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Sample records for african forest elephant

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  4. Triangulating the provenance of African elephants using mitochondrial DNA

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-01

    Conservation of wide-ranging species, such as the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), depends on fully protected areas and multiple-use areas (MUA) that provide habitat connectivity. In the Gamba Complex of Protected Areas in Gabon, which includes 2 national parks separated by a MUA containing energy and forestry concessions, we studied forest elephants to evaluate the importance of the MUA to wide-ranging species. We extracted DNA from elephant dung samples and used genetic information to identify over 500 individuals in the MUA and the parks. We then examined patterns of nuclear microsatellites and mitochondrial control-region sequences to infer population structure, movement patterns, and habitat use by age and sex. Population structure was weak but significant, and differentiation was more pronounced during the wet season. Within the MUA, males were more strongly associated with open habitats, such as wetlands and savannas, than females during the dry season. Many of the movements detected within and between seasons involved the wetlands and bordering lagoons. Our results suggest that the MUA provides year-round habitat for some elephants and additional habitat for others whose primary range is in the parks. With the continuing loss of roadless wilderness areas in Central Africa, well-managed MUAs will likely be important to the conservation of wide-ranging species.

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

    PubMed

    Rohland, Nadin; Reich, David; Mallick, Swapan; Meyer, Matthias; Green, Richard E; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Roca, Alfred L; Hofreiter, Michael

    2010-12-21

    To elucidate the history of living and extinct elephantids, we generated 39,763 bp of aligned nuclear DNA sequence across 375 loci for African savanna elephant, African forest elephant, Asian elephant, the extinct American mastodon, and the woolly mammoth. Our data establish that the Asian elephant is the closest living relative of the extinct mammoth in the nuclear genome, extending previous findings from mitochondrial DNA analyses. We also find that savanna and forest elephants, which some have argued are the same species, are as or more divergent in the nuclear genome as mammoths and Asian elephants, which are considered to be distinct genera, thus resolving a long-standing debate about the appropriate taxonomic classification of the African elephants. Finally, we document a much larger effective population size in forest elephants compared with the other elephantid taxa, likely reflecting species differences in ancient geographic structure and range and differences in life history traits such as variance in male reproductive success.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

  9. 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

  10. Devastating Decline of Forest Elephants in Central Africa

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation and the African elephant species question.

    PubMed

    Roca, Alfred L; Georgiadis, Nicholas; O'Brien, Stephen J

    2007-07-01

    Studies of skull morphology and of nuclear DNA have strongly concluded that African elephants comprise two species. Nonetheless, Debruyne (2005) has suggested a single-species model for Loxodonta based on the polyphyly of a single genetic locus, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Discordant patterns between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers were subsequently reported in some African savanna elephant populations, further supporting a two-species model, and prompting us to re-examine here the geographic distribution of different elephant morphotypes and their relationship to nuclear and mtDNA phylogeographic patterns. We used exact tests to compare the distribution of forest elephant-typical and savanna elephant-typical characteristics across eight published datasets containing morphological, mtDNA or nuclear DNA data for African elephants. Among the elephants examined by Debruyne (2005), we found that patterns of forest vs. savanna characteristics were significantly different (p < 10(-5)) between mtDNA and morphology, suggesting the presence of cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation. We show that the eight African elephant continent-wide datasets compared, including that of Debruyne (2005), together support a two-species model with cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation rather than a one-species model, and together indicate that Africa harbors two species of elephant.

  14. 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

    2014-09-09

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

  15. [Contribution of molecular phylogeny and morphometrics to the systematics of African elephants].

    PubMed

    Debruyne, Régis

    2004-01-01

    African elephants are conventionally classified as a single species: Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach 1797). However, the discovery in 1900 of a smaller form of the African elephant, spread throughout the equatorial belt of this land, has given rise to a debate over the relevance of a second species of elephant in Africa. The twentieth century has not provided any definite answer to this question. Actually, recent molecular analyses have sustained this issue by advocating either a division of forest elephants into a valid species, or their inclusion as a subspecies of L. africana. Our work initiated at the National Museum of Natural History of Paris provides new molecular (mitochondrial) and morphological (and morphometrical) evidence making it possible to propose a comprehensive phylogenetic hypothesis. It appears that there is no conclusive argument to keep forest elephants (cyclotis form) and savannah elephants (africana form) apart in two distinct species. A high level of mitochondrial introgression between the two forms, as well as a continuum in the morphology of the skulls of the two morphotypes rather suggests that, despite an ancient division, these two taxa freely interbreed wherever their ranges intersect. We thus adopt a conservative systematic position in considering these two forms as two subspecies, respectively: L. africana africana, the savannah elephant, and L. africana cyclotis, the forest elephant. We finally discuss the conservation topic in the light of this systematic framework.

  16. 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

  17. Forest elephant mitochondrial genomes reveal that elephantid diversification in Africa tracked climate transitions.

    PubMed

    Brandt, Adam L; Ishida, Yasuko; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Roca, Alfred L

    2012-03-01

    Among elephants, the phylogeographic patterns of mitochondrial (mt) and nuclear markers are often incongruent. One hypothesis attributes this to sex differences in dispersal and in the variance of reproductive success. We tested this hypothesis by examining the coalescent dates of genetic markers within elephantid lineages, predicting that lower dispersal and lower variance in reproductive success among females would have increased mtDNA relative to nuclear coalescent dates. We sequenced the mitochondrial genomes of two forest elephants, aligning them to mitogenomes of African savanna and Asian elephants, and of woolly mammoths, including the most divergent mitogenomes within each lineage. Using fossil calibrations, the divergence between African elephant F and S clade mitochondrial genomes (originating in forest and savanna elephant lineages, respectively) was estimated as 5.5 Ma. We estimated that the (African) ancestor of the mammoth and Asian elephant lineages diverged 6.0 Ma, indicating that four elephantid lineages had differentiated in Africa by the Miocene-Pliocene transition, concurrent with drier climates. The coalescent date for forest elephant mtDNAs was c. 2.4 Ma, suggesting that the decrease in tropical forest cover during the Pleistocene isolated distinct African forest elephant lineages. For all elephantid lineages, the ratio of mtDNA to nuclear coalescent dates was much greater than 0.25. This is consistent with the expectation that sex differences in dispersal and in variance of reproductive success would have increased the effective population size of mtDNA relative to nuclear markers in elephantids, contributing to the persistence of incongruent mtDNA phylogeographic patterns.

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

    PubMed

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

    2002-10-07

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2002-01-01

    Recent genetic results support the recognition of two African elephant species: Loxodonta africana, the savannah elephant, and Loxodonta cyclotis, the forest elephant. The study, however, did not include the populations of West Africa, where the taxonomic affinities of elephants have been much debated. We examined mitochondrial cytochrome b control region sequences and four microsatellite loci to investigate the genetic differences between the forest and savannah elephants of West and Central Africa. We then combined our data with published control region sequences from across Africa to examine patterns at the continental level. Our analysis reveals several deeply divergent lineages that do not correspond with the currently recognized taxonomy: (i) the forest elephants of Central Africa; the forest and savannah elephants of West Africa; and (iii) the savannah elephants of eastern, southern and Central Africa. We propose that the complex phylogeographic patterns we detect in African elephants result from repeated continental-scale climatic changes over their five-to-six million year evolutionary history. Until there is consensus on the taxonomy, we suggest that the genetic and ecological distinctness of these lineages should be an important factor in conservation management planning. PMID:12396498

  20. Detection of cytonuclear genomic dissociation in the North American captive African elephant collection.

    PubMed

    Lei, Runhua; Brenneman, Rick A; Schmitt, Dennis L; Louis, Edward E

    2009-01-01

    A total of 114 captive elephants (6 Asian; 108 African) from 43 private institutions or North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums were sampled and evaluated to investigate genetic status. Because previous analyses of the captive collection indicated potential cytonuclear dissociation between mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence and microsatellite nuclear DNA genotype data, we investigated this phenomenon within the captive collection with 2 X-linked genes (BGN and PHKA2) and 1 Y-linked gene (AMELY). These data reveal that individuals with forest-derived elephant mtDNA lineages carried only savannah elephant nuclear gene haplotypes. These results are concordant with a previous study of wild populations sampled across Africa, indicating that cytonuclear genomic dissociation was captured in the founders of the North American African elephant collection. These results are important for resolving questions that can potentially impact future management and breeding programs related to the collection.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Wyatt, Jeff; DiVincenti, Louis

    2012-03-01

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

  3. Bee threat elicits alarm call in African elephants.

    PubMed

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

    2010-04-26

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

  4. Genetic evidence for two species of elephant in Africa.

    PubMed

    Roca, A L; Georgiadis, N; Pecon-Slattery, J; O'Brien, S J

    2001-08-24

    Elephants from the tropical forests of Africa are morphologically distinct from savannah or bush elephants. Dart-biopsy samples from 195 free-ranging African elephants in 21 populations were examined for DNA sequence variation in four nuclear genes (1732 base pairs). Phylogenetic distinctions between African forest elephant and savannah elephant populations corresponded to 58% of the difference in the same genes between elephant genera Loxodonta (African) and Elephas (Asian). Large genetic distance, multiple genetically fixed nucleotide site differences, morphological and habitat distinctions, and extremely limited hybridization of gene flow between forest and savannah elephants support the recognition and conservation management of two African species: Loxodonta africana and Loxodonta cyclotis.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  6. 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

  7. Will Elephants Soon Disappear from West African Savannahs?

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  8. Will elephants soon disappear from West African savannahs?

    PubMed

    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.

  9. Volumetric analysis of the African elephant ventricular system.

    PubMed

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

    2011-08-01

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

  10. 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

  11. Assigning African elephant DNA to geographic region of origin: applications to the ivory trade.

    PubMed

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

    2004-10-12

    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.

  12. Geographic variation of stable isotopes in African elephant ivory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-04-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Chronology of the extant African elephant species and case study of the species identification of the small African elephant with the molecular phylogenetic method.

    PubMed

    Murata, Yumie; Yonezawa, Takahiro; Kihara, Ichiro; Kashiwamura, Toshihide; Sugihara, Yuji; Nikaido, Masato; Okada, Norihiro; Endo, Hideki; Hasegawa, Masami

    2009-07-15

    Despite vigorous genetic studies of African elephants (Loxodonta africana and L. cyclotis) during the last decade, their evolutionary history is still obscure. Phylogenetic studies and coalescence time estimation using longer nucleotide sequence data from denser samplings are necessary to better understand the natural history of African elephants. Further, species identification among African elephants is sometimes very difficult using only the external morphological characteristics. This is a serious problem for making an adequate breeding plan in zoological gardens. In this paper, we investigated the continent-wide phylogeographical pattern of the African elephants and estimated the coalescence times among them. From these molecular data and geological evidence, we proposed an evolutionary scenario for the African elephants. We further demonstrated the effectiveness of molecular phylogenetic methods in species identification.

  16. Molecular phylogenetics of the elephant schistosome Bivitellobilharzia loxodontae (Trematoda: Schistosomatidae) from the Central African Republic.

    PubMed

    Brant, S V; Pomajbíková, K; Modry, D; Petrželková, K J; Todd, A; Loker, E S

    2013-03-01

    One of the most poorly known of all schistosomes infecting mammals is Bivitellobilharzia loxodontae. Nearly all of our available information about this species comes from the original description of worms that were obtained from an animal park-maintained elephant in Germany, probably a forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis, originating from the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo. We obtained schistosome eggs from faecal samples from wild forest elephants from the Central African Republic. The eggs, which were similar in size and shape to those of described B. loxodontae, were sequenced for the 28S nuclear ribosomal gene and the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (cox1) gene. In a phylogenetic analysis of 28S sequences, our specimens grouped closely with B. nairi, the schistosome from the Indian elephant Elephas maximus, to the exclusion of schistosomes from other genera. However, the eggs were genetically distinct (12% distance cox1) from those of B. nairi. We conclude the specimens we recovered were of B. loxodontae and confirm this is a distinct Bivitellobilharzia species. In addition to providing the first sequence data for B. loxodontae, this report also supports Bivitellobilharzia as a monophyletic group and gives the relative phylogenetic position of the genus within the Schistosomatidae. We also provide a review of the biology of this poorly known schistosome genus.

  17. Foot pressure distributions during walking in African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Pataky, Todd C.; Day, Madeleine; Hensman, Michael C.; Hensman, Sean; Hutchinson, John R.; Clemente, Christofer J.

    2016-01-01

    Elephants, the largest living land mammals, have evolved a specialized foot morphology to help reduce locomotor pressures while supporting their large body mass. Peak pressures that could cause tissue damage are mitigated passively by the anatomy of elephants' feet, yet this mechanism does not seem to work well for some captive animals. This study tests how foot pressures vary among African and Asian elephants from habitats where natural substrates predominate but where foot care protocols differ. Variations in pressure patterns might be related to differences in husbandry, including but not limited to trimming and the substrates that elephants typically stand and move on. Both species' samples exhibited the highest concentration of peak pressures on the lateral digits of their feet (which tend to develop more disease in elephants) and lower pressures around the heel. The trajectories of the foot's centre of pressure were also similar, confirming that when walking at similar speeds, both species load their feet laterally at impact and then shift their weight medially throughout the step until toe-off. Overall, we found evidence of variations in foot pressure patterns that might be attributable to husbandry and other causes, deserving further examination using broader, more comparable samples. PMID:27853539

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Evidence of positive selection in mitochondrial complexes I and V of the African elephant.

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Todd, Nancy E

    2010-01-01

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

  3. 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. PMID:27635327

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Windberger, U; Plasenzotti, R; Voracek, Th

    2005-01-01

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

  7. Transvalued species in an African forest.

    PubMed

    Remis, Melissa J; Hardin, Rebecca

    2009-12-01

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

  8. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-03-17

    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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

    2012-06-07

    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.

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

    PubMed

    Selier, Sarah-Anne Jeanetta; Slotow, Rob; Di Minin, Enrico

    2016-01-01

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

  16. 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

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

    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

  18. Genomic inferences from Afrotheria and the evolution of elephants.

    PubMed

    Roca, Alfred L; O'Brien, Stephen J

    2005-12-01

    Recent genetic studies have established that African forest and savanna elephants are distinct species with dissociated cytonuclear genomic patterns, and have identified Asian elephants from Borneo and Sumatra as conservation priorities. Representative of Afrotheria, a superordinal clade encompassing six eutherian orders, the African savanna elephant was among the first mammals chosen for whole-genome sequencing to provide a comparative understanding of the human genome. Elephants have large and complex brains and display advanced levels of social structure, communication, learning and intelligence. The elephant genome sequence might prove useful for comparative genomic studies of these advanced traits, which have appeared independently in only three mammalian orders: primates, cetaceans and proboscideans.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. African elephants show high levels of interest in the skulls and ivory of their own species.

    PubMed

    McComb, Karen; Baker, Lucy; Moss, Cynthia

    2006-03-22

    An important area of biology involves investigating the origins in animals of traits that are thought of as uniquely human. One way that humans appear unique is in the importance they attach to the dead bodies of other humans, particularly those of their close kin, and the rituals that they have developed for burying them. In contrast, most animals appear to show only limited interest in the carcasses or associated remains of dead individuals of their own species. African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are unusual in that they not only give dramatic reactions to the dead bodies of other elephants, but are also reported to systematically investigate elephant bones and tusks that they encounter, and it has sometimes been suggested that they visit the bones of relatives. Here, we use systematic presentations of object arrays to demonstrate that African elephants show higher levels of interest in elephant skulls and ivory than in natural objects or the skulls of other large terrestrial mammals. However, they do not appear to specifically select the skulls of their own relatives for investigation so that visits to dead relatives probably result from a more general attraction to elephant remains.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Mapping the Elephants of the 19th Century East African Ivory Trade with a Multi-Isotope Approach

    PubMed Central

    Lee-Thorp, Julia; Collins, Matthew J.; Lane, Paul J.

    2016-01-01

    East African elephants have been hunted for their ivory for millennia but the nineteenth century witnessed strongly escalating demand from Europe and North America. It has been suggested that one consequence was that by the 1880s elephant herds along the coast had become scarce, and to meet demand, trade caravans trekked farther into interior regions of East Africa, extending the extraction frontier. The steady decimation of elephant populations coupled with the extension of trade networks have also been claimed to have triggered significant ecological and socio-economic changes that left lasting legacies across the region. To explore the feasibility of using an isotopic approach to uncover a ‘moving frontier’ of elephant extraction, we constructed a baseline isotope data set (δ13C, δ15N, δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr) for historic East African elephants known to have come from three distinct regions (coastal, Rift Valley, and inland Lakes). Using the isotope results with other climate data and geographical mapping tools, it was possible to characterise elephants from different habitats across the region. This baseline data set was then used to provenance elephant ivory of unknown geographical provenance that was exported from East Africa during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to determine its likely origin. This produced a better understanding of historic elephant geography in the region, and the data have the potential to be used to provenance older archaeological ivories, and to inform contemporary elephant conservation strategies. PMID:27760152

  13. Mapping the Elephants of the 19th Century East African Ivory Trade with a Multi-Isotope Approach.

    PubMed

    Coutu, Ashley N; Lee-Thorp, Julia; Collins, Matthew J; Lane, Paul J

    2016-01-01

    East African elephants have been hunted for their ivory for millennia but the nineteenth century witnessed strongly escalating demand from Europe and North America. It has been suggested that one consequence was that by the 1880s elephant herds along the coast had become scarce, and to meet demand, trade caravans trekked farther into interior regions of East Africa, extending the extraction frontier. The steady decimation of elephant populations coupled with the extension of trade networks have also been claimed to have triggered significant ecological and socio-economic changes that left lasting legacies across the region. To explore the feasibility of using an isotopic approach to uncover a 'moving frontier' of elephant extraction, we constructed a baseline isotope data set (δ13C, δ15N, δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr) for historic East African elephants known to have come from three distinct regions (coastal, Rift Valley, and inland Lakes). Using the isotope results with other climate data and geographical mapping tools, it was possible to characterise elephants from different habitats across the region. This baseline data set was then used to provenance elephant ivory of unknown geographical provenance that was exported from East Africa during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to determine its likely origin. This produced a better understanding of historic elephant geography in the region, and the data have the potential to be used to provenance older archaeological ivories, and to inform contemporary elephant conservation strategies.

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

    PubMed Central

    Smet, Anna F.; Byrne, Richard W.

    2014-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. A preliminary study of the behavioral effects of feeding enrichment on African elephants.

    PubMed

    Stoinski, T.S.; Daniel, E.; Maple, T.L.

    2000-01-01

    Although commonly practiced with many species, feeding enrichment in elephants is understudied. The behavioral effects of feeding enrichment were tested in three African elephants by substituting an equal dry weight of browse for hay in an ABA design. The results showed a significant increase in feeding and significant decreases in drinking and inactivity when the browse was present. Additionally, changes in feeding, inactivity, and time spent in contact were observed outside the time the browse was actually presented, although the relationship of these changes to the experimental methodology is unknown. A significant increase in visibility to zoo visitors during the browse conditions demonstrates that browse is an effective, naturalistic method for increasing visibility as well as species-typical behaviors. Managers of captive elephants should consult with a nutritionist to address issues of energetics, nutritional content, and secondary compounds when using browse as feeding enrichment. Zoo Biol 19:485-493, 2000. Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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

    PubMed Central

    Slotow, Rob; Di Minin, Enrico

    2016-01-01

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

  18. Paleocene emergence of elephant relatives and the rapid radiation of African ungulates.

    PubMed

    Gheerbrant, Emmanuel

    2009-06-30

    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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Evidence that hyperprolactinaemia is associated with ovarian acyclicity in female zoo African elephants.

    PubMed

    Dow, T L; Brown, J L

    2012-01-01

    African elephants of reproductive age in zoos are experiencing high rates of ovarian cycle problems (>40%) and low reproductive success. Previously, our laboratory found that 1/3 of acyclic females exhibit hyperprolactinaemia, a likely cause of ovarian dysfunction. This follow-up study re-examined hyperprolactinaemia in African elephants and found the problem has increased significantly to 71% of acyclic females. Circulating serum progestagens and prolactin were analysed in 31 normal cycling, 13 irregular cycling and 31 acyclic elephants for 12 months. In acyclic females, overall mean prolactin concentrations differed from cycling females (P < 0.05), with concentrations being either higher (n = 22; 54.90 ± 13.31 ngmL(-1)) or lower (n = 9; 6.47 ± 1.73 ngmL(-1)) than normal. No temporal patterns of prolactin secretion were evident in elephants that lacked progestagen cycles. In cycling females, prolactin was secreted in a cyclical manner, with higher concentrations observed during nonluteal (34.38 ± 1.77 and 32.75 ± 2.61 ngmL(-1)) than luteal (10.51 ± 0.30 and 9.67 ± 0.42 ngmL(-1)) phases for normal and irregular females, respectively. Of most concern was that over two-thirds of acyclic females now are hyperprolactinemic, a dramatic increase over that observed 7 years earlier. Furthermore, females of reproductive age constituted 45% of elephants with hyperprolactinaemia. Until the cause of this problem is identified and a treatment is developed, reproductive rates will remain suboptimal and the population nonsustaining.

