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Sample records for african elephant population

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  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. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-09-01

    Two hundred years of elephant hunting for ivory, peaking in 1970-1980s, caused local extirpations and massive population declines across Africa. The resulting genetic impacts on surviving populations have not been studied, despite the importance of understanding the evolutionary repercussions of such human-mediated events on this keystone species. Using Bayesian coalescent-based genetic methods to evaluate time-specific changes in effective population size, we analysed genetic variation in 20 highly polymorphic microsatellite loci from 400 elephants inhabiting the greater Samburu-Laikipia region of northern Kenya. This area experienced a decline of between 80% and 90% in the last few decades when ivory harvesting was rampant. The most significant change in effective population size, however, occurred approximately 2500 years ago during a mid-Holocene period of climatic drying in tropical Africa. Contrary to expectations, detailed analyses of four contemporary age-based cohorts showed that the peak poaching epidemic in the 1970s caused detectable temporary genetic impacts, with genetic diversity rebounding as juveniles surviving the poaching era became reproductively mature. This study demonstrates the importance of climatic history in shaping the distribution and genetic history of a keystone species and highlights the utility of coalescent-based demographic approaches in unravelling ancestral demographic events despite a lack of ancient samples. Unique insights into the genetic signature of mid-Holocene climatic change in Africa and effects of recent poaching pressure on elephants are discussed. PMID:18643879

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

    Nyakaana, S; Arctander, P

    1999-07-01

    A drastic decline has occurred in the size of the Uganda elephant population in the last 40 years, exacerbated by two main factors; an increase in the size of the human population and poaching for ivory. One of the attendant consequences of such a decline is a reduction in the amount of genetic diversity in the surviving populations due to increased effects of random genetic drift. Information about the amount of genetic variation within and between the remaining populations is vital for their future conservation and management. The genetic structure of the African elephant in Uganda was examined using nucleotide variation of mitochondrial control region sequences and four nuclear microsatellite loci in 72 individuals from three localities. Eleven mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes were observed, nine of which were geographically localized. We found significant genetic differentiation between the three populations at the mitochondrial locus while three out of the four microsatellite loci differentiated KV and QE, one locus differentiated KV and MF and no loci differentiated MF and QE. Expected heterozygosity at the four loci varied between 0.51 and 0.84 while nucleotide diversity at the mitochondrial locus was 1.4%. Incongruent patterns of genetic variation within and between populations were revealed by the two genetic systems, and we have explained these in terms of the differences in the effective population sizes of the two genomes and male-biased gene flow between populations. PMID:10447852

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. The ears of the African elephant: unexpected high seroprevalence of Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium malariae in healthy populations in Western Africa

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Malaria Is A Life-Threatening Pathology In Africa. Plasmodium Falciparum And Plasmodium Vivax Attract The Most Focus Because Of Their High Prevalence And Mortality. Knowledge About The Prevalence Of The Cryptic Pathogens Plasmodium Ovale And Plasmodium Malariae Is Limited. Thanks To Recombinant Tools, Their Seroprevalence Was Measured For The First Time, As Well As The Prevalence Of Mixed Infections In A Malaria-Asymptomatic Population In Benin, A Malaria-Endemic Country. Methods A Panel Of 1,235 Blood Donations Collected Over Ten Months In Benin Was Used For Validation Of The Recombinant Tools. Recombinant P. Falciparum, P. Malariae, P. Ovale MSP1, And P. Falciparum AMA1 Were Engineered And Validated On A Biobank With Malaria-Infected Patients (N = 144) Using A Species-Speific ELISA Test (Recelisa). Results Were Compared To An ELISA Using A Native P. Falciparum Antigen (NatELISA). Results Among Microscopically Negative African Blood Donors, 85% (1,050/1,235) Present Antibodies Directed To Native P. Falciparum, 94.4% (1,166/1,235) To rPfMSP1 And rPfAMA1, 56.8% (702/1,235) To rPoMSP1, 67.5% (834/1235) To rPmMSP1 And 45.3% Of The Malaria Seropositive Population Had Antibodies Recognizing The Three Species. Conclusion A High Rate Of Antibodies Against P. Ovale And P. Malariae Was Found In Asymptomatic Blood Donors. The Proportion Of Mixed Infections Involving Three Species Was Also Unexpected. These Data Suggest That Determining Seroprevalence For These Cryptic Species Is An Appropriate Tool To Estimate Their Incidence, At The Eve Of Upcoming Anti-P. Falciparum Vaccination Campaigns. PMID:24946685

  18. 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

  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

    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. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  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

    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. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-06-01

    The incidence of tusklessness varies between free-ranging African elephant populations. Sex-linked genetic drift predicts 2 outcomes--the condition becomes fixed and sex-specific incidences diverge when populations are small and/or heavily poached. By contrast, for large and intact populations, tusklessness diminishes and there is no variation between sexes. We tested these predictions by comparing sex-specific incidences between 15 populations: a small one with a skewed founder effect towards tusklessness; 5 that had experienced intense levels of poaching; 2 that had been subjected to non-selective culling and 7 that are relatively pristine. Patterns of rainfall were studied of tusk fractures amongst these populations to correct for any effect that acquired tusklessness may have on our predictions. The incidence of tusk fractures was related to annual rainfall, but the mechanism that leads to an increase of the condition in drier areas was not clear Incidences of tusk fractures in free-ranging populations implied that the frequency of acquired bilateral tusklessness is low and should not affect our results. All males had tusks. Tusklessness in females was high in the small skewed founder population and some of those where there was a history of poaching. The incidence is expected to decline if the residual population is large. PMID:17941599

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

    Hyperprolactinemia is associated with reproductive acyclicity in zoo African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and may contribute to the non-self-sustainability of the captive population in North America. It is a common cause of infertility in women and other mammals and can be treated with the dopamine agonist cabergoline. The objectives of this study were to assess prolactin responses to cabergoline treatment in hyperprolactinemic, acyclic African elephants and to determine the subsequent impact on ovarian cyclic activity. Five elephants, diagnosed as hyperprolactinemic (>11 ng/ml prolactin) and acyclic (maintenance of baseline progestagens for at least 1 yr), were treated with 1-2 mg cabergoline orally twice weekly for 16-82 wk. Cabergoline reduced (P < 0.05) serum prolactin concentrations during the treatment period compared to pretreatment levels in four of five elephants (11.5 +/- 3.2 vs. 9.1 +/- 3.4 ng/ml; 20.3 +/- 16.7 vs. 7.9 +/- 9.8 ng/ml; 26.4 +/- 15.0 vs. 6.8 +/- 1.5 ng/ml; 42.2 +/- 22.6 vs. 18.6 +/- 8.9 ng/ml). However, none of the females resumed ovarian cyclicity based on serum progestagen analyses up to 1 yr posttreatment. In addition, within 1 to 6 wk after cessation of oral cabergoline, serum prolactin concentrations returned to concentrations that were as high as or higher than before treatment (P < 0.05). One elephant that exhibited the highest pretreatment prolactin concentration (75.2 +/- 10.5 ng/ml) did not respond to cabergoline and maintained elevated levels throughout the study. Thus, oral cabergoline administration reduced prolactin concentrations in elephants with hyperprolactinemia, but there was no resumption of ovarian cyclicity, and a significant prolactin rebound effect was observed. It is possible that higher doses or longer treatment intervals may be required for cabergoline treatment to result in permanent suppression of prolactin secretion and to mitigate associated ovarian cycle problems. PMID:25314824

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Ovulation, pregnancy, placentation and husbandry in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Allen, W.R

    2006-01-01

    The African elephant reproduces so efficiently in the wild that overpopulation is now a serious problem in some game parks in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. The female reaches puberty between 10 and 12 years of age in the wild and, when in captivity, shows oestrous cycles of 14–15 weeks duration. She readily conceives a singleton in the wild yet her uterus has the capacity for twins. She shows a gestation length of 22 months and, in the wild, shows a population density and feed dependent intercalving interval of 4–8 years. The trophoblast erodes the lumenal epithelium of the endometrium and stimulates upgrowths of blood vessel-containing stromal villi, which develop eventually into the broad, tightly folded lamellae of the zonary, endotheliochorial placenta. Significant quantities of leaked maternal erythrocytes and ferric iron are phagocytosed by specialized trophoblast cells in the haemophagous zones at the lateral edges of the placental band. Although the placenta itself is endocrinologically inert, the foetal gonads, which enlarge greatly during the second half of pregnancy can synthesize 5α-dihydryoprogesterone and other 5α pregnane derivatives from cholesterol and pregnenolone. These products may synergize with progestagens secreted by the 2–8 large corpora lutea which are always present in the maternal ovaries throughout gestation to maintain the pregnancy state. PMID:16627297

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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. .

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  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. Comparative endocrinology of testicular, adrenal and thyroid function in captive Asian and African elephant bulls.

    PubMed

    Brown, Janine L; Somerville, Malia; Riddle, Heidi S; Keele, Mike; Duer, Connie K; Freeman, Elizabeth W

    2007-04-01

    Concentrations of serum testosterone, cortisol, thyroxine (free and total T4), triiodothyronine (free and total T3) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) were measured to assess adrenal and thyroid function as they relate to testicular activity and musth in captive elephants. Blood samples were collected approximately weekly from Asian (n=8) and African (n=12) bulls at seven facilities for periods of 4 months to 9.5 years. Age ranges at study onset were 8-50 years for Asian and 10-21 years for African elephants. Based on keeper logs, seven Asian and three African bulls exhibited behavioral and/or physical (temporal gland secretion, TGS, or urine dribbling, UD) signs of musth, which lasted 2.8+/-2.5 months in duration. Serum testosterone was elevated during musth, with concentrations often exceeding 100 ng/ml. Patterns of testosterone secretion and musth varied among bulls with no evidence of seasonality (P>0.05). Only three bulls at one facility exhibited classic, well-defined yearly musth cycles. Others exhibited more irregular cycles, with musth symptoms often occurring more than once a year. A number of bulls (1 Asian, 9 African) had consistently low testosterone (<10 ng/ml) and never exhibited significant TGS or UD. At facilities with multiple bulls (n=3), testosterone concentrations were highest in the oldest, most dominant male. There were positive correlations between testosterone and cortisol for six of seven Asian and all three African males that exhibited musth (range, r=0.23-0.52; P<0.05), but no significant correlations for bulls that did not (P>0.05). For the three bulls that exhibited yearly musth cycles, TSH was positively correlated (range, r=0.22-0.28; P<0.05) and thyroid hormones (T3, T4) were negatively correlated (range, r=-0.25 to -0.47; P<0.05) to testosterone secretion. In the remaining bulls, there were no clear relationships between thyroid activity and musth status. Overall mean testosterone and cortisol concentrations increased with age

  5. 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

  6. 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

  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. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

    Doses for standing sedation allowing for various procedures in otherwise inaccessible, untrained captive African elephant bulls are presented. Thirty-three standing sedations were performed in 12 males aged 8-30 years (one to four sedations per animal). Each bull received a combination of 0.009 ± 0.002 mg/kg medetomidine and 0.03 ± 0.007 mg/kg butorphanol. Full sedation was reached on average 25.5 min after injection. The addition of hyaluronidase (1000-2000 IU) significantly reduced time to full sedation to 16.5 min (paired t test, P = 0.024). Reversal was induced with intramuscular atipamezole 0.008 (±0.002) and naltrexone 0.035 (±0.015) mg/kg. Recovery took on average 7 min (3-18 min). The medetomidine/butorphanol combination provided safe standing sedation for smaller procedures. PMID:26831175

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

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. African and non-African admixture components in African Americans and an African Caribbean population.

    PubMed

    Murray, Tanda; Beaty, Terri H; Mathias, Rasika A; Rafaels, Nicholas; Grant, Audrey Virginia; Faruque, Mezbah U; Watson, Harold R; Ruczinski, Ingo; Dunston, Georgia M; Barnes, Kathleen C

    2010-09-01

    Admixture is a potential source of confounding in genetic association studies, so it becomes important to detect and estimate admixture in a sample of unrelated individuals. Populations of African descent in the US and the Caribbean share similar historical backgrounds but the distributions of African admixture may differ. We selected 416 ancestry informative markers (AIMs) to estimate and compare admixture proportions using STRUCTURE in 906 unrelated African Americans (AAs) and 294 Barbadians (ACs) from a study of asthma. This analysis showed AAs on average were 72.5% African, 19.6% European and 8% Asian, while ACs were 77.4% African, 15.9% European, and 6.7% Asian which were significantly different. A principal components analysis based on these AIMs yielded one primary eigenvector that explained 54.04% of the variation and captured a gradient from West African to European admixture. This principal component was highly correlated with African vs. European ancestry as estimated by STRUCTURE (r(2)=0.992, r(2)=0.912, respectively). To investigate other African contributions to African American and Barbadian admixture, we performed PCA on approximately 14,000 (14k) genome-wide SNPs in AAs, ACs, Yorubans, Luhya and Maasai African groups, and estimated genetic distances (F(ST)). We found AAs and ACs were closest genetically (F(ST)=0.008), and both were closer to the Yorubans than the other East African populations. In our sample of individuals of African descent, approximately 400 well-defined AIMs were just as good for detecting substructure as approximately 14,000 random SNPs drawn from a genome-wide panel of markers. PMID:20717976

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

    PubMed

    Dehnhard, M

    2007-05-01

    Assessing the welfare status of captive animals using non-invasive measurements of hormones is of growing interest because this can serve as an effective tool to facilitate the optimization of environmental and husbandry conditions. Both the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) exhibit extremely low breeding success in captivity, and because elevated levels of stress may negatively influence reproductive functions, this study sought to establish a method for assessing sympathoadrenal activity in captive female elephants. We found a circadian variation in urinary noradrenaline (norepinephrine, NE), adrenaline (epinephrine, Epi) and dopamine (DA) under short day length. Peak activity of noradrenaline and dopamine was noted at 3 a.m. Adrenaline showed a biphasic pattern with a minor peak recorded at 3 a.m. and a major peak 9 a.m. Under long-day photoperiodic conditions, simultaneous peaks of noradrenaline and adrenaline were again noted at 3 a.m. whereas dopamine does not appear to have a distinct circadian pattern under long-day length. A transfer of two elephant cows resulted in a marked increase in urinary adrenaline and noradrenaline levels, confirming that the transfer represented a stressful event. During the peripartal period, noradrenaline concentrations increased and maximum concentrations were obtained at delivery. Daily measurements of urinary dopamine throughout the follicular phase revealed an increase in dopamine secretion close to ovulation. This increase might indicate a role of dopamine in the ovulatory mechanisms. These results suggest that changes in urinary catecholamine excretion reflect fluctuations in sympathoadrenal activity and may be a useful indicator of stress. PMID:17336981

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

    This study presents the results of an examination of the mummified brain of a pleistocene woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) recovered from the Yakutian permafrost in Siberia, Russia. This unique specimen (from 39,440-38,850 years BP) provides the rare opportunity to compare the brain morphology of this extinct species with a related extant species, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana). An anatomical description of the preserved brain of the woolly mammoth is provided, along with a series of quantitative analyses of various brain structures. These descriptions are based on visual inspection of the actual specimen as well as qualitative and quantitative comparison of computed tomography imaging data obtained for the woolly mammoth in comparison with magnetic resonance imaging data from three African elephant brains. In general, the brain of the woolly mammoth specimen examined, estimated to weigh between 4,230 and 4,340 g, showed the typical shape, size, and gross structures observed in extant elephants. Quantitative comparative analyses of various features of the brain, such as the amygdala, corpus callosum, cerebellum, and gyrnecephalic index, all indicate that the brain of the woolly mammoth specimen examined has many similarities with that of modern African elephants. The analysis provided here indicates that a specific brain type representative of the Elephantidae is likely to be a feature of this mammalian family. In addition, the extensive similarities between the woolly mammoth brain and the African elephant brain indicate that the specializations observed in the extant elephant brain are likely to have been present in the woolly mammoth. PMID:26011110

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

    PubMed

    Morfeld, Kari A; Brown, Janine L

    2016-04-01

    The purpose of the present study was to determine whether excessive body fat and altered metabolic hormone concentrations in the circulation were associated with ovarian acyclicity in the world's largest land mammal, the African elephant. We compared body condition, glucose, insulin and leptin concentrations and the glucose-to-insulin ratio (G:I) between cycling (n=23; normal 14-16 week cycles based on serum progestagens for at least 2 years) and non-cycling (n=23; consistent baseline progestagen concentrations for at least 2 years) females. A validated body condition score (BCS) index (five-point scale; 1=thinnest, 5=fattest) was used to assess the degree of fatness of the study elephants. The mean BCS of non-cycling elephants was higher than that of their cycling counterparts. There were differences in concentrations of serum metabolic biomarkers, with non-cycling elephants in the BCS 5 category having higher leptin and insulin concentrations and a lower G:I ratio than cycling BCS 5 females. Using 'non-cycling' as the outcome variable in regression models, high BCS was a strong predictor of a non-cycling status. This study provides the first evidence that ovarian acyclicity in zoo African elephants is associated with body condition indicative of obesity, as well as elevated, perturbed biomarkers of metabolic status. PMID:25375263

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-08-01

    International wildlife crime is burgeoning in this climate of global trade. We contend that the most effective way to contain this illegal trade is to determine where the wildlife is being removed. This allows authorities to direct law enforcement to poaching hot spots, potentially stops trade before the wildlife is actually killed, prevents countries from denying their poaching problems at home, and thwarts trade before it enters into an increasingly complex web of international criminal activity. Forensic tools have been limited in their ability to determine product origin because the information they can provide typically begins only at the point of shipment. DNA assignment analyses can determine product origin, but its use has been limited by the inability to assign samples to locations where reference samples do not exist. We applied new DNA assignment methods that can determine the geographic origin(s) of wildlife products from anywhere within its range. We used these methods to examine the geographic origin(s) of 2 strings of seizures involving large volumes of elephant ivory, 1 string seized in Singapore and Malawi and the other in Hong Kong and Cameroon. These ivory traffickers may comprise 2 of the largest poaching rings in Africa. In both cases all ivory seized in the string had common origins, which indicates that crime syndicates are targeting specific populations for intense exploitation. This result contradicts the dominant belief that dealers are using a decentralized plan of procuring ivory stocks as they became available across Africa. Large quantities of ivory were then moved, in multiple shipments, through an intermediate country prior to shipment to Asia, as a risk-reduction strategy that distances the dealer from the poaching locale. These smuggling strategies could not have been detected by forensic information, which typically begins only at the shipping source. PMID:18786100

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    The dietary and movement history of individual animals can be studied using stable isotope records in animal tissues, providing insight into long-term ecological dynamics and a species niche. We provide a 6-year history of elephant diet by examining tail hair collected from 4 elephants in the same social family unit in northern Kenya. Sequential measurements of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen isotope rations in hair provide a weekly record of diet and water resources. Carbon isotope ratios were well correlated with satellite-based measurements of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) of the region occupied by the elephants as recorded by the global positioning system (GPS) movement record; the absolute amount of C4 grass consumption is well correlated with the maximum value of NDVI during individual wet seasons. Changes in hydrogen isotope ratios coincided very closely in time with seasonal fluctuations in rainfall and NDVI whereas diet shifts to relatively high proportions of grass lagged seasonal increases in NDVI by ≈2 weeks. The peak probability of conception in the population occurred ≈3 weeks after peak grazing. Spatial and temporal patterns of resource use show that the only period of pure browsing by the focal elephants was located in an over-grazed, communally managed region outside the protected area. The ability to extract time-specific longitudinal records on animal diets, and therefore the ecological history of an organism and its environment, provides an avenue for understanding the impact of climate dynamics and land-use change on animal foraging behavior and habitat relations. PMID:19365077

  5. Elucidating the significance of spatial memory on movement decisions by African savannah elephants using state-space models.

    PubMed

    Polansky, Leo; Kilian, Werner; Wittemyer, George

    2015-04-22

    Spatial memory facilitates resource acquisition where resources are patchy, but how it influences movement behaviour of wide-ranging species remains to be resolved. We examined African elephant spatial memory reflected in movement decisions regarding access to perennial waterholes. State-space models of movement data revealed a rapid, highly directional movement behaviour almost exclusively associated with visiting perennial water. Behavioural change point (BCP) analyses demonstrated that these goal-oriented movements were initiated on average 4.59 km, and up to 49.97 km, from the visited waterhole, with the closest waterhole accessed 90% of the time. Distances of decision points increased when switching to different waterholes, during the dry season, or for female groups relative to males, while selection of the closest waterhole decreased when switching. Overall, our analyses indicated detailed spatial knowledge over large scales, enabling elephants to minimize travel distance through highly directional movement when accessing water. We discuss the likely cognitive and socioecological mechanisms driving these spatially precise movements that are most consistent with our findings. By applying modern analytic techniques to high-resolution movement data, this study illustrates emerging approaches for studying how cognition structures animal movement behaviour in different ecological and social contexts. PMID:25808888

  6. Elucidating the significance of spatial memory on movement decisions by African savannah elephants using state–space models

    PubMed Central

    Polansky, Leo; Kilian, Werner; Wittemyer, George

    2015-01-01

    Spatial memory facilitates resource acquisition where resources are patchy, but how it influences movement behaviour of wide-ranging species remains to be resolved. We examined African elephant spatial memory reflected in movement decisions regarding access to perennial waterholes. State–space models of movement data revealed a rapid, highly directional movement behaviour almost exclusively associated with visiting perennial water. Behavioural change point (BCP) analyses demonstrated that these goal-oriented movements were initiated on average 4.59 km, and up to 49.97 km, from the visited waterhole, with the closest waterhole accessed 90% of the time. Distances of decision points increased when switching to different waterholes, during the dry season, or for female groups relative to males, while selection of the closest waterhole decreased when switching. Overall, our analyses indicated detailed spatial knowledge over large scales, enabling elephants to minimize travel distance through highly directional movement when accessing water. We discuss the likely cognitive and socioecological mechanisms driving these spatially precise movements that are most consistent with our findings. By applying modern analytic techniques to high-resolution movement data, this study illustrates emerging approaches for studying how cognition structures animal movement behaviour in different ecological and social contexts. PMID:25808888

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. 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

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

    This study aimed to determine whether the follicle reserve in the ovary of the African elephant declines progressively after puberty and whether its depletion constrains the fertility of older females. Elephant ovaries were fixed in 4% neutral buffered formalin and small-follicle counts made using stereological protocols. Excepting a slight rise in small-follicle numbers between 16 and 25 years of age, there was a trend for follicle numbers to fall from puberty to 70 years. Reproductive status did not impact significantly on small-follicle numbers (P=0.31). The number of early primary follicles, initially higher in number than true primary follicles, fell from post-puberty to nil at 45 years of age. Six of the seven oldest animals in the study showed signs of recent ovarian activity in the form of antral follicles, corpora lutea or large corpora nigra. The four oldest elephants (mean age 69 years) had a median small-follicle count of 11,113. In summary, it appears that the elephant ovary is capable of supplying oocytes for ovulation right up to the time of death at the age of maximum life expectancy, although the follicle reserve becomes depleted in some older elephants. PMID:24112390

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    We describe the use of handheld X-ray fluorescence, for elephant tusk species identification. Asian (n = 72) and African (n = 85) elephant tusks were scanned and we utilized the species differences in elemental composition to develop a functional model differentiating between species with high precision. Spatially, the majority of measured elements (n = 26) exhibited a homogeneous distribution in cross-section, but a more heterologous pattern in the longitudinal direction. Twenty-one of twenty four elements differed between Asian and African samples. Data were subjected to hierarchical cluster analysis followed by a stepwise discriminant analysis, which identified elements for the functional equation. The best equation consisted of ratios of Si, S, Cl, Ti, Mn, Ag, Sb and W, with Zr as the denominator. Next, Bayesian binary regression model analysis was conducted to predict the probability that a tusk would be of African origin. A cut-off value was established to improve discrimination. This Bayesian hybrid classification model was then validated by scanning an additional 30 Asian and 41 African tusks, which showed high accuracy (94%) and precision (95%) rates. We conclude that handheld XRF is an accurate, non-invasive method to discriminate origin of elephant tusks provides rapid results applicable to use in the field. PMID:27097717

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    We describe the use of handheld X-ray fluorescence, for elephant tusk species identification. Asian (n = 72) and African (n = 85) elephant tusks were scanned and we utilized the species differences in elemental composition to develop a functional model differentiating between species with high precision. Spatially, the majority of measured elements (n = 26) exhibited a homogeneous distribution in cross-section, but a more heterologous pattern in the longitudinal direction. Twenty-one of twenty four elements differed between Asian and African samples. Data were subjected to hierarchical cluster analysis followed by a stepwise discriminant analysis, which identified elements for the functional equation. The best equation consisted of ratios of Si, S, Cl, Ti, Mn, Ag, Sb and W, with Zr as the denominator. Next, Bayesian binary regression model analysis was conducted to predict the probability that a tusk would be of African origin. A cut-off value was established to improve discrimination. This Bayesian hybrid classification model was then validated by scanning an additional 30 Asian and 41 African tusks, which showed high accuracy (94%) and precision (95%) rates. We conclude that handheld XRF is an accurate, non-invasive method to discriminate origin of elephant tusks provides rapid results applicable to use in the field. PMID:27097717

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

    PubMed

    Ren, Lei; Hutchinson, John R

    2008-02-01

    We examined whether elephants shift to using bouncing (i.e. running) mechanics at any speed. To do this, we measured the three-dimensional centre of mass (CM) motions and torso rotations of African and Asian elephants using a novel multisensor method. Hundreds of continuous stride cycles were recorded in the field. African and Asian elephants moved very similarly. Near the mechanically and metabolically optimal speed (a Froude number (Fr) of 0.09), an inverted pendulum mechanism predominated. With increasing speed, the locomotor dynamics quickly but continuously became less like vaulting and more like bouncing. Our mechanical energy analysis of the CM suggests that at a surprisingly slow speed (approx. 2.2 m s(-1), Fr 0.25), the hindlimbs exhibited bouncing, not vaulting, mechanics during weight support. We infer that a gait transition happens at this relatively slow speed: elephants begin using their compliant hindlimbs like pogo sticks to some extent to drive the body, bouncing over their relatively stiff, vaulting forelimbs. Hence, they are not as rigid limbed as typically characterized for graviportal animals, and use regular walking as well as at least one form of running gait. PMID:17594960

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. How Immunocontraception Can Contribute to Elephant Management in Small, Enclosed Reserves: Munyawana Population as a Case Study

    PubMed Central

    Druce, Heleen C.; Mackey, Robin L.; Slotow, Rob

    2011-01-01

    Immunocontraception has been widely used as a management tool to reduce population growth in captive as well as wild populations of various fauna. We model the use of an individual-based rotational immunocontraception plan on a wild elephant, Loxodonta africana, population and quantify the social and reproductive advantages of this method of implementation using adaptive management. The use of immunocontraception on an individual, rotational basis stretches the inter-calving interval for each individual female elephant to a management-determined interval, preventing exposing females to unlimited long-term immunocontraception use (which may have as yet undocumented negative effects). Such rotational immunocontraception can effectively lower population growth rates, age the population, and alter the age structure. Furthermore, such structured intervention can simulate natural process such as predation or episodic catastrophic events (e.g., drought), which regulates calf recruitment within an abnormally structured population. A rotational immunocontraception plan is a feasible and useful elephant population management tool, especially in a small, enclosed conservation area. Such approaches should be considered for other long-lived, social species in enclosed areas where the long-term consequences of consistent contraception may be unknown. PMID:22174758

  20. How immunocontraception can contribute to elephant management in small, enclosed reserves: Munyawana population as a case study.

    PubMed

    Druce, Heleen C; Mackey, Robin L; Slotow, Rob

    2011-01-01

    Immunocontraception has been widely used as a management tool to reduce population growth in captive as well as wild populations of various fauna. We model the use of an individual-based rotational immunocontraception plan on a wild elephant, Loxodonta africana, population and quantify the social and reproductive advantages of this method of implementation using adaptive management. The use of immunocontraception on an individual, rotational basis stretches the inter-calving interval for each individual female elephant to a management-determined interval, preventing exposing females to unlimited long-term immunocontraception use (which may have as yet undocumented negative effects). Such rotational immunocontraception can effectively lower population growth rates, age the population, and alter the age structure. Furthermore, such structured intervention can simulate natural process such as predation or episodic catastrophic events (e.g., drought), which regulates calf recruitment within an abnormally structured population. A rotational immunocontraception plan is a feasible and useful elephant population management tool, especially in a small, enclosed conservation area. Such approaches should be considered for other long-lived, social species in enclosed areas where the long-term consequences of consistent contraception may be unknown. PMID:22174758

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Negro, Black, Black African, African Caribbean, African American or what? Labelling African origin populations in the health arena in the 21st century.

    PubMed

    Agyemang, Charles; Bhopal, Raj; Bruijnzeels, Marc

    2005-12-01

    Broad terms such as Black, African, or Black African are entrenched in scientific writings although there is considerable diversity within African descent populations and such terms may be both offensive and inaccurate. This paper outlines the heterogeneity within African populations, and discusses the strengths and limitations of the term Black and related labels from epidemiological and public health perspectives in Europe and the USA. This paper calls for debate on appropriate terminologies for African descent populations and concludes with the proposals that (1) describing the population under consideration is of paramount importance (2) the word African origin or simply African is an appropriate and necessary prefix for an ethnic label, for example, African Caribbean or African Kenyan or African Surinamese (3) documents should define the ethnic labels (4) the label Black should be phased out except when used in political contexts. PMID:16286485

  6. 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

  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. Genome-wide patterns of population structure and admixture in West Africans and African Americans.

    PubMed

    Bryc, Katarzyna; Auton, Adam; Nelson, Matthew R; Oksenberg, Jorge R; Hauser, Stephen L; Williams, Scott; Froment, Alain; Bodo, Jean-Marie; Wambebe, Charles; Tishkoff, Sarah A; Bustamante, Carlos D

    2010-01-12

    Quantifying patterns of population structure in Africans and African Americans illuminates the history of human populations and is critical for undertaking medical genomic studies on a global scale. To obtain a fine-scale genome-wide perspective of ancestry, we analyze Affymetrix GeneChip 500K genotype data from African Americans (n = 365) and individuals with ancestry from West Africa (n = 203 from 12 populations) and Europe (n = 400 from 42 countries). We find that population structure within the West African sample reflects primarily language and secondarily geographical distance, echoing the Bantu expansion. Among African Americans, analysis of genomic admixture by a principal component-based approach indicates that the median proportion of European ancestry is 18.5% (25th-75th percentiles: 11.6-27.7%), with very large variation among individuals. In the African-American sample as a whole, few autosomal regions showed exceptionally high or low mean African ancestry, but the X chromosome showed elevated levels of African ancestry, consistent with a sex-biased pattern of gene flow with an excess of European male and African female ancestry. We also find that genomic profiles of individual African Americans afford personalized ancestry reconstructions differentiating ancient vs. recent European and African ancestry. Finally, patterns of genetic similarity among inferred African segments of African-American genomes and genomes of contemporary African populations included in this study suggest African ancestry is most similar to non-Bantu Niger-Kordofanian-speaking populations, consistent with historical documents of the African Diaspora and trans-Atlantic slave trade. PMID:20080753

  9. Excretory fate of estradiol and progesterone in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and patterns of fecal steroid concentrations throughout the estrous cycle.

    PubMed

    Wasser, S K; Papageorge, S; Foley, C; Brown, J L

    1996-05-01

    We developed and validated a noninvasive method to quantify fecal estrogens and progestins as a tool for monitoring long-term ovarian activity in free-ranging African elephants. The lag times between iv injection of [(3)H]estradiol and [(14)C]progesterone and peak excretion of radioactivity in urine and feces were approximately 4 hr and 48 hr, respectively. The majority of progesterone metabolites recovered was excreted in feces (55%) versus urine (45%), whereas comparatively little of the recovered estradiol metabolites were excreted in feces (5%) compared to urine (95%). Intrasample variation in fecal hormone concentrations was extremely high but could be substantially reduced by extracting well-mixed fecal powder from freeze-dried samples, taken from the central or premixed portion of the wet sample. This method resulted in a close correspondence between matched serum and fecal progestins (mean correlation = 0.81, range 0.61-0.94) collected from five nonpregnant adult females over a 7-month period. Fecal estrogen profiles were more ambiguous, tending to overlap with those of fecal progestins. We conclude that analyses of fecal progestins can provide an effective, noninvasive means of characterizing ovarian activity in free-ranging African elephants. PMID:8998970

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Population differentiation in the context of Holocene climate change for a migratory marine species, the southern elephant seal.

