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Sample records for african elephant vocalizations

  1. 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.

  2. 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. .

  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. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2003-12-01

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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Insley, Stephen J.; Southall, Brandon L.

    2005-09-01

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

  17. 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

  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. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-08-01

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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

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

  1. 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

  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 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Long-term memory of heterospecific vocalizations by African lions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grinnell, Jon; van Dyk, Gus; Slotow, Rob

    2005-09-01

    Animals that use and evaluate long-distance signals have the potential to glean valuable information about others in their environment via eavesdropping. In those areas where they coexist, African lions (Panthera leo) are a significant eavesdropper on spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta), often using hyena vocalizations to locate and scavenge from hyena kills. This relationship was used to test African lions' long-term memory of the vocalizations of spotted hyenas via playback experiments. Hyena whoops and a control sound (Canis lupus howls) were played to three populations of lions in South Africa: (1) lions with past experience of spotted hyenas; (2) lions with current experience; and (3) lions with no experience. The results strongly suggest that lions have the cognitive ability to remember the vocalizations of spotted hyenas even after 10 years with no contact of any kind with them. Such long-term memory of heterospecific vocalizations may be widespread in species that gain fitness benefits from eavesdropping on others, but where such species are sympatric and often interact it may pass unrecognized as short-term memory instead.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-04-01

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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

    A fatal case of encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) involving an African elephant ( Loxodonta africana ) occurred in November 2013 at the Réserve Africaine de Sigean, France. An adult female was found dead without any preliminary symptoms. Gross pathologic changes consisted of petechiae and hemorrhages on mucosae and internal organs, abundant transudate in the abdominal and pericardial cavities, and myocarditis. Histopathologic examination showed extensive degeneration and necrosis of ventricular cardiomyocytes with concurrent lymphoplasmocytic and eosinophilic infiltrate. An EMCV was isolated from several organs and considered the causative agent of the myocarditis. The same strain of virus was also isolated in rodents captured on zoo premises and considered to be the reservoir of the virus. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first EMCV case in a captive African elephant in Europe. PMID:26056902

  5. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2006-01-01

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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. The Vocal Repertoire of the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus): Structure and Function of Calls

    PubMed Central

    Favaro, Livio; Ozella, Laura; Pessani, Daniela

    2014-01-01

    The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is a highly social and vocal seabird. However, currently available descriptions of the vocal repertoire of African Penguin are mostly limited to basic descriptions of calls. Here we provide, for the first time, a detailed description of the vocal behaviour of this species by collecting audio and video recordings from a large captive colony. We combine visual examinations of spectrograms with spectral and temporal acoustic analyses to determine vocal categories. Moreover, we used a principal component analysis, followed by signal classification with a discriminant function analysis, for statistical validation of the vocalisation types. In addition, we identified the behavioural contexts in which calls were uttered. The results show that four basic vocalisations can be found in the vocal repertoire of adult African Penguin, namely a contact call emitted by isolated birds, an agonistic call used in aggressive interactions, an ecstatic display song uttered by single birds, and a mutual display song vocalised by pairs, at their nests. Moreover, we identified two distinct vocalisations interpreted as begging calls by nesting chicks (begging peep) and unweaned juveniles (begging moan). Finally, we discussed the importance of specific acoustic parameters in classifying calls and the possible use of the source-filter theory of vocal production to study penguin vocalisations. PMID:25076136

  3. The vocal repertoire of the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus): structure and function of calls.

    PubMed

    Favaro, Livio; Ozella, Laura; Pessani, Daniela

    2014-01-01

    The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is a highly social and vocal seabird. However, currently available descriptions of the vocal repertoire of African Penguin are mostly limited to basic descriptions of calls. Here we provide, for the first time, a detailed description of the vocal behaviour of this species by collecting audio and video recordings from a large captive colony. We combine visual examinations of spectrograms with spectral and temporal acoustic analyses to determine vocal categories. Moreover, we used a principal component analysis, followed by signal classification with a discriminant function analysis, for statistical validation of the vocalisation types. In addition, we identified the behavioural contexts in which calls were uttered. The results show that four basic vocalisations can be found in the vocal repertoire of adult African Penguin, namely a contact call emitted by isolated birds, an agonistic call used in aggressive interactions, an ecstatic display song uttered by single birds, and a mutual display song vocalised by pairs, at their nests. Moreover, we identified two distinct vocalisations interpreted as begging calls by nesting chicks (begging peep) and unweaned juveniles (begging moan). Finally, we discussed the importance of specific acoustic parameters in classifying calls and the possible use of the source-filter theory of vocal production to study penguin vocalisations. PMID:25076136

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Species-specific loss of sexual dimorphism in vocal effectors accompanies vocal simplification in African clawed frogs (Xenopus)

    PubMed Central

    Leininger, Elizabeth C.; Kitayama, Ken; Kelley, Darcy B.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Phylogenetic studies can reveal patterns of evolutionary change, including the gain or loss of elaborate courtship traits in males. Male African clawed frogs generally produce complex and rapid courtship vocalizations, whereas female calls are simple and slow. In a few species, however, male vocalizations are also simple and slow, suggesting loss of male-typical traits. Here, we explore features of the male vocal organ that could contribute to loss in two species with simple, slow male calls. In Xenopus boumbaensis, laryngeal morphology is more robust in males than in females. Larynges are larger, have a more complex cartilaginous morphology and contain more muscle fibers. Laryngeal muscle fibers are exclusively fast-twitch in males but are both fast- and slow-twitch in females. The laryngeal electromyogram, a measure of neuromuscular synaptic strength, shows greater potentiation in males than in females. Male-specific physiological features are shared with X. laevis, as well as with a species of the sister clade, Silurana tropicalis, and thus are likely ancestral. In X. borealis, certain aspects of laryngeal morphology and physiology are sexually monomorphic rather than dimorphic. In both sexes, laryngeal muscle fibers are of mixed-twitch type, which limits the production of muscle contractions at rapid intervals. Muscle activity potentiation and discrete tension transients resemble female rather than male X. boumbaensis. The de-masculinization of these laryngeal features suggests an alteration in sensitivity to the gonadal hormones that are known to control the sexual differentiation of the larynx in other Xenopus and Silurana species. PMID:25788725

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  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. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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...

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Vocal individuality cues in the African penguin (Spheniscus demersus): a source-filter theory approach.

    PubMed

    Favaro, Livio; Gamba, Marco; Alfieri, Chiara; Pessani, Daniela; McElligott, Alan G

    2015-01-01

    The African penguin is a nesting seabird endemic to southern Africa. In penguins of the genus Spheniscus vocalisations are important for social recognition. However, it is not clear which acoustic features of calls can encode individual identity information. We recorded contact calls and ecstatic display songs of 12 adult birds from a captive colony. For each vocalisation, we measured 31 spectral and temporal acoustic parameters related to both source and filter components of calls. For each parameter, we calculated the Potential of Individual Coding (PIC). The acoustic parameters showing PIC ≥ 1.1 were used to perform a stepwise cross-validated discriminant function analysis (DFA). The DFA correctly classified 66.1% of the contact calls and 62.5% of display songs to the correct individual. The DFA also resulted in the further selection of 10 acoustic features for contact calls and 9 for display songs that were important for vocal individuality. Our results suggest that studying the anatomical constraints that influence nesting penguin vocalisations from a source-filter perspective, can lead to a much better understanding of the acoustic cues of individuality contained in their calls. This approach could be further extended to study and understand vocal communication in other bird species. PMID:26602001

  7. Vocal individuality cues in the African penguin (Spheniscus demersus): a source-filter theory approach

    PubMed Central

    Favaro, Livio; Gamba, Marco; Alfieri, Chiara; Pessani, Daniela; McElligott, Alan G.

    2015-01-01

    The African penguin is a nesting seabird endemic to southern Africa. In penguins of the genus Spheniscus vocalisations are important for social recognition. However, it is not clear which acoustic features of calls can encode individual identity information. We recorded contact calls and ecstatic display songs of 12 adult birds from a captive colony. For each vocalisation, we measured 31 spectral and temporal acoustic parameters related to both source and filter components of calls. For each parameter, we calculated the Potential of Individual Coding (PIC). The acoustic parameters showing PIC ≥ 1.1 were used to perform a stepwise cross-validated discriminant function analysis (DFA). The DFA correctly classified 66.1% of the contact calls and 62.5% of display songs to the correct individual. The DFA also resulted in the further selection of 10 acoustic features for contact calls and 9 for display songs that were important for vocal individuality. Our results suggest that studying the anatomical constraints that influence nesting penguin vocalisations from a source-filter perspective, can lead to a much better understanding of the acoustic cues of individuality contained in their calls. This approach could be further extended to study and understand vocal communication in other bird species. PMID:26602001

  8. Solitary Sound Play during Acquisition of English Vocalizations by an African Grey Parrot (Psittacus Erithacus): Possible Parallels with Children's Monologue Speech.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pepperberg, Irene M.; And Others

    1991-01-01

    Examines one component of an African Grey parrot's monologue behavior, private speech, while he was being taught new vocalizations. The data are discussed in terms of the possible functions of monologues during the parrot's acquisition of novel vocalizations. (85 references) (GLR)

  9. 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.

  10. Automatic classification of animal vocalizations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clemins, Patrick J.

    2005-11-01

    Bioacoustics, the study of animal vocalizations, has begun to use increasingly sophisticated analysis techniques in recent years. Some common tasks in bioacoustics are repertoire determination, call detection, individual identification, stress detection, and behavior correlation. Each research study, however, uses a wide variety of different measured variables, called features, and classification systems to accomplish these tasks. The well-established field of human speech processing has developed a number of different techniques to perform many of the aforementioned bioacoustics tasks. Melfrequency cepstral coefficients (MFCCs) and perceptual linear prediction (PLP) coefficients are two popular feature sets. The hidden Markov model (HMM), a statistical model similar to a finite autonoma machine, is the most commonly used supervised classification model and is capable of modeling both temporal and spectral variations. This research designs a framework that applies models from human speech processing for bioacoustic analysis tasks. The development of the generalized perceptual linear prediction (gPLP) feature extraction model is one of the more important novel contributions of the framework. Perceptual information from the species under study can be incorporated into the gPLP feature extraction model to represent the vocalizations as the animals might perceive them. By including this perceptual information and modifying parameters of the HMM classification system, this framework can be applied to a wide range of species. The effectiveness of the framework is shown by analyzing African elephant and beluga whale vocalizations. The features extracted from the African elephant data are used as input to a supervised classification system and compared to results from traditional statistical tests. The gPLP features extracted from the beluga whale data are used in an unsupervised classification system and the results are compared to labels assigned by experts. The

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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…

  19. 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

  20. 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 ...

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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 ...

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. An Asian Elephant Imitates Human Speech

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Generalized perceptual features for animal vocalization classification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clemins, Patrick J.; Johnson, Michael T.

    2001-05-01

    Two sets of generalized, perceptual-based features are investigated for use in classifying animal vocalizations. Since many species, especially mammals, share similar physical sound perception mechanisms which vary in size, two features sets commonly used in human speech processing, mel-frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCCs) and perceptual linear prediction (PLP) analysis, are modified for use in other species. One modification made to the feature extraction process is incorporating the frequency range of hearing and length of the basilar membrane of the animal in order to correctly determine the width and location of the critical band filters used for signal processing. Experimentally determined critical bands (equivalent rectangular bandwidth) and equal loudness curves (audiograms) can also be incorporated directly into the feature extraction process. Experiments are performed on African elephant (Loxodonta africana) vocalizations using a hidden Markov model (HMM) based classifier showing increased classification accuracy when using features sets based on the specific animals perceptual abilities compared to the original human perception-based feature sets.

  15. Perceptual and acoustic evidence for species-level differences in meow vocalizations by domestic cats (Felis catus) and African wild cats (Felis silvestris lybica).

    PubMed

    Nicastro, Nicholas

    2004-09-01

    To test for possible anthropogenic selection effects on meows in domestic felids, vocalizations by domestic cats (Felis catus) were compared with cries by their closest wild relative, the African wild cat (Felis silvestris lybica). Comparisons included analysis of acoustic characteristics and perceptual studies with human (Homo sapiens) listeners. The perceptual studies obtained human listener ratings of call pleasantness. Both the acoustic and perceptual comparisons revealed clear species-level differences: The domestic cat meows were significantly shorter in mean duration than the wild cat meows, showed higher mean formant frequencies, and exhibited higher mean fundamental frequencies. Human listeners at all levels of experience and affinity for cats rated domestic cat meows as far more pleasant sounding than wild cat vocalizations. These results are consistent with a model of cat domestication that posits selective pressure on meows based on human perceptual biases. PMID:15482056

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    The human-elephant conflict is one of the most serious conservation problems in Asia and Africa today. The involuntary confrontation of humans and elephants claims the lives of many animals and humans every year. A promising approach to alleviate this conflict is the development of an acoustic early warning system. Such a system requires the robust automated detection of elephant vocalizations under unconstrained field conditions. Today, no system exists that fulfills these requirements. In this paper, we present a method for the automated detection of elephant vocalizations that is robust to the diverse noise sources present in the field. We evaluate the method on a dataset recorded under natural field conditions to simulate a real-world scenario. The proposed method outperformed existing approaches and robustly and accurately detected elephants. It thus can form the basis for a future automated early warning system for elephants. Furthermore, the method may be a useful tool for scientists in bioacoustics for the study of wildlife recordings. PMID:25983398

  2. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-01

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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

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

    PubMed

    Plotnik, Joshua M; de Waal, Frans B M

    2014-01-01

    Contact directed by uninvolved bystanders toward others in distress, often termed consolation, is uncommon in the animal kingdom, thus far only demonstrated in the great apes, canines, and corvids. Whereas the typical agonistic context of such contact is relatively rare within natural elephant families, other causes of distress may trigger similar, other-regarding responses. In a study carried out at an elephant camp in Thailand, we found that elephants affiliated significantly more with other individuals through directed, physical contact and vocal communication following a distress event than in control periods. In addition, bystanders affiliated with each other, and matched the behavior and emotional state of the first distressed individual, suggesting emotional contagion. The initial distress responses were overwhelmingly directed toward ambiguous stimuli, thus making it difficult to determine if bystanders reacted to the distressed individual or showed a delayed response to the same stimulus. Nonetheless, the directionality of the contacts and their nature strongly suggest attention toward the emotional states of conspecifics. The elephants' behavior is therefore best classified with similar consolation responses by apes, possibly based on convergent evolution of empathic capacities. PMID:24688856

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Assessing the General Education Elephant

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Eubanks, David A.

    2008-01-01

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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    de Waal, Frans B.M.

    2014-01-01

    Contact directed by uninvolved bystanders toward others in distress, often termed consolation, is uncommon in the animal kingdom, thus far only demonstrated in the great apes, canines, and corvids. Whereas the typical agonistic context of such contact is relatively rare within natural elephant families, other causes of distress may trigger similar, other-regarding responses. In a study carried out at an elephant camp in Thailand, we found that elephants affiliated significantly more with other individuals through directed, physical contact and vocal communication following a distress event than in control periods. In addition, bystanders affiliated with each other, and matched the behavior and emotional state of the first distressed individual, suggesting emotional contagion. The initial distress responses were overwhelmingly directed toward ambiguous stimuli, thus making it difficult to determine if bystanders reacted to the distressed individual or showed a delayed response to the same stimulus. Nonetheless, the directionality of the contacts and their nature strongly suggest attention toward the emotional states of conspecifics. The elephants’ behavior is therefore best classified with similar consolation responses by apes, possibly based on convergent evolution of empathic capacities. PMID:24688856

  14. 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

  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. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Techniques for Vocal Health.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wiest, Lori

    1997-01-01

    Outlines a series of simple yet effective practices, techniques, and tips for improving the singing voice and minimizing stress on the vocal chords. Describes the four components for producing vocal sound: respiration, phonation, resonation, and articulation. Provides exercises for each and lists symptoms of sickness and vocal strain. (MJP)

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

    Recent research suggests that domesticated species--due to artificial selection by humans for specific, preferred behavioral traits--are better than wild animals at responding to visual cues given by humans about the location of hidden food. \\Although this seems to be supported by studies on a range of domesticated (including dogs, goats and horses) and wild (including wolves and chimpanzees) animals, there is also evidence that exposure to humans positively influences the ability of both wild and domesticated animals to follow these same cues. Here, we test the performance of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) on an object choice task that provides them with visual-only cues given by humans about the location of hidden food. Captive elephants are interesting candidates for investigating how both domestication and human exposure may impact cue-following as they represent a non-domesticated species with almost constant human interaction. As a group, the elephants (n = 7) in our study were unable to follow pointing, body orientation or a combination of both as honest signals of food location. They were, however, able to follow vocal commands with which they were already familiar in a novel context, suggesting the elephants are able to follow cues if they are sufficiently salient. Although the elephants' inability to follow the visual cues provides partial support for the domestication hypothesis, an alternative explanation is that elephants may rely more heavily on other sensory modalities, specifically olfaction and audition. Further research will be needed to rule out this alternative explanation. PMID:23613804

  1. 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.

  2. Northern elephant seal field bioacoustics and aerial auditory masked hearing thresholds in three pinnipeds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Southall, Brandon Lee

    This dissertation comprises four interrelated studies on acoustic communication (including both signal production and signal reception) in pinnipeds, primarily northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris). Field measurements of vocalization parameters were obtained in elephant seal breeding rookeries. Additionally, auditory masking experiments were conducted with individuals representing three pinniped species, including a northern elephant seal. This study quantified how aerial noise masks aerial hearing and provided preliminary data on auditory frequency filtering. All of these studies were conducted in air for a variety of practical and theoretical reasons. Some governmental, media, and research organizations have recently become concerned with the impacts of underwater anthropogenic noise on aquatic animals. However, little consideration has been given to the dual pressures imposed by aerial and underwater noise on amphibious marine mammals such as the pinnipeds. This dissertation sought to provide some basic data bearing on this matter by investigating aerial signals and aerial masked hearing. Data were obtained on aerial vocalization source levels, signal directivity patterns, natural aerial ambient noise, signal propagation properties, multi-modal aspects of signaling, motivation-specific signal variability, aerial critical masking ratios, and auditory filter bandwidths. The results indicate that different signal components may be more readily detectable in variable noise conditions, frequency resolution likely affects detection ranges, developmental and motivational factors affect signal parameters, and that some pinnipeds apparently detect signals over masking noise relatively well both in air and water. Using the northern elephant seal as a representative model, a model for quantifying constraints on vocal communication was developed to provide first-order predictions about detection ranges for signals in variable noise conditions.

  3. 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

  4. 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…

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  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. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Reinforcement of Infant Vocalizations through Contingent Vocal Imitation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pelaez, Martha; Virues-Ortega, Javier; Gewirtz, Jacob L.

    2011-01-01

    Maternal vocal imitation of infant vocalizations is highly prevalent during face-to-face interactions of infants and their caregivers. Although maternal vocal imitation has been associated with later verbal development, its potentially reinforcing effect on infant vocalizations has not been explored experimentally. This study examined the…

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Evolution of Courtship Songs in Xenopus : Vocal Pattern Generation and Sound Production.

    PubMed

    Leininger, Elizabeth C; Kelley, Darcy B

    2015-01-01

    The extant species of African clawed frogs (Xenopus and Silurana) provide an opportunity to link the evolution of vocal characters to changes in the responsible cellular and molecular mechanisms. In this review, we integrate several robust lines of research: evolutionary trajectories of Xenopus vocalizations, cellular and circuit-level mechanisms of vocalization in selected Xenopus model species, and Xenopus evolutionary history and speciation mechanisms. Integrating recent findings allows us to generate and test specific hypotheses about the evolution of Xenopus vocal circuits. We propose that reduced vocal sex differences in some Xenopus species result from species-specific losses of sexually differentiated neural and neuromuscular features. Modification of sex-hormone-regulated developmental mechanisms is a strong candidate mechanism for reduced vocal sex differences. PMID:26138673

  1. 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)

  2. 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…

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Vocal coselection in rat pup ultrasonic vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Spence, Heather R; Aslam, Ali M; Hofer, Myron A; Brunelli, Susan A; Shair, Harry N

    2016-04-01

    Selective breeding and natural selection that select for one trait often bring along other correlated traits via coselection. Selective breeding for an infantile trait, high or low call rates of isolation-induced ultrasonic vocalization of rat pups, also alters functions of some brain systems and emotional behaviors throughout life. We examined the effect of breeding for call rate on acoustic parameters that are of communicative significance. Selecting for higher call rate produced calls of significantly increased amplitude and bandwidth relative to a randomly bred line. Selecting for lower rate produced calls of decreased duration. These nonmorphological, functional trait changes demonstrate enhanced communicatory potential and energy expenditure for the High line and the opposite for the Low line. This demonstration of coselection in a communicatory system suggests an underlying heritable suite of linked acoustic vocalization characteristics that in noisy environments could enhance dam-pup communication and lead to selection of emotionality traits with beneficial responses to stress. PMID:27066218

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. The Xenopus Amygdala Mediates Socially Appropriate Vocal Communication Signals

    PubMed Central

    Ballagh, Irene H.; Kelley, Darcy B.