  3. Detection of Quiescent Infections with Multiple Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses (EEHVs), Including EEHV2, EEHV3, EEHV6, and EEHV7, within Lymphoid Lung Nodules or Lung and Spleen Tissue Samples from Five Asymptomatic Adult African Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Zong, Jian-Chao; Heaggans, Sarah Y.; Long, Simon Y.; Latimer, Erin M.; Nofs, Sally A.; Bronson, Ellen; Casares, Miguel; Fouraker, Michael D.; Pearson, Virginia R.; Richman, Laura K.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT More than 80 cases of lethal hemorrhagic disease associated with elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) have been identified in young Asian elephants worldwide. Diagnostic PCR tests detected six types of EEHV in blood of elephants with acute disease, although EEHV1A is the predominant pathogenic type. Previously, the presence of herpesvirus virions within benign lung and skin nodules from healthy African elephants led to suggestions that African elephants may be the source of EEHV disease in Asian elephants. Here, we used direct PCR-based DNA sequencing to detect EEHV genomes in necropsy tissue from five healthy adult African elephants. Two large lung nodules collected from culled wild South African elephants contained high levels of either EEHV3 alone or both EEHV2 and EEHV3. Similarly, a euthanized U.S. elephant proved to harbor multiple EEHV types distributed nonuniformly across four small lung nodules, including high levels of EEHV6, lower levels of EEHV3 and EEHV2, and a new GC-rich branch type, EEHV7. Several of the same EEHV types were also detected in random lung and spleen samples from two other elephants. Sanger PCR DNA sequence data comprising 100 kb were obtained from a total of 15 different strains identified, with (except for a few hypervariable genes) the EEHV2, EEHV3, and EEHV6 strains all being closely related to known genotypes from cases of acute disease, whereas the seven loci (4.0 kb) obtained from EEHV7 averaged 18% divergence from their nearest relative, EEHV3. Overall, we conclude that these four EEHV species, but probably not EEHV1, occur commonly as quiescent infections in African elephants. IMPORTANCE Acute hemorrhagic disease characterized by high-level viremia due to infection by members of the Proboscivirus genus threatens the future breeding success of endangered Asian elephants worldwide. Although the genomes of six EEHV types from acute cases have been partially or fully characterized, lethal disease predominantly

  4. Development of a Body Condition Scoring Index for Female African Elephants Validated by Ultrasound Measurements of Subcutaneous Fat

    PubMed Central

    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

  5. Estimating daily walking distance of captive African elephants using an accelerometer.

    PubMed

    Rothwell, Emily S; Bercovitch, Fred B; Andrews, Jeff R M; Anderson, Matthew J

    2011-01-01

    Two central concerns for elephant husbandry and management are whether zoological enclosures are appropriately sized and the degree to which naturalistic exercise and activity are observed in such enclosures. In order to address these issues, accurate data on the daily walking distance of elephants both in situ and ex situ are necessary. We used an accelerometer, a pedometer that measures step count and activity level, to estimate walking distance in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. The accelerometer was worn simultaneously with a GPS unit that recorded actual walking distance. Estimates of walking distance were extrapolated from the accelerometer and compared with actual distances determined by GPS data. The accelerometer was found to overestimate step count, and subsequently walking distance, by including false counts of steps. Extrapolating walking distance based upon stride length measurements did not match actual GPS walking distance. However, activity level output from the accelerometer significantly correlated with actual GPS walking distance. In addition, we report that the rate of movement is comparable to that reported in other zoological settings. We provide a linear regression equation that can be utilized by other institutions to estimate daily walking distance of elephants in their collection who are outfitted with accelerometers.

  6. 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.

  7. Testing the Accuracy of Aerial Surveys for Large Mammals: An Experiment with African Savanna Elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Schlossberg, Scott; Chase, Michael J.; Griffin, Curtice R.

    2016-01-01

    Accurate counts of animals are critical for prioritizing conservation efforts. Past research, however, suggests that observers on aerial surveys may fail to detect all individuals of the target species present in the survey area. Such errors could bias population estimates low and confound trend estimation. We used two approaches to assess the accuracy of aerial surveys for African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) in northern Botswana. First, we used double-observer sampling, in which two observers make observations on the same herds, to estimate detectability of elephants and determine what variables affect it. Second, we compared total counts, a complete survey of the entire study area, against sample counts, in which only a portion of the study area is sampled. Total counts are often considered a complete census, so comparing total counts against sample counts can help to determine if sample counts are underestimating elephant numbers. We estimated that observers detected only 76% ± SE of 2% of elephant herds and 87 ± 1% of individual elephants present in survey strips. Detectability increased strongly with elephant herd size. Out of the four observers used in total, one observer had a lower detection probability than the other three, and detectability was higher in the rear row of seats than the front. The habitat immediately adjacent to animals also affected detectability, with detection more likely in more open habitats. Total counts were not statistically distinguishable from sample counts. Because, however, the double-observer samples revealed that observers missed 13% of elephants, we conclude that total counts may be undercounting elephants as well. These results suggest that elephant population estimates from both sample and total counts are biased low. Because factors such as observer and habitat affected detectability of elephants, comparisons of elephant populations across time or space may be confounded. We encourage survey teams to

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-06-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Acquisition of brains from the African elephant (Loxodonta africana): perfusion-fixation and dissection.

    PubMed

    Manger, Paul R; Pillay, Praneshri; Maseko, Busisiwe C; Bhagwandin, Adhil; Gravett, Nadine; Moon, Don-Joon; Jillani, Ngalla; Hemingway, Jason

    2009-04-30

    The current correspondence describes the in situ perfusion-fixation of the brain of the African elephant. Due to both the large size of proboscidean brains and the complex behaviour of these species, the acquisition of good quality material for comparative neuroanatomical analysis from these species is important. Three male African elephants (20-30 years) that were to be culled as part of a larger population management strategy were used. The animals were humanely euthanized and the head removed from the body. Large tubes were inserted into to the carotid arteries and the cranial vasculature flushed with a rapid (20 min) rinse of 100 l of cold saline (4 degrees C). Following the rinse the head was perfusion-fixed with a slower rinse (40 min) of 100 l of cold (4 degrees C) 4% paraformaldehyde in 0.1M phosphate buffer. This procedure resulted in well-fixed neural and other tissue. After perfusion the brains were removed from the skull with the aid of power tools, a procedure taking between 2 and 6h. The brains were immediately post-fixed in the same solution for 72 h at 4 degrees C. The brains were subsequently placed in a sucrose solution and finally an antifreeze solution and are stored in a -20 degrees C freezer. The acquisition of high quality neural material from African elephants that can be used for immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy is of importance in understanding the "hardware" underlying the behaviour of this species. This technique can be used on a variety of large mammals to obtain high quality material for comparative neuroanatomical studies.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-02-25

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

  13. 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.

  14. A Preliminary Analysis of the Immunoglobulin Genes in the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    The genomic organization of the IgH (Immunoglobulin heavy chain), Igκ (Immunoglobulin kappa chain), and Igλ (Immunoglobulin lambda chain) loci in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) was annotated using available genome data. The elephant IgH locus on scaffold 57 spans over 2,974 kb, and consists of at least 112 VH gene segments, 87 DH gene segments (the largest number in mammals examined so far), six JH gene segments, a single μ, a δ remnant, and eight γ genes (α and ε genes are missing, most likely due to sequence gaps). The Igκ locus, found on three scaffolds (202, 50 and 86), contains a total of 153 Vκ gene segments, three Jκ segments, and a single Cκ gene. Two different transcriptional orientations were determined for these Vκ gene segments. In contrast, the Igλ locus on scaffold 68 includes 15 Vλ gene segments, all with the same transcriptional polarity as the downstream Jλ-Cλ cluster. These data suggest that the elephant immunoglobulin gene repertoire is highly diverse and complex. Our results provide insights into the immunoglobulin genes in a placental mammal that is evolutionarily distant from humans, mice, and domestic animals. PMID:21364892

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-11-22

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Carbon-14 measurements on 231 elephant ivory specimens from 14 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 ton) made between 2002 and 2014 show that most ivory (ca. 90%) was derived from animals that had died less than 3 y before ivory was confiscated. This indicates that the assumption of recent elephant death for mortality estimates of African elephants is correct: Very little “old” ivory is included in large ivory shipments from Africa. We found only one specimen of the 231 analyzed to have a lag time longer than 6 y. Patterns of trade differ by regions: East African ivory, based on genetic assignments of geographic origin, has a much higher fraction of “rapid” transit than ivory originating in the Tridom region of Cameroon–Gabon–Congo. Carbon-14 is an important tool in understanding patterns of movement of illegal wildlife products. PMID:27821744

  20. Measuring positive and negative affect in the voiced sounds of African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Soltis, Joseph; Blowers, Tracy E; Savage, Anne

    2011-02-01

    As in other mammals, there is evidence that the African elephant voice reflects affect intensity, but it is less clear if positive and negative affective states are differentially reflected in the voice. An acoustic comparison was made between African elephant "rumble" vocalizations produced in negative social contexts (dominance interactions), neutral social contexts (minimal social activity), and positive social contexts (affiliative interactions) by four adult females housed at Disney's Animal Kingdom®. Rumbles produced in the negative social context exhibited higher and more variable fundamental frequencies (F(0)) and amplitudes, longer durations, increased voice roughness, and higher first formant locations (F1), compared to the neutral social context. Rumbles produced in the positive social context exhibited similar shifts in most variables (F(0 )variation, amplitude, amplitude variation, duration, and F1), but the magnitude of response was generally less than that observed in the negative context. Voice roughness and F(0) observed in the positive social context remained similar to that observed in the neutral context. These results are most consistent with the vocal expression of affect intensity, in which the negative social context elicited higher intensity levels than the positive context, but differential vocal expression of positive and negative affect cannot be ruled out.

  1. 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.

  2. Dietary management, husbandry, and body weights of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) during successful pregnancies at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

    PubMed

    Sullivan, Kathleen; Kerr, Katherine; Wanty, Rachel; Amaral, Bryan; Olea-Popelka, Francisco; Valdes, Eduardo

    2016-11-01

    Successful pregnancy in African elephants is influenced by biological and environmental factors. For managed elephants many of these factors are set directly or indirectly by their human care takers, including nutrition and husbandry. While African elephants often struggle to conceive and produce healthy offspring under human care, Disney's Animal Kingdom (DAK) has effectively managed six gestations to fruition in three cows. Despite differences between mothers in terms of BW and growth curves during gravidity, each pregnancy successfully resulted in the birth of a healthy calf. Body weight (BW) gain during pregnancy ranged from 245 to 558 kg. Obesity in elephants is associated with increased occurrence of dystocia and mortality of the fetus and mother, hence understanding normal weight gains is an integral concept. Diet (dry matter basis) included high levels of fiber throughout pregnancies (60-70% neutral detergent fiber), vitamin E supplementation (116-214 mg/kg diet of alpha-tocopherol), as well as low levels of starch (2.5-5.1%) and crude fat (1.9-2.4%). Caretaker directed exercise during pregnancy at DAK served to prevent ventral edema, and increase muscle tone to prepare cows for parturition. Demonstrating techniques for effective care of pregnant females, as well as normal growth curves and fluctuations under ex situ conditions are necessary for future positive outcomes. Ensuring reproductive success through proper husbandry and nutrition are a key to long-term conservation of elephants. Zoo Biol. 35:574-578, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    Long-lived species such as elephants, whales and primates exhibit extended post-fertile survival compared to species with shorter lifespans but data on age-related fecundity and survival are limited to few species or populations. We assess relationships between longevity, reproductive onset, reproductive rate and age for 834 longitudinally monitored wild female African elephants in Amboseli, Kenya. The mean known age at first reproduction was 13.8 years; only 5 % commenced reproduction by 10 years. Early reproducers (<12.5 years) had higher age-specific fertility rates than did females who commenced reproduction late (15+ years) with no differences in survival between these groups. Age-specific reproductive rates of females dying before 40 years were reduced by comparison to same-aged survivors, illustrating a mortality filter and reproductive advantages of a long life. Overall, 95 % of fertility was completed before 50, and 95 % of mortality experienced by age 65, with a mean life expectancy of 41 years for females who survived to the minimum age at first birth (9 years). Elephant females have a relatively long period (c. 16 years) of viability after 95 % completed fertility, although reproduction does not entirely cease until they are over 65. We found no evidence of increased investment among females aged over 40 in terms of delay to next birth or calf mortality. The presence of a mother reproducing simultaneously with her daughter was associated with higher rates of daughter reproduction suggesting advantages from maternal (and grandmaternal) co-residence during reproduction.

  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.

  6. Structure and innervation of the tusk pulp in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Weissengruber, GE; Egerbacher, M; Forstenpointner, G

    2005-01-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) use their tusks for digging, carrying and behavioural display. Their healing ability following traumatic injury is enormous. Pain experience caused by dentin or pulp damage of tusks seems to be negligible in elephants. In this study we examined the pulp tissue and the nerve distribution using histology, electron microscopy and immunhistochemistry. The results demonstrate that the pulp comprises two differently structured regions. Randomly orientated collagen fibres characterize a cone-like part lying rostral to the foramen apicis dentis. Numerous nerve fibres and Ruffini endings are found within this cone. Rostral to the cone, delicate collagen fibres and large vessels are orientated longitudinally. The rostral two-thirds of the pulp are highly vascularized, whereas nerve fibres are sparse. Vessel and nerve fibre distribution and the structure of connective tissue possibly play important roles in healing and in the obviously limited pain experience after tusk injuries and pulp alteration. The presence of Ruffini endings is most likely related to the use of tusks as tools. PMID:15817106

  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.

  8. 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.

  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

    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.

  10. 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

  11. Natural enemies of lepidopterous borers on maize and elephant grass in the forest zone of Cameroon.

    PubMed

    Ndemah, R; Schulthess, F; Poehling, M; Borgemeister, C; Goergen, G

    2001-06-01

    The importance, geographical and temporal distributions of parasitoids of lepidopterous borers on maize and elephant grass, Pennisetum purpureum, were assessed during surveys in farmers' fields in six villages and two on-station trials in the forest zone of Cameroon between 1995 and 1996. The borer species encountered were Busseola fusca (Fuller), Sesamia calamistis Hampson, Eldana saccharina Walker on both host plants, and Mussidia nigrivenella Ragonot on maize only. Busseola fusca was the predominant host accounting for 44-57% and 96% on maize and elephant grass, respectively, followed by E. saccharina on maize with 27-39%. Fifteen hymenopterous, two dipterous and one fungal species were found on these stem and cob-borers. Among those were six pupal, six larval, four egg, one larval-pupal parasitoid and four hyperparasitoids. The scelionid parasitoids Telenomus busseolae Gahan and T. isis Polaszek were found on B. fusca eggs in all locations. During the first season, mean egg parasitism was low and ranged between 3.1% and 27% versus 54-87% during the second season. Species belonging to the Tetrastichus atriclavus Waterston complex were recovered from all four borer species. The majority and most common larval and pupal parasitoid species belonged to the ingress-and-sting guild. Larval and pupal parasitism were very erratic and on more than 50% of the sampling occasions no parasitoids were recovered. Parasitoid diversity was higher on elephant grass than maize.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Retrospective genetic characterisation of Encephalomyocarditis viruses from African elephant and swine recovers two distinct lineages in South Africa.

    PubMed

    van Sandwyk, James H D T; Bennett, Nigel C; Swanepoel, Robert; Bastos, Armanda D S

    2013-02-22

    Encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) outbreaks are rare in southern Africa. Only two have been reported to date from South Africa, both coinciding with rodent irruptions. The first outbreak manifested as acute myocarditis in pigs in 1979, whilst the second, occurring from 1993 to 1994, was linked to the deaths of 64 free-ranging adult African elephants (Loxodonta africana). The P1 genome region, inclusive of the flanking leader (L) and 2A genes, of three South African isolates, one from swine and two from elephants, was characterised by PCR amplification and sequencing of up to 11 overlapping fragments. In addition to the resulting 3329 nucleotide dataset, the 3D region that is widely used in molecular epidemiology studies, was characterised, and three datasets (P1, VP1/3 and 3D), complemented with available homologous EMCV data, were compiled for analyses. Phylogenetic inferences revealed the near-identical elephant outbreak strains to be most closely related to a mengovirus from rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) in Uganda, differing from the latter by between 11% (3D) and 15% (VP3/1). The South African pig isolate differed by 4% (3D) and 11% (VP3/1) from available European and Asian pig virus sequences. This study confirms the presence of two genetically distinct EMCV lineages recovered from sporadic outbreaks in wild and domestic hosts in southern Africa, and provides valuable baseline data for future outbreak eventualities in the sub-region.

  15. Why Do African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) Simulate Oestrus? An Analysis of Longitudinal Data

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    Female African elephants signal oestrus via chemicals in their urine, but they also exhibit characteristic changes to their posture, gait and behaviour when sexually receptive. Free-ranging females visually signal receptivity by holding their heads and tails high, walking with an exaggerated gait, and displaying increased tactile behaviour towards males. Parous females occasionally exhibit these visual signals at times when they are thought not to be cycling and without attracting interest from musth males. Using demographic and behavioural records spanning a continuous 28-year period, we investigated the occurrence of this “simulated” oestrus behaviour. We show that parous females in the Amboseli elephant population do simulate receptive oestrus behaviours, and this false oestrus occurs disproportionately in the presence of naïve female kin who are observed coming into oestrus for the first time. We compare several alternative hypotheses for the occurrence of this simulation: 1) false oestrus has no functional purpose (e.g., it merely results from abnormal hormonal changes); 2) false oestrus increases the reproductive success of the simulating female, by inducing sexual receptivity; and 3) false oestrus increases the inclusive fitness of the simulating female, either by increasing the access of related females to suitable males, or by encouraging appropriate oestrus behaviours from female relatives who are not responding correctly to males. Although the observed data do not fully conform to the predictions of any of these hypotheses, we rule out the first two, and tentatively suggest that parous females most likely exhibit false oestrus behaviours in order to demonstrate to naïve relatives at whom to direct their behaviour. PMID:20383331

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  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.

  1. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    O’Connor, Timothy G.

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-23

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

  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.

  5. Estimating economic losses to tourism in Africa from the illegal killing of elephants

    PubMed Central

    Naidoo, Robin; Fisher, Brendan; Manica, Andrea; Balmford, Andrew

    2016-01-01

    Recent surveys suggest tens of thousands of elephants are being poached annually across Africa, putting the two species at risk across much of their range. Although the financial motivations for ivory poaching are clear, the economic benefits of elephant conservation are poorly understood. We use Bayesian statistical modelling of tourist visits to protected areas, to quantify the lost economic benefits that poached elephants would have delivered to African countries via tourism. Our results show these figures are substantial (∼USD $25 million annually), and that the lost benefits exceed the anti-poaching costs necessary to stop elephant declines across the continent's savannah areas, although not currently in the forests of central Africa. Furthermore, elephant conservation in savannah protected areas has net positive economic returns comparable to investments in sectors such as education and infrastructure. Even from a tourism perspective alone, increased elephant conservation is therefore a wise investment by governments in these regions. PMID:27802262

  6. Estimating economic losses to tourism in Africa from the illegal killing of elephants.

    PubMed

    Naidoo, Robin; Fisher, Brendan; Manica, Andrea; Balmford, Andrew

    2016-11-01

    Recent surveys suggest tens of thousands of elephants are being poached annually across Africa, putting the two species at risk across much of their range. Although the financial motivations for ivory poaching are clear, the economic benefits of elephant conservation are poorly understood. We use Bayesian statistical modelling of tourist visits to protected areas, to quantify the lost economic benefits that poached elephants would have delivered to African countries via tourism. Our results show these figures are substantial (∼USD $25 million annually), and that the lost benefits exceed the anti-poaching costs necessary to stop elephant declines across the continent's savannah areas, although not currently in the forests of central Africa. Furthermore, elephant conservation in savannah protected areas has net positive economic returns comparable to investments in sectors such as education and infrastructure. Even from a tourism perspective alone, increased elephant conservation is therefore a wise investment by governments in these regions.

  7. Estimating economic losses to tourism in Africa from the illegal killing of elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naidoo, Robin; Fisher, Brendan; Manica, Andrea; Balmford, Andrew

    2016-11-01

    Recent surveys suggest tens of thousands of elephants are being poached annually across Africa, putting the two species at risk across much of their range. Although the financial motivations for ivory poaching are clear, the economic benefits of elephant conservation are poorly understood. We use Bayesian statistical modelling of tourist visits to protected areas, to quantify the lost economic benefits that poached elephants would have delivered to African countries via tourism. Our results show these figures are substantial (~USD $25 million annually), and that the lost benefits exceed the anti-poaching costs necessary to stop elephant declines across the continent's savannah areas, although not currently in the forests of central Africa. Furthermore, elephant conservation in savannah protected areas has net positive economic returns comparable to investments in sectors such as education and infrastructure. Even from a tourism perspective alone, increased elephant conservation is therefore a wise investment by governments in these regions.

  8. Demography of woody species in a semi-arid African savanna reserve following the re-introduction of elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Connor, Timothy G.

    2017-01-01

    The hypothesis that African elephants may cause the local extirpation of selected woody species was evaluated in a medium-sized, semi-arid reserve following their reintroduction at low density. Mortality, state-change, and regeneration of 25 tree and 17 shrub species were studied between 1997 and 2010. Annual mortality of shrub species ranged from 0.2 to 8.0%, with six species experiencing 6-8%. Eight shrub species lost more than half their adult population (range 10-94%). Annual tree mortality ranged from 0.2 to 10.5%. The two dominant dryland tree species experienced <1% annual mortality, 18 species lost more than half their tree population, and one was eliminated. Elephants accounted for >63% and stress-related agents >20% of tree deaths. The manner in which elephants induced tree death depended on species. The proportion of individuals of a species killed by pollarding or uprooting ranged from 0 to 74%, and by debarking from 0 to 100%. Complete uprooting was a common cause of death for three shrub species. Regeneration ranged from zero for six tree and one shrub species to a seedling every 7 m2 for Colophospermum mopane and 23 m2 for Dichrostachys cinerea in riparian habitat. Three shrub and eight tree species were identified as vulnerable to local extirpation owing to a combination of high mortality and poor regeneration that is likely to result in a considerably simplified system. Reintroduction of elephants into medium-sized reserves without regulation of their numbers may not be a desirable action.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-01

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

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-08-01

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

  13. 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

  14. When Yawning Occurs in Elephants

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

  15. When Yawning Occurs in Elephants.

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

  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. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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...

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-11-23

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

  1. Seed dispersal potential of Asian elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-11-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  3. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-07-01

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

  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.