    PubMed

    Corrigan, L J; Fabiani, A; Chauke, L F; McMahon, C R; de Bruyn, M; Bester, M N; Bastos, A; Campagna, C; Muelbert, M M C; Hoelzel, A R

    2016-09-01

    Understanding observed patterns of connectivity requires an understanding of the evolutionary processes that determine genetic structure among populations, with the most common models being associated with isolation by distance, allopatry or vicariance. Pinnipeds are annual breeders with the capacity for extensive range overlap during seasonal migrations, establishing the potential for the evolution of isolation by distance. Here, we assess the pattern of differentiation among six breeding colonies of the southern elephant seal, Mirounga leonina, based on mtDNA and 15 neutral microsatellite DNA markers, and consider measures of their demography and connectivity. We show that all breeding colonies are genetically divergent and that connectivity in this highly mobile pinniped is not strongly associated with geographic distance, but more likely linked to Holocene climate change and demographic processes. Estimates of divergence times between populations were all after the last glacial maximum, and there was evidence for directional migration in a clockwise pattern (with the prevailing current) around the Antarctic. We discuss the mechanisms by which climate change may have contributed to the contemporary genetic structure of southern elephant seal populations and the broader implications. PMID:27012933

  13. North African Populations Carry the Signature of Admixture with Neandertals

    PubMed Central

    Civit, Sergi; Arenas, Conxita; Ávila-Arcos, María C.; Bustamante, Carlos D.; Comas, David; Lalueza-Fox, Carles

    2012-01-01

    One of the main findings derived from the analysis of the Neandertal genome was the evidence for admixture between Neandertals and non-African modern humans. An alternative scenario is that the ancestral population of non-Africans was closer to Neandertals than to Africans because of ancient population substructure. Thus, the study of North African populations is crucial for testing both hypotheses. We analyzed a total of 780,000 SNPs in 125 individuals representing seven different North African locations and searched for their ancestral/derived state in comparison to different human populations and Neandertals. We found that North African populations have a significant excess of derived alleles shared with Neandertals, when compared to sub-Saharan Africans. This excess is similar to that found in non-African humans, a fact that can be interpreted as a sign of Neandertal admixture. Furthermore, the Neandertal's genetic signal is higher in populations with a local, pre-Neolithic North African ancestry. Therefore, the detected ancient admixture is not due to recent Near Eastern or European migrations. Sub-Saharan populations are the only ones not affected by the admixture event with Neandertals. PMID:23082212

  14. 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…

  15. 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

  16. Identifying Source Populations and Genetic Structure for Savannah Elephants in Human-Dominated Landscapes and Protected Areas in the Kenya-Tanzania Borderlands

    PubMed Central

    Ahlering, Marissa A.; Eggert, Lori S.; Western, David; Estes, Anna; Munishi, Linus; Fleischer, Robert; Roberts, Melissa; Maldonado, Jesus E.

    2012-01-01

    We investigated the genetic metapopulation structure of elephants across the trans Rift Valley region of Kenya and Tanzania, one of the remaining strongholds for savannah elephants (Loxodonata africana) in East Africa, using microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers. We then examined this population structure to determine the source population for a recent colonization event of savannah elephants on community-owned land within the trans rift valley region. Four of the five sampled populations showed significant genetic differentiation (p<0.05) as measured with both mtDNA haplotypes and microsatellites. Only the samples from the adjacent Maasai Mara and Serengeti ecosystems showed no significant differentiation. A phylogenetic neighbour-joining tree constructed from mtDNA haplotypes detected four clades. Clade four corresponds to the F clade of previous mtDNA studies that reported to have originated in forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) but to also be present in some savannah elephant populations. The split between clade four and the other three clades corresponded strongly to the geographic distribution of mtDNA haplotypes across the rift valley in the study area. Clade four was the dominant clade detected on the west side of the rift valley with rare occurrences on the east side. Finally, the strong patterns of population differentiation clearly indicated that the recent colonists to the community-owned land in Kenya came from the west side of the rift valley. Our results indicate strong female philopatry within the isolated populations of the trans rift valley region, with gene flow primarily mediated via male movements. The recent colonization event from Maasai Mara or Serengeti suggests there is hope for maintaining connectivity and population viability outside formal protected areas in the region. PMID:23300634

  17. Identifying source populations and genetic structure for savannah elephants in human-dominated landscapes and protected areas in the Kenya-Tanzania borderlands.

    PubMed

    Ahlering, Marissa A; Eggert, Lori S; Western, David; Estes, Anna; Munishi, Linus; Fleischer, Robert; Roberts, Melissa; Maldonado, Jesus E

    2012-01-01

    We investigated the genetic metapopulation structure of elephants across the trans Rift Valley region of Kenya and Tanzania, one of the remaining strongholds for savannah elephants (Loxodonata africana) in East Africa, using microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers. We then examined this population structure to determine the source population for a recent colonization event of savannah elephants on community-owned land within the trans rift valley region. Four of the five sampled populations showed significant genetic differentiation (p<0.05) as measured with both mtDNA haplotypes and microsatellites. Only the samples from the adjacent Maasai Mara and Serengeti ecosystems showed no significant differentiation. A phylogenetic neighbour-joining tree constructed from mtDNA haplotypes detected four clades. Clade four corresponds to the F clade of previous mtDNA studies that reported to have originated in forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) but to also be present in some savannah elephant populations. The split between clade four and the other three clades corresponded strongly to the geographic distribution of mtDNA haplotypes across the rift valley in the study area. Clade four was the dominant clade detected on the west side of the rift valley with rare occurrences on the east side. Finally, the strong patterns of population differentiation clearly indicated that the recent colonists to the community-owned land in Kenya came from the west side of the rift valley. Our results indicate strong female philopatry within the isolated populations of the trans rift valley region, with gene flow primarily mediated via male movements. The recent colonization event from Maasai Mara or Serengeti suggests there is hope for maintaining connectivity and population viability outside formal protected areas in the region. PMID:23300634

  18. 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

  19. Analysis of paternal lineages in Brazilian and African populations

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    The present-day Brazilian population is a consequence of the admixture of various peoples of very different origins, namely, Amerindians, Europeans and Africans. The proportion of each genetic contribution is known to be very heterogeneous throughout the country. The aim of the present study was to compare the male lineages present in two distinct Brazilian populations, as well as to evaluate the African contribution to their male genetic substrate. Thus, two Brazilian population samples from Manaus (State of Amazon) and Ribeirão Preto (State of São Paulo) and three African samples from Guinea Bissau, Angola and Mozambique were typed for a set of nine Y chromosome specific STRs. The data were compared with those from African, Amerindian and European populations. By using Y-STR haplotype information, low genetic distances were found between the Manaus and Ribeirão Preto populations, as well as between these and others from Iberia. Likewise, no significant distances were observed between any of the African samples from Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau. Highly significant Rst values were found between both Brazilian samples and all the African and Amerindian populations. The absence of a significant Sub-Saharan African male component resulting from the slave trade, and the low frequency in Amerindian ancestry Y-lineages in the Manaus and Ribeirão Preto population samples are in accordance with the accentuated gender asymmetry in admixture processes that has been systematically reported in colonial South American populations. PMID:21637407

  20. Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Pig-Tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina) and Tiger (Panthera tigris) Populations at Tourism Venues in Thailand and Aspects of Their Welfare

    PubMed Central

    Schmidt-Burbach, Jan; Ronfot, Delphine; Srisangiam, Rossukon

    2015-01-01

    This study focused on determining the size and welfare aspects of Asian elephant, pig-tailed macaque and tiger populations at facilities open to tourists in Thailand. Data were gathered from 118 venues through direct observations and interviews with staff. A score sheet-based welfare assessment was used to calculate scores between 1 and 10, indicating each venue’s welfare situation. Factors such as freedom of movement for the animals, access to veterinary care, environmental noise quality, hygiene standards and work intensity were included in the score sheet. 1688 elephants, 371 macaques and 621 tigers were found at the venues. 89 venues exclusively kept elephants, 9 designated ‘Monkey schools’ offered macaque shows, 4 venues kept primarily tigers, mostly for petting and photo opportunities, and the remaining venues kept a mix of these animals. A strong imbalance in female to male gender ratios was recorded with about 4:1 for adult elephants and 1:4 for adult macaques. Severely inadequate welfare conditions were common, with 75% of macaques and 99% of tigers being kept at venues with scores less than 5. 86% of elephants were kept in inadequate conditions at venues with scores between 3 and 5, but a significant number of venues with scores above 5 were found. 4.6% of elephants were provided commendable conditions, reaching assessment scores of 8 and above. 71% of venues did not offer any sort of education about animals to visitors. This study is the first to assess welfare aspects of captive wild animals at tourism venues across Thailand. It concludes that significant concerns exist about the welfare of wild animals in the tourism sector of Thailand. Urgent attention needs to be given to address these concerns and prevent further suffering. But also to ensure the demand for wild animals doesn’t have a negative impact on wild populations. PMID:26407173

  1. Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Pig-Tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina) and Tiger (Panthera tigris) Populations at Tourism Venues in Thailand and Aspects of Their Welfare.

    PubMed

    Schmidt-Burbach, Jan; Ronfot, Delphine; Srisangiam, Rossukon

    2015-01-01

    This study focused on determining the size and welfare aspects of Asian elephant, pig-tailed macaque and tiger populations at facilities open to tourists in Thailand. Data were gathered from 118 venues through direct observations and interviews with staff. A score sheet-based welfare assessment was used to calculate scores between 1 and 10, indicating each venue's welfare situation. Factors such as freedom of movement for the animals, access to veterinary care, environmental noise quality, hygiene standards and work intensity were included in the score sheet. 1688 elephants, 371 macaques and 621 tigers were found at the venues. 89 venues exclusively kept elephants, 9 designated 'Monkey schools' offered macaque shows, 4 venues kept primarily tigers, mostly for petting and photo opportunities, and the remaining venues kept a mix of these animals. A strong imbalance in female to male gender ratios was recorded with about 4:1 for adult elephants and 1:4 for adult macaques. Severely inadequate welfare conditions were common, with 75% of macaques and 99% of tigers being kept at venues with scores less than 5. 86% of elephants were kept in inadequate conditions at venues with scores between 3 and 5, but a significant number of venues with scores above 5 were found. 4.6% of elephants were provided commendable conditions, reaching assessment scores of 8 and above. 71% of venues did not offer any sort of education about animals to visitors. This study is the first to assess welfare aspects of captive wild animals at tourism venues across Thailand. It concludes that significant concerns exist about the welfare of wild animals in the tourism sector of Thailand. Urgent attention needs to be given to address these concerns and prevent further suffering. But also to ensure the demand for wild animals doesn't have a negative impact on wild populations. PMID:26407173

  2. 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 ...

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Limited MHC polymorphism in the southern elephant seal: implications for MHC evolution and marine mammal population biology.

    PubMed

    Slade, R W

    1992-08-22

    Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are highly polymorphic in most terrestrial mammal populations so far studied. Exceptions to this are typically populations that lack genome-wide diversity. Here I show that two populations of the southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) have low DNA restriction fragment length polymorphism at MHC loci when compared with terrestrial mammals. Limited studies on MHC polymorphism in two cetacean species suggest this is a feature of marine mammal populations in general. MHC polymorphism is thought to be maintained by balancing selection, and several types of disease-based and reproductive-based mechanisms have been proposed. For the three marine mammal species examined, the low MHC polymorphism cannot be explained by low genome-wide diversity, or by any reproductive-based selection pressure. It can, however, be explained by diminished exposure to pathogenic selection pressure compared with terrestrial mammals. Reduced exposure to pathogens would also mean that marine mammal populations may be susceptible to occasional pathogen-induced mass mortalities. PMID:1360677

  6. 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

  7. Recent admixture in an Indian population of African ancestry.

    PubMed

    Narang, Ankita; Jha, Pankaj; Rawat, Vimal; Mukhopadhyay, Arijit; Mukhopadhayay, Arijit; Dash, Debasis; Basu, Analabha; Mukerji, Mitali

    2011-07-15

    Identification and study of genetic variation in recently admixed populations not only provides insight into historical population events but also is a powerful approach for mapping disease loci. We studied a population (OG-W-IP) that is of African-Indian origin and has resided in the western part of India for 500 years; members of this population are believed to be descendants of the Bantu-speaking population of Africa. We have carried out this study by using a set of 18,534 autosomal markers common between Indian, CEPH-HGDP, and HapMap populations. Principal-components analysis clearly revealed that the African-Indian population derives its ancestry from Bantu-speaking west-African as well as Indo-European-speaking north and northwest Indian population(s). STRUCTURE and ADMIXTURE analyses show that, overall, the OG-W-IPs derive 58.7% of their genomic ancestry from their African past and have very little inter-individual ancestry variation (8.4%). The extent of linkage disequilibrium also reveals that the admixture event has been recent. Functional annotation of genes encompassing the ancestry-informative markers that are closer in allele frequency to the Indian ancestral population revealed significant enrichment of biological processes, such as ion-channel activity, and cadherins. We briefly examine the implications of determining the genetic diversity of this population, which could provide opportunities for studies involving admixture mapping. PMID:21737057

  8. 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 ...

  9. 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

  10. East African cheetahs: evidence for two population bottlenecks?

    PubMed Central

    O'Brien, S J; Wildt, D E; Bush, M; Caro, T M; FitzGibbon, C; Aggundey, I; Leakey, R E

    1987-01-01

    A combined population genetic and reproductive analysis was undertaken to compare free-ranging cheetahs from east Africa (Acinonyx jubatus raineyi) with the genetically impoverished and reproductively impaired south African subspecies (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). Like that of their south African counterparts, the quality of semen specimens from east African cheetahs was poor, with a low concentration of spermatozoa (25.3 X 10(6) per ejaculate) and a high incidence of morphological abnormalities (79%). From an electrophoretic survey of the products of 49 genetic loci in A. jubatus raineyi, two allozyme polymorphisms were detected; one of these, for a nonspecific esterase, shows an allele that is rare (less than 1% incidence) in south African specimens. Estimates of polymorphism (2-4%) and average heterozygosity (0.0004-0.014) affirm the cheetah as the least genetically variable felid species. The genetic distance between south and east African cheetahs was low (0.004), suggesting that the development of genetic uniformity preceded the recent geographic isolation of the subspecies. We propose that at least two population bottlenecks followed by inbreeding produced the modern cheetah species. The first and most extreme was ancient, possibly late Pleistocene (circa 10,000 years ago); the second was more recent (within the last century) and led to the south African populations. PMID:3467370

  11. Lateralization in trunk and forefoot movements in a population of free-ranging Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Keerthipriya, P; Tewari, Rachna; Vidya, T N C

    2015-11-01

    We examined side preferences in trunk and forefoot movement during feeding in a wild population of Asian elephants. Trunk sweeping movements to pluck/uproot/gather vegetation and forefoot scuffing movements to uproot vegetation were scored in 206 individuals. We found a much stronger side preference in trunk use than in forefoot use, supporting a modified task complexity hypothesis. The forefoot and trunk appeared to be coordinated while feeding and, among individuals that had significant forefoot preferences, the proportion of right forefoot use was higher among right trunkers than left trunkers. Trunk and forefoot preferences were not dependent on individuals' social associates, and trunk preferences were also not dependent on feeding associates. There was a significant effect of individual identity on forefoot preference strength but no population-level side preference in trunk or forefoot movement, suggesting no dominant eye control over the task, which might be true of feeding-related foot movement in other herbivores also. There was no effect of age or sex on trunk or forefoot side preference or strength. The onset of trunk side preference, however, was very early compared with that observed in other species studied and calls for a comparison of the ontogeny of side preferences in precocial and altricial species. Based on 57 mother-offspring pairs, we found that offspring trunk side preferences were independent of their mothers' preferences, suggesting that these preferences are not maternally inherited. PMID:26389557

  12. 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.

  13. Genome-wide association of anthropometric traits in African- and African-derived populations.

    PubMed

    Kang, Sun J; Chiang, Charleston W K; Palmer, Cameron D; Tayo, Bamidele O; Lettre, Guillaume; Butler, Johannah L; Hackett, Rachel; Adeyemo, Adebowale A; Guiducci, Candace; Berzins, Ilze; Nguyen, Thutrang T; Feng, Tao; Luke, Amy; Shriner, Daniel; Ardlie, Kristin; Rotimi, Charles; Wilks, Rainford; Forrester, Terrence; McKenzie, Colin A; Lyon, Helen N; Cooper, Richard S; Zhu, Xiaofeng; Hirschhorn, Joel N

    2010-07-01

    Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have identified common variants that are associated with a variety of traits and diseases, but most studies have been performed in European-derived populations. Here, we describe the first genome-wide analyses of imputed genotype and copy number variants (CNVs) for anthropometric measures in African-derived populations: 1188 Nigerians from Igbo-Ora and Ibadan, Nigeria, and 743 African-Americans from Maywood, IL. To improve the reach of our study, we used imputation to estimate genotypes at approximately 2.1 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and also tested CNVs for association. No SNPs or common CNVs reached a genome-wide significance level for association with height or body mass index (BMI), and the best signals from a meta-analysis of the two cohorts did not replicate in approximately 3700 African-Americans and Jamaicans. However, several loci previously confirmed in European populations showed evidence of replication in our GWA panel of African-derived populations, including variants near IHH and DLEU7 for height and MC4R for BMI. Analysis of global burden of rare CNVs suggested that lean individuals possess greater total burden of CNVs, but this finding was not supported in an independent European population. Our results suggest that there are not multiple loci with strong effects on anthropometric traits in African-derived populations and that sample sizes comparable to those needed in European GWA studies will be required to identify replicable associations. Meta-analysis of this data set with additional studies in African-ancestry populations will be helpful to improve power to detect novel associations. PMID:20400458

  14. Extreme expansion of the olfactory receptor gene repertoire in African elephants and evolutionary dynamics of orthologous gene groups in 13 placental mammals

    PubMed Central

    Matsui, Atsushi; Touhara, Kazushige

    2014-01-01

    Olfactory receptors (ORs) detect odors in the environment, and OR genes constitute the largest multigene family in mammals. Numbers of OR genes vary greatly among species—reflecting the respective species' lifestyles—and this variation is caused by frequent gene gains and losses during evolution. However, whether the extent of gene gains/losses varies among individual gene lineages and what might generate such variation is unknown. To answer these questions, we used a newly developed phylogeny-based method to classify >10,000 intact OR genes from 13 placental mammal species into 781 orthologous gene groups (OGGs); we then compared the OGGs. Interestingly, African elephants had a surprisingly large repertoire (∼2000) of functional OR genes encoded in enlarged gene clusters. Additionally, OR gene lineages that experienced more gene duplication had weaker purifying selection, and Class II OR genes have evolved more dynamically than those in Class I. Some OGGs were highly expanded in a lineage-specific manner, while only three OGGs showed complete one-to-one orthology among the 13 species without any gene gains/losses. These three OGGs also exhibited highly conserved amino acid sequences; therefore, ORs in these OGGs may have physiologically important functions common to every placental mammal. This study provides a basis for inferring OR functions from evolutionary trajectory. PMID:25053675

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    The African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) is one of the critically endangered animals. Conservation of genetic and cellular resources is important for the promotion of wild life-related research. Although primary cultured cells are a useful model for the physiology and genomics of the wild-type animals, their distribution is restricted due to the limited number of cell divisions allowed in them. Here, we tried to immortalize a primary cell line of L. africana with by overexpressing human mutant form of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4R24C), cyclin D, and telomerase (TERT). It has been shown before that the combination of human CDK4R24C, cyclin D, and TERT induces the efficient cellular immortalization of cells derived from humans, bovine, swine, and monkeys. Interestingly, although the combination of these three genes extended the cellular proliferation of the L. africana-derived cells, they did not induce cellular immortalization. This study suggest that control of cellular senescence in L. africana-derived cells would be different molecular mechanisms compared to those governing human, bovine, swine, and monkey cells. PMID:26487427

  16. Extreme expansion of the olfactory receptor gene repertoire in African elephants and evolutionary dynamics of orthologous gene groups in 13 placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Niimura, Yoshihito; Matsui, Atsushi; Touhara, Kazushige

    2014-09-01

    Olfactory receptors (ORs) detect odors in the environment, and OR genes constitute the largest multigene family in mammals. Numbers of OR genes vary greatly among species--reflecting the respective species' lifestyles--and this variation is caused by frequent gene gains and losses during evolution. However, whether the extent of gene gains/losses varies among individual gene lineages and what might generate such variation is unknown. To answer these questions, we used a newly developed phylogeny-based method to classify >10,000 intact OR genes from 13 placental mammal species into 781 orthologous gene groups (OGGs); we then compared the OGGs. Interestingly, African elephants had a surprisingly large repertoire (∼ 2000) of functional OR genes encoded in enlarged gene clusters. Additionally, OR gene lineages that experienced more gene duplication had weaker purifying selection, and Class II OR genes have evolved more dynamically than those in Class I. Some OGGs were highly expanded in a lineage-specific manner, while only three OGGs showed complete one-to-one orthology among the 13 species without any gene gains/losses. These three OGGs also exhibited highly conserved amino acid sequences; therefore, ORs in these OGGs may have physiologically important functions common to every placental mammal. This study provides a basis for inferring OR functions from evolutionary trajectory. PMID:25053675

  17. Intensity of play behavior as a potential measure of welfare: A novel method for quantifying the integrated intensity of behavior in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Vicino, Greg A; Marcacci, Emily S

    2015-01-01

    To the authors' knowledge there is currently no discrete index to measure the integrated intensity of a play bout in mammals, despite the potential for using intensity and duration of play bouts as a measure of physical activity and welfare. This study was developed to test an equation that quantified the intensity and duration of play bouts in a particularly gregarious mammal, African elephants (Loxodonta africana) housed at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, CA. To quantify these behaviors, we created a scale of intensity and a subsequent equation that produces an index value, giving each unique bout a score. A compilation of these scores provides a range of intensity of play behavior that is a representative value for that particular herd at that point in time, and thus a database to which later bouts can be compared. It can be argued that play behavior is an indicator of positive welfare, and if quantifiable, it is our belief that it can be used as an additional measure of positive welfare in zoo housed animals. Here we present the methods and technique used to calculate a standardized Integrated Play Index (IPI) that has potential for use in other socially living species that are known to exhibit play behavior. PMID:26251201

  18. Polymorphic Alu insertions in six Brazilian African-derived populations.

    PubMed

    Cotrim, Nelson Henderson; Auricchio, Maria Teresa B M; Vicente, João Pedro; Otto, Paulo A; Mingroni-Netto, Regina Célia

    2004-01-01

    At least 25 African-derived populations (quilombo remnants) are believed to exist in the Ribeira River Valley, located in the southern part of São Paulo State, Brazil. We studied four Alu polymorphic loci (APO, ACE, TPA25, and FXIIIB) in individuals belonging to six quilombo remnants in addition to individuals sampled from the city of São Paulo. The allelic frequencies observed in the quilombo remnants were similar to those previously observed in African-derived populations from Central and North America. Genetic variability indexes (Fst and Gst values) in our quilombos were higher than the reported values for the majority of other populations analyzed for the same kind of markers, but lower than the variability usually observed in Amerindian groups. The observed high degree of genetic differentiation may be due to genetic drift, especially the founder effect. Our results suggest that these populations behave genetically as semi-isolates. The degree of genetic variability within populations was larger than among them, a finding described in other studies. In the neighbor-joining tree, some of the Brazilian quilombos clustered with the African and African-derived populations (São Pedro and Galvão), others with the Europeans (Pilões, Maria Rosa, and Abobral). Pedro Cubas was placed in an isolated branch. Principal component analysis was also performed and confirmed the trends observed in the neighbor-joining tree. Overall, the quilombos showed a higher degree of gene flow than average when compared to other worldwide populations, but similar to other African-derived populations. PMID:15101052

  19. 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.

  20. Fostering Healthy Lifestyles in the African American Population

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Murimi, Mary; Chrisman, Matthew S.; McAllister, Tiffany; McDonald, Olevia D.

    2015-01-01

    Approximately 8.3% of the U.S. population (25.8 million people) is affected by type 2 diabetes. The burden of diabetes is disproportionately greater in the African American community. Compared with non-Hispanic Caucasian adults, the risk of diagnosed type 2 diabetes was 77% higher among non-Hispanic Blacks, who are 27% more likely to die of…

  1. Intellectual Disability in the Context of a South African Population

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kromberg, Jennifer; Zwane, Esther; Manga, Prashiela; Venter, Andre; Rosen, Eric; Christianson, Arnold

    2008-01-01

    Childhood disabilities, including intellectual disabilities (ID), are thought to occur in 5-17% of children in developing countries around the world. In order to identify and describe the childhood disabilities occurring in a rural South African population, as well as the context in which they occur, a study was carried out in the Bushbuckridge…

  2. How many rumbles are there? Acoustic variation and individual identity in the rumble vocalizations of African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soltis, Joseph M.; Savage, Anne; Leong, Kirsten M.

    2001-05-01

    The most commonly occurring elephant vocalization is the rumble, a frequency-modulated call with infrasonic components. Upwards of ten distinct rumble subtypes have been proposed, but little quantitative work on the acoustic properties of rumbles has been conducted. Rumble vocalizations (N=269) from six females housed at Disney's Animal Kingdom were analyzed. Vocalizations were recorded from microphones in collars around subject necks, and rumbles were digitized and measured using SIGNAL software. Sixteen acoustic variables were measured for each call, extracting both source and filter features. Multidimensional scaling analysis indicates that there are no acoustically distinct rumble subtypes, but that there is quantitative variation across rumbles. Discriminant function analysis showed that the acoustic characteristics of rumbles differ across females. A classification success rate of 65% was achieved when assigning unselected rumbles to one of the six females (test set =64 calls) according to the functions derived from the originally selected calls (training set =205 calls). The rumble is best viewed as a single call type with graded variation, but information regarding individual identity is encoded in female rumbles.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. The genetics of East African populations: a Nilo-Saharan component in the African genetic landscape

    PubMed Central

    Dobon, Begoña; Hassan, Hisham Y.; Laayouni, Hafid; Luisi, Pierre; Ricaño-Ponce, Isis; Zhernakova, Alexandra; Wijmenga, Cisca; Tahir, Hanan; Comas, David; Netea, Mihai G.; Bertranpetit, Jaume

    2015-01-01

    East Africa is a strategic region to study human genetic diversity due to the presence of ethnically, linguistically, and geographically diverse populations. Here, we provide new insight into the genetic history of populations living in the Sudanese region of East Africa by analysing nine ethnic groups belonging to three African linguistic families: Niger-Kordofanian, Nilo-Saharan and Afro-Asiatic. A total of 500 individuals were genotyped for 200,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Principal component analysis, clustering analysis using ADMIXTURE, FST statistics, and the three-population test were used to investigate the underlying genetic structure and ancestry of the different ethno-linguistic groups. Our analyses revealed a genetic component for Sudanese Nilo-Saharan speaking groups (Darfurians and part of Nuba populations) related to Nilotes of South Sudan, but not to other Sudanese populations or other sub-Saharan populations. Populations inhabiting the North of the region showed close genetic affinities with North Africa, with a component that could be remnant of North Africans before the migrations of Arabs from Arabia. In addition, we found very low genetic distances between populations in genes important for anti-malarial and anti-bacterial host defence, suggesting similar selective pressures on these genes and stressing the importance of considering functional pathways to understand the evolutionary history of populations. PMID:26017457

  6. Population affinities of African Colombians to Sub-Saharan Africans based on dental morphology.

    PubMed

    Delgado-Burbano, M E

    2007-01-01

    The Atlantic slave trade moved more than 13 million Africans to American lands between the 15th and 19th centuries. Previous historical, linguistic, and social-cultural studies suggested a Western-Central Bantu African origin for the Colombian slaves; however, their precise provenance remains unclear. The present study investigates the variation of the epigenetic dental traits in the deciduous and permanent dentition and phenotypic affinities of a contemporary Afro-Colombian community (n=178) in an attempt to identify their possible African ancestors. The results of a multivariate analysis of principal components show that Afro-descendents from Guapi have strong phenotypic relationships with several Bantu-speakers groups of Western and Western-Central Africa (Sub-Saharan region), specifically from Gabon, Congo, Pygmies, Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo and Benin. In concordance with recent mtDNA studies, this research suggests a distant but important relationship between Afro-Colombians and Eastern and South-Eastern African populations. This analysis also shows a marked dental divergence with North African samples. The dental information is not very different from the cultural, linguistic and historic data; however, it is more in agreement with studies based on molecular variation. In addition, this study reveals that African-Americans from North America, Central America-Caribbean and South America have high biological variation essentially identical to their several Sub-Saharan sources. Although a microevolutionary model, based on differential rates of gene flow with Native American and European-American groups and little selective pressures influence, better explains the phenotypic variation observed, more African-American dental samples must be analyzed from a regional perspective. PMID:17675007

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Common Variants Associated with Type 2 Diabetes in a Black South African Population of Setswana Descent: African Populations Diverge.

    PubMed

    Chikowore, Tinashe; Conradie, Karin R; Towers, Gordon W; van Zyl, Tertia

    2015-10-01

    The increasing worldwide prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) is a serious global health concern. Although T2D has a strong genetic etiology, limited knowledge exists about the common variants associated with it in the black South African population. This study set out to evaluate the association of previously reported common variants in other world populations with T2D susceptibility in a black South African population of Setswana descent. A case-control study design of 178 cases and 178 controls nested in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study was conducted wherein we genotyped for 77 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). PLINK software was used to evaluate the standard genetic models of disease penetrance for the association of the common variants with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) while adjusting for age, sex, and body mass index. Only rs1436955 significantly associated with an increase in T2D risk; three other variants, rs831571, rs8050136, and rs7542900, significantly associated with decreased risk of T2D. However, none of the four SNPs had significant associations after correcting for multiple testing (p<0.05). Although further studies are required to confirm these observations, the common variants associated with T2D risk among the Black South Africans of Setswana descent might likely be different than those in the Asian and European populations. This study supports the broader thesis that the genetic background of Africans is diverse and cannot be directly extrapolated using genetic variants from other ethnicities. Therefore there is a need to identify the population-specific variants linked with T2D in Africa. PMID:26382014

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Mitochondrial DNA diversity in the African American population.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Derek C; Shrestha, Sadeep; Wiener, Howard W; Makowsky, Robert; Kurundkar, Ashish; Wilson, Craig M; Aissani, Brahim

    2015-06-01

    Genetic polymorphism along mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) defines population-specific signatures called mtDNA haplogroups. Estimation of mtDNA haplogroup distribution may be prone to errors, notably if the study sample is not drawn from a multicenter cohort. Here, we report on mtDNA diversity in a sample of African American individuals (n = 343) enrolled in a multicenter cohort. Sequencing of the hypervariable regions I and II of the D-loop control region showed that the most common mitochondrial variants are 73G, 146C, 150T, 152C, 189G, 16278T, and 16311C. In agreement with the published data, we observed 17 common mtDNA haplogroups: L0, L1, L1b, L1c, L2, L2a, L2b, L2c, L2e, L3, L3b, L3d, L3e, L3f, L3h, L3x, and L4. The most commonly observed haplogroup is L2a (19.8%), followed by L1b (10.2%). Overall, the observed mtDNA haplogroup distribution in our study is similar to those published for the African American and the African populations. PMID:24102597

  17. Mitochondrial DNA diversity in the African American population

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Derek C.; Shrestha, Sadeep; Wiener, Howard W.; Makowsky, Robert; Kurundkar, Ashish; Wilson, Craig M.; Aissani, Brahim

    2014-01-01

    Genetic polymorphism along mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) defines population-specific signatures called mtDNA haplogroups. Estimation of mtDNA haplogroup distribution may be prone to errors, notably if the study sample is not drawn from a multicenter cohort. Here, we report on mtDNA diversity in a sample of African American individuals (n = 343) enrolled in a multicenter cohort. Sequencing of the hypervariable regions I and II of the D-loop control region showed that the most common mitochondrial variants are 73G, 146C, 150T, 152C, 189G, 16278T, and 16311C. In agreement with the published data, we observed 17 common mtDNA haplogroups: L0, L1, L1b, L1c, L2, L2a, L2b, L2c, L2e, L3, L3b, L3d, L3e, L3f, L3h, L3x, and L4. The most commonly observed haplogroup is L2a (19.8%), followed by L1b (10.2%). Overall, the observed mtDNA haplogroup distribution in our study is similar to those published for the African American and the African populations. PMID:24102597

  18. 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.

  19. Prevalence of Glaucoma in an Urban West African Population

    PubMed Central

    Budenz, Donald L.; Barton, Keith; Whiteside-de Vos, Julia; Schiffman, Joyce; Bandi, Jagadeesh; Nolan, Winifred; Herndon, Leon; Kim, Hanna; Hay-Smith, Graham; Tielsch, James M.