    2013-01-01

    Social interaction requires that relevant sensory information is collected, classified, and distributed to the motor areas that initiate an appropriate behavioral response. Vocal exchanges, in particular, depend on linking auditory processing to an appropriate motor expression. Because of its role in integrating sensory information for the purpose of action selection, the amygdala has been implicated in social behavior in many mammalian species. Here, we show that two nuclei of the extended amygdala play essential roles in vocal communication in the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. Transport of fluorescent dextran amines identifies the X. laevis central amygdala (CeA) as a target for ascending auditory information from the central thalamic nucleus and as a major afferent to the vocal pattern generator of the hindbrain. In the isolated (ex vivo) brain, electrical stimulation of the CeA, or the neighboring bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), initiates bouts of fictive calling. In vivo, lesioning the CeA of males disrupts the production of appropriate vocal responses to females and to broadcasts of female calls. Lesioning the BNST in males produces an overall decrease in calling behavior. Together, these results suggest that the anuran CeA evaluates the valence of acoustic cues and initiates socially appropriate vocal responses to communication signals, whereas the BNST plays a role in the initiation of vocalizations. PMID:24005304

  9. Pitch underlies activation of the vocal system during affective vocalization.

    PubMed

    Belyk, Michel; Brown, Steven

    2016-07-01

    Affective prosody is that aspect of speech that conveys a speaker's emotional state through modulations in various vocal parameters, most prominently pitch. While a large body of research implicates the cingulate vocalization area in controlling affective vocalizations in monkeys, no systematic test of functional homology for this area has yet been reported in humans. In this study, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare brain activations when subjects produced affective vocalizations in the form of exclamations vs non-affective vocalizations with similar pitch contours. We also examined the perception of affective vocalizations by having participants make judgments about either the emotions being conveyed by recorded affective vocalizations or the pitch contours of the same vocalizations. Production of affective vocalizations and matched pitch contours activated a highly overlapping set of brain areas, including the larynx-phonation area of the primary motor cortex and a region of the anterior cingulate cortex that is consistent with the macro-anatomical position of the cingulate vocalization area. This overlap contradicts the dominant view that these areas form two distinct vocal pathways with dissociable functions. Instead, we propose that these brain areas are nodes in a single vocal network, with an emphasis on pitch modulation as a vehicle for affective expression. PMID:26078385

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Generalized Vocal Imitation in Infants.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Poulson, Claire L.; And Others

    1991-01-01

    Describes a study of three infants whose parents presented vocal models for the infants to imitate. Parents presented vocal models both with and without social praise. Infants showed systematic increases in matching after praise was introduced. Nonmatching vocalizations did not increase with introduction of praise. Findings demonstrate generalized…

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

    PubMed

    Mason, Georgia J; Veasey, Jake S

    2010-01-01

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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. On Vocal Registers.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hollien, Harry

    A vocal register is a series or range of consecutive frequencies that can be produced with nearly identical voice quality. On the basis of research three fundamental registers can be defined and described: pulse, a low range of phonation; modal, a middle or "normal" range; and loft, a high range, described by some as falsetto. These three…

  20. Infant Vocal Development.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hursh, Daniel E.

    In Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior, three categories of environmental control over instances of verbal behavior appear to be relevant to the study of infant vocal development: the mand, the tact, and the echoic categories. Procedures used in the remediation of language deficiencies and procedures found in work in the area of language…

  1. 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

  2. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  5. Dopaminergic Contributions to Vocal Learning

    PubMed Central

    Hoffmann, Lukas A.; Saravanan, Varun; Wood, Alynda N.; He, Li

    2016-01-01

    Although the brain relies on auditory information to calibrate vocal behavior, the neural substrates of vocal learning remain unclear. Here we demonstrate that lesions of the dopaminergic inputs to a basal ganglia nucleus in a songbird species (Bengalese finches, Lonchura striata var. domestica) greatly reduced the magnitude of vocal learning driven by disruptive auditory feedback in a negative reinforcement task. These lesions produced no measureable effects on the quality of vocal performance or the amount of song produced. Our results suggest that dopaminergic inputs to the basal ganglia selectively mediate reinforcement-driven vocal plasticity. In contrast, dopaminergic lesions produced no measurable effects on the birds' ability to restore song acoustics to baseline following the cessation of reinforcement training, suggesting that different forms of vocal plasticity may use different neural mechanisms. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT During skill learning, the brain relies on sensory feedback to improve motor performance. However, the neural basis of sensorimotor learning is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in regulating vocal learning in the Bengalese finch, a songbird with an extremely precise singing behavior that can nevertheless be reshaped dramatically by auditory feedback. Our findings show that reduction of dopamine inputs to a region of the songbird basal ganglia greatly impairs vocal learning but has no detectable effect on vocal performance. These results suggest a specific role for dopamine in regulating vocal plasticity. PMID:26888928

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Research with humans and other animals suggests that walking benefits physical health. Perhaps because these links have been demonstrated in other species, it has been suggested that walking is important to elephant welfare, and that zoo elephant exhibits should be designed to allow for more walking. Our study is the first to address this suggestion empirically by measuring the mean daily walking distance of elephants in North American zoos, determining the factors that are associated with variations in walking distance, and testing for associations between walking and welfare indicators. We used anklets equipped with GPS data loggers to measure outdoor daily walking distance in 56 adult female African (n = 33) and Asian (n = 23) elephants housed in 30 North American zoos. We collected 259 days of data and determined associations between distance walked and social, housing, management, and demographic factors. Elephants walked an average of 5.3 km/day with no significant difference between species. In our multivariable model, more diverse feeding regimens were correlated with increased walking, and elephants who were fed on a temporally unpredictable feeding schedule walked 1.29 km/day more than elephants fed on a predictable schedule. Distance walked was also positively correlated with an increase in the number of social groupings and negatively correlated with age. We found a small but significant negative correlation between distance walked and nighttime Space Experience, but no other associations between walking distances and exhibit size were found. Finally, distance walked was not related to health or behavioral outcomes including foot health, joint health, body condition, and the performance of stereotypic behavior, suggesting that more research is necessary to determine explicitly how differences in walking may impact elephant welfare. PMID:27414411

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Research with humans and other animals suggests that walking benefits physical health. Perhaps because these links have been demonstrated in other species, it has been suggested that walking is important to elephant welfare, and that zoo elephant exhibits should be designed to allow for more walking. Our study is the first to address this suggestion empirically by measuring the mean daily walking distance of elephants in North American zoos, determining the factors that are associated with variations in walking distance, and testing for associations between walking and welfare indicators. We used anklets equipped with GPS data loggers to measure outdoor daily walking distance in 56 adult female African (n = 33) and Asian (n = 23) elephants housed in 30 North American zoos. We collected 259 days of data and determined associations between distance walked and social, housing, management, and demographic factors. Elephants walked an average of 5.3 km/day with no significant difference between species. In our multivariable model, more diverse feeding regimens were correlated with increased walking, and elephants who were fed on a temporally unpredictable feeding schedule walked 1.29 km/day more than elephants fed on a predictable schedule. Distance walked was also positively correlated with an increase in the number of social groupings and negatively correlated with age. We found a small but significant negative correlation between distance walked and nighttime Space Experience, but no other associations between walking distances and exhibit size were found. Finally, distance walked was not related to health or behavioral outcomes including foot health, joint health, body condition, and the performance of stereotypic behavior, suggesting that more research is necessary to determine explicitly how differences in walking may impact elephant welfare. PMID:27414411

  8. Koalas use a novel vocal organ to produce unusually low-pitched mating calls.

    PubMed

    Charlton, Benjamin D; Frey, Roland; McKinnon, Allan J; Fritsch, Guido; Fitch, W Tecumseh; Reby, David

    2013-12-01

    During the breeding season, male koalas produce 'bellow' vocalisations that are characterised by a continuous series of inhalation and exhalation sections, and an extremely low fundamental frequency (the main acoustic correlate of perceived pitch) [1]. Remarkably, the fundamental frequency (F0) of bellow inhalation sections averages 27.1 Hz (range: 9.8-61.5 Hz [1]), which is 20 times lower than would be expected for an animal weighing 8 kg [2] and more typical of an animal the size of an elephant (Supplemental figure S1A). Here, we demonstrate that koalas use a novel vocal organ to produce their unusually low-pitched mating calls. PMID:24309276

  9. Vocalizations of the Kittlitz's Murrelet

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    van Pelt, Thomas I.; Piatt, J.F.; Van Vliet, G. B.

    1999-01-01

    We present the first documentation of Kittlitz's Murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) vocalizations, based on recordings made in Glacier Bay, Alaska, in 1994. We identified two apparently related types of calls: groan and quack. The Kittlitz's Murrelet calls were markedly different from the most common calls of the congeneric Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus), but shared characteristics with the Marbled Murrelet's less common 'groan' call. Phylogeny, breeding biology, and habitat characteristics may explain relationships between the congeneric vocalizations. More complete knowledge of the Kittlitz's Murrelet vocal repertoire is needed before vocalizations can be either used or discarded in the design of effective programs to monitor this rare and poorly-known species.

  10. Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement (PVFM)

    MedlinePlus

    ... Careers Certification Publications Events Advocacy Continuing Education Practice Management Research Home / Information for the Public / Speech, Language and Swallowing / Disorders and Diseases Paradoxical Vocal Fold ...

  11. Biomechanics of locomotion in Asian elephants.

    PubMed

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

    2010-03-01

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

  12. Insightful problem solving in an Asian elephant.

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

    The "aha" moment or the sudden arrival of the solution to a problem is a common human experience. Spontaneous problem solving without evident trial and error behavior in humans and other animals has been referred to as insight. Surprisingly, elephants, thought to be highly intelligent, have failed to exhibit insightful problem solving in previous cognitive studies. We tested whether three Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) would use sticks or other objects to obtain food items placed out-of-reach and overhead. Without prior trial and error behavior, a 7-year-old male Asian elephant showed spontaneous problem solving by moving a large plastic cube, on which he then stood, to acquire the food. In further testing he showed behavioral flexibility, using this technique to reach other items and retrieving the cube from various locations to use as a tool to acquire food. In the cube's absence, he generalized this tool utilization technique to other objects and, when given smaller objects, stacked them in an attempt to reach the food. The elephant's overall behavior was consistent with the definition of insightful problem solving. Previous failures to demonstrate this ability in elephants may have resulted not from a lack of cognitive ability but from the presentation of tasks requiring trunk-held sticks as potential tools, thereby interfering with the trunk's use as a sensory organ to locate the targeted food. PMID:21876741

  13. Nonlinear oscillation of pathological vocal folds during vocalization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wan, Ni; Peng, DanDan; Sun, Min; Zhang, Dong

    2013-07-01

    The extended two-mass model is adopted to analyze the nonlinear oscillation of pathological vocal folds during vocalization. Redundant tissue or area in laryngeal patients is modeled as a massless rigid connected to the upper mass of the vocal folds, and a parameter Q is introduced to represent the change of glottal configurations and tension imbalance between the left and right sides of vocal folds. Numerical simulations demonstrate that the pathological vocal-fold decreases the threshold of Q to generate nonlinear vocal oscillation, indicating the improvement of the sensitivity of vocal folds to asymmetries and enhancing the coupling between two sides. Furthermore, the pathological vocal-fold can lower the fundamental frequency and eliminate high-order harmonics, For example, the fundamental frequency decreases from 119.94 Hz to 84.95 Hz when Q=0.58 and the sub-glottal pressure 1450 Pa. However, there are no prominent effects on the amplitudes of sub-harmonic and low-order harmonics.

  14. A Morphological Analyzer for Vocalized or Not Vocalized Arabic Language

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    El Amine Abderrahim, Med; Breksi Reguig, Fethi

    This research has been to show the realization of a morphological analyzer of the Arabic language (vocalized or not vocalized). This analyzer is based upon our object model for the Arabic Natural Language Processing (NLP) and can be exploited by NLP applications such as translation machine, orthographical correction and the search for information.

  15. 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

  16. A programmable acoustic recording tag and first results from free-ranging northern elephant seals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burgess, W. C.; Tyack, P. L.; Le Boeuf, B. J.; Costa, D. P.

    A hydrophone-equipped tag recorded exposure to noise, as well as physiological and behavioral sounds, on free-ranging northern elephant seals ( Mirounga angustirostris). The compact acoustic probe (CAP) consisted of the hydrophone, a thermistor, and a pressure transducer in a 36 cm long, 10 cm diameter cylindrical hydrodynamic housing capable of withstanding 2000 m depth. The enclosed logging electronics included a programmable "TattleTale 7" data acquisition engine and a 340 Mb hard disk. A custom low-power operating system supported multi-channel interrupt-driven sampling at 5 kHz. The complete tag weighed 0.9 kg in water and displaced 2.1 l. During five deployments on juveniles translocated from and returning to Año Nuevo, California, CAP tags measured dive pattern, ambient and vessel noise exposure, oceanographic ranging (RAFOS) and thermometry (ATOC) beacons, acoustic signatures of swim stroke, surface respiration, and cardiac function, and possible vocalizations.

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

    PubMed

    Fuery, Angela; Tan, Jie; Peng, RongSheng; Flanagan, Joseph P; Tocidlowski, Maryanne E; Howard, Lauren L; Ling, Paul D

    2016-03-01

    The ability of prior infection from one elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) type to protect against clinical or lethal infection from others remains an important question. This report describes viremia and subsequent shedding of EEHV1B in two juvenile 4-yr-old Asian elephants within 3 wk or 2 mo following significant infections caused by the rarely seen EEHV4. High levels of EEHV1B shedding were detected in the first elephant prior to emergence of infection and viremia in the second animal. The EEHV1B virus associated with both infections was identical to the strain causing infection in two herd mates previously. High EEHV viremia correlated with leukopenia and thrombocytopenia, which was followed by leukocytosis and thrombocytosis when clinical signs started to resolve. The observations from these cases should be beneficial for helping other institutions monitor and treat elephants infected with EEHV1, the most common virus associated with lethal hemorrhagic disease. PMID:27010294

  18. Sticky snack for sengis: The Cape rock elephant-shrew, Elephantulus edwardii (Macroscelidea), as a pollinator of the Pagoda lily, Whiteheadia bifolia (Hyacinthaceae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wester, Petra

    2010-12-01

    Following the recent discovery of rodent pollination in the Pagoda lily, Whiteheadia bifolia (Hyacinthaceae) in South Africa, now the Cape rock elephant-shrew, Elephantulus edwardii (Macroscelidea, Afrotheria) is reported as an additional pollinator. Elephant-shrews, live-trapped near W. bifolia plants, were released in two terraria, containing the plants. The animals licked nectar with their long and slender tongues while being dusted with pollen and touching the stigmas of the flowers with their long and flexible noses. The captured elephant-shrews had W. bifolia pollen in their faeces, likely as a result of grooming their fur as they visited the flowers without eating or destroying them. The animals mostly preferred nectar over other food. This is the first record of pollination and nectar consumption in the primarily insectivorous E. edwardii, contributing to the very sparse knowledge about the behaviour of this unique clade of African mammals, as well as pollination by small mammals.

  19. Genes and Vocal Learning

    PubMed Central

    White, Stephanie A.

    2009-01-01

    Could a mutation in a single gene be the evolutionary lynchpin supporting the development of human language? A rare mutation in the molecule known as FOXP2 discovered in a human family seemed to suggest so, and its sequence phylogeny reinforced a Chomskian view that language emerged wholesale in humans. Spurred by this discovery, research in primates, rodents and birds suggests that FoxP2 and other language-related genes are interactors in the neuromolecular networks that underlie subsystems of language, such symbolic understanding, vocal learning and theory of mind. The whole picture will only come together through comparative and integrative study into how the human language singularity evolved. PMID:19913899

  20. A Comprehensive Approach for Modelling Elephant Habitat within the Network of Protected Areas Oti-Keran-Mandouri in Togo (West Africa)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polo-Akpisso, A.; Coulibaly, M.; Soulemane, O.; Wala, K.; Tano, Y.

    2015-12-01

    The network of protected areas Oti-Keran-Mandouri (OKM) is part of one of the most important ecogeographical region for the African savannah elephant conservation in West Africa. However, OKM is under high anthropogenic pressure but it is still considered as a first priority corridor for elephant migration. Therefore a comprehensive suitability model was developed in a GIS environment to identify remaining suitable patch of habitat. Considering the ecology of the African Savannah elephant, criteria such as pound thickness, distance to rivers, distance to roads, distance to settlements, Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) were standardized using appropriate fuzzy membership functions and sum overlaid. A set of elephant occurrence data from park managers and from casual sighting was used as test data. About 29.01 % of the area of OKM was classified as suitable habitat whereas 60.84 % and 10.14% were respectively considered as somewhat and less suitable habitats. About 36.5% of the occurrence data felt in the suitable area while 62.16% in the somewhat suitable area. Forest lands were the main contributor to the suitable habitat whereas others land cover types (savannahs, wetlands and croplands) contributed mostly to the somewhat suitable habitat (60.97% to 63.43%). The Habitat Unit Index (HUI) for suitable habitat shows that forests are the most preferred vegetation type (0.49) followed by wetlands (0.32) and savannah (0.31). Despite the high anthropogenic pressure on OKM, there are still potential suitable patches of elephant habitat. Improvement of management and restauration activities could enable OKM to play a key role in biodiversity conservation in West Africa by allowing the seasonal migration of elephants. This study gives an insight on the availability of suitable habitat within OKM, however, further investigation is needed to refine the model and to assess habitat fragmentation.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Elephant teeth from the atlantic continental shelf

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1967-01-01

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

  4. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Atkins, Lisa; Zong, Jian-Chao; Tan, Jie; Mejia, Alicia; Heaggans, Sarah Y.; Nofs, Sally A.; Stanton, Jeffrey J.; Flanagan, Joseph P.; Howard, Lauren; Latimer, Erin; Stevens, Martina R.; Hoffman, Daryl S.; Hayward, Gary S.; Ling, Paul D.

    2013-01-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) can cause acute hemorrhagic disease with high mortality rates in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Recently, a new EEHV type known as EEHV5 has been described, but its prevalence and clinical significance remain unknown. In this report, an outbreak of EEHV5 infection in a herd of captive Asian elephants in a zoo was characterized. In February 2011, a 42-yr-old wild-born female Asian elephant presented with bilaterally swollen temporal glands, oral mucosal hyperemia, vesicles on the tongue, and generalized lethargy. The elephant had a leukopenia and thrombocytopenia. She was treated with flunixin meglumine, famciclovir, and fluids. Clinical signs of illness resolved gradually over 2 wk, and the white blood cell count and platelets rebounded to higher-than-normal values. EEHV5 viremia was detectable starting 1 wk before presentation and peaked at the onset of clinical illness. EEHV5 shedding in trunk secretions peaked after viremia resolved and continued for more than 2 mo. EEHV5 trunk shedding from a female herd mate without any detectable viremia was detected prior to onset of clinical disease in the 42-yr-old elephant, indicating reactivation rather than primary infection in this elephant. Subsequent EEHV5 viremia and trunk shedding was documented in the other five elephants in the herd, who remained asymptomatic, except for 1 day of temporal gland swelling in an otherwise-healthy 1-yr-old calf. Unexpectedly, the two elephants most recently introduced into the herd 40 mo previously shed a distinctive EEHV5 strain from that seen in the other five elephants. This is the first report to document the kinetics of EEHV5 infection in captive Asian elephants and to provide evidence that this virus can cause illness in some animals. PMID:23505714

  6. The hypoglossal canal and the origin of human vocal behavior.

    PubMed

    Kay, R F; Cartmill, M; Balow, M

    1998-04-28

    The mammalian hypoglossal canal transmits the nerve that supplies the muscles of the tongue. This canal is absolutely and relatively larger in modern humans than it is in the African apes (Pan and Gorilla). We hypothesize that the human tongue is supplied more richly with motor nerves than are those of living apes and propose that canal size in fossil hominids may provide an indication about the motor coordination of the tongue and reflect the evolution of speech and language. Canals of gracile Australopithecus, and possibly Homo habilis, fall within the range of extant Pan and are significantly smaller than those of modern Homo. The canals of Neanderthals and an early "modern" Homo sapiens (Skhul 5), as well as of African and European middle Pleistocene Homo (Kabwe and Swanscombe), fall within the range of extant Homo and are significantly larger than those of Pan troglodytes. These anatomical findings suggest that the vocal capabilities of Neanderthals were the same as those of humans today. Furthermore, the vocal abilities of Australopithecus were not advanced significantly over those of chimpanzees whereas those of Homo may have been essentially modern by at least 400,000 years ago. Thus, human vocal abilities may have appeared much earlier in time than the first archaeological evidence for symbolic behavior. PMID:9560291

  7. 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

  8. Physiologically driven avian vocal synthesizer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sitt, Jacobo D.; Arneodo, Ezequiel M.; Goller, Franz; Mindlin, Gabriel B.

    2010-03-01

    In this work, we build an electronic syrinx, i.e., a programmable electronic device capable of integrating biomechanical model equations for the avian vocal organ in order to synthesize song. This vocal prosthesis is controlled by the bird’s neural instructions to respiratory and the syringeal motor systems, thus opening great potential for studying motor control and its modification by sensory feedback mechanisms. Furthermore, a well-functioning subject-controlled vocal prosthesis can lay the foundation for similar devices in humans and thus provide directly health-related data and procedures.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  10. [Experimental vocal cord abduction impairment with an artificial vocal cord].

    PubMed

    Isozaki, Eiji; Tobisawa, Shinsuke; Nishizawa, Misato; Nakayama, Hideto; Fukui, Kotaro; Takanishi, Asuo

    2009-07-01

    Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) has recently been applied to the patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA) with various respiratory complications including vocal cord abduction impairment and respiratory disturbance by the central origin. Any consensus guidelines on setting up the inspiratory positive airway pressure (IPAP) and expiratory one (EPAP), however, have not been raised yet. To investigate this problem, we made the upper airway tract model with moderately and severely narrow glottis using a training/test lung and the artificial vocal cord which was developed for a humanoid talking robot in Waseda University. The artificial vocal cord was molded out of a high performance thermoplastic rubber in imitation of the human larynx. Previous studies using with a high-speed camera and a sound analyzer showed that the artificial vocal cord resembled human larynx closely both morphologically and functionally. The opening and closing movements of the artificial vocal cord were observed fiberscopically under various conditions of IPAP (4-20 cmH2O) and EPAP (4-10 cmH2O). The maximal glottic width during inspiration and expiration were measured by a pair of calipers on the video-monitored display. Both of the moderately and the severely narrow artificial vocal cords without non-paralytic factors showed typical paradoxical movement showing adduction in inspiration and abduction in expiration, which is characteristic to vocal cord abductor impairment seen in MSA. In the model with moderately severe narrow glottis, this paradoxical movement was released under any positive pressures of continuous (CPAP) and bilevel (Bilevel PAP) modes. In the model with severely narrow glottis, however, there existed a threshold in setting up the optimal EPAP to release the paradoxical movement. In conclusion, EPAP-leading procedure seems to be preferable to IPAP-leading procedure to dilate the narrow glottis as a pneumatic splint in the managements of the patients with

  11. Prelinguistic Vocalizations Distinguish Pointing Acts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grunloh, Thomas; Liszkowski, Ulf

    2015-01-01

    The current study investigated whether point-accompanying characteristics, like vocalizations and hand shape, differentiate infants' underlying motives of prelinguistic pointing. We elicited imperative (requestive) and declarative (expressive and informative) pointing acts in experimentally controlled situations, and analyzed accompanying…

  12. Isoleucine epimerization ages of the dwarf elephants of Sicily

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belluomini, Giorgio; Bada, Jeffrey L.

    1985-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Fuery, Angela; Browning, Geoffrey R; Tan, Jie; Long, Simon; Hayward, Gary S; Cox, Sherry K; Flanagan, Joseph P; Tocidlowski, Maryanne E; Howard, Lauren L; Ling, Paul D

    2016-03-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) can cause lethal hemorrhagic disease in juvenile Asian elephants. A number of EEHV types and subtypes exist, where most deaths have been caused by EEHV1A and EEHV1B. EEHV4 has been attributed to two deaths, but as both diagnoses were made postmortem, EEHV4 disease has not yet been observed and recorded clinically. In this brief communication, two cases of EEHV4 infection in juvenile elephants at the Houston Zoo are described, where both cases were resolved following intensive treatment and administration of famciclovir. A quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction detected EEHV4 viremia that correlated with clinical signs. High levels of EEHV4 shedding from trunk wash secretions of the first viremic elephant correlated with subsequent infection of the second elephant with EEHV4. It is hoped that the observations made in these cases--and the successful treatment regimen used--will help other institutions identify and treat EEHV4 infection in the future. PMID:27010293

  14. Maternal Responsiveness and Infant Vocalization.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Garrity, Linda I.