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

    Wittemyer, George; Okello, John B A; Rasmussen, Henrik B; Arctander, Peter; Nyakaana, Silvester; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Siegismund, Hans R

    2009-10-07

    Hierarchical properties characterize elephant fission-fusion social organization whereby stable groups of individuals coalesce into higher order groups or split in a predictable manner. This hierarchical complexity is rare among animals and, as such, an examination of the factors driving its emergence offers unique insight into the evolution of social behaviour. Investigation of the genetic basis for such social affiliation demonstrates that while the majority of core social groups (second-tier affiliates) are significantly related, this is not exclusively the case. As such, direct benefits received through membership of these groups appear to be salient to their formation and maintenance. Further analysis revealed that the majority of groups in the two higher social echelons (third and fourth tiers) are typically not significantly related. The majority of third-tier members are matrilocal, carrying the same mtDNA control region haplotype, while matrilocality among fourth-tier groups was slightly less than expected at random. Comparison of results to those from a less disturbed population suggests that human depredation, leading to social disruption, altered the genetic underpinning of social relations in the study population. These results suggest that inclusive fitness benefits may crystallize elephant hierarchical social structuring along genetic lines when populations are undisturbed. However, indirect benefits are not critical to the formation and maintenance of second-, third- or fourth-tier level bonds, indicating the importance of direct benefits in the emergence of complex, hierarchical social relations among elephants. Future directions and conservation implications are discussed.

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

    PubMed Central

    Wittemyer, George; Okello, John B. A.; Rasmussen, Henrik B.; Arctander, Peter; Nyakaana, Silvester; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Siegismund, Hans R.

    2009-01-01

    Hierarchical properties characterize elephant fission–fusion social organization whereby stable groups of individuals coalesce into higher order groups or split in a predictable manner. This hierarchical complexity is rare among animals and, as such, an examination of the factors driving its emergence offers unique insight into the evolution of social behaviour. Investigation of the genetic basis for such social affiliation demonstrates that while the majority of core social groups (second-tier affiliates) are significantly related, this is not exclusively the case. As such, direct benefits received through membership of these groups appear to be salient to their formation and maintenance. Further analysis revealed that the majority of groups in the two higher social echelons (third and fourth tiers) are typically not significantly related. The majority of third-tier members are matrilocal, carrying the same mtDNA control region haplotype, while matrilocality among fourth-tier groups was slightly less than expected at random. Comparison of results to those from a less disturbed population suggests that human depredation, leading to social disruption, altered the genetic underpinning of social relations in the study population. These results suggest that inclusive fitness benefits may crystallize elephant hierarchical social structuring along genetic lines when populations are undisturbed. However, indirect benefits are not critical to the formation and maintenance of second-, third- or fourth-tier level bonds, indicating the importance of direct benefits in the emergence of complex, hierarchical social relations among elephants. Future directions and conservation implications are discussed. PMID:19605399

  9. Non-destructive analysis of the two subspecies of African elephants, mammoth, hippopotamus, and sperm whale ivories by visible and short-wave near infrared spectroscopy and chemometrics.

    PubMed

    Shimoyama, Masahiko; Morimoto, Susumu; Ozaki, Yukihiro

    2004-06-01

    Visible (VIS) and short-wave near infrared (SW-NIR) spectroscopy was used for non-destructive analysis of ivories. VIS-SW-NIR (500-1000 nm) spectra were measured in situ for five kinds of ivories, that is two subspecies of African elephants, mammoth, hippopotamus, and sperm whale. Chemometrics analyses were carried out for the spectral data from 500 to 1000 nm region. The five kinds of ivories were clearly discriminated from each other on the scores plot of two principal components (PCs) obtained by principal component analysis (PCA). It was noteworthy that the ivories of the two subspecies of African elephants were discriminated by the scores of PC 1. The loadings plot for PC 1 showed that the discrimination relies on the intensity changes in bands due to collagenous proteins and water interacting with proteins. It was found that the scores plot of PC 2 is useful to distinguish between the ivories of the two subspecies of African elephants and the other ivories. We also developed a calibration model that predicted the specific gravity of five kinds of ivories from their VIS-SW-NIR spectral data using partial least squares (PLS)-1 regression. The correlation coefficient and root mean square error of cross validation (RMSECV) of this model were 0.960 and 0.037, respectively.

  10. Nonluteal estrous cycles of 3-week duration are initiated by anovulatory luteinizing hormone peaks in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Kapustin, N; Critser, J K; Olson, D; Malven, P V

    1996-11-01

    Previous attempts to characterize the estrous cycle of elephants have yielded conflicting estimates of cycle length and LH profiles. In order to establish artificial breeding programs in this species, resolution of these issues is needed. Therefore, four female African elephants housed at the Indianapolis Zoo were studied for approximately 6 mo beginning in December 1994. Blood was collected weekly, and the serum was immediately analyzed for progesterone (P4). Whenever the weekly concentration of P4 was found to be low, blood was collected one or four times per day. All serum samples were assayed for LH, and the daily samples were assayed for P4 and estradiol. Transient increases of serum LH (designated as peaks) were observed four times in each of the four females. Of these 16 LH peaks, 8 were classified as ovulatory LH (ovLH) peaks and 8 were classified as anovulatory LH (anLH) peaks. Peaks designated ovLH averaged 3.60 +/- 0.67 ng/ml (mean +/- SEM); serum P4 measured during these peaks began to increase 2-3 days before each ovLH peak and continued to increase for several weeks thereafter, reaching a peak of 675 +/- 35 pg/ml. The eight other LH peaks, designated anLH peaks, were of similar (p > 0.05) magnitude averaging 3.07 +/- 0.72 ng/ml, but the serum concentration of P4 remained very low (< 80 pg/ml) during and for several weeks after these peaks. Six peaks designated anLH occurred an average of 12.2 +/- 1.4 days after serum P4 had declined below 80 pg/ml. In each elephant, there was a regular sequence in which each ovLH peak was followed by a luteal-active period lasting about 60 days and then about 12 days later by one anLH peak. Each anLH peak was followed 19-22 days later by one ovLH peak, but serum P4 remained at nonluteal levels throughout this interval between peaks. The authors propose to designate this interval after the anLH peak and before the next ovLH peak as a nonluteal (i.e., low P4) estrous cycle of only 3-wk duration. Following each short

  11. Increasing carbon storage in intact African tropical forests.

    PubMed

    Lewis, Simon L; Lopez-Gonzalez, Gabriela; Sonké, Bonaventure; Affum-Baffoe, Kofi; Baker, Timothy R; Ojo, Lucas O; Phillips, Oliver L; Reitsma, Jan M; White, Lee; Comiskey, James A; Djuikouo K, Marie-Noël; Ewango, Corneille E N; Feldpausch, Ted R; Hamilton, Alan C; Gloor, Manuel; Hart, Terese; Hladik, Annette; Lloyd, Jon; Lovett, Jon C; Makana, Jean-Remy; Malhi, Yadvinder; Mbago, Frank M; Ndangalasi, Henry J; Peacock, Julie; Peh, Kelvin S-H; Sheil, Douglas; Sunderland, Terry; Swaine, Michael D; Taplin, James; Taylor, David; Thomas, Sean C; Votere, Raymond; Wöll, Hannsjörg

    2009-02-19

    The response of terrestrial vegetation to a globally changing environment is central to predictions of future levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The role of tropical forests is critical because they are carbon-dense and highly productive. Inventory plots across Amazonia show that old-growth forests have increased in carbon storage over recent decades, but the response of one-third of the world's tropical forests in Africa is largely unknown owing to an absence of spatially extensive observation networks. Here we report data from a ten-country network of long-term monitoring plots in African tropical forests. We find that across 79 plots (163 ha) above-ground carbon storage in live trees increased by 0.63 Mg C ha(-1) yr(-1) between 1968 and 2007 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.22-0.94; mean interval, 1987-96). Extrapolation to unmeasured forest components (live roots, small trees, necromass) and scaling to the continent implies a total increase in carbon storage in African tropical forest trees of 0.34 Pg C yr(-1) (CI, 0.15-0.43). These reported changes in carbon storage are similar to those reported for Amazonian forests per unit area, providing evidence that increasing carbon storage in old-growth forests is a pan-tropical phenomenon. Indeed, combining all standardized inventory data from this study and from tropical America and Asia together yields a comparable figure of 0.49 Mg C ha(-1) yr(-1) (n = 156; 562 ha; CI, 0.29-0.66; mean interval, 1987-97). This indicates a carbon sink of 1.3 Pg C yr(-1) (CI, 0.8-1.6) across all tropical forests during recent decades. Taxon-specific analyses of African inventory and other data suggest that widespread changes in resource availability, such as increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, may be the cause of the increase in carbon stocks, as some theory and models predict.

  12. Species Composition and Community Structure of Dung Beetles Attracted to Dung of Gaur and Elephant in the Moist Forests of South Western Ghats

    PubMed Central

    Vinod, K.V.; Sabu, Thomas K.

    2007-01-01

    The community structure of dung beetles attracted to dung of gaur, Bos gaurus (H. Smith) (Artiodactyla: Bovidae) and Asian elephant, Elephas maximus Linnaeus (Proboscidea: Elephantidae), is reported from the moist forests of Western Ghats, in South India. The dominance of dwellers over rollers, presence of many endemic species, predominance of regional species and higher incidence of the old world roller, Ochicanthon laetum, make the dung beetle community in the moist forests of the region unusual. The dominance of dwellers and the lower presence of rollers make the functional guild structure of the dung beetle community of the region different from assemblages in the moist forests of south East Asia and Neotropics, and more similar to the community found in Ivory Coast forests. The ability of taxonomic diversity indices to relate variation in dung physical quality with phylogenetic structure of dung beetle assemblage is highlighted. Comparatively higher taxonomic diversity and evenness of dung beetle assemblage attracted to elephant dung rather than to gaur dung is attributed to the heterogeneous nature of elephant dung. Further analyses of community structure of dung beetles across the moist forests of Western Ghats are needed to ascertain whether the abundance of dwellers is a regional pattern specific to the transitional Wayanad forests of south Western Ghats. PMID:20337551

  13. Species composition and community structure of dung beetles attracted to dung of gaur and elephant in the moist forests of South Western Ghats.

    PubMed

    Vinod, K V; Sabu, Thomas K

    2007-01-01

    The community structure of dung beetles attracted to dung of gaur, Bos gaurus (H. Smith) (Artiodactyla: Bovidae) and Asian elephant, Elephas maximus Linnaeus (Proboscidea: Elephantidae), is reported from the moist forests of Western Ghats, in South India. The dominance of dwellers over rollers, presence of many endemic species, predominance of regional species and higher incidence of the old world roller, Ochicanthon laetum, make the dung beetle community in the moist forests of the region unusual. The dominance of dwellers and the lower presence of rollers make the functional guild structure of the dung beetle community of the region different from assemblages in the moist forests of south East Asia and Neotropics, and more similar to the community found in Ivory Coast forests. The ability of taxonomic diversity indices to relate variation in dung physical quality with phylogenetic structure of dung beetle assemblage is highlighted. Comparatively higher taxonomic diversity and evenness of dung beetle assemblage attracted to elephant dung rather than to gaur dung is attributed to the heterogeneous nature of elephant dung. Further analyses of community structure of dung beetles across the moist forests of Western Ghats are needed to ascertain whether the abundance of dwellers is a regional pattern specific to the transitional Wayanad forests of south Western Ghats.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Multiresolution quantification of deciduousness in West-Central African forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viennois, G.; Barbier, N.; Fabre, I.; Couteron, P.

    2013-11-01

    The characterization of leaf phenology in tropical forests is of major importance for forest typology as well as to improve our understanding of earth-atmosphere-climate interactions or biogeochemical cycles. The availability of satellite optical data with a high temporal resolution has permitted the identification of unexpected phenological cycles, particularly over the Amazon region. A primary issue in these studies is the relationship between the optical reflectance of pixels of 1 km or more in size and ground information of limited spatial extent. In this paper, we demonstrate that optical data with high to very-high spatial resolution can help bridge this scale gap by providing snapshots of the canopy that allow discernment of the leaf-phenological stage of trees and the proportions of leaved crowns within the canopy. We also propose applications for broad-scale forest characterization and mapping in West-Central Africa over an area of 141 000 km2. Eleven years of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) data were averaged over the wet and dry seasons to provide a data set of optimal radiometric quality at a spatial resolution of 250 m. Sample areas covered at a very-high (GeoEye) and high (SPOT-5) spatial resolution were used to identify forest types and to quantify the proportion of leaved trees in the canopy. The dry-season EVI was positively correlated with the proportion of leaved trees in the canopy. This relationship allowed the conversion of EVI into canopy deciduousness at the regional level. On this basis, ecologically important forest types could be mapped, including young secondary, open Marantaceae, Gilbertiodendron dewevrei and swamp forests. We show that in West-Central African forests, a large share of the variability in canopy reflectance, as captured by the EVI, is due to variation in the proportion of leaved trees in the upper canopy, thereby opening new perspectives for biodiversity and

  19. 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

  20. Multiresolution quantification of deciduousness in West Central African forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viennois, G.; Barbier, N.; Fabre, I.; Couteron, P.

    2013-04-01

    The characterization of leaf phenology in tropical forests is of major importance and improves our understanding of earth-atmosphere-climate interactions. The availability of satellite optical data with a high temporal resolution has permitted the identification of unexpected phenological cycles, particularly over the Amazon region. A primary issue in these studies is the relationship between the optical reflectance of pixels of 1 km or more in size and ground information of limited spatial extent. In this paper, we demonstrate that optical data with high to very-high spatial resolution can help bridge this scale gap by providing snapshots of the canopy that allow discernment of the leaf-phenological stage of trees and the proportions of leaved crowns within the canopy. We also propose applications for broad-scale forest characterization and mapping in West Central Africa over an area of 141 000 km2. Eleven years of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) data were averaged over the wet and dry seasons to provide a dataset of optimal radiometric quality at a spatial resolution of 250 m. Sample areas covered at a very-high (GeoEye) and high (SPOT-5) spatial resolution were used to identify forest types and to quantify the proportion of leaved trees in the canopy. The dry season EVI was positively correlated with the proportion of leaved trees in the canopy. This relationship allowed the conversion of EVI into canopy deciduousness at the regional level. On this basis, ecologically important forest types could be mapped, including young secondary, open Marantaceae, Gilbertiodendron dewevrei and swamp forests. We show that in west central African forests, a large share of the variability in canopy reflectance, as captured by the EVI, is due to variation in the proportion of leaved trees in the upper canopy, thereby opening new perspectives for biodiversity and carbon-cycle applications.

  1. 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…

  2. Cage experiments in an East African mangrove forest: a synthesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schrijvers, J.; Vincx, M.

    1997-12-01

    The impact of epibenthos on endobenthos has frequently been investigated for temperate saltmarsh regions by using cage exclusion experiments. Although the insight into the function of the endobenthos of mangrove forests is crucial for their management, very few cage experiments have so far been carried out in such areas. The present paper summaries the results of such experiments in a typical East African mangrove forest at Gazi Bay about 60 km south of Mombasa, Kenya. Epibenthic animals were excluded for one year in two mangrove zones which differed in forest morphology and intertidal position ( Ceriops tagal and Avicennia marina). Environmental factors and meiobenthic and macrobenthic densities were followed in a randomised block design, and procedural and exclusion effects were statistically detected. In confronting the separate responses of all faunal groups in the two mangrove zones, this synthesis gives a better insight into the tropho-dynamical interactions than the earlier separate reports on the same experiment. The ecosystem of the mangrove zones and the competitive interactions within this system provided an ideal opportunity to discover the existence of two food systems. This confirmed a strong involvement of the majority of the endobenthos in an isolated decompositional pathway in the mangrove sediment. It became clear that this exploitative competition was more important than the epibenthic predation in structuring and regulating the global endobenthic community. This synthesis therefore both demonstrates the decisive role of the endobenthos as regenators of mangrove material, and suggests that endobenthos plays a minor role as prey for the demersal or pelagic carnivores.

  3. Resource variability, aggregation and direct density dependence in an open context: the local regulation of an African elephant population.

    PubMed

    Chamaillé-Jammes, Simon; Fritz, Hervé; Valeix, Marion; Murindagomo, Felix; Clobert, Jean

    2008-01-01

    1. An emerging perspective in the study of density dependence is the importance of the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of resources. Although this is well understood in temperate ungulates, few studies have been conducted in tropical environments where both food and water are limiting resources. 2. We studied the regulation of one of the world's largest elephant populations in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. The study period started in 1986 when the population was released from culling. Using census data we investigated changes in elephant abundance with respect to rainfall and density across the entire park and across waterholes. 3. The population more than doubled since culling stopped. The population increased continuously during the first 6 years, and then fluctuated widely at about 30,000 individuals. Immigration processes must have been involved in the increase of the population size. 4. Population growth rates were negatively related to previous population density by a convex relationship, and negatively related to the ratio of previous population density on annual rainfall by a linear relationship. However, only this latter model (i.e. assuming a fluctuating carrying capacity related to annual rainfall) produced realistic dynamics. Overall, population decreased during dry years when the elephant density was high. 5. During dry years there were fewer waterholes retaining water during the dry season and consequently elephant numbers at waterholes increased, while their aggregation level across waterholes decreased. On the long-run elephant numbers increased only at the less crowded waterholes. 6. We suggest that the interaction between population size and the available foraging range determined by the number of active waterholes during the dry season controls the park population. 7. Our results emphasize the need to understand how key-resource areas cause resource-based aggregation, which ultimately influences the strength of density dependence. More

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  5. Distribution and Numbers of Pygmies in Central African Forests

    PubMed Central

    Olivero, Jesús; Fa, John E.; Farfán, Miguel A.; Lewis, Jerome; Hewlett, Barry; Breuer, Thomas; Carpaneto, Giuseppe M.; Fernández, María; Germi, Francesco; Hattori, Shiho; Head, Josephine; Ichikawa, Mitsuo; Kitanaishi, Koichi; Knights, Jessica; Matsuura, Naoki; Migliano, Andrea; Nese, Barbara; Noss, Andrew; Ekoumou, Dieudonné Ongbwa; Paulin, Pascale; Real, Raimundo; Riddell, Mike; Stevenson, Edward G. J.; Toda, Mikako; Vargas, J. Mario; Yasuoka, Hirokazu; Nasi, Robert

    2016-01-01

    Pygmy populations occupy a vast territory extending west-to-east along the central African belt from the Congo Basin to Lake Victoria. However, their numbers and actual distribution is not known precisely. Here, we undertake this task by using locational data and population sizes for an unprecedented number of known Pygmy camps and settlements (n = 654) in five of the nine countries where currently distributed. With these data we develop spatial distribution models based on the favourability function, which distinguish areas with favourable environmental conditions from those less suitable for Pygmy presence. Highly favourable areas were significantly explained by presence of tropical forests, and by lower human pressure variables. For documented Pygmy settlements, we use the relationship between observed population sizes and predicted favourability values to estimate the total Pygmy population throughout Central Africa. We estimate that around 920,000 Pygmies (over 60% in DRC) is possible within favourable forest areas in Central Africa. We argue that fragmentation of the existing Pygmy populations, alongside pressure from extractive industries and sometimes conflict with conservation areas, endanger their future. There is an urgent need to inform policies that can mitigate against future external threats to these indigenous peoples’ culture and lifestyles. PMID:26735953

  6. Distribution and Numbers of Pygmies in Central African Forests.

    PubMed

    Olivero, Jesús; Fa, John E; Farfán, Miguel A; Lewis, Jerome; Hewlett, Barry; Breuer, Thomas; Carpaneto, Giuseppe M; Fernández, María; Germi, Francesco; Hattori, Shiho; Head, Josephine; Ichikawa, Mitsuo; Kitanaishi, Koichi; Knights, Jessica; Matsuura, Naoki; Migliano, Andrea; Nese, Barbara; Noss, Andrew; Ekoumou, Dieudonné Ongbwa; Paulin, Pascale; Real, Raimundo; Riddell, Mike; Stevenson, Edward G J; Toda, Mikako; Vargas, J Mario; Yasuoka, Hirokazu; Nasi, Robert

    2016-01-01

    Pygmy populations occupy a vast territory extending west-to-east along the central African belt from the Congo Basin to Lake Victoria. However, their numbers and actual distribution is not known precisely. Here, we undertake this task by using locational data and population sizes for an unprecedented number of known Pygmy camps and settlements (n = 654) in five of the nine countries where currently distributed. With these data we develop spatial distribution models based on the favourability function, which distinguish areas with favourable environmental conditions from those less suitable for Pygmy presence. Highly favourable areas were significantly explained by presence of tropical forests, and by lower human pressure variables. For documented Pygmy settlements, we use the relationship between observed population sizes and predicted favourability values to estimate the total Pygmy population throughout Central Africa. We estimate that around 920,000 Pygmies (over 60% in DRC) is possible within favourable forest areas in Central Africa. We argue that fragmentation of the existing Pygmy populations, alongside pressure from extractive industries and sometimes conflict with conservation areas, endanger their future. There is an urgent need to inform policies that can mitigate against future external threats to these indigenous peoples' culture and lifestyles.

  7. 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.

  8. Does diet influence salivary enzyme activities in elephant species?

    PubMed

    Boehlke, Carolin; Pötschke, Sandra; Behringer, Verena; Hannig, Christian; Zierau, Oliver

    2017-01-01

    Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are herbivore generalists; however, Asian elephants might ingest a higher proportion of grasses than Africans. Although some studies have investigated nutrition-specific morphological adaptations of the two species, broader studies on salivary enzymes in both elephant species are lacking. This study focuses on the comparison of salivary enzymes activity profiles in the two elephant species; these enzymes are relevant for protective and digestive functions in humans. We aimed to determine whether salivary amylase (sAA), lysozyme (sLYS), and peroxidase (sPOD) activities have changed in a species-specific pattern during evolutionary separation of the elephant genera. Saliva samples of 14 Asian and eight African elephants were collected in three German zoos. Results show that sAA and sLYS are salivary components of both elephant species in an active conformation. In contrast, little to no sPOD activity was determined in any elephant sample. Furthermore, sAA activity was significantly higher in Asian compared with African elephants. sLYS and sPOD showed no species-specific differences. The time of food provision until sample collection affected only sAA activity. In summary, the results suggest several possible factors modulating the activity of the mammal-typical enzymes, such as sAA, sLYS, and sPOD, e.g., nutrition and sampling procedure, which have to be considered when analyzing differences in saliva composition of animal species.