    2014-01-01

    Importance Multiple studies have found an increased prevalence, younger age at onset, and more severe course of glaucoma in people of African descent, but these findings are based on studies conducted outside Africa. Objective To determine the prevalence of glaucoma in an urban West African population of adults. Design and Setting A population-based, cross-sectional study of adults 40 years and older conducted from September 1, 2006, through December 31, 2008, from 5 communities in Tema, Ghana. Participants Participants from randomly selected clusters underwent a screening examination that consisted of visual acuity, frequency doubling perimetry, applanation tonometry, and optic disc photography. Participants who failed any of these tests were referred for complete examination, including gonioscopy, standard automated perimetry, and stereoscopic optic disc photography. Results A total of 6806 eligible participants were identified, and 5603 (82.3%) were enrolled in the study. The field examination referred 1869 participants (33.3%) to the clinic examination, and 1538 (82.2%) came for complete examination. A total of 362 participants were identified as having glaucoma of any type and category. Primary open-angle glaucoma was the underlying diagnosis in 342 participants (94.5%). The prevalence of primary open-angle glaucoma was 6.8% overall, increasing from 3.7% among those 40 to 49 years old to 14.6% among those 80 years and older, and was higher in men than in women in all age groups, with an overall male-female prevalence ratio of 1.5. Of the participants with glaucoma, 9 (2.5%) were blind using World Health Organization criteria, and only 12 (3.3%) were aware that they had glaucoma. Conclusions and Relevance The prevalence of glaucoma is higher in this urban West African population than in previous studies of people of East or South African and of non-African descent. Strategies to identify affected persons and effectively manage the burden of glaucoma are needed

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Differential Natural Selection of Human Zinc Transporter Genes between African and Non-African Populations.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Chao; Li, Jing; Tian, Lei; Lu, Dongsheng; Yuan, Kai; Yuan, Yuan; Xu, Shuhua

    2015-01-01

    Zinc transporters play important roles in all eukaryotes by maintaining the rational zinc concentration in cells. However, the diversity of zinc transporter genes (ZTGs) remains poorly studied. Here, we investigated the genetic diversity of 24 human ZTGs based on the 1000 Genomes data. Some ZTGs show small population differences, such as SLC30A6 with a weighted-average FST (WA-FST = 0.015), while other ZTGs exhibit considerably large population differences, such as SLC30A9 (WA-FST = 0.284). Overall, ZTGs harbor many more highly population-differentiated variants compared with random genes. Intriguingly, we found that SLC30A9 was underlying natural selection in both East Asians (EAS) and Africans (AFR) but in different directions. Notably, a non-synonymous variant (rs1047626) in SLC30A9 is almost fixed with 96.4% A in EAS and 92% G in AFR, respectively. Consequently, there are two different functional haplotypes exhibiting dominant abundance in AFR and EAS, respectively. Furthermore, a strong correlation was observed between the haplotype frequencies of SLC30A9 and distributions of zinc contents in soils or crops. We speculate that the genetic differentiation of ZTGs could directly contribute to population heterogeneity in zinc transporting capabilities and local adaptations of human populations in regard to the local zinc state or diets, which have both evolutionary and medical implications. PMID:25927708

  5. Azygos lobe in a South African cadaveric population.

    PubMed

    Rauf, Abdul; Rauf, Waqar-Un Nisa; Navsa, Nadia; Ashraf, Khizar Tauseef Ahmad

    2012-04-01

    Knowledge of the prevalence, morphology, and location of the azygos lobe is essential for diagnostic and surgical procedures of the lungs related to mediastinal pathologies, especially to minimize intraoperative vascular injuries, shock, possible thoracotomy, and even the possibility of pulmonary torsion. Reports on the prevalence of the azygos lobe vary between 0.11% and 1.06%. The aim of this study was to record the prevalence and morphological description of the azygos lobe in the South African cadaveric population. A total of 704 adult cadavers dissected over a 10-year period by students in the Department of Human Anatomy at the Medunsa Campus, University of Limpopo, were studied. The prevalence and dimensions of the azygos lobe were determined with a 95% confidence interval (CI). Results indicate that an azygos lobe was present in the right lung in only four cases (prevalence 0.57%, 95% CI: 0.2%-1.6%). The mean height and width were 6.7 cm (95% CI: 4.4-9.2) and 4.5 cm (95% CI: 3.7-5.2), respectively. Observations on the morphology of the azygos lobe showed that it was rectangular (n = 3) and triangular (n = 1) in shape with smooth margins. In conclusion, the azygos lobe is a rare anomaly in the South African cadaveric population. The present results are comparable with those reported in the literature for other populations. Future radiological studies on the azygos lobe on living subjects in South Africa will be useful for further understanding of this rare but significant anomaly. PMID:21800377

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Cause-of-Death Disparities in the African Diaspora: Exploring Differences Among Shared-Heritage Populations

    PubMed Central

    Jeyaseelan, Selvi; Howitt, Christina; Sobers-Grannum, Natasha; Hennis, Anselm J.; Wilks, Rainford J.; Harris, E. Nigel; MacLeish, Marlene; Sullivan, Louis W.

    2015-01-01

    Objectives. We investigated changes in life expectancy (LE) and cause-specific mortality over time, directly comparing African-descent populations in the United States and the Caribbean. Methods. We compared LE at birth and cause-specific mortality in 6 disease groups between Caribbean countries with a majority (> 90%) African-descent population and US African Americans. Results. The LE improvement among African Americans exceeded that of Afro-Caribbeans so that the LE gap, which favored the Caribbean population by 1.5 years in 1990, had been reversed by 2009. This relative improvement among African Americans was mainly the result of the improving mortality experience of African American men. Between 2000 and 2009, Caribbean mortality rates in 5 of the 6 disease groups increased relative to those of African Americans. By 2009, mortality from cerebrovascular diseases, cancers, and diabetes was higher in Afro-Caribbeans relative to African Americans, with a diabetes mortality rate twice that of African Americans and 4 times that of White Americans. Conclusions. The Caribbean community made important mortality reductions between 2000 and 2009, but this progress fell short of African American health improvements in the same period, especially among men. PMID:25905849

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Cardiometabolic Health in African Immigrants to the United States: A Call to Re-examine Research on African-descent populations.

    PubMed

    Commodore-Mensah, Yvonne; Himmelfarb, Cheryl Dennison; Agyemang, Charles; Sumner, Anne E

    2015-01-01

    In the 20th century, Africans in Sub-Saharan Africa had lower rates of cardiometabolic disease than Africans who migrated. However, in the 21st century, beyond infectious diseases, the triple epidemics of obesity, diabetes and hypertension have taken hold in Africa. Therefore, Africans are acquiring these chronic diseases at different rates and different intensity prior to migration. To ensure optimal care and health outcomes, the United States practice of grouping all African-descent populations into the "Black/African American" category without regard to country of origin masks socioeconomic and cultural differences and needs re-evaluation. Overall, research on African-descent populations would benefit from a shift from a racial to an ethnic perspective. To demonstrate the value of disaggregating data on African-descent populations, the epidemiologic transition, social, economic, and health characteristics of African immigrants are presented. PMID:26675140

  13. Risk Factors for Thrombosis in an African Population

    PubMed Central

    Fall, Awa OT; Proulle, Valérie; Sall, Abibatou; Mbaye, Alassane; Ba, Pape Samba; Diao, Maboury; Seck, Moussa; Gadji, Macoura; Gning, Sara B; Diop, Saliou; Dièye, Tandakha ND; Faye, Blaise Félix; Thiam, Doudou; Dreyfus, Marie

    2014-01-01

    SUMMARY Little is known about the biological, epidemiological, and clinical risk factors for thrombosis and venous thromboembolism (VTE) among Black Africans. We undertook a study of the prevalence of VTE risk factors for thrombosis in a Senegalese population. A three-year cross-sectional and case–control study involving 105 cases and 200 controls was conducted in various hospitals in Dakar (Senegal). Our results demonstrate that oral contraception, immobilization by casts, surgery, and blood group were significantly associated with VTE occurrence. Additionally, 16 cases and 2 controls had protein S (PS) values of less than 48.4% (M-2SD), exhibiting a highly significant difference (P < 1 × 10−4). The number of cases with a low protein C (PC) level was significantly higher than the respective number of controls. Using logistic regression methods, we established a correlation between significantly associated variables and deep venous thrombosis (DVT) occurrence. Age, obesity, sickle cell disease, and PC deficiency were not significantly associated with thrombosis. In contrast, gender, PS deficiency, varicose veins, surgery, non-O blood type, and the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies were significantly and independently associated with DVT. These findings are extremely useful for clinical management of patients suffering from DVT and can help to reduce the high recurrence rate observed in our study. PMID:25512718

  14. 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

  15. North African Jewish and non-Jewish populations form distinctive, orthogonal clusters.

    PubMed

    Campbell, Christopher L; Palamara, Pier F; Dubrovsky, Maya; Botigué, Laura R; Fellous, Marc; Atzmon, Gil; Oddoux, Carole; Pearlman, Alexander; Hao, Li; Henn, Brenna M; Burns, Edward; Bustamante, Carlos D; Comas, David; Friedman, Eitan; Pe'er, Itsik; Ostrer, Harry

    2012-08-21

    North African Jews constitute the second largest Jewish Diaspora group. However, their relatedness to each other; to European, Middle Eastern, and other Jewish Diaspora groups; and to their former North African non-Jewish neighbors has not been well defined. Here, genome-wide analysis of five North African Jewish groups (Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, Djerban, and Libyan) and comparison with other Jewish and non-Jewish groups demonstrated distinctive North African Jewish population clusters with proximity to other Jewish populations and variable degrees of Middle Eastern, European, and North African admixture. Two major subgroups were identified by principal component, neighbor joining tree, and identity-by-descent analysis-Moroccan/Algerian and Djerban/Libyan-that varied in their degree of European admixture. These populations showed a high degree of endogamy and were part of a larger Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish group. By principal component analysis, these North African groups were orthogonal to contemporary populations from North and South Morocco, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Thus, this study is compatible with the history of North African Jews-founding during Classical Antiquity with proselytism of local populations, followed by genetic isolation with the rise of Christianity and then Islam, and admixture following the emigration of Sephardic Jews during the Inquisition. PMID:22869716

  16. North African Jewish and non-Jewish populations form distinctive, orthogonal clusters

    PubMed Central

    Campbell, Christopher L.; Palamara, Pier F.; Dubrovsky, Maya; Botigué, Laura R.; Fellous, Marc; Atzmon, Gil; Oddoux, Carole; Pearlman, Alexander; Hao, Li; Henn, Brenna M.; Burns, Edward; Bustamante, Carlos D.; Comas, David; Friedman, Eitan; Pe'er, Itsik; Ostrer, Harry

    2012-01-01

    North African Jews constitute the second largest Jewish Diaspora group. However, their relatedness to each other; to European, Middle Eastern, and other Jewish Diaspora groups; and to their former North African non-Jewish neighbors has not been well defined. Here, genome-wide analysis of five North African Jewish groups (Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, Djerban, and Libyan) and comparison with other Jewish and non-Jewish groups demonstrated distinctive North African Jewish population clusters with proximity to other Jewish populations and variable degrees of Middle Eastern, European, and North African admixture. Two major subgroups were identified by principal component, neighbor joining tree, and identity-by-descent analysis—Moroccan/Algerian and Djerban/Libyan—that varied in their degree of European admixture. These populations showed a high degree of endogamy and were part of a larger Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish group. By principal component analysis, these North African groups were orthogonal to contemporary populations from North and South Morocco, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Thus, this study is compatible with the history of North African Jews—founding during Classical Antiquity with proselytism of local populations, followed by genetic isolation with the rise of Christianity and then Islam, and admixture following the emigration of Sephardic Jews during the Inquisition. PMID:22869716

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. A Genomic Portrait of Haplotype Diversity and Signatures of Selection in Indigenous Southern African Populations

    PubMed Central

    Chimusa, Emile R.; Meintjies, Ayton; Tchanga, Milaine; Mulder, Nicola; Seoighe, Cathal; Soodyall, Himla; Ramesar, Rajkumar

    2015-01-01

    We report a study of genome-wide, dense SNP (∼900K) and copy number polymorphism data of indigenous southern Africans. We demonstrate the genetic contribution to southern and eastern African populations, which involved admixture between indigenous San, Niger-Congo-speaking and populations of Eurasian ancestry. This finding illustrates the need to account for stratification in genome-wide association studies, and that admixture mapping would likely be a successful approach in these populations. We developed a strategy to detect the signature of selection prior to and following putative admixture events. Several genomic regions show an unusual excess of Niger-Kordofanian, and unusual deficiency of both San and Eurasian ancestry, which were considered the footprints of selection after population admixture. Several SNPs with strong allele frequency differences were observed predominantly between the admixed indigenous southern African populations, and their ancestral Eurasian populations. Interestingly, many candidate genes, which were identified within the genomic regions showing signals for selection, were associated with southern African-specific high-risk, mostly communicable diseases, such as malaria, influenza, tuberculosis, and human immunodeficiency virus/AIDs. This observation suggests a potentially important role that these genes might have played in adapting to the environment. Additionally, our analyses of haplotype structure, linkage disequilibrium, recombination, copy number variation and genome-wide admixture highlight, and support the unique position of San relative to both African and non-African populations. This study contributes to a better understanding of population ancestry and selection in south-eastern African populations; and the data and results obtained will support research into the genetic contributions to infectious as well as non-communicable diseases in the region. PMID:25811879

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-05-01

    Ejaculates from nine Asian and two African elephants were analysed to gain a further understanding of mechanisms underlying variable semen quality after transrectal massage. Semen analysis was performed after collection (0 h; subjective motility parameters only) and after 24 h of chilled storage at 10 °C (24 h; all ejaculate and sperm characteristics). Ejaculates with ≤50% total motility (TM) at 24 h, which represented >90% of collection attempts, contained a sperm population with a high degree of DNA damage (64.2 ± 19.2% fragmented DNA) and an elevated incidence of detached heads (43.3 ± 22.5%). In contrast, good quality ejaculates designated as those with >50% TM at 24 h displayed higher (p < 0.05) values of sperm kinetic parameters, DNA integrity and normal morphology. Fertility potential was high for good quality ejaculates from two males (one Asian and one African bull) based on in vitro characteristics after chilled storage for up to 48 h post-collection. Urine contamination of semen, as assessed quantitatively by creatinine concentration, was confirmed as a significant factor in reduced elephant ejaculate quality. However, the identification of considerable DNA damage and morphological degeneration in the majority of ejaculates after only 24 h of chilled storage indicates that sperm ageing could be a primary contributor to inconsistent semen quality in the elephant. PMID:23536498

  1. Comparison of genome-wide variation between Malawians and African ancestry HapMap populations.

    PubMed

    Joubert, Bonnie R; North, Kari E; Wang, Yunfei; Mwapasa, Victor; Franceschini, Nora; Meshnick, Steven R; Lange, Ethan M

    2010-06-01

    Understanding genetic variation between populations is important because it affects the portability of human genome-wide analytical methods. We compared genetic variation and substructure between Malawians and other African and non-African HapMap populations. Allele frequencies and adjacent linkage disequilibrium (LD) were measured for 617 715 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across subject genomes. Allele frequencies in the Malawian population (N=226) were highly correlated with allele frequencies in HapMap populations of African ancestry (AFA, N=376), namely Yoruban in Ibadan, Nigeria (Spearman's r(2)=0.97), Luhya in Webuye, Kenya (r(2)=0.97), African Americans in the southwest United States (r(2)=0.94) and Maasai in Kinyawa, Kenya (r(2)=0.91). This correlation was much lower between Malawians and other ancestry populations (r(2)<0.52). LD correlations between Malawians and HapMap populations were strongest for the populations of AFA (AFA r(2)>0.82, other ancestries r(2)<0.57). Principal components analyses revealed little population substructure within our Malawi sample but provided clear distinction between Malawians, AFA populations and two European populations. Five SNPs within the lactase gene (LCT) had substantially different allele frequencies between the Malawi population and Maasai in Kenyawa, Kenya (rs3769013, rs730005, rs3769012, rs2304370; P-values <1 x 10(-33)). PMID:20485449

  2. Frequency and origins of hemoglobin S mutation in African-derived Brazilian populations.

    PubMed

    De Mello Auricchio, Maria Teresa Balester; Vicente, João Pedro; Meyer, Diogo; Mingroni-Netto, Regina Célia

    2007-12-01

    Africans arrived in Brazil as slaves in great numbers, mainly after 1550. Before the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888, many communities, called quilombos, were formed by runaway or abandoned African slaves. These communities are presently referred to as remnants of quilombos, and many are still partially genetically isolated. These remnants can be regarded as relicts of the original African genetic contribution to the Brazilian population. In this study we assessed frequencies and probable geographic origins of hemoglobin S (HBB*S) mutations in remnants of quilombo populations in the Ribeira River valley, São Paulo, Brazil, to reconstruct the history of African-derived populations in the region. We screened for HBB*S mutations in 11 quilombo populations (1,058 samples) and found HBB*S carrier frequencies that ranged from 0% to 14%. We analyzed beta-globin gene cluster haplotypes linked to the HBB*S mutation in 86 chromosomes and found the four known African haplotypes: 70 (81.4%) Bantu (Central Africa Republic), 7 (8.1%) Benin, 7 (8.1%) Senegal, and 2 (2.3%) Cameroon haplotypes. One sickle cell homozygote was Bantu/Bantu and two homozygotes had Bantu/Benin combinations. The high frequency of the sickle cell trait and the diversity of HBB*S linked haplotypes indicate that Brazilian remnants of quilombos are interesting repositories of genetic diversity present in the ancestral African populations. PMID:18494376

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Global diversity and genetic contributions of chicken populations from African, Asian and European regions.

    PubMed

    Lyimo, C M; Weigend, A; Msoffe, P L; Eding, H; Simianer, H; Weigend, S

    2014-12-01

    Genetic diversity and population structure of 113 chicken populations from Africa, Asia and Europe were studied using 29 microsatellite markers. Among these, three populations of wild chickens and nine commercial purebreds were used as reference populations for comparison. Compared to commercial lines and chickens sampled from the European region, high mean numbers of alleles and a high degree of heterozygosity were found in Asian and African chickens as well as in Red Junglefowl. Population differentiation (FST ) was higher among European breeds and commercial lines than among African, Asian and Red Junglefowl populations. Neighbour-Net genetic clustering and structure analysis revealed two main groups of Asian and north-west European breeds, whereas African populations overlap with other breeds from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean region. Broilers and brown egg layers were situated between the Asian and north-west European clusters. structure analysis confirmed a lower degree of population stratification in African and Asian chickens than in European breeds. High genetic differentiation and low genetic contributions to global diversity have been observed for single European breeds. Populations with low genetic variability have also shown a low genetic contribution to a core set of diversity in attaining maximum genetic variation present from the total populations. This may indicate that conservation measures in Europe should pay special attention to preserving as many single chicken breeds as possible to maintain maximum genetic diversity given that higher genetic variations come from differentiation between breeds. PMID:25315897

  6. 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

  7. Genetic structure of the gentle Africanized honey bee population (gAHB) in Puerto Rico

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The Africanized honey bee is one of the most spectacular invasions in the Americas. African bees escaped from apiaries in Brazil in 1956, spread over Americas and by 1994 they were reported in Puerto Rico. In contrast to other places, the oceanic island conditions in Puerto Rico may mean a single introduction and different dynamics of the resident European and new-coming Africanized bees. To examine the genetic variation of honey bee feral populations and colonies from different locations in Puerto Rico, we used eight known polymorphic microsatellite loci. Results In Puerto Rico, gAHB population does not show any genetic structure (Fst = 0.0783), and is best described as one honey bee population, product of hybridization of AHB and EHB. The genetic variability in this Africanized population was similar to that reported in studies from Texas. We observed that European private allele frequencies are high in all but one locus. This contrasts with mainland Africanized populations, where European allele frequencies are diminished. Two loci with European private alleles, one on Linkage Group 7, known to carry two known defensiveness Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs), and the other on Linkage Group 1, known to carry three functionally studied genes and 11 candidate genes associated with Varroa resistance mechanisms were respectively, significantly greater or lower in European allele frequency than the other loci with European private alleles. Conclusions Genetic structure of Puerto Rico gAHB differs from mainland AHB populations, probably representing evolutionary processes on the island. PMID:23915100

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Substance Abuse in Rural African-American Populations.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dawkins, Marvin P.; Williams, Mary M.

    More research into illicit substance abuse in rural African-American communities is needed. The existing literature indicates that patterns of use for licit substances (alcohol and cigarettes) are either similar for rural Blacks and Whites or lower for Blacks. However, the negative health and social consequences of smoking and abusive drinking are…

  11. The Third African Population Conference adopts the draft Dakar / Ngor Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development.

    PubMed

    1993-01-01

    The 3rd African Population Conference, held in Dakar, Senegal, December 7-12, 1992, adopted the draft Dakar/Ngor Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development in preparation for the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development. The meeting was attended by 50 member states and many observers from various United Nations Organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The Conference reviewed the lessons learned from the implementation of the Kilimanjaro Program of Action on Population (KAP), which had been adopted in 1984. The draft Declaration focused on the following areas: a) population, sustained economic growth, and sustainable development; family; fertility and family planning; mortality, morbidity and AIDS; urbanization and migration; refugees and displaced persons; women in development; children; data collection and analysis, information dissemination, training and research; information, education and communication; b) the role of: private and nongovernmental organizations; the subregional and regional groupings; the World Bank and relevant organizations of the United Nations System; and the international community; c) resource mobilization; and d) implementation of the Declaration. African countries should integrate population policies so as to reduce population growth from the present rate of 3.0% per annum to 2.5% by the year 2000 and to 2% by the year 2010. Environmental issues and food security were given special attention. The targets set on the contraceptive prevalence rate for Africa were to reach 20% by the year 2000 and 40% by the year 2010. The following targets were to be attained by the year 2000: life expectancy in Africa at least 55 years; an infant mortality rate of less than 50 per 1000 live births; childhood mortality rate of 70 or less. Programs to prevent AIDS were also stressed. The Declaration called on UN organizations, the World Bank, the Organization of African Unity, and the African

  12. Religiosity and risky sexual behaviors among an African American church-based population.

    PubMed

    Hawes, Starlyn M; Berkley-Patton, Jannette Y

    2014-04-01

    African Americans are disproportionately burdened by STDs and HIV in the US. This study examined the relationships between demographics, religiosity, and sexual risk behaviors among 255 adult African American church-based participants. Although participants were highly religious, they reported an average of seven lifetime sex partners and most inconsistently used condoms. Several demographic variables and religiosity significantly predicted lifetime HIV-related risk factors. Taken together, findings indicated that this population is at risk for HIV. Future research should continue to identify correlates of risky sexual behavior among African American parishioners to facilitate the development of HIV risk reduction interventions in their church settings. PMID:23054481

  13. Religiosity and Risky Sexual Behaviors among an African American Church-based Population

    PubMed Central

    Hawes, Starlyn M.; Berkley-Patton, Jannette Y.

    2014-01-01

    African Americans are disproportionately burdened by STDs and HIV in the US. This study examined the relationships between demographics, religiosity, and sexual risk behaviors among 255 adult African American church-based participants. Although participants were highly religious, they reported an average of seven lifetime sex partners and most inconsistently used condoms. Several demographic variables and religiosity significantly predicted lifetime HIV-related risk factors. Taken together, findings indicated that this population is at risk for HIV. Future research should continue to identify correlates of risky sexual behavior among African American parishioners to facilitate the development of HIV risk reduction interventions in their church settings. PMID:23054481

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Breakfast habits of adolescents in for South African populations.

    PubMed

    Walker, A R; Walker, B F; Jones, J; Ncongwane, J

    1982-10-01

    Breakfast habits by using questionnaires, were established in a total of 4717 South African pupils of 16 to 18 yr. In the groups of rural and urban Black, Indian, European-African-Malay, and white pupils studied, respective proportions who had no solid breakfast (both sexes combined) were approximately 21, 19, 13, 13, and 14%. Proportions who had only porridge or bread (or toast) plus drink were 77, 73, 61, 71, and 56%. Such breakfast provided ranges of means of 223 to 345 kcal, 9 to 14 g protein, 7 to 18 g fat, 51 to 185 mg calcium, and 3.2 to 5.1 mg iron. Proportions who had a cooked breakfast (including egg, meat, fish), eaten with or without a cereal food, were 1, 4, 17, 8, and 29%. Such meals contributed means of 495 to 704 kcal, 11 to 26 g protein, 24 to 39 g fat, 110 to 225 mg calcium, and 3.9 to 5.5 mg iron. In the South African groups studied, the issue of breakfast or no breakfast had no clear-cut bearing on weight, height, class position, or frequency of absence from school. The degree by which, in a given community, nutrition in general and breakfast in particular, regulates health and/or academic performance, needs proper research in prospective studies. PMID:7124666

  17. Polymorphism and Population Density in the African Land Snail, Limicolaria martensiana.

    PubMed

    Owen, D F

    1963-05-10

    In natural populations of the African land snail, Limicolaria martensiana, the degree of polymorphism in color and pattern may vary with the density of the population. This could occur because predators eat the snails selectively and use past experience as a guide in finding further prey. Hence contrasting color forms may be at an advantage in dense populations where predators would have ample opportunity to learn to recognize prey. PMID:17737105

  18. Working toward a synthesis of archaeological, linguistic, and genetic data for inferring African population history

    PubMed Central

    Scheinfeldt, Laura B.; Soi, Sameer; Tishkoff, Sarah A.

    2010-01-01

    Although Africa is the origin of modern humans, the pattern and distribution of genetic variation and correlations with cultural and linguistic diversity in Africa have been understudied. Recent advances in genomic technology, however, have led to genomewide studies of African samples. In this article, we discuss genetic variation in African populations contextualized with what is known about archaeological and linguistic variation. What emerges from this review is the importance of using independent lines of evidence in the interpretation of genetic and genomic data in the reconstruction of past population histories. PMID:20445100

  19. 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

  20. Phylogeny of Theileria buffeli genotypes identified in the South African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) population.

    PubMed

    Chaisi, Mamohale E; Collins, Nicola E; Oosthuizen, Marinda C

    2014-08-29

    Theileria buffeli/orientalis is a group of benign and mildly pathogenic species of cattle and buffalo in various parts of the world. In a previous study, we identified T. buffeli in blood samples originating from the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Park (HIP) and the Addo Elephant Game Park (AEGP) in South Africa. The aim of this study was to characterise the 18S rRNA gene and complete internal transcribed spacer (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) region of T. buffeli samples, and to establish the phylogenetic position of this species based on these loci. The 18S rRNA gene and the complete ITS region were amplified from DNA extracted from blood samples originating from buffalo in HIP and AEGP. The PCR products were cloned and the resulting recombinants sequenced. We identified novel T. buffeli-like 18S rRNA and ITS genotypes from buffalo in the AEGP, and novel Theileria sinensis-like 18S rRNA genotypes from buffalo in the HIP. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that the T. buffeli-like sequences were similar to T. buffeli sequences from cattle and buffalo in China and India, and the T. sinensis-like sequences were similar to T. sinensis 18S rRNA sequences of cattle and yak in China. There was extensive sequence variation between the novel T. buffeli genotypes of the African buffalo and previously described T. buffeli and T. sinensis genotypes. The presence of organisms with T. buffeli-like and T. sinensis-like genotypes in the African buffalo could be of significant importance, particularly to the cattle industry in South Africa as these animals might act as sources of infections to naïve cattle. This is the first report on the characterisation of the full-length 18S rRNA gene and ITS region of T. buffeli and T. sinensis genotypes in South Africa. Our study provides invaluable information towards the classification of this complex group of benign and mildly pathogenic species. PMID:25002308

  1. Critical approaches to the population question. An African perspective.

    PubMed

    Nnoli, O

    1980-02-01

    The non-Marxist, or neo-Malthusian, approach to the study of population problems is criticized, with particular reference to the situation in Africa. An alternative Marxist approach is proposed in which the solution to population problems is sought either in revolution or radical improvements in social welfare involving the maximum egalitarian distribution of the benefits of social and economic development. PMID:12265977

  2. 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

  3. Gene-centric meta-analysis of lipid traits in African, East Asian and Hispanic populations

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Meta-analyses of European populations has successfully identified genetic variants in over 100 loci associated with lipid levels, but our knowledge in other ethnicities remains limited. To address this, we performed dense genotyping of circa 2,000 candidate genes in 7,657 African Americans, 1,315 Hi...

  4. AFRICAN AMERICAN POPULATION DENSITY AND EPA REGULATED SITES IN THE SEATTLE/TACOMA AREA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Shaded density polygons of 1990 Census Block Data for the African American population group plotted with locations of EPA regulated sites (CERCLA, RCRA, NPDES (majors), and TRI) for the Seattle/Tacoma geographic area. Source scale of map is based on the 1990 Census tigerline data...

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Unraveling the complex maternal history of Southern African Khoisan populations.

    PubMed

    Barbieri, Chiara; Güldemann, Tom; Naumann, Christfried; Gerlach, Linda; Berthold, Falko; Nakagawa, Hirosi; Mpoloka, Sununguko W; Stoneking, Mark; Pakendorf, Brigitte

    2014-03-01

    The Khoisan populations of southern Africa are known to harbor some of the deepest-rooting lineages of human mtDNA; however, their relationships are as yet poorly understood. Here, we report the results of analyses of complete mtDNA genome sequences from nearly 700 individuals representing 26 populations of southern Africa who speak diverse Khoisan and Bantu languages. Our data reveal a multilayered history of the indigenous populations of southern Africa, who are likely to be the result of admixture of different genetic substrates, such as resident forager populations and pre-Bantu pastoralists from East Africa. We find high levels of genetic differentiation of the Khoisan populations, which can be explained by the effect of drift together with a partial uxorilocal/multilocal residence pattern. Furthermore, there is evidence of extensive contact, not only between geographically proximate groups, but also across wider areas. The results of this contact, which may have played a role in the diffusion of common cultural and linguistic features, are especially evident in the Khoisan populations of the central Kalahari. PMID:24323467

  8. 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

  9. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and established risk factors among populations of sub-Saharan African descent in Europe: a literature review

    PubMed Central

    Agyemang, Charles; Addo, Juliet; Bhopal, Raj; de Graft Aikins, Ama; Stronks, Karien

    2009-01-01

    Background Most European countries are ethnically and culturally diverse. Globally, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death. The major risk factors for CVD have been well established. This picture holds true for all regions of the world and in different ethnic groups. However, the prevalence of CVD and related risk factors vary among ethnic groups. Methods This article provides a review of current understanding of the epidemiology of vascular disease, principally coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and related risk factors among populations of Sub-Sahara African descent (henceforth, African descent) in comparison with the European populations in Europe. Results Compared with European populations, populations of African descent have an increased risk of stroke, whereas CHD is less common. They also have higher rates of hypertension and diabetes than European populations. Obesity is highly prevalent, but smoking rate is lower among African descent women. Older people of African descent have more favourable lipid profile and dietary habits than their European counterparts. Alcohol consumption is less common among populations of African descent. The rate of physical activity differs between European countries. Dutch African-Suriname men and women are less physically active than the White-Dutch whereas British African women are more physically active than women in the general population. Literature on psychosocial stress shows inconsistent results. Conclusion Hypertension and diabetes are highly prevalent among African populations, which may explain their high rate of stroke in Europe. The relatively low rate of CHD may be explained by the low rates of other risk factors including a more favourable lipid profile and the low prevalence of smoking. The risk factors are changing, and on the whole, getting worse especially among African women. Cohort studies and clinical trials are therefore needed among these groups to determine the relative

  10. An evaluation of nasal bone and aperture shape among three South African populations.

    PubMed

    McDowell, Jennifer L; Kenyhercz, Michael W; L'Abbé, Ericka N

    2015-07-01

    Reliable and valid population specific standards are necessary to accurately develop a biological profile, which includes an estimation of peer-reported social identification (Hefner, 2009). During the last 300 years, colonialism, slavery and apartheid created geographic, physical and social divisions of population groups in South Africa. The purpose of this study was to evaluate variation in nasal bone and aperture shape in a modern population of black, white, and coloured South Africans using standard craniometric variables and geometric morphometrics, namely general Procrustes and elliptical Fourier analyses. Fourteen standard landmarks were digitally recorded or computationally derived from 310 crania using a 3D coordinate digitizer for discriminant function, principal components and generalized Procrustes analyses. For elliptical Fourier analysis, outlines of the nasal aperture were generated from standardized photographs. All classification accuracies were better than chance; the lowest accuracies were for coloured and the highest accuracies were for white South Africans. Most difficulties arose in distinguishing coloured and black South African groups from each other. Generally, misclassifications were noted between the sexes within each group rather than among groups, which suggests that sex has less influence on nasal bone and aperture shape than ancestry. Quantifiable variation in shape of the nasal aperture region between white and non-white South African groups was observed. PMID:25963274

  11. Cardiovascular Disease Risk amongst African Black Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Need for Population Specific Stratification

    PubMed Central

    Solomon, Ahmed; Tsang, Linda; Woodiwiss, Angela J.; Millen, Aletta M. E.; Norton, Gavin R.; Dessein, Patrick H.

    2014-01-01

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) enhances the risk of cardiovascular disease to a similar extent as diabetes. Whereas atherogenesis remains poorly elucidated in RA, traditional and nontraditional risk factors associate similarly and additively with CVD in RA. Current recommendations on CVD risk stratification reportedly have important limitations. Further, reported data on CVD and its risk factors derive mostly from data obtained in the developed world. An earlier epidemiological health transition is intrinsic to persons living in rural areas and those undergoing urbanization. It is therefore conceivable that optimal CVD risk stratification differs amongst patients with RA from developing populations compared to those from developed populations. Herein, we briefly describe current CVD and its risk factor profiles in the African black population at large. Against this background, we review reported data on CVD risk and its potential stratification amongst African black compared to white patients with RA. Routinely assessed traditional and nontraditional CVD risk factors were consistently and independently related to atherosclerosis in African white but not black patients with RA. Circulating concentrations of novel CVD risk biomarkers including interleukin-6 and interleukin-5 adipokines were mostly similarly associated with both endothelial activation and atherosclerosis amongst African black and white RA patients. PMID:25157371

  12. EWS/FLI-responsive GGAA-microsatellites exhibit polymorphic differences between European and African populations

    PubMed Central

    Beck, Robert; Monument, Michael J.; Watkins, W. Scott; Smith, Richard; Boucher, Kenneth M.; Schiffman, Joshua D.; Jorde, Lynn B.; Randall, R. Lor; Lessnick, Stephen L.

    2012-01-01

    The genetics of Ewing sarcoma development remain obscure. The incidence of Ewing sarcoma is ten-fold less in Africans as compared to Europeans, irrespective of geographic location, suggesting population-specific genetic influences. Since GGAA-containing microsatellites within key target genes are necessary for Ewing sarcoma-specific EWS/FLI DNA binding and gene activation, and gene expression is positively correlated with the number of repeat motifs in the promoter/enhancer region, we sought to determine if significant polymorphisms exist between African and European populations which might contribute to observed differences in Ewing sarcoma incidence and outcomes. GGAA-microsatellites upstream of two critical EWS/FLI-target genes, NR0B1 and CAV1, were sequenced from subjects of European and African descent. While the characteristics of the CAV1 promoter microsatellites were similar across both populations, the NR0B1 microsatellite in African subjects was significantly larger, harboring more repeat motifs, a greater number of repeat segments, and longer consecutive repeats, than in European subjects. These results are biologically intriguing as NR0B1 was the most highly enriched EWS/FLI bound gene in prior studies, and is absolutely necessary for oncogenic transformation in Ewing sarcoma. These data suggest that GGAA-microsatellite polymorphisms in the NR0B1 gene might influence disease susceptibility and prognosis in Ewing sarcoma in unanticipated ways. PMID:22749036

  13. Markers for Mapping by Admixture Linkage Disequilibrium in African American and Hispanic Populations

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Michael W.; Lautenberger, James A.; Shin, Hyoung Doo; Chretien, Jean-Paul; Shrestha, Sadeep; Gilbert, Dennis A.; O’Brien, Stephen J.