    The rapidity with which mothers respond to their infants' vocalizations by either vocalizing or verbalizing was compared for five male and five female later-born, (i.e., not first-born) children and their mothers. Videotapes were made from behind a one-way mirror when infants were 2, 26, 52, and 78 weeks of age; each tape represented a five-minute…

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

    PubMed Central

    Stanton, Jeffrey J.; Zong, Jian-Chao; Eng, Crystal; Howard, Lauren; Flanagan, Joe; Stevens, Martina; Schmitt, Dennis; Wiedner, Ellen; Graham, Danielle; Junge, Randall E.; Weber, Martha A.; Fischer, Martha; Mejia, Alicia; Tan, Jie; Latimer, Erin; Herron, Alan; Hayward, Gary S.; Ling, Paul D.

    2013-01-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) can cause fatal hemorrhagic disease in juvenile Asian elephants (Elephas maximus); however, sporadic shedding of virus in trunk washes collected from healthy elephants also has been detected. Data regarding the relationship of viral loads in blood compared with trunk washes are lacking, and questions about whether elephants can undergo multiple infections with EEHVs have not been addressed previously. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to determine the kinetics of EEHV1 loads, and genotypic analysis was performed on EEHV1 DNA detected in various fluid samples obtained from five Asian elephants that survived detectable EEHV1 DNAemia on at least two separate occasions. In three elephants displaying clinical signs of illness, preclinical EEHV1 DNAemia was detectable, and peak whole-blood viral loads occurred 3–8 days after the onset of clinical signs. In two elephants with EEHV1 DNAemia that persisted for 7–21 days, no clinical signs of illness were observed. Detection of EEHV1 DNA in trunk washes peaked approximately 21 days after DNAemia, and viral genotypes detected during DNAemia matched those detected in subsequent trunk washes from the same elephant. In each of the five elephants, two distinct EEHV1 genotypes were identified in whole blood and trunk washes at different time points. In each case, these genotypes represented both an EEHV1A and an EEHV1B subtype. These data suggest that knowledge of viral loads could be useful for the management of elephants before or during clinical illness. Furthermore, sequential infection with both EEHV1 subtypes occurs in Asian elephants, suggesting that they do not elicit cross-protective sterilizing immunity. These data will be useful to individuals involved in the husbandry and clinical care of Asian elephants. PMID:23505702

  16. Leadership in elephants: the adaptive value of age

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-11-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Gibson, P.W.

    1980-01-01

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

  19. My College Education: Looking at the Whole Elephant

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Merrow, John

    2006-01-01

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

  20. Resisting Elephants Lurking in the Music Education Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Regelski, Thomas A.

    2014-01-01

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

  1. 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

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

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

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-04-15

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

  4. Human cerebral response to animal affective vocalizations

    PubMed Central

    Belin, Pascal; Fecteau, Shirley; Charest, Ian; Nicastro, Nicholas; Hauser, Marc D; Armony, Jorge L

    2007-01-01

    It is presently unknown whether our response to affective vocalizations is specific to those generated by humans or more universal, triggered by emotionally matched vocalizations generated by other species. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging in normal participants to measure cerebral activity during auditory stimulation with affectively valenced animal vocalizations, some familiar (cats) and others not (rhesus monkeys). Positively versus negatively valenced vocalizations from cats and monkeys elicited different cerebral responses despite the participants' inability to differentiate the valence of these animal vocalizations by overt behavioural responses. Moreover, the comparison with human non-speech affective vocalizations revealed a common response to the valence in orbitofrontal cortex, a key component on the limbic system. These findings suggest that the neural mechanisms involved in processing human affective vocalizations may be recruited by heterospecific affective vocalizations at an unconscious level, supporting claims of shared emotional systems across species. PMID:18077254

  5. Disabled Vocal Cords: An Occupational Hazard.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kahn, Norma B.

    1987-01-01

    A teacher points out the occupational hazard that can result from the misuse of the voice and ensuing vocal cord damage. Presents discussion of ways to avoid misusing the voice and prevent vocal cord damage. (MD)

  6. Harnessing vocal patterns for social communication

    PubMed Central

    Sweeney, Lora B.; Kelley, Darcy B.

    2014-01-01

    Work on vocal communication, influenced by a drive to understand the evolution of language, has focused on auditory processing and forebrain control of learned vocalizations. The actual hindbrain neural mechanisms used to create communication signals are understudied, in part because of the difficulty of experimental studies in species that rely on respiration for vocalization. In these experimental systems – including those that embody vocal learning – vocal behaviors have rhythmic qualities. Recent studies using molecular markers and “fictive” patterns produced by isolated brains are beginning to reveal how hindbrain circuits generate vocal patterns. Insights from central pattern generators for respiration and locomotion are illuminating common neural and developmental mechanisms. Choice of vocal patterns is responsive to socially salient input. Studies of the vertebrate social brain network suggest mechanisms used to integrate socially salient information and produce an appropriate vocal response. PMID:24995669

  7. Vocal Cord Nodules, Polyps, and Cysts

    MedlinePlus

    ... affect the degree of disruption of vocal cord vibration and subsequently the severity of hoarseness or other ... source allows the examiner to assess vocal fold vibration. Sometimes a second exam will follow a trial ...

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

  9. The vocal monotony of monogamy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, Jeanette

    2003-04-01

    There are four phocids in waters around Antarctica: Weddell, leopard, crabeater, and Ross seals. These four species provide a unique opportunity to examine underwater vocal behavior in species sharing the same ecosystem. Some species live in pack ice, others in factice, but all are restricted to the Antarctic or sub-Antarctic islands. All breed and produce vocalizations under water. Social systems range from polygyny in large breeding colonies, to serial monogamy, to solitary species. The type of mating system influences the number of underwater vocalizations in the repertoire, with monogamous seals producing only a single call, polygynous species producing up to 35 calls, and solitary species an intermediate number of about 10 calls. Breeding occurs during the austral spring and each species carves-out an acoustic niche for communicating, with species using different frequency ranges, temporal patterns, and amplitude changes to convey their species-specific calls and presumably reduce acoustic competition. Some species exhibit geographic variations in their vocalizations around the continent, which may reflect discrete breeding populations. Some seals become silent during a vulnerable time of predation by killer whales, perhaps to avoid detection. Overall, vocalizations of these seals exhibit adaptive characteristics that reflect the co-evolution among species in the same ecosystem.

  10. Vocal exercise may attenuate acute vocal fold inflammation

    PubMed Central

    Abbott, Katherine Verdolini; Li, Nicole Y.K.; Branski, Ryan C.; Rosen, Clark A.; Grillo, Elizabeth; Steinhauer, Kimberly; Hebda, Patricia A.

    2012-01-01

    Objectives/Hypotheses The objective was to assess the utility of selected “resonant voice” exercises for the reduction of acute vocal fold inflammation. The hypothesis was that relatively large-amplitude, low-impact exercises associated with resonant voice would reduce inflammation more than spontaneous speech and possibly more than voice rest. Study Design The study design was prospective, randomized, double-blind. Methods Nine vocally healthy adults underwent a 1-hr vocal loading procedure, followed by randomization to (a) a spontaneous speech condition, (b) a vocal rest condition, or (c) a resonant voice exercise condition. Treatments were monitored in clinic for 4 hr, and continued extra-clinically until the next morning. At baseline, immediately following loading, after the 4-hr in-clinic treatment, and 24 hr post baseline, secretions were suctioned from the vocal folds bilaterally and submitted to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to estimate concentrations of key markers of tissue injury and inflammation: IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, MMP-8, and IL-10. Results Complete data sets were obtained for 3 markers -- IL-1β, IL-6, and MMP-8 -- for one subject in each treatment condition. For those markers, results were poorest at 24-hr follow-up in the spontaneous speech condition, sharply improved in the voice rest condition, and best in the resonant voice condition. Average results for all markers, for all responsive subjects with normal baseline mediator concentrations, revealed an almost identical pattern. Conclusions Some forms of tissue mobilization may be useful to attenuate acute vocal fold inflammation. PMID:23177745

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

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

  12. Development of Social Vocalizations in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Grimsley, Jasmine M. S.; Monaghan, Jessica J. M.; Wenstrup, Jeffrey J.

    2011-01-01

    Adult mice are highly vocal animals, with both males and females vocalizing in same sex and cross sex social encounters. Mouse pups are also highly vocal, producing isolation vocalizations when they are cold or removed from the nest. This study examined patterns in the development of pup isolation vocalizations, and compared these to adult vocalizations. In three litters of CBA/CaJ mice, we recorded isolation vocalizations at ages postnatal day 5 (p5), p7, p9, p11, and p13. Adult vocalizations were obtained in a variety of social situations. Altogether, 28,384 discrete vocal signals were recorded using high-frequency-sensitive equipment and analyzed for syllable type, spectral and temporal features, and the temporal sequencing within bouts. We found that pups produced all but one of the 11 syllable types recorded from adults. The proportions of syllable types changed developmentally, but even the youngest pups produced complex syllables with frequency-time variations. When all syllable types were pooled together for analysis, changes in the peak frequency or the duration of syllables were small, although significant, from p5 through p13. However, individual syllable types showed different, large patterns of change over development, requiring analysis of each syllable type separately. Most adult syllables were substantially lower in frequency and shorter in duration. As pups aged, the complexity of vocal bouts increased, with a greater tendency to switch between syllable types. Vocal bouts from older animals, p13 and adult, had significantly more sequential structure than those from younger mice. Overall, these results demonstrate substantial changes in social vocalizations with age. Future studies are required to identify whether these changes result from developmental processes affecting the vocal tract or control of vocalization, or from vocal learning. To provide a tool for further research, we developed a MATLAB program that generates bouts of vocalizations

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kazemek, Francis E.

    1999-01-01

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

  14. Vocal Nodules: Their Cause and Treatment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Teter, Darrel L.

    1977-01-01

    Provides knowledge about the workings of the vocal apparatus, the scientific basis of certain vocal problems, and what to do to overcome those problems. Specifically discusses the occurrence of nodules on the vocal cords and how to treat them, a subject of interest to both singers and nonsingers. (Editor/RK)

  15. Effects of Social Games on Infant Vocalizations

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hsu, Hui-Chin; Iyer, Suneeti Nathani; Fogel, Alan

    2014-01-01

    The aim of the present study was to examine the contextual effects of social games on prelinguistic vocalizations. The two main goals were to (1) investigate the functions of vocalizations as symptoms of affective arousal and symbols of social understanding, and (2) explore form-function (de)coupling relations between vocalization types and game…

  16. An Investigation of Extinction-Induced Vocalizations

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Valentino, Amber L.; Shillingsburg, M. Alice; Call, Nathan A.; Burton, Britney; Bowen, Crystal N.

    2011-01-01

    Children with autism have significant communication delays. Although some children develop vocalizations through shaping and differential reinforcement, others rarely exhibit vocalizations, and alternative methods are targeted in intervention. However, vocal language often remains a goal for caregivers and clinicians. Thus, strategies to increase…

  17. The Role of Prelinguistic Vocalizations in Infancy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ramey, Craig T.

    This paper deals with three areas concerning early vocal development: (1) review and critique of existing experimental evidence suggesting that early vocal behavior has the properties of an operant response, (2) speculations concerning the role of non-verbal vocal behavior in early psychological development, and (3) suggestions for future…

  18. 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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sasani, Samira

    2015-01-01

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

  20. Testing the evolutionary conservation of vocal motoneurons in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Albersheim-Carter, Jacob; Blubaum, Aleksandar; Ballagh, Irene H; Missaghi, Kianoush; Siuda, Edward R; McMurray, George; Bass, Andrew H; Dubuc, Réjean; Kelley, Darcy B; Schmidt, Marc F; Wilson, Richard J A; Gray, Paul A

    2016-04-01

    Medullary motoneurons drive vocalization in many vertebrate lineages including fish, amphibians, birds, and mammals. The developmental history of vocal motoneuron populations in each of these lineages remains largely unknown. The highly conserved transcription factor Paired-like Homeobox 2b (Phox2b) is presumed to be expressed in all vertebrate hindbrain branchial motoneurons, including laryngeal motoneurons essential for vocalization in humans. We used immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization to examine Phox2b protein and mRNA expression in caudal hindbrain and rostral spinal cord motoneuron populations in seven species across five chordate classes. Phox2b was present in motoneurons dedicated to sound production in mice and frogs (bullfrog, African clawed frog), but not those in bird (zebra finch) or bony fish (midshipman, channel catfish). Overall, the pattern of caudal medullary motoneuron Phox2b expression was conserved across vertebrates and similar to expression in sea lamprey. These observations suggest that motoneurons dedicated to sound production in vertebrates are not derived from a single developmentally or evolutionarily conserved progenitor pool. PMID:26160673

  1. Cetacean vocal learning and communication.

    PubMed

    Janik, Vincent M

    2014-10-01

    The cetaceans are one of the few mammalian clades capable of vocal production learning. Evidence for this comes from synchronous changes in song patterns of baleen whales and experimental work on toothed whales in captivity. While baleen whales like many vocal learners use this skill in song displays that are involved in sexual selection, toothed whales use learned signals in individual recognition and the negotiation of social relationships. Experimental studies demonstrated that dolphins can use learned signals referentially. Studies on wild dolphins demonstrated how this skill appears to be useful in their own communication system, making them an interesting subject for comparative communication studies. PMID:25057816

  2. Referential Mapping: A Technique for Attaching Functional Significance to the Innovative Utterances of an African Grey Parrot (Psittascus Erithacus).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pepperberg, Irene M.

    1990-01-01

    Spontaneous combinations and phonological variations of the vocalizations of an African Grey parrot were treated as if they were intentional requests or comments. The success of these "referential mapping" procedures in attaching functional significance to the parrot's vocalizations may have implications for intervention programs for humans with…

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

    PubMed

    Ong, B L; Ngeow, Y F; Razak, M F A Abdul; Yakubu, Y; Zakaria, Z; Mutalib, A R; Hassan, L; Ng, H F; Verasahib, K

    2013-07-01

    A cross-sectional study was conducted from 10 January to 9 April 2012, to determine the seroprevalence of tuberculosis (TB) of all captive Asian elephants and their handlers in six locations in Peninsular Malaysia. In addition, trunk-wash samples were examined for tubercle bacillus by culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). For 63 elephants and 149 elephant handlers, TB seroprevalence was estimated at 20.4% and 24.8%, respectively. From 151 trunkwash samples, 24 acid-fast isolates were obtained, 23 of which were identified by hsp65-based sequencing as non-tuberculous mycobacteria. The Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific PCR was positive in the trunk-wash samples from three elephants which were also seropositive. Conversely, the trunk wash from seven seropositive elephants were PCR negative. Hence, there was evidence of active and latent TB in the elephants and the high seroprevalence in the elephants and their handlers suggests frequent, close contact, two-way transmission between animals and humans within confined workplaces. PMID:23414617

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

    PubMed

    Piggott, Jan R

    2004-09-01

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

  5. Assessing Vocal Development in Infants and Toddlers

    PubMed Central

    Nathani, Suneeti; Ertmer, David J.

    2012-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to examine changes in prelinguistic vocal productions during the first 20 months of life. Vocalizations were classified into 23 mutually exclusive and exhaustive types, and grouped into five ascending levels using the Stark Assessment of Early Vocal Development-Revised (SAEVD-R). Data from 30 typically developing infants, aged 0–20 months, show that older infants attained higher developmental levels on the SAEVD-R than younger infants. Infants 0–2, 3–5, and 6–8 months of age primarily produced vocalizations from Levels 1 (Reflexive), 2 (Control of Phonation), and 3 (Expansion). Infants 9–20 months of age also produced vocalizations from Level 4 (Basic Canonical Syllables). Only infants from 16–20 months of age produced Level 5 (Advanced Forms) vocalizations in significant quantities. The outcomes indicate that the SAEVD-R is a valuable instrument for evaluating prelinguistic vocal development. PMID:16728333

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Vocal Health for Physical Educators

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Trout, Josh; McColl, Douglas

    2007-01-01

    Evidence suggests that teachers are often at risk for vocal disease and are more likely to change occupations because of their voice problems compared to non-teachers. Physical educators are especially at risk for voice problems due to the intense daily demands of voice projection. Chronic abuse can cause swelling and inflammation of the…

  9. Acoustic correlates of vocal quality.

    PubMed

    Eskenazi, L; Childers, D G; Hicks, D M

    1990-06-01

    We have investigated the relationship between various voice qualities and several acoustic measures made from the vowel /i/ phonated by subjects with normal voices and patients with vocal disorders. Among the patients (pathological voices), five qualities were investigated: overall severity, hoarseness, breathiness, roughness, and vocal fry. Six acoustic measures were examined. With one exception, all measures were extracted from the residue signal obtained by inverse filtering the speech signal using the linear predictive coding (LPC) technique. A formal listening test was implemented to rate each pathological voice for each vocal quality. A formal listening test also rated overall excellence of the normal voices. A scale of 1-7 was used. Multiple linear regression analysis between the results of the listening test and the various acoustic measures was used with the prediction sums of squares (PRESS) as the selection criteria. Useful prediction equations of order two or less were obtained relating certain acoustic measures and the ratings of pathological voices for each of the five qualities. The two most useful parameters for predicting vocal quality were the Pitch Amplitude (PA) and the Harmonics-to-Noise Ratio (HNR). No acoustic measure could rank the normal voices. PMID:2359270

  10. Combating Stagefright: Selected Vocal Exercises.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ratliff, Gerald Lee

    Noting that stagefright has been the subject of intensive analysis and subjected to almost every conceivable test or measurement without revealing either its "cause" or its "cure," this paper presents vocal exercises to help combat the performance malady. After listing four principles concerning the nature of stagefright (it is not a pathological…

  11. Effective Vocal Production in Performance.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    King, Robert G.

    If speech instructors are to teach students to recreate for an audience an author's intellectual and emotional meanings, they must teach them to use human voice effectively. Seven essential elements of effective vocal production that often pose problems for oral interpretation students should be central to any speech training program: (1)…

  12. Vocalization Induced CFos Expression in Marmoset Cortex

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Cory T.; DiMauro, Audrey; Pistorio, Ashley; Hendry, Stewart; Wang, Xiaoqin

    2010-01-01

    All non-human primates communicate with conspecifics using vocalizations, a system involving both the production and perception of species-specific vocal signals. Much of the work on the neural basis of primate vocal communication in cortex has focused on the sensory processing of vocalizations, while relatively little data are available for vocal production. Earlier physiological studies in squirrel monkeys had shed doubts on the involvement of primate cortex in vocal behaviors. The aim of the present study was to identify areas of common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) cortex that are potentially involved in vocal communication. In this study, we quantified cFos expression in three areas of marmoset cortex – frontal, temporal (auditory), and medial temporal – under various vocal conditions. Specifically, we examined cFos expression in these cortical areas during the sensory, motor (vocal production), and sensory–motor components of vocal communication. Our results showed an increase in cFos expression in ventrolateral prefrontal cortex as well as the medial and lateral belt areas of auditory cortex in the vocal perception condition. In contrast, subjects in the vocal production condition resulted in increased cFos expression only in dorsal premotor cortex. During the sensory–motor condition (antiphonal calling), subjects exhibited cFos expression in each of the above areas, as well as increased expression in perirhinal cortex. Overall, these results suggest that various cortical areas outside primary auditory cortex are involved in primate vocal communication. These findings pave the way for further physiological studies of the neural basis of primate vocal communication. PMID:21179582

  13. 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.

  14. Random recursive trees and the elephant random walk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kürsten, Rüdiger

    2016-03-01

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

  15. Neurobiology of vocal communication: mechanisms for sensorimotor integration and vocal patterning

    PubMed Central

    Kelley, Darcy B.; Bass, Andrew H.

    2010-01-01

    Summary This review will focus on recent developments in the sensorimotor integration of vocal communication. Two broad themes are emphasized: the evolution of vocal production and perception, and the role of social context. Advances include: a proposal for the emergence of vocal patterning during vertebrate evolution, the role of sensory mechanisms such as categorical perception in decoding communication signals, contributions of sensorimotor integration phenomena including mirror neurons and vocal learning, and mechanisms of hormone-dependent plasticity in both auditory and vocal systems. Transcriptional networks activated in humans but not in chimps by the FoxP2 gene suggest molecular mechanisms underlying vocal gestures and the emergence of human language. PMID:20829032

  16. Dependence of phonation threshold pressure on vocal tract acoustics and vocal fold tissue mechanics.

    PubMed

    Chan, Roger W; Titze, Ingo R

    2006-04-01

    Analytical and computer simulation studies have shown that the acoustic impedance of the vocal tract as well as the viscoelastic properties of vocal fold tissues are critical for determining the dynamics and the energy transfer mechanism of vocal fold oscillation. In the present study, a linear, small-amplitude oscillation theory was revised by taking into account the propagation of a mucosal wave and the inertive reactance (inertance) of the supraglottal vocal tract as the major energy transfer mechanisms for flow-induced self-oscillation of the vocal fold. Specifically, analytical results predicted that phonation threshold pressure (Pth) increases with the viscous shear properties of the vocal fold, but decreases with vocal tract inertance. This theory was empirically tested using a physical model of the larynx, where biological materials (fat, hyaluronic acid, and fibronectin) were implanted into the vocal fold cover to investigate the effect of vocal fold tissue viscoelasticity on Pth. A uniform-tube supraglottal vocal tract was also introduced to examine the effect of vocal tract inertance on Pth. Results showed that Pth decreased with the inertive impedance of the vocal tract and increased with the viscous shear modulus (G") or dynamic viscosity (eta') of the vocal fold cover, consistent with theoretical predictions. These findings supported the potential biomechanical benefits of hyaluronic acid as a surgical bioimplant for repairing voice disorders involving the superficial layer of the lamina propria, such as scarring, sulcus vocalis, atrophy, and Reinke's edema. PMID:16642848

  17. Some aspects of vocal fold bowing.

    PubMed

    Tanaka, S; Hirano, M; Chijiwa, K

    1994-05-01

    Bowing of the vocal fold frequently occurs in patients with vocal fold paralysis (VFP), those with sulcus vocalis, and those who have had laser surgery. Additionally, there are vocal folds that present bowing with no noticeable organic lesion. For the purpose of investigating the causes and mechanisms of vocal fold bowing, consecutive fiberscopic videorecordings of 127 patients with VFP, 33 with sulcus vocalis, 33 with laser surgery, and 33 with dysphonia having no clinically noticeable organic lesion were reviewed. Sixty-nine percent of the paralyzed vocal folds had bowing, and the occurrence of bowing was significantly related to the activity of the thyroarytenoid muscle as measured by electromyography. The cricothyroid activity had no significant relationship to vocal fold bowing. All vocal folds with sulcus presented with bowing. Thirty-five percent of the vocal folds that had had laser surgery had bowing. The extent of tissue removal was closely related to the occurrence of bowing. Twelve cases with no organic lesion had vocal fold bowing. Of these 12 patients, 8 were male and 9 were older than 60 years. Some aging process in the mucosa was presumed to be the cause of the bowing in this age group of patients without clinically noticeable organic lesions. Causes of vocal fold bowing in the younger group of patients without organic lesions were not determined in this study. PMID:8179251

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

    PubMed

    Jadhav, Sushrut; Barua, Maan

    2012-11-01

    Human-wildlife conflicts impact upon the wellbeing of marginalised people, worldwide. Although tangible losses from such conflicts are well documented, hidden health consequences remain under-researched. Based on preliminary clinical ethnographic inquiries and sustained fieldwork in Assam, India, this paper documents mental health antecedents and consequences including severe untreated psychiatric morbidity and substance abuse. The case studies presented make visible the hidden mental health dimensions of human-elephant conflict. The paper illustrates how health impacts of conflicts penetrate far deeper than immediate physical threat from elephants, worsens pre-existing mental illness of marginalised people, and leads to newer psychiatric and social pathologies. These conflicts are enacted and perpetuated in institutional spaces of inequality. The authors argue that both wildlife conservation and community mental health disciplines would be enhanced by coordinated intervention. The paper concludes by generating questions that are fundamental for a new interdisciplinary paradigm that bridges ecology and the clinic. PMID:22819603

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

    PubMed

    Kelley, Michael C; Garstang, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Theoretical calculations suggest that sounds produced by thunderstorms and detected by a system similar to the International Monitoring System (IMS) for the detection of nuclear explosions at distances ≥100 km, are at sound pressure levels equal to or greater than 6 × 10(-3) Pa. Such sound pressure levels are well within the range of elephant hearing. Frequencies carrying these sounds might allow for interaural time delays such that adult elephants could not only hear but could also locate the source of these sounds. Determining whether it is possible for elephants to hear and locate thunderstorms contributes to the question of whether elephant movements are triggered or influenced by these abiotic sounds. PMID:26487406

  20. Regional Variations in the Phonological Characteristics of African American Vernacular English.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hinton, Linette N.; Pollock, Karen E.