  9. Above-ground biomass and structure of 260 African tropical forests

    PubMed Central

    Lewis, Simon L.; Sonké, Bonaventure; Sunderland, Terry; Begne, Serge K.; Lopez-Gonzalez, Gabriela; van der Heijden, Geertje M. F.; Phillips, Oliver L.; Affum-Baffoe, Kofi; Baker, Timothy R.; Banin, Lindsay; Bastin, Jean-François; Beeckman, Hans; Boeckx, Pascal; Bogaert, Jan; De Cannière, Charles; Chezeaux, Eric; Clark, Connie J.; Collins, Murray; Djagbletey, Gloria; Djuikouo, Marie Noël K.; Droissart, Vincent; Doucet, Jean-Louis; Ewango, Cornielle E. N.; Fauset, Sophie; Feldpausch, Ted R.; Foli, Ernest G.; Gillet, Jean-François; Hamilton, Alan C.; Harris, David J.; Hart, Terese B.; de Haulleville, Thales; Hladik, Annette; Hufkens, Koen; Huygens, Dries; Jeanmart, Philippe; Jeffery, Kathryn J.; Kearsley, Elizabeth; Leal, Miguel E.; Lloyd, Jon; Lovett, Jon C.; Makana, Jean-Remy; Malhi, Yadvinder; Marshall, Andrew R.; Ojo, Lucas; Peh, Kelvin S.-H.; Pickavance, Georgia; Poulsen, John R.; Reitsma, Jan M.; Sheil, Douglas; Simo, Murielle; Steppe, Kathy; Taedoumg, Hermann E.; Talbot, Joey; Taplin, James R. D.; Taylor, David; Thomas, Sean C.; Toirambe, Benjamin; Verbeeck, Hans; Vleminckx, Jason; White, Lee J. T.; Willcock, Simon; Woell, Hannsjorg; Zemagho, Lise

    2013-01-01

    We report above-ground biomass (AGB), basal area, stem density and wood mass density estimates from 260 sample plots (mean size: 1.2 ha) in intact closed-canopy tropical forests across 12 African countries. Mean AGB is 395.7 Mg dry mass ha−1 (95% CI: 14.3), substantially higher than Amazonian values, with the Congo Basin and contiguous forest region attaining AGB values (429 Mg ha−1) similar to those of Bornean forests, and significantly greater than East or West African forests. AGB therefore appears generally higher in palaeo- compared with neotropical forests. However, mean stem density is low (426 ± 11 stems ha−1 greater than or equal to 100 mm diameter) compared with both Amazonian and Bornean forests (cf. approx. 600) and is the signature structural feature of African tropical forests. While spatial autocorrelation complicates analyses, AGB shows a positive relationship with rainfall in the driest nine months of the year, and an opposite association with the wettest three months of the year; a negative relationship with temperature; positive relationship with clay-rich soils; and negative relationships with C : N ratio (suggesting a positive soil phosphorus–AGB relationship), and soil fertility computed as the sum of base cations. The results indicate that AGB is mediated by both climate and soils, and suggest that the AGB of African closed-canopy tropical forests may be particularly sensitive to future precipitation and temperature changes. PMID:23878327

  10. Above-ground biomass and structure of 260 African tropical forests.

    PubMed

    Lewis, Simon L; Sonké, Bonaventure; Sunderland, Terry; Begne, Serge K; Lopez-Gonzalez, Gabriela; van der Heijden, Geertje M F; Phillips, Oliver L; Affum-Baffoe, Kofi; Baker, Timothy R; Banin, Lindsay; Bastin, Jean-François; Beeckman, Hans; Boeckx, Pascal; Bogaert, Jan; De Cannière, Charles; Chezeaux, Eric; Clark, Connie J; Collins, Murray; Djagbletey, Gloria; Djuikouo, Marie Noël K; Droissart, Vincent; Doucet, Jean-Louis; Ewango, Cornielle E N; Fauset, Sophie; Feldpausch, Ted R; Foli, Ernest G; Gillet, Jean-François; Hamilton, Alan C; Harris, David J; Hart, Terese B; de Haulleville, Thales; Hladik, Annette; Hufkens, Koen; Huygens, Dries; Jeanmart, Philippe; Jeffery, Kathryn J; Kearsley, Elizabeth; Leal, Miguel E; Lloyd, Jon; Lovett, Jon C; Makana, Jean-Remy; Malhi, Yadvinder; Marshall, Andrew R; Ojo, Lucas; Peh, Kelvin S-H; Pickavance, Georgia; Poulsen, John R; Reitsma, Jan M; Sheil, Douglas; Simo, Murielle; Steppe, Kathy; Taedoumg, Hermann E; Talbot, Joey; Taplin, James R D; Taylor, David; Thomas, Sean C; Toirambe, Benjamin; Verbeeck, Hans; Vleminckx, Jason; White, Lee J T; Willcock, Simon; Woell, Hannsjorg; Zemagho, Lise

    2013-01-01

    We report above-ground biomass (AGB), basal area, stem density and wood mass density estimates from 260 sample plots (mean size: 1.2 ha) in intact closed-canopy tropical forests across 12 African countries. Mean AGB is 395.7 Mg dry mass ha⁻¹ (95% CI: 14.3), substantially higher than Amazonian values, with the Congo Basin and contiguous forest region attaining AGB values (429 Mg ha⁻¹) similar to those of Bornean forests, and significantly greater than East or West African forests. AGB therefore appears generally higher in palaeo- compared with neotropical forests. However, mean stem density is low (426 ± 11 stems ha⁻¹ greater than or equal to 100 mm diameter) compared with both Amazonian and Bornean forests (cf. approx. 600) and is the signature structural feature of African tropical forests. While spatial autocorrelation complicates analyses, AGB shows a positive relationship with rainfall in the driest nine months of the year, and an opposite association with the wettest three months of the year; a negative relationship with temperature; positive relationship with clay-rich soils; and negative relationships with C : N ratio (suggesting a positive soil phosphorus-AGB relationship), and soil fertility computed as the sum of base cations. The results indicate that AGB is mediated by both climate and soils, and suggest that the AGB of African closed-canopy tropical forests may be particularly sensitive to future precipitation and temperature changes.

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

    PubMed

    Rohland, Nadin; Malaspinas, Anna-Sapfo; Pollack, Joshua L; Slatkin, Montgomery; Matheus, Paul; Hofreiter, Michael

    2007-08-01

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

  12. Proboscidean Mitogenomics: Chronology and Mode of Elephant Evolution Using Mastodon as Outgroup

    PubMed Central

    Pollack, Joshua L; Slatkin, Montgomery; Matheus, Paul; Hofreiter, Michael

    2007-01-01

    We have sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome of the extinct American mastodon (Mammut americanum) from an Alaskan fossil that is between 50,000 and 130,000 y old, extending the age range of genomic analyses by almost a complete glacial cycle. The sequence we obtained is substantially different from previously reported partial mastodon mitochondrial DNA sequences. By comparing those partial sequences to other proboscidean sequences, we conclude that we have obtained the first sequence of mastodon DNA ever reported. Using the sequence of the mastodon, which diverged 24–28 million years ago (mya) from the Elephantidae lineage, as an outgroup, we infer that the ancestors of African elephants diverged from the lineage leading to mammoths and Asian elephants approximately 7.6 mya and that mammoths and Asian elephants diverged approximately 6.7 mya. We also conclude that the nuclear genomes of the African savannah and forest elephants diverged approximately 4.0 mya, supporting the view that these two groups represent different species. Finally, we found the mitochondrial mutation rate of proboscideans to be roughly half of the rate in primates during at least the last 24 million years. PMID:17676977

  13. Carbon storage and emissions offset potential in an African dry forest, the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Kenya.

    PubMed

    Glenday, Julia

    2008-07-01

    Concerns about rapid tropical deforestation, and its contribution to rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, increase the importance of monitoring terrestrial carbon storage in changing landscapes. Emerging markets for carbon emission offsets may offer developing nations needed incentives for reforestation, rehabilitation, and avoided deforestation. However, relatively little empirical data exists regarding carbon storage in African tropical forests, particularly for those in arid or semi-arid regions. Kenya's 416 km(2) Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (ASF) is the largest remaining fragment of East African coastal dry forest and is considered a global biodiversity hotspot (Myers et al. 2000), but has been significantly altered by past commercial logging and ongoing extraction. Forest carbon storage for ASF was estimated using allometric equations for tree biomass, destructive techniques for litter and herbaceous vegetation biomass, and spectroscopy for soils. Satellite imagery was used to assess land cover changes from 1992 to 2004. Forest and thicket types (Cynometra webberi dominated, Brachystegia spiciformis dominated, and mixed species forest) had carbon densities ranging from 58 to 94 Mg C/ha. The ASF area supported a 2.8-3.0 Tg C carbon stock. Although total forested area in ASF did not change over the analyzed time period, ongoing disturbances, quantified by the basal area of cut tree stumps per sample plot, correlated with decreased carbon densities. Madunguni Forest, an adjoining forest patch, lost 86% of its forest cover and at least 76% of its terrestrial carbon stock in the time period. Improved management of wood harvesting in ASF and rehabilitation of Madunguni Forest could substantially increase terrestrial carbon sequestration in the region.

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

    PubMed Central

    Matsui, Atsushi; Touhara, Kazushige

    2014-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Structure and presumptive function of the iridocorneal angle of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), and African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Hatfield, Jessie R; Samuelson, Don A; Lewis, Patricia A; Chisholm, Mae

    2003-03-01

    The iridocorneal angles of prepared eyes from the West Indian manatee, short-finned pilot whale, hippopotamus and African elephant were examined and compared using light microscopy. The manatee and pilot whale demonstrated capacity for a large amount of aqueous outflow, probably as part of a system compensating for lack of ciliary musculature, and possibly also related to environmental changes associated with life at varying depths. The elephant angle displayed many characteristics of large herbivores, but was found to have relatively low capacity for aqueous outflow via both primary and secondary routes. The hippopotamus shared characteristics with both land- and water-dwelling mammals; uveoscleral aqueous outflow may be substantial as in the marine mammals, but the angular aqueous plexus was less extensive and a robust pectinate ligament was present. The angles varied greatly in size and composition among the four species, and most structures were found to be uniquely suited to the habitat of each animal.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    CD1d-restricted invariant natural killer T cells (NKT cells) have been well characterized in humans and mice, but it is unknown whether they are present in other species. Here we describe the invariant TCR α chain and the full length CD1d transcript of pig and horse. Molecular modeling predicts that porcine (po) invariant TCR α chain/poCD1d/α-GalCer and equine (eq) invariant TCR α chain/eqCD1d/α-GalCer form complexes that are highly homologous to the human complex. Since a prerequisite for the presence of NKT cells is the expression of CD1d protein, we performed searches for CD1D genes and CD1d transcripts in multiple species. Previously, cattle and guinea pig have been suggested to lack CD1D genes. The CD1D genes of European taurine cattle (Bos taurus) are known to be pseudogenes because of disrupting mutations in the start codon and in the donor splice site of the first intron. Here we show that the same mutations are found in six other ruminants: African buffalo, sheep, bushbuck, bongo, N’Dama cattle, and roe deer. In contrast, intact CD1d transcripts were found in guinea pig, African elephant, horse, rabbit, and pig. Despite the discovery of a highly homologous NKT/CD1d system in pig and horse, our data suggest that functional CD1D and CD1d-restricted NKT cells are not universally present in mammals. PMID:19185921

  19. Logging concessions can extend the conservation estate for Central African tropical forests.

    PubMed

    Clark, C J; Poulsen, J R; Malonga, R; Elkan, P W

    2009-10-01

    The management of tropical forest in timber concessions has been proposed as a solution to prevent further biodiversity loss. The effectiveness of this strategy will likely depend on species-specific, population-level responses to logging. We conducted a survey (749 line transects over 3450 km) in logging concessions (1.2 million ha) in the northern Republic of Congo to examine the impact of logging on large mammal populations, including endangered species such as the elephant (Loxodonta africana), gorilla (Gorilla gorilla), chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), and bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus). When we estimated species abundance without consideration of transect characteristics, species abundances in logged and unlogged forests were not different for most species. When we modeled the data with a hurdle model approach, however, analyzing species presence and conditional abundance separately with generalized additive models and then combining them to calculate the mean species abundance, species abundance varied strongly depending on transect characteristics. The mean species abundance was often related to the distance to unlogged forest, which suggests that intact forest serves as source habitat for several species. The mean species abundance responded nonlinearly to logging history, changing over 30 years as the forest recovered from logging. Finally the distance away from roads, natural forest clearings, and villages also determined the abundance of mammals. Our results suggest that logged forest can extend the conservation estate for many of Central Africa's most threatened species if managed appropriately. In addition to limiting hunting, logging concessions must be large, contain patches of unlogged forest, and include forest with different logging histories.

  20. 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.

    2004-05-01

    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.

  1. African Savanna-Forest Boundary Dynamics: A 20-Year Study.

    PubMed

    Cuni-Sanchez, Aida; White, Lee J T; Calders, Kim; Jeffery, Kathryn J; Abernethy, Katharine; Burt, Andrew; Disney, Mathias; Gilpin, Martin; Gomez-Dans, Jose L; Lewis, Simon L

    2016-01-01

    Recent studies show widespread encroachment of forest into savannas with important consequences for the global carbon cycle and land-atmosphere interactions. However, little research has focused on in situ measurements of the successional sequence of savanna to forest in Africa. Using long-term inventory plots we quantify changes in vegetation structure, above-ground biomass (AGB) and biodiversity of trees ≥10 cm diameter over 20 years for five vegetation types: savanna; colonising forest (F1), monodominant Okoume forest (F2); young Marantaceae forest (F3); and mixed Marantaceae forest (F4) in Lopé National Park, central Gabon, plus novel 3D terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) measurements to assess forest structure differences. Over 20 years no plot changed to a new stage in the putative succession, but F1 forests strongly moved towards the structure, AGB and diversity of F2 forests. Overall, savanna plots showed no detectable change in structure, AGB or diversity using this method, with zero trees ≥10 cm diameter in 1993 and 2013. F1 and F2 forests increased in AGB, mainly as a result of adding recruited stems (F1) and increased Basal Area (F2), whereas F3 and F4 forests did not change substantially in structure, AGB or diversity. Critically, the stability of the F3 stage implies that this stage may be maintained for long periods. Soil carbon was low, and did not show a successional gradient as for AGB and diversity. TLS vertical plant profiles showed distinctive differences amongst the vegetation types, indicating that this technique can improve ecological understanding. We highlight two points: (i) as forest colonises, changes in biodiversity are much slower than changes in forest structure or AGB; and (ii) all forest types store substantial quantities of carbon. Multi-decadal monitoring is likely to be required to assess the speed of transition between vegetation types.

  2. African Savanna-Forest Boundary Dynamics: A 20-Year Study

    PubMed Central

    Cuni-Sanchez, Aida; White, Lee J. T.; Calders, Kim; Jeffery, Kathryn J.; Abernethy, Katharine; Burt, Andrew; Disney, Mathias; Gilpin, Martin; Gomez-Dans, Jose L.; Lewis, Simon L.

    2016-01-01

    Recent studies show widespread encroachment of forest into savannas with important consequences for the global carbon cycle and land-atmosphere interactions. However, little research has focused on in situ measurements of the successional sequence of savanna to forest in Africa. Using long-term inventory plots we quantify changes in vegetation structure, above-ground biomass (AGB) and biodiversity of trees ≥10 cm diameter over 20 years for five vegetation types: savanna; colonising forest (F1), monodominant Okoume forest (F2); young Marantaceae forest (F3); and mixed Marantaceae forest (F4) in Lopé National Park, central Gabon, plus novel 3D terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) measurements to assess forest structure differences. Over 20 years no plot changed to a new stage in the putative succession, but F1 forests strongly moved towards the structure, AGB and diversity of F2 forests. Overall, savanna plots showed no detectable change in structure, AGB or diversity using this method, with zero trees ≥10 cm diameter in 1993 and 2013. F1 and F2 forests increased in AGB, mainly as a result of adding recruited stems (F1) and increased Basal Area (F2), whereas F3 and F4 forests did not change substantially in structure, AGB or diversity. Critically, the stability of the F3 stage implies that this stage may be maintained for long periods. Soil carbon was low, and did not show a successional gradient as for AGB and diversity. TLS vertical plant profiles showed distinctive differences amongst the vegetation types, indicating that this technique can improve ecological understanding. We highlight two points: (i) as forest colonises, changes in biodiversity are much slower than changes in forest structure or AGB; and (ii) all forest types store substantial quantities of carbon. Multi-decadal monitoring is likely to be required to assess the speed of transition between vegetation types. PMID:27336632

  3. Seeing Central African forests through their largest trees

    PubMed Central

    Bastin, J.-F.; Barbier, N.; Réjou-Méchain, M.; Fayolle, A.; Gourlet-Fleury, S.; Maniatis, D.; de Haulleville, T.; Baya, F.; Beeckman, H.; Beina, D.; Couteron, P.; Chuyong, G.; Dauby, G.; Doucet, J.-L.; Droissart, V.; Dufrêne, M.; Ewango, C.; Gillet, J.F.; Gonmadje, C.H.; Hart, T.; Kavali, T.; Kenfack, D.; Libalah, M.; Malhi, Y.; Makana, J.-R.; Pélissier, R.; Ploton, P.; Serckx, A.; Sonké, B.; Stevart, T.; Thomas, D.W.; De Cannière, C.; Bogaert, J.

    2015-01-01

    Large tropical trees and a few dominant species were recently identified as the main structuring elements of tropical forests. However, such result did not translate yet into quantitative approaches which are essential to understand, predict and monitor forest functions and composition over large, often poorly accessible territories. Here we show that the above-ground biomass (AGB) of the whole forest can be predicted from a few large trees and that the relationship is proved strikingly stable in 175 1-ha plots investigated across 8 sites spanning Central Africa. We designed a generic model predicting AGB with an error of 14% when based on only 5% of the stems, which points to universality in forest structural properties. For the first time in Africa, we identified some dominant species that disproportionally contribute to forest AGB with 1.5% of recorded species accounting for over 50% of the stock of AGB. Consequently, focusing on large trees and dominant species provides precise information on the whole forest stand. This offers new perspectives for understanding the functioning of tropical forests and opens new doors for the development of innovative monitoring strategies. PMID:26279193

  4. Seeing Central African forests through their largest trees.

    PubMed

    Bastin, J-F; Barbier, N; Réjou-Méchain, M; Fayolle, A; Gourlet-Fleury, S; Maniatis, D; de Haulleville, T; Baya, F; Beeckman, H; Beina, D; Couteron, P; Chuyong, G; Dauby, G; Doucet, J-L; Droissart, V; Dufrêne, M; Ewango, C; Gillet, J F; Gonmadje, C H; Hart, T; Kavali, T; Kenfack, D; Libalah, M; Malhi, Y; Makana, J-R; Pélissier, R; Ploton, P; Serckx, A; Sonké, B; Stevart, T; Thomas, D W; De Cannière, C; Bogaert, J

    2015-08-17

    Large tropical trees and a few dominant species were recently identified as the main structuring elements of tropical forests. However, such result did not translate yet into quantitative approaches which are essential to understand, predict and monitor forest functions and composition over large, often poorly accessible territories. Here we show that the above-ground biomass (AGB) of the whole forest can be predicted from a few large trees and that the relationship is proved strikingly stable in 175 1-ha plots investigated across 8 sites spanning Central Africa. We designed a generic model predicting AGB with an error of 14% when based on only 5% of the stems, which points to universality in forest structural properties. For the first time in Africa, we identified some dominant species that disproportionally contribute to forest AGB with 1.5% of recorded species accounting for over 50% of the stock of AGB. Consequently, focusing on large trees and dominant species provides precise information on the whole forest stand. This offers new perspectives for understanding the functioning of tropical forests and opens new doors for the development of innovative monitoring strategies.

  5. Seeing Central African forests through their largest trees

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bastin, J.-F.; Barbier, N.; Réjou-Méchain, M.; Fayolle, A.; Gourlet-Fleury, S.; Maniatis, D.; de Haulleville, T.; Baya, F.; Beeckman, H.; Beina, D.; Couteron, P.; Chuyong, G.; Dauby, G.; Doucet, J.-L.; Droissart, V.; Dufrêne, M.; Ewango, C.; Gillet, J. F.; Gonmadje, C. H.; Hart, T.; Kavali, T.; Kenfack, D.; Libalah, M.; Malhi, Y.; Makana, J.-R.; Pélissier, R.; Ploton, P.; Serckx, A.; Sonké, B.; Stevart, T.; Thomas, D. W.; de Cannière, C.; Bogaert, J.

    2015-08-01

    Large tropical trees and a few dominant species were recently identified as the main structuring elements of tropical forests. However, such result did not translate yet into quantitative approaches which are essential to understand, predict and monitor forest functions and composition over large, often poorly accessible territories. Here we show that the above-ground biomass (AGB) of the whole forest can be predicted from a few large trees and that the relationship is proved strikingly stable in 175 1-ha plots investigated across 8 sites spanning Central Africa. We designed a generic model predicting AGB with an error of 14% when based on only 5% of the stems, which points to universality in forest structural properties. For the first time in Africa, we identified some dominant species that disproportionally contribute to forest AGB with 1.5% of recorded species accounting for over 50% of the stock of AGB. Consequently, focusing on large trees and dominant species provides precise information on the whole forest stand. This offers new perspectives for understanding the functioning of tropical forests and opens new doors for the development of innovative monitoring strategies.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Functional community structure of African monodominant Gilbertiodendron dewevrei forest influenced by local environmental filtering.