    2001-01-01

    Population linkage disequilibrium occurs as a consequence of mutation, selection, genetic drift, and population substructure produced by admixture of genetically distinct ethnic populations. African American and Hispanic ethnic groups have a history of significant gene flow among parent groups, which can be of value in affecting genome scans for disease-gene discovery in the case-control and transmission/disequilibrium test designs. Disease-gene discovery using mapping by admixture linkage disequilibrium (MALD) requires a map of polymorphic markers that differentiate between the founding populations, along with differences in disease-gene allele frequencies. We describe markers appropriate for MALD mapping by assessing allele frequencies of 744 short tandem repeats (STRs) in African Americans, Hispanics, European Americans, and Asians, by choosing STR markers that have large differences in composite δ, log-likelihood ratios, and/or I*(2) for MALD. Additional markers can be added to this MALD map by utilization of the rapidly growing single-nucleotide–polymorphism databases and the literature, to achieve a 3–10-cM scanning scale. The map will be useful for studies of diseases, including prostate and breast cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and end-stage renal disease, that have large differences in incidence between the founding populations of either Hispanics or African Americans. PMID:11590548

  14. Elevated Hypertension Risk for African-Origin Populations in Biracial Societies: Modeling the Epidemiologic Transition Study

    PubMed Central

    COOPER, Richard S.; FORRESTER, Terrence E.; PLANGE-RHULE, Jacob; BOVET, Pascal; LAMBERT, Estelle V.; DUGAS, Lara R.; CARGILL, Kathryn E; DURAZO-ARVIZU, Ramon A.; SHOHAM, David A.; TONG, Liping; CAO, Guichan; LUKE, Amy

    2015-01-01

    Objectives Blood pressures in persons of African descent exceed those of other racial/ethnic groups in the US. Whether this trait is attributable to genetic factors in African-origin populations, or a result of inadequately measured environmental exposures, such as racial discrimination, is not known. To study this question we conducted a multi-site comparative study of communities in the African diaspora, drawn from metropolitan Chicago, Kingston, Jamaica, rural Ghana, Cape Town, South Africa, and the Seychelles. Methods At each site 500 participants between the ages of 25 and 49, with approximately equal sex balance, were enrolled for a longitudinal study of energy expenditure and weight gain. In this report we describe the patterns of blood pressure and hypertension observed at baseline among the sites. Results Mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures were very similar in the US and South Africa in both men and women, although among women the prevalence of hypertension was higher in the US (24 vs. 17%, respectively). After adjustment for multiple covariates, relative to participants in the U.S., systolic blood pressure was significantly higher among South Africans by 9.7 mmHg (p<0.05) and significantly lower for each of the other sites: viz, Jamaica, −7.9 mmHg (p=0.06), Ghana, −12.8 mmHg (p<0.01), Seychelles, −11.1 mmHg (p=0.01). Conclusion These data are consistent with prior findings of a blood pressure gradient in societies of the African diaspora and confirm that African-origin populations with lower social status in multi-racial societies, such as the US and South Africa, experience more hypertension than anticipated based on anthropometric and measurable socioeconomic risk factors. PMID:25426566

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Role of MYH9 and APOL1 in African and non-African populations with Lupus Nephritis

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Chee Paul; Adrianto, Indra; Lessard, Christopher J.; Kelly, Jennifer A.; Kaufman, Kenneth M.; Guthridge, Joel M.; Freedman, Barry I.; Anaya, Juan-Manuel; Alarcón-Riquelme, Marta E.; Pons-Estel, Bernardo A.; Martin, Javier; Glenn, Stuart; Adler, Adam; Bae, Sang-Cheol; Park, So-Yeon; Bang, So-Young; Song, Yeong-Wook; Boackle, Susan A.; Brown, Elizabeth E.; Edberg, Jeffrey C.; Alarcón, Graciela S.; Petri, Michelle A.; Criswell, Lindsey A.; Ramsey-Goldman, Rosalind; Reveille, John D.; Vila, Luis M.; Gilkeson, Gary S.; Kamen, Diane L.; Ziegler, Julie; Jacob, Chaim O.; Rasmussen, Astrid; James, Judith A.; Kimberly, Robert P.; Merrill, Joan T.; Niewold, Timothy B.; Scofield, R. Hal; Stevens, Anne M.; Tsao, Betty P.; Vyse, Timothy J.; Langefeld, Carl D.; Moser, Kathy L.; Harley, John B.; Gaffney, Patrick M.; Montgomery, Courtney G.

    2012-01-01

    Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody production and organ damage. Lupus nephritis (LN) is one of the most severe manifestations of SLE. Multiple studies reported associations between renal diseases and variants in the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) and the neighboring apolipoprotein L 1 (APOL1) genes. We evaluated 167 variants spanning MYH9 for association with LN in a multiethnic sample. The two previously identified risk variants in APOL1 were also tested for association with LN in European-Americans (EAs) (N = 579) and African-Americans (AAs) (N = 407). Multiple peaks of association exceeding a Bonferroni corrected p-value of p < 2.03 × 10−3 were observed between LN and MYH9 in EAs (N=4620), with the most pronounced association at rs2157257 (p = 4.7 × 10−4; odds ratio [OR]=1.205). A modest effect with MYH9 was also detected in Gullah (rs8136069, p = 0.0019, OR = 2.304). No association between LN and MYH9 was found in AAs, Asians, Amerindians or Hispanics. This study provides the first investigation of MYH9 in LN in non-Africans and of APOL1 in LN in any population and presents novel insight into the potential role of MYH9 in LN in EAs. PMID:22189356

  18. Role of MYH9 and APOL1 in African and non-African populations with lupus nephritis.

    PubMed

    Lin, C P; Adrianto, I; Lessard, C J; Kelly, J A; Kaufman, K M; Guthridge, J M; Freedman, B I; Anaya, J-M; Alarcón-Riquelme, M E; Pons-Estel, B A; Martin, J; Glenn, S; Adler, A; Bae, S-C; Park, S-Y; Bang, S-Y; Song, Y-W; Boackle, S A; Brown, E E; Edberg, J C; Alarcón, G S; Petri, M A; Criswell, L A; Ramsey-Goldman, R; Reveille, J D; Vila, L M; Gilkeson, G S; Kamen, D L; Ziegler, J; Jacob, C O; Rasmussen, A; James, J A; Kimberly, R P; Merrill, J T; Niewold, T B; Scofield, R H; Stevens, A M; Tsao, B P; Vyse, T J; Langefeld, C D; Moser, K L; Harley, J B; Gaffney, P M; Montgomery, C G

    2012-04-01

    Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody production and organ damage. Lupus nephritis (LN) is one of the most severe manifestations of SLE. Multiple studies reported associations between renal diseases and variants in the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) and the neighboring apolipoprotein L 1 (APOL1) genes. We evaluated 167 variants spanning MYH9 for association with LN in a multiethnic sample. The two previously identified risk variants in APOL1 were also tested for association with LN in European-Americans (EAs) (N = 579) and African-Americans (AAs) (N = 407). Multiple peaks of association exceeding a Bonferroni corrected P-value of P < 2.03 × 10(-3) were observed between LN and MYH9 in EAs (N = 4620), with the most pronounced association at rs2157257 (P = 4.7 × 10(-4), odds ratio (OR) = 1.205). A modest effect with MYH9 was also detected in Gullah (rs8136069, P = 0.0019, OR = 2.304). No association between LN and MYH9 was found in AAs, Asians, Amerindians or Hispanics. This study provides the first investigation of MYH9 in LN in non-Africans and of APOL1 in LN in any population, and presents novel insight into the potential role of MYH9 in LN in EAs. PMID:22189356

  19. 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.

  20. Identifying Darwinian Selection Acting on Different Human APOL1 Variants among Diverse African Populations

    PubMed Central

    Ko, Wen-Ya; Rajan, Prianka; Gomez, Felicia; Scheinfeldt, Laura; An, Ping; Winkler, Cheryl A.; Froment, Alain; Nyambo, Thomas B.; Omar, Sabah A.; Wambebe, Charles; Ranciaro, Alessia; Hirbo, Jibril B.; Tishkoff, Sarah A.

    2013-01-01

    Disease susceptibility can arise as a consequence of adaptation to infectious disease. Recent findings have suggested that higher rates of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in individuals with recent African ancestry might be attributed to two risk alleles (G1 and G2) at the serum-resistance-associated (SRA)-interacting-domain-encoding region of APOL1. These two alleles appear to have arisen adaptively, possibly as a result of their protective effects against human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), or African sleeping sickness. In order to explore the distribution of potential functional variation at APOL1, we studied nucleotide variation in 187 individuals across ten geographically and genetically diverse African ethnic groups with exposure to two Trypanosoma brucei subspecies that cause HAT. We observed unusually high levels of nonsynonymous polymorphism in the regions encoding the functional domains that are required for lysing parasites. Whereas allele frequencies of G2 were similar across all populations (3%–8%), the G1 allele was only common in the Yoruba (39%). Additionally, we identified a haplotype (termed G3) that contains a nonsynonymous change at the membrane-addressing-domain-encoding region of APOL1 and is present in all populations except for the Yoruba. Analyses of long-range patterns of linkage disequilibrium indicate evidence of recent selection acting on the G3 haplotype in Fulani from Cameroon. Our results indicate that the G1 and G2 variants in APOL1 are geographically restricted and that there might be other functional variants that could play a role in HAT resistance and CKD risk in African populations. PMID:23768513

  1. Genetic structure of pastoral and farmer populations in the African Sahel.

    PubMed

    Černý, Viktor; Pereira, Luísa; Musilová, Eliška; Kujanová, Martina; Vašíková, Alžběta; Blasi, Paola; Garofalo, Luisa; Soares, Pedro; Diallo, Issa; Brdička, Radim; Novelletto, Andrea

    2011-09-01

    Traditional pastoralists survive in few places in the world. They can still be encountered in the African Sahel, where annual alternations of dry and wet seasons force them to continual mobility. Little is known about the genetic structure of these populations. We present here the population distribution of 312 hypervariable segment I mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and 364 Y-short tandem repeat haplotypes in both farmer and pastoralist groups from the Lake Chad Basin and the West African Sahel. We show that the majority of pastoral populations (represented in the African Sahel by the Fulani nomads) fail to show significant departure from neutrality for mtDNA as evidenced by Fu's Fs statistics and exhibit lower levels of intrapopulation diversity measures for mtDNA when contrasted with farmers. These differences were not observed for the Y chromosome. Furthermore, analyses of molecular variance and population distributions of the mtDNA haplotypes show more heterogeneity in the sedentary groups than in the pastoralists. On the other hand, pastoralists retain a signature of a wide phylogenetic distance contributing to their male gene pool, whereas in at least some of the farmer populations, a founder effect and/or drift might have led to the presence of a single major lineage. Interestingly, these observations are in contrast with those recorded in Central Asia, where similar comparisons of farmer and pastoral groups have recently been carried out. We can conclude that in Africa, there have been no substantial mating exchanges between the Fulani pastoralists coming to the Lake Chad Basin from the West African Sahel and their farmer neighbors. At the same time, we suggest that the emergence of pastoralism might be an earlier and/or a demographically more important event than the introduction of sedentary agriculture, at least in this part of Africa. PMID:21436121

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. A population-based analysis of the health experience of African Nova Scotians

    PubMed Central

    Kisely, Steve; Terashima, Mikiko; Langille, Don

    2008-01-01

    Background People of African descent living in Britain and the United States have higher rates of morbidity from chronic disease than among the general population. We investigated whether the same applied to people of African descent living in a Canadian province. Methods We used administrative data to calculate 10-year cumulative incidence rate ratios for the period 1996–2005 for treated circulatory disease, diabetes mellitus and psychiatric disorders in Preston (population 2425), a community of predominantly African Nova Scotians. We used data for the province of Nova Scotia as a whole as the population reference standard. We also calculated 10-year incidence rate ratios for visits to family physicians and specialists and for admissions to hospital. We compared these findings with those in 7 predominantly white communities in Nova Scotia with otherwise similar socio-economic characteristics. Results In the province as a whole, we identified 787 787 incident cases for the 3 disease groups over the 10-year period. Incidence rate ratios for the community of interest relative to the provincial population were significantly elevated for the 3 diseases: circulatory disease (1.19, 95% CI 1.08–1.29), diabetes (1.43, 95% CI 1.21–1.64) and psychiatric disorders (1.13, 95% CI 1.06–1.20). Incidence rate ratios in the community of interest were also higher than those in the comparison communities. Visits to family physicians and specialists for circulatory disease and diabetes were similarly elevated, but the pattern was less clear for visits for psychiatric disorders and hospital admissions. Interpretation African Nova Scotians had higher morbidity levels associated with treated disease, which could not be explained by socio-economic characteristics, recent immigration or language. Apart from psychiatric disorders, use of specialist services was consistent with morbidity. Further study is needed to investigate the relative contribution of genetic, biological

  7. Genome-wide Association Analysis of Blood-Pressure Traits in African-Ancestry Individuals Reveals Common Associated Genes in African and Non-African Populations

    PubMed Central

    Franceschini, Nora; Fox, Ervin; Zhang, Zhaogong; Edwards, Todd L.; Nalls, Michael A.; Sung, Yun Ju; Tayo, Bamidele O.; Sun, Yan V.; Gottesman, Omri; Adeyemo, Adebawole; Johnson, Andrew D.; Young, J. Hunter; Rice, Ken; Duan, Qing; Chen, Fang; Li, Yun; Tang, Hua; Fornage, Myriam; Keene, Keith L.; Andrews, Jeanette S.; Smith, Jennifer A.; Faul, Jessica D.; Guangfa, Zhang; Guo, Wei; Liu, Yu; Murray, Sarah S.; Musani, Solomon K.; Srinivasan, Sathanur; Velez Edwards, Digna R.; Wang, Heming; Becker, Lewis C.; Bovet, Pascal; Bochud, Murielle; Broeckel, Ulrich; Burnier, Michel; Carty, Cara; Chasman, Daniel I.; Ehret, Georg; Chen, Wei-Min; Chen, Guanjie; Chen, Wei; Ding, Jingzhong; Dreisbach, Albert W.; Evans, Michele K.; Guo, Xiuqing; Garcia, Melissa E.; Jensen, Rich; Keller, Margaux F.; Lettre, Guillaume; Lotay, Vaneet; Martin, Lisa W.; Moore, Jason H.; Morrison, Alanna C.; Mosley, Thomas H.; Ogunniyi, Adesola; Palmas, Walter; Papanicolaou, George; Penman, Alan; Polak, Joseph F.; Ridker, Paul M.; Salako, Babatunde; Singleton, Andrew B.; Shriner, Daniel; Taylor, Kent D.; Vasan, Ramachandran; Wiggins, Kerri; Williams, Scott M.; Yanek, Lisa R.; Zhao, Wei; Zonderman, Alan B.; Becker, Diane M.; Berenson, Gerald; Boerwinkle, Eric; Bottinger, Erwin; Cushman, Mary; Eaton, Charles; Nyberg, Fredrik; Heiss, Gerardo; Hirschhron, Joel N.; Howard, Virginia J.; Karczewsk, Konrad J.; Lanktree, Matthew B.; Liu, Kiang; Liu, Yongmei; Loos, Ruth; Margolis, Karen; Snyder, Michael; Go, Min Jin; Kim, Young Jin; Lee, Jong-Young; Jeon, Jae-Pil; Kim, Sung Soo; Han, Bok-Ghee; Cho, Yoon Shin; Sim, Xueling; Tay, Wan Ting; Ong, Rick Twee Hee; Seielstad, Mark; Liu, Jian Jun; Aung, Tin; Wong, Tien Yin; Teo, Yik Ying; Tai, E. Shyong; Chen, Chien-Hsiun; Chang, Li-ching; Chen, Yuan-Tsong; Wu, Jer-Yuarn; Kelly, Tanika N.; Gu, Dongfeng; Hixson, James E.; Sung, Yun Ju; He, Jiang; Tabara, Yasuharu; Kokubo, Yoshihiro; Miki, Tetsuro; Iwai, Naoharu; Kato, Norihiro; Takeuchi, Fumihiko; Katsuya, Tomohiro; Nabika, Toru; Sugiyama, Takao; Zhang, Yi; Huang, Wei; Zhang, Xuegong; Zhou, Xueya; Jin, Li; Zhu, Dingliang; Psaty, Bruce M.; Schork, Nicholas J.; Weir, David R.; Rotimi, Charles N.; Sale, Michele M.; Harris, Tamara; Kardia, Sharon L.R.; Hunt, Steven C.; Arnett, Donna; Redline, Susan; Cooper, Richard S.; Risch, Neil J.; Rao, D.C.; Rotter, Jerome I.; Chakravarti, Aravinda; Reiner, Alex P.; Levy, Daniel; Keating, Brendan J.; Zhu, Xiaofeng

    2013-01-01

    High blood pressure (BP) is more prevalent and contributes to more severe manifestations of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in African Americans than in any other United States ethnic group. Several small African-ancestry (AA) BP genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have been published, but their findings have failed to replicate to date. We report on a large AA BP GWAS meta-analysis that includes 29,378 individuals from 19 discovery cohorts and subsequent replication in additional samples of AA (n = 10,386), European ancestry (EA) (n = 69,395), and East Asian ancestry (n = 19,601). Five loci (EVX1-HOXA, ULK4, RSPO3, PLEKHG1, and SOX6) reached genome-wide significance (p < 1.0 × 10−8) for either systolic or diastolic BP in a transethnic meta-analysis after correction for multiple testing. Three of these BP loci (EVX1-HOXA, RSPO3, and PLEKHG1) lack previous associations with BP. We also identified one independent signal in a known BP locus (SOX6) and provide evidence for fine mapping in four additional validated BP loci. We also demonstrate that validated EA BP GWAS loci, considered jointly, show significant effects in AA samples. Consequently, these findings suggest that BP loci might have universal effects across studied populations, demonstrating that multiethnic samples are an essential component in identifying, fine mapping, and understanding their trait variability. PMID:23972371

  8. Development and Validation of the Body Size Scale for Assessing Body Weight Perception in African Populations

    PubMed Central

    Cohen, Emmanuel; Bernard, Jonathan Y.; Ponty, Amandine; Ndao, Amadou; Amougou, Norbert; Saïd-Mohamed, Rihlat; Pasquet, Patrick

    2015-01-01

    Background The social valorisation of overweight in African populations could promote high-risk eating behaviours and therefore become a risk factor of obesity. However, existing scales to assess body image are usually not accurate enough to allow comparative studies of body weight perception in different African populations. This study aimed to develop and validate the Body Size Scale (BSS) to estimate African body weight perception. Methods Anthropometric measures of 80 Cameroonians and 81 Senegalese were used to evaluate three criteria of adiposity: body mass index (BMI), overall percentage of fat, and endomorphy (fat component of the somatotype). To develop the BSS, the participants were photographed in full face and profile positions. Models were selected for their representativeness of the wide variability in adiposity with a progressive increase along the scale. Then, for the validation protocol, participants self-administered the BSS to assess self-perceived current body size (CBS), desired body size (DBS) and provide a “body self-satisfaction index.” This protocol included construct validity, test-retest reliability and convergent validity and was carried out with three independent samples of respectively 201, 103 and 1115 Cameroonians. Results The BSS comprises two sex-specific scales of photos of 9 models each, and ordered by increasing adiposity. Most participants were able to correctly order the BSS by increasing adiposity, using three different words to define body size. Test-retest reliability was consistent in estimating CBS, DBS and the “body self-satisfaction index.” The CBS was highly correlated to the objective BMI, and two different indexes assessed with the BSS were consistent with declarations obtained in interviews. Conclusion The BSS is the first scale with photos of real African models taken in both full face and profile and representing a wide and representative variability in adiposity. The validation protocol proved its

  9. Fruit, vegetable and fat intake in a population-based sample of African Americans.

    PubMed Central

    Gary, Tiffany L.; Baptiste-Roberts, Kesha; Gregg, Edward W.; Williams, Desmond E.; Beckles, Gloria L. A.; Miller, Edgar J.; Engelgau, Michael M.

    2004-01-01

    BACKGROUND: African Americans experience high rates of obesity and other chronic diseases, which may be related, in part, to diet. However, little is known about dietary patterns in this population, particularly from population-based data sources. METHODS: A cross-sectional analysis was conducted of 2,172 African-American adults in Project DIRECT (Diabetes Interventions Reaching and Educating Communities Together). A baseline assessment was conducted using a multistaged population-based probability sample from Raleigh and Greensboro, NC. Daily fruit, vegetable and fat intake was evaluated using a modified version of the Block questionnaire, and then stratified results were analyzed by sociodemographic, health and behavior characteristics. STATA Survey commands were used to account for the complex survey design. RESULTS: Overall, a very small number of participants met national recommendations for > or = 2 servings of fruit (8%) and > or = 3 servings of vegetables (16%) per day. Many participants reported eating high-fat foods; the average daily fat intake was 86 g, and the average daily intake from saturated fat was 24 g. People with more education and higher incomes had a higher average daily fruit intake (all p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The data suggest that participants' fruit, vegetable and fat intake deviated greatly from national guidelines; older people, women, participants with higher socioeconomic status and those who were physically active consumed healthier foods. These data may be useful in developing dietary and weight loss interventions for African Americans. PMID:15622690

  10. Population pharmacokinetics of artesunate and amodiaquine in African children

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Pharmacokinetic (PK) data on amodiaquine (AQ) and artesunate (AS) are limited in children, an important risk group for malaria. The aim of this study was to evaluate the PK properties of a newly developed and registered fixed dose combination (FDC) of artesunate and amodiaquine. Methods A prospective population pharmacokinetic study of AS and AQ was conducted in children aged six months to five years. Participants were randomized to receive the new artesunate and amodiaquine FDC or the same drugs given in separate tablets. Children were divided into two groups of 70 (35 in each treatment arm) to evaluate the pharmacokinetic properties of AS and AQ, respectively. Population pharmacokinetic models for dihydroartemisinin (DHA) and desethylamodiaquine (DeAq), the principal pharmacologically active metabolites of AS and AQ, respectively, and total artemisinin anti-malarial activity, defined as the sum of the molar equivalent plasma concentrations of DHA and artesunate, were constructed using the non-linear mixed effects approach. Relative bioavailability between products was compared by estimating the ratios (and 95% CI) between the areas under the plasma concentration-time curves (AUC). Results The two regimens had similar PK properties in young children with acute malaria. The ratio of loose formulation to fixed co-formulation AUCs, was estimated as 1.043 (95% CI: 0.956 to 1.138) for DeAq. For DHA and total anti-malarial activity AUCs were estimated to be the same. Artesunate was rapidly absorbed, hydrolysed to DHA, and eliminated. Plasma concentrations were significantly higher following the first dose, when patients were acutely ill, than after subsequent doses when patients were usually afebrile and clinically improved. Amodiaquine was converted rapidly to DeAq, which was then eliminated with an estimated median (range) elimination half-life of 9 (7 to 12) days. Efficacy was similar in the two treatments groups, with cure rates of 0.946 (95% CI: 0.840

  11. 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

  12. A prospective evaluation of the transthyretin Ile122 allele frequency in an African-American population.

    PubMed

    Yamashita, Taro; Hamidi Asl, Kamran; Yazaki, Masahide; Benson, Merrill D

    2005-06-01

    Transthyretin Val122Ile is one of greater than 80 mutations in transthyretin (TTR) that are associated with hereditary amyloidosis. Retrospective studies have shown a prevalence of this mutation as high as 3.9% in African-Americans. The present study was undertaken to determine in a prospective fashion the prevalence of the TTR Val122Ile allele in African-Americans in a Midwestern American city. DNA was isolated from cord bloods collected at the time of birth in the County hospital of Indianapolis, Indiana. Samples were identified only as to ethnic origin of the mother. Analysis was performed by PCR amplification of TTR exon 4 followed by SSCP and RFLP. Cord bloods from 1,973 children born at the County hospital were analyzed. Thirty of 1,000 DNA samples from African-American newborns were positive for TTR Val122Ile (3%). Two of 453 DNA samples from Caucasian newborns were positive (0.44%). Zero of 490 DNA samples from newborns of Hispanic mothers and 0 of 30 from newborns with mothers classified as other (including Asian) were positive. This prospective study demonstrates that 3% of newborns of African-American women in an urban population have the TTR Val122Ile mutation which is associated with late-onset cardiomyopathy. The degree of penetrance of this mutation at the clinical level has not yet been determined. PMID:16011990

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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…

  16. 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

  17. Dyslipidaemia related to insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease in South Asian and West African populations.

    PubMed

    Ewang-Emukowhate, Mfon; Perera, Dilinika; Wierzbicki, Anthony S D M

    2014-01-01

    The global burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) is increasing. Obesity is rapidly increasing worldwide and is associated with dyslipidaemia, metabolic syndrome (MetS) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Excess risks of T2DM and CVD are found in migrant Indian Asian and West African populations but with increasing urbanization similar changes are occurring in the original populations and are likely to predispose to a large increase in worldwide burden of CVD. Genetic and environmental factors interacting together play a role in the lipid patterns observed. Dyslipidaemia in the MetS associated with insulin resistance is characterised by an atherogenic lipid profile comprising elevated triglycerides, low high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and increased numbers of small dense low density lipoprotein particles. The pattern of dyslipidaemia varies across different ethnic groups with increases in triglycerides and a reduction in HDL-C being the commonest pattern in non-Caucasians. This review surveys the literature on dyslipidaemia in Indian Asian and West African populations and how it relates to CVD risk in those populations. It is important that dyslipidaemia and other conventional risk factors for CVD are adequately addressed and managed especially in high-risk populations. PMID:24953401

  18. Association studies in QTL regions linked to bovine trypanotolerance in a West African crossbred population.

    PubMed

    Dayo, G K; Gautier, M; Berthier, D; Poivey, J P; Sidibe, I; Bengaly, Z; Eggen, A; Boichard, D; Thevenon, S

    2012-04-01

    African animal trypanosomosis is a parasitic blood disease transmitted by tsetse flies and is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. West African taurine breeds have the ability, known as trypanotolerance, to limit parasitaemia and anaemia and remain productive in enzootic areas. Several quantitative trait loci (QTL) underlying traits related to trypanotolerance have been identified in an experimentally infected F(2) population resulting from a cross between taurine and zebu cattle. Although this information is highly valuable, the QTL remain to be confirmed in populations subjected to natural conditions of infection, and the corresponding regions need to be refined. In our study, 360 West African cattle were phenotyped for the packed cell volume control under natural conditions of infection in south-western Burkina Faso. Phenotypes were assessed by analysing data from previous cattle monitored over 2 years in an area enzootic for trypanosomosis. We further genotyped for 64 microsatellite markers mapping within four previously reported QTL on BTA02, BTA04, BTA07 and BTA13. These data enabled us to estimate the heritability of the phenotype using the kinship matrix between individuals computed from genotyping data. Thus, depending on the estimators considered and the method used, the heritability of anaemia control ranged from 0.09 to 0.22. Finally, an analysis of association identified an allele of the MNB42 marker on BTA04 as being strongly associated with anaemia control, and a candidate gene, INHBA, as being close to that marker. PMID:22404348

  19. Prevalence of Sexual Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in an Urban African-American Population

    PubMed Central

    Walsh, Kate; Koenen, Karestan C.; Aiello, Allison E.; Uddin, Monica; Galea, Sandro

    2013-01-01

    Background Sexual violence is prevalent nationally and contributes to psychopathology in the general population. Despite elevated traumatic event exposure among economically disadvantaged urban-dwelling African-Americans, there is insufficient information on lifetime sexual violence exposure and associated psychopathology in this population. Methods In 2008–2009, 1,306 African Americans from a Detroit household probability sample reported on lifetime rape and sexual assault and past-month and lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Results Lifetime sexual violence prevalence was 26.3% for women and 5.1% for men. Relative to non-victims, sexual violence victims: reported more other traumatic events; had 4 times greater unadjusted odds of past-month and lifetime PTSD; had 1.6 times greater adjusted odds of lifetime PTSD only after controlling for other traumatic events. Conclusions Sexual violence was associated with increased risk for lifetime PTSD and exposure to other traumas. Findings highlight a need to screen for sexual violence and PTSD among urban African Americans. PMID:23686528

  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. Sahara: Barrier or corridor? Nonmetric cranial traits and biological affinities of North African late Holocene populations.

    PubMed

    Nikita, Efthymia; Mattingly, David; Lahr, Marta Mirazón

    2012-02-01

    The Garamantes flourished in southwestern Libya, in the core of the Sahara Desert ~3,000 years ago and largely controlled trans-Saharan trade. Their biological affinities to other North African populations, including the Egyptian, Algerian, Tunisian and Sudanese, roughly contemporary to them, are examined by means of cranial nonmetric traits using the Mean Measure of Divergence and Mahalanobis D(2) distance. The aim is to shed light on the extent to which the Sahara Desert inhibited extensive population movements and gene flow. Our results show that the Garamantes possess distant affinities to their neighbors. This relationship may be due to the Central Sahara forming a barrier among groups, despite the archaeological evidence for extended networks of contact. The role of the Sahara as a barrier is further corroborated by the significant correlation between the Mahalanobis D(2) distance and geographic distance between the Garamantes and the other populations under study. In contrast, no clear pattern was observed when all North African populations were examined, indicating that there was no uniform gene flow in the region. PMID:22183688

  2. Large-scale selective sweep among Segregation Distorter chromosomes in African populations of Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Presgraves, Daven C; Gérard, Pierre R; Cherukuri, Anjuli; Lyttle, Terrence W

    2009-05-01

    Segregation Distorter (SD) is a selfish, coadapted gene complex on chromosome 2 of Drosophila melanogaster that strongly distorts Mendelian transmission; heterozygous SD/SD(+) males sire almost exclusively SD-bearing progeny. Fifty years of genetic, molecular, and theory work have made SD one of the best-characterized meiotic drive systems, but surprisingly the details of its evolutionary origins and population dynamics remain unclear. Earlier analyses suggested that the SD system arose recently in the Mediterranean basin and then spread to a low, stable equilibrium frequency (1-5%) in most natural populations worldwide. In this report, we show, first, that SD chromosomes occur in populations in sub-Saharan Africa, the ancestral range of D. melanogaster, at a similarly low frequency (approximately 2%), providing evidence for the robustness of its equilibrium frequency but raising doubts about the Mediterranean-origins hypothesis. Second, our genetic analyses reveal two kinds of SD chromosomes in Africa: inversion-free SD chromosomes with little or no transmission advantage; and an African-endemic inversion-bearing SD chromosome, SD-Mal, with a perfect transmission advantage. Third, our population genetic analyses show that SD-Mal chromosomes swept across the African continent very recently, causing linkage disequilibrium and an absence of variability over 39% of the length of the second chromosome. Thus, despite a seemingly stable equilibrium frequency, SD chromosomes continue to evolve, to compete with one another, or evade suppressors in the genome. PMID:19412335

  3. Evaluation of microsatellite markers for populations studies and forensic identification of African lions (Panthera leo).

    PubMed

    Miller, Susan M; Harper, Cindy K; Bloomer, Paulette; Hofmeyr, Jennifer; Funston, Paul J

    2014-01-01

    The South African lion (Panthera leo) population is highly fragmented. One-third of its wild lions occur in small (<1000 km(2)) reserves. These lions were reintroduced from other areas of the species' historical range. Management practices on these reserves have not prioritized genetic provenance or heterozygosity. These trends potentially constrain the conservation value of these lions. To ensure the best management and long-term survival of these subpopulations as a viable collective population, the provenance and current genetic diversity must be described. Concurrently, poaching of lions to supply a growing market for lion bones in Asia may become a serious conservation challenge in the future. Having a standardized, validated method for matching confiscated lion parts with carcasses will be a key tool in investigating these crimes. We evaluated 28 microsatellites in the African lion using samples from 18 small reserves and 1 captive facility in South Africa, two conservancies in Zimbabwe, and Kruger National and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Parks to determine the loci most suited for population management and forensic genetic applications. Twelve microsatellite loci with a match probability of 1.1×10(-5) between siblings were identified for forensics. A further 10 could be added for population genetics studies. PMID:25151647

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Inbreeding avoidance influences the viability of reintroduced populations of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus).