    2000-01-01

    Investigated African American Vernacular English dialect features in the midwestern community of Davenport, Iowa, and compared them to those reported by Pollock and Berni (1997) for Memphis, Tennessee--specifically productions of vocalic and postvocalic /r/ across African-American speakers from Davenport and Memphis. (Author/VWL)

  1. Affinities of `hyopsodontids' to elephant shrews and a Holarctic origin of Afrotheria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zack, Shawn P.; Penkrot, Tonya A.; Bloch, Jonathan I.; Rose, Kenneth D.

    2005-03-01

    Macroscelideans (elephant shrews or sengis) are small-bodied (25-540g), cursorial (running) and saltatorial (jumping), insectivorous and omnivorous placental mammals represented by at least 15 extant African species classified in four genera. Macroscelidea is one of several morphologically diverse but predominantly African placental orders classified in the superorder Afrotheria by molecular phylogeneticists. The distribution of modern afrotheres, in combination with a basal position for Afrotheria within Placentalia and molecular divergence-time estimates, has been used to link placental diversification with the mid-Cretaceous separation of South America and Africa. Morphological phylogenetic analyses do not support Afrotheria and the fossil record favours a northern origin of Placentalia. Here we describe fossil postcrania that provide evidence for a close relationship between North American Palaeocene-Eocene apheliscine `hyopsodontid' `condylarths' (early ungulates or hoofed mammals) and extant Macroscelidea. Apheliscine postcranial morphology is consistent with a relationship to other ungulate-like afrotheres (Hyracoidea, Proboscidea) but does not provide support for a monophyletic Afrotheria. As the oldest record of an afrothere clade, identification of macroscelidean relatives in the North American Palaeocene argues against an African origin for Afrotheria, weakening support for linking placental diversification to the break-up of Gondwana.

  2. Affinities of 'hyopsodontids' to elephant shrews and a Holarctic origin of Afrotheria.

    PubMed

    Zack, Shawn P; Penkrot, Tonya A; Bloch, Jonathan I; Rose, Kenneth D

    2005-03-24

    Macroscelideans (elephant shrews or sengis) are small-bodied (25-540 g), cursorial (running) and saltatorial (jumping), insectivorous and omnivorous placental mammals represented by at least 15 extant African species classified in four genera. Macroscelidea is one of several morphologically diverse but predominantly African placental orders classified in the superorder Afrotheria by molecular phylogeneticists. The distribution of modern afrotheres, in combination with a basal position for Afrotheria within Placentalia and molecular divergence-time estimates, has been used to link placental diversification with the mid-Cretaceous separation of South America and Africa. Morphological phylogenetic analyses do not support Afrotheria and the fossil record favours a northern origin of Placentalia. Here we describe fossil postcrania that provide evidence for a close relationship between North American Palaeocene-Eocene apheliscine 'hyopsodontid' 'condylarths' (early ungulates or hoofed mammals) and extant Macroscelidea. Apheliscine postcranial morphology is consistent with a relationship to other ungulate-like afrotheres (Hyracoidea, Proboscidea) but does not provide support for a monophyletic Afrotheria. As the oldest record of an afrothere clade, identification of macroscelidean relatives in the North American Palaeocene argues against an African origin for Afrotheria, weakening support for linking placental diversification to the break-up of Gondwana. PMID:15791254

  3. VOCALS-UK: An overview of UK VOCALS science (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coe, H.; Vocals-Uk Science Team

    2010-12-01

    This paper will highlight a variety of process studies, observationally led studies and modelling studies, both completed and in progress, conducted by groups in the United Kingdom, working in collaboration with international partners on the VAMOS Ocean-Cloud-Atmosphere Land Study Regional Experiment (VOCALS-REx). The VOCALS field experiment was conducted out of Arica, Chile, between October and November, 2008. The study aims to better understand the nature and variability of interactions between the ocean, atmosphere and steep topography, as well as local and long-range transport of pollutants and aerosol, in the context of their role in controlling the climate of the South East Pacific - an important region in terms of the global energy budget and which is currently poorly characterised in global climate models. Specific highlights will include a statistical representation of the SEP marine boundary layer during VOCALS-Rex to inform future modelling; an analysis of the synoptic and large-scale dynamical influences on cloud in the SEP; results from improved Met Office Unified Model forecast runs which examine aerosol-cloud interactions with a comparison to results from WRF-CHEM; and large eddy modelling of simulated gravity waves and their potential to induce open cellular convection (create pockets of open cells). In addition, early results from a number of further studies will be presented.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-04-12

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

  5. Modeling vocalization with ECoG cortical activity recorded during vocal production in the macaque monkey.

    PubMed

    Fukushima, Makoto; Saunders, Richard C; Fujii, Naotaka; Averbeck, Bruno B; Mishkin, Mortimer

    2014-01-01

    Vocal production is an example of controlled motor behavior with high temporal precision. Previous studies have decoded auditory evoked cortical activity while monkeys listened to vocalization sounds. On the other hand, there have been few attempts at decoding motor cortical activity during vocal production. Here we recorded cortical activity during vocal production in the macaque with a chronically implanted electrocorticographic (ECoG) electrode array. The array detected robust activity in motor cortex during vocal production. We used a nonlinear dynamical model of the vocal organ to reduce the dimensionality of `Coo' calls produced by the monkey. We then used linear regression to evaluate the information in motor cortical activity for this reduced representation of calls. This simple linear model accounted for circa 65% of the variance in the reduced sound representations, supporting the feasibility of using the dynamical model of the vocal organ for decoding motor cortical activity during vocal production. PMID:25571556

  6. Ultrasonic Vocalizations Emitted by Flying Squirrels

    PubMed Central

    Murrant, Meghan N.; Bowman, Jeff; Garroway, Colin J.; Prinzen, Brian; Mayberry, Heather; Faure, Paul A.

    2013-01-01

    Anecdotal reports of ultrasound use by flying squirrels have existed for decades, yet there has been little detailed analysis of their vocalizations. Here we demonstrate that two species of flying squirrel emit ultrasonic vocalizations. We recorded vocalizations from northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (G. volans) flying squirrels calling in both the laboratory and at a field site in central Ontario, Canada. We demonstrate that flying squirrels produce ultrasonic emissions through recorded bursts of broadband noise and time-frequency structured frequency modulated (FM) vocalizations, some of which were purely ultrasonic. Squirrels emitted three types of ultrasonic calls in laboratory recordings and one type in the field. The variety of signals that were recorded suggest that flying squirrels may use ultrasonic vocalizations to transfer information. Thus, vocalizations may be an important, although still poorly understood, aspect of flying squirrel social biology. PMID:24009728

  7. Ultrasonic vocalizations emitted by flying squirrels.

    PubMed

    Murrant, Meghan N; Bowman, Jeff; Garroway, Colin J; Prinzen, Brian; Mayberry, Heather; Faure, Paul A

    2013-01-01

    Anecdotal reports of ultrasound use by flying squirrels have existed for decades, yet there has been little detailed analysis of their vocalizations. Here we demonstrate that two species of flying squirrel emit ultrasonic vocalizations. We recorded vocalizations from northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (G. volans) flying squirrels calling in both the laboratory and at a field site in central Ontario, Canada. We demonstrate that flying squirrels produce ultrasonic emissions through recorded bursts of broadband noise and time-frequency structured frequency modulated (FM) vocalizations, some of which were purely ultrasonic. Squirrels emitted three types of ultrasonic calls in laboratory recordings and one type in the field. The variety of signals that were recorded suggest that flying squirrels may use ultrasonic vocalizations to transfer information. Thus, vocalizations may be an important, although still poorly understood, aspect of flying squirrel social biology. PMID:24009728

  8. On the Possible Detection of Lightning Storms by Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Kelley, Michael C.; Garstang, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Simple Summary We use data similar to that taken by the International Monitoring System for the detection of nuclear explosions, to determine whether elephants might be capable of detecting and locating the source of sounds generated by thunderstorms. Knowledge that elephants might be capable of responding to such storms, particularly at the end of the dry season when migrations are initiated, is of considerable interest to management and conservation. Abstract Theoretical calculations suggest that sounds produced by thunderstorms and detected by a system similar to the International Monitoring System (IMS) for the detection of nuclear explosions at distances ≥100 km, are at sound pressure levels equal to or greater than 6 × 10−3 Pa. Such sound pressure levels are well within the range of elephant hearing. Frequencies carrying these sounds might allow for interaural time delays such that adult elephants could not only hear but could also locate the source of these sounds. Determining whether it is possible for elephants to hear and locate thunderstorms contributes to the question of whether elephant movements are triggered or influenced by these abiotic sounds. PMID:26487406

  9. Recording vocalizations with Bluetooth technology.

    PubMed

    Gaona-González, Andrés; Santillán-Doherty, Ana María; Arenas-Rosas, Rita Virginia; Muñoz-Delgado, Jairo; Aguillón-Pantaleón, Miguel Angel; Ordoñez-Gómez, José Domingo; Márquez-Arias, Alejandra

    2011-06-01

    We propose a method for capturing vocalizations that is designed to avoid some of the limiting factors found in traditional bioacoustical methods, such as the impossibility of obtaining continuous long-term registers or analyzing amplitude due to the continuous change of distance between the subject and the position of the recording system. Using Bluetooth technology, vocalizations are captured and transmitted wirelessly into a receiving system without affecting the quality of the signal. The recordings of the proposed system were compared to those obtained as a reference, which were based on the coding of the signal with the so-called pulse-code modulation technique in WAV audio format without any compressing process. The evaluation showed p < .05 for the measured quantitative and qualitative parameters. We also describe how the transmitting system is encapsulated and fixed on the animal and a way to video record a spider monkey's behavior simultaneously with the audio recordings. PMID:21359909

  10. Acoustic detection of manatee vocalizations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niezrecki, Christopher; Phillips, Richard; Meyer, Michael; Beusse, Diedrich O.

    2003-09-01

    The West Indian manatee (trichechus manatus latirostris) has become endangered partly because of a growing number of collisions with boats. A system to warn boaters of the presence of manatees, that can signal to boaters that manatees are present in the immediate vicinity, could potentially reduce these boat collisions. In order to identify the presence of manatees, acoustic methods are employed. Within this paper, three different detection algorithms are used to detect the calls of the West Indian manatee. The detection systems are tested in the laboratory using simulated manatee vocalizations from an audio compact disk. The detection method that provides the best overall performance is able to correctly identify ~96% of the manatee vocalizations. However, the system also results in a false alarm rate of ~16%. The results of this work may ultimately lead to the development of a manatee warning system that can warn boaters of the presence of manatees.

  11. Vocal communication of wild parrots

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradbury, Jack

    2001-05-01

    Field studies of four sympatric parrot species in Costa Rica are revealing several possible functions for the well-known ability of parrots to mimic new sounds throughout life. Despite earlier suggestions that this might facilitate exchanges of environmental information, all data so far suggest that vocal mimicry in the wild is associated with mediation of the fission/fusion of groups of parrots and/or of conflicts between mated pairs. Recent results using array recording and interactive playback will be summarized, and several technical problems created by the mechanisms of parrot vocal signal production discussed. [Research supported by NSF Grant IBN-022927 and by continued encouragement and logistics provided by the staff of the Area Conservacion Guanacaste (Costa Rica).

  12. Acoustic detection of manatee vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Niezrecki, Christopher; Phillips, Richard; Meyer, Michael; Beusse, Diedrich O

    2003-09-01

    The West Indian manatee (trichechus manatus latirostris) has become endangered partly because of a growing number of collisions with boats. A system to warn boaters of the presence of manatees, that can signal to boaters that manatees are present in the immediate vicinity, could potentially reduce these boat collisions. In order to identify the presence of manatees, acoustic methods are employed. Within this paper, three different detection algorithms are used to detect the calls of the West Indian manatee. The detection systems are tested in the laboratory using simulated manatee vocalizations from an audio compact disk. The detection method that provides the best overall performance is able to correctly identify approximately 96% of the manatee vocalizations. However, the system also results in a false alarm rate of approximately 16%. The results of this work may ultimately lead to the development of a manatee warning system that can warn boaters of the presence of manatees. PMID:14514217

  13. Nomenclature proposal to describe vocal fold motion impairment.

    PubMed

    Rosen, Clark A; Mau, Ted; Remacle, Marc; Hess, Markus; Eckel, Hans E; Young, VyVy N; Hantzakos, Anastasios; Yung, Katherine C; Dikkers, Frederik G

    2016-08-01

    The terms used to describe vocal fold motion impairment are confusing and not standardized. This results in a failure to communicate accurately and to major limitations of interpreting research studies involving vocal fold impairment. We propose standard nomenclature for reporting vocal fold impairment. Overarching terms of vocal fold immobility and hypomobility are rigorously defined. This includes assessment techniques and inclusion and exclusion criteria for determining vocal fold immobility and hypomobility. In addition, criteria for use of the following terms have been outlined in detail: vocal fold paralysis, vocal fold paresis, vocal fold immobility/hypomobility associated with mechanical impairment of the crico-arytenoid joint and vocal fold immobility/hypomobility related to laryngeal malignant disease. This represents the first rigorously defined vocal fold motion impairment nomenclature system. This provides detailed definitions to the terms vocal fold paralysis and vocal fold paresis. PMID:26036851

  14. Auditory feedback modulates development of kitten vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Hubka, Peter; Konerding, Wiebke; Kral, Andrej

    2015-07-01

    Effects of hearing loss on vocal behavior are species-specific. To study the impact of auditory feedback on feline vocal behavior, vocalizations of normal-hearing, hearing-impaired (white) and congenitally deaf (white) cats were analyzed at around weaning age. Eleven animals were placed in a soundproof booth for 30 min at different ages, from the first to the beginning of the fourth postnatal month, every 2 weeks of life. In total, 13,874 vocalizations were analyzed using an automated procedure. Firstly, vocalizations were detected and segmented, with voiced and unvoiced vocalizations being differentiated. The voiced isolation calls ('meow') were further analyzed. These vocalizations showed developmental changes affecting several parameters in hearing controls, whereas the developmental sequence was delayed in congenitally deaf cats. In hearing-impaired and deaf animals, we observed differences both in vocal behavior (loudness and duration) and in the calls' acoustic structure (fundamental frequency and higher harmonics). The fundamental frequency decreased with age in all groups, most likely due to maturation of the vocal apparatus. In deaf cats, however, other aspects of the acoustic structure of the vocalizations did not fully mature. The harmonic ratio (i.e., frequency of first harmonic divided by fundamental frequency) was higher and more variable in deaf cats than in the other study groups. Auditory feedback thus affects the acoustic structure of vocalizations and their ontogenetic development. The study suggests that both the vocal apparatus and its neuronal motor control are subject to maturational processes, whereas the latter is additionally dependent on auditory feedback in cats. PMID:25519045

  15. Vocal Forgery in Forensic Sciences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perrot, Patrick; Morel, Mathieu; Razik, Joseph; Chollet, Gérard

    This article describes techniques of vocal forgery able to affect automatic speaker recognition system in a forensic context. Vocal forgery covers two main aspects: voice transformation and voice conversion. Concerning voice transformation, this article proposes an automatic analysis of four specific disguised voices in order to detect the forgery and, for voice conversion, different ways to automatically imitate a target voice. Vocal forgery appears as a real and relevant question for forensic expertise. In most cases, criminals who make a terrorist claim or a miscellaneous call, disguise their voices to hide their identity or to take the identity of another person. Disguise is considered in this paper as a deliberate action of the speaker who wants to conceal or falsify his identity. Different techniques exist to transform one’s own voice. Some are sophisticated as software manipulation, some others are simpler as using an handkerchief over the mouth. In voice transformation, the presented work is dedicated to the study of disguise used in the most common cases. In voice conversion, different techniques will be presented, compared, and applied on an original example of the French President voice.

  16. Vocal attractiveness increases by averaging.

    PubMed

    Bruckert, Laetitia; Bestelmeyer, Patricia; Latinus, Marianne; Rouger, Julien; Charest, Ian; Rousselet, Guillaume A; Kawahara, Hideki; Belin, Pascal

    2010-01-26

    Vocal attractiveness has a profound influence on listeners-a bias known as the "what sounds beautiful is good" vocal attractiveness stereotype [1]-with tangible impact on a voice owner's success at mating, job applications, and/or elections. The prevailing view holds that attractive voices are those that signal desirable attributes in a potential mate [2-4]-e.g., lower pitch in male voices. However, this account does not explain our preferences in more general social contexts in which voices of both genders are evaluated. Here we show that averaging voices via auditory morphing [5] results in more attractive voices, irrespective of the speaker's or listener's gender. Moreover, we show that this phenomenon is largely explained by two independent by-products of averaging: a smoother voice texture (reduced aperiodicities) and a greater similarity in pitch and timbre with the average of all voices (reduced "distance to mean"). These results provide the first evidence for a phenomenon of vocal attractiveness increases by averaging, analogous to a well-established effect of facial averaging [6, 7]. They highlight prototype-based coding [8] as a central feature of voice perception, emphasizing the similarity in the mechanisms of face and voice perception. PMID:20129047

  17. The Proteus syndrome: the Elephant Man diagnosed.

    PubMed Central

    Tibbles, J A; Cohen, M M

    1986-01-01

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

  18. Hydrothermal calcite in the Elephant Moraine

    SciTech Connect

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

    1986-01-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  20. Elephant trunk technique for hybrid aortic arch repair.

    PubMed

    Miyamoto, Yuji

    2014-03-01

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

  1. Estimation of vocal fold plane in 3D CT images for diagnosis of vocal fold abnormalities.

    PubMed

    Hewavitharanage, Sajini; Gubbi, Jayavardhana; Thyagarajan, Dominic; Lau, Ken; Palaniswami, Marimuthu

    2015-01-01

    Vocal folds are the key body structures that are responsible for phonation and regulating air movement into and out of lungs. Various vocal fold disorders may seriously impact the quality of life. When diagnosing vocal fold disorders, CT of the neck is the commonly used imaging method. However, vocal folds do not align with the normal axial plane of a neck and the plane containing vocal cords and arytenoids does vary during phonation. It is therefore important to generate an algorithm for detecting the actual plane containing vocal folds. In this paper, we propose a method to automatically estimate the vocal fold plane using vertebral column and anterior commissure localization. Gray-level thresholding, connected component analysis, rule based segmentation and unsupervised k-means clustering were used in the proposed algorithm. The anterior commissure segmentation method achieved an accuracy of 85%, a good estimate of the expert assessment. PMID:26736949

  2. Vocal Dose Measures: Quantifying Accumulated Vibration Exposure in Vocal Fold Tissues

    PubMed Central

    Titze, Ingo R.; Švec, Jan G.; Popolo, Peter S.

    2011-01-01

    To measure the exposure to self-induced tissue vibration in speech, three vocal doses were defined and described: distance dose, which accumulates the distance that tissue particles of the vocal folds travel in an oscillatory trajectory; energy dissipation dose, which accumulates the total amount of heat dissipated over a unit volume of vocal fold tissues; and time dose, which accumulates the total phonation time. These doses were compared to a previously used vocal dose measure, the vocal loading index, which accumulates the number of vibration cycles of the vocal folds. Empirical rules for viscosity and vocal fold deformation were used to calculate all the doses from the fundamental frequency (F0) and sound pressure level (SPL) values of speech. Six participants were asked to read in normal, monotone, and exaggerated speech and the doses associated with these vocalizations were calculated. The results showed that large F0 and SPL variations in speech affected the dose measures, suggesting that accumulation of phonation time alone is insufficient. The vibration exposure of the vocal folds in normal speech was related to the industrial limits for hand-transmitted vibration, in which the safe distance dose was derived to be about 500 m. This limit was found rather low for vocalization; it was related to a comparable time dose of about 17 min of continuous vocalization, or about 35 min of continuous reading with normal breathing and unvoiced segments. The voicing pauses in normal speech and dialogue effectively prolong the safe time dose. The derived safety limits for vocalization will likely require refinement based on a more detailed knowledge of the differences in hand and vocal fold tissue morphology and their response to vibrational stress, and on the effect of recovery of the vocal fold tissue during voicing pauses. PMID:12959470

  3. Vocal Imitation of Song and Speech

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mantell, James T.; Pfordresher, Peter Q.

    2013-01-01

    We report four experiments that explored the cognitive bases of vocal imitation. Specifically, we investigated the accuracy with which normal individuals vocally imitated the pitch-time trajectories of spoken sentences and sung melodies, presented in their original form and with phonetic information removed. Overall, participants imitated melodies…

  4. Integrating perspectives on vocal performance and consistency

    PubMed Central

    Sakata, Jon T.; Vehrencamp, Sandra L.

    2012-01-01

    SUMMARY Recent experiments in divergent fields of birdsong have revealed that vocal performance is important for reproductive success and under active control by distinct neural circuits. Vocal consistency, the degree to which the spectral properties (e.g. dominant or fundamental frequency) of song elements are produced consistently from rendition to rendition, has been highlighted as a biologically important aspect of vocal performance. Here, we synthesize functional, developmental and mechanistic (neurophysiological) perspectives to generate an integrated understanding of this facet of vocal performance. Behavioral studies in the field and laboratory have found that vocal consistency is affected by social context, season and development, and, moreover, positively correlated with reproductive success. Mechanistic investigations have revealed a contribution of forebrain and basal ganglia circuits and sex steroid hormones to the control of vocal consistency. Across behavioral, developmental and mechanistic studies, a convergent theme regarding the importance of vocal practice in juvenile and adult songbirds emerges, providing a basis for linking these levels of analysis. By understanding vocal consistency at these levels, we gain an appreciation for the various dimensions of song control and plasticity and argue that genes regulating the function of basal ganglia circuits and sex steroid hormones could be sculpted by sexual selection. PMID:22189763

  5. First Communion: The Emergence of Vocal Relationships.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Locke, John L.