    PubMed

    Kearsley, Elizabeth; Verbeeck, Hans; Hufkens, Koen; Van de Perre, Frederik; Doetterl, Sebastian; Baert, Geert; Beeckman, Hans; Boeckx, Pascal; Huygens, Dries

    2017-01-01

    Monodominant patches of forest dominated by Gilbertiodendron dewevrei are commonly found in central African tropical forests, alongside forests with high species diversity. Although these forests are generally found sparsely distributed along rivers, their occurrence is not thought to be (clearly) driven by edaphic conditions but rather by trait combinations of G. dewevrei that aid in achieving monodominance. Functional community structure between these monodominant and mixed forests has, however, not yet been compared. Additionally, little is known about nondominant species in the monodominant forest community. These two topics are addressed in this study. We investigate the functional community structure of 10 one-hectare plots of monodominant and mixed forests in a central region of the Congo basin, in DR Congo. Thirteen leaf and wood traits are measured, covering 95% (basal area weighted) of all species present in the plots, including leaf nutrient contents, leaf isotopic compositions, specific leaf area, wood density, and vessel anatomy. The trait-based assessment of G. dewevrei shows an ensemble of traits related to water use and transport that could be favorable for its location near forest rivers. Moreover, indications have been found for N and P limitations in the monodominant forest, possibly related to ectomycorrhizal associations formed with G. dewevrei. Reduced leaf N and P contents are found at the community level for the monodominant forest and for different nondominant groups, as compared to those in the mixed forest. In summary, this work shows that environmental filtering does prevail in the monodominant G. dewevrei forest, leading to lower functional diversity in this forest type, with the dominant species showing beneficial traits related to its common riverine locations and with reduced soil N and P availability found in this environment, both coregulating the tree community assembly.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-12-01

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

  10. Foetal age determination and development in elephants

    PubMed Central

    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

    2006-01-01

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

  11. Fire Patterns and Drivers of Fires in the West African Tropical Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dwomoh, F. K.; Wimberly, M. C.

    2015-12-01

    The West African tropical forest (referred to as the Upper Guinean forest, UGF), is a global biodiversity hotspot providing vital ecosystem services for the region's socio-economic and environmental wellbeing. It is also one of the most fragmented and human-modified tropical forest ecosystems, with the only remaining large patches of original forests contained in protected areas. However, these remnant forests are susceptible to continued fire-mediated degradation and forest loss due to intense climatic, demographic and land use pressures. We analyzed human and climatic drivers of fire activity in the sub-region to better understand the spatial and temporal patterns of these risks. We utilized MODIS active fire and burned area products to identify fire activity within the sub-region. We measured climatic variability using TRMM rainfall data and derived indicators of human land use from a variety of geospatial datasets. We used a boosted regression trees model to determine the influences of predictor variables on fire activity. Our analyses indicated that the spatial and temporal variability of precipitation is a key driving factor of fire activity in the UGF. Anthropogenic effects on fire activity in the area were evident through the influences of agriculture and low-density populations. These human footprints in the landscape make forests more susceptible to fires through forest fragmentation, degradation, and fire spread from agricultural areas. Forested protected areas within the forest savanna mosaic experienced frequent fires, whereas the more humid forest areas located in the south and south-western portions of the study area had fewer fires as these rainforests tend to offer some buffering against fire encroachment. These results improve characterization of UGF fire regime and expand our understanding of the spatio-temporal dynamics of tropical forest fires in response to human and climatic pressures.

  12. Response of African humid tropical forests to recent rainfall anomalies.

    PubMed

    Asefi-Najafabady, Salvi; Saatchi, Sassan

    2013-01-01

    During the last decade, strong negative rainfall anomalies resulting from increased sea surface temperature in the tropical Atlantic have caused extensive droughts in rainforests of western Amazonia, exerting persistent effects on the forest canopy. In contrast, there have been no significant impacts on rainforests of West and Central Africa during the same period, despite large-scale droughts and rainfall anomalies during the same period. Using a combination of rainfall observations from meteorological stations from the Climate Research Unit (CRU; 1950-2009) and satellite observations of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM; 1998-2010), we show that West and Central Africa experienced strong negative water deficit (WD) anomalies over the last decade, particularly in 2005, 2006 and 2007. These anomalies were a continuation of an increasing drying trend in the region that started in the 1970s. We monitored the response of forests to extreme rainfall anomalies of the past decade by analysing the microwave scatterometer data from QuickSCAT (1999-2009) sensitive to variations in canopy water content and structure. Unlike in Amazonia, we found no significant impacts of extreme WD events on forests of Central Africa, suggesting potential adaptability of these forests to short-term severe droughts. Only forests near the savanna boundary in West Africa and in fragmented landscapes of the northern Congo Basin responded to extreme droughts with widespread canopy disturbance that lasted only during the period of WD. Time-series analyses of CRU and TRMM data show most regions in Central and West Africa experience seasonal or decadal extreme WDs (less than -600 mm). We hypothesize that the long-term historical extreme WDs with gradual drying trends in the 1970s have increased the adaptability of humid tropical forests in Africa to droughts.

  13. Response of African humid tropical forests to recent rainfall anomalies

    PubMed Central

    Asefi-Najafabady, Salvi; Saatchi, Sassan

    2013-01-01

    During the last decade, strong negative rainfall anomalies resulting from increased sea surface temperature in the tropical Atlantic have caused extensive droughts in rainforests of western Amazonia, exerting persistent effects on the forest canopy. In contrast, there have been no significant impacts on rainforests of West and Central Africa during the same period, despite large-scale droughts and rainfall anomalies during the same period. Using a combination of rainfall observations from meteorological stations from the Climate Research Unit (CRU; 1950–2009) and satellite observations of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM; 1998–2010), we show that West and Central Africa experienced strong negative water deficit (WD) anomalies over the last decade, particularly in 2005, 2006 and 2007. These anomalies were a continuation of an increasing drying trend in the region that started in the 1970s. We monitored the response of forests to extreme rainfall anomalies of the past decade by analysing the microwave scatterometer data from QuickSCAT (1999–2009) sensitive to variations in canopy water content and structure. Unlike in Amazonia, we found no significant impacts of extreme WD events on forests of Central Africa, suggesting potential adaptability of these forests to short-term severe droughts. Only forests near the savanna boundary in West Africa and in fragmented landscapes of the northern Congo Basin responded to extreme droughts with widespread canopy disturbance that lasted only during the period of WD. Time-series analyses of CRU and TRMM data show most regions in Central and West Africa experience seasonal or decadal extreme WDs (less than −600 mm). We hypothesize that the long-term historical extreme WDs with gradual drying trends in the 1970s have increased the adaptability of humid tropical forests in Africa to droughts. PMID:23878335

  14. 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

  15. Landscape genetics indicate recently increased habitat fragmentation in African forest-associated chafers.

    PubMed

    Eberle, Jonas; Rödder, Dennis; Beckett, Marc; Ahrens, Dirk

    2017-01-07

    Today, indigenous forests cover less than 0.6% of South Africa's land surface and are highly fragmented. Most forest relicts are very small and typically occur in fire-protected gorges along the eastern Great Escarpment. Yet, they hold a unique and valuable fauna with high endemism and ancient phylogenetic lineages, fostered by long-term climatic stability and complex microclimates. Despite numerous studies on southern African vegetation cover, the current state of knowledge about the natural extension of indigenous forests is rather fragmentary. We use an integrated approach of population-level phylogeography and climatic niche modeling of forest-associated chafer species to assess connectivity and extent of forest habitats since the last glacial maximum. Current and past species distribution models ascertained potential fluctuations of forest distribution and supported a much wider potential current extension of forests based on climatic data. Considerable genetic admixture of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA among many populations and an increase in mean population mutation rate in Extended Bayesian Skyline Plots of all species indicated more extended or better connected forests in the recent past (<5 kya). Genetic isolation of certain populations, as revealed by population differentiation statistics (GST'), as well as landscape connectivity statistics and habitat succession scenarios suggests considerable loss of habitat connectivity. As major anthropogenic influence is likely, conservational actions need to be considered.

  16. Forests as promoters of terrestrial life-history strategies in East African amphibians.

    PubMed

    Müller, Hendrik; Liedtke, H Christoph; Menegon, Michele; Beck, Jan; Ballesteros-Mejia, Liliana; Nagel, Peter; Loader, Simon P

    2013-06-23

    Many amphibian lineages show terrestrialization of their reproductive strategy and breeding is partially or completely independent of water. A number of causal factors have been proposed for the evolution of terrestrialized breeding. While predation has received repeated attention as a potential factor, the influence of other factors such as habitat has never been tested using appropriate data or methods. Using a dataset that comprises 180 amphibian species from various East African habitats, we tested whether species occurring in different habitats show different patterns of terrestrialization in their breeding strategy. We recovered a significant association between terrestrialized breeding strategies and forest habitats. In general, forest seems to act as a facilitator, providing a permissive environment for the evolution of terrestrialized breeding strategies. However, while terrestrial oviposition is strongly correlated with lowland and montane forest habitat, complete terrestrial development is significantly correlated with montane forest only, indicating different selective pressures acting at different steps towards complete terrestrial development.

  17. Present-day central African forest is a legacy of the 19th century human history

    PubMed Central

    Morin-Rivat, Julie; Fayolle, Adeline; Favier, Charly; Bremond, Laurent; Gourlet-Fleury, Sylvie; Bayol, Nicolas; Lejeune, Philippe; Beeckman, Hans; Doucet, Jean-Louis

    2017-01-01

    The populations of light-demanding trees that dominate the canopy of central African forests are now aging. Here, we show that the lack of regeneration of these populations began ca. 165 ya (around 1850) after major anthropogenic disturbances ceased. Since 1885, less itinerancy and disturbance in the forest has occurred because the colonial administrations concentrated people and villages along the primary communication axes. Local populations formerly gardened the forest by creating scattered openings, which were sufficiently large for the establishment of light-demanding trees. Currently, common logging operations do not create suitable openings for the regeneration of these species, whereas deforestation degrades landscapes. Using an interdisciplinary approach, which included paleoecological, archaeological, historical, and dendrological data, we highlight the long-term history of human activities across central African forests and assess the contribution of these activities to present-day forest structure and composition. The conclusions of this sobering analysis present challenges to current silvicultural practices and to those of the future. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.20343.001 PMID:28093097

  18. 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.

  19. Induced elephant (Loxodonta africana) tusk removal.

    PubMed

    Steiner, Martin; Gould, Alan R; Clark, Thomas J; Burns, Roy

    2003-03-01

    Elephant tusk removal usually requires costly surgical procedures that are time-consuming and present a significant risk to the animal when performed using general anesthesia. Such techniques require gauges, chisels, and forceps to remove the tusk. This article reports the simple removal of the tusk of an 18-yr-old African elephant (Loxodonta africana) without the use of surgical instruments and anesthesia. Rubber elastics were placed around a tusk, causing loss of alveolar bone with subsequent exfoliation of the tusk within 3 wk. The healing process was uneventful.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    The approximately 300 (298, 95% CI: 152-581) elephants in the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo are a priority sub-population for Borneo's total elephant population (2,040, 95% CI: 1,184-3,652). Habitat loss and human-elephant conflict are recognized as the major threats to Bornean elephant survival. In the Kinabatangan region, human settlements and agricultural development for oil palm drive an intense fragmentation process. Electric fences guard against elephant crop raiding but also remove access to suitable habitat patches. We conducted expert opinion-based least-cost analyses, to model the quantity and configuration of available suitable elephant habitat in the Lower Kinabatangan, and called this the Elephant Habitat Linkage. At 184 km(2), our estimate of available habitat is 54% smaller than the estimate used in the State's Elephant Action Plan for the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (400 km(2)). During high flood levels, available habitat is reduced to only 61 km(2). As a consequence, short-term elephant densities are likely to surge during floods to 4.83 km(-2) (95% CI: 2.46-9.41), among the highest estimated for forest-dwelling elephants in Asia or Africa. During severe floods, the configuration of remaining elephant habitat and the surge in elephant density may put two villages at elevated risk of human-elephant conflict. Lower Kinabatangan elephants are vulnerable to the natural disturbance regime of the river due to their limited dispersal options. Twenty bottlenecks less than one km wide throughout the Elephant Habitat Linkage, have the potential to further reduce access to suitable habitat. Rebuilding landscape connectivity to isolated habitat patches and to the North Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (less than 35 km inland) are conservation priorities that would increase the quantity of available habitat, and may work as a mechanism to allow population release, lower elephant density, reduce human-elephant

  1. Ant-lepidopteran associations along African forest edges.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Azémar, Frédéric; Libert, Michel; Compin, Arthur; Hérault, Bruno; Orivel, Jérôme; Bouyer, Thierry; Corbara, Bruno

    2017-02-01

    Working along forest edges, we aimed to determine how some caterpillars can co-exist with territorially dominant arboreal ants (TDAAs) in tropical Africa. We recorded caterpillars from 22 lepidopteran species living in the presence of five TDAA species. Among the defoliator and/or nectarivorous caterpillars that live on tree foliage, the Pyralidae and Nymphalidae use their silk to protect themselves from ant attacks. The Notodontidae and lycaenid Polyommatinae and Theclinae live in direct contact with ants; the Theclinae even reward ants with abundant secretions from their Newcomer gland. Lichen feeders (lycaenid; Poritiinae), protected by long bristles, also live among ants. Some lycaenid Miletinae caterpillars feed on ant-attended membracids, including in the shelters where the ants attend them; Lachnocnema caterpillars use their forelegs to obtain trophallaxis from their host ants. Caterpillars from other species live inside weaver ant nests. Those of the genus Euliphyra (Miletinae) feed on ant prey and brood and can obtain trophallaxis, while those from an Eberidae species only prey on host ant eggs. Eublemma albifascia (Erebidae) caterpillars use their thoracic legs to obtain trophallaxis and trophic eggs from ants. Through transfer bioassays of last instars, we noted that herbivorous caterpillars living in contact with ants were always accepted by alien conspecific ants; this is likely due to an intrinsic appeasing odor. Yet, caterpillars living in ant shelters or ant nests probably acquire cues from their host colonies because they were considered aliens and killed. We conclude that co-evolution with ants occurred similarly in the Heterocera and Rhopalocera.

  2. Ant-lepidopteran associations along African forest edges

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dejean, Alain; Azémar, Frédéric; Libert, Michel; Compin, Arthur; Hérault, Bruno; Orivel, Jérôme; Bouyer, Thierry; Corbara, Bruno

    2017-02-01

    Working along forest edges, we aimed to determine how some caterpillars can co-exist with territorially dominant arboreal ants (TDAAs) in tropical Africa. We recorded caterpillars from 22 lepidopteran species living in the presence of five TDAA species. Among the defoliator and/or nectarivorous caterpillars that live on tree foliage, the Pyralidae and Nymphalidae use their silk to protect themselves from ant attacks. The Notodontidae and lycaenid Polyommatinae and Theclinae live in direct contact with ants; the Theclinae even reward ants with abundant secretions from their Newcomer gland. Lichen feeders (lycaenid; Poritiinae), protected by long bristles, also live among ants. Some lycaenid Miletinae caterpillars feed on ant-attended membracids, including in the shelters where the ants attend them; Lachnocnema caterpillars use their forelegs to obtain trophallaxis from their host ants. Caterpillars from other species live inside weaver ant nests. Those of the genus Euliphyra (Miletinae) feed on ant prey and brood and can obtain trophallaxis, while those from an Eberidae species only prey on host ant eggs. Eublemma albifascia (Erebidae) caterpillars use their thoracic legs to obtain trophallaxis and trophic eggs from ants. Through transfer bioassays of last instars, we noted that herbivorous caterpillars living in contact with ants were always accepted by alien conspecific ants; this is likely due to an intrinsic appeasing odor. Yet, caterpillars living in ant shelters or ant nests probably acquire cues from their host colonies because they were considered aliens and killed. We conclude that co-evolution with ants occurred similarly in the Heterocera and Rhopalocera.

  3. Contrasting taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity responses to forest modifications: comparisons of taxa and successive plant life stages in South African scarp forest.

    PubMed

    Grass, Ingo; Brandl, Roland; Botzat, Alexandra; Neuschulz, Eike Lena; Farwig, Nina

    2015-01-01

    The degradation of natural forests to modified forests threatens subtropical and tropical biodiversity worldwide. Yet, species responses to forest modification vary considerably. Furthermore, effects of forest modification can differ, whether with respect to diversity components (taxonomic or phylogenetic) or to local (α-diversity) and regional (β-diversity) spatial scales. This real-world complexity has so far hampered our understanding of subtropical and tropical biodiversity patterns in human-modified forest landscapes. In a subtropical South African forest landscape, we studied the responses of three successive plant life stages (adult trees, saplings, seedlings) and of birds to five different types of forest modification distinguished by the degree of within-forest disturbance and forest loss. Responses of the two taxa differed markedly. Thus, the taxonomic α-diversity of birds was negatively correlated with the diversity of all plant life stages and, contrary to plant diversity, increased with forest disturbance. Conversely, forest disturbance reduced the phylogenetic α-diversity of all plant life stages but not that of birds. Forest loss neither affected taxonomic nor phylogenetic diversity of any taxon. On the regional scale, taxonomic but not phylogenetic β-diversity of both taxa was well predicted by variation in forest disturbance and forest loss. In contrast to adult trees, the phylogenetic diversity of saplings and seedlings showed signs of contemporary environmental filtering. In conclusion, forest modification in this subtropical landscape strongly shaped both local and regional biodiversity but with contrasting outcomes. Phylogenetic diversity of plants may be more threatened than that of mobile species such as birds. The reduced phylogenetic diversity of saplings and seedlings suggests losses in biodiversity that are not visible in adult trees, potentially indicating time-lags and contemporary shifts in forest regeneration. The different

  4. Contrasting Taxonomic and Phylogenetic Diversity Responses to Forest Modifications: Comparisons of Taxa and Successive Plant Life Stages in South African Scarp Forest

    PubMed Central

    Grass, Ingo; Brandl, Roland; Botzat, Alexandra; Neuschulz, Eike Lena; Farwig, Nina

    2015-01-01

    The degradation of natural forests to modified forests threatens subtropical and tropical biodiversity worldwide. Yet, species responses to forest modification vary considerably. Furthermore, effects of forest modification can differ, whether with respect to diversity components (taxonomic or phylogenetic) or to local (α-diversity) and regional (β-diversity) spatial scales. This real-world complexity has so far hampered our understanding of subtropical and tropical biodiversity patterns in human-modified forest landscapes. In a subtropical South African forest landscape, we studied the responses of three successive plant life stages (adult trees, saplings, seedlings) and of birds to five different types of forest modification distinguished by the degree of within-forest disturbance and forest loss. Responses of the two taxa differed markedly. Thus, the taxonomic α-diversity of birds was negatively correlated with the diversity of all plant life stages and, contrary to plant diversity, increased with forest disturbance. Conversely, forest disturbance reduced the phylogenetic α-diversity of all plant life stages but not that of birds. Forest loss neither affected taxonomic nor phylogenetic diversity of any taxon. On the regional scale, taxonomic but not phylogenetic β-diversity of both taxa was well predicted by variation in forest disturbance and forest loss. In contrast to adult trees, the phylogenetic diversity of saplings and seedlings showed signs of contemporary environmental filtering. In conclusion, forest modification in this subtropical landscape strongly shaped both local and regional biodiversity but with contrasting outcomes. Phylogenetic diversity of plants may be more threatened than that of mobile species such as birds. The reduced phylogenetic diversity of saplings and seedlings suggests losses in biodiversity that are not visible in adult trees, potentially indicating time-lags and contemporary shifts in forest regeneration. The different

  5. Von Economo neurons in the elephant brain.

    PubMed

    Hakeem, Atiya Y; Sherwood, Chet C; Bonar, Christopher J; Butti, Camilla; Hof, Patrick R; Allman, John M

    2009-02-01

    Von Economo neurons (VENs), previously found in humans, all of the great ape species, and four cetacean species, are also present in African and Indian elephants. The VENs in the elephant are primarily found in similar locations to those in the other species. They are most abundant in the frontoinsular cortex (area FI) and are also present at lower density in the anterior cingulate cortex. Additionally, they are found in a dorsolateral prefrontal area and less abundantly in the region of the frontal pole. The VEN morphology appears to have arisen independently in hominids, cetaceans, and elephants, and may reflect a specialization for the rapid transmission of crucial social information in very large brains.

  6. Mammoth and elephant phylogenetic relationships: Mammut americanum, the missing outgroup.

    PubMed

    Orlando, Ludovic; Hänni, Catherine; Douady, Christophe J

    2007-03-29

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

  7. The community resource management area mechanism: a strategy to manage African forest resources for REDD+.

    PubMed

    Asare, Rebecca A; Kyei, Andrew; Mason, John J

    2013-01-01

    Climate change poses a significant threat to Africa, and deforestation rates have increased in recent years. Mitigation initiatives such as REDD+ are widely considered as potentially efficient ways to generate emission reductions (or removals), conserve or sustainably manage forests, and bring benefits to communities, but effective implementation models are lacking. This paper presents the case of Ghana's Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) mechanism, an innovative natural resource governance and landscape-level planning tool that authorizes communities to manage their natural resources for economic and livelihood benefits. This paper argues that while the CREMA was originally developed to facilitate community-based wildlife management and habitat protection, it offers a promising community-based structure and process for managing African forest resources for REDD+. At a theoretical level, it conforms to the ecological, socio-cultural and economic factors that drive resource-users' decision process and practices. And from a practical mitigation standpoint, the CREMA has the potential to help solve many of the key challenges for REDD+ in Africa, including definition of boundaries, smallholder aggregation, free prior and informed consent, ensuring permanence, preventing leakage, clarifying land tenure and carbon rights, as well as enabling equitable benefit-sharing arrangements. Ultimately, CREMA's potential as a forest management and climate change mitigation strategy that generates livelihood benefits for smallholder farmers and forest users will depend upon the willingness of African governments to support the mechanism and give it full legislative backing, and the motivation of communities to adopt the CREMA and integrate democratic decision-making and planning with their traditional values and natural resource management systems.

  8. The community resource management area mechanism: a strategy to manage African forest resources for REDD+

    PubMed Central

    Asare, Rebecca A.; Kyei, Andrew; Mason, John J.