    PubMed

    Becker, Penny A; Miller, Philip S; Gunther, Micaela Szykman; Somers, Michael J; Wildt, David E; Maldonado, Jesús E

    2012-01-01

    The conservation of many fragmented and small populations of endangered African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) relies on understanding the natural processes affecting genetic diversity, demographics, and future viability. We used extensive behavioural, life-history, and genetic data from reintroduced African wild dogs in South Africa to (1) test for inbreeding avoidance via mate selection and (2) model the potential consequences of avoidance on population persistence. Results suggested that wild dogs avoided mating with kin. Inbreeding was rare in natal packs, after reproductive vacancies, and between sibling cohorts (observed on 0.8%, 12.5%, and 3.8% of occasions, respectively). Only one of the six (16.7%) breeding pairs confirmed as third-order (or closer) kin consisted of animals that were familiar with each other, while no other paired individuals had any prior association. Computer-simulated populations allowed to experience inbreeding had only a 1.6% probability of extinction within 100 years, whereas all populations avoiding incestuous matings became extinct due to the absence of unrelated mates. Populations that avoided mating with first-order relatives became extinct after 63 years compared with persistence of 37 and 19 years for those also prevented from second-order and third-order matings, respectively. Although stronger inbreeding avoidance maintains significantly more genetic variation, our results demonstrate the potentially severe demographic impacts of reduced numbers of suitable mates on the future viability of small, isolated wild dog populations. The rapid rate of population decline suggests that extinction may occur before inbreeding depression is observed. PMID:22615933

  7. Inbreeding Avoidance Influences the Viability of Reintroduced Populations of African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus)

    PubMed Central

    Becker, Penny A.; Miller, Philip S.; Gunther, Micaela Szykman; Somers, Michael J.; Wildt, David E.; Maldonado, Jesús E.

    2012-01-01

    The conservation of many fragmented and small populations of endangered African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) relies on understanding the natural processes affecting genetic diversity, demographics, and future viability. We used extensive behavioural, life-history, and genetic data from reintroduced African wild dogs in South Africa to (1) test for inbreeding avoidance via mate selection and (2) model the potential consequences of avoidance on population persistence. Results suggested that wild dogs avoided mating with kin. Inbreeding was rare in natal packs, after reproductive vacancies, and between sibling cohorts (observed on 0.8%, 12.5%, and 3.8% of occasions, respectively). Only one of the six (16.7%) breeding pairs confirmed as third-order (or closer) kin consisted of animals that were familiar with each other, while no other paired individuals had any prior association. Computer-simulated populations allowed to experience inbreeding had only a 1.6% probability of extinction within 100 years, whereas all populations avoiding incestuous matings became extinct due to the absence of unrelated mates. Populations that avoided mating with first-order relatives became extinct after 63 years compared with persistence of 37 and 19 years for those also prevented from second-order and third-order matings, respectively. Although stronger inbreeding avoidance maintains significantly more genetic variation, our results demonstrate the potentially severe demographic impacts of reduced numbers of suitable mates on the future viability of small, isolated wild dog populations. The rapid rate of population decline suggests that extinction may occur before inbreeding depression is observed. PMID:22615933

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Glossina fuscipes populations provide insights for Human African Trypanosomiasis transmission in Uganda

    PubMed Central

    Aksoy, Serap; Caccone, Adalgisa; Galvani, Alison P.; Okedi, Loyce M.

    2013-01-01

    Uganda has both forms of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT): the chronic gambiense disease in the northwest and the acute rhodesiense disease in the south. The recent spread of rhodesiense into central Uganda has raised concerns given the different control strategies the two diseases require. We present knowledge on the population genetics of the major vector species Glossina fuscipes fuscipes in Uganda with a focus on population structure, measures of gene flow between populations, and the occurrence of polyandry. The microbiome composition and diversity is discussed, focusing on their potential role on trypanosome infection outcomes. We discuss the implications of these findings for large-scale tsetse control programs, including suppression or eradication, being undertaken in Uganda and potential future genetic applications. PMID:23845311

  11. Africanization of a feral honey bee (Apis mellifera) population in South Texas: does a decade make a difference?

    PubMed

    Rangel, Juliana; Giresi, Melissa; Pinto, Maria Alice; Baum, Kristen A; Rubink, William L; Coulson, Robert N; Johnston, John Spencer

    2016-04-01

    The arrival to the United States of the Africanized honey bee, a hybrid between European subspecies and the African subspecies Apis mellifera scutellata, is a remarkable model for the study of biological invasions. This immigration has created an opportunity to study the dynamics of secondary contact of honey bee subspecies from African and European lineages in a feral population in South Texas. An 11-year survey of this population (1991-2001) showed that mitochondrial haplotype frequencies changed drastically over time from a resident population of eastern and western European maternal ancestry, to a population dominated by the African haplotype. A subsequent study of the nuclear genome showed that the Africanization process included bidirectional gene flow between European and Africanized honey bees, giving rise to a new panmictic mixture of A. m. scutellata- and European-derived genes. In this study, we examined gene flow patterns in the same population 23 years after the first hybridization event occurred. We found 28 active colonies inhabiting 92 tree cavities surveyed in a 5.14 km(2) area, resulting in a colony density of 5.4 colonies/km(2). Of these 28 colonies, 25 were of A. m. scutellata maternal ancestry, and three were of western European maternal ancestry. No colonies of eastern European maternal ancestry were detected, although they were present in the earlier samples. Nuclear DNA revealed little change in the introgression of A. m. scutellata-derived genes into the population compared to previous surveys. Our results suggest this feral population remains an admixed swarm with continued low levels of European ancestry and a greater presence of African-derived mitochondrial genetic composition. PMID:27069571

  12. THE IMPACT OF HISPANIC POPULATION GROWTH ON THE OUTLOOK OF AFRICAN AMERICANS

    PubMed Central

    Taylor, Marylee C.; Schroeder, Matthew B.

    2014-01-01

    We know too little about the effects of immigration on black Americans. If prior research yields mixed evidence about immigration’s consequences for the objective well-being of African Americans, it is silent about effects of immigration on blacks’ subjective well-being. To fill that void, this paper assesses the impact of the expanding Hispanic population on black Americans from a social psychological perspective. We ask whether blacks’ self-reported distress, social distrust, or attitudes toward Hispanics and immigrants are affected by the size of the local Hispanic population or by the percentage growth in local Hispanic residents. Answers come from responses of non-Hispanic black participants in the 1998–2002 General Social Surveys, linked to 1990 and 2000 census data. Contrary to pessimistic claims, most social psychological outcomes, including measures of economic distress, manifest no impact of local Hispanic numbers. The four exceptions, significant effects of local Hispanic population share or percentage growth evenly split in valence, underscore the complexity of recent immigration’s effects on African Americans. PMID:25242830

  13. A CD45 polymorphism associated with abnormal splicing is absent in African populations.

    PubMed

    Tchilian, Elma Z; Dawes, Ritu; Ramaley, Patricia A; Whitworth, James A; Yuldasheva, Nadira; Wells, R Spencer; Watera, Christine; French, Neil; Gilks, Charles F; Kunachiwa, Warunee; Ruzibakiev, Ruslan; Leetrakool, Nipapan; Carrington, Christine V F; Ramdath, D Dan; Gotch, Frances; Stephens, Henry A; Hill, Adrian V; Beverley, Peter C L

    2002-02-01

    The CD45 antigen is essential for normal antigen receptor-mediated signalling in lymphocytes, and different patterns of splicing of CD45 are associated with distinct functions in lymphocytes. Abnormal CD45 splicing has been recognized in humans, caused by a C77G transversion in the gene encoding CD45 (PTPRC). Recently the C77G polymorphism has been associated with multiple sclerosis and increased susceptibility to HIV-1 infection. These studies suggest that the regulation of CD45 splicing may be critical for the proper function of the immune system. Because of these data we examined the frequency of the C77G allele in African and Asian populations from countries with high or low prevalence of HIV infection. Here we report that the variant CD45 C77G allele is absent in African populations. We further show that populations living in the Pamir mountains of Central Asia have a very high prevalence of the C77G variant. PMID:11862398

  14. Additive Genetic Variation in Schizophrenia Risk Is Shared by Populations of African and European Descent

    PubMed Central

    de Candia, Teresa R.; Lee, S. Hong; Yang, Jian; Browning, Brian L.; Gejman, Pablo V.; Levinson, Douglas F.; Mowry, Bryan J.; Hewitt, John K.; Goddard, Michael E.; O’Donovan, Michael C.; Purcell, Shaun M.; Posthuma, Danielle; Visscher, Peter M.; Wray, Naomi R.; Keller, Matthew C.

    2013-01-01

    To investigate the extent to which the proportion of schizophrenia’s additive genetic variation tagged by SNPs is shared by populations of European and African descent, we analyzed the largest combined African descent (AD [n = 2,142]) and European descent (ED [n = 4,990]) schizophrenia case-control genome-wide association study (GWAS) data set available, the Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia (MGS) data set. We show how a method that uses genomic similarities at measured SNPs to estimate the additive genetic correlation (SNP correlation [SNP-rg]) between traits can be extended to estimate SNP-rg for the same trait between ethnicities. We estimated SNP-rg for schizophrenia between the MGS ED and MGS AD samples to be 0.66 (SE = 0.23), which is significantly different from 0 (p(SNP-rg = 0) = 0.0003), but not 1 (p(SNP-rg = 1) = 0.26). We re-estimated SNP-rg between an independent ED data set (n = 6,665) and the MGS AD sample to be 0.61 (SE = 0.21, p(SNP-rg = 0) = 0.0003, p(SNP-rg = 1) = 0.16). These results suggest that many schizophrenia risk alleles are shared across ethnic groups and predate African-European divergence. PMID:23954163

  15. Pharmacogenomics Implications of Using Herbal Medicinal Plants on African Populations in Health Transition

    PubMed Central

    Thomford, Nicholas E.; Dzobo, Kevin; Chopera, Denis; Wonkam, Ambroise; Skelton, Michelle; Blackhurst, Dee; Chirikure, Shadreck; Dandara, Collet

    2015-01-01

    The most accessible points of call for most African populations with respect to primary health care are traditional health systems that include spiritual, religious, and herbal medicine. This review focusses only on the use of herbal medicines. Most African people accept herbal medicines as generally safe with no serious adverse effects. However, the overlap between conventional medicine and herbal medicine is a reality among countries in health systems transition. Patients often simultaneously seek treatment from both conventional and traditional health systems for the same condition. Commonly encountered conditions/diseases include malaria, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, tuberculosis, and bleeding disorders. It is therefore imperative to understand the modes of interaction between different drugs from conventional and traditional health care systems when used in treatment combinations. Both conventional and traditional drug entities are metabolized by the same enzyme systems in the human body, resulting in both pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics interactions, whose properties remain unknown/unquantified. Thus, it is important that profiles of interaction between different herbal and conventional medicines be evaluated. This review evaluates herbal and conventional drugs in a few African countries and their potential interaction at the pharmacogenomics level. PMID:26402689

  16. Pharmacogenomics Implications of Using Herbal Medicinal Plants on African Populations in Health Transition.

    PubMed

    Thomford, Nicholas E; Dzobo, Kevin; Chopera, Denis; Wonkam, Ambroise; Skelton, Michelle; Blackhurst, Dee; Chirikure, Shadreck; Dandara, Collet

    2015-01-01

    The most accessible points of call for most African populations with respect to primary health care are traditional health systems that include spiritual, religious, and herbal medicine. This review focusses only on the use of herbal medicines. Most African people accept herbal medicines as generally safe with no serious adverse effects. However, the overlap between conventional medicine and herbal medicine is a reality among countries in health systems transition. Patients often simultaneously seek treatment from both conventional and traditional health systems for the same condition. Commonly encountered conditions/diseases include malaria, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, tuberculosis, and bleeding disorders. It is therefore imperative to understand the modes of interaction between different drugs from conventional and traditional health care systems when used in treatment combinations. Both conventional and traditional drug entities are metabolized by the same enzyme systems in the human body, resulting in both pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics interactions, whose properties remain unknown/unquantified. Thus, it is important that profiles of interaction between different herbal and conventional medicines be evaluated. This review evaluates herbal and conventional drugs in a few African countries and their potential interaction at the pharmacogenomics level. PMID:26402689

  17. 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

  18. Population genetics of Glossina palpalis palpalis from central African sleeping sickness foci

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Glossina palpalis palpalis (Diptera: Glossinidae) is widespread in west Africa, and is the main vector of sleeping sickness in Cameroon as well as in the Bas Congo Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, little is known on the structure of its populations. We investigated G. p. palpalis population genetic structure in five sleeping sickness foci (four in Cameroon, one in Democratic Republic of Congo) using eight microsatellite DNA markers. Results A strong isolation by distance explains most of the population structure observed in our sampling sites of Cameroon and DRC. The populations here are composed of panmictic subpopulations occupying fairly wide zones with a very strong isolation by distance. Effective population sizes are probably between 20 and 300 individuals and if we assume densities between 120 and 2000 individuals per km2, dispersal distance between reproducing adults and their parents extends between 60 and 300 meters. Conclusions This first investigation of population genetic structure of G. p. palpalis in Central Africa has evidenced random mating subpopulations over fairly large areas and is thus at variance with that found in West African populations of G. p. palpalis. This study brings new information on the isolation by distance at a macrogeographic scale which in turn brings useful information on how to organise regional tsetse control. Future investigations should be directed at temporal sampling to have more accurate measures of demographic parameters in order to help vector control decision. PMID:21767402

  19. Prevalence of the apolipoprotein E Arg145Cys dyslipidemia at-risk polymorphism in African-derived populations.

    PubMed

    Abou Ziki, Maen D; Strulovici-Barel, Yael; Hackett, Neil R; Rodriguez-Flores, Juan L; Mezey, Jason G; Salit, Jacqueline; Radisch, Sharon; Hollmann, Charleen; Chouchane, Lotfi; Malek, Joel; Zirie, Mahmoud A; Jayyuosi, Amin; Gotto, Antonio M; Crystal, Ronald G

    2014-01-15

    Apolipoprotein E, a protein component of blood lipid particles, plays an important role in lipid transport. Different mutations in the apolipoprotein E gene have been associated with various clinical phenotypes. In an initiated study of Qataris, we observed that 17% of the African-derived genetic subgroup were heterozygotes for a rare Arg145Cys (R145C) variant that functions as a dominant trait with incomplete penetrance associated with type III hyperlipoproteinemia. On the basis of this observation, we hypothesized that the R145C polymorphism might be common in African-derived populations. The prevalence of the R145C variant was assessed worldwide in the "1000 Genomes Project" and in 1,012 whites and 1,226 African-Americans in New York, New York. The 1000 Genomes Project data demonstrated that the R145C polymorphism is rare in non-African-derived populations but present in 5% to 12% of Sub-Saharan African-derived populations. The R145C polymorphism was also rare in New York whites (1 of 1,012, 0.1%); however, strikingly, 53 of the 1,226 New York African-Americans (4.3%) were R145C heterozygotes. The lipid profiles of the Qatari and New York R145C heterozygotes were compared with those of controls. The Qatari R145C subjects had higher triglyceride levels than the Qatari controls (p <0.007) and the New York African-American R145C subjects had an average of 52% greater fasting triglyceride levels than the New York African-American controls (p <0.002). From these observations, likely millions of people worldwide derived from Sub-Saharan Africans are apolipoprotein E R145C. In conclusion, although larger epidemiologic studies are necessary to determine the long-term consequences of this polymorphism, the available evidence suggests it is a common cause of a mild triglyceride dyslipidemia. PMID:24239320

  20. Prevalence of the ApoE Arg145Cys Dyslipidemia At-risk Polymorphism in African-derived Populations

    PubMed Central

    Abou Ziki, Maen D.; Strulovici-Barel, Yael; Hackett, Neil R.; Rodriguez-Flores, Juan L.; Mezey, Jason G.; Salit, Jacqueline; Radisch, Sharon; Hollmann, Charleen; Chouchane, Lotfi; Malek, Joel; Zirie, Mahmoud A.; Jayyuosi, Amin; Gotto, Antonio M.; Crystal, Ronald G.

    2013-01-01

    Apolipoprotein E (ApoE), a protein component of blood lipid particles, plays an important role in lipid transport. Different mutations in the ApoE gene have been associated with various clinical phenotypes. In an initiated study of Qataris, we observed that 17% of the African-derived genetic subgroup were heterozygotes for a rare Arg145Cys (R145C) variant that functions as a dominant trait with incomplete penetrance associated with type III hyperlipoproteinemia. Based on this observation, we hypothesized that the R145C polymorphism may be common in African-derived populations. The prevalence of the R145C variant was assessed worldwide in the 1000 Genomes Project (1000G) and in 1012 Caucasians and 1226 African-Americans in New York City. The 1000G data demonstrated that the R145C polymorphism is rare in non-African derived populations, but present in 5–12% of sub-Saharan African-derived populations. The R145C polymorphism was also rare in New York City Caucasians (1/1012, 0.1%), but strikingly, 53 (4.3%) of 1226 New York City African-Americans were R145C heterozygotes. Lipid profiles of the Qatari and New York R145C were compared to controls. Qatari R145C had higher triglyceride levels compared to Qatari controls (p<0.007) and NY African-Americans R145C had an average of 52% higher fasting triglyceride levels compared to NY African-American controls (p<0.002). Based on these observations, there are likely millions of people worldwide derived from Sub-Saharan Africans that are ApoE R145C. In conclusion, while larger epidemiologic studies are necessary to determine the long-term consequences of this polymorphism, the available evidence suggests it is a common cause of a mild triglyceride dyslipidemia. PMID:24239320

  1. Rapid population growth and fragile environments: the sub-Saharan African and south Asian experience.

    PubMed

    Caldwell, J C; Caldwell, P

    1994-02-18

    Case studies of the world's two poorest regions, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, were used to illustrate the compromised standard of living of the poor and environmental damage due to continued rapid population growth. The conclusion was that the livelihoods of the poor should not be endangered for preserving the living standards of richer people. Nations must not ignore the challenges of reducing population growth as fast as can be achieved. The transitional period over the next 50 years is the main concern, because population growth rates will be slowing. Rural population growth is expected to decline from 60% of total population growth in South Asia to 7% between 2000 and 2025; similarly the decline in sub-Saharan Africa would be from 50% to 15%. Over the past 30 years, food production in South Asia has kept pace with population growth. Sub-Saharan Africa has adopted food importation to meet demand. African problems are a low resource base, faster population growth, and the fact that governments and individuals are too poor to maintain soil fertility. Long-term studies of how much soil depletion will occur are not available for these regions, and local area studies are not as pessimistic. Transition policies are needed to put "people first in terms of engineered or directed population and ecological change." The six main issues are the following: 1) the Brundtland Commission appropriately identified poverty as the main cause and effect of environmental degradation because of the threat to survival; 2) the verdict is still out about whether food production will keep pace with population growth through economic growth and investment in agriculture; 3) empirical research is needed to examine local social and regulatory institutions and the possibility of reinforcing these mechanisms rather than instituting central controls; 4) central coercion or modernizing economic policies can destroy local level controls; 5) famine is a complex ecological phenomenon and the

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Huntington disease in the South African population occurs on diverse and ethnically distinct genetic haplotypes

    PubMed Central

    Baine, Fiona K; Kay, Chris; Ketelaar, Maria E; Collins, Jennifer A; Semaka, Alicia; Doty, Crystal N; Krause, Amanda; Jacquie Greenberg, L; Hayden, Michael R

    2013-01-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder resulting from the expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. Worldwide prevalence varies geographically with the highest figures reported in populations of European ancestry. HD in South Africa has been reported in Caucasian, black and mixed subpopulations, with similar estimated prevalence in the Caucasian and mixed groups and a lower estimate in the black subpopulation. Recent studies have associated specific HTT haplotypes with HD in distinct populations. Expanded HD alleles in Europe occur predominantly on haplogroup A (specifically high-risk variants A1/A2), whereas in East Asian populations, HD alleles are associated with haplogroup C. Whether specific HTT haplotypes associate with HD in black Africans and how these compare with haplotypes found in European and East Asian populations remains unknown. The current study genotyped the HTT region in unaffected individuals and HD patients from each of the South African subpopulations, and haplotypes were constructed. CAG repeat sizes were determined and phased to haplotype. Results indicate that HD alleles from Caucasian and mixed patients are predominantly associated with haplogroup A, signifying a similar European origin for HD. However, in black patients, HD occurs predominantly on haplogroup B, suggesting several distinct origins of the mutation in South Africa. The absence of high-risk variants (A1/A2) in the black subpopulation may also explain the reported low prevalence of HD. Identification of haplotypes associated with HD-expanded alleles is particularly relevant to the development of population-specific therapeutic targets for selective suppression of the expanded HTT transcript. PMID:23463025

  6. Fine-scale population genetic structure in a fission-fusion society.

    PubMed

    Archie, Elizabeth A; Maldonado, Jésus E; Hollister-Smith, Julie A; Poole, Joyce H; Moss, Cynthia J; Fleischer, Robert C; Alberts, Susan C

    2008-06-01

    Nonrandom patterns of mating and dispersal create fine-scale genetic structure in natural populations - especially of social mammals - with important evolutionary and conservation genetic consequences. Such structure is well-characterized for typical mammalian societies; that is, societies where social group composition is stable, dispersal is male-biased, and males form permanent breeding associations in just one or a few social groups over the course of their lives. However, genetic structure is not well understood for social mammals that differ from this pattern, including elephants. In elephant societies, social groups fission and fuse, and males never form permanent breeding associations with female groups. Here, we combine 33 years of behavioural observations with genetic information for 545 African elephants (Loxodonta africana), to investigate how mating and dispersal behaviours structure genetic variation between social groups and across age classes. We found that, like most social mammals, female matrilocality in elephants creates co-ancestry within core social groups and significant genetic differentiation between groups (Phi(ST) = 0.058). However, unlike typical social mammals, male elephants do not bias reproduction towards a limited subset of social groups, and instead breed randomly across the population. As a result, reproductively dominant males mediate gene flow between core groups, which creates cohorts of similar-aged paternal relatives across the population. Because poaching tends to eliminate the oldest elephants from populations, illegal hunting and poaching are likely to erode fine-scale genetic structure. We discuss our results and their evolutionary and conservation genetic implications in the context of other social mammals. PMID:18466226

  7. Analysis of Genomic Regions Associated With Coronary Artery Disease Reveals Continent-Specific Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in North African Populations

    PubMed Central

    Zanetti, Daniela; Via, Marc; Carreras-Torres, Robert; Esteban, Esther; Chaabani, Hassen; Anaibar, Fatima; Harich, Nourdin; Habbal, Rachida; Ghalim, Noreddine; Moral, Pedro

    2016-01-01

    Background In recent years, several genomic regions have been robustly associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) in different genome-wide association studies (GWASs) conducted mainly in people of European descent. These kinds of data are lacking in African populations, even though heart diseases are a major cause of premature death and disability. Methods Here, 384 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the top four CAD risk regions (1p13, 1q41, 9p21, and 10q11) were genotyped in 274 case-control samples from Morocco and Tunisia, with the aim of analyzing for the first time if the associations found in European populations were transferable to North Africans. Results The results indicate that, as in Europe, these four genetic regions are also important for CAD risk in North Africa. However, the individual SNPs associated with CAD in Africa are different from those identified in Europe in most cases (1p13, 1q41, and 9p21). Moreover, the seven risk variants identified in North Africans are efficient in discriminating between cases and controls in North African populations, but not in European populations. Conclusions This study indicates a disparity in markers associated to CAD susceptibility between North Africans and Europeans that may be related to population differences in the chromosomal architecture of these risk regions. PMID:26780859

  8. The categorization of African descent populations in Europe and the USA: should lexicons of recommended terminology be evidence-based?

    PubMed

    Aspinall, P J

    2008-01-01

    This review attempts to evaluate a proposed lexicon for African-descent populations from the viewpoint of saliency amongst those described and wider official and scientific usage, focusing on Britain and the USA. It is argued that it is unsatisfactory to privilege the term 'African American' over 'Black' for African-descent populations in the USA as the evidence base shows that both labels compete as self-designations on co-equal terms, while 'Black' is the prevalent term in scientific writing. Moreover, 'African American' is not an inclusive term for the African-descent population and it is not known how prevalent and enduring the term will prove to be. With respect to Britain, the census terms of 'Black African' and 'Black Caribbean' are well established, the increasing popularity of 'Black British' also being recognized in census labels. Given the increasing interest in the relationship between ethnic identity and health, there are arguments for documenting the diversity of terminology amongst different user constituencies in country-specific settings. The approach of synthetic glossaries of consensual terms may, through the need for economy and parsimony in the use of terminology, contribute to an unsatisfactory paring of that diversity. PMID:17645900

  9. Barriers to breastfeeding in the African American population of Shelby County, Tennessee.

    PubMed

    Ware, Julie L; Webb, Larita; Levy, Marian

    2014-10-01

    Breastfeeding is recommended exclusively for the first 6 months of life, with continuation after the addition of complementary foods for at least 1 year of life. Breastfeeding rates are low in the Southeastern United States, especially among African Americans. Disparities in breastfeeding rates between African Americans and whites are especially pronounced in Memphis (Shelby County), TN. Our research objectives were to explore this disparity using focus groups, specifically to identify perceived barriers, and also to seek possible solutions from the target population. Focus groups were conducted in nine community settings within the county. Groups primarily consisted of women of childbearing years, but groups with men, grandmothers, and teens were also conducted. Common barriers for breastfeeding that were identified included pain, embarrassment with public nursing, going back to work, concern about "partying" and breastfeeding, and "just not wanting to" breastfeed. A notable finding was a substantial concern about sexuality and breastfeeding. As a possible solution, participants recommended putting breastfeeding educational materials widely across the county in many venues. Barriers to breastfeeding in Memphis are similar to those in other areas, with key concerns about sexuality and partying. Involving the target population yielded specific recommendations to improve breastfeeding promotion efforts. PMID:24972117

  10. Biomedical research, a tool to address the health issues that affect African populations

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Traditionally, biomedical research endeavors in low to middle resources countries have focused on communicable diseases. However, data collected over the past 20 years by the World Health Organization (WHO) show a significant increase in the number of people suffering from non-communicable diseases (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, cancer and pulmonary diseases). Within the coming years, WHO predicts significant decreases in communicable diseases while non-communicable diseases are expected to double in low and middle income countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The predicted increase in the non-communicable diseases population could be economically burdensome for the basic healthcare infrastructure of countries that lack resources to address this emerging disease burden. Biomedical research could stimulate development of healthcare and biomedical infrastructure. If this development is sustainable, it provides an opportunity to alleviate the burden of both communicable and non-communicable diseases through diagnosis, prevention and treatment. In this paper, we discuss how research using biomedical technology, especially genomics, has produced data that enhances the understanding and treatment of both communicable and non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. We further discuss how scientific development can provide opportunities to pursue research areas responsive to the African populations. We limit our discussion to biomedical research in the areas of genomics due to its substantial impact on the scientific community in recent years however, we also recognize that targeted investments in other scientific disciplines could also foster further development in African countries. PMID:24143865

  11. 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.

  12. Population education and ILO: African programmes of population and social community welfare education.

    PubMed

    Garzon-castaneda, P; Pour, H; Simbeye, A

    1985-06-01

    The information and population education and social and community welfare program drawn up by the International Labor Organization (ILO) aims at the improvement of the living conditions of workers through relating their incomes and needs to the basic needs of the family. The integration of voluntary associations in project activities can increase the effectiveness of messages; the multiplicity of information channels enlarges the scope and strenthens credibility insofar as these channels are accepted by the target groups. When it comes to determining the contents intended for groups such as trade unions, village committees, or cooperatives, a study of the area is undertaken to know their specific situation and the aspects concerning their population and social welfare problems. Population education provided by ILO deals with 2 primordial factors: 1) the improvement of working methods which will make it possible for individuals to improve of their health and living conditions while earning better incomes, and 2) the sharing all knowledge between men and women to encourage men to assume better responsibilities. The level of education of persons affected by projects is very different; they represent a complete range from the literate and semi-literate to the illiterate. Different units of production of educational equipment are being organized to meet material demand. In conclusion, educational and social welfare programs conform to the recommendations of the conference and will continue to draw on the World Population Action Plan to improve standards of living and quality of life for all people. PMID:12268116

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Suppression of Pratylenchus penetrans Populations in Potato and Tomato using African Marigolds

    PubMed Central

    Alexander, Samuel A.; Waldenmaier, Christine M.

    2002-01-01

    Current strategies for management of Pratylenchus penetrans in both white potato and tomato consist of the use of fumigant or non-fumigant nematicides or crop rotation. The objective of this study was to determine if double-cropping African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) with potatoes or tomatoes could reduce P. penetrans populations. Plots were 10 m × 3 m arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Treatments included marigolds, potatoes or tomatoes, and natural weedy fallow followed by either potatoes or tomatoes. Nematode populations were sampled before spring planting, between crops in August and after harvest in November. During the 3 years of the study, P. penetrans soil population density declined by an average of 93% from the pre-plant level when marigold was grown in rotation with potato and by 98% when marigold was grown.in rotation with tomato. Weedy fallow preceding potato resulted in an average decline in P. penetrans soil population density of 38%, and a similar decrease (37%) was seen when fallow preceded tomato. There was a significant reduction in the number of P. penetrans found in both potato and tomato roots when the crops followed marigolds. These results suggest that P. penetrans population density may be significantly reduced when marigolds are double-cropped with potatoes or tomatoes. PMID:19265920

  16. 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.

  17. Associations between Common Variants in Iron-Related Genes with Haematological Traits in Populations of African Ancestry

    PubMed Central

    Tanaka, Toshiko; Towers, G. Wayne; Verhoef, Hans; Veenemans, Jacobien; Talsma, Elise F.; Harryvan, Jan; Boekschoten, Mark V.; Feskens, Edith J.; Melse-Boonstra, Alida

    2016-01-01

    Background Large genome-wide association (GWA) studies of European ancestry individuals have identified multiple genetic variants influencing iron status. Studies on the generalizability of these associations to African ancestry populations have been limited. These studies are important given interethnic differences in iron status and the disproportionate burden of iron deficiency among African ancestry populations. Methods We tested the associations of 20 previously identified iron status-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 628 Kenyans, 609 Tanzanians, 608 South Africans and 228 African Americans. In each study, we examined the associations present between 20 SNPs with ferritin and haemoglobin, adjusting for age, sex and CRP levels. Results In the meta analysis including all 4 African ancestry cohorts, we replicated previously reported associations with lowered haemoglobin concentrations for rs2413450 (β = -0.19, P = 0.02) and rs4820268 (β = -0.16, P = 0.04) in TMPRSS6. An association with increased ferritin concentrations was also confirmed for rs1867504 in TF (β = 1.04, P = <0.0001) in the meta analysis including the African cohorts only. Conclusions In all meta analyses, we only replicated 4 of the 20 single nucleotide polymorphisms reported to be associated with iron status in large GWA studies of European ancestry individuals. While there is now evidence for the associations of a number of genetic variants with iron status in both European and African ancestry populations, the considerable lack of concordance highlights the importance of continued ancestry-specific studies to elucidate the genetic underpinnings of iron status in ethnically diverse populations. PMID:27332551

  18. Population genomic analysis uncovers African and European admixture in Drosophila melanogaster populations from the south-eastern United States and Caribbean Islands.

    PubMed

    Kao, Joyce Y; Zubair, Asif; Salomon, Matthew P; Nuzhdin, Sergey V; Campo, Daniel

    2015-04-01

    Drosophila melanogaster is postulated to have colonized North America in the past several 100 years in two waves. Flies from Europe colonized the east coast United States while flies from Africa inhabited the Caribbean, which if true, make the south-east US and Caribbean Islands a secondary contact zone for African and European D. melanogaster. This scenario has been proposed based on phenotypes and limited genetic data. In our study, we have sequenced individual whole genomes of flies from populations in the south-east US and Caribbean Islands and examined these populations in conjunction with population sequences from the west coast US, Africa, and Europe. We find that west coast US populations are closely related to the European population, likely reflecting a rapid westward expansion upon first settlements into North America. We also find genomic evidence of African and European admixture in south-east US and Caribbean populations, with a clinal pattern of decreasing proportions of African ancestry with higher latitude. Our genomic analysis of D. melanogaster populations from the south-east US and Caribbean Islands provides more evidence for the Caribbean Islands as the source of previously reported novel African alleles found in other east coast US populations. We also find the border between the south-east US and the Caribbean island to be the admixture hot zone where distinctly African-like Caribbean flies become genomically more similar to European-like south-east US flies. Our findings have important implications for previous studies examining the generation of east coast US clines via selection. PMID:25735402

  19. Comparative Genome Analysis of Four Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses, EEHV3, EEHV4, EEHV5, and EEHV6, from Cases of Hemorrhagic Disease or Viremia

    PubMed Central

    Zong, Jian-Chao; Latimer, Erin M.; Long, Simon Y.; Richman, Laura K.; Heaggans, Sarah Y.

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT The genomes of three types of novel endotheliotropic herpesviruses (elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus 1A [EEHV1A], EEHV1B, and EEHV2) associated with lethal hemorrhagic disease in Asian elephants have been previously well characterized and assigned to a new Proboscivirus genus. Here we have generated 112 kb of DNA sequence data from segments of four more types of EEHV by direct targeted PCR from blood samples or necropsy tissue samples from six viremic elephants. Comparative phylogenetic analysis of nearly 30 protein-encoding genes of EEHV5 and EEHV6 show that they diverge uniformly by nearly 20% from their closest relatives, EEHV2 and EEHV1A, respectively, and are likely to have similar overall gene content and genome organization. In contrast, seven EEHV3 and EEHV4 genes analyzed differ from those of all other EEHVs by 37% and have a G+C content of 63% compared to just 42% for the others. Three strains of EEHV5 analyzed clustered into two partially chimeric subgroups EEHV5A and EEHV5B that diverge by 19% within three small noncontiguous segments totaling 6.2 kb. We conclude that all six EEHV types should be designated as independent species within a proposed new fourth Deltaherpesvirinae subfamily of mammalian herpesviruses. These virus types likely initially diverged close to 100 million years ago when the ancestors of modern elephants split from all other placental mammals and then evolved into two major branches with high- or low-G+C content about 35 million years ago. Later additional branching events subsequently generated three paired sister taxon lineages of which EEHV1 plus EEHV6, EEHV5 plus EEHV2, and EEHV4 plus EEHV3 may represent Asian and African elephant versions, respectively. IMPORTANCE One of the factors threatening the long-term survival of endangered Asian elephants in both wild range countries and in captive breeding populations in zoos is a highly lethal hemorrhagic herpesvirus disease that has killed at least 70 young Asian

  20. The uncertain significance of low vitamin D levels in African descent populations: a review of the bone and cardiometabolic literature.