    2001-01-01

    Proposes that vocal communion between infant and caregiver supports infants' language acquisition and connectedness with caregivers. Recommends research to determine whether social behaviors such as joint attention and vocal imitation are functionally related to language learning or are only symptomatic of a survival-centered caregiving…

  6. Vocal Activity, Time Pressure and Interpersonal Judgments.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Daly, John A.; Lashbrook, William B.

    This study examined the effects of differential time pressures on small group members' rankings of one another based on vocal activity. Vocal activity was operationalized as observed frequency of interaction. Time pressure was manipulated by allowing either six minutes or no time limit on a group problem-solving task. Main effects were…

  7. Auditory–vocal mirroring in songbirds

    PubMed Central

    Mooney, Richard

    2014-01-01

    Mirror neurons are theorized to serve as a neural substrate for spoken language in humans, but the existence and functions of auditory–vocal mirror neurons in the human brain remain largely matters of speculation. Songbirds resemble humans in their capacity for vocal learning and depend on their learned songs to facilitate courtship and individual recognition. Recent neurophysiological studies have detected putative auditory–vocal mirror neurons in a sensorimotor region of the songbird's brain that plays an important role in expressive and receptive aspects of vocal communication. This review discusses the auditory and motor-related properties of these cells, considers their potential role on song learning and communication in relation to classical studies of birdsong, and points to the circuit and developmental mechanisms that may give rise to auditory–vocal mirroring in the songbird's brain. PMID:24778375

  8. The neurobiology of primate vocal communication

    PubMed Central

    Ghazanfar, Asif A.; Eliades, Steven J.

    2014-01-01

    Recent investigations of non-human primate communication revealed vocal behaviors far more complex than previously appreciated. Understanding the neural basis of these communicative behaviors is important as it has the potential to reveal the basic underpinnings of the still more complex human speech. The latest work revealed vocalization-sensitive regions both within and beyond the traditional boundaries of the central auditory system. The importance and mechanisms of multi-sensory face-voice integration in vocal communication are also increasingly apparent. Finally, studies on the mechanisms of vocal production demonstrated auditory-motor interactions that may allow for self-monitoring and vocal control. We review the current work in these areas of primate communication research. PMID:25062473

  9. Reinke Edema: Watch For Vocal Fold Cysts.

    PubMed

    Tüzüner, Arzu; Demirci, Sule; Yavanoglu, Ahmet; Kurkcuoglu, Melih; Arslan, Necmi

    2015-06-01

    Reinke edema is one of the common cause of dysphonia middle-aged population, and severe thickening of vocal folds require surgical treatment. Smoking plays a major role on etiology. Vocal fold cysts are also benign lesions and vocal trauma blamed for acquired cysts. We would like to present 3 cases with vocal fold cyst related with Reinke edema. First case had a subepidermal epidermoid cyst with Reinke edema, which could be easily observed before surgery during laryngostroboscopy. Second case had a mucous retention cyst into the edematous Reinke tissue, which was detected during surgical intervention, and third case had a epidermoid cyst that occurred 2 months after before microlaryngeal operation regarding Reinke edema reduction. These 3 cases revealed that surgical management of Reinke edema needs a careful dissection and close follow-up after surgery for presence of vocal fold cysts. PMID:26080256

  10. Paradoxic vocal fold movement disorder.

    PubMed

    Matrka, Laura

    2014-02-01

    Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement Disorder (PVFMD) is a cause of dyspnea that can mimic or occur alongside asthma or other pulmonary disease. Treatment with Laryngeal Control Therapy is very effective once the entity is properly diagnosed and contributing comorbidities are managed appropriately. In understanding the etiology of PVFMD, focus has broadened beyond psychiatric factors alone to include the spectrum of laryngeal irritants (laryngopharyngeal reflux, allergic and sinus disease, sicca, and possibly obstructive sleep apnea). The following is a discussion of the history, terminology, epidemiology, diagnosis, comorbid conditions, and treatment of this entity. PMID:24286687

  11. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  13. Derived vocalizations of geladas (Theropithecus gelada) and the evolution of vocal complexity in primates

    PubMed Central

    Gustison, Morgan L.; le Roux, Aliza; Bergman, Thore J.

    2012-01-01

    Primates are intensely social and exhibit extreme variation in social structure, making them particularly well suited for uncovering evolutionary connections between sociality and vocal complexity. Although comparative studies find a correlation between social and vocal complexity, the function of large vocal repertoires in more complex societies remains unclear. We compared the vocal complexity found in primates to both mammals in general and human language in particular and found that non-human primates are not unusual in the complexity of their vocal repertoires. To better understand the function of vocal complexity within primates, we compared two closely related primates (chacma baboons and geladas) that differ in their ecology and social structures. A key difference is that gelada males form long-term bonds with the 2–12 females in their harem-like reproductive unit, while chacma males primarily form temporary consortships with females. We identified homologous and non-homologous calls and related the use of the derived non-homologous calls to specific social situations. We found that the socially complex (but ecologically simple) geladas have larger vocal repertoires. Derived vocalizations of geladas were primarily used by leader males in affiliative interactions with ‘their’ females. The derived calls were frequently used following fights within the unit suggesting that maintaining cross-sex bonds within a reproductive unit contributed to this instance of evolved vocal complexity. Thus, our comparison highlights the utility of using closely related species to better understand the function of vocal complexity. PMID:22641823

  14. Infant Vocalization When Alone: Possibility of Early Sound Playing

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Shimada, Yohko M.

    2012-01-01

    Five-month-old infants' vocalization when alone was investigated. Several researchers have reported observing that young infants vocalize in comfortable states without any response from others. As is implied by episodic reports in previous studies, it is possible that infants vocalize to play with their own vocal sound. Producing and listening to…

  15. A Rat Excised Larynx Model of Vocal Fold Scar

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Welham, Nathan V.; Montequin, Douglas W.; Tateya, Ichiro; Tateya, Tomoko; Choi, Seong Hee; Bless, Diane M.

    2009-01-01

    Purpose: To develop and evaluate a rat excised larynx model for the measurement of acoustic, aerodynamic, and vocal fold vibratory changes resulting from vocal fold scar. Method: Twenty-four 4-month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to 1 of 4 experimental groups: chronic vocal fold scar, chronic vocal fold scar treated with 100-ng basic…

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2003-01-01

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

  19. 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

  20. Gestures, Vocalizations, and Memory in Language Origins

    PubMed Central

    Aboitiz, Francisco

    2011-01-01

    This article discusses the possible homologies between the human language networks and comparable auditory projection systems in the macaque brain, in an attempt to reconcile two existing views on language evolution: one that emphasizes hand control and gestures, and the other that emphasizes auditory–vocal mechanisms. The capacity for language is based on relatively well defined neural substrates whose rudiments have been traced in the non-human primate brain. At its core, this circuit constitutes an auditory–vocal sensorimotor circuit with two main components, a “ventral pathway” connecting anterior auditory regions with anterior ventrolateral prefrontal areas, and a “dorsal pathway” connecting auditory areas with parietal areas and with posterior ventrolateral prefrontal areas via the arcuate fasciculus and the superior longitudinal fasciculus. In humans, the dorsal circuit is especially important for phonological processing and phonological working memory, capacities that are critical for language acquisition and for complex syntax processing. In the macaque, the homolog of the dorsal circuit overlaps with an inferior parietal–premotor network for hand and gesture selection that is under voluntary control, while vocalizations are largely fixed and involuntary. The recruitment of the dorsal component for vocalization behavior in the human lineage, together with a direct cortical control of the subcortical vocalizing system, are proposed to represent a fundamental innovation in human evolution, generating an inflection point that permitted the explosion of vocal language and human communication. In this context, vocal communication and gesturing have a common history in primate communication. PMID:22347184

  1. Detecting Depression Severity from Vocal Prosody

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Ying; Fairbairn, Catherine; Cohn, Jeffrey F.

    2015-01-01

    To investigate the relation between vocal prosody and change in depression severity over time, 57 participants from a clinical trial for treatment of depression were evaluated at seven-week intervals using a semi-structured clinical interview for depression severity (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression: HRSD). All participants met criteria for Major Depressive Disorder at week 1. Using both perceptual judgments by naive listeners and quantitative analyses of vocal timing and fundamental frequency, three hypotheses were tested: 1) Naive listeners can perceive the severity of depression from vocal recordings of depressed participants and interviewers. 2) Quantitative features of vocal prosody in depressed participants reveal change in symptom severity over the course of depression. And 3) Interpersonal effects occur as well; such that vocal prosody in interviewers shows corresponding effects. These hypotheses were strongly supported. Together, participants’ and interviewers’ vocal prosody accounted for about 60% of variation in depression scores, and detected ordinal range of depression severity (low, mild, and moderate-to-severe) in 69% of cases (kappa = 0.53). These findings suggest that analysis of vocal prosody could be a powerful tool to assist in depression screening and monitoring over the course of depressive disorder and recovery. PMID:26985326

  2. Enhanced processing of vocal melodies in childhood.

    PubMed

    Weiss, Michael W; Schellenberg, E Glenn; Trehub, Sandra E; Dawber, Emily J

    2015-03-01

    Music cognition is typically studied with instrumental stimuli. Adults remember melodies better, however, when they are presented in a biologically significant timbre (i.e., the human voice) than in various instrumental timbres (Weiss, Trehub, & Schellenberg, 2012). We examined the impact of vocal timbre on children's processing of melodies. In Study 1, 9- to 11-year-olds listened to 16 unfamiliar folk melodies (4 each of voice, piano, banjo, or marimba). They subsequently listened to the same melodies and 16 timbre-matched foils, and judged whether each melody was old or new. Vocal melodies were recognized better than instrumental melodies, which did not differ from one another, and the vocal advantage was consistent across age. In Study 2, 5- to 6-year-olds and 7- to 8-year-olds were tested with a simplified design that included only vocal and piano melodies. Both age groups successfully differentiated old from new melodies, but memory was more accurate for the older group. The older children recognized vocal melodies better than piano melodies, whereas the younger children tended to label vocal melodies as old whether they were old or new. The results provide the first evidence of differential processing of vocal and instrumental melodies in childhood. PMID:25706592

  3. Woody encroachment over 70 years in South African savannahs: overgrazing, global change or extinction aftershock?

    PubMed

    Stevens, Nicola; Erasmus, B F N; Archibald, S; Bond, W J

    2016-09-19

    Woody encroachment in 'open' biomes like grasslands and savannahs is occurring globally. Both local and global drivers, including elevated CO2, have been implicated in these increases. The relative importance of different processes is unresolved as there are few multi-site, multi-land-use evaluations of woody plant encroachment. We measured 70 years of woody cover changes over a 1020 km(2) area covering four land uses (commercial ranching, conservation with elephants, conservation without elephants and communal rangelands) across a rainfall gradient in South African savannahs. Different directions of woody cover change would be expected for each different land use, unless a global factor is causing the increases. Woody cover change was measured between 1940 and 2010 using the aerial photo record. Detection of woody cover from each aerial photograph was automated using eCognitions' Object-based image analysis (OBIA). Woody cover doubled in all land uses across the rainfall gradient, except in conservation areas with elephants in low-rainfall savannahs. Woody cover in 2010 in low-rainfall savannahs frequently exceeded the maximum woody cover threshold predicted for African savannahs. The results indicate that a global factor, of which elevated CO2 is the likely candidate, may be driving encroachment. Elephants in low-rainfall savannahs prevent encroachment and localized megafaunal extinction is a probable additional cause of encroachment.This article is part of the themed issue 'Tropical grassy biomes: linking ecology, human use and conservation'. PMID:27502384

  4. Vocal ontogeny in neotropical singing mice (Scotinomys).

    PubMed

    Campbell, Polly; Pasch, Bret; Warren, Ashley L; Phelps, Steven M

    2014-01-01

    Isolation calls produced by dependent young are a fundamental form of communication. For species in which vocal signals remain important to adult communication, the function and social context of vocal behavior changes dramatically with the onset of sexual maturity. The ontogenetic relationship between these distinct forms of acoustic communication is surprisingly under-studied. We conducted a detailed analysis of vocal development in sister species of Neotropical singing mice, Scotinomys teguina and S. xerampelinus. Adult singing mice are remarkable for their advertisement songs, rapidly articulated trills used in long-distance communication; the vocal behavior of pups was previously undescribed. We recorded 30 S. teguina and 15 S. xerampelinus pups daily, from birth to weaning; 23 S. teguina and 11 S. xerampelinus were recorded until sexual maturity. Like other rodent species with poikilothermic young, singing mice were highly vocal during the first weeks of life and stopped vocalizing before weaning. Production of first advertisement songs coincided with the onset of sexual maturity after a silent period of ≧2 weeks. Species differences in vocal behavior emerged early in ontogeny and notes that comprise adult song were produced from birth. However, the organization and relative abundance of distinct note types was very different between pups and adults. Notably, the structure, note repetition rate, and intra-individual repeatability of pup vocalizations did not become more adult-like with age; the highly stereotyped structure of adult song appeared de novo in the first songs of young adults. We conclude that, while the basic elements of adult song are available from birth, distinct selection pressures during maternal dependency, dispersal, and territorial establishment favor major shifts in the structure and prevalence of acoustic signals. This study provides insight into how an evolutionarily conserved form of acoustic signaling provides the raw material for

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

  6. Vocal learning beyond imitation: mechanisms of adaptive vocal development in songbirds and human infants

    PubMed Central

    Tchernichovski, Ofer; Marcus, Gary

    2014-01-01

    Studies of vocal learning in songbirds typically focus on the acquisition of sensory templates for song imitation and on the consequent process of matching song production to templates. However, functional vocal development also requires the capacity to adaptively diverge from sensory templates, and to flexibly assemble vocal units. Examples of adaptive divergence include the corrective imitation of abnormal songs, and the decreased tendency to copy overabundant syllables. Such frequency-dependent effects might mirror tradeoffs between the assimilation of group identity (culture) while establishing individual and flexibly expressive songs. Intriguingly, although the requirements for vocal plasticity vary across songbirds, and more so between birdsong and language, the capacity to flexibly assemble vocal sounds develops in a similar, stepwise manner across species. Therefore, universal features of vocal learning go well beyond the capacity to imitate. PMID:25005823

  7. Development of Auditory-Vocal Perceptual Skills in Songbirds

    PubMed Central

    Miller-Sims, Vanessa C.; Bottjer, Sarah W.

    2012-01-01

    Songbirds are one of the few groups of animals that learn the sounds used for vocal communication during development. Like humans, songbirds memorize vocal sounds based on auditory experience with vocalizations of adult “tutors”, and then use auditory feedback of self-produced vocalizations to gradually match their motor output to the memory of tutor sounds. In humans, investigations of early vocal learning have focused mainly on perceptual skills of infants, whereas studies of songbirds have focused on measures of vocal production. In order to fully exploit songbirds as a model for human speech, understand the neural basis of learned vocal behavior, and investigate links between vocal perception and production, studies of songbirds must examine both behavioral measures of perception and neural measures of discrimination during development. Here we used behavioral and electrophysiological assays of the ability of songbirds to distinguish vocal calls of varying frequencies at different stages of vocal learning. The results show that neural tuning in auditory cortex mirrors behavioral improvements in the ability to make perceptual distinctions of vocal calls as birds are engaged in vocal learning. Thus, separate measures of neural discrimination and behavioral perception yielded highly similar trends during the course of vocal development. The timing of this improvement in the ability to distinguish vocal sounds correlates with our previous work showing substantial refinement of axonal connectivity in cortico-basal ganglia pathways necessary for vocal learning. PMID:23285011

  8. 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

  9. Memory disorders and vocal performance.

    PubMed

    Dalla Bella, Simone; Tremblay-Champoux, Alexandra; Berkowska, Magdalena; Peretz, Isabelle

    2012-04-01

    The ability to carry a tune, natural for the majority, is underpinned by a complex functional system (i.e., the vocal sensorimotor loop, VSL). The VSL involves various components, including perceptual mechanisms, auditory-motor mapping, motor control, and memory. The malfunction of one of these components can bring about poor-pitch singing. So far, disturbed perception and deficient sensorimotor mapping have been treated as important causes of poor singing. Yet, memory has been paid relatively little attention. Here, we review results obtained from both occasional singers and individuals suffering from congenital amusia, who were asked to produce from memory or imitate a well-known melody under conditions with different memory loads. The findings point to memory as a relevant source of impairment in poor-pitch singing and to imitation as a useful aid for poor singers. PMID:22524377

  10. Audio-vocal responses of vocal fundamental frequency and formant during sustained vowel vocalizations in different noises.

    PubMed

    Lee, Shao-Hsuan; Hsiao, Tzu-Yu; Lee, Guo-She

    2015-06-01

    Sustained vocalizations of vowels [a], [i], and syllable [mə] were collected in twenty normal-hearing individuals. On vocalizations, five conditions of different audio-vocal feedback were introduced separately to the speakers including no masking, wearing supra-aural headphones only, speech-noise masking, high-pass noise masking, and broad-band-noise masking. Power spectral analysis of vocal fundamental frequency (F0) was used to evaluate the modulations of F0 and linear-predictive-coding was used to acquire first two formants. The results showed that while the formant frequencies were not significantly shifted, low-frequency modulations (<3 Hz) of F0 significantly increased with reduced audio-vocal feedback across speech sounds and were significantly correlated with auditory awareness of speakers' own voices. For sustained speech production, the motor speech controls on F0 may depend on a feedback mechanism while articulation should rely more on a feedforward mechanism. Power spectral analysis of F0 might be applied to evaluate audio-vocal control for various hearing and neurological disorders in the future. PMID:25749240

  11. The "Silent Cough" Method for Vocal Hyperfunction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zwitman, Daniel H.; Calcaterra, Thomas C.

    1973-01-01

    A method of silent coughing is recommended as an alternative to coughing and throat clearing which are described as vocally abusive activities that can be directly related to laryngeal disease. (Author/GW)

  12. What Is Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD)?

    MedlinePlus

    ... your vocal cords. The breathing test is called spirometry and must include a flow-volume loop. This ... be so hard. To learn more about the spirometry test, see the ATS Patient Information Series fact ...

  13. Unexplained Profound Hypoglycemia After Vocal Fold Lipoinjection.

    PubMed

    Modanlou, Shohreh; Marie Giglio, Nicole; Carroll, Thomas; Pancaro, Carlo

    2016-02-01

    Vocal fold injection is used for the management of glottal incompetence from various causes. The procedure is well tolerated and has few reported complications. We present a case of a 66-year-old man with long-lasting hoarseness secondary to vocal fold atrophy, who underwent an uneventful bilateral vocal fold injection with autologous fat. While in the recovery area, he experienced profuse sweating approximately 30 minutes after the surgical procedure. His blood glucose value was measured at 24 mg/dL, and plasmatic insulin level was 246 mU/L. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of a systemic side effect after vocal fold lipoinjection. PMID:26491839

  14. Effects of distance on vocal intensity.

    PubMed

    Michael, D D; Siegel, G M; Pick, H L

    1995-10-01

    The vocal response of speakers to change of distance from a listener is in dispute. Warren (1968) found that speakers obeyed the inverse square law when compensating for distance changes; that is, they decreased their vocal intensity by 6 dB when distance was halved. However, speakers in a study of Johnson, Pick, Siegel, Cicciarelli, and Garber (1981) changed their vocal intensity by much less than 6 dB. This study was an attempt to reconcile the conflicting results and to gain better understanding of what people know implicitly about the effects of distance on intensity. Speakers in the present study significantly changed their vocal intensity to compensate for changes in distance, but by a maximum of 2.46 dB. Possible reasons for the different results are discussed. PMID:8558886

  15. Variations in an African Grey parrot's speech patterns following ignored and denied requests.

    PubMed

    Colbert-White, Erin N; Hall, Hannah C; Fragaszy, Dorothy M

    2016-05-01

    Communicative competence is one measure of an individual's ability to navigate conversations with social partners. The current study explored the possibility of basic communicative competence in a non-mammal speaker, a speech-using African Grey parrot. Spontaneous conversations between one Grey named Cosmo and her caregiver were recorded, from which three corpora (i.e., bodies of text) of Cosmo's vocalizations were developed: (1) Baseline: Vocalizations containing no requests, (2) Ignored Requests: Vocalizations immediately following Cosmo's caregiver ignoring Cosmo's requests, and (3) Denied Requests: Vocalizations immediately following Cosmo's caregiver denying Cosmo's requests. The distributions of social (e.g., "I love you," kiss sounds) and nonsocial (e.g., answering machine beeps, "That's squirrel") vocalizations, as well as speech and nonword vocalizations, were statistically different across the three corpora. Additionally, qualitative analysis of the datasets indicated Cosmo was persistent in repeating vocalizations when denied and ignored, and interrupted her caregiver more often when requests were denied compared to ignored. Neither repetition nor interruption occurred during the Baseline conversations. The data indicate that despite the outcome being the same (i.e., request was unmet), Cosmo treated an ignored request differently than a denied request, modifying her vocalizations in accord with the specific context. Such modification is evidence of basic communicative competence. PMID:26700613

  16. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  18. [Surgery of benign vocal fold lesions].

    PubMed

    Olthoff, A

    2016-09-01

    Surgical treatment of benign vocal fold lesions can be indicated for clinical or functional reasons. The principles of phonosurgery have to be maintained in either case. The appropriate phonosurgical technique depends on the type of vocal fold lesion. Depending on the findings, phonosurgery aims to maintain or improve voice quality. The evaluation of clinical and functional results includes indirect laryngoscopy, videostroboscopy, and voice analysis. PMID:27552826

  19. [Our attitude in functional vocal pathology].

    PubMed

    Garcin, M; Danoy, M C; Heuillet, G

    1987-01-01

    After underlining the frequency of organic lesions observed in functional diseases of vocal cords, emphasis is placed on the importance of the phonetogram in their evaluation and video-laryngo-stroboscopic investigation in their diagnosis. When surgery is necessary, stainless steel instruments are preferred to the laser. Respective isolated or associated vocal reeducational and surgical indications are discussed, and the establishment of a team including laryngologist, phoniatrist and orthophonist recommended to ensure most effective results. PMID:3445981

  20. Scaled-up in vitro experiments of vocal fold paralysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peterson, Keith; Wei, Timothy; Krane, Michael

    2006-11-01

    Vocal fold paralysis is the inability of either one, or both vocal folds to open and close properly. Digital Particle Image Velocimetry (DPIV) measurements were taken to further understand the consequences paralyzed vocal folds have on the fluid dynamics downstream of the vocal folds during human phonation. The experiments were taken in a free-stream water tunnel using a simplified scaled-up model of human vocal folds. The Reynolds and Strouhal numbers ranged from 4500 to 10000, and 0.01 to 0.04, respectively. Various configuration setups were tested to emulate several types of vocal fold paralyses. These configurations include unilateral vocal fold immobility (UVFI), bilateral vocal fold immobility (BVFI) and the vocal folds operating at different oscillating frequencies. Data from these different conditions will be compared with an eye toward understanding the critical dynamics associated with this class of disease.