    2013-01-01

    Climate change poses a significant threat to Africa, and deforestation rates have increased in recent years. Mitigation initiatives such as REDD+ are widely considered as potentially efficient ways to generate emission reductions (or removals), conserve or sustainably manage forests, and bring benefits to communities, but effective implementation models are lacking. This paper presents the case of Ghana's Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) mechanism, an innovative natural resource governance and landscape-level planning tool that authorizes communities to manage their natural resources for economic and livelihood benefits. This paper argues that while the CREMA was originally developed to facilitate community-based wildlife management and habitat protection, it offers a promising community-based structure and process for managing African forest resources for REDD+. At a theoretical level, it conforms to the ecological, socio-cultural and economic factors that drive resource-users’ decision process and practices. And from a practical mitigation standpoint, the CREMA has the potential to help solve many of the key challenges for REDD+ in Africa, including definition of boundaries, smallholder aggregation, free prior and informed consent, ensuring permanence, preventing leakage, clarifying land tenure and carbon rights, as well as enabling equitable benefit-sharing arrangements. Ultimately, CREMA's potential as a forest management and climate change mitigation strategy that generates livelihood benefits for smallholder farmers and forest users will depend upon the willingness of African governments to support the mechanism and give it full legislative backing, and the motivation of communities to adopt the CREMA and integrate democratic decision-making and planning with their traditional values and natural resource management systems. PMID:23878338

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-04-01

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

  10. Biodiversity Mapping in a Tropical West African Forest with Airborne Hyperspectral Data

    PubMed Central

    Vaglio Laurin, Gaia; Chan, Jonathan Cheung-Wai; Chen, Qi; Lindsell, Jeremy A.; Coomes, David A.; Guerriero, Leila; Frate, Fabio Del; Miglietta, Franco; Valentini, Riccardo

    2014-01-01

    Tropical forests are major repositories of biodiversity, but are fast disappearing as land is converted to agriculture. Decision-makers need to know which of the remaining forests to prioritize for conservation, but the only spatial information on forest biodiversity has, until recently, come from a sparse network of ground-based plots. Here we explore whether airborne hyperspectral imagery can be used to predict the alpha diversity of upper canopy trees in a West African forest. The abundance of tree species were collected from 64 plots (each 1250 m2 in size) within a Sierra Leonean national park, and Shannon-Wiener biodiversity indices were calculated. An airborne spectrometer measured reflectances of 186 bands in the visible and near-infrared spectral range at 1 m2 resolution. The standard deviations of these reflectance values and their first-order derivatives were calculated for each plot from the c. 1250 pixels of hyperspectral information within them. Shannon-Wiener indices were then predicted from these plot-based reflectance statistics using a machine-learning algorithm (Random Forest). The regression model fitted the data well (pseudo-R2 = 84.9%), and we show that standard deviations of green-band reflectances and infra-red region derivatives had the strongest explanatory powers. Our work shows that airborne hyperspectral sensing can be very effective at mapping canopy tree diversity, because its high spatial resolution allows within-plot heterogeneity in reflectance to be characterized, making it an effective tool for monitoring forest biodiversity over large geographic scales. PMID:24937407

  11. Biodiversity mapping in a tropical West African forest with airborne hyperspectral data.

    PubMed

    Vaglio Laurin, Gaia; Cheung-Wai Chan, Jonathan; Chen, Qi; Lindsell, Jeremy A; Coomes, David A; Guerriero, Leila; Del Frate, Fabio; Miglietta, Franco; Valentini, Riccardo

    2014-01-01

    Tropical forests are major repositories of biodiversity, but are fast disappearing as land is converted to agriculture. Decision-makers need to know which of the remaining forests to prioritize for conservation, but the only spatial information on forest biodiversity has, until recently, come from a sparse network of ground-based plots. Here we explore whether airborne hyperspectral imagery can be used to predict the alpha diversity of upper canopy trees in a West African forest. The abundance of tree species were collected from 64 plots (each 1250 m(2) in size) within a Sierra Leonean national park, and Shannon-Wiener biodiversity indices were calculated. An airborne spectrometer measured reflectances of 186 bands in the visible and near-infrared spectral range at 1 m(2) resolution. The standard deviations of these reflectance values and their first-order derivatives were calculated for each plot from the c. 1250 pixels of hyperspectral information within them. Shannon-Wiener indices were then predicted from these plot-based reflectance statistics using a machine-learning algorithm (Random Forest). The regression model fitted the data well (pseudo-R(2) = 84.9%), and we show that standard deviations of green-band reflectances and infra-red region derivatives had the strongest explanatory powers. Our work shows that airborne hyperspectral sensing can be very effective at mapping canopy tree diversity, because its high spatial resolution allows within-plot heterogeneity in reflectance to be characterized, making it an effective tool for monitoring forest biodiversity over large geographic scales.

  12. 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.

  13. Genetic connectivity across marginal habitats: the elephants of the Namib Desert.

    PubMed

    Ishida, Yasuko; Van Coeverden de Groot, Peter J; Leggett, Keith E A; Putnam, Andrea S; Fox, Virginia E; Lai, Jesse; Boag, Peter T; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Roca, Alfred L

    2016-09-01

    Locally isolated populations in marginal habitats may be genetically distinctive and of heightened conservation concern. Elephants inhabiting the Namib Desert have been reported to show distinctive behavioral and phenotypic adaptations in that severely arid environment. The genetic distinctiveness of Namibian desert elephants relative to other African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) populations has not been established. To investigate the genetic structure of elephants in Namibia, we determined the mitochondrial (mt) DNA control region sequences and genotyped 17 microsatellite loci in desert elephants (n = 8) from the Hoanib River catchment and the Hoarusib River catchment. We compared these to the genotypes of elephants (n = 77) from other localities in Namibia. The mtDNA haplotype sequences and frequencies among desert elephants were similar to those of elephants in Etosha National Park, the Huab River catchment, the Ugab River catchment, and central Kunene, although the geographically distant Caprivi Strip had different mtDNA haplotypes. Likewise, analysis of the microsatellite genotypes of desert-dwelling elephants revealed that they were not genetically distinctive from Etosha elephants, and there was no evidence for isolation by distance across the Etosha region. These results, and a review of the historical record, suggest that a high learning capacity and long-distance migrations allowed Namibian elephants to regularly shift their ranges to survive in the face of high variability in climate and in hunting pressure.

  14. Above ground biomass estimation from lidar and hyperspectral airbone data in West African moist forests.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vaglio Laurin, Gaia; Chen, Qi; Lindsell, Jeremy; Coomes, David; Cazzolla-Gatti, Roberto; Grieco, Elisa; Valentini, Riccardo

    2013-04-01

    The development of sound methods for the estimation of forest parameters such as Above Ground Biomass (AGB) and the need of data for different world regions and ecosystems, are widely recognized issues due to their relevance for both carbon cycle modeling and conservation and policy initiatives, such as the UN REDD+ program (Gibbs et al., 2007). The moist forests of the Upper Guinean Belt are poorly studied ecosystems (Vaglio Laurin et al. 2013) but their role is important due to the drier condition expected along the West African coasts according to future climate change scenarios (Gonzales, 2001). Remote sensing has proven to be an effective tool for AGB retrieval when coupled with field data. Lidar, with its ability to penetrate the canopy provides 3D information and best results. Nevertheless very limited research has been conducted in Africa tropical forests with lidar and none to our knowledge in West Africa. Hyperspectral sensors also offer promising data, being able to evidence very fine radiometric differences in vegetation reflectance. Their usefulness in estimating forest parameters is still under evaluation with contrasting findings (Andersen et al. 2008, Latifi et al. 2012), and additional studies are especially relevant in view of forthcoming satellite hyperspectral missions. In the framework of the EU ERC Africa GHG grant #247349, an airborne campaign collecting lidar and hyperspectral data has been conducted in March 2012 over forests reserves in Sierra Leone and Ghana, characterized by different logging histories and rainfall patterns, and including Gola Rainforest National Park, Ankasa National Park, Bia and Boin Forest Reserves. An Optech Gemini sensor collected the lidar dataset, while an AISA Eagle sensor collected hyperspectral data over 244 VIS-NIR bands. The lidar dataset, with a point density >10 ppm was processed using the TIFFS software (Toolbox for LiDAR Data Filtering and Forest Studies)(Chen 2007). The hyperspectral dataset, geo

  15. A Climate Change Threshold for Forest Dieback in the African Sahel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gonzalez, P.; Tucker, C. J.; Sy, H.

    2007-12-01

    Increases in human greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere have increased global sea surface temperatures. Reinforced by a reduction in vegetation cover in the African Sahel, warmer sea surface temperatures have reduced rainfall in the Sahel by up to 30% in the 20th Century. In Senegal, annual precipitation fell to below one standard deviation of the 148 year mean for 5 years in the period 1968-1973. Although the region had experienced high historic variability in precipitation, the 1968-1973 drought crossed a climate threshold for agriculture that caused famine and human death. Sahel, Sudan, and Guinean ecosystems also crossed a climate threshold of aridity in an abrupt, nonlinear manner. The long-term decrease in precipitation caused extensive forest dieback and a latitudinal shift of the Sahel, Sudan, and Guinean ecological zones. The range of xeric forest species has expanded and mesic species have retracted southward towards areas of higher precipitation. Field inventories of tree species richness show declines in local biodiversity across the Sahel. Analyses of 1954 and 1989 aerial photographs and 2002 1-meter resolution IKONOS satellite images of three 200 km2 areas in Senegal and Mauritania also show declines in the density of trees of height > 3 m. Forest dieback fuels three positive feedback mechanisms: reduction of the evapotranspiration inputs necessary for the northward advance of the summer monsoon rains that sustain vegetation and forestall desertification, increases in the greenhouse gas emissions that cause the reduction in rainfall, and reduction of the forest biodiversity that strengthens ecosystem resilience to long-term drought. The interaction of climate change, desertification, and loss of biodiversity, as well as the complex social, economic, and political factors that lead to forest dieback and other ecological changes in the Sahel present difficulties in monitoring and foreseeing future threshold behavior. Nevertheless, any reduction in

  16. Simulation results of aboveground woody biomass and leaf litterfall for African tropical forest with a global terrestrial model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Weirdt, Marjolein; Maignan, Fabienne; Peylin, Philippe; Poulter, Benjamin; Moreau, Inès; Ciais, Philippe; Defourny, Pierre; Steppe, Kathy; Verbeeck, Hans

    2014-05-01

    The response of tropical forest vegetation to global climate change could be central to predictions of future levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Tropical forests are believed to annually process approximately six times as much carbon via photosynthesis and respiration as humans emit from fossil fuel use. Of all tropical forests worldwide, the role of African tropical forest is not very well known and both the quantity as well as the dynamics of tropical forest carbon stocks and fluxes are very poorly quantified components of the global carbon cycle. Furthermore, African tropical forest spatial carbon stocks patterns as measured in the field are not as well represented by the global biogeochemical models as they are for temperate forests. In this study, a first simulation for the African tropical forest with the process based global terrestrial ecosystem model ORCHIDEE was done. In this work, ORCHIDEE included deep soils, seasonal leaf litterfall and phosphorus availability mechanisms for tropical evergreen forests included. The ORCHIDEE model run outputs are evaluated against reported field inventories, investigating seasonal variations in leaf litterfall and spatial variation in aboveground woody biomass. A comparison between modeled and measured leaf litterfall was made at a semi-deciduous Equatorial rainforest site in the Republic of Congo at the Biosphere reserve Dimonika south of Gabon. Also, simulated woody aboveground biomass was compared against site-level field inventories and satellite-based estimates based on a combination of MODIS imagery with field inventory data from Uganda, DRC and Cameroon. First comparison results seem promising and show that the radiation driven leaf litterfall model results correspond well with the field inventories and that the mean of the modelled aboveground woody biomass matches the available field inventory observations but there is still a need for more ground data to evaluate the model outcome over a large region like

  17. Climate, herbivory, and fire controls on tropical African forest for the last 60ka

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivory, Sarah J.; Russell, James

    2016-09-01

    The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in Africa was drier than today and was followed by rapid step-wise climate changes during the last deglacial period. In much of Africa, these changes led to a drastic reduction of lowland forest area during the LGM, followed by recolonization of the lowlands by forest and woodland in concert with regional warming and wetting. However, the history of southeastern African vegetation contrasts with that observed further north. In particular, forest expansion appears to have occurred in southeastern Africa during episodes of high-latitude northern hemisphere cooling. Although vegetation history in Africa is generally assumed to relate purely to climate, previous studies have not addressed potential feedbacks between climate, vegetation, and disturbance regimes (fire, herbivory) that may create tipping points in ecosystems. This climate-vegetation history has profound implications for our understanding of the modern architecture of lowland and highland forests, both thought to be at risk from future climate change. Here we present analyses of fossil pollen, charcoal, and Sporormiella (dung fungus) on a continuous 60 kyr record from central Lake Tanganyika, Southeast Africa, that illustrates the interplay of climate and disturbance regimes in shaping vegetation composition and structure. We observe that extensive forests dominated the region during the last glacial period despite evidence of decreased rainfall. At the end of the LGM, forest opening at ∼17.5 ka followed warming temperatures but preceded rising precipitation, suggesting that temperature-induced water stress and disturbance from fire and herbivory affected initial landscape transformation. Our Sporormiella record indicates that mega-herbivore populations increased at the early Holocene. This higher animal density increased plant species richness and encouraged landscape heterogeneity until the mid-Holocene. At this time, regional drying followed by the onset of the Iron Age

  18. Desertification and a shift of forest species in the West African Sahel

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gonzalez, Patrick

    2001-01-01

    Original field data show that forest species richness and tree density in the West African Sahel declined in the last half of the 20th century. Average forest species richness of areas of 4 km2 in Northwest Senegal fell from 64 ?? 2 species ca 1945 to 43 ?? 2 species in 1993, a decrease significant at p < 0.001. Densities of trees of height ???3 m declined from 10 ?? 0.3 trees ha-1 in 1954 to 7.8 ?? 0.3 trees ha-1 in 1989, also significant at p < 0.001. Standing wood biomass fell 2.1 t ha-1 in the period 1956-1993, releasing CO2 at a rate of 60 kgC person-1 yr-1. These changes have shifted vegetation zones toward areas of higher rainfall at an average rate of 500 to 600 m yr-1. Arid Sahel species have expanded in the north, tracking a concomitant retraction of mesic Sudan and Guinean species to the south. Multivariate analyses identify latitude and longitude, proxies for rainfall and temperature, as the most significant factors explaining tree and shrub distribution. The changes also decreased human carrying capacity to below actual population densities. The rural population of 45 people km-2 exceeded the 1993 carrying capacity, for firewood from shrubs, of 13 people km-2 (range 1 to 21 people km-2). As an adaptation strategy, ecological and socioeconomic factors favor the natural regeneration of local species over the massive plantation of exotic species. Natural regeneration is a traditional practice in which farmers select small field trees that they wish to raise to maturity, protect them, and prune them to promote rapid growth of the apical meristem. The results of this research provide evidence for desertification in the West African Sahel. These documented impacts of desertification foreshadow possible future effects of climate change.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Plant mineral concentrations related to foraging preferences of western lowland gorilla in Central African forest clearings.

    PubMed

    Metsio Sienne, Julia; Buchwald, Rainer; Wittemyer, George

    2014-12-01

    In the Central African rain forest, mineral resources essential to organisms are distributed heterogeneously. Forest clearings, locally known as bais, attract numerous species presumably due to the mineral richness of these sites, though understanding of the factors drawing species to bais remains speculative. Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla g. gorilla) selectively feed on particular plant species and parts within bais, but studies of such feeding preferences have focused on one site. Here, we compared concentrations of minerals and macronutrients from plants gorillas consumed and those they did not in 16 bais to gain inference regarding drivers of resource selection within bais and bai use. The availability of gorilla feeding plants varied between surveyed bais, with some consumed species occurring only at a few bais. Regardless of bai specific species composition, significantly higher concentrations of Na, K, and Ca were found in consumed plants, and other trace minerals were more common in consumed plants. In contrast, macronutrients appeared to play no major role in feeding plant selectivity with consumed species often having lower concentrations than non-consumed species. We found evidence for seasonal differences in Mg and Na concentrations, but the concentrations of other minerals in consumed plants were consistent across time. These findings provide insight to the drivers of bai visitation by gorillas. The high variation in species across bais may elicit use of multiple bais, but the general increased mineral composition of consumed species across bais suggests metabolic requirements may be met through consumption of a variety of species.

  5. Geological Substrates Shape Tree Species and Trait Distributions in African Moist Forests

    PubMed Central

    Fayolle, Adeline; Engelbrecht, Bettina; Freycon, Vincent; Mortier, Frédéric; Swaine, Michael; Réjou-Méchain, Maxime; Doucet, Jean-Louis; Fauvet, Nicolas; Cornu, Guillaume; Gourlet-Fleury, Sylvie

    2012-01-01

    Background Understanding the factors that shape the distribution of tropical tree species at large scales is a central issue in ecology, conservation and forest management. The aims of this study were to (i) assess the importance of environmental factors relative to historical factors for tree species distributions in the semi-evergreen forests of the northern Congo basin; and to (ii) identify potential mechanisms explaining distribution patterns through a trait-based approach. Methodology/Principal Findings We analyzed the distribution patterns of 31 common tree species in an area of more than 700,000 km2 spanning the borders of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and the Republic of Congo using forest inventory data from 56,445 0.5-ha plots. Spatial variation of environmental (climate, topography and geology) and historical factors (human disturbance) were quantified from maps and satellite records. Four key functional traits (leaf phenology, shade tolerance, wood density, and maximum growth rate) were extracted from the literature. The geological substrate was of major importance for the distribution of the focal species, while climate and past human disturbances had a significant but lesser impact. Species distribution patterns were significantly related to functional traits. Species associated with sandy soils typical of sandstone and alluvium were characterized by slow growth rates, shade tolerance, evergreen leaves, and high wood density, traits allowing persistence on resource-poor soils. In contrast, fast-growing pioneer species rarely occurred on sandy soils, except for Lophira alata. Conclusions/Significance The results indicate strong environmental filtering due to differential soil resource availability across geological substrates. Additionally, long-term human disturbances in resource-rich areas may have accentuated the observed patterns of species and trait distributions. Trait differences across geological substrates imply pronounced

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

    PubMed

    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

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. Humans and Great Apes Cohabiting the Forest Ecosystem in Central African Republic Harbour the Same Hookworms

    PubMed Central

    Hasegawa, Hideo; Modrý, David; Kitagawa, Masahiro; Shutt, Kathryn A.; Todd, Angelique; Kalousová, Barbora; Profousová, Ilona; Petrželková, Klára J.

    2014-01-01

    Background Hookworms are important pathogens of humans. To date, Necator americanus is the sole, known species of the genus Necator infecting humans. In contrast, several Necator species have been described in African great apes and other primates. It has not yet been determined whether primate-originating Necator species are also parasitic in humans. Methodology/Principal Findings The infective larvae of Necator spp. were developed using modified Harada-Mori filter-paper cultures from faeces of humans and great apes inhabiting Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas, Central African Republic. The first and second internal transcribed spacers (ITS-1 and ITS-2) of nuclear ribosomal DNA and partial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) gene of mtDNA obtained from the hookworm larvae were sequenced and compared. Three sequence types (I–III) were recognized in the ITS region, and 34 cox1 haplotypes represented three phylogenetic groups (A–C). The combinations determined were I-A, II-B, II-C, III-B and III-C. Combination I-A, corresponding to N. americanus, was demonstrated in humans and western lowland gorillas; II-B and II-C were observed in humans, western lowland gorillas and chimpanzees; III-B and III-C were found only in humans. Pairwise nucleotide difference in the cox1 haplotypes between the groups was more than 8%, while the difference within each group was less than 2.1%. Conclusions/Significance The distinctness of ITS sequence variants and high number of pairwise nucleotide differences among cox1 variants indicate the possible presence of several species of Necator in both humans and great apes. We conclude that Necator hookworms are shared by humans and great apes co-habiting the same tropical forest ecosystems. PMID:24651493

  11. Bushmeat genetics: setting up a reference framework for the DNA typing of African forest bushmeat.

    PubMed

    Gaubert, Philippe; Njiokou, Flobert; Olayemi, Ayodeji; Pagani, Paolo; Dufour, Sylvain; Danquah, Emmanuel; Nutsuakor, Mac Elikem K; Ngua, Gabriel; Missoup, Alain-Didier; Tedesco, Pablo A; Dernat, Rémy; Antunes, Agostinho

    2015-05-01

    The bushmeat trade in tropical Africa represents illegal, unsustainable off-takes of millions of tons of wild game - mostly mammals - per year. We sequenced four mitochondrial gene fragments (cyt b, COI, 12S, 16S) in >300 bushmeat items representing nine mammalian orders and 59 morphological species from five western and central African countries (Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea). Our objectives were to assess the efficiency of cross-species PCR amplification and to evaluate the usefulness of our multilocus approach for reliable bushmeat species identification. We provide a straightforward amplification protocol using a single 'universal' primer pair per gene that generally yielded >90% PCR success rates across orders and was robust to different types of meat preprocessing and DNA extraction protocols. For taxonomic identification, we set up a decision pipeline combining similarity- and tree-based approaches with an assessment of taxonomic expertise and coverage of the GENBANK database. Our multilocus approach permitted us to: (i) adjust for existing taxonomic gaps in GENBANK databases, (ii) assign to the species level 67% of the morphological species hypotheses and (iii) successfully identify samples with uncertain taxonomic attribution (preprocessed carcasses and cryptic lineages). High levels of genetic polymorphism across genes and taxa, together with the excellent resolution observed among species-level clusters (neighbour-joining trees and Klee diagrams) advocate the usefulness of our markers for bushmeat DNA typing. We formalize our DNA typing decision pipeline through an expert-curated query database - DNA BUSHMEAT - that shall permit the automated identification of African forest bushmeat items.

  12. 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.

  13. Simulating carbon stocks and fluxes of an African tropical montane forest with an individual-based forest model.

    PubMed

    Fischer, Rico; Ensslin, Andreas; Rutten, Gemma; Fischer, Markus; Schellenberger Costa, David; Kleyer, Michael; Hemp, Andreas; Paulick, Sebastian; Huth, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    Tropical forests are carbon-dense and highly productive ecosystems. Consequently, they play an important role in the global carbon cycle. In the present study we used an individual-based forest model (FORMIND) to analyze the carbon balances of a tropical forest. The main processes of this model are tree growth, mortality, regeneration, and competition. Model parameters were calibrated using forest inventory data from a tropical forest at Mt. Kilimanjaro. The simulation results showed that the model successfully reproduces important characteristics of tropical forests (aboveground biomass, stem size distribution and leaf area index). The estimated aboveground biomass (385 t/ha) is comparable to biomass values in the Amazon and other tropical forests in Africa. The simulated forest reveals a gross primary production of 24 tcha(-1) yr(-1). Modeling above- and belowground carbon stocks, we analyzed the carbon balance of the investigated tropical forest. The simulated carbon balance of this old-growth forest is zero on average. This study provides an example of how forest models can be used in combination with forest inventory data to investigate forest structure and local carbon balances.