    PubMed

    O'Connor, Michelle Y; Thoreson, Caroline K; Ramsey, Natalie L M; Ricks, Madia; Sumner, Anne E

    2013-01-01

    Vitamin D levels in people of African descent are often described as inadequate or deficient. Whether low vitamin D levels in people of African descent lead to compromised bone or cardiometabolic health is unknown. Clarity on this issue is essential because if clinically significant vitamin D deficiency is present, vitamin D supplementation is necessary. However, if vitamin D is metabolically sufficient, vitamin D supplementation could be wasteful of scarce resources and even harmful. In this review vitamin D physiology is described with a focus on issues specific to populations of African descent such as the influence of melanin on endogenous vitamin D production and lactose intolerance on the willingness of people to ingest vitamin D fortified foods. Then data on the relationship of vitamin D to bone and cardiometabolic health in people of African descent are evaluated. PMID:24267433

  1. The Uncertain Significance of Low Vitamin D levels in African Descent Populations: A Review of the Bone and Cardiometabolic Literature

    PubMed Central

    O'Connor, Michelle Y; Thoreson, Caroline K; Ramsey, Natalie L M; Ricks, Madia; Sumner, Anne E

    2014-01-01

    Vitamin D levels in people of African descent are often described as inadequate or deficient. Whether low vitamin D levels in people of African descent lead to compromised bone or cardiometabolic health is unknown. Clarity on this issue is essential because if clinically significant vitamin D deficiency is present, vitamin D supplementation is necessary. However, if vitamin D is metabolically sufficient, vitamin D supplementation could be wasteful of scarce resources and even harmful. In this review vitamin D physiology is described with a focus on issues specific to populations of African descent such as the influence of melanin on endogenous vitamin D production and lactose intolerance on the willingness of people to ingest vitamin D fortified foods. Then data on the relationship of vitamin D to bone and cardiometabolic health in people of African descent are evaluated. PMID:24267433

  2. Nasal septal and craniofacial form in European- and African-derived populations.

    PubMed

    Holton, Nathan E; Yokley, Todd R; Figueroa, Aaron

    2012-09-01

    As a component of the chondrocranium, the nasal septum influences the anteroposterior dimensions of the facial skeleton. The role of the septum as a facial growth center, however, has been studied primarily in long-snouted mammals, and its precise influence on human facial growth is not as well understood. Whereas the nasal septum may be important in the anterior growth of the human facial skeleton early in ontogeny, the high incidence of nasal septal deviation in humans suggests the septum's influence on human facial length is limited to the early phases of facial growth. Nevertheless, the nasal septum follows a growth trajectory similar to the facial skeleton and, as such, its prolonged period of growth may influence other aspects of facial development. Using computed tomography scans of living human subjects (n = 70), the goal of the present study is to assess the morphological relationship between the nasal septum and facial skeleton in European- and African-derived populations, which have been shown to exhibit early developmental differences in the nasal septal-premaxillary complex. First we assessed whether there is population variation in the size of the nasal septum in European- and African-derived samples. This included an evaluation of septal deviation and the spatial constraints that influence variation in this condition. Next, we assessed the relationship between nasal septal size and craniofacial shape using multivariate regression techniques. Our results indicate that there is significant population variation in septal size and magnitude of septal deviation, both of which are greater in the European-derived sample. While septal deviation suggests a disjunction between the nasal septum and other components of the facial skeleton, we nevertheless found a significant relationship between the size of the nasal septum and craniofacial shape, which appears to largely be a response to the need to accommodate variation in nasal septal size. PMID:22747629

  3. Nasal septal and craniofacial form in European- and African-derived populations

    PubMed Central

    Holton, Nathan E; Yokley, Todd R; Figueroa, Aaron

    2012-01-01

    As a component of the chondrocranium, the nasal septum influences the anteroposterior dimensions of the facial skeleton. The role of the septum as a facial growth center, however, has been studied primarily in long-snouted mammals, and its precise influence on human facial growth is not as well understood. Whereas the nasal septum may be important in the anterior growth of the human facial skeleton early in ontogeny, the high incidence of nasal septal deviation in humans suggests the septum's influence on human facial length is limited to the early phases of facial growth. Nevertheless, the nasal septum follows a growth trajectory similar to the facial skeleton and, as such, its prolonged period of growth may influence other aspects of facial development. Using computed tomography scans of living human subjects (n = 70), the goal of the present study is to assess the morphological relationship between the nasal septum and facial skeleton in European- and African-derived populations, which have been shown to exhibit early developmental differences in the nasal septal–premaxillary complex. First we assessed whether there is population variation in the size of the nasal septum in European- and African-derived samples. This included an evaluation of septal deviation and the spatial constraints that influence variation in this condition. Next, we assessed the relationship between nasal septal size and craniofacial shape using multivariate regression techniques. Our results indicate that there is significant population variation in septal size and magnitude of septal deviation, both of which are greater in the European-derived sample. While septal deviation suggests a disjunction between the nasal septum and other components of the facial skeleton, we nevertheless found a significant relationship between the size of the nasal septum and craniofacial shape, which appears to largely be a response to the need to accommodate variation in nasal septal size. PMID:22747629

  4. Genetic diversity and population structure of Plasmodium falciparum over space and time in an African archipelago.

    PubMed

    Salgueiro, Patrícia; Vicente, José Luís; Figueiredo, Rita Carrilho; Pinto, João

    2016-09-01

    The archipelago of São Tomé and Principe (STP), West Africa, has suffered the heavy burden of malaria since the 16th century. Until the last decade, when after a successful control program STP has become a low transmission country and one of the few nations with decreases of more than 90% in malaria admission and death rates. We carried out a longitudinal study to determine the genetic structure of STP parasite populations over time and space. Twelve microsatellite loci were genotyped in Plasmodium falciparum samples from two islands collected in 1997, 2000 and 2004. Analysis was performed on proportions of mixed genotype infections, allelic diversity, population differentiation, effective population size and bottleneck effects. We have found high levels of genetic diversity and minimal inter-population genetic differentiation typical of African continental regions with intense and stable malaria transmission. We detected significant differences between the years, with special emphasis for 1997 that showed the highest proportion of samples infected with P. falciparum and the highest mean number of haplotypes per isolate. This study establishes a comprehensive genetic data baseline of a pre-intervention scenario for future studies; taking into account the most recent and successful control intervention on the territory. PMID:27262356

  5. 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…

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. The impact of health insurance on an African-American population with colorectal cancer.

    PubMed Central

    Dawkins, F. W.; Laing, A. E.; Smoot, D. T.; Perlin, E.; Tuckson, W. B.

    1995-01-01

    This study evaluates the impact of health insurance as a substitute for social class on tumor location, presentation, stage, grade, and age-adjusted survival in an African-American population. Patients were stratified by insurance into two groups: group 1 (private insurance and Medicare parts A & B) and group 2 (Medicaid, Medical Charity, self-pay, uninsured, or unemployed). A total of 212 patients were evaluated. Of these, 210 patients were insured or had Medical Charity, and two were uninsured. The type of health insurance did not significantly affect age-adjusted survival. However, age and stage at presentation were positive predictors of age-adjusted survival. Higher socioeconomic status was associated with group 1 health insurance. PMID:7752284

  9. 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

  10. Conservation and monitoring of a persecuted African lion population by Maasai warriors.

    PubMed

    Dolrenry, Stephanie; Hazzah, Leela; Frank, Laurence G

    2016-06-01

    Although Africa has many threatened species and biological hot spots, there are few citizen science schemes, particularly in rural communities, and there has been limited evaluation of existing programs. We engaged traditional Maasai warriors (pastoralist men aged 15 to 35) in community-based conservation and demographic monitoring of a persecuted African lion (Panthera leo) population. Through direct engagement, we investigated whether a citizen science approach employing local warriors, who had no formal education, could produce reliable data on the demographics, predation, and movements of a species with which their communities have been in conflict for generations. Warriors were given benefits such as literacy training and skill enhancement and engaged in the monitoring of the lions. The trained warriors reported on lion sign across an area nearly 4000 km(2) . Scientists worked together with the warriors to verify their reports and gather observations on the lion population. Using the verified reports and collected observations, we examined our scientific knowledge relative to the lion population preceding and during the citizen science program. Our observations showed that data quality and quantity improved with the involvement and training of the participants. Furthermore, because they engaged in conservation and gained personal benefits, the participants came to appreciate a species that was traditionally their foe. We believe engaging other local communities in biodiversity conservation and monitoring may be an effective conservation approach in rural Africa. PMID:27111059

  11. Spatial Environmental Modeling of Autoantibody Outcomes among an African American Population

    PubMed Central

    Carroll, Rachel; Lawson, Andrew B.; Voronca, Delia; Rotejanaprasert, Chawarat; Vena, John E.; Aelion, Claire Marjorie; Kamen, Diane L.

    2014-01-01

    In this study of autoimmunity among a population of Gullah African Americans in South Carolina, the links between environmental exposures and autoimmunity (presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA)) have been assessed. The study population included patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (n = 10), their first degree relatives (n = 61), and unrelated controls (n = 9) where 47.5% (n = 38) were ANA positive. This paper presents the methodology used to model ANA status as a function of individual environmental influences, both self-reported and measured, while controlling for known autoimmunity risk factors. We have examined variable dimension reduction and selection methods in our approach. Following the dimension reduction and selection methods, we fit logistic spatial Bayesian models to explore the relationship between our outcome of interest and environmental exposures adjusting for personal variables. Our analysis also includes a validation “strip” where we have interpolated information from a specific geographic area for a subset of the study population that lives in that vicinity. Our results demonstrate that residential proximity to exposure site is important in this form of analysis. The use of a validation strip network demonstrated that even with small sample numbers some significant exposure-outcome relationships can be detected. PMID:24608900

  12. The prevalence of hypertension in seven populations of west African origin.

    PubMed Central

    Cooper, R; Rotimi, C; Ataman, S; McGee, D; Osotimehin, B; Kadiri, S; Muna, W; Kingue, S; Fraser, H; Forrester, T; Bennett, F; Wilks, R

    1997-01-01

    OBJECTIVES: This study was undertaken to describe the distribution of blood pressures, hypertension prevalence, and associated risk factors among seven populations of West African origin. METHODS: The rates of hypertension in West Africa (Nigeria and Cameroon), the Caribbean (Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbados), and the United States (metropolitan Chicago, Illinois) were compared on the basis of a highly standardized collaborative protocol. After researchers were given central training in survey methods, population-based samples of 800 to 2500 adults over the age of 25 were examined in seven sites, yielding a total sample of 10014. RESULTS: A consistent gradient of hypertension prevalence was observed, rising from 16% in West Africa to 26% in the Caribbean and 33% in the United States. Mean blood pressures were similar among persons aged 25 to 34, while the increase in hypertension prevalence with age was twice as steep in the United States as in Africa. Environmental factors, most notably obesity and the intake of sodium and potassium, varied consistently with disease prevalence across regions. CONCLUSION: The findings demonstrate the determining role of social conditions in the evolution of hypertension risk in these populations. PMID:9103091

  13. Genetics of Sub-Saharan African Human Population: Implications for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Sub-Saharan Africa has continued leading in prevalence and incidence of major infectious disease killers such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Epidemiological triad of infectious diseases includes susceptible host, pathogen, and environment. It is imperative that all aspects of vertices of the infectious disease triad are analysed to better understand why this is so. Studies done to address this intriguing reality though have mainly addressed pathogen and environmental components of the triad. Africa is the most genetically diverse region of the world as well as being the origin of modern humans. Malaria is relatively an ancient infection in this region as compared to TB and HIV/AIDS; from the evolutionary perspective, we would draw lessons that this ancestrally unique population now under three important infectious diseases both ancient and exotic will be skewed into increased genetic diversity; moreover, other evolutionary forces are also still at play. Host genetic diversity resulting from many years of malaria infection has been well documented in this population; we are yet to account for genetic diversity from the trio of these infections. Effect of host genetics on treatment outcome has been documented. Host genetics of sub-Saharan African population and its implication to infectious diseases are an important aspect that this review seeks to address. PMID:25202468

  14. Disparities in the Population Distribution of African American and Non-Hispanic White Smokers along the Quitting Continuum

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Trinidad, Dennis R.; Xie, Bin; Fagan, Pebbles; Pulvers, Kim; Romero, Devan R.; Blanco, Lyzette; Sakuma, Kari-Lyn K.

    2015-01-01

    Purpose: To examine disparities and changes over time in the population-level distribution of smokers along a cigarette quitting continuum among African American smokers compared with non-Hispanic Whites. Methods: Secondary data analyses of the 1999, 2002, 2005, and 2008 California Tobacco Surveys (CTS). The CTS are large, random-digit-dialed,…

  15. Polymorphisms of Estrogen Metabolism-Related Genes and Prostate Cancer Risk in Two Populations of African Ancestry

    PubMed Central

    Emeville, Elise; Ferdinand, Séverine; Punga, Augustin; Lufuma, Simon; Blanchet, Pascal; Romana, Marc; Multigner, Luc

    2016-01-01

    Background Estrogens are thought to play a critical role in prostate carcinogenesis. It has been suggested that polymorphisms of genes encoding enzymes involved in estrogen metabolism are risk factors for prostate cancer. However, few studies have been performed on populations of African ancestry, which are known to have a high risk of prostate cancer. Objective We investigated whether functional polymorphisms of CYP17, CYP19, CYP1B1, COMT and UGT1A1 affected the risk of prostate cancer in two different populations of African ancestry. Methods In Guadeloupe (French West Indies), we compared 498 prostate cancer patients and 565 control subjects. In Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), 162 prostate cancer patients were compared with 144 controls. Gene polymorphisms were determined by the SNaPshot technique or short tandem repeat PCR analysis. Logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results The AA genotype and the A allele of rs4680 (COMT) appeared to be inversely associated with the risk of prostate cancer in adjusted models for both Afro-Caribbean and native African men. For the A allele, a significant inverse association was observed among cases with low-grade Gleason scores and localized clinical stage, in both populations. Conclusions These preliminary results support the hypothesis that polymorphisms of genes encoding enzymes involved in estrogen metabolism may modulate the risk of prostate cancer in populations of African ancestry. PMID:27074016

  16. Adaptive divergence between lake and stream populations of an East African cichlid fish.

    PubMed

    Theis, Anya; Ronco, Fabrizia; Indermaur, Adrian; Salzburger, Walter; Egger, Bernd

    2014-11-01

    Divergent natural selection acting in different habitats may build up barriers to gene flow and initiate speciation. This speciation continuum can range from weak or no divergence to strong genetic differentiation between populations. Here, we focus on the early phases of adaptive divergence in the East African cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni, which occurs in both Lake Tanganyika (LT) and inflowing rivers. We first assessed the population structure and morphological differences in A. burtoni from southern LT. We then focused on four lake-stream systems and quantified body shape, ecologically relevant traits (gill raker and lower pharyngeal jaw) as well as stomach contents. Our study revealed the presence of several divergent lake-stream populations that rest at different stages of the speciation continuum, but show the same morphological and ecological trajectories along the lake-stream gradient. Lake fish have higher bodies, a more superior mouth position, longer gill rakers and more slender pharyngeal jaws, and they show a plant/algae and zooplankton-biased diet, whereas stream fish feed more on snails, insects and plant seeds. A test for reproductive isolation between closely related lake and stream populations did not detect population-assortative mating. Analyses of F1 offspring reared under common garden conditions indicate that the detected differences in body shape and gill raker length do not constitute pure plastic responses to different environmental conditions, but also have a genetic basis. Taken together, the A. burtoni lake-stream system constitutes a new model to study the factors that enhance and constrain progress towards speciation in cichlid fishes. PMID:25256664

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Effects of Methyl Eugenol Feeding on Mating Compatibility of Asian Population of Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae) with African Population and with B. carambolae.

    PubMed

    Haq, Ihsan Ul; Vreysen, Marc J B; Schutze, Mark; Hendrichs, Jorge; Shelly, Todd

    2016-02-01

    Males of some species included in the Bactrocera dorsalis complex are strongly attracted to methyl eugenol (ME) (1,2-dimethoxy-4-(2-propenyl) benzene), a natural compound occurring in a variety of plant species. ME feeding of males of the B. dorsalis complex is known to enhance their mating competitiveness. Within B. dorsalis, recent studies show that Asian and African populations of B. dorsalis are sexually compatible, while populations of B. dorsalis and Bactrocera carambolae are relatively incompatible. The objectives of this study were to examine whether ME feeding by males affects mating compatibility between Asian and African populations of B. dorsalis and ME feeding reduces male mating incompatibility between B. dorsalis (Asian population) and B. carambolae. The data confirmed that Asian and African populations of B. dorsalis are sexually compatible for mating and showed that ME feeding only increased the number of matings. Though ME feeding also increased the number of matings of B. dorsalis (Asian population) and B. carambolae males but the sexual incompatibility between both species was not reduced by treatment with ME. These results conform to the efforts resolving the biological species limits among B. dorsalis complex and have implications for fruit fly control programs in fields and horticultural trade. PMID:26362991

  20. Effects of Methyl Eugenol Feeding on Mating Compatibility of Asian Population of Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae) with African Population and with B. carambolae

    PubMed Central

    Haq, Ihsan ul; Vreysen, Marc J. B.; Schutze, Mark; Hendrichs, Jorge; Shelly, Todd

    2016-01-01

    Males of some species included in the Bactrocera dorsalis complex are strongly attracted to methyl eugenol (ME) (1,2-dimethoxy-4-(2-propenyl) benzene), a natural compound occurring in a variety of plant species. ME feeding of males of the B. dorsalis complex is known to enhance their mating competitiveness. Within B. dorsalis, recent studies show that Asian and African populations of B. dorsalis are sexually compatible, while populations of B. dorsalis and Bactrocera carambolae are relatively incompatible. The objectives of this study were to examine whether ME feeding by males affects mating compatibility between Asian and African populations of B. dorsalis and ME feeding reduces male mating incompatibility between B. dorsalis (Asian population) and B. carambolae. The data confirmed that Asian and African populations of B. dorsalis are sexually compatible for mating and showed that ME feeding only increased the number of matings. Though ME feeding also increased the number of matings of B. dorsalis (Asian population) and B. carambolae males but the sexual incompatibility between both species was not reduced by treatment with ME. These results conform to the efforts resolving the biological species limits among B. dorsalis complex and have implications for fruit fly control programs in fields and horticultural trade. PMID:26362991

  1. High frequency of the apolipoprotein E *4 allele in African pygmies and most of the African populations in sub-Saharan Africa.

    PubMed

    Zekraoui, L; Lagarde, J P; Raisonnier, A; Gérard, N; Aouizérate, A; Lucotte, G

    1997-08-01

    Apolipoprotein E genotypes (alleles *2, *3, and *4) have been determined in 70 Aka Pygmies and 470 unrelated African sub-Saharan subjects. Allele frequencies for Pygmies are 5.7% for APOE*2, 53.6% for APOE*3, and 40.7% for APOE*4, and the global proportions for sub-Saharan subjects are 11.6% for APOE*2, 70.6% for APOE*3, and 17.8% for APOE*4. The frequencies in some ethnic groups are statistically different from the overall mean in the Afar and the Isa, the Ewe (Togo), the Malinke (Guinea), and the Mossi; three ethnic groups have a higher allele frequency of APOE*4 (Fon, 29.4%; Zairians, 33.3%; Tutsi, 38.5%). The APOE*4 allele is considered the ancestral form because of its high frequency in African Pygmies and other aboriginal populations. PMID:9198315

  2. 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

  3. Obesity and African Americans

    MedlinePlus

    ... Data > Minority Population Profiles > Black/African American > Obesity Obesity and African Americans African American women have the ... ss6304.pdf [PDF | 3.38MB] HEALTH IMPACT OF OBESITY More than 80 percent of people with type ...

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Prevalence of Hb S (HHB: c.20A > T) in a Honduran population of African descent.

    PubMed

    Erazo, Brian M; Ramírez, Gilberto A; Cerrato, Linda E; Pinto, Luis J; Castro, Edder J; Yanez, Néstor J; Montoya, Brayan; Fontecha, Gustavo A

    2015-01-01

    Sickle cell disease is the most common hemoglobinopathy worldwide, particularly in Africa and among people of African descent. Serious clinical consequences characterize the homozygous condition. To determine the prevalence of Hb S (HBB: c.20A > T) and anemia in a community of people of African descent from Honduras, 202 individuals were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). The high prevalence found indicates that it is necessary to implement a program to prevent the consequences of this disease in vulnerable populations of Honduras. PMID:25707678

  7. Genetic testing of canine degenerative myelopathy in the South African Boxer dog population.

    PubMed

    Zeiler, Gareth E; Van der Zwan, Henriette; Oosthuizen, Marinda C

    2013-01-01

    Canine degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a progressive disease process that is diagnosed late in life and mainly affects the pelvic limbs. Factors that make an ante-mortem definitive diagnosis of DM include: an insidious onset and clinical manifestation that mimics other disease processes of the pelvic limbs (hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament rupture, etc.) or there may even be concurrent disease processes, old-age onset and lack of reliable diagnostic methods. Until recently, South African dog owners had to submit samples to laboratories overseas for genetic testing in order to confirm an affected dog (homozygous A/A) and to aid in the ante-mortem diagnosis of DM. Only affected dogs have been confirmed to manifest the clinical signs of DM. This study aimed to verify whether genetic testing by a local genetic laboratory was possible in order to detect a missense mutation of the superoxide dismutase gene (SOD1) that is implicated in causing the clinical signs of DM. The study also aimed to detect and map the inheritance of this disease process in a local Boxer dog population where the pedigree of the sampled population was known. Venous blood collected from Boxer dogs using a simple random sampling technique. The samples were genotyped for the SOD1:c.118G>A polymorphism. Carrier and affected Boxer dogs were detected. A pedigree that demonstrated the significance of inheriting a carrier or affected state in the population was mapped. The present study concludes that genotyping of the missense mutation in Boxer dogs is possible in South Africa. There are carrier and affected Boxer dogs in the local population, making DM a plausible diagnosis in aged dogs presenting with pelvic limb pathology. PMID:27476391

  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. Underreporting of Dietary Energy Intake in Five Populations of the African Diaspora

    PubMed Central

    Orcholski, Lindsay; Luke, Amy; Plange-Rhule, Jacob; Bovet, Pascal; Forrester, Terrence E.; Lambert, Estelle V.; Dugas, Lara R.; Kettmann, Elizabeth; Durazo-Arvizu, Ramon A.; Cooper, Richard S.; Schoeller, Dale A.

    2015-01-01

    Studies on the role of diet in the development of chronic diseases often rely on self-report surveys of dietary intake. Unfortunately, many validity studies have demonstrated that self-reported dietary intake is subject to systematic underreporting, although the vast majority of such studies have been conducted in industrialized countries. The aim of this study was to investigate whether or not systematic reporting error exists among individuals of African ancestry (n=324) in five countries distributed across the Human Development Index scale, a United Nations statistic devised to rank countries on non-income factors plus economic indicators. Using two 24-hour recalls to assess energy intake and the doubly labeled water method to assess total energy expenditure, we calculated the difference between these two values to identify underreporting of habitual energy intake in selected communities in Ghana, South Africa, Seychelles, Jamaica and the United States. Under-reporting of habitual energy intake was observed in all countries. The South African cohort displayed the greatest mean % under-reporting: −52.1% ([self-report - expenditure/expenditure]×100) compared to −22.5%, −17.9%, −25.0%, and −18.5%, for, Ghana, Jamaica, Seychelles and the United States cohorts, respectively. Body mass index was the most consistent predictor of underreporting compared to other factors. We conclude that there is substantial under-reporting in populations across the whole range of the human development index and that this systematic error increases according to an individual’s body mass index. PMID:25585294

  10. Under-reporting of dietary energy intake in five populations of the African diaspora.

    PubMed

    Orcholski, Lindsay; Luke, Amy; Plange-Rhule, Jacob; Bovet, Pascal; Forrester, Terrence E; Lambert, Estelle V; Dugas, Lara R; Kettmann, Elizabeth; Durazo-Arvizu, Ramon A; Cooper, Richard S; Schoeller, Dale A

    2015-02-14

    Studies on the role of diet in the development of chronic diseases often rely on self-report surveys of dietary intake. Unfortunately, many validity studies have demonstrated that self-reported dietary intake is subject to systematic under-reporting, although the vast majority of such studies have been conducted in industrialised countries. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether or not systematic reporting error exists among the individuals of African ancestry (n 324) in five countries distributed across the Human Development Index (HDI) scale, a UN statistic devised to rank countries on non-income factors plus economic indicators. Using two 24 h dietary recalls to assess energy intake and the doubly labelled water method to assess total energy expenditure, we calculated the difference between these two values ((self-report - expenditure/expenditure) × 100) to identify under-reporting of habitual energy intake in selected communities in Ghana, South Africa, Seychelles, Jamaica and the USA. Under-reporting of habitual energy intake was observed in all the five countries. The South African cohort exhibited the highest mean under-reporting ( - 52·1% of energy) compared with the cohorts of Ghana ( - 22·5%), Jamaica ( - 17·9%), Seychelles ( - 25·0%) and the USA ( - 18·5%). BMI was the most consistent predictor of under-reporting compared with other predictors. In conclusion, there is substantial under-reporting of dietary energy intake in populations across the whole range of the HDI, and this systematic reporting error increases according to the BMI of an individual. PMID:25585294

  11. 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

  12. HIV-Associated Oral Mucosal Melanin Hyperpigmentation: A Clinical Study in a South African Population Sample

    PubMed Central

    Chandran, R.; Feller, L.; Lemmer, J.; Khammissa, R. A. G.

    2016-01-01

    Objective. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of HIV-associated oral mucosal melanin hyperpigmentation (HIV-OMH) in a specific population of HIV-seropositive South Africans and to analyse the associations between HIV-OMH clinical features and the demographic and immunological characteristics of the study cohort. Material and Methods. This cross-sectional study included 200 HIV-seropositive Black subjects. The collected data comprised age, gender, CD4+ T cell count, viral load, systemic disease, medications, oral site affected by HIV-OMH, extent (localized or generalized), intensity of the pigmentation (dark or light), and smoking and snuff use. Results. Overall, 18.5% of the study cohort had HIV-OMH. Twenty-two and a half percent had OMH that could not with confidence be attributed to HIV infection, and 59% did not have any OMH. There was a significant but weak association between smoking and the presence of HIV-OMH. Conclusions. The prevalence of HIV-OMH in the study population was 18.5%, the gingiva being the most commonly affected site. It appears that the CD4+ T cell count does not play any role in the biopathology of HIV-OMH. PMID:27006825

  13. HIV-Associated Oral Mucosal Melanin Hyperpigmentation: A Clinical Study in a South African Population Sample.

    PubMed

    Chandran, R; Feller, L; Lemmer, J; Khammissa, R A G

    2016-01-01

    Objective. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of HIV-associated oral mucosal melanin hyperpigmentation (HIV-OMH) in a specific population of HIV-seropositive South Africans and to analyse the associations between HIV-OMH clinical features and the demographic and immunological characteristics of the study cohort. Material and Methods. This cross-sectional study included 200 HIV-seropositive Black subjects. The collected data comprised age, gender, CD4+ T cell count, viral load, systemic disease, medications, oral site affected by HIV-OMH, extent (localized or generalized), intensity of the pigmentation (dark or light), and smoking and snuff use. Results. Overall, 18.5% of the study cohort had HIV-OMH. Twenty-two and a half percent had OMH that could not with confidence be attributed to HIV infection, and 59% did not have any OMH. There was a significant but weak association between smoking and the presence of HIV-OMH. Conclusions. The prevalence of HIV-OMH in the study population was 18.5%, the gingiva being the most commonly affected site. It appears that the CD4+ T cell count does not play any role in the biopathology of HIV-OMH. PMID:27006825

  14. Firearm and Nonfirearm Homicide in 5 South African Cities: A Retrospective Population-Based Study

    PubMed Central

    Thompson, Mary Lou; Myers, Jonathan E.

    2014-01-01

    Objective. We assessed the effectiveness of South Africa’s Firearm Control Act (FCA), passed in 2000, on firearm homicide rates compared with rates of nonfirearm homicide across 5 South African cities from 2001 to 2005. Methods. We conducted a retrospective population-based study of 37 067 firearm and nonfirearm homicide cases. Generalized linear models helped estimate and compare time trends of firearm and nonfirearm homicides, adjusting for age, sex, race, day of week, city, year of death, and population size. Results. There was a statistically significant decreasing trend regarding firearm homicides from 2001, with an adjusted year-on-year homicide rate ratio of 0.864 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.848, 0.880), representing a decrease of 13.6% per annum. The year-on-year decrease in nonfirearm homicide rates was also significant, but considerably lower at 0.976 (95% CI = 0.954, 0.997). Results suggest that 4585 (95% CI = 4427, 4723) lives were saved across 5 cities from 2001 to 2005 because of the FCA. Conclusions. Strength, timing and consistent decline suggest stricter gun control mediated by the FCA accounted for a significant decrease in homicide overall, and firearm homicide in particular, during the study period. PMID:24432917

  15. Context-dependent survival, fecundity and predicted population-level consequences of brucellosis in African buffalo.

    PubMed

    Gorsich, Erin E; Ezenwa, Vanessa O; Cross, Paul C; Bengis, Roy G; Jolles, Anna E

    2015-07-01

    Chronic infections may have negative impacts on wildlife populations, yet their effects are difficult to detect in the absence of long-term population monitoring. Brucella abortus, the bacteria responsible for bovine brucellosis, causes chronic infections and abortions in wild and domestic ungulates, but its impact on population dynamics is not well understood. We report infection patterns and fitness correlates of bovine brucellosis in African buffalo based on (1) 7 years of cross-sectional disease surveys and (2) a 4-year longitudinal study in Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa. We then used a matrix population model to translate these observed patterns into predicted population-level effects. Annual brucellosis seroprevalence ranged from 8·7% (95% CI = 1·8-15·6) to 47·6% (95% CI = 35·1-60·1) increased with age until adulthood (>6) and varied by location within KNP. Animals were on average in worse condition after testing positive for brucellosis (F = -5·074, P < 0·0001), and infection was associated with a 2·0 (95% CI = 1·1-3·7) fold increase in mortality (χ(2)  = 2·039, P = 0·036). Buffalo in low body condition were associated with lower reproductive success (F = 2·683, P = 0·034), but there was no association between brucellosis and pregnancy or being observed with a calf. For the range of body condition scores observed in the population, the model-predicted growth rate was λ = 1·11 (95% CI = 1·02-1·21) in herds without brucellosis and λ = 1·00 (95% CI = 0·85-1·16) when brucellosis seroprevalence was 30%. Our results suggest that brucellosis infection can potentially result in reduced population growth rates, but because these effects varied with demographic and environmental conditions, they may remain unseen without intensive, longitudinal monitoring. PMID:25714466

  16. Genome-Wide SNP Analysis of Southern African Populations Provides New Insights into the Dispersal of Bantu-Speaking Groups

    PubMed Central

    González-Santos, Miguel; Montinaro, Francesco; Oosthuizen, Ockie; Oosthuizen, Erica; Busby, George B.J.; Anagnostou, Paolo; Destro-Bisol, Giovanni; Pascali, Vincenzo; Capelli, Cristian

    2015-01-01

    The expansion of Bantu-speaking agropastoralist populations had a great impact on the genetic, linguistic, and cultural variation of sub-Saharan Africa. It is generally accepted that Bantu languages originated in an area around the present border between Cameroon and Nigeria approximately 5,000 years ago, from where they spread South and East becoming the largest African linguistic branch. The demic consequences of this event are reflected in the relatively high genetic homogeneity observed across most of sub-Saharan Africa populations. In this work, we explored genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data from 28 populations to characterize the genetic components present in sub-Saharan African populations. Combining novel data from four Southern African populations with previously published results, we reject the hypothesis that the “non-Bantu” genetic component reported in South-Eastern Africa (Mozambique) reflects extensive gene flow between incoming agriculturalist and resident hunter-gatherer communities. We alternatively suggest that this novel component is the result of demographic dynamics associated with the Bantu dispersal. PMID:26363465

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Use of anticholinergics and the risk of cognitive impairment in an African American population

    PubMed Central

    Campbell, N.L.; Boustani, M.A.; Lane, K.A.; Gao, S.; Hendrie, H.; Khan, B.A.; Murrell, J.R.; Unverzagt, F.W.; Hake, A.; Smith-Gamble, V.; Hall, K.