  1. Mother-Infant Contingent Vocalizations in Eleven Countries

    PubMed Central

    Bornstein, Marc H.; Putnick, Diane L.; Cote, Linda R.; Haynes, O. Maurice; Suwalsky, Joan T.D.

    2015-01-01

    Mother-infant vocal interactions serve multiple functions in child development, but the community-common or community-specific nature of key features of their vocal interactions remains unclear. Here we examined rates, interrelations, and contingencies of vocal interactions in 684 mothers and their 5-month-old infants in diverse communities in 11 countries (Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, and United States). Rates of mothers’ and infants’ vocalizations varied widely across communities and were uncorrelated. However, collapsing across communities mothers vocalized to infants contingent on the offset of their infants’ nondistress vocalizing, infants vocalized contingent on the offset of their mothers’ vocalizing, and maternal and infant contingencies were significantly correlated, pointing to the beginnings of dyadic conversational turn taking. Despite broad differences in the overall talkativeness of mothers and infants, maternal and infant contingent vocal responsiveness is common across communities, supporting essential functions of turn-taking in early child socialization. PMID:26133571

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sigan, Jackie

    2000-01-01

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

  3. Vocal Tract Articulation in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Ohms, Verena R.; Snelderwaard, Peter Ch.; ten Cate, Carel; Beckers, Gabriël J. L.

    2010-01-01

    Background Birdsong and human vocal communication are both complex behaviours which show striking similarities mainly thought to be present in the area of development and learning. Recent studies, however, suggest that there are also parallels in vocal production mechanisms. While it has been long thought that vocal tract filtering, as it occurs in human speech, only plays a minor role in birdsong there is an increasing number of studies indicating the presence of sound filtering mechanisms in bird vocalizations as well. Methodology/Principal Findings Correlating high-speed X-ray cinematographic imaging of singing zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) to song structures we identified beak gape and the expansion of the oropharyngeal-esophageal cavity (OEC) as potential articulators. We subsequently manipulated both structures in an experiment in which we played sound through the vocal tract of dead birds. Comparing acoustic input with acoustic output showed that OEC expansion causes an energy shift towards lower frequencies and an amplitude increase whereas a wide beak gape emphasizes frequencies around 5 kilohertz and above. Conclusion These findings confirm that birds can modulate their song by using vocal tract filtering and demonstrate how OEC and beak gape contribute to this modulation. PMID:20689831

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. The contribution of ultrasonic vocalizations to mouse courtship.

    PubMed

    Egnor, Se Roian; Seagraves, Kelly M

    2016-06-01

    Vocalizations transmit information to social partners, and mice use these signals to exchange information during courtship. Ultrasonic vocalizations from adult males are tightly associated with their interactions with females, and vary as a function of male quality. Work in the last decade has established that the spectrotemporal features of male vocalizations are not learned, but that female attention toward specific vocal features is modified by social experience. Additionally, progress has been made on elucidating how mouse vocalizations are encoded in the auditory system, and on the olfactory circuits that trigger their production. Together these findings provide us with important insights into how vocal communication can contribute to social interactions. PMID:26789140

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. Afferents from Vocal Motor and Respiratory Effectors are Recruited during Vocal Production in Juvenile Songbirds

    PubMed Central

    Bottjer, Sarah W.; To, Michelle

    2012-01-01

    Learned behaviors require coordination of diverse sensory inputs with motivational and motor systems. Although mechanisms underlying vocal learning in songbirds have focused primarily on auditory inputs, it is likely that sensory inputs from vocal effectors also provide essential feedback. We investigated the role of somatosensory and respiratory inputs from vocal effectors of juvenile zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) during the stage of sensorimotor integration when they are learning to imitate a previously memorized tutor song. We report that song production induced expression of the immediate early gene product Fos in trigeminal regions that receive hypoglossal afferents from the tongue and syrinx (the main vocal organ). Furthermore, unilateral lesion of hypoglossal afferents greatly diminished singing-induced Fos expression on the side ipsilateral to the lesion, but not on the intact control side. In addition, unilateral lesion of the vagus reduced Fos expression in the ipsilateral nucleus of the solitary tract in singing birds. Lesion of the hypoglossal nerve to the syrinx greatly disrupted vocal behavior, whereas lesion of the hypoglossal nerve to the tongue exerted no obvious disruption and lesions of the vagus caused some alterations to song behavior. These results provide the first functional evidence that somatosensory and respiratory feedback from peripheral effectors is activated during vocal production and conveyed to brainstem regions. Such feedback is likely to play an important role in vocal learning during sensorimotor integration in juvenile birds and in maintaining stereotyped vocal behavior in adults. PMID:22875924

  10. Responses of primate frontal cortex neurons during natural vocal communication

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, A. Wren; Nummela, Samuel U.; de la Mothe, Lisa A.

    2015-01-01

    The role of primate frontal cortex in vocal communication and its significance in language evolution have a controversial history. While evidence indicates that vocalization processing occurs in ventrolateral prefrontal cortex neurons, vocal-motor activity has been conjectured to be primarily subcortical and suggestive of a distinctly different neural architecture from humans. Direct evidence of neural activity during natural vocal communication is limited, as previous studies were performed in chair-restrained animals. Here we recorded the activity of single neurons across multiple regions of prefrontal and premotor cortex while freely moving marmosets engaged in a natural vocal behavior known as antiphonal calling. Our aim was to test whether neurons in marmoset frontal cortex exhibited responses during vocal-signal processing and/or vocal-motor production in the context of active, natural communication. We observed motor-related changes in single neuron activity during vocal production, but relatively weak sensory responses for vocalization processing during this natural behavior. Vocal-motor responses occurred both prior to and during call production and were typically coupled to the timing of each vocalization pulse. Despite the relatively weak sensory responses a population classifier was able to distinguish between neural activity that occurred during presentations of vocalization stimuli that elicited an antiphonal response and those that did not. These findings are suggestive of the role that nonhuman primate frontal cortex neurons play in natural communication and provide an important foundation for more explicit tests of the functional contributions of these neocortical areas during vocal behaviors. PMID:26084912

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

    PubMed

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

    2001-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  13. Sensory Feedback Control of Mammalian Vocalizations

    PubMed Central

    Smotherman, Michael S.

    2007-01-01

    Somatosensory and auditory feedback mechanisms are dynamic components of the vocal motor pattern generator in mammals. This review explores how sensory cues arising from central auditory and somatosensory pathways actively guide the production of both simple sounds and complex phrases in mammals. While human speech is a uniquely sophisticated example of mammalian vocal behavior, other mammals can serve as examples of how sensory feedback guides complex vocal patterns. Echolocating bats in particular are unique in their absolute dependence on voice control for survival: these animals must constantly adjust the acoustic and temporal patterns of their orientation sounds to efficiently navigate and forage for insects at high speeds under the cover of darkness. Many species of bats also utter a broad repertoire of communication sounds. The functional neuroanatomy of the bat vocal motor pathway is basically identical to other mammals, but the acute significance of sensory feedback in echolocation has made this a profitable model system for studying general principles of sensorimotor integration with regard to vocalizing. Bats and humans are similar in that they both maintain precise control of many different voice parameters, both exhibit a similar suite of responses to altered auditory feedback, and for both the efficacy of sensory feedback depends upon behavioral context. By comparing similarities and differences in the ways sensory feedback influences voice in humans and bats, we may shed light on the basic architecture of the mammalian vocal motor system and perhaps be able to better distinguish those features of human vocal control that evolved uniquely in support of speech and language. PMID:17449116

  14. Sensory feedback control of mammalian vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Smotherman, Michael S

    2007-09-01

    Somatosensory and auditory feedback mechanisms are dynamic components of the vocal motor pattern generator in mammals. This review explores how sensory cues arising from central auditory and somatosensory pathways actively guide the production of both simple sounds and complex phrases in mammals. While human speech is a uniquely sophisticated example of mammalian vocal behavior, other mammals can serve as examples of how sensory feedback guides complex vocal patterns. Echolocating bats in particular are unique in their absolute dependence on voice control for survival: these animals must constantly adjust the acoustic and temporal patterns of their orientation sounds to efficiently navigate and forage for insects at high speeds under the cover of darkness. Many species of bats also utter a broad repertoire of communication sounds. The functional neuroanatomy of the bat vocal motor pathway is basically identical to other mammals, but the acute significance of sensory feedback in echolocation has made this a profitable model system for studying general principles of sensorimotor integration with regard to vocalizing. Bats and humans are similar in that they both maintain precise control of many different voice parameters, both exhibit a similar suite of responses to altered auditory feedback, and for both the efficacy of sensory feedback depends upon behavioral context. By comparing similarities and differences in the ways sensory feedback influences voice in humans and bats, we may shed light on the basic architecture of the mammalian vocal motor system and perhaps be able to better distinguish those features of human vocal control that evolved uniquely in support of speech and language. PMID:17449116

  15. Stuttering: A novel bullfrog vocalization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simmons, Andrea; Suggs, Dianne

    2001-05-01

    The advertisement call of male bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) consists of a series of individual croaks, each of which contains multiple harmonics with a missing or attenuated fundamental frequency of approximately 100 Hz. The envelope of individual croaks has typically been represented in the literature as smooth and unmodulated. From an analysis of 5251 advertisement calls from 17 different choruses over two mating seasons, we show that males add an extra modulation (around 4 Hz) to the envelope of individual croaks, following specific rules. We term these extra modulations stutters. Neither single croak calls nor the first croak in multiple croak calls contains stutters. When stuttering begins, it does so with a croak containing a single stutter, and the number of stutters increases linearly (plus or minus 1 stutter, up to 4 stutters) with the number of croaks. This pattern is stable across individual males (N=10). Playback experiments reveal that vocal responses to stuttered and nonstuttered calls vary with proximity to the stimulus. Close males respond with nonstuttered calls, while far males respond with stuttered calls. The data suggest that nonstuttered calls are used for aggressive or territorial purposes, while stuttered calls are used to attract females.

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

    PubMed Central

    Sugumar, S. J.; Jayaparvathy, R.

    2014-01-01

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

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

    Sugumar, S J; Jayaparvathy, R

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    1998-01-01

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

  20. 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

  1. Three Blind Men and the Elephant

    SciTech Connect

    Long, J S

    2007-02-13

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

  2. Vocal Development: How Marmoset Infants Express Their Feelings.

    PubMed

    Tchernichovski, Ofer; Oller, D Kimbrough

    2016-05-23

    A new study shows that vocal sequences produced by newborn marmoset monkeys are driven by slow fluctuations in physiological state; the results shed light on the evolution of vocal communication between newborns and parents. PMID:27218851

  3. Effects of Verbal-Vocal Message Discrepancy on Teacher Credibility.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Karr, P. J.; Beatty, Michael

    1979-01-01

    Vocal cues which were inconsistent with verbal messages and their effects on teacher credibility were examined. Results suggested that teacher credibility was at least partially dependent upon the degree of verbal vocal consistency in teachers' messages. (Author/MH)

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  5. Translating Mouse Vocalizations: Prosody and Frequency Modulation

    PubMed Central

    Lahvis, Garet P.; Alleva, Enrico; Scattoni, Maria Luisa

    2010-01-01

    Mental illness can include impaired abilities to express emotions or respond to the emotions of others. Speech provides a mechanism for expressing emotions, by both what words are spoken and by the melody or intonation of speech (prosody). Through the perception of variations in prosody, an individual can detect changes in another's emotional state. Prosodic features of mouse ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs), indicated by changes in frequency and amplitude, also convey information. Dams retrieve pups that emit separation calls, females approach males emitting solicitous calls, and mice can become fearful of a cue associated with the vocalizations of a distressed conspecific. Since acoustic features of mouse USVs respond to drugs and genetic manipulations that influence reward circuits, USV analysis can be employed to examine how genes influence social motivation, affect regulation, and communication. The purpose of this review is to discuss how genetic and developmental factors influence aspects of the mouse vocal repertoire and how mice respond to the vocalizations of their conspecifics. To generate falsifiable hypotheses about the emotional content of particular calls, this review addresses USV analysis within the framework of affective neuroscience (e.g. measures of motivated behavior such as conditioned place preference tests, brain activity, and systemic physiology). Suggested future studies include employment of an expanded array of physiological and statistical approaches to identify the salient acoustic features of mouse vocalizations. We are particularly interested in rearing environments that incorporate sufficient spatial and temporal complexity to familiarize developing mice with a broader array of affective states. PMID:20497235

  6. Vocal quality factors: analysis, synthesis, and perception.

    PubMed

    Childers, D G; Lee, C K

    1991-11-01

    The purpose of this study was to examine several factors of vocal quality that might be affected by changes in vocal fold vibratory patterns. Four voice types were examined: modal, vocal fry, falsetto, and breathy. Three categories of analysis techniques were developed to extract source-related features from speech and electroglottographic (EGG) signals. Four factors were found to be important for characterizing the glottal excitations for the four voice types: the glottal pulse width, the glottal pulse skewness, the abruptness of glottal closure, and the turbulent noise component. The significance of these factors for voice synthesis was studied and a new voice source model that accounted for certain physiological aspects of vocal fold motion was developed and tested using speech synthesis. Perceptual listening tests were conducted to evaluate the auditory effects of the source model parameters upon synthesized speech. The effects of the spectral slope of the source excitation, the shape of the glottal excitation pulse, and the characteristics of the turbulent noise source were considered. Applications for these research results include synthesis of natural sounding speech, synthesis and modeling of vocal disorders, and the development of speaker independent (or adaptive) speech recognition systems. PMID:1837797

  7. Viscoelastic properties of the false vocal fold

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, Roger W.

    2001-05-01

    The biomechanical properties of vocal fold tissues have been the focus of many previous studies, as vocal fold viscoelasticity critically dictates the acoustics and biomechanics of phonation. However, not much is known about the viscoelastic response of the ventricular fold or false vocal fold. It has been shown both clinically and in computer simulations that the false vocal fold may contribute significantly to the aerodynamics and sound generation processes of human voice production, with or without flow-induced oscillation of the false fold. To better understand the potential role of the false fold in phonation, this paper reports some preliminary measurements on the linear and nonlinear viscoelastic behavior of false vocal fold tissues. Linear viscoelastic shear properties of human false fold tissue samples were measured by a high-frequency controlled-strain rheometer as a function of frequency, and passive uniaxial tensile stress-strain response of the tissue samples was measured by a muscle lever system as a function of strain and loading rate. Elastic moduli (Young's modulus and shear modulus) of the false fold tissues were calculated from the measured data. [Work supported by NIH.

  8. Vocal repertoire of the social giant otter.

    PubMed

    Leuchtenberger, Caroline; Sousa-Lima, Renata; Duplaix, Nicole; Magnusson, William E; Mourão, Guilherme

    2014-11-01

    According to the "social intelligence hypothesis," species with complex social interactions have more sophisticated communication systems. Giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) live in groups with complex social interactions. It is likely that the vocal communication of giant otters is more sophisticated than previous studies suggest. The objectives of the current study were to describe the airborne vocal repertoire of giant otters in the Pantanal area of Brazil, to analyze call types within different behavioral contexts, and to correlate vocal complexity with level of sociability of mustelids to verify whether or not the result supports the social intelligence hypothesis. The behavior of nine giant otters groups was observed. Vocalizations recorded were acoustically and statistically analyzed to describe the species' repertoire. The repertoire was comprised by 15 sound types emitted in different behavioral contexts. The main behavioral contexts of each sound type were significantly associated with the acoustic variable ordination of different sound types. A strong correlation between vocal complexity and sociability was found for different species, suggesting that the communication systems observed in the family mustelidae support the social intelligence hypothesis. PMID:25373985

  9. Wavelet based detection of manatee vocalizations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gur, Berke M.; Niezrecki, Christopher

    2005-04-01

    The West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) has become endangered partly because of watercraft collisions in Florida's coastal waterways. Several boater warning systems, based upon manatee vocalizations, have been proposed to reduce the number of collisions. Three detection methods based on the Fourier transform (threshold, harmonic content and autocorrelation methods) were previously suggested and tested. In the last decade, the wavelet transform has emerged as an alternative to the Fourier transform and has been successfully applied in various fields of science and engineering including the acoustic detection of dolphin vocalizations. As of yet, no prior research has been conducted in analyzing manatee vocalizations using the wavelet transform. Within this study, the wavelet transform is used as an alternative to the Fourier transform in detecting manatee vocalizations. The wavelet coefficients are analyzed and tested against a specified criterion to determine the existence of a manatee call. The performance of the method presented is tested on the same data previously used in the prior studies, and the results are compared. Preliminary results indicate that using the wavelet transform as a signal processing technique to detect manatee vocalizations shows great promise.

  10. Diagnostic and therapeutic pitfalls in benign vocal fold diseases

    PubMed Central

    Bohlender, Jörg

    2013-01-01

    More than half of patients presenting with hoarseness show benign vocal fold changes. The clinician should be familiar with the anatomy, physiology and functional aspects of voice disorders and also the modern diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities in order to ensure an optimal and patient specific management. This review article focuses on the diagnostic and therapeutic limitations and difficulties of treatment of benign vocal fold tumors, the management and prevention of scarred vocal folds and the issue of unilateral vocal fold paresis. PMID:24403969

  11. Effects of speech style, room acoustics, and vocal fatigue on vocal effort.

    PubMed

    Bottalico, Pasquale; Graetzer, Simone; Hunter, Eric J

    2016-05-01

    Vocal effort is a physiological measure that accounts for changes in voice production as vocal loading increases. It has been quantified in terms of sound pressure level (SPL). This study investigates how vocal effort is affected by speaking style, room acoustics, and short-term vocal fatigue. Twenty subjects were recorded while reading a text at normal and loud volumes in anechoic, semi-reverberant, and reverberant rooms in the presence of classroom babble noise. The acoustics in each environment were modified by creating a strong first reflection in the talker position. After each task, the subjects answered questions addressing their perception of the vocal effort, comfort, control, and clarity of their own voice. Variation in SPL for each subject was measured per task. It was found that SPL and self-reported effort increased in the loud style and decreased when the reflective panels were present and when reverberation time increased. Self-reported comfort and control decreased in the loud style, while self-reported clarity increased when panels were present. The lowest magnitude of vocal fatigue was experienced in the semi-reverberant room. The results indicate that early reflections may be used to reduce vocal effort without modifying reverberation time. PMID:27250179

  12. Methodological considerations of acoustic playbacks to test the behavioral significance of call directionality in male northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holt, Marla M.; Insley, Stephen J.; Southall, Brandon L.; Schusterman, Ronald J.

    2005-09-01

    While attempting to gain access to receptive females, male northern elephant seals form dominance hierarchies through multiple dyadic interactions involving visual and acoustic signals. These signals are both highly stereotyped and directional. Previous behavioral observations suggested that males attend to the directional cues of these signals. We used in situ vocal playbacks to test whether males attend to directional cues of the acoustic components of a competitors calls (i.e., variation in call spectra and source levels). Here, we will focus on playback methodology. Playback calls were multiple exemplars of a marked dominant male from an isolated area, recorded with a directional microphone and DAT recorder and edited into a natural sequence that controlled call amplitude. Control calls were recordings of ambient rookery sounds with the male calls removed. Subjects were 20 marked males (10 adults and 10 subadults) all located at An~o Nuevo, CA. Playback presentations, calibrated for sound-pressure level, were broadcast at a distance of 7 m from each subject. Most responses were classified into the following categories: visual orientation, postural change, calling, movement toward or away from the loudspeaker, and re-directed aggression. We also investigated developmental, hierarchical, and ambient noise variables that were thought to influence male behavior.

  13. VOCAL: Voice Oriented Curriculum Author Language. Technical Report No. 291.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hinckley, Michael; And Others

    VOCAL (Voice Oriented Curriculum Author Language) is designed to facilitate the authoring of computer assisted curricula which incorporate highly interactive audio and text presentations. Lessons written in VOCAL are intended to be patterned after the style of informal classroom lectures. VOCAL contains features that allow the author to specify…

  14. Effect of auditory stimuli on conditioned vocal behavior of budgerigars.

    PubMed

    Seki, Yoshimasa; Dooling, Robert J

    2016-01-01

    The budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) is a highly social species and serves as an excellent model of vocal learning and production. This species can be trained to vocalize as a conditioned response using an operant conditioning paradigm. In addition, the birds can be trained to produce different vocalizations in response to different visual signals. Budgerigars may be fairly unique in the capability for vocal production under operant control. Whether acoustic features of the bird's natural social milieu can influence this conditioned vocal output is uncertain. The present study asked whether conditioned vocal behavior in budgerigars can be influenced by hearing vocalizations of other birds. The results show that birds vocalizing under operant control produced louder calls in the presence of vocalizations from other birds, than in pure tones or in quiet. The acoustic variation of the conditioned vocalization also increased when it is in the context of hearing other . These results reveal a functional connection between the vocal production under operant control and the perceptual mechanisms subserving vocal production in the budgerigars' natural social milieu. PMID:26598232

  15. The Development and Validation of the Vocalic Sensitivity Test.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Villaume, William A.; Brown, Mary Helen

    1999-01-01

    Notes that presbycusis, hearing loss associated with aging, may be marked by a second dimension of hearing loss, a loss in vocalic sensitivity. Reports on the development of the Vocalic Sensitivity Test, which controls for the verbal elements in speech while also allowing for the vocalics to exercise their normal metacommunicative function of…

  16. Oral Breathing Challenge in Participants with Vocal Attrition

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sivasankar, Mahalakshmi; Fisher, Kimberly V.

    2003-01-01

    Vocal folds undergo osmotic challenge by mouth breathing during singing, exercising, and loud speaking. Just 15 min of obligatory oral breathing, to dry the vocal folds, increases phonation threshold pressure (P[subscript th]) and expiratory vocal effort in healthy speakers (M. Sivasankar & K. Fisher, 2002). We questioned whether oral breathing is…

  17. A reflex resonance model of vocal vibrato

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Titze, Ingo R.; Story, Brad; Smith, Marshall; Long, Russel

    2002-05-01

    A reflex mechanism with a long latency (>40 ms) is implicated as a plausible cause of vocal vibrato. At least one pair of agonist-antagonist muscles that can change vocal-fold length is needed, such as the cricothyroid muscle paired with the thyroarytenoid muscle, or the cricothyroid muscle paired with the lateral cricoarytenoid muscle or a strap muscle. Such an agonist-antagonist muscle pair can produce negative feedback instability in vocal-fold length with this long reflex latency, producing oscillations on the order of 5-7 Hz. It is shown that singers appear to increase the gain in the reflex loop to cultivate the vibrato, which grows out of a spectrum of 0-15-Hz physiologic tremors in raw form.