  14. 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

  15. Fetal lung development in the elephant reflects the adaptations required for snorkeling in adult life.

    PubMed

    West, John B; Fu, Zhenxing; Gaeth, Ann P; Short, Roger V

    2003-11-14

    The adult elephant is unique among mammals in that the pleural membranes are thickened and the pleural cavity is obliterated by connective tissue. It has been suggested that this peculiar anatomy developed because the animal can snorkel at depth, and this behavior subjects the microvessels in the parietal pleura to a very large transmural pressure. To investigate the development of the parietal pleura, the thickness of the endothoracic fascia (ET) was measured in four fetal African elephants of approximate gestational age 111-130 days, and the appearances were compared with those in human, rabbit, rat and mouse fetuses of approximately the same stage of lung organogenesis. The mean thicknesses of ET in the elephant, human, rabbit, rat and mouse were 403, 53, 29, 27 and 37 microm, respectively. This very early development of a thick parietal pleura in the elephant fetus is consistent with the hypothesis of a long history of snorkeling in the elephant's putative aquatic ancestors.

  16. Observations on Barclay's elephant.

    PubMed

    Kaufman, M H

    1996-04-01

    This account attempts to trace the fate of the skeleton of an elephant that was gifted by George Ballingall to Dr John Barclay, one of the most important teachers of Anatomy in Edinburgh during the early 19th century. In his will, Barclay gifted his human and comparative anatomy collections, including the elephant, to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh on two conditions, that a hall should be built to house the collection, and that it should be associated with his name in perpetuity. In the 1830s, the comparative collection, but particularly the skeleton of the elephant, was the pride of the College. Unfortunately, interest in the comparative material rapidly diminished, and, due to constraints on space, while the elephant's skull was retained the rest of the skeleton was disposed of. An unpublished poem written at the time of the Burke trial, in 1829, testifies to the fact that Barclay's elephant was closely associated in the minds of the public with the activities of Dr Robert Knox, the then Conservator of the College museum.

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-06-30

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

  19. 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

    2015-07-03

    Poaching of elephants is now occurring at rates that threaten African populations with extinction. Identifying the number and location of Africa's major poaching hotspots may assist efforts to end poaching and facilitate recovery of elephant populations. We genetically assign origin to 28 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 metric tons) made between 1996 and 2014, also testing assignment accuracy. Results suggest that the major poaching hotspots in Africa may be currently concentrated in as few as two areas. Increasing law enforcement in these two hotspots could help curtail future elephant losses across Africa and disrupt this organized transnational crime.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

  1. Phylogeography of the genus Podococcus (Palmae/Arecaceae) in Central African rain forests: Climate stability predicts unique genetic diversity.

    PubMed

    Faye, A; Deblauwe, V; Mariac, C; Richard, D; Sonké, B; Vigouroux, Y; Couvreur, T L P

    2016-12-01

    The tropical rain forests of Central Africa contain high levels of species diversity. Paleovegetation or biodiversity patterns suggested successive contraction/expansion phases on this rain forest cover during the last glacial maximum (LGM). Consequently, the hypothesis of the existence of refugia e.g. habitat stability that harbored populations during adverse climatic periods has been proposed. Understory species are tightly associated to forest cover and consequently are ideal markers of forest dynamics. Here, we used two central African rain forest understory species of the palm genus, Podococcus, to assess the role of past climate variation on their distribution and genetic diversity. Species distribution modeling in the present and at the LGM was used to estimate areas of climatic stability. Genetic diversity and phylogeography were estimated by sequencing near complete plastomes for over 120 individuals. Areas of climatic stability were mainly located in mountainous areas like the Monts de Cristal and Monts Doudou in Gabon, but also lowland coastal forests in southeast Cameroon and northeast Gabon. Genetic diversity analyses shows a clear North-South structure of genetic diversity within one species. This divide was estimated to have originated some 500,000years ago. We show that, in Central Africa, high and unique genetic diversity is strongly correlated with inferred areas of climatic stability since the LGM. Our results further highlight the importance of coastal lowland rain forests in Central Africa as harboring not only high species diversity but also important high levels of unique genetic diversity. In the context of strong human pressure on coastal land use and destruction, such unique diversity hotspots need to be considered in future conservation planning.

  2. Detection and evaluation of novel herpesviruses in routine and pathological samples from Asian and African elephants: identification of two new probosciviruses (EEHV5 and EEHV6) and two new gammaherpesviruses (EGHV3B and EGHV5).

    PubMed

    Latimer, Erin; Zong, Jian-Chao; Heaggans, Sarah Y; Richman, Laura K; Hayward, Gary S

    2011-01-10

    Systemic infections with elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHV) cause a rapid onset acute hemorrhagic disease with an 85% mortality rate. More than 60 cases have been confirmed worldwide occurring predominantly in juvenile Asian elephants. Originally, three virus types EEHV1A, EEHV1B and EEHV2 were identified, all members of the Proboscivirus genus within the Betaherpesvirinae. However, four elephant gammaherpesviruses (EGHV) have also been found by DNA PCR approaches in eye and genital secretions of asymptomatic animals, and two more versions of the probosciviruses, EEHV3 and EEHV4, were recently detected in acute hemorrhagic disease cases. To ask whether even more species of elephant herpesviruses may exist, we have developed several new diagnostic DNA PCR assays using multiple round primers in the DNA POL region. These have been used routinely for nearly three years to screen samples submitted to the Elephant Herpesvirus Laboratory for diagnosis of possible cases of EEHV disease in blood and necropsy tissue, as well as in biopsies of other suspicious lesions or growths. Several more cases of EEHV1-associated hemorrhagic disease were confirmed, but in addition, we describe here eleven examples of other known and novel herpesviruses detected and evaluated with these reagents. They include the prototypes of four new elephant herpesviruses, two more within the proboscivirus group EEHV5 and EEHV6, plus two more gammaherpesviruses EGHV3B and EGHV5. We also report initial semi-quantitative PCR assays demonstrating very high viral loads in the blood of the EEHV3 and EEHV4-associated hemorrhagic disease cases.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Influence of persistent monodominance on functional diversity and functional community assembly in African tropical forests.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kearsley, Elizabeth; Verbeeck, Hans; Hufkens, Koen; Beeckman, Hans; Steppe, Kathy; Boeckx, Pascal; Huygens, Dries

    2015-04-01

    Lowland tropical rainforest are taxonomically diverse and complex systems, although not all tropical communities are equally diverse. Naturally occuring monodominant patches of Gilbertiodendron dewevrei are commonly found across Central Africa alongside higher diversity forests. Nevertheless, a low taxonomical diversity does not necessarily indicate an equivalently low functional diverse system. We investigate the functional diversity and functional community assembly of mixed and monodominant tropical forests in a central region of the Congo Basin in D. R. Congo using 15 leaf and wood traits covering 95% of all species within each community. This unique dataset allows us to investigate differences in functional diversity and ecosystem functioning between mixed and monodominant forest types. Functional richness, functional divergence and functional evenness are three functional diversity measures providing different aspects of functional diversity. The largest difference between the two forest types was found for functional richness, with a lower functional richness in the monodominant forest indicating a higher amount of niche space filled in the mixed forest. The mixed forest also had a higher species richness and Simpson diversity index, indicating that the higher species richness increases the functional niche space. Subsequently, we identified whole community trait shifts within the monodominant forest compared to the mixed forest. The dominance of Gilbertiodendron dewevrei, for which a distinct niche is found for most traits, presented a significant influence on the entire (trait) community expressing fundamental differences in ecosystem functioning. More detailed investigation of species unique within the monodominant forest and species occurring in both forest types provide more insight into the influence of Gilbertiodendron dewevrei. Both the unique and the shared species showed significant shifts in leaf nutrients, specific leaf area and water use

  7. Long tree-ring chronologies provide evidence of recent tree growth decrease in a Central African tropical forest.

    PubMed

    Battipaglia, Giovanna; Zalloni, Enrica; Castaldi, Simona; Marzaioli, Fabio; Cazzolla-Gatti, Roberto; Lasserre, Bruno; Tognetti, Roberto; Marchetti, Marco; Valentini, Riccardo

    2015-01-01

    It is still unclear whether the exponential rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration has produced a fertilization effect on tropical forests, thus incrementing their growth rate, in the last two centuries. As many factors affect tree growth patterns, short -term studies might be influenced by the confounding effect of several interacting environmental variables on plant growth. Long-term analyses of tree growth can elucidate long-term trends of plant growth response to dominant drivers. The study of annual rings, applied to long tree-ring chronologies in tropical forest trees enables such analysis. Long-term tree-ring chronologies of three widespread African species were measured in Central Africa to analyze the growth of trees over the last two centuries. Growth trends were correlated to changes in global atmospheric CO2 concentration and local variations in the main climatic drivers, temperature and rainfall. Our results provided no evidence for a fertilization effect of CO2 on tree growth. On the contrary, an overall growth decline was observed for all three species in the last century, which appears to be significantly correlated to the increase in local temperature. These findings provide additional support to the global observations of a slowing down of C sequestration in the trunks of forest trees in recent decades. Data indicate that the CO2 increase alone has not been sufficient to obtain a tree growth increase in tropical trees. The effect of other changing environmental factors, like temperature, may have overridden the fertilization effect of CO2.

  8. Long Tree-Ring Chronologies Provide Evidence of Recent Tree Growth Decrease in a Central African Tropical Forest

    PubMed Central

    Battipaglia, Giovanna; Zalloni, Enrica; Castaldi, Simona; Marzaioli, Fabio; Cazzolla- Gatti, Roberto; Lasserre, Bruno; Tognetti, Roberto; Marchetti, Marco; Valentini, Riccardo

    2015-01-01

    It is still unclear whether the exponential rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration has produced a fertilization effect on tropical forests, thus incrementing their growth rate, in the last two centuries. As many factors affect tree growth patterns, short -term studies might be influenced by the confounding effect of several interacting environmental variables on plant growth. Long-term analyses of tree growth can elucidate long-term trends of plant growth response to dominant drivers. The study of annual rings, applied to long tree-ring chronologies in tropical forest trees enables such analysis. Long-term tree-ring chronologies of three widespread African species were measured in Central Africa to analyze the growth of trees over the last two centuries. Growth trends were correlated to changes in global atmospheric CO2 concentration and local variations in the main climatic drivers, temperature and rainfall. Our results provided no evidence for a fertilization effect of CO2 on tree growth. On the contrary, an overall growth decline was observed for all three species in the last century, which appears to be significantly correlated to the increase in local temperature. These findings provide additional support to the global observations of a slowing down of C sequestration in the trunks of forest trees in recent decades. Data indicate that the CO2 increase alone has not been sufficient to obtain a tree growth increase in tropical trees. The effect of other changing environmental factors, like temperature, may have overridden the fertilization effect of CO2. PMID:25806946

  9. Review of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses and Acute Hemorrhagic Disease

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-01

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

  11. Illuminating Cancer Resistance in Elephants.

    PubMed

    2015-12-01

    A new study shows that elephants have at least 20 copies of the tumor suppressor gene TP53; their cells also favor apoptosis over DNA repair when subjected to DNA-damaging agents. These findings may help explain elephants' longevity and low cancer risk, and shed further light on natural cancer suppression mechanisms.

  12. 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…

  13. Elephants in the understory: opposing direct and indirect effects of consumption and ecosystem engineering by megaherbivores.

    PubMed

    Coverdale, Tyler C; Kartzinel, Tyler R; Grabowski, Kathryn L; Shriver, Robert K; Hassan, Abdikadir A; Goheen, Jacob R; Palmer, Todd M; Pringle, Robert M

    2016-11-01

    Positive indirect effects of consumers on their resources can stabilize food webs by preventing overexploitation, but the coupling of trophic and non-trophic interactions remains poorly integrated into our understanding of community dynamics. Elephants engineer African savanna ecosystems by toppling trees and breaking branches, and although their negative effects on trees are well documented, their effects on small-statured plants remain poorly understood. Using data on 117 understory plant taxa collected over 7 yr within 36 1-ha experimental plots in a semi-arid Kenyan savanna, we measured the strength and direction of elephant impacts on understory vegetation. We found that elephants had neutral effects on most (83-89%) species, with a similar frequency of positive and negative responses among the remainder. Overall, estimated understory biomass was 5-14% greater in the presence of elephants across a range of rainfall levels. Whereas direct consumption likely accounts for the negative effects, positive effects are presumably indirect. We hypothesized that elephants create associational refuges for understory plants by damaging tree canopies in ways that physically inhibit feeding by other large herbivores. As predicted, understory biomass and species richness beneath elephant-damaged trees were 55% and 21% greater, respectively, than under undamaged trees. Experimentally simulated elephant damage increased understory biomass by 37% and species richness by 49% after 1 yr. Conversely, experimentally removing elephant damaged branches decreased understory biomass by 39% and richness by 30% relative to sham-manipulated trees. Camera-trap surveys revealed that elephant damage reduced the frequency of herbivory by 71%, whereas we detected no significant effect of damage on temperature, light, or soil moisture. We conclude that elephants locally facilitate understory plants by creating refuges from herbivory, which countervails the direct negative effects of

  14. Development and validation of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assays to detect elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses-2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

    PubMed

    Stanton, Jeffrey J; Nofs, Sally A; Peng, Rongsheng; Hayward, Gary S; Ling, Paul D

    2012-12-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) 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 5log(10) 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.

  15. Multi-decadal carbon and water relations of African tropical humid forests: a tree-ring stable isotope analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hufkens, K.; Beeckman, H.; de Haulleville, T.; Kearsley, E.; Toirambe, B.; Stoffelen, P.; Boeckx, P. F.

    2012-12-01

    Little is known about the temporal dynamics of the carbon sequestering capacity and dynamics of African tropical humid forest ecosystems in response to various environmental drivers. This lack of knowledge is mainly due to the absence of ecosystem scale flux measurements of gas exchange. However, tree growth often displays itself as alternating pattern of visible rings due to the varying growth speed of the vascular cambium. Consequently, analysis of tree growth through tree-ring analysis provides us with insights into past responses of the carbon sequestering capacity of key species to abrupt ecosystem disturbances and, while slower, a changing climate. Not only does the width and density of growth rings reflect annual growth but their isotopic composition of 13C and 18O isotopes also reveal the environmental conditions in which the trees were growing. In particular, stable isotope ratios in tree-rings of 13C are influenced by fractionation through carboxylation and changes in stomatal conductance. Similarly, fractionation of 18O from soil water occurs at the leaf level through evapo-transipiration. As a consequence, δ18O values in tree cores will reflect both the signal of the source water as well as that of for example summer humidity. Therefore, using both 13C and 18O stable isotopes might not only be valuable proxies of past climatic conditions but also serve as an important tool in understanding carbon and water relations within a forest ecosystems. To this end we correlate long term climate records (1961 - present) with tree ring measurement of incremental growth and high resolution analysis of tree-core stable isotope (13C / 18O) composition at two functionally similar, but geographically dissimilar, tropical humid forests in DR Congo. A first site, the Luki man and the biosphere (MAB) reserve, is located in the western part of DR Congo influenced by a tropical wet and dry climate. A second site, the Yangambi MAB reserve is located in the north

  16. Multi-decadal carbon and water relations of African tropical humid forests: a tree-ring stable isotope analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hufkens, Koen; Helle, Gerd; Beeckman, Hans; de Haulleville, Thales; Kearsley, Elizabeth; Boeckx, Pascal

    2013-04-01

    Little is known about the temporal dynamics of the carbon sequestering capacity and dynamics of African tropical humid forest ecosystems in response to various environmental drivers. This lack of knowledge is mainly due to the absence of ecosystem scale flux measurements of gas exchange. However, tree growth often displays itself as alternating pattern of visible rings due to the seasonally varying growth speed of the vascular cambium. Consequently, analysis of tree growth through tree-ring analysis provides us with insights into past responses of the carbon sequestering capacity of key species to abrupt ecosystem disturbances and, while slower, a changing climate. Not only does the width and density of growth rings reflect annual growth but their isotopic composition of 13C/12C and 18O/16O isotopes also reveal the environmental conditions in which the trees were growing. In particular, stable isotope ratios in tree-rings of carbon are influenced by fractionation through carboxylation during photosynthesis and changes in leaf stomatal conductance. Similarly, fractionation of oxygen isotopes of soil water occurs at the leaf level through evapo-transipiration. As a consequence, 18O/16O (δ18O) values in wood cores will reflect both the signal of the source water as well as that of for example summer humidity. Therefore, both C and O stable isotopes might not only be valuable as proxy data for past climatic conditions but they also serve as an important tool in understanding carbon and water relations within a tropical forest ecosystems. To this end we correlate long term climate records (1961 - present) with tree ring measurement of incremental growth and high resolution analysis of tree-core stable isotope composition(δ13C , δ18O) at a tropical humid forests in the DR Congo. The Yangambi Man And Biosphere (MAB) reserve is located in the north-eastern part of DR Congo, with a distinct tropical rainforest climate. In addition to the tree-core data records and

  17. Predictable waves of sequential forest degradation and biodiversity loss spreading from an African city.

    PubMed

    Ahrends, Antje; Burgess, Neil D; Milledge, Simon A H; Bulling, Mark T; Fisher, Brendan; Smart, James C R; Clarke, G Philip; Mhoro, Boniface E; Lewis, Simon L

    2010-08-17

    Tropical forest degradation emits carbon at a rate of approximately 0.5 Pgxy(-1), reduces biodiversity, and facilitates forest clearance. Understanding degradation drivers and patterns is therefore crucial to managing forests to mitigate climate change and reduce biodiversity loss. Putative patterns of degradation affecting forest stocks, carbon, and biodiversity have variously been described previously, but these have not been quantitatively assessed together or tested systematically. Economic theory predicts a systematic allocation of land to its highest use value in response to distance from centers of demand. We tested this theory to see if forest exploitation would expand through time and space as concentric waves, with each wave targeting lower value products. We used forest data along a transect from 10 to 220 km from Dar es Salaam (DES), Tanzania, collected at two points in time (1991 and 2005). Our predictions were confirmed: high-value logging expanded 9 kmxy(-1), and an inner wave of lower value charcoal production 2 kmxy(-1). This resource utilization is shown to reduce the public goods of carbon storage and species richness, which significantly increased with each kilometer from DES [carbon, 0.2 Mgxha(-1); 0.1 species per sample area (0.4 ha)]. Our study suggests that tropical forest degradation can be modeled and predicted, with its attendant loss of some public goods. In sub-Saharan Africa, an area experiencing the highest rate of urban migration worldwide, coupled with a high dependence on forest-based resources, predicting the spatiotemporal patterns of degradation can inform policies designed to extract resources without unsustainably reducing carbon storage and biodiversity.

  18. Predictable waves of sequential forest degradation and biodiversity loss spreading from an African city

    PubMed Central

    Burgess, Neil D.; Milledge, Simon A. H.; Bulling, Mark T.; Fisher, Brendan; Smart, James C. R.; Clarke, G. Philip; Mhoro, Boniface E.; Lewis, Simon L.

    2010-01-01

    Tropical forest degradation emits carbon at a rate of ~0.5 Pg·y−1, reduces biodiversity, and facilitates forest clearance. Understanding degradation drivers and patterns is therefore crucial to managing forests to mitigate climate change and reduce biodiversity loss. Putative patterns of degradation affecting forest stocks, carbon, and biodiversity have variously been described previously, but these have not been quantitatively assessed together or tested systematically. Economic theory predicts a systematic allocation of land to its highest use value in response to distance from centers of demand. We tested this theory to see if forest exploitation would expand through time and space as concentric waves, with each wave targeting lower value products. We used forest data along a transect from 10 to 220 km from Dar es Salaam (DES), Tanzania, collected at two points in time (1991 and 2005). Our predictions were confirmed: high-value logging expanded 9 km·y−1, and an inner wave of lower value charcoal production 2 km·y−1. This resource utilization is shown to reduce the public goods of carbon storage and species richness, which significantly increased with each kilometer from DES [carbon, 0.2 Mg·ha−1; 0.1 species per sample area (0.4 ha)]. Our study suggests that tropical forest degradation can be modeled and predicted, with its attendant loss of some public goods. In sub-Saharan Africa, an area experiencing the highest rate of urban migration worldwide, coupled with a high dependence on forest-based resources, predicting the spatiotemporal patterns of degradation can inform policies designed to extract resources without unsustainably reducing carbon storage and biodiversity. PMID:20679200

  19. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  1. Impact of Long-Range Transported African Dust Events on Cloud Chemistry at a Caribbean Tropical Montane Cloud Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valle-Diaz, C. J.; Torres-Delgado, E.; Lee, T.; Collett, J. L.; Cuadra-Rodriguez, L. A.; Prather, K. A.; Mayol-Bracero, O. L.

    2013-12-01

    We studied the impact of long-range transported African Dust (LRTAD) on cloud composition and properties at the Caribbean tropical montane cloud forest (TMCF) of Pico del Este (PE), as part of the Puerto Rico African Dust and Clouds Study (PRADACS). Here we present results from measurements performed in July 2011. The use of HYSPLIT backward trajectories, satellite images from the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), and dust forecasting models allowed air masses arriving sampled to be classified as marine, dust, or anthropogenic. Measurements of pH and conductivity obtained onsite revealed higher values in the presence of dust and higher for larger cloud droplets (size cut of 17 μm at 50% efficiency), suggesting a higher content of dust in this fraction. The African dust influence was seen by the presence of nss-Ca and Fe in cloud water and by comparing ratios of Ca, K, and Mg to Na observed in our samples with sea water ratios reported in literature. Interstitial single-particle size and chemistry measured using an aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer (ATOFMS) revealed mostly sea-salt particles (Na, Cl, Ca) and dust particles (Fe, Ti, Mg, nss-Ca). The detected particles obtained with the ATOFMS confirmed the presence of dust. Anthropogenic influence detected as the presence of elemental carbon, a tracer for combustion processes, was found to be fairly small according to ATOFMS measurements. An increase in the concentrations of total organic carbon, total nitrogen, and dissolved organic carbon was observed during LRTAD events. Additional results on the chemistry of peroxides, formaldehyde and S(IV) occurring in clouds under the influence of different air masses will be presented at the meeting. Results so far show differences in the physicochemical properties of aerosols and clouds during dust and non-dust events, and show that during LRTAD events, aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions are altered at PE.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-02-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Potential mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and comparative cellular response to DNA damage in humans

    DOE PAGES

    Abegglen, Lisa M.; Caulin, Aleah F.; Chan, Ashley; ...

