an elephant seal, which spends > 90% of its time at sea submerged making diving its most

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:27414411

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:27414411

  15. Appalachian basin coal-bed methane: Elephant or flea

    SciTech Connect

    Hunt, A.M. )

    1991-08-01

    Historically, interest in the Appalachian basin coal-bed methane resource extends at least over the last 50 years. The Northern and Central Appalachian basins are estimated to contain 61 tcf and 5 tcf of coal-bed methane gas, respectively. Development of this resource has not kept pace with that of other basins, such as the Black Warrior basin of Alabama of the San Juan basin of northern New Mexico and Colorado. Without the benefit of modern completion, stimulation, and production technology, some older Appalachian basin coal-bed methane wells were reported to have produced in excess of 150 used here to characterize some past projects and their results. This work is not intended to comprise a comprehensive survey of all Appalachian basin projects, but rather to provide background information from which to proceed for those who may be interested in doing so. Several constraints to the development of this resource have been identified, including conflicting legal rights of ownership of the gas produced from the coal seams when coal and conventional oil and gas rights are controlled by separate parties. In addition, large leaseholds have been difficult to acquire and finding costs have been high. However, the threshold of minimum economic production may be relatively low when compared with other areas, because low-pressures pipelines are available and gas prices are among the highest in the nation. Interest in the commercial development of the resource seems to be on the increase with several projects currently active and more reported to be planned for the near future.

  16. Fat Residue and Use-Wear Found on Acheulian Biface and Scraper Associated with Butchered Elephant Remains at the Site of Revadim, Israel

    PubMed Central

    Solodenko, Natalya; Zupancich, Andrea; Cesaro, Stella Nunziante; Marder, Ofer; Lemorini, Cristina; Barkai, Ran

    2015-01-01

    The archaeological record indicates that elephants must have played a significant role in early human diet and culture during Palaeolithic times in the Old World. However, the nature of interactions between early humans and elephants is still under discussion. Elephant remains are found in Palaeolithic sites, both open-air and cave sites, in Europe, Asia, the Levant, and Africa. In some cases elephant and mammoth remains indicate evidence for butchering and marrow extraction performed by humans. Revadim Quarry (Israel) is a Late Acheulian site where elephant remains were found in association with characteristic Lower Palaeolithic flint tools. In this paper we present results regarding the use of Palaeolithic tools in processing animal carcasses and rare identification of fat residue preserved on Lower Palaeolithic tools. Our results shed new light on the use of Palaeolithic stone tools and provide, for the first time, direct evidence (residue) of animal exploitation through the use of an Acheulian biface and a scraper. The association of an elephant rib bearing cut marks with these tools may reinforce the view suggesting the use of Palaeolithic stone tools in the consumption of large game. PMID:25786123

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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.

  18. Influence of different chemical pretreatments of elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum, Schum.) used as a substrate for cellulase and xylanase production in submerged cultivation.

    PubMed

    Menegol, Daiane; Scholl, Angélica Luisi; Dillon, Aldo José Pinheiro; Camassola, Marli

    2016-09-01

    This study evaluated the potential use of elephant grass biomass, a highly productive species, for cellulase and xylanase production by the cellulolytic mutant Penicillium echinulatum 9A02S1 in submerged cultivation, using untreated biomass, biomass pretreated with different concentrations of NaOH, H2SO4 or NH4OH, or biomass pretreated with H2O at 121 °C. For filter paper activity, all cultivation carried out with pretreated elephant grass under the evaluated conditions showed superior activity when compared with the control (untreated elephant grass). The activities of endoglucanases and β-glucosidases were higher in the cultivation prepared from pretreated samples than the control made with cellulose (Celuflok(®)). Without pretreatment, elephant grass can be used for xylanase production, enabling similar activities to those obtained in the cultivation with cellulose, reducing the enzyme production cost. These results indicate that the pretreatment of elephant grass, especially when pretreated with H2SO4, may be used as a partial or total replacement for cellulose to cellulase production, and untreated elephant grass may be used for xylanase production. PMID:27164962

  19. Fat residue and use-wear found on Acheulian biface and scraper associated with butchered elephant remains at the site of Revadim, Israel.

    PubMed

    Solodenko, Natalya; Zupancich, Andrea; Cesaro, Stella Nunziante; Marder, Ofer; Lemorini, Cristina; Barkai, Ran

    2015-01-01

    The archaeological record indicates that elephants must have played a significant role in early human diet and culture during Palaeolithic times in the Old World. However, the nature of interactions between early humans and elephants is still under discussion. Elephant remains are found in Palaeolithic sites, both open-air and cave sites, in Europe, Asia, the Levant, and Africa. In some cases elephant and mammoth remains indicate evidence for butchering and marrow extraction performed by humans. Revadim Quarry (Israel) is a Late Acheulian site where elephant remains were found in association with characteristic Lower Palaeolithic flint tools. In this paper we present results regarding the use of Palaeolithic tools in processing animal carcasses and rare identification of fat residue preserved on Lower Palaeolithic tools. Our results shed new light on the use of Palaeolithic stone tools and provide, for the first time, direct evidence (residue) of animal exploitation through the use of an Acheulian biface and a scraper. The association of an elephant rib bearing cut marks with these tools may reinforce the view suggesting the use of Palaeolithic stone tools in the consumption of large game. PMID:25786123

  20. Isolation of Leptospira from a phocid: acute renal failure and mortality from Leptospirosis in rehabilitated northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris), California, USA.

    PubMed

    Delaney, Martha A; Colegrove, Kathleen M; Spraker, Terry R; Zuerner, Richard L; Galloway, Renee L; Gulland, Frances M D

    2014-07-01

    During rehabilitation, acute renal failure due to leptospirosis occurred in eight male northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) that stranded along the central California coast in 2011. Characteristic histologic lesions including renal tubular degeneration, necrosis, and mineralization, and mild lymphoplasmacytic interstitial nephritis were noted in the six animals examined. Immunohistochemistry, bacterial culture, and PCR were positive in 2/3, 2/3, and 3/4 seals, respectively, and 6/8 had high serum antibody titers to Leptospira interrogans serovar pomona. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis confirmed one isolate as serovar pomona. Variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis showed both elephant seal isolates were identical to each other but distinct from those isolated from California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). The time from stranding to onset of azotemia was 1 to 38 (median=24) days, suggesting some seals were infected at the rehabilitation facility. Based on temporal and spatial incidence of infection, transmission among elephant seals likely occurred during rehabilitation. Molecular (VNTR) analysis of the two isolates indicates there is a unique L. interrogans serovar pomona genotype in elephant seals, and sea lions were not the source of infection prior to or during rehabilitation. This study confirms the susceptibility of northern elephant seals to leptospirosis, indicates intraspecies transmission during rehabilitation, and reports the first isolation and preliminary characterization of leptospires from elephant seals. PMID:24807176