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

    PubMed

    Schaftenaar, Willem

    2013-03-01

    A 37-yr-old Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) started parturition after 640 days of pregnancy but no fetal parts entered the birth canal. Despite veterinary intervention, the calf was not delivered. After 13 mo calving resumed and a full-term dead calf advanced into and lodged within the vagina. With standing xylazine tranquilization, the dam received a vagino-vestibulotomy to permit total fetotomy of the calf, which presented with bilateral carpal arthrogryposis. Severe infection of the caudal vaginal vestibulum complicated wound healing, and over the following year two corrective surgeries were performed, which resolved the fistula 3 mo after the second debridement. The elephant not only survived the procedures but also resumed normal estrous cycles, as demonstrated by blood progesterone concentration monitoring. PMID:23505713

  19. Shear properties of vocal fold mucosal tissues and their effect on vocal fold oscillation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, Roger Wai Kai

    Viscoelastic shear properties of vocal fold mucosal tissues and phonosurgical biomaterials were measured with a parallel-plate rotational rheometer. Elastic, viscous and damping properties were quantified as a function of frequency (0.01 Hz to 15 Hz) for human vocal fold mucosal tissues (N = 15), implantable biomaterials commonly used in the treatment of vocal fold paralysis (Teflon, gelatin, and collagen) (the non-mucosal group), and biomaterials currently or potentially useful in the treatment of vocal fold mucosal defects (adipose tissue or fat, hyaluronic acid, and fibronectin) (the mucosal group). It was found that intersubject differences as large as an order of magnitude were often observed for the shear properties of vocal fold mucosal tissues, part of which may be age- and gender-related. Shear properties of the non-mucosal group biomaterials were often much higher than those of the mucosal group biomaterials, which were relatively close to the shear properties of mucosal tissues. Viscoelastic and rheological modeling showed that shear properties of human vocal fold mucosa may be described by a quasi-linear viscoelastic theory and a statistical network theory, based upon which extrapolations to audio frequencies were possible. A theory of small-amplitude vocal fold oscillation was revisited to describe the effects of tissue shear properties on vocal fold oscillation and phonation threshold pressure, a measure of the 'ease' of phonation and an objective indication of vocal function. It was found that phonation threshold pressure is directly related to the viscous shear modulus or the 'effective damping modulus', a concept proposed to quantify the effective amount of damping in vocal fold oscillation. The mucosal group biomaterials were incorporated into the artificial vocal fold mucosa of a physical model in order to empirically assess their effects on phonation threshold pressure. Results showed that higher threshold pressures were consistently observed

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  1. Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection of Domesticated Asian Elephants, Thailand

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    Four Asian elephants were confirmed to be infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis by bacterial culture, other diagnostic procedures, and sequencing of 16S–23S rDNA internal transcribed spacer region, 16S rRNA, and gyrase B gene sequences. Genotyping showed that the infectious agents originated from 4 sources in Thailand. To identify infections, a combination of diagnostic assays is essential. PMID:21122228

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alkema, Michael S.

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Sidle, Roy C; Ziegler, Alan D

    2010-01-01

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

  5. Extramedullary plasmacytoma of the true vocal fold.

    PubMed

    De Zoysa, Nilantha; Sandler, Belinda; Amonoo-Kuofi, Kwame; Swamy, Rajiv; Kothari, Prasad; Mochloulis, George

    2012-08-01

    We report a rare case of extramedullary plasmacytoma (EMP) of the true vocal fold. Our patient, a 62-year-old woman, presented with dysphonia. On workup, fiberoptic laryngoscopy detected a lesion arising from the anterior half of her left true vocal fold. No evidence of other pathology was noted. The patient underwent radical radiotherapy, and the lesion resolved. Follow-up revealed no sign of recurrence. A type of myeloma, EMP is rare, especially in the larynx. To the best of our knowledge, our patient represents the sixth case of glottic EMP to be reported in the literature. PMID:22930090

  6. Fundamental frequency, sound pressure level and vocal dose of a vocal loading test in comparison to a real teaching situation.

    PubMed

    Echternach, Matthias; Nusseck, Manfred; Dippold, Sebastian; Spahn, Claudia; Richter, Bernhard

    2014-12-01

    Vocal loading capacity is an important aspect of vocal health, especially for people in vocally demanding occupations such as teaching. To analyze vocal loading, vocal loading tests (VLTs) or portable voice devices such as accelerometers have been used. However, it remains unclear how much a VLT in a clinical setup reflects the vocal effort of a real situation, in particular for teachers in a given classroom lesson. In this study of vocally healthy 101 student teachers, we analyzed different vocal doses for a 10-min VLT (80 dB at a distance of 30 cm) and a real 45-min teaching lesson. The phonation time, fundamental frequency, sound pressure level, and noise level were recorded using the VoxLog accelerometer/microphone system for both conditions. From these measurements the time dose, cycle dose, distance dose, energy dissipation dose, and radiated energy dose were calculated. The VLT was associated with a higher fundamental frequency, a higher sound pressure level, and higher relative phonation time compared to the real teaching lesson. Nevertheless, most vocal doses did not differ significantly between the conditions. A VLT of 10 min with >80 dB at 30 cm distance shows only small differences of vocal doses in comparison to a real teaching situation of 45 min. Thus, for clinical vocal assessment the vocal load of a VLT can be related to an approximately 45-min teaching situation. PMID:25012705

  7. The Effects of Class Voice and Breath Management Instruction on Vocal Knowledge, Attitudes, and Vocal Performance among Elementary Education Majors.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Phillips, Kenneth H.; Vispoel, Walter P.

    Forty-three elementary education majors in three classes took part in this study of the effectiveness of class voice instruction for elementary school children on vocal knowledge, attitudes, and vocal performance of the study participants. Two classes were assigned to one of the treatment conditions (vocal instruction with breath emphasis and…

  8. Discrimination of Ultrasonic Vocalizations by CBA/CaJ Mice (Mus musculus) Is Related to Spectrotemporal Dissimilarity of Vocalizations

    PubMed Central

    Neilans, Erikson G.; Holfoth, David P.; Radziwon, Kelly E.; Portfors, Christine V.; Dent, Micheal L.

    2014-01-01

    The function of ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) produced by mice (Mus musculus) is a topic of broad interest to many researchers. These USVs differ widely in spectrotemporal characteristics, suggesting different categories of vocalizations, although this has never been behaviorally demonstrated. Although electrophysiological studies indicate that neurons can discriminate among vocalizations at the level of the auditory midbrain, perceptual acuity for vocalizations has yet to be determined. Here, we trained CBA/CaJ mice using operant conditioning to discriminate between different vocalizations and between a spectrotemporally modified vocalization and its original version. Mice were able to discriminate between vocalization types and between manipulated vocalizations, with performance negatively correlating with spectrotemporal similarity. That is, discrimination performance was higher for dissimilar vocalizations and much lower for similar vocalizations. The behavioral data match previous neurophysiological results in the inferior colliculus (IC), using the same stimuli. These findings suggest that the different vocalizations could carry different meanings for the mice. Furthermore, the finding that behavioral discrimination matched neural discrimination in the IC suggests that the IC plays an important role in the perceptual discrimination of vocalizations. PMID:24416405

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Usually animals reproduce into old age, but a few species such as humans and killer whales can live decades after their last reproduction. The grandmother hypothesis proposes that such life-history evolved through older females switching to invest in their existing (grand)offspring, thereby increasing their inclusive fitness and selection for post-reproductive lifespan. However, positive grandmother effects are also found in non-menopausal taxa, but evidence of their associated fitness effects is rare and only a few tests of the hypothesis in such species exist. Here we investigate the grandmother effects in Asian elephants. Using a multigenerational demographic dataset on semi-captive elephants in Myanmar, we found that grandcalves from young mothers (<20 years) had 8 times lower mortality risk if the grandmother resided with her grandcalf compared to grandmothers residing elsewhere. Resident grandmothers also decreased their daughters' inter-birth intervals by one year. In contrast to the hypothesis predictions, the grandmother's own reproductive status did not modify such grandmother benefits. That elephant grandmothers increased their inclusive fitness by enhancing their daughter's reproductive rate and success irrespective of their own reproductive status suggests that fitness-enhancing grandmaternal effects are widespread, and challenge the view that grandmother effects alone select for menopause coupled with long post-reproductive lifespan. PMID:27282468

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-07-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Usually animals reproduce into old age, but a few species such as humans and killer whales can live decades after their last reproduction. The grandmother hypothesis proposes that such life-history evolved through older females switching to invest in their existing (grand)offspring, thereby increasing their inclusive fitness and selection for post-reproductive lifespan. However, positive grandmother effects are also found in non-menopausal taxa, but evidence of their associated fitness effects is rare and only a few tests of the hypothesis in such species exist. Here we investigate the grandmother effects in Asian elephants. Using a multigenerational demographic dataset on semi-captive elephants in Myanmar, we found that grandcalves from young mothers (<20 years) had 8 times lower mortality risk if the grandmother resided with her grandcalf compared to grandmothers residing elsewhere. Resident grandmothers also decreased their daughters’ inter-birth intervals by one year. In contrast to the hypothesis predictions, the grandmother’s own reproductive status did not modify such grandmother benefits. That elephant grandmothers increased their inclusive fitness by enhancing their daughter’s reproductive rate and success irrespective of their own reproductive status suggests that fitness-enhancing grandmaternal effects are widespread, and challenge the view that grandmother effects alone select for menopause coupled with long post-reproductive lifespan. PMID:27282468

  13. Vocal tract articulation revisited: the case of the monk parakeet.

    PubMed

    Ohms, Verena R; Beckers, Gabriël J L; ten Cate, Carel; Suthers, Roderick A

    2012-01-01

    Birdsong and human speech share many features with respect to vocal learning and development. However, the vocal production mechanisms have long been considered to be distinct. The vocal organ of songbirds is more complex than the human larynx, leading to the hypothesis that vocal variation in birdsong originates mainly at the sound source, while in humans it is primarily due to vocal tract filtering. However, several recent studies have indicated the importance of vocal tract articulators such as the beak and oropharyngeal-esophageal cavity. In contrast to most other bird groups, parrots have a prominent tongue, raising the possibility that tongue movements may also be of significant importance in vocal production in parrots, but evidence is rare and observations often anecdotal. In the current study we used X-ray cinematographic imaging of naturally vocalizing monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) to assess which articulators are possibly involved in vocal tract filtering in this species. We observed prominent tongue height changes, beak opening movements and tracheal length changes, which suggests that all of these components play an important role in modulating vocal tract resonance. Moreover, the observation of tracheal shortening as a vocal articulator in live birds has to our knowledge not been described before. We also found strong positive correlations between beak opening and amplitude as well as changes in tongue height and amplitude in several types of vocalization. Our results suggest considerable differences between parrot and songbird vocal production while at the same time the parrot's vocal articulation might more closely resemble human speech production in the sense that both make extensive use of the tongue as a vocal articulator. PMID:22162856

  14. Vocal tract articulation revisited: the case of the monk parakeet

    PubMed Central

    Ohms, Verena R.; Beckers, Gabriël J. L.; ten Cate, Carel; Suthers, Roderick A.

    2012-01-01

    SUMMARY Birdsong and human speech share many features with respect to vocal learning and development. However, the vocal production mechanisms have long been considered to be distinct. The vocal organ of songbirds is more complex than the human larynx, leading to the hypothesis that vocal variation in birdsong originates mainly at the sound source, while in humans it is primarily due to vocal tract filtering. However, several recent studies have indicated the importance of vocal tract articulators such as the beak and oropharyngeal–esophageal cavity. In contrast to most other bird groups, parrots have a prominent tongue, raising the possibility that tongue movements may also be of significant importance in vocal production in parrots, but evidence is rare and observations often anecdotal. In the current study we used X-ray cinematographic imaging of naturally vocalizing monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) to assess which articulators are possibly involved in vocal tract filtering in this species. We observed prominent tongue height changes, beak opening movements and tracheal length changes, which suggests that all of these components play an important role in modulating vocal tract resonance. Moreover, the observation of tracheal shortening as a vocal articulator in live birds has to our knowledge not been described before. We also found strong positive correlations between beak opening and amplitude as well as changes in tongue height and amplitude in several types of vocalization. Our results suggest considerable differences between parrot and songbird vocal production while at the same time the parrot's vocal articulation might more closely resemble human speech production in the sense that both make extensive use of the tongue as a vocal articulator. PMID:22162856

  15. Audio-vocal responses elicited in adult cochlear implant users

    PubMed Central

    Loucks, Torrey M.; Suneel, Deepa; Aronoff, Justin M.

    2015-01-01

    Auditory deprivation experienced prior to receiving a cochlear implant could compromise neural connections that allow for modulation of vocalization using auditory feedback. In this report, pitch-shift stimuli were presented to adult cochlear implant users to test whether compensatory motor changes in vocal F0 could be elicited. In five of six participants, rapid adjustments in vocal F0 were detected following the stimuli, which resemble the cortically mediated pitch-shift responses observed in typical hearing individuals. These findings suggest that cochlear implants can convey vocal F0 shifts to the auditory pathway that might benefit audio-vocal monitoring. PMID:26520350

  16. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  2. [A case of vocal cord contact granuloma after vocal cord polyp surgery].

    PubMed

    Qiu, Zhili; Jiang, Xiaoping; Yuan, Xiaodong

    2016-01-01

    The vocal cord polyp is easy to relapse after surgery, but if the patient has recurrence in a short term, it is necessary to consider it as postoperative vocal cord contact granuloma. If the patients with contact granuloma after surgical treatment had severe impact on the pronunciation, it is necessary to be operated and confirmed by pathology and given the treatment of acid suppression, in order to avoid postoperative recurrence. PMID:27192916

  3. Vocal cord dysfunction, paradoxic vocal fold motion, or laryngomalacia? Our understanding requires an interdisciplinary approach.

    PubMed

    Christopher, Kent L; Morris, Michael J

    2010-02-01

    This article presents disorders of periodic occurrence of laryngeal obstruction (POLO) resulting in noisy breathing and dyspnea and a variety of secondary symptoms. Included in this classification are glottic disorders, such as paradoxic vocal fold movement and vocal cord dysfunction. The supraglottic disorder, termed, intermittent arytenoid region prolapse or laryngomalacia, is also reviewed. Three categories of POLO are defined as irritant, exertional, and psychological. PMID:20172256

  4. Predicting Achievable Fundamental Frequency Ranges in Vocalization Across Species.

    PubMed

    Titze, Ingo; Riede, Tobias; Mau, Ted

    2016-06-01

    Vocal folds are used as sound sources in various species, but it is unknown how vocal fold morphologies are optimized for different acoustic objectives. Here we identify two main variables affecting range of vocal fold vibration frequency, namely vocal fold elongation and tissue fiber stress. A simple vibrating string model is used to predict fundamental frequency ranges across species of different vocal fold sizes. While average fundamental frequency is predominantly determined by vocal fold length (larynx size), range of fundamental frequency is facilitated by (1) laryngeal muscles that control elongation and by (2) nonlinearity in tissue fiber tension. One adaptation that would increase fundamental frequency range is greater freedom in joint rotation or gliding of two cartilages (thyroid and cricoid), so that vocal fold length change is maximized. Alternatively, tissue layers can develop to bear a disproportionate fiber tension (i.e., a ligament with high density collagen fibers), increasing the fundamental frequency range and thereby vocal versatility. The range of fundamental frequency across species is thus not simply one-dimensional, but can be conceptualized as the dependent variable in a multi-dimensional morphospace. In humans, this could allow for variations that could be clinically important for voice therapy and vocal fold repair. Alternative solutions could also have importance in vocal training for singing and other highly-skilled vocalizations. PMID:27309543

  5. Female Presence and Estrous State Influence Mouse Ultrasonic Courtship Vocalizations

    PubMed Central

    Hanson, Jessica L.; Hurley, Laura M.

    2012-01-01

    The laboratory mouse is an emerging model for context-dependent vocal signaling and reception. Mouse ultrasonic vocalizations are robustly produced in social contexts. In adults, male vocalization during courtship has become a model of interest for signal-receiver interactions. These vocalizations can be grouped into syllable types that are consistently produced by different subspecies and strains of mice. Vocalizations are unique to individuals, vary across development, and depend on social housing conditions. The behavioral significance of different syllable types, including the contexts in which different vocalizations are made and the responses listeners have to different types of vocalizations, is not well understood. We examined the effect of female presence and estrous state on male vocalizations by exploring the use of syllable types and the parameters of syllables during courtship. We also explored correlations between vocalizations and other behaviors. These experimental manipulations produced four main findings: 1) vocalizations varied among males, 2) the production of USVs and an increase in the use of a specific syllable type were temporally related to mounting behavior, 3) the frequency (kHz), bandwidth, and duration of syllables produced by males were influenced by the estrous phase of female partners, and 4) syllable types changed when females were removed. These findings show that mouse ultrasonic courtship vocalizations are sensitive to changes in female phase and presence, further demonstrating the context-sensitivity of these calls. PMID:22815817

  6. Predicting Achievable Fundamental Frequency Ranges in Vocalization Across Species

    PubMed Central

    Titze, Ingo; Riede, Tobias; Mau, Ted

    2016-01-01

    Vocal folds are used as sound sources in various species, but it is unknown how vocal fold morphologies are optimized for different acoustic objectives. Here we identify two main variables affecting range of vocal fold vibration frequency, namely vocal fold elongation and tissue fiber stress. A simple vibrating string model is used to predict fundamental frequency ranges across species of different vocal fold sizes. While average fundamental frequency is predominantly determined by vocal fold length (larynx size), range of fundamental frequency is facilitated by (1) laryngeal muscles that control elongation and by (2) nonlinearity in tissue fiber tension. One adaptation that would increase fundamental frequency range is greater freedom in joint rotation or gliding of two cartilages (thyroid and cricoid), so that vocal fold length change is maximized. Alternatively, tissue layers can develop to bear a disproportionate fiber tension (i.e., a ligament with high density collagen fibers), increasing the fundamental frequency range and thereby vocal versatility. The range of fundamental frequency across species is thus not simply one-dimensional, but can be conceptualized as the dependent variable in a multi-dimensional morphospace. In humans, this could allow for variations that could be clinically important for voice therapy and vocal fold repair. Alternative solutions could also have importance in vocal training for singing and other highly-skilled vocalizations. PMID:27309543

  7. Iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols.

    PubMed

    Perlman, Marcus; Dale, Rick; Lupyan, Gary

    2015-08-01

    Studies of gestural communication systems find that they originate from spontaneously created iconic gestures. Yet, we know little about how people create vocal communication systems, and many have suggested that vocalizations do not afford iconicity beyond trivial instances of onomatopoeia. It is unknown whether people can generate vocal communication systems through a process of iconic creation similar to gestural systems. Here, we examine the creation and development of a rudimentary vocal symbol system in a laboratory setting. Pairs of participants generated novel vocalizations for 18 different meanings in an iterative 'vocal' charades communication game. The communicators quickly converged on stable vocalizations, and naive listeners could correctly infer their meanings in subsequent playback experiments. People's ability to guess the meanings of these novel vocalizations was predicted by how close the vocalization was to an iconic 'meaning template' we derived from the production data. These results strongly suggest that the meaningfulness of these vocalizations derived from iconicity. Our findings illuminate a mechanism by which iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols, analogous to the function of iconicity in gestural communication systems. PMID:26361547

  8. Complete Genome Sequence of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus 4, the First Example of a GC-Rich Branch Proboscivirus.

    PubMed

    Ling, Paul D; Long, Simon Y; Fuery, Angela; Peng, Rong-Sheng; Heaggans, Sarah Y; Qin, Xiang; Worley, Kim C; Dugan, Shannon; Hayward, Gary S

    2016-01-01

    A novel group of mammalian DNA viruses called elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) belonging to the Proboscivirus genus has been associated with nearly 100 cases of highly lethal acute hemorrhagic disease in young Asian elephants worldwide. The complete 180-kb genomes of prototype strains from three AT-rich branch viruses, EEHV1A, EEHV1B, and EEHV5, have been published. However, less than 6 kb of DNA sequence each from EEHV3, EEHV4, and EEHV7 showed them to be a hugely diverged second major branch with GC-rich characteristics. Here, we determined the complete 206-kb genome of EEHV4(Baylor) directly from trunk wash DNA by next-generation sequencing and de novo assembly procedures. Among a total of 119 genes with an overall colinear organization similar to those of the AT-rich EEHVs, major features of EEHV4 include a family of 26 paralogous 7xTM and vGPCR-like genes plus 25 novel or missing genes. The genome also contains an unusual distribution of tracts of 5 to 11 successive A or T nucleotides in intergenic domains between the mostly much higher GC content protein coding regions. Furthermore, an extremely high GC-rich bias in the third wobble position of codons clearly delineates the coding regions for many but not all proteins. There are also two novel captured cellular genes, including a C-type lectin (vECTL) and an O-linked acetylglucosamine transferase (vOGT), as well as an unusually large and complex Ori-Lyt dyad symmetry domain. Finally, 30 kb from a second strain proved to include three small chimeric domains, indicating the existence of distinct EEHV4A and EEHV4B subtypes. IMPORTANCE Multiple species of herpesviruses from three different lineages of the Proboscivirus genus (EEHV1/6, EEHV2/5, and EEHV3/4/7) infect both Asian and African elephants, but lethal hemorrhagic disease is largely confined to Asian elephant calves and is predominantly associated with EEHV1. Milder disease caused by EEHV5 or EEHV4 is being increasingly recognized as well

  9. Complete Genome Sequence of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus 4, the First Example of a GC-Rich Branch Proboscivirus

    PubMed Central

    Ling, Paul D.; Long, Simon Y.; Fuery, Angela; Peng, Rong-Sheng; Heaggans, Sarah Y.; Qin, Xiang; Worley, Kim C.; Dugan, Shannon

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT A novel group of mammalian DNA viruses called elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) belonging to the Proboscivirus genus has been associated with nearly 100 cases of highly lethal acute hemorrhagic disease in young Asian elephants worldwide. The complete 180-kb genomes of prototype strains from three AT-rich branch viruses, EEHV1A, EEHV1B, and EEHV5, have been published. However, less than 6 kb of DNA sequence each from EEHV3, EEHV4, and EEHV7 showed them to be a hugely diverged second major branch with GC-rich characteristics. Here, we determined the complete 206-kb genome of EEHV4(Baylor) directly from trunk wash DNA by next-generation sequencing and de novo assembly procedures. Among a total of 119 genes with an overall colinear organization similar to those of the AT-rich EEHVs, major features of EEHV4 include a family of 26 paralogous 7xTM and vGPCR-like genes plus 25 novel or missing genes. The genome also contains an unusual distribution of tracts of 5 to 11 successive A or T nucleotides in intergenic domains between the mostly much higher GC content protein coding regions. Furthermore, an extremely high GC-rich bias in the third wobble position of codons clearly delineates the coding regions for many but not all proteins. There are also two novel captured cellular genes, including a C-type lectin (vECTL) and an O-linked acetylglucosamine transferase (vOGT), as well as an unusually large and complex Ori-Lyt dyad symmetry domain. Finally, 30 kb from a second strain proved to include three small chimeric domains, indicating the existence of distinct EEHV4A and EEHV4B subtypes. IMPORTANCE Multiple species of herpesviruses from three different lineages of the Proboscivirus genus (EEHV1/6, EEHV2/5, and EEHV3/4/7) infect both Asian and African elephants, but lethal hemorrhagic disease is largely confined to Asian elephant calves and is predominantly associated with EEHV1. Milder disease caused by EEHV5 or EEHV4 is being increasingly recognized

  10. Vocal Corollary Discharge Communicates Call Duration to Vertebrate Auditory System

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Corollary discharge is essential to an animal's ability to filter self-generated from external stimuli. This includes acoustic communication, although direct demonstration of a corollary discharge that both conveys a vocal motor signal and informs the auditory system about the physical attributes of a self-generated vocalization has remained elusive for vertebrates. Here, we show the underlying synaptic activity of a neuronal vocal corollary discharge pathway in the hindbrain of a highly vocal species of fish. Neurons carrying the vocal corollary discharge are specifically adapted for the transmission of duration information, a predominant acoustic cue. The results reveal that vertebrates, like some insects, have a robust corollary discharge conveying call duration. Along with evidence for the influence of vocal duration on auditory encoding in mammals, these new findings suggest that linking vocal motor and corollary discharge pathways with pattern generating, call duration neurons is a shared network character across the animal kingdom. PMID:24285884

  11. Early experience shapes vocal neural coding and perception in songbirds

    PubMed Central

    Woolley, Sarah M. N.