    2010-01-01

    Background: Anticholinergic properties of certain medications often go unrecognized, and are frequently used by the elderly population. Few studies have yet defined the long-term impact of these medications on the incidence of cognitive impairment. Methods: We report a 6-year longitudinal, observational study, evaluating 1,652 community-dwelling African American subjects over the age of 70 years who were enrolled in the Indianapolis-Ibadan Dementia Project between 2001 and 2007 and who had normal cognitive function at baseline. The exposure group included those who reported the baseline use of possible or definite anticholinergics as determined by the Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden scale. Our main outcome measure was the incidence of cognitive impairment, defined as either dementia or cognitive impairment not dementia, or poor performance on a dementia screening instrument during the follow-up period. Results: At baseline, 53% of the population used a possible anticholinergic, and 11% used a definite anticholinergic. After adjusting for age, gender, educational level, and baseline cognitive performance, the number of definite anticholinergics was associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment (odds ratio [OR] 1.46, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07–1.99; p = 0.02), whereas the number of possible anticholinergics at baseline did not increase the risk (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.85–1.09; p = 0.55). The risk of cognitive impairment among definite anticholinergic users was increased if they were not carriers of the APOE ε4 allele (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.03–3.05; p = 0.04). Conclusions: Limiting the clinical use of definite anticholinergics may reduce the incidence of cognitive impairment among African Americans. GLOSSARY ACB = Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden scale; CERAD = Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease; CI = confidence interval; CIND = cognitive impairment no dementia; CSI-D = Community Screening Interview for Dementia; DSM

  20. Financial Exploitation and Psychological Mistreatment Among Older Adults: Differences Between African Americans and Non-African Americans in a Population-Based Survey

    PubMed Central

    Beach, Scott R.; Schulz, Richard; Castle, Nicholas G.; Rosen, Jules

    2010-01-01

    Purpose: To examine racial differences in (a) the prevalence of financial exploitation and psychological mistreatment since turning 60 and in the past 6 months and (b) the experience—perpetrator, frequency, and degree of upset—of psychological mistreatment in the past 6 months. Design and methods: Random digit dial telephone recruitment and population-based survey (telephone and in-person) of 903 adults aged 60 years and older in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania (693 non-African American and 210 African American). Covariates included sex, age, education, marital status, household composition, cognitive function, instrumental activities of daily living/activities of daily living difficulties, and depression symptoms. Results: Prevalence rates were significantly higher for African Americans than for non-African Americans for financial exploitation since turning 60 (23.0% vs. 8.4%) and in the past 6 months (12.9% vs. 2.4%) and for psychological mistreatment since turning 60 (24.4% vs. 13.2%) and in the past 6 months (16.1% vs. 7.2%). These differences remained once all covariates were controlled in logistic regression models. There were also racial differences in the experience of psychological mistreatment in the past 6 months. Risk for clinical depression was also a consistent predictor of financial exploitation and psychological mistreatment. Implications: Although the results will need to be replicated in national surveys, the study suggests that racial differences in elder mistreatment are a potentially serious issue deserving of continued attention from researchers, health providers, and social service professionals. PMID:20650947

  1. Genome-wide comparison of African-ancestry populations from CARe and other cohorts reveals signals of natural selection.

    PubMed

    Bhatia, Gaurav; Patterson, Nick; Pasaniuc, Bogdan; Zaitlen, Noah; Genovese, Giulio; Pollack, Samuela; Mallick, Swapan; Myers, Simon; Tandon, Arti; Spencer, Chris; Palmer, Cameron D; Adeyemo, Adebowale A; Akylbekova, Ermeg L; Cupples, L Adrienne; Divers, Jasmin; Fornage, Myriam; Kao, W H Linda; Lange, Leslie; Li, Mingyao; Musani, Solomon; Mychaleckyj, Josyf C; Ogunniyi, Adesola; Papanicolaou, George; Rotimi, Charles N; Rotter, Jerome I; Ruczinski, Ingo; Salako, Babatunde; Siscovick, David S; Tayo, Bamidele O; Yang, Qiong; McCarroll, Steve; Sabeti, Pardis; Lettre, Guillaume; De Jager, Phil; Hirschhorn, Joel; Zhu, Xiaofeng; Cooper, Richard; Reich, David; Wilson, James G; Price, Alkes L

    2011-09-01

    The study of recent natural selection in human populations has important applications to human history and medicine. Positive natural selection drives the increase in beneficial alleles and plays a role in explaining diversity across human populations. By discovering traits subject to positive selection, we can better understand the population level response to environmental pressures including infectious disease. Our study examines unusual population differentiation between three large data sets to detect natural selection. The populations examined, African Americans, Nigerians, and Gambians, are genetically close to one another (F(ST) < 0.01 for all pairs), allowing us to detect selection even with moderate changes in allele frequency. We also develop a tree-based method to pinpoint the population in which selection occurred, incorporating information across populations. Our genome-wide significant results corroborate loci previously reported to be under selection in Africans including HBB and CD36. At the HLA locus on chromosome 6, results suggest the existence of multiple, independent targets of population-specific selective pressure. In addition, we report a genome-wide significant (p = 1.36 × 10(-11)) signal of selection in the prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA) gene. The most significantly differentiated marker in our analysis, rs2920283, is highly differentiated in both Africa and East Asia and has prior genome-wide significant associations to bladder and gastric cancers. PMID:21907010

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Detecting Sex-Biased Gene Flow in African-Americans through the Analysis of Intra- and Inter-Population Variation at Mitochondrial DNA and Y- Chromosome Microsatellites

    PubMed Central

    Battaggia, C; Anagnostou, P; Bosch, I; Brisighelli, F; Destro-Bisol, G; Capocasa, M

    2012-01-01

    This study reports on variations at the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) hypervariable region 1 (HVR-1) and at seven Y-chromosome microsatellites in an African-American population sample from Chicago, IL, USA. Our results support the hypothesis that the population studied had undergone a European male-biased gene flow. We show that comparisons of intra-and inter-population diversity parameters between African-Americans, Europeans and Africans may help detect sex-biased gene flow, providing a complement to quantitative methods to estimate genetic admixture. PMID:24052726

  5. A Review of Dietary Surveys in the Adult South African Population from 2000 to 2015.

    PubMed

    Mchiza, Zandile J; Steyn, Nelia P; Hill, Jillian; Kruger, Annamarie; Schönfeldt, Hettie; Nel, Johanna; Wentzel-Viljoen, Edelweiss

    2015-09-01

    One serious concern of health policymakers in South Africa is the fact that there is no national data on the dietary intake of adult South Africans. The only national dietary study was done in children in 1999. Hence, it becomes difficult to plan intervention and strategies to combat malnutrition without national data on adults. The current review consequently assessed all dietary studies in adults from 2000 to June 2015 in an attempt to portray typical adult dietary intakes and to assess possible dietary deficiencies. Notable findings were that, in South Africa micronutrient deficiencies are still highly prevalent and energy intakes varied between very low intakes in informal settlements to very high intakes in urban centers. The most commonly deficient food groups observed are fruit and vegetables, and dairy. This has been attributed to high prices and lack of availability of these food groups in poorer urban areas and townships. In rural areas, access to healthy foods also remains a problem. A national nutrition monitoring system is recommended in order to identify dietary deficiencies in specific population groups. PMID:26404371

  6. Improved Bowel Preparation with Multimedia Education in a Predominantly African-American Population: A Randomized Study

    PubMed Central

    Garg, Shashank; Girotra, Mohit; Chandra, Lakshya; Verma, Vipin; Kaur, Sumanjit; Allawy, Allawy; Secco, Alessandra; Anand, Rohit; Dutta, Sudhir K.

    2016-01-01

    Background and Aim. Inadequate bowel preparation is a major impediment in colonoscopy quality outcomes. Aim of this study was to evaluate the role of multimedia education (MME) in improving bowel preparation quality and adenoma detection rate. Methods. This was an IRB-approved prospective randomized study that enrolled 111 adult patients undergoing outpatient screening or surveillance colonoscopy. After receiving standard colonoscopy instructions, the patients were randomized into MME group (n = 48) and control group (n = 46). The MME group received comprehensive multimedia education including an audio-visual program, a visual aid, and a brochure. Demographics, quality of bowel preparation, and colonoscopy findings were recorded. Results. MME group had a significantly better bowel preparation in the entire colon (OR 2.65, 95% CI 1.16–6.09) and on the right side of the colon (OR 2.74, 95% CI 1.12–6.71) as compared to control group (p < 0.05). Large polyps (>1 cm) were found more frequently in the MME group (11/31, 35.5% versus 0/13; p < 0.05). More polyps and adenomas were detected in MME group (57 versus 39 and 31 versus 13, resp.) but the difference failed to reach statistical significance. Conclusion. MME can lead to significant improvement in the quality of bowel preparation and large adenoma detection in a predominantly African-American population. PMID:27006590

  7. A Review of Dietary Surveys in the Adult South African Population from 2000 to 2015

    PubMed Central

    Mchiza, Zandile J.; Steyn, Nelia P.; Hill, Jillian; Kruger, Annamarie; Schönfeldt, Hettie; Nel, Johanna; Wentzel-Viljoen, Edelweiss

    2015-01-01

    One serious concern of health policymakers in South Africa is the fact that there is no national data on the dietary intake of adult South Africans. The only national dietary study was done in children in 1999. Hence, it becomes difficult to plan intervention and strategies to combat malnutrition without national data on adults. The current review consequently assessed all dietary studies in adults from 2000 to June 2015 in an attempt to portray typical adult dietary intakes and to assess possible dietary deficiencies. Notable findings were that, in South Africa micronutrient deficiencies are still highly prevalent and energy intakes varied between very low intakes in informal settlements to very high intakes in urban centers. The most commonly deficient food groups observed are fruit and vegetables, and dairy. This has been attributed to high prices and lack of availability of these food groups in poorer urban areas and townships. In rural areas, access to healthy foods also remains a problem. A national nutrition monitoring system is recommended in order to identify dietary deficiencies in specific population groups. PMID:26404371

  8. Evaluation of the Van Herick Technique for Screening for Occludable Angles in an African Population

    PubMed Central

    Bhartiya, Shibal

    2013-01-01

    ABSTRACT The current gold standard for screening for angle closure and adopting universal approaches to prophylaxis is the assessment of the anterior chamber (AC) angle by gonioscopy, a technique that has substantial interobserver variability and relies on subjective assessment. Slit-lamp estimation of the peripheral anterior chamber depth (ACD) by the Van Herick technique is a noncontact approach for estimating angle width and various authors have commented on its sensitivity and specificity as a screening tool for identifying narrow angles as well as angle closure.This case series draws attention to the fact that as many as 28 out of 36 (77.78%) seemingly open angles on Van Herick test were found to be potentially occludable angles on gonioscopy. Therefore, it may be concluded that gonioscopy is essential even in patients with deep peripheral ACs, before an occludable angle can be ruled out. How to cite this article: Bhartiya S, Shaarawy T. Evaluation of the Van Herick Technique for Screening for Occludable Angles in an African Population. J Current Glau Prac 2013;7(2):88-90. PMID:26997787

  9. Genetic architecture of skin and eye color in an African-European admixed population.

    PubMed

    Beleza, Sandra; Johnson, Nicholas A; Candille, Sophie I; Absher, Devin M; Coram, Marc A; Lopes, Jailson; Campos, Joana; Araújo, Isabel Inês; Anderson, Tovi M; Vilhjálmsson, Bjarni J; Nordborg, Magnus; Correia E Silva, António; Shriver, Mark D; Rocha, Jorge; Barsh, Gregory S; Tang, Hua

    2013-03-01

    Variation in human skin and eye color is substantial and especially apparent in admixed populations, yet the underlying genetic architecture is poorly understood because most genome-wide studies are based on individuals of European ancestry. We study pigmentary variation in 699 individuals from Cape Verde, where extensive West African/European admixture has given rise to a broad range in trait values and genomic ancestry proportions. We develop and apply a new approach for measuring eye color, and identify two major loci (HERC2[OCA2] P = 2.3 × 10(-62), SLC24A5 P = 9.6 × 10(-9)) that account for both blue versus brown eye color and varying intensities of brown eye color. We identify four major loci (SLC24A5 P = 5.4 × 10(-27), TYR P = 1.1 × 10(-9), APBA2[OCA2] P = 1.5 × 10(-8), SLC45A2 P = 6 × 10(-9)) for skin color that together account for 35% of the total variance, but the genetic component with the largest effect (~44%) is average genomic ancestry. Our results suggest that adjacent cis-acting regulatory loci for OCA2 explain the relationship between skin and eye color, and point to an underlying genetic architecture in which several genes of moderate effect act together with many genes of small effect to explain ~70% of the estimated heritability. PMID:23555287

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. PSPHL and breast cancer in African American women: causative gene or population stratification?

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Phophoserine phosphatase-like (PSPHL) is expressed at significantly higher levels in breast tumors from African American women (AAW) compared to Caucasian women (CW). How overexpression of PSPHL contributes to outcome disparities is unclear, thus, molecular mechanisms driving expression differences between populations were evaluated. Results PCR was used to detect deletion of 30-Kb of chromosome 7p11 including the first three exons of PSPHL using genomic DNA from AAW (199 with invasive breast cancer, 360 controls) and CW (invasive breast cancer =589, 364 controls). Gene expression levels were evaluated by qRT-PCR using RNA isolated from tumor tissue and blood. Data were analyzed using chi-square analysis and Mann–Whitney U-tests; P < 0.05 was used to define significance. Gene expression levels correlated with deletion status: patients homozygous for the deletion had no detectable expression of PSPHL, while heterozygous had expression levels 2.1-fold lower than those homozygous for retention of PSPHL. Homozygous deletion of PSPHL was detected in 61% of CW compared to 6% of AAW with invasive breast cancer (P < 0.0001); genotype frequencies did not differ significantly between AAW with and without breast cancer (P = 0.211). Conclusions Thus, deletion of 7p11, which prevents expression of PSPHL, is significantly higher in CW compared to AAW, suggesting that this 30-kb deletion and subsequent disruption of PSPHL may be a derived trait in Caucasians. The similar frequency of the deletion allele in AAW with and without invasive breast cancer suggests that this difference represent population stratification, and does not contribute to cancer disparities. PMID:24650299

  13. Prevalence and pattern of snuff dipping in a rural South African population.

    PubMed

    Ayo-Yusuf, O A; Swart, T J; Ayo-Yusuf, I J

    2000-11-01

    The contradictory results of earlier studies on the role of snuff in the aetiology of oral cancer may be due to the heterogeneous composition of snuff and to regional and cultural differences in its use. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and pattern of use of oral snuff in a rural South African adult population, and to report on associated oral lesions. A structured questionnaire was administered by means of face-to-face interviews with a population of 30 randomly selected households (125 adults over the age of 30 years). Of the respondents, 20.8% were active oral snuff-dippers and 80.8% of them had never visited a dentist before. There was no significant difference between the genders of the dippers (P > 0.05). The mean age of dippers was 62.7 years. None of the snuff-dippers chewed or smoked tobacco, but 38.5% used alcohol. Mean dipping period was 21.5 years, for about 2 hours per day and an average of 35 minutes per dip. Of the snuff-dippers, 84.6% place their snuff in the lower labial sulcus and 15.4% in the lower buccal sulcus, 80.8% of the dippers demonstrated keratotic lesions at the site of placement. The clinical severity of the lesions was significantly associated with the brand of snuff used (P < 0.01). The high prevalence of snuff dipping and associated lesion in many of the elderly that had never visited a dentist before highlights the importance of regular screening of this group at risk. PMID:12608224

  14. Oral Health Inequalities between Rural and Urban Populations of the African and Middle East Region.

    PubMed

    Ogunbodede, E O; Kida, I A; Madjapa, H S; Amedari, M; Ehizele, A; Mutave, R; Sodipo, B; Temilola, S; Okoye, L

    2015-07-01

    Although there have been major improvements in oral health, with remarkable advances in the prevention and management of oral diseases, globally, inequalities persist between urban and rural communities. These inequalities exist in the distribution of oral health services, accessibility, utilization, treatment outcomes, oral health knowledge and practices, health insurance coverage, oral health-related quality of life, and prevalence of oral diseases, among others. People living in rural areas are likely to be poorer, be less health literate, have more caries, have fewer teeth, have no health insurance coverage, and have less money to spend on dental care than persons living in urban areas. Rural areas are often associated with lower education levels, which in turn have been found to be related to lower levels of health literacy and poor use of health care services. These factors have an impact on oral health care, service delivery, and research. Hence, unmet dental care remains one of the most urgent health care needs in these communities. We highlight some of the conceptual issues relating to urban-rural inequalities in oral health, especially in the African and Middle East Region (AMER). Actions to reduce oral health inequalities and ameliorate rural-urban disparity are necessary both within the health sector and the wider policy environment. Recommended actions include population-specific oral health promotion programs, measures aimed at increasing access to oral health services in rural areas, integration of oral health into existing primary health care services, and support for research aimed at informing policy on the social determinants of health. Concerted efforts must be made by all stakeholders (governments, health care workforce, organizations, and communities) to reduce disparities and improve oral health outcomes in underserved populations. PMID:26101336

  15. Genome-Wide Association of Body Fat Distribution in African Ancestry Populations Suggests New Loci

    PubMed Central

    Lange, Leslie; Demerath, Ellen W.; Palmas, Walter; Wojczynski, Mary K.; Ellis, Jaclyn C.; Vitolins, Mara Z.; Liu, Simin; Papanicolaou, George J.; Irvin, Marguerite R.; Xue, Luting; Griffin, Paula J.; Nalls, Michael A.; Adeyemo, Adebowale; Liu, Jiankang; Li, Guo; Ruiz-Narvaez, Edward A.; Chen, Wei-Min; Chen, Fang; Henderson, Brian E.; Millikan, Robert C.; Ambrosone, Christine B.; Strom, Sara S.; Guo, Xiuqing; Andrews, Jeanette S.; Sun, Yan V.; Mosley, Thomas H.; Yanek, Lisa R.; Shriner, Daniel; Haritunians, Talin; Rotter, Jerome I.; Speliotes, Elizabeth K.; Smith, Megan; Rosenberg, Lynn; Mychaleckyj, Josyf; Nayak, Uma; Spruill, Ida; Garvey, W. Timothy; Pettaway, Curtis; Nyante, Sarah; Bandera, Elisa V.; Britton, Angela F.; Zonderman, Alan B.; Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J.; Chen, Yii-Der Ida; Ding, Jingzhong; Lohman, Kurt; Kritchevsky, Stephen B.; Zhao, Wei; Peyser, Patricia A.; Kardia, Sharon L. R.; Kabagambe, Edmond; Broeckel, Ulrich; Chen, Guanjie; Zhou, Jie; Wassertheil-Smoller, Sylvia; Neuhouser, Marian L.; Rampersaud, Evadnie; Psaty, Bruce; Kooperberg, Charles; Manson, JoAnn E.; Kuller, Lewis H.; Ochs-Balcom, Heather M.; Johnson, Karen C.; Sucheston, Lara; Ordovas, Jose M.; Palmer, Julie R.; Haiman, Christopher A.; McKnight, Barbara; Howard, Barbara V.; Becker, Diane M.; Bielak, Lawrence F.; Liu, Yongmei; Allison, Matthew A.; Grant, Struan F. A.; Burke, Gregory L.; Patel, Sanjay R.; Schreiner, Pamela J.; Borecki, Ingrid B.; Evans, Michele K.; Taylor, Herman; Sale, Michele M.; Howard, Virginia; Carlson, Christopher S.; Rotimi, Charles N.; Cushman, Mary; Harris, Tamara B.; Reiner, Alexander P.; Cupples, L. Adrienne; North, Kari E.; Fox, Caroline S.

    2013-01-01

    Central obesity, measured by waist circumference (WC) or waist-hip ratio (WHR), is a marker of body fat distribution. Although obesity disproportionately affects minority populations, few studies have conducted genome-wide association study (GWAS) of fat distribution among those of predominantly African ancestry (AA). We performed GWAS of WC and WHR, adjusted and unadjusted for BMI, in up to 33,591 and 27,350 AA individuals, respectively. We identified loci associated with fat distribution in AA individuals using meta-analyses of GWA results for WC and WHR (stage 1). Overall, 25 SNPs with single genomic control (GC)-corrected p-values<5.0×10−6 were followed-up (stage 2) in AA with WC and with WHR. Additionally, we interrogated genomic regions of previously identified European ancestry (EA) WHR loci among AA. In joint analysis of association results including both Stage 1 and 2 cohorts, 2 SNPs demonstrated association, rs2075064 at LHX2, p = 2.24×10−8 for WC-adjusted-for-BMI, and rs6931262 at RREB1, p = 2.48×10−8 for WHR-adjusted-for-BMI. However, neither signal was genome-wide significant after double GC-correction (LHX2: p = 6.5×10−8; RREB1: p = 5.7×10−8). Six of fourteen previously reported loci for waist in EA populations were significant (p<0.05 divided by the number of independent SNPs within the region) in AA studied here (TBX15-WARS2, GRB14, ADAMTS9, LY86, RSPO3, ITPR2-SSPN). Further, we observed associations with metabolic traits: rs13389219 at GRB14 associated with HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting insulin, and rs13060013 at ADAMTS9 with HDL-cholesterol and fasting insulin. Finally, we observed nominal evidence for sexual dimorphism, with stronger results in AA women at the GRB14 locus (p for interaction = 0.02). In conclusion, we identified two suggestive loci associated with fat distribution in AA populations in addition to confirming 6 loci previously identified in populations of EA. These findings reinforce

  16. Ethical and legal implications of whole genome and whole exome sequencing in African populations

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    limited settings. Summary We conclude that, in order to meet the unique requirements of performing next generation sequencing-related research in African populations, novel approaches to the informed consent process are required. This will help to avoid infringement of privacy of individual subjects as well as to ensure that informed consent adheres to acceptable data protection levels with regard to use and transfer of such information. PMID:23714101

  17. Population pharmacokinetic modeling of glibenclamide in poorly controlled South African type 2 diabetic subjects

    PubMed Central

    Rambiritch, Virendra; Naidoo, Poobalan; Maharaj, Breminand; Pillai, Goonaseelan

    2016-01-01

    Aim The aim of this study was to describe the pharmacokinetics (PK) of glibenclamide in poorly controlled South African type 2 diabetic subjects using noncompartmental and model-based methods. Methods A total of 24 subjects with type 2 diabetes were administered increasing doses (0 mg/d, 2.5 mg/d, 5 mg/d, 10 mg/d, and 20 mg/d) of glibenclamide daily at 2-week intervals. Plasma glibenclamide, glucose, and insulin determinations were performed. Blood sampling times were 0 minute, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, and 120 minutes (post breakfast sampling) and 240 minutes, 270 minutes, 300 minutes, 330 minutes, 360 minutes, and 420 minutes (post lunch sampling) on days 14, 28, 42, 56, and 70 for doses of 0 mg, 2.5 mg, 5.0 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg, respectively. Blood sampling was performed after the steady state was reached. A total of 24 individuals in the data set contributed to a total of 841 observation records. The PK was analyzed using noncompartmental analysis methods, which were implemented in WinNonLin®, and population PK analysis using NONMEM®. Glibenclamide concentration data were log transformed prior to fitting. Results A two-compartmental disposition model was selected after evaluating one-, two-, and three-compartmental models to describe the time course of glibenclamide plasma concentration data. The one-compartment model adequately described the data; however, the two-compartment model provided a better fit. The three-compartment model failed to achieve successful convergence. A more complex model, to account for enterohepatic recirculation that was observed in the data, was unsuccessful. Conclusion In South African diabetic subjects, glibenclamide demonstrates linear PK and was best described by a two-compartmental model. Except for the absorption rate constant, the other PK parameters reported in this study are comparable to those reported in the scientific literature. The study is limited by the small study sample size and inclusion of poorly

  18. 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

  19. Assessment of microsatellite and SNP markers for parentage assignment in ex situ African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) populations.

    PubMed

    Labuschagne, Christiaan; Nupen, Lisa; Kotzé, Antoinette; Grobler, Paul J; Dalton, Desiré L

    2015-10-01

    Captive management of ex situ populations of endangered species is traditionally based on pedigree information derived from studbook data. However, molecular methods could provide a powerful set of complementary tools to verify studbook records and also contribute to improving the understanding of the genetic status of captive populations. Here, we compare the utility of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and microsatellites (MS) and two analytical methods for assigning parentage in ten families of captive African penguins held in South African facilities. We found that SNPs performed better than microsatellites under both analytical frameworks, but a combination of all markers was most informative. A subset of combined SNP (n = 14) and MS loci (n = 10) provided robust assessments of parentage. Captive or supportive breeding programs will play an important role in future African penguin conservation efforts as a source of individuals for reintroduction. Cooperation among these captive facilities is essential to facilitate this process and improve management. This study provided us with a useful set of SNP and MS markers for parentage and relatedness testing among these captive populations. Further assessment of the utility of these markers over multiple (>3) generations and the incorporation of a larger variety of relationships among individuals (e.g., half-siblings or cousins) is strongly suggested. PMID:26819703

  20. Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in free-living African mammals.

    PubMed

    Riemann, G P; Burridge, M J; Behymer, D E; Franti, C E

    1975-10-01

    Twelve species of free-living African mammals from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia were tested for antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii using the indirect hemagglutination test. Of 157 animals sampled, 20 (13%) were seropositive. T. gondii antibodies were detected in Burchell's zebra, (Equus burchelli), hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), African elephant (Loxodonta africana), defassa waterbuck (Kobus defassa), lion (Panthera leo), and rock hyrax (Procavia capensis), The highest titers were found in elephants, two having titers of 1:4096 and one of 1:8192. These results are discussed in relation to the maintenance of T. gondii among African wildlife. PMID:1195497

  1. Karyotypical characteristics of two allopatric African populations of anhydrobiotic Polypedilum Kieffer, 1912 (Diptera, Chironomidae) originating from Nigeria and Malawi

    PubMed Central

    Petrova, Ninel A.; Cornette, Richard; Shimura, Sachiko; Gusev, Oleg A.; Pemba, Dylo; Kikawada, Takahiro; Zhirov, Sergey V.; Okuda, Takashi

    2015-01-01

    Abstract The African chironomid Polypedilum vanderplanki Hinton, 1951 is the only chironomid able to withstand almost complete desiccation in an ametabolic state known as anhydrobiosis. The karyotypes of two allopatric populations of this anhydrobiotic chironomid, one from Nigeria and another from Malawi, were described according to the polytene giant chromosomes. The karyotype from the Nigerian population was presented as the reference chromosome map for Polypedilum vanderplanki. Both populations, Nigerian and Malawian, showed the same number of chromosomes (2n=8), but important differences were found in the band sequences of polytene chromosomes, and in the number and the arrangement of active regions between the two populations. Such important differences raise the possibility that the Malawian population could constitute a distinct new species of anhydrobiotic chironomid. PMID:26140160

  2. Blindness and Visual Impairment in an Urban West African Population: The Tema Eye Survey

    PubMed Central

    Budenz, Donald L.; Bandi, Jagadeesh R.; Barton, Keith; Nolan, Winifred; Herndon, Leon; Whiteside-de Vos, Julia; Hay-Smith, Graham; Kim, Hanna; Tielsch, James

    2012-01-01

    Objective To determine the prevalence, etiologies, and risk factors of blindness and visual impairment among persons age 40 years and older residing in an urban West African location. Design Population-based cross-sectional study. Participants Five thousand six hundred and three participants residing in Tema, Ghana. Methods Proportionate random cluster sampling was used to select participants age 40 and over living in the city of Tema. Presenting distance visual acuity was measured at 4 and 1 meters using a reduced Logarithm of the Minimum Angle of Resolution (logMAR) tumbling E chart and then with trial frame based on autorefraction. A screening examination was performed in the field on all participants. Complete clinical examination by an ophthalmologist was performed on participants with best corrected visual acuity < 20/40 or failure of any screening test. Main Outcome Measures Age- and gender-specific prevalence, causes, and risk factors for blindness (visual acuity in the better eye of < 20/400, World Health Organization definition) and visual impairment (visual acuity in the better eye of < 20/40). Results Six thousand eight hundred and six eligible participants were identified of which 5603 (82.3%) participated in the study. The mean age (±standard deviation) of participants was 52.7±10.9. The prevalence of visual impairment was 17.1% and blindness was 1.2%. After refraction and spectacle correction, the prevalence of visual impairment and blindness decreased to 6.7% and 0.75% respectively, suggesting that refractive error is the major correctable etiology of visual impairment and blindness in this population. Of 65 subjects having visual acuity < 20/400, 22 (34%) were correctable with refraction, 21 to the level of visual impairment, and one to normal. The remaining 43 (66%) had underlying pathology (19 cataract, 9 glaucoma, 3 non-glaucomatous optic neuropathy, 3 corneal opacities, 3 retinal disease, 5 undetermined) that prevented refractive correction

  3. 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

  4. Simulating the epidemiological and economic effects of an African swine fever epidemic in industrialized swine populations.

    PubMed

    Halasa, Tariq; Bøtner, Anette; Mortensen, Sten; Christensen, Hanne; Toft, Nils; Boklund, Anette

    2016-09-25

    African swine fever (ASF) is a notifiable infectious disease with a considerable impact on animal health and is currently one of the most important emerging diseases of domestic pigs. ASF was introduced into Georgia in 2007 and subsequently spread to the Russian Federation and several Eastern European countries. Consequently, there is a non-negligible risk of ASF spread towards Western Europe. Therefore it is important to develop tools to improve our understanding of the spread and control of ASF for contingency planning. A stochastic and dynamic spatial spread model (DTU-DADS) was adjusted to simulate the spread of ASF virus between domestic swine herds exemplified by the Danish swine population. ASF was simulated to spread via animal movement, low- or medium-risk contacts and local spread. Each epidemic was initiated in a randomly selected herd - either in a nucleus herd, a sow herd, a randomly selected herd or in multiple herds simultaneously. A sensitivity analysis was conducted on input parameters. Given the inputs and assumptions of the model, epidemics of ASF in Denmark are predicted to be small, affecting about 14 herds in the worst-case scenario. The duration of an epidemic is predicted to vary from 1 to 76days. Substantial economic damages are predicted, with median direct costs and export losses of €12 and €349 million, respectively, when epidemics were initiated in multiple herds. Each infectious herd resulted in 0 to 2 new infected herds varying from 0 to 5 new infected herds, depending on the index herd type. PMID:27599924

  5. Genetic Architecture of Skin and Eye Color in an African-European Admixed Population

    PubMed Central

    Beleza, Sandra; Johnson, Nicholas A.; Candille, Sophie I.; Absher, Devin M.; Coram, Marc A.; Lopes, Jailson; Campos, Joana; Araújo, Isabel Inês; Anderson, Tovi M.; Vilhjálmsson, Bjarni J.; Nordborg, Magnus; Correia e Silva, António; Shriver, Mark D.; Rocha, Jorge

    2013-01-01

    Variation in human skin and eye color is substantial and especially apparent in admixed populations, yet the underlying genetic architecture is poorly understood because most genome-wide studies are based on individuals of European ancestry. We study pigmentary variation in 699 individuals from Cape Verde, where extensive West African/European admixture has given rise to a broad range in trait values and genomic ancestry proportions. We develop and apply a new approach for measuring eye color, and identify two major loci (HERC2[OCA2] P = 2.3×10−62, SLC24A5 P = 9.6×10−9) that account for both blue versus brown eye color and varying intensities of brown eye color. We identify four major loci (SLC24A5 P = 5.4×10−27, TYR P = 1.1×10−9, APBA2[OCA2] P = 1.5×10−8, SLC45A2 P = 6×10−9) for skin color that together account for 35% of the total variance, but the genetic component with the largest effect (∼44%) is average genomic ancestry. Our results suggest that adjacent cis-acting regulatory loci for OCA2 explain the relationship between skin and eye color, and point to an underlying genetic architecture in which several genes of moderate effect act together with many genes of small effect to explain ∼70% of the estimated heritability. PMID:23555287

  6. Population history and gene dispersal inferred from spatial genetic structure of a Central African timber tree, Distemonanthus benthamianus (Caesalpinioideae)

    PubMed Central

    Debout, G D G; Doucet, J-L; Hardy, O J

    2011-01-01

    African rainforests have undergone major distribution range shifts during the Quaternary, but few studies have investigated their impact on the genetic diversity of plant species and we lack knowledge on the extent of gene flow to predict how plant species can cope with such environmental changes. Analysis of the spatial genetic structure (SGS) of a species is an effective method to determine major directions of the demographic history of its populations and to estimate the extent of gene dispersal. This study characterises the SGS of an African tropical timber tree species, Distemonanthus benthamianus, at various spatial scales in Cameroon and Gabon. Displaying a large continuous distribution in the Lower Guinea domain, this is a model species to detect signs of past population fragmentation and recolonization, and to estimate the extent of gene dispersal. Ten microsatellite loci were used to genotype 295 adult trees sampled from eight populations. Three clearly differentiated gene pools were resolved at this regional scale and could be linked to the biogeographical history of the region, rather than to physical barriers to gene flow. A comparison with the distribution of gene pools observed for two other tree species living in the same region invalidates the basic assumption that all species share the same Quaternary refuges and recolonization pathways. In four populations, significant and similar patterns of SGS were detected. Indirect estimates of gene dispersal distances (sigma) obtained for three populations ranged from 400 to 1200 m, whereas neighbourhood size estimates ranged from 50 to 110. PMID:20389306

  7. The episode of genetic drift defining the migration of humans out of Africa is derived from a large east African population size.

    PubMed

    Elhassan, Nuha; Gebremeskel, Eyoab Iyasu; Elnour, Mohamed Ali; Isabirye, Dan; Okello, John; Hussien, Ayman; Kwiatksowski, Dominic; Hirbo, Jibril; Tishkoff, Sara; Ibrahim, Muntaser E

    2014-01-01

    Human genetic variation particularly in Africa is still poorly understood. This is despite a consensus on the large African effective population size compared to populations from other continents. Based on sequencing of the mitochondrial Cytochrome C Oxidase subunit II (MT-CO2), and genome wide microsatellite data we observe evidence suggesting the effective size (Ne) of humans to be larger than the current estimates, with a foci of increased genetic diversity in east Africa, and a population size of east Africans being at least 2-6 fold larger than other populations. Both phylogenetic and network analysis indicate that east Africans possess more ancestral lineages in comparison to various continental populations placing them at the root of the human evolutionary tree. Our results also affirm east Africa as the likely spot from which migration towards Asia has taken place. The study reflects the spectacular level of sequence variation within east Africans in comparison to the global sample, and appeals for further studies that may contribute towards filling the existing gaps in the database. The implication of these data to current genomic research, as well as the need to carry out defined studies of human genetic variation that includes more African populations; particularly east Africans is paramount. PMID:24845801

  8. 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)

  9. 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

  10. Population Structure of Clinical Pseudomonas aeruginosa from West and Central African Countries

    PubMed Central

    Cholley, Pascal; Ka, Roughyatou; Guyeux, Christophe; Thouverez, Michelle; Guessennd, Nathalie; Ghebremedhin, Beniam; Frank, Thierry; Bertrand, Xavier; Hocquet, Didier

    2014-01-01

    Background Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) has a non-clonal, epidemic population with a few widely distributed and frequently encountered sequence types (STs) called ‘high-risk clusters’. Clinical P. aeruginosa (clinPA) has been studied in all inhabited continents excepted in Africa, where a very few isolates have been analyzed. Here, we characterized a collection of clinPA isolates from four countries of West and Central Africa. Methodology 184 non-redundant isolates of clinPA from hospitals of Senegal, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Central African Republic were genotyped by MLST. We assessed their resistance level to antibiotics by agar diffusion and identified the extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) and metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs) by sequencing. The population structure of the species was determined by a nucleotide-based analysis of the entire PA MLST database and further localized on the phylogenetic tree (i) the sequence types (STs) of the present collection, (ii) the STs by continents, (iii) ESBL- and MBL-producing STs from the MLST database. Principal Findings We found 80 distinct STs, of which 24 had no relationship with any known STs. ‘High-risk’ international clonal complexes (CC155, CC244, CC235) were frequently found in West and Central Africa. The five VIM-2-producing isolates belonged to CC233 and CC244. GES-1 and GES-9 enzymes were produced by one CC235 and one ST1469 isolate, respectively. We showed the spread of ‘high-risk’ international clonal complexes, often described as multidrug-resistant on other continents, with a fully susceptible phenotype. The MBL- and ESBL-producing STs were scattered throughout the phylogenetic tree and our data suggest a poor association between a continent and a specific phylogroup. Conclusions ESBL- and MBL-encoding genes are borne by both successful international clonal complexes and distinct local STs in clinPA of West and Central Africa. Furthermore, our data suggest that the spread of a ST could be

  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. 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

    experiments, the amplitudes of both the elephant-coupled Rayleigh wave and the elephant-driven airwave had decayed to almost ambient noise levels at the end of our 168-m-long recording spread. This was most likely due to the high ambient-noise levels during our experiment. Free-ranging African elephants have been shown to respond to low-frequency calls of other elephants at ranges of 2 km with an ideal outer limit of 10 km. Because a surface wave decays at only 1/r, we speculate that wild elephants may detect the Rayleigh waves of other elephants via bone conduction or somatosensory reception or both, and hence may communicate at greater distances than possible using infrasonic calls transmitted through the atmosphere.

  13. 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

  14. The Y Alu polymorphism in southern African populations and its relationship to other Y-specific polymorphisms

    SciTech Connect

    Spurdle, A.B.; Jenkins, T. ); Hammer, M.F. )

    1994-02-01

    Y-linked polymorphisms were studied in a number of African populations. The frequency of the alleles of a Y-specific Alu insertion polymorphism, termed the [open quotes]Y Alu polymorphism,[close quotes] was determined in 889 individuals from 23 different African population groups. A trend in frequency was observed, with the insert largely absent in Caucasoid populations, at intermediate frequency in the Khoisan, and at high frequency in Negroids. The insert predates diversification of Homo sapiens, since it occurs in all groups. The Alu insertion is believed to result from a unique mutation event, and comparisons between this and several other Y-linked polymorphisms were carried out in an attempt to validate their usefulness in population and evolutionary studies. The p21A1/Taql and pDP31/EcoRI polymorphisms and 49a/TaqI alleles were all shown to have arisen on more than one occasion, and evidence exists for a preraciation crossover event between the Y-linked pseudoautosomal XY275 locus and the Y chromosome pseudoautosomal boundary. 33 refs., 4 figs., 5 tabs.

  15. Recruitment of a hidden population: African Americans with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    PubMed

    Williams, Monnica T; Proetto, Dante; Casiano, Delane; Franklin, Martin E

    2012-01-01

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a leading cause of disability worldwide, however for reasons that are poorly understood ethnic minority groups are not well represented in clinical research studies. Thus, although African Americans experience equivalent rates of OCD according to epidemiological surveys, the generalizability of findings from clinical trials remains unknown. Research designed to improve identification, assessment and treatment of OCD is an important public health priority. The purpose of this study is to report outreach methods used to recruit African American adults for participation in an OCD research study. A variety of methods were employed, including radio advertisements, public transportation advertising, community outreach, and online advertising. A total of 83 African American adult participants were recruited over a 9.5 month period at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and given comprehensive psychiatric assessments. African Americans with OCD symptoms were reliably identified and assessed, for a total of 75 with lifetime OCD (4 past and 71 current diagnoses). There was variability in the success and cost effectiveness of study recruitment methods. Radio ads were the most expensive means of recruitment, newspaper ads accounted for the largest number of eligible participants, and no cost methods such as Craig's List and word of mouth were also effective. The authors conclude that, with focused efforts, there are many effective methods for recruiting African Americans with OCD. Guidelines for recruitment are discussed, with a focus on cultural considerations. PMID:21983626

  16. Recruitment of a Hidden Population: African Americans with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Monnica T.; Proetto, Dante; Casiano, Delane; Franklin, Martin

    2011-01-01

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a leading cause of disability worldwide, however for reasons that are poorly understood ethnic minority groups are not well represented in clinical research studies. Thus, although African Americans experience equivalent rates of OCD according to epidemiological surveys, the generalizability of findings from clinical trials remains unknown. Research designed to improve identification, assessment and treatment of OCD is an important public health priority. The purpose of this study is to report outreach methods used to recruit African American adults for participation in an OCD research study. A variety of methods were employed, including radio advertisements, public transportation advertising, community outreach, and online advertising. A total of 83 African American adult participants were recruited over a 9.5 month period at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and given comprehensive psychiatric assessments. African Americans with OCD symptoms were reliably identified and assessed, for a total of 75 with lifetime OCD (4 past and 71 current diagnoses). There was variability in the success and cost effectiveness of study recruitment methods. Radio ads were the most expensive means of recruitment, newspaper ads accounted for the largest number of eligible participants, and no cost methods such as Craig’s List and word of mouth were also effective. The authors conclude that, with focused efforts, there are many effective methods for recruiting African Americans with OCD. Guidelines for recruitment are discussed, with a focus on cultural considerations. PMID:21983626

  17. The species flocks of East African cichlid fishes: recent advances in molecular phylogenetics and population genetics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salzburger, Walter; Meyer, Axel

    With more than 3,000 species, the fish family Cichlidae is one of the most species-rich families of vertebrates. Cichlids occur in southern and central America, Africa, Madagascar, and India. The hotspot of their biodiversity is East Africa, where they form adaptive radiations composed of hundreds of endemic species in several lakes of various sizes and ages. The unparalleled species richness of East African cichlids has been something of a conundrum for evolutionary biologists and ecologists, since it has been in doubt whether these hundreds of species arose by allopatric speciation or whether it is necessary to invoke somewhat less traditional models of speciation, such as micro-allopatric, peripatric, or even sympatric speciation or evolution through sexual selection mediated by female choice. Ernst Mayr's analyses of these evolutionary uniquely diverse species assemblages have contributed to a more direct approach to this problem and have led to a deeper understanding of the patterns and processes that caused the formation of these huge groups of species. We review here recent molecular data on population differentiation and phylogenetics, which have helped to unravel, to some extent, the patterns and processes that led to the formation and ecological maintenance of cichlid species flocks. It is becoming apparent that sexually selected traits do play an important role in speciation in micro-allopatric or even sympatric settings. Species richness seems to be roughly correlated with the surface area, but not the age, of the lakes. We observe that the oldest lineages of a species flock of cichlids are often less species-rich and live in the open water or deepwater habitats. While the species flocks of the Lake Malawai and the Lake Victoria areas were shown to be monophyletic, the cichlid assemblage of Lake Tanganyika seems to consist of several independent species flocks. Cichlids emerge as an evolutionary model system in which many fundamental questions in

  18. 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

  19. Genetic differences among North African Berber and Arab-speaking populations revealed by Y-STR diversity.

    PubMed

    Gaibar, Maria; Esteban, Esther; Harich, Nourdin; Kandil, Mostafa; Fernández-Santander, Ana

    2011-03-01

    Y-chromosome STR polymorphisms are inherited in a haploid state which makes them a powerful tool for easy tracing of paternal lineage and for use in human population evolutionary studies. North-African Y chromosomal diversity has traditionally been studied in order to find genetic and geographic associations as well as to test how natural and cultural barriers have affected the degree of genetic flow not only within North Africa but also in a wider Mediterranean context. The degree of Berber/Arab genetic differentiation in the Moroccan population has been tested for a complete set of forensic markers as sixteen Y-chromosomal short tandem repeats (STRs) (DYS19, DYS385, DYS389I, DYS389II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393, DYS437, DYS438, DYS439, DYS448, DYS456, DYS458, DYS635 and GATA H4.1). The results suggest considerable population heterogeneity in North Africa. PMID:20854231

  20. A prospective study of childhood and adolescent antecedents of homelessness among a community population of African Americans.

    PubMed

    Fothergill, Kate E; Doherty, Elaine E; Robertson, Judith A; Ensminger, Margaret E

    2012-06-01

    Much is known about contemporaneous correlates of homelessness from studies of homeless individuals. However, few studies have prospectively examined early antecedents and prevalence of homelessness in community populations. We use data from a 35-year study of a community population of African Americans to examine relationships between homelessness and prior structural, family, school, and behavioral influences. Nearly 22% of males and 16% of females reported homelessness between ages 15 and 42, providing a rare estimate within an African American urban community population. In bivariate analyses, lower school bonds, depressed mood, violent behavior, and running away in adolescence are predictive for both males and females. Teen parenting and angry mood are unique influences for females, while for males, poor first grade classroom conduct and adolescent substance use are unique risks. In multivariate analyses, poor classroom conduct and weaker school bonds predict homelessness among males, while teen parenting does so for females. Running away before age 15 is strongly predictive of later homelessness for both males and females. These results reveal the relative influence of multiple, interrelated early risks on homelessness and confirm our hypothesis that factors linked to other poor outcomes also relate to homelessness, underscoring another benefit to early prevention efforts. PMID:22234393

  1. Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy Versus Mexameter(®) MX18 Measurements of Melanin and Erythema in an African Population.

    PubMed

    Wright, Caradee Y; Karsten, Aletta E; Wilkes, Marcus; Singh, Ann; du Plessis, Johan; Albers, Patricia N; Karsten, Petrus A

    2016-07-01

    Melanin provides protection against excess exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and related adverse health effects. Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) can be used to calculate cutaneous melanin and erythema, but this is complex and has been mostly used for light-to-medium pigmented skin. Handheld reflectance spectrophotometers, such as the Mexameter(®) MX18, can also be used. We compared DRS-calculated melanin and erythema values with Mexameter melanin and erythema index values to understand how these techniques/measurements correlate in an African population of predominantly deeply pigmented skin. Five hundred and three participants comprised 68.5% self-identified Black African, 9.9% Indian/Asian, 18.4% White and 2.9% Colored. The majority of Black African (45%), Indian/Asian (34%) and Colored (53%) participants self-identified their skin as being "brown." Measured melanin levels increased with darker self-reported skin color. DRS-calculated and Mexameter melanin values demonstrated a positive correlation (Spearman rho = 0.87, P < 0.001). The results from both instruments showed erythema values were strongly correlated with their own melanin values. This finding is considered spurious and may result from the complexity of separating brown and red pigment when using narrowband reflectance techniques. Further work is needed to understand melanin, erythema and color in Black skin given sun-related health risks in vulnerable groups in Africa. PMID:27276188

  2. Critical and Demographic Effective Population Size of African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in Borgu Sector of Kainji Lake National Park, Nigeria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aremu, O. T.; Onadeko, S. A.; Ola-Adams, B. A.; Inah, E. I.

    Effective population size of African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) was estimated using Franklin and Frankham model. Buffalo relative abundance was calculated using a 4x4 km transect constructed in each of the identified six vegetation communities in the Park, which were traversed once a month for a period of 24 months. The results revealed that the relative abundance of Buffalo in the Park was 0.372±0.03 groups km-2 consisting of 51±5.827 groups representing 242±16.309 individuals which consist of 30 adult males and 70 adult females representing 12.40 and 28.93%, respectively of the total Buffalo population in the Park which was considered to be the effective breeding population size. The composition of the population structure was significantly different (p< 0.05). The effective population size of Buffalo in the Park was estimated to be 581.34±4.91 which was above the recommended value of 100 which shows that the Buffalo population in the Park was not threatened by demographic stochasticity factors but rather by illegal human activities in the Park. Measures to improve conservation and management of the existing Buffalo population in the Park are also discussed.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Eliminating Health Disparities in the African American Population: The Interface of Culture, Gender, and Power

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Airhihenbuwa, Collins O.; Liburd, Leandris

    2006-01-01

    Since the release of former Secretary Margaret Heckler's "Secretary's Task Force Report on Black and Minority Health" more than two decades ago, excess death from chronic diseases and other conditions between African Americans and Whites have increased. The conclusion of that report emphasized excess death and thus clinical care, paying little…

  7. Suicide Attempts in an African Schizophrenia Population: An Assessment of Demographic Risk Factors

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Niehaus, D.J.H.; Laurent, C.; Jordaan, E.; Koen, L.; Oosthuizen, P.; Keyter, N.; Muller, J. E.; Mbanga, N. I.; Deleuze, J.-F.; Mallet, J.; Stein, D. J.; Emsley, R.

    2004-01-01

    This study investigated demographic variables, including affected sibling pair status, as risk factors for suicidal behavior in schizophrenia patients of African (Xhosa) descent. Xhosa subjects with schizophrenia were interviewed with the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies (DIGS) and then stratified into two groups: those with ( n = 90) and…

  8. Family Structure, Parental Investment, and Educational Outcomes among Black South Africans. Population Studies Center Research Report.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Anderson, Kermyt G.

    This study examined the relationship between family structure, expenditures on education, and children's educational outcomes for black South Africans, using the nationally representative 1995 October Household Survey. The analyses focused on 28,215 individuals, ages 10 to 24 years, who had not completed secondary schools. The findings indicated…

  9. Civil Rights Movement and the 1990s: Racism and the African-American Population.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Czech, Christopher

    A plan is presented for a curriculum that shows how African Americans have been left out of decision making, stereotyped negatively, and denied resources. The project is intended to be a base for future studies of human relations issues in order to understand how society operates. Using the contexts of the 1960s and the 1990s, the power structures…

  10. Overrepresented Minorities in Special Education in the United States and Romania: Comparison between African-American and Roma Populations in Disability Studies

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Walker, Gabriela

    2008-01-01

    This manuscript briefly examines minority participation within the school population that is eligible for special education services--namely, African Americans in the United States and the Roma population in Romania. A large percentage of students from both minorities come to school unprepared to learn and they remain behind because of the…

  11. The Climate-Population Nexus in the East African Horn: Emerging Degradation Trends in Rangeland and Pastoral Livelihood Zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pricope, N. G.; Husak, G. J.; Funk, C. C.; Lopez-Carr, D.

    2014-12-01

    Increasing climate variability and extreme weather conditions along with declining trends in both rainfall and temperature represent major risk factors affecting agricultural production and food security in many regions of the world. We identify regions where significant rainfall decrease from 1979-2011 over the entire continent of Africa couples with significant human population density increase. The rangelands of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia in the East African Horn remain one of the world's most food insecure regions, yet have significantly increasing human populations predominantly dependent on pastoralist and agro-pastoralist livelihoods. Vegetation in this region is characterized by a variable mosaic of land covers, generally dominated by grasslands necessary for agro-pastoralism, interspersed by woody vegetation. Recent assessments indicate that widespread degradation is occurring, adversely impacting fragile ecosystems and human livelihoods. Using two underutilized MODIS products, we observe significant changes in vegetation patterns and productivity over the last decade all across the East African Horn. We observe significant vegetation browning trends in areas experiencing drying precipitation trends in addition to increasing population pressures. We also found that the drying precipitation trends only partially statistically explain the vegetation browning trends, further indicating that other factors such as population pressures and land use changes are responsible for the observed declining vegetation health. Furthermore, we show that the general vegetation browning trends persist even during years with normal rainfall conditions such as 2012, indicating potential long-term degradation of rangelands on which approximately 10 million people depend. These findings have serious implications for current and future regional food security monitoring and forecasting as well as for mitigation and adaptation strategies in a region where population is expected

  12. Estimates of effective population size and inbreeding in South African indigenous chicken populations: implications for the conservation of unique genetic resources.

    PubMed

    Mtileni, Bohani; Dzama, Kennedy; Nephawe, Khathutshelo; Rhode, Clint

    2016-06-01

    Conservation of locally adapted indigenous livestock breeds has become an important objective in sustainable animal breeding, as these breeds represent a unique genetic resource. Therefore, the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa initiated a conservation programme for four South African indigenous chicken breeds. The evaluation and monitoring of the genetic constitution of these conservation flocks is important for proper management of the conservation programme. Using molecular genetic analyses, the effective population sizes and relatedness of these conservation flocks were compared to village (field) chicken populations from which they were derived. Genetic diversity within and between these populations are further discussed within the context of population size. The conservation flocks for the respective breeds had relatively small effective population sizes (point estimate range 38.6-78.6) in comparison to the field populations (point estimate range 118.9-580.0). Furthermore, evidence supports a transient heterozygous excess, generally associated with the occurrence of a recent population bottleneck. Genetic diversity, as measured by the number of alleles, heterozygosity and information index, was also significantly reduced in the conservation flocks. The average relatedness amongst the conservation flocks was high, whilst it remained low for the field populations. There was also significant evidence for population differentiation between field and conservation populations. F st estimates for conservation flocks were moderate to high with a maximum reached between VD_C and VD_F (0.285). However, F st estimates for field population were excessively low between the NN_C and EC_F (0.007) and between EC_F and OV_F (0.009). The significant population differentiation of the conservation flocks from their geographically correlated field populations of origin is further supported by the analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA), with 10.51 % of genetic

  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. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Low functional redundancy among mammalian browsers in regulating an encroaching shrub (Solanum campylacanthum) in African savannah

    PubMed Central

    Pringle, Robert M.; Goheen, Jacob R.; Palmer, Todd M.; Charles, Grace K.; DeFranco, Elyse; Hohbein, Rhianna; Ford, Adam T.; Tarnita, Corina E.

    2014-01-01

    Large herbivorous mammals play an important role in structuring African savannahs and are undergoing widespread population declines and local extinctions, with the largest species being the most vulnerable. The impact of these declines on key ecological processes hinges on the degree of functional redundancy within large-herbivore assemblages, a subject that has received little study. We experimentally quantified the effects of three browser species (elephant, impala and dik-dik) on individual- and population-level attributes of Solanum campylacanthum (Solanum incanum sensu lato), an encroaching woody shrub, using semi-permeable exclosures that selectively removed different-sized herbivores. After nearly 5 years, shrub abundance was lowest where all browser species were present and increased with each successive species deletion. Different browsers ate the same plant species in different ways, thereby exerting distinct suites of direct and indirect effects on plant performance and density. Not all of these effects were negative: elephants and impala also dispersed viable seeds and indirectly reduced seed predation by rodents and insects. We integrated these diffuse positive effects with the direct negative effects of folivory using a simple population model, which reinforced the conclusion that different browsers have complementary net effects on plant populations, and further suggested that under some conditions, these net effects may even differ in direction. PMID:24789900

  18. Low functional redundancy among mammalian browsers in regulating an encroaching shrub (Solanum campylacanthum) in African savannah.

    PubMed

    Pringle, Robert M; Goheen, Jacob R; Palmer, Todd M; Charles, Grace K; DeFranco, Elyse; Hohbein, Rhianna; Ford, Adam T; Tarnita, Corina E

    2014-06-22

    Large herbivorous mammals play an important role in structuring African savannahs and are undergoing widespread population declines and local extinctions, with the largest species being the most vulnerable. The impact of these declines on key ecological processes hinges on the degree of functional redundancy within large-herbivore assemblages, a subject that has received little study. We experimentally quantified the effects of three browser species (elephant, impala and dik-dik) on individual- and population-level attributes of Solanum campylacanthum (Solanum incanum sensu lato), an encroaching woody shrub, using semi-permeable exclosures that selectively removed different-sized herbivores. After nearly 5 years, shrub abundance was lowest where all browser species were present and increased with each successive species deletion. Different browsers ate the same plant species in different ways, thereby exerting distinct suites of direct and indirect effects on plant performance and density. Not all of these effects were negative: elephants and impala also dispersed viable seeds and indirectly reduced seed predation by rodents and insects. We integrated these diffuse positive effects with the direct negative effects of folivory using a simple population model, which reinforced the conclusion that different browsers have complementary net effects on plant populations, and further suggested that under some conditions, these net effects may even differ in direction. PMID:24789900

  19. The accuracy of the Alvarado score in predicting acute appendicitis in the black South African population needs to be validated

    PubMed Central

    Kong, Victor Y.; Van Der Linde, Stefan; Aldous, Colleen; Handley, Jonathan J.; Clarke, Damian L.

    2014-01-01

    Background The Alvarado score is the most widely used clinical prediction tool to facilitate decision-making in patients with acute appendicitis, but it has not been validated in the black South African population, which has much wider differential diagnosis than developed world populations. We investigated the applicability of this score to our local population and sought to introduce a checklist for rural doctors to facilitate early referral. Methods We analyzed patients with proven appendicitis for the period January 2008 to December 2012. Alvarado scores were retrospectively assigned based on patients’ admission charts. We generated a clinical probability score (1–4 = low, 5–6 = intermediate, 7–10 = high). Results We studied 1000 patients (54% male, median age 21 yr). Forty percent had inflamed, nonperforated appendices and 60% had perforated appendices. Alvarado scores were 1–4 in 20.9%, 5–6 in 35.7% and 7–10 in 43.4%, indicating low, intermediate and high clincial probability, respectively. In our subgroup analysis of 510 patients without generalized peritonitis, Alvarado scores were 1–4 in 5.5%, 5–6 in 18.1% and 7–10 in 76.4%, indicating low, intermediate and high clinical probability, respectively. Conclusion The widespread use of the Alvarado score has its merits, but its applicability in the black South African population is unclear, with a significant proportion of patients with the disease being potentially missed. Further prospective validation of the Alvarado score and possible modification is needed to increase its relevance in our setting. PMID:25078937

  20. 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

  1. Genetic Variation and Reproductive Timing: African American Women from the Population Architecture Using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) Study

    PubMed Central

    Carty, Cara L.; Franceschini, Nora; Fernández-Rhodes, Lindsay; Young, Alicia; Cheng, Iona; Ritchie, Marylyn D.; Haiman, Christopher A.; Wilkens, Lynne; ChunyuanWu; Matise, Tara C.; Carlson, Christopher S.; Brennan, Kathleen; Park, Amy; Rajkovic, Aleksandar; Hindorff, Lucia A.

    2013-01-01

    Age at menarche (AM) and age at natural menopause (ANM) define the boundaries of the reproductive lifespan in women. Their timing is associated with various diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Genome-wide association studies have identified several genetic variants associated with either AM or ANM in populations of largely European or Asian descent women. The extent to which these associations generalize to diverse populations remains unknown. Therefore, we sought to replicate previously reported AM and ANM findings and to identify novel AM and ANM variants using the Metabochip (n = 161,098 SNPs) in 4,159 and 1,860 African American women, respectively, in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) studies, as part of the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) Study. We replicated or generalized one previously identified variant for AM, rs1361108/CENPW, and two variants for ANM, rs897798/BRSK1 and rs769450/APOE, to our African American cohort. Overall, generalization of the majority of previously-identified variants for AM and ANM, including LIN28B and MCM8, was not observed in this African American sample. We identified three novel loci associated with ANM that reached significance after multiple testing correction (LDLR rs189596789, p = 5×10−08; KCNQ1 rs79972789, p = 1.9×10−07; COL4A3BP rs181686584, p = 2.9×10−07). Our most significant AM association was upstream of RSF1, a gene implicated in ovarian and breast cancers (rs11604207, p = 1.6×10−06). While most associations were identified in either AM or ANM, we did identify genes suggestively associated with both: PHACTR1 and ARHGAP42. The lack of generalization coupled with the potentially novel associations identified here emphasize the need for additional genetic discovery efforts for AM and ANM in diverse populations. PMID:23424626

  2. Comparative assessment of absolute cardiovascular disease risk characterization from non-laboratory-based risk assessment in South African populations

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background All rigorous primary cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines recommend absolute CVD risk scores to identify high- and low-risk patients, but laboratory testing can be impractical in low- and middle-income countries. The purpose of this study was to compare the ranking performance of a simple, non-laboratory-based risk score to laboratory-based scores in various South African populations. Methods We calculated and compared 10-year CVD (or coronary heart disease (CHD)) risk for 14,772 adults from thirteen cross-sectional South African populations (data collected from 1987 to 2009). Risk characterization performance for the non-laboratory-based score was assessed by comparing rankings of risk with six laboratory-based scores (three versions of Framingham risk, SCORE for high- and low-risk countries, and CUORE) using Spearman rank correlation and percent of population equivalently characterized as ‘high’ or ‘low’ risk. Total 10-year non-laboratory-based risk of CVD death was also calculated for a representative cross-section from the 1998 South African Demographic Health Survey (DHS, n = 9,379) to estimate the national burden of CVD mortality risk. Results Spearman correlation coefficients for the non-laboratory-based score with the laboratory-based scores ranged from 0.88 to 0.986. Using conventional thresholds for CVD risk (10% to 20% 10-year CVD risk), 90% to 92% of men and 94% to 97% of women were equivalently characterized as ‘high’ or ‘low’ risk using the non-laboratory-based and Framingham (2008) CVD risk score. These results were robust across the six risk scores evaluated and the thirteen cross-sectional datasets, with few exceptions (lower agreement between the non-laboratory-based and Framingham (1991) CHD risk scores). Approximately 18% of adults in the DHS population were characterized as ‘high CVD risk’ (10-year CVD death risk >20%) using the non-laboratory-based score. Conclusions We found a high level of

  3. Comparative Population Genomics of African Montane Forest Mammals Support Population Persistence across a Climatic Gradient and Quaternary Climatic Cycles.

    PubMed

    Demos, Terrence C; Kerbis Peterhans, Julian C; Joseph, Tyler A; Robinson, John D; Agwanda, Bernard; Hickerson, Michael J

    2015-01-01

    The Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot (EABH) has the highest concentration of biodiversity in tropical Africa, yet few studies have investigated recent historical diversification processes in EABH lineages. Herein, we analyze restriction-site associated DNA-sequences (RAD-Seq) to study recent historical processes in co-distributed mouse (Hylomyscus) and shrew (Sylvisorex) species complexes, with an aim to better determine how historical paleoenvironmental processes might have contributed to the EABH's high diversity. We analyzed complete SNP matrices of > 50,000 RAD loci to delineate populations, reconstruct the history of isolation and admixture, and discover geographic patterns of genetic partitioning. These analyses demonstrate that persistently unsuitable habitat may have isolated multiple populations distributed across montane habitat islands in the Itombwe Massif and Albertine Rift to the west as well as Mt Elgon and Kenyan Highlands to the east. We detected low genetic diversity in Kenyan Highland populations of both genera, consistent with smaller historical population sizes in this region. We additionally tested predictions that Albertine Rift populations are older and more persistently isolated compared to the Kenyan Highlands. Phylogenetic analyses support greater historical isolation among Albertine Rift populations of both shrews and mice compared to the Kenyan Highlands and suggest that there are genetically isolated populations from both focal genera in the Itombwe Massif, Democratic Republic of Congo. The Albertine Rift ecoregion has the highest mammalian tropical forest species richness per unit area on earth. Our results clearly support accelerating efforts to conserve this diversity. PMID:26394036

  4. Comparative Population Genomics of African Montane Forest Mammals Support Population Persistence across a Climatic Gradient and Quaternary Climatic Cycles

    PubMed Central

    Demos, Terrence C.; Kerbis Peterhans, Julian C.; Joseph, Tyler A.; Robinson, John D.; Agwanda, Bernard; Hickerson, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    The Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot (EABH) has the highest concentration of biodiversity in tropical Africa, yet few studies have investigated recent historical diversification processes in EABH lineages. Herein, we analyze restriction-site associated DNA-sequences (RAD-Seq) to study recent historical processes in co-distributed mouse (Hylomyscus) and shrew (Sylvisorex) species complexes, with an aim to better determine how historical paleoenvironmental processes might have contributed to the EABH’s high diversity. We analyzed complete SNP matrices of > 50,000 RAD loci to delineate populations, reconstruct the history of isolation and admixture, and discover geographic patterns of genetic partitioning. These analyses demonstrate that persistently unsuitable habitat may have isolated multiple populations distributed across montane habitat islands in the Itombwe Massif and Albertine Rift to the west as well as Mt Elgon and Kenyan Highlands to the east. We detected low genetic diversity in Kenyan Highland populations of both genera, consistent with smaller historical population sizes in this region. We additionally tested predictions that Albertine Rift populations are older and more persistently isolated compared to the Kenyan Highlands. Phylogenetic analyses support greater historical isolation among Albertine Rift populations of both shrews and mice compared to the Kenyan Highlands and suggest that there are genetically isolated populations from both focal genera in the Itombwe Massif, Democratic Republic of Congo. The Albertine Rift ecoregion has the highest mammalian tropical forest species richness per unit area on earth. Our results clearly support accelerating efforts to conserve this diversity. PMID:26394036

  5. Y chromosome probe p49a detects complex PvuII haplotypes and many new TaqI haplotypes in southern African populations.

    PubMed Central

    Spurdle, A; Jenkins, T

    1992-01-01

    Y-specific 49a/TaqI haplotypes were determined for 831 individuals drawn from 21 different southern African populations. A total of 31 new haplotypes were observed, some of which contained new alleles or allelic variants. Duplication, in addition to CpG mutation, is implicated in the generation of certain allelic variants. Cluster analysis of genetic distances between the populations, calculated using the 49a/TaqI haplotype frequencies, revealed a basic split between African and non-African populations. Hybrid groups cluster with the caucasoid groups, indicating that male gene flow has occurred from the latter into the former. Clustering of the negroid and Khoisan groups is not what might have been expected from the known linguistic affinities. It is suggested that the 49a/TaqI haplotype analysis of these populations is not sufficiently sensitive to distinguish between many of the populations. The Y-specific 49a/PvuII polymorphism was studied in 127 individuals from southern African populations, and 17 polymorphic fragments ranging in size from 3.6 kb to greater than 48 kb were identified. A total of 53 PvuII haplotypes were observed, corresponding to only 30 TaqI haplotypes. There appears to be poor correlation between the two polymorphisms. Images Figure 2 Figure 4 PMID:1729883

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Y-Chromosome and mtDNA Genetics Reveal Significant Contrasts in Affinities of Modern Middle Eastern Populations with European and African Populations

    PubMed Central

    Badro, Danielle A.; Youhanna, Sonia C.; Salloum, Angélique; Ghassibe-Sabbagh, Michella; Johnsrud, Brian; Khazen, Georges; Matisoo-Smith, Elizabeth; Soria-Hernanz, David F.; Wells, R. Spencer; Tyler-Smith, Chris; Platt, Daniel E.; Zalloua, Pierre A.

    2013-01-01

    The Middle East was a funnel of human expansion out of Africa, a staging area for the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution, and the home to some of the earliest world empires. Post LGM expansions into the region and subsequent population movements created a striking genetic mosaic with distinct sex-based genetic differentiation. While prior studies have examined the mtDNA and Y-chromosome contrast in focal populations in the Middle East, none have undertaken a broad-spectrum survey including North and sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and Middle Eastern populations. In this study 5,174 mtDNA and 4,658 Y-chromosome samples were investigated using PCA, MDS, mean-linkage clustering, AMOVA, and Fisher exact tests of FST's, RST's, and haplogroup frequencies. Geographic differentiation in affinities of Middle Eastern populations with Africa and Europe showed distinct contrasts between mtDNA and Y-chromosome data. Specifically, Lebanon's mtDNA shows a very strong association to Europe, while Yemen shows very strong affinity with Egypt and North and East Africa. Previous Y-chromosome results showed a Levantine coastal-inland contrast marked by J1 and J2, and a very strong North African component was evident throughout the Middle East. Neither of these patterns were observed in the mtDNA. While J2 has penetrated into Europe, the pattern of Y-chromosome diversity in Lebanon does not show the widespread affinities with Europe indicated by the mtDNA data. Lastly, while each population shows evidence of connections with expansions that now define the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, many of the populations in the Middle East show distinctive mtDNA and Y-haplogroup characteristics that indicate long standing settlement with relatively little impact from and movement into other populations. PMID:23382925

  10. FastStats: Health of Black or African American non-Hispanic Population

    MedlinePlus

    ... Death Life Expectancy Race and Ethnicity Health of American Indian or Alaska Native Population Health of Asian or ... 1 [PDF - 993 KB] Related FastStats Health of American Indian or Alas