    2012-01-01

    Songbirds, like humans, are highly accomplished vocal learners. The many parallels between speech and birdsong and conserved features of mammalian and avian auditory systems have led to the emergence of the songbird as a model system for studying the perceptual mechanisms of vocal communication. Laboratory research on songbirds allows the careful control of early life experience and high-resolution analysis of brain function during vocal learning, production and perception. Here, I review what songbird studies have revealed about the role of early experience in the development of vocal behavior, auditory perception and the processing of learned vocalizations by auditory neurons. The findings of these studies suggest general principles for how exposure to vocalizations during development and into adulthood influences the perception of learned vocal signals. PMID:22711657

  12. Auditory lateralization of conspecific and heterospecific vocalizations in cats.

    PubMed

    Siniscalchi, Marcello; Laddago, Serena; Quaranta, Angelo

    2016-01-01

    Auditory lateralization in response to both conspecific and heterospecific vocalizations (dog vocalizations) was observed in 16 tabby cats (Felis catus). Six different vocalizations were used: cat "purring," "meowing" and "growling" and dog typical vocalizations of "disturbance," "isolation" and "play." The head-orienting paradigm showed that cats turned their head with the right ear leading (left hemisphere activation) in response to their typical-species vocalization ("meow" and "purring"); on the other hand, a clear bias in the use of the left ear (right hemisphere activation) was observed in response to vocalizations eliciting intense emotion (dogs' vocalizations of "disturbance" and "isolation"). Overall these findings suggest that auditory sensory domain seems to be lateralized also in cat species, stressing the role of the left hemisphere for intraspecific communication and of the right hemisphere in processing threatening and alarming stimuli. PMID:26618245

  13. Patterns in the vocalizations of male harbor seals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Parijs, Sofie M.; Corkeron, Peter J.; Harvey, James; Hayes, Sean A.; Mellinger, David K.; Rouget, Philippe A.; Thompson, Paul M.; Wahlberg, Magnus; Kovacs, Kit M.

    2003-06-01

    Comparative analyses of the roar vocalization of male harbor seals from ten sites throughout their distribution showed that vocal variation occurs at the oceanic, regional, population, and subpopulation level. Genetic barriers based on the physical distance between harbor seal populations present a likely explanation for some of the observed vocal variation. However, site-specific vocal variations were present between genetically mixed subpopulations in California. A tree-based classification analysis grouped Scottish populations together with eastern Pacific sites, rather than amongst Atlantic sites as would be expected if variation was based purely on genetics. Lastly, within the classification tree no individual vocal parameter was consistently responsible for consecutive splits between geographic sites. Combined, these factors suggest that site-specific variation influences the development of vocal structure in harbor seals and these factors may provide evidence for the occurrence of vocal dialects.

  14. Infant vocalizations in response to speech: Vocal imitation and developmental change

    PubMed Central

    Meltzoff, Andrew N.

    2013-01-01

    Infants’ development of speech begins with a language-universal pattern of production that eventually becomes language specific. One mechanism contributing to this change is vocal imitation. The present study was undertaken to examine developmental change in infants’ vocalizations in response to adults’ vowels at 12, 16, and 20 weeks of age and test for vocal imitation. Two methodological aspects of the experiment are noteworthy: (a) three different vowel stimuli (/a/, /i/, and /u/) were videotaped and presented to infants by machine so that the adult model could not artifactually influence infant utterances, and (b) infants’ vocalizations were analyzed both physically, using computerized spectrographic techniques, and perceptually by trained phoneticians who transcribed the utterances. The spectrographic analyses revealed a developmental change in the production of vowels. Infants’ vowel categories become more separated in vowel space from 12 to 20 weeks of age. Moreover, vocal imitation was documented. Infants listening to a particular vowel produced vocalizations resembling that vowel. A hypothesis is advanced extending Kuhl’s native language magnet (NLM) model to encompass infants’ speech production. It is hypothesized that infants listening to ambient language store perceptually derived representations of the speech sounds they hear which in turn serve as targets for the production of speech utterances. NLM unifies previous findings on the effects of ambient language experience on infants’ speech perception and the findings reported here that short-term laboratory experience with speech is sufficient to influence infants’ speech production. PMID:8865648

  15. Brown meagre vocalization rate increases during repetitive boat noise exposures: a possible case of vocal compensation.

    PubMed

    Picciulin, Marta; Sebastianutto, Linda; Codarin, Antonio; Calcagno, Giuliana; Ferrero, Enrico A

    2012-11-01

    This study investigated whether or not boat noise causes variations in brown meagre (Sciaena umbra) vocalizations recorded in a nearshore Mediterranean marine reserve. Six nocturnal experimental sessions were carried out from June to September 2009. In each of them, a recreational boat passed over vocalizing fish 6 times with 1 boat passage every 10 min. For this purpose three different boats were used in random order: an 8.5-m cabin-cruiser (CC), a 5-m fiberglass boat (FB), and a 7-m inflatable boat (INF). In situ continuous acoustic recordings were collected using a self-standing sonobuoy. Because boat noise levels largely exceeded both background noise and S. umbra vocalizations in the species' hearing frequency range, masking of acoustic communication was assumed. Although no immediate effect was observed during a single boat passage, the S. umbra mean pulse rate increased over multiple boat passages in the experimental condition but not in the control condition, excluding that the observed effect was due to a natural rise in fish vocalizations. The observed vocal enhancement may result either from an increased density of callers or from an increased number of pulses/sounds produced by already acoustically active individuals, as a form of vocal compensation. These two explanations are discussed. PMID:23145597

  16. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    1978-01-01

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

  18. Gelada vocal sequences follow Menzerath's linguistic law.

    PubMed

    Gustison, Morgan L; Semple, Stuart; Ferrer-I-Cancho, Ramon; Bergman, Thore J

    2016-05-10

    Identifying universal principles underpinning diverse natural systems is a key goal of the life sciences. A powerful approach in addressing this goal has been to test whether patterns consistent with linguistic laws are found in nonhuman animals. Menzerath's law is a linguistic law that states that, the larger the construct, the smaller the size of its constituents. Here, to our knowledge, we present the first evidence that Menzerath's law holds in the vocal communication of a nonhuman species. We show that, in vocal sequences of wild male geladas (Theropithecus gelada), construct size (sequence size in number of calls) is negatively correlated with constituent size (duration of calls). Call duration does not vary significantly with position in the sequence, but call sequence composition does change with sequence size and most call types are abbreviated in larger sequences. We also find that intercall intervals follow the same relationship with sequence size as do calls. Finally, we provide formal mathematical support for the idea that Menzerath's law reflects compression-the principle of minimizing the expected length of a code. Our findings suggest that a common principle underpins human and gelada vocal communication, highlighting the value of exploring the applicability of linguistic laws in vocal systems outside the realm of language. PMID:27091968

  19. Path Models of Vocal Emotion Communication.

    PubMed

    Bänziger, Tanja; Hosoya, Georg; Scherer, Klaus R

    2015-01-01

    We propose to use a comprehensive path model of vocal emotion communication, encompassing encoding, transmission, and decoding processes, to empirically model data sets on emotion expression and recognition. The utility of the approach is demonstrated for two data sets from two different cultures and languages, based on corpora of vocal emotion enactment by professional actors and emotion inference by naïve listeners. Lens model equations, hierarchical regression, and multivariate path analysis are used to compare the relative contributions of objectively measured acoustic cues in the enacted expressions and subjective voice cues as perceived by listeners to the variance in emotion inference from vocal expressions for four emotion families (fear, anger, happiness, and sadness). While the results confirm the central role of arousal in vocal emotion communication, the utility of applying an extended path modeling framework is demonstrated by the identification of unique combinations of distal cues and proximal percepts carrying information about specific emotion families, independent of arousal. The statistical models generated show that more sophisticated acoustic parameters need to be developed to explain the distal underpinnings of subjective voice quality percepts that account for much of the variance in emotion inference, in particular voice instability and roughness. The general approach advocated here, as well as the specific results, open up new research strategies for work in psychology (specifically emotion and social perception research) and engineering and computer science (specifically research and development in the domain of affective computing, particularly on automatic emotion detection and synthetic emotion expression in avatars). PMID:26325076

  20. Functional flexibility in wild bonobo vocal behaviour

    PubMed Central

    Archbold, Jahmaira; Zuberbühler, Klaus

    2015-01-01

    A shared principle in the evolution of language and the development of speech is the emergence of functional flexibility, the capacity of vocal signals to express a range of emotional states independently of context and biological function. Functional flexibility has recently been demonstrated in the vocalisations of pre-linguistic human infants, which has been contrasted to the functionally fixed vocal behaviour of non-human primates. Here, we revisited the presumed chasm in functional flexibility between human and non-human primate vocal behaviour, with a study on our closest living primate relatives, the bonobo (Pan paniscus). We found that wild bonobos use a specific call type (the “peep”) across a range of contexts that cover the full valence range (positive-neutral-negative) in much of their daily activities, including feeding, travel, rest, aggression, alarm, nesting and grooming. Peeps were produced in functionally flexible ways in some contexts, but not others. Crucially, calls did not vary acoustically between neutral and positive contexts, suggesting that recipients take pragmatic information into account to make inferences about call meaning. In comparison, peeps during negative contexts were acoustically distinct. Our data suggest that the capacity for functional flexibility has evolutionary roots that predate the evolution of human speech. We interpret this evidence as an example of an evolutionary early transition away from fixed vocal signalling towards functional flexibility. PMID:26290789

  1. Production, Usage, and Comprehension in Animal Vocalizations

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Seyfarth, Robert M.; Cheney, Dorothy L.

    2010-01-01

    In this review, we place equal emphasis on production, usage, and comprehension because these components of communication may exhibit different developmental trajectories and be affected by different neural mechanisms. In the animal kingdom generally, learned, flexible vocal production is rare, appearing in only a few orders of birds and few…

  2. Vocal Pitch Discrimination in the Motor System

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    D'Ausilio, Alessandro; Bufalari, Ilaria; Salmas, Paola; Busan, Pierpaolo; Fadiga, Luciano

    2011-01-01

    Speech production can be broadly separated into two distinct components: Phonation and Articulation. These two aspects require the efficient control of several phono-articulatory effectors. Speech is indeed generated by the vibration of the vocal-folds in the larynx (F0) followed by "filtering" by articulators, to select certain resonant…

  3. Functional flexibility in wild bonobo vocal behaviour.

    PubMed

    Clay, Zanna; Archbold, Jahmaira; Zuberbühler, Klaus

    2015-01-01

    A shared principle in the evolution of language and the development of speech is the emergence of functional flexibility, the capacity of vocal signals to express a range of emotional states independently of context and biological function. Functional flexibility has recently been demonstrated in the vocalisations of pre-linguistic human infants, which has been contrasted to the functionally fixed vocal behaviour of non-human primates. Here, we revisited the presumed chasm in functional flexibility between human and non-human primate vocal behaviour, with a study on our closest living primate relatives, the bonobo (Pan paniscus). We found that wild bonobos use a specific call type (the "peep") across a range of contexts that cover the full valence range (positive-neutral-negative) in much of their daily activities, including feeding, travel, rest, aggression, alarm, nesting and grooming. Peeps were produced in functionally flexible ways in some contexts, but not others. Crucially, calls did not vary acoustically between neutral and positive contexts, suggesting that recipients take pragmatic information into account to make inferences about call meaning. In comparison, peeps during negative contexts were acoustically distinct. Our data suggest that the capacity for functional flexibility has evolutionary roots that predate the evolution of human speech. We interpret this evidence as an example of an evolutionary early transition away from fixed vocal signalling towards functional flexibility. PMID:26290789

  4. Patterns of Vocalization and Impression Formation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hayes, Donald P.; Bouma, Gary D.

    1975-01-01

    This article discusses the interactive behavior that accompanies verbal exchange. It specifically describes a set of experiments designed to isolate an important subset of interactive behavior, the vocal (as opposed to the verbal) and to relate this information to a wide range of social impressions resulting from verbal exchange. (Available from…

  5. Children's recognition of emotions from vocal cues.

    PubMed

    Sauter, Disa A; Panattoni, Charlotte; Happé, Francesca

    2013-03-01

    Emotional cues contain important information about the intentions and feelings of others. Despite a wealth of research into children's understanding of facial signals of emotions, little research has investigated the developmental trajectory of interpreting affective cues in the voice. In this study, 48 children ranging between 5 and 10 years were tested using forced-choice tasks with non-verbal vocalizations and emotionally inflected speech expressing different positive, neutral and negative states. Children as young as 5 years were proficient in interpreting a range of emotional cues from vocal signals. Consistent with previous work, performance was found to improve with age. Furthermore, the two tasks, examining recognition of non-verbal vocalizations and emotionally inflected speech, respectively, were sensitive to individual differences, with high correspondence of performance across the tasks. From this demonstration of children's ability to recognize emotions from vocal stimuli, we also conclude that this auditory emotion recognition task is suitable for a wide age range of children, providing a novel, empirical way to investigate children's affect recognition skills. PMID:23331109

  6. The role of vocal individuality in conservation

    PubMed Central

    Terry, Andrew MR; Peake, Tom M; McGregor, Peter K

    2005-01-01

    Identifying the individuals within a population can generate information on life history parameters, generate input data for conservation models, and highlight behavioural traits that may affect management decisions and error or bias within census methods. Individual animals can be discriminated by features of their vocalisations. This vocal individuality can be utilised as an alternative marking technique in situations where the marks are difficult to detect or animals are sensitive to disturbance. Vocal individuality can also be used in cases were the capture and handling of an animal is either logistically or ethically problematic. Many studies have suggested that vocal individuality can be used to count and monitor populations over time; however, few have explicitly tested the method in this role. In this review we discuss methods for extracting individuality information from vocalisations and techniques for using this to count and monitor populations over time. We present case studies in birds where vocal individuality has been applied to conservation and we discuss its role in mammals. PMID:15960848

  7. Treatment of early stage vocal cord carcinoma

    SciTech Connect

    Ayers, G.

    1989-03-01

    The cure rates for early stage vocal cord cancer are excellent with primary radiotherapy. Voice quality remains as good or becomes better than prior to treatment. For the local failures that do occur, surgical salvage will yield ultimate cure rates of about 95% for T1 and 90% for T2 tumors.

  8. Music Education Intervention Improves Vocal Emotion Recognition

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mualem, Orit; Lavidor, Michal

    2015-01-01

    The current study is an interdisciplinary examination of the interplay among music, language, and emotions. It consisted of two experiments designed to investigate the relationship between musical abilities and vocal emotional recognition. In experiment 1 (N = 24), we compared the influence of two short-term intervention programs--music and…

  9. The Tufts Non-Vocal Communication Program.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Foulds, Richard A.; And Others

    Described are the efforts of the Biomedical Engineering Center in developing devices, particularly the Tufts Interactive Communicator (TIC) for the non-vocal severely physically disabled individual. It is noted that research has been conducted in the following areas: dictionary development, anticipatory communication, symbol communication, symbol…

  10. Path Models of Vocal Emotion Communication

    PubMed Central

    Bänziger, Tanja; Hosoya, Georg; Scherer, Klaus R.

    2015-01-01

    We propose to use a comprehensive path model of vocal emotion communication, encompassing encoding, transmission, and decoding processes, to empirically model data sets on emotion expression and recognition. The utility of the approach is demonstrated for two data sets from two different cultures and languages, based on corpora of vocal emotion enactment by professional actors and emotion inference by naïve listeners. Lens model equations, hierarchical regression, and multivariate path analysis are used to compare the relative contributions of objectively measured acoustic cues in the enacted expressions and subjective voice cues as perceived by listeners to the variance in emotion inference from vocal expressions for four emotion families (fear, anger, happiness, and sadness). While the results confirm the central role of arousal in vocal emotion communication, the utility of applying an extended path modeling framework is demonstrated by the identification of unique combinations of distal cues and proximal percepts carrying information about specific emotion families, independent of arousal. The statistical models generated show that more sophisticated acoustic parameters need to be developed to explain the distal underpinnings of subjective voice quality percepts that account for much of the variance in emotion inference, in particular voice instability and roughness. The general approach advocated here, as well as the specific results, open up new research strategies for work in psychology (specifically emotion and social perception research) and engineering and computer science (specifically research and development in the domain of affective computing, particularly on automatic emotion detection and synthetic emotion expression in avatars). PMID:26325076

  11. Enhanced Processing of Vocal Melodies in Childhood

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Weiss, Michael W.; Schellenberg, E. Glenn; Trehub, Sandra E.; Dawber, Emily J.

    2015-01-01

    Music cognition is typically studied with instrumental stimuli. Adults remember melodies better, however, when they are presented in a biologically significant timbre (i.e., the human voice) than in various instrumental timbres (Weiss, Trehub, & Schellenberg, 2012). We examined the impact of vocal timbre on children's processing of melodies.…

  12. Pupils dilate for vocal or familiar music.

    PubMed

    Weiss, Michael W; Trehub, Sandra E; Schellenberg, E Glenn; Habashi, Peter

    2016-08-01

    Previous research reveals that vocal melodies are remembered better than instrumental renditions. Here we explored the possibility that the voice, as a highly salient stimulus, elicits greater arousal than nonvocal stimuli, resulting in greater pupil dilation for vocal than for instrumental melodies. We also explored the possibility that pupil dilation indexes memory for melodies. We tracked pupil dilation during a single exposure to 24 unfamiliar folk melodies (half sung to la la, half piano) and during a subsequent recognition test in which the previously heard melodies were intermixed with 24 novel melodies (half sung, half piano) from the same corpus. Pupil dilation was greater for vocal melodies than for piano melodies in the exposure phase and in the test phase. It was also greater for previously heard melodies than for novel melodies. Our findings provide the first evidence that pupillometry can be used to measure recognition of stimuli that unfold over several seconds. They also provide the first evidence of enhanced arousal to vocal melodies during encoding and retrieval, thereby supporting the more general notion of the voice as a privileged signal. (PsycINFO Database Record PMID:27123682

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. A Computational Study of the Effect of False Vocal Folds on Glottal Flow and Vocal Fold Vibration During Phonation

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Xudong; Bielamowicz, Steve; Luo, Haoxiang; Mittal, Rajat

    2010-01-01

    The false vocal folds are believed to be components of the acoustic filter that is responsible for shaping the voice. However, the effects of false vocal folds on the vocal fold vibration and the glottal aerodynamic during phonation remain unclear. This effect has implications for computational modeling of phonation as well as for understanding laryngeal pathologies such as glottal incompetence resulting from unilateral vocal fold paralysis. In this study, a high fidelity, two-dimensional computational model, which combines an immersed boundary method for the airflow and a continuum, finite-element method for the vocal folds, is used to examine the effect of the false vocal folds on flow-induced vibration (FIV) of the true vocal folds and the dynamics of the glottal jet. The model is notionally based on a laryngeal CT scan and employs realistic flow conditions and tissue properties. Results show that the false vocal folds potentially have a significant impact on phonation. The false vocal folds reduce the glottal flow impedance and increase the amplitude as well as the mean glottal jet velocity. The false vocal folds also enhance the intensity of the monopole acoustic sources in the glottis. A mechanism for reduction in flow impedance due to the false vocal folds is proposed. PMID:19142730

  18. A computational study of the effect of false vocal folds on glottal flow and vocal fold vibration during phonation.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Xudong; Bielamowicz, Steve; Luo, Haoxiang; Mittal, Rajat

    2009-03-01

    The false vocal folds are believed to be components of the acoustic filter that is responsible for shaping the voice. However, the effects of false vocal folds on the vocal fold vibration and the glottal aerodynamic during phonation remain unclear. This effect has implications for computational modeling of phonation as well as for understanding laryngeal pathologies such as glottal incompetence resulting from unilateral vocal fold paralysis. In this study, a high fidelity, two-dimensional computational model, which combines an immersed boundary method for the airflow and a continuum, finite-element method for the vocal folds, is used to examine the effect of the false vocal folds on flow-induced vibration (FIV) of the true vocal folds and the dynamics of the glottal jet. The model is notionally based on a laryngeal CT scan and employs realistic flow conditions and tissue properties. Results show that the false vocal folds potentially have a significant impact on phonation. The false vocal folds reduce the glottal flow impedance and increase the amplitude as well as the mean glottal jet velocity. The false vocal folds also enhance the intensity of the monopole acoustic sources in the glottis. A mechanism for reduction in flow impedance due to the false vocal folds is proposed. PMID:19142730

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Variability of normal vocal fold dynamics for different vocal loading in one healthy subject investigated by phonovibrograms.

    PubMed

    Doellinger, Michael; Lohscheller, Joerg; McWhorter, Andrew; Kunduk, Melda

    2009-03-01

    We investigate the potential of high-speed digital imaging technique (HSI) and the phonovibrogram (PVG) analysis in normal vocal fold dynamics by studying the effects of continuous voice use (vocal loading) during the workday. One healthy subject was recorded at sustained phonation 13 times within 2 consecutive days in the morning before and in the afternoon after vocal loading, respectively. Vocal fold dynamics were extracted and visualized by PVGs. The characteristic PVG patterns were extracted representing vocal fold vibration types. The parameter values were then analyzed by statistics regarding vocal load, left-right PVG asymmetries, anterior-posterior PVG asymmetries, and opening-closing differences. For the first time, the direct impact of vocal load could be determined by analyzing vocal fold dynamics. For same vocal loading conditions, equal dynamical behavior of the vocal folds were confirmed. Comparison of recordings performed in the morning with the recordings after work revealed significant changes in vibration behavior, indicating impact of occurring vocal load. Left-right asymmetries in vocal fold dynamics were found confirming earlier assumptions. Different dynamics between opening and closing procedure as well as for anterior and posterior parts were found. Constant voice usage stresses the vocal folds even in healthy subjects and can be detected by applying the PVG technique. Furthermore, left-right PVG asymmetries do oc