    2015-10-08

    Here, evolutionary medicine may provide insights into human physiology and pathophysiology, including tumor biology. 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 inmore » 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. 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. 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 reaction. In response to DNA damage, elephant lymphocytes

  6. Potential mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and comparative cellular response to DNA damage in humans

    SciTech Connect

    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.

    2015-10-08

    Here, evolutionary medicine may provide insights into human physiology and pathophysiology, including tumor biology. 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. 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. 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 reaction. In response to DNA damage, elephant lymphocytes

  7. Impact of anthropogenic and climatic changes on biomass and diversity of the Central African forests, from local to global scale: original methods for new results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mortier, Frédéric; Gourlet-Fleury, Sylvie; Ouédraogo, Dakis; Picard, Nicolas; Rossi, Vivien

    2014-05-01

    Forests of the Congo Basin, the second most important remaining block of tropical moist forest in the world, are facing increasing anthropogenic pressure and climate change. Understanding the biomass and diversity dynamics under these pressures is one major challenge for African nations and international communities. This talk aims to present original methods to model, infer, and predict growth, biomass and diversity of Central African forests, as well as new results on the impacts of global change on those forests, at various scales. With respect to methods, we will present theoretical frameworks allowing (i) to model growth processes in species-rich ecosystems like tropical rain forests, (ii) to take into account uncertainties in biomass estimation. In terms of results, we will highlight at a local scale, how human activities as well as climatic variations would impact (i) the composition and diversity of forests, (ii) the dynamics of biomass and growth processes. At a global scale, we will demonstrate how environmental filtering controls the above ground biomass. The number of studies are currently increasing over the Congo Basin through several research projects led by our team (CoForTips, DynAfFor) and contributing to various international organization's programs (Cifor, FAO, Comifac, Ofac).

  8. Arbovirus of Marine Mammals: a New Alphavirus Isolated from the Elephant Seal Louse, Lepidophthirus macrorhini

    PubMed Central

    La Linn, May; Gardner, Joy; Warrilow, David; Darnell, Grant A.; McMahon, Clive R.; Field, Ian; Hyatt, Alex D.; Slade, Robert W.; Suhrbier, Andreas

    2001-01-01

    A novel alphavirus was isolated from the louse Lepidophthirus macrorhini, collected from southern elephant seals, Mirounga leonina, on Macquarie Island, Australia. The virus displayed classic alphavirus ultrastructure and appeared to be serologically different from known Australasian alphaviruses. Nearly all Macquarie Island elephant seals tested had neutralizing antibodies against the virus, but no virus-associated pathology has been identified. Antarctic Division personnel who have worked extensively with elephant seals showed no serological evidence of exposure to the virus. Sequence analysis illustrated that the southern elephant seal (SES) virus segregates with the Semliki Forest group of Australasian alphaviruses. Phylogenetic analysis of known alphaviruses suggests that alphaviruses might be grouped according to their enzootic vertebrate host class. The SES virus represents the first arbovirus of marine mammals and illustrates that alphaviruses can inhabit Antarctica and that alphaviruses can be transmitted by lice. PMID:11287559

  9. High-resolution forest canopy height estimation in an African blue carbon ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Lagomasino, David; Fatoyinbo, Temilola; Lee, Seung-Kuk; Simard, Marc

    2015-10-01

    Mangrove forests are one of the most productive and carbon dense ecosystems that are only found at tidally inundated coastal areas. Forest canopy height is an important measure for modeling carbon and biomass dynamics, as well as land cover change. By taking advantage of the flat terrain and dense canopy cover, the present study derived digital surface models (DSMs) using stereo-photogrammetric techniques on high-resolution spaceborne imagery (HRSI) for southern Mozambique. A mean-weighted ground surface elevation factor was subtracted from the HRSI DSM to accurately estimate the canopy height in mangrove forests in southern Mozambique. The mean and H100 tree height measured in both the field and with the digital canopy model provided the most accurate results with a vertical error of 1.18-1.84 m, respectively. Distinct patterns were identified in the HRSI canopy height map that could not be discerned from coarse shuttle radar topography mission canopy maps even though the mode and distribution of canopy heights were similar over the same area. Through further investigation, HRSI DSMs have the potential of providing a new type of three-dimensional dataset that could serve as calibration/validation data for other DSMs generated from spaceborne datasets with much larger global coverage. HSRI DSMs could be used in lieu of Lidar acquisitions for canopy height and forest biomass estimation, and be combined with passive optical data to improve land cover classifications.

  10. High-Resolution Forest Canopy Height Estimation in an African Blue Carbon Ecosystem

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lagomasino, David; Fatoyinbo, Temilola; Lee, Seung-Kuk; Simard, Marc

    2015-01-01

    Mangrove forests are one of the most productive and carbon dense ecosystems that are only found at tidally inundated coastal areas. Forest canopy height is an important measure for modeling carbon and biomass dynamics, as well as land cover change. By taking advantage of the flat terrain and dense canopy cover, the present study derived digital surface models (DSMs) using stereophotogrammetric techniques on high-resolution spaceborne imagery (HRSI) for southern Mozambique. A mean-weighted ground surface elevation factor was subtracted from the HRSI DSM to accurately estimate the canopy height in mangrove forests in southern Mozambique. The mean and H100 tree height measured in both the field and with the digital canopy model provided the most accurate results with a vertical error of 1.18-1.84 m, respectively. Distinct patterns were identified in the HRSI canopy height map that could not be discerned from coarse shuttle radar topography mission canopy maps even though the mode and distribution of canopy heights were similar over the same area. Through further investigation, HRSI DSMs have the potential of providing a new type of three-dimensional dataset that could serve as calibration/validation data for other DSMs generated from spaceborne datasets with much larger global coverage. HSRI DSMs could be used in lieu of Lidar acquisitions for canopy height and forest biomass estimation, and be combined with passive optical data to improve land cover classifications.

  11. Habitat-dependent ambient noise: Consistent spectral profiles in two African forest types

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Slabbekoorn, Hans

    2004-12-01

    Many animal species use acoustic signals to attract mates, to defend territories, or to convey information that may contribute to their fitness in other ways. However, the natural environment is usually filled with competing sounds. Therefore, if ambient noise conditions are relatively constant, acoustic interference can drive evolutionary changes in animal signals. Furthermore, masking noise may cause acoustic divergence between populations of the same species if noise conditions differ consistently among habitats. In this study, ambient noise was sampled in a replicate set of sites in two habitat types in Cameroon: contiguous rainforest and ecotone forest patches north of the rainforest. The noise characteristics of the two forest types show significant and consistent differences. Multiple samples taken at two rainforest sites in different seasons vary little and remain distinct from those in ecotone forest. The rainforest recordings show many distinctive frequency bands, with a general increase in amplitude from low to high frequencies. Ecotone forest only shows a distinctive high-frequency band at some parts of the day. Habitat-dependent abiotic and biotic sound sources and to some extent habitat-dependent sound transmission are the likely causes of these habitat-dependent noise spectra. .

  12. Changes in land cover and carbon emissions to 2050 from African tropical forests using policy scenarios

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laporte, N.; Galford, G. L.; Soares Filho, B. S.

    2011-12-01

    Africa has the second largest block of rainforest in the world, next to the Amazon basin, with the majority of the carbon being stored in the dense humid forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Historically, political instability in the DRC kept development and deforestation low, with primary forest uses being extensive logging and small scale agriculture. In the last decade, political stability has opened the country to foreign investment in forested areas, largely for industrial-scale oil palm plantations and more recently to rice production. The DRC ranks worst on the IFPRI global hunger index, scoring "extremely serious" based on the proportion of undernourished population, prevalence of underweight in children under 5 and the mortality rates of children under 5. In fact, DRC saw its hunger score increase (worsen) from 1990 to 2010, with a 66% gain compared to the other 8 worsening countries increasing only 21% or less. This is a critical time for policy in the DRC, where business-as-usual (relatively low deforestation rates) is unlikely to continue given today's relative political stability and economic stabilization compared to the 1990s. The country must examine options for forest conservation in balance with foreign investment for use of forest resources, national development of rural livelihoods and domestic production of food. Here we present deforestation trajectories simulated through the year 2050 under a set of scenarios. The scenarios consider the relative carbon emissions from business-as-usual (no new policy), conservation (policy favoring protection and enforcement for forest areas), and a food security scenario (favoring clearing for industrial agriculture, extractive timber resources and development of new agricultural areas). Carbon emissions for each scenario are estimated with a coupled bookkeeping model. These scenarios are not predictive of the future, rather, they are meant to provide an understanding of the outcomes of

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-02-21

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

  14. Dating Studies of Elephant Tusks Using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

    SciTech Connect

    Sideras-Haddad, E; Brown, T A

    2002-10-03

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

  15. Rain chemistry and cloud composition and microphysics in a Caribbean tropical montane cloud forest under the influence of African dust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Torres-Delgado, Elvis; Valle-Diaz, Carlos J.; Baumgardner, Darrel; McDowell, William H.; González, Grizelle; Mayol-Bracero, Olga L.

    2015-04-01

    It is known that huge amounts of mineral dust travels thousands of kilometers from the Sahara and Sahel regions in Africa over the Atlantic Ocean reaching the Caribbean, northern South America and southern North America; however, not much is understood about how the aging process that takes place during transport changes dust properties, and how the presence of this dust affects cloud's composition and microphysics. This African dust reaches the Caribbean region mostly in the summer time. In order to improve our understanding of the role of long-range transported African dust (LRTAD) in cloud formation processes in a tropical montane cloud forest (TMCF) in the Caribbean region we had field campaigns measuring dust physical and chemical properties in summer 2013, as part of the Puerto Rico African Dust and Cloud Study (PRADACS), and in summer 2014, as a part of the Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory (LCZO) and in collaboration with the Saharan Aerosol Long-Range Transport and Aerosol-Cloud-Interaction Experiment (SALTRACE). Measurements were performed at the TMCF of Pico del Este (PE, 1051 masl) and at the nature reserve of Cabezas de San Juan (CSJ, 60 masl). In both stations we monitored meteorological parameters (e.g., temperature, wind speed, wind direction). At CSJ, we measured light absorption and scattering at three wavelengths (467, 528 and 652 nm). At PE we collected cloud and rainwater and monitored cloud microphysical properties (e.g., liquid water content, droplet size distribution, droplet number concentration, effective diameter and median volume diameter). Data from aerosol models, satellites, and back-trajectories were used together with CSJ measurements to classify air masses and samples collected at PE in the presence or absence of dust. Soluble ions, insoluble trace metals, pH and conductivity were measured for cloud and rainwater. Preliminary results for summer 2013 showed that in the presence of LRTAD (1) the average conductivity of cloud water

  16. 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…

  17. Did Neoliberalizing West African Forests Produce a New Niche for Ebola?

    PubMed

    Wallace, Robert G; Kock, Richard; Bergmann, Luke; Gilbert, Marius; Hogerwerf, Lenny; Pittiglio, Claudia; Mattioli, Raffaele; Wallace, Rodrick

    2016-01-01

    A recent study introduced a vaccine that controls Ebola Makona, the Zaire ebolavirus variant that has infected 28,000 people in West Africa. We propose that even such successful advances are insufficient for many emergent diseases. We review work hypothesizing that Makona, phenotypically similar to much smaller outbreaks, emerged out of shifts in land use brought about by neoliberal economics. The epidemiological consequences demand a new science that explicitly addresses the foundational processes underlying multispecies health, including the deep-time histories, cultural infrastructure, and global economic geographies driving disease emergence. The approach, for instance, reverses the standard public health practice of segregating emergency responses and the structural context from which outbreaks originate. In Ebola's case, regional neoliberalism may affix the stochastic "friction" of ecological relationships imposed by the forest across populations, which, when above a threshold, keeps the virus from lining up transmission above replacement. Export-led logging, mining, and intensive agriculture may depress such functional noise, permitting novel spillovers larger forces of infection. Mature outbreaks, meanwhile, can continue to circulate even in the face of efficient vaccines. More research on these integral explanations is required, but the narrow albeit welcome success of the vaccine may be used to limit support of such a program.

  18. Impacts of roads and hunting on central African rainforest mammals.

    PubMed

    Laurance, William E; Croes, Barbara M; Tchignoumba, Landry; Lahm, Sally A; Alonso, Alfonso; Lee, Michelle E; Campbell, Patrick; Ondzeano, Claude

    2006-08-01

    Road expansion and associated increases in bunting pressure are a rapidly growing threat to African tropical wildlife. In the rainforests of southern Gabon, we compared abundances of larger (>1 kg) mammal species at varying distances from forest roads and between hunted and unhunted treatments (comparing a 130-km2 oil concession that was almost entirely protected from bunting with nearby areas outside the concession that had moderate hunting pressure). At each of 12 study sites that were evenly divided between hunted and unhunted areas, we established standardized 1-km transects at five distances (50, 300, 600, 900, and 1200 m) from an unpaved road, and then repeatedly surveyed mammals during the 2004 dry and wet seasons. Hunting had the greatest impact on duikers (Cephalophus spp.), forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus), and red river hogs (Potamochoerus porcus), which declined in abundance outside the oil concession, and lesser effects on lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and carnivores. Roads depressed abundances of duikers, sitatungas (Tragelaphus spekei gratus), and forest elephants (Loxondonta africana cyclotis), with avoidance of roads being stronger outside than inside the concession. Five monkey species showed little response to roads or hunting, whereas some rodents and pangolins increased in abundance outside the concession, possibly in response to greater forest disturbance. Our findings suggest that even moderate hunting pressure can markedly alter the structure of mammal communities in central Africa. Roads had the greatest impacts on large and small ungulates, with the magnitude of road avoidance increasing with local hunting pressure.

  19. Records of human activity during the late-Holocene in the soils of the African dense humid forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morin-Rivat, Julie; Bentaleb, Ilham; Biwolé, Achille; Bourland, Nils; Bremond, Laurent; Daïnou, Kasso; Fayolle, Adeline; Gillet, Jean-François; Gorel, Anaïs; Gourlet-Fleury, Sylvie; Hardy, Olivier; Livingstone Smith, Alexandre; Oslisly, Richard; Vleminckx, Jason; Beeckman, Hans; Doucet, Jean-Louis

    2014-05-01

    Recently, several authors gathered data about the presence of past human populations in tropical regions covered by dense forest nowadays. In Central Africa, there is a growing body of evidence for past human settlements along the Atlantic coast, but very little information is available further inland. In the perspective, soil records seem to be the most appropriated so as to appraise the spatial and temporal extent of human activity in the African dense humid forest. In this paper, we thus aimed to present a synthesis of the archaeological and archaeobotanical data obtained during several fieldwork campaigns in an archaeologically unexplored area of 200,000 km² located in southern Cameroon and the northern Republic of Congo. A total of 275 test pits, among them 30 pedological pits up to 150 cm deep, were excavated in the study area. So as to get a long temporal scale as well as a fine resolution spatial scale, we quantified wood charcoal and charred endocarps in soil samples by layers of 10 cm taken for 100 pits located along transects of systematic sampling. Spatial projections were performed using statistics together with multivariate analyses. AMS radiocarbon dating allowed interpreting the temporal framework. Evidence of past human activities through either artifacts or charred botanical remains was observed in all pits, in particular with the ubiquitous presence of charcoal at each site. Main charcoal peaks were interpreted as fields (slash-and-burn agriculture) in the vicinity of ancient villages, the later marked by the presence of both potsherds and oil palm endocarps. The dichotomy of these kinds of activities may have impacted differentially the environment during the past. The set of 73 radiocarbon dates extending from 15,000 BP to the present time provided more dates in the late-Holocene showing a bimodal distribution which was interpreted as two phases of human expansion with an intermediate phase of population crash. The 2300-1300 BP phase is

  20. Elephants, fire, and frost can determine community structure and composition in Kalahari Woodlands.

    PubMed

    Holdo, Ricardo M

    2007-03-01

    Fire, elephants, and frost are important disturbance factors in many African savannas, but the relative magnitude of their effects on vegetation and their interactions have not been quantified. Understanding how disturbance shapes savanna structure and composition is critical for predicting changes in tree cover and for formulating management and conservation policy. A simulation model was used to investigate how the disturbance regime determines vegetation structure and composition in a mixed Kalahari sand woodland savanna in western Zimbabwe. The model consisted of submodels for tree growth, tree damage caused by disturbance, mortality, and recruitment that were parameterized from field data collected over a two-year period. The model predicts that, under the current disturbance regime, tree basal area in the study area will decline by two-thirds over the next two decades and become dominated by species unpalatable to elephants. Changes in the disturbance regime are predicted to greatly modify vegetation structure and community composition. Elephants are the primary drivers of woodland change in this community at present-day population densities, and their impacts are exacerbated by the effects of fire and frost. Frost, in particular, does not play an important role when acting independently but appears to be a key secondary factor in the presence of elephants and/or fire. Unlike fire and frost, which cannot suppress the woodland phase on their own in this ecosystem, elephants can independently drive the vegetation to the scrub phase. The results suggest that elephant and fire management may be critical for the persistence of certain woodland communities within dry-season elephant habitats in the eastern Kalahari, particularly those dominated by Brachystegia spiciformis and other palatable species.

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

    PubMed

    Vimalraj, P G; Jayathangaraj, M G

    2015-09-01

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

  2. Unmanned aerial survey of elephants.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  3. Unmanned Aerial Survey of Elephants

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  4. HH jets aligned perpendicular to elephant trunks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raga, A. C.; Lora, V.; Smith, N.

    2010-04-01

    We consider a system of outflows ejected from low mass young stars embedded in the tips of elephant trunks. We assume that these outflows have axes which are intrinsically perpendicular to the axes of the host elephant trunks. We then derive the distribution function expected for the angle between the projections of the outflow and elephant trunk axes on the plane of the sky. These distribution functions are useful for interpreting the alignments (or lack thereof) observed between HH outflow and elephant trunk axes in photoionized regions.

  5. The Ecological basis of hunter-gatherer subsistence in African Rain Forests: the Mbuti of eastern Zaire

    SciTech Connect

    Hart, T.B.; Hart, J.A.

    1986-03-01

    The Mbuti pygmies, hunter-gathers of the Ituri Forest of Zaire, trade forest products and labor for agricultural foods. It has been assumed that the Mbuti lived independently in the equatorial forest prior to its penetration by shifting cultivators. We assessed forest food resources (plant and animal) to determine their adequacy to support a hunting and gathering economy. For five months of the year, essentially none of the calorically important forest fruits and seeds are available. Honey is not abundant during this season of scarcity. Wild game meat is available year round, but the main animals caught have low fat content. This makes them a poor substitute for starch-dense agricultural foods, now staples in Mbuti diet. In general, in the closed evergreen forest zone, edible wild plant species are more abundant in agriculturally derived secondary forest than in primary forest. Similarly, they are more common at the savanna ecotone and in gallery forests. We suggest that it is unlikely that hunter-gatherers would have lived independently in the forest interior with its precarious resource base, when many of the food species they exploit are more abundant toward the savanna border.

  6. Assessing the utility WorldView-2 imagery for tree species mapping in South African subtropical humid forest and the conservation implications: Dukuduku forest patch as case study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cho, Moses Azong; Malahlela, Oupa; Ramoelo, Abel

    2015-06-01

    Indigenous forest biome in South Africa is highly fragmented into patches of various sizes (most patches < 1 km2). The utilization of timber and non-timber resources by poor rural communities living around protected forest patches produce subtle changes in the forest canopy which can be hardly detected on a timely manner using traditional field surveys. The aims of this study were to assess: (i) the utility of very high resolution (VHR) remote sensing imagery (WorldView-2, 0.5-2 m spatial resolution) for mapping tree species and canopy gaps in one of the protected subtropical coastal forests in South Africa (the Dukuduku forest patch (ca.3200 ha) located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal) and (ii) the implications of the map products to forest conservation. Three dominant canopy tree species namely, Albizia adianthifolia, Strychnos spp. and Acacia spp., and canopy gap types including bushes (grass/shrubby), bare soil and burnt patches were accurately mapped (overall accuracy = 89.3 ± 2.1%) using WorldView-2 image and support vector machine classifier. The maps revealed subtle forest disturbances such as bush encroachment and edge effects resulting from forest fragmentation by roads and a power-line. In two stakeholders' workshops organised to assess the implications of the map products to conservation, participants generally agreed amongst others implications that the VHR maps provide valuable information that could be used for implementing and monitoring the effects of rehabilitation measures. The use of VHR imagery is recommended for timely inventorying and monitoring of the small and fragile patches of subtropical forests in Southern Africa.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. The distribution, density and three-dimensional histomorphology of Pacinian corpuscles in the foot of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and their potential role in seismic communication.

    PubMed

    Bouley, D M; Alarcón, C N; Hildebrandt, T; O'Connell-Rodwell, C E

    2007-10-01

    Both Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants produce low-frequency, high-amplitude rumbles that travel well through the ground as seismic waves, and field studies have shown that elephants may utilize these seismic signals as one form of communication. Unique elephant postures observed in field studies suggest that the elephants use their feet to 'listen' to these seismic signals, but the exact sensory mechanisms used by the elephant have never been characterized. The distribution, morphology and tissue density of Pacinian corpuscles, specialized mechanoreceptors, were studied in a forefoot and hindfoot of Asian elephants. Pacinian corpuscles were located in the dermis and distal digital cushion and were most densely localized to the anterior, posterior, medial and lateral region of each foot, with the highest numbers in the anterior region of the forefoot (52.19%) and the posterior region of the hindfoot (47.09%). Pacinian corpuscles were encapsulated, had a typical lamellar structure and were most often observed in large clusters. Three-dimensional reconstruction through serial sections of the dermis revealed that individual Pacinian corpuscles may be part of a cluster. By studying the distribution and density of these mechanoreceptors, we propose that Pacinian corpuscles are one possible anatomic mechanism used by elephants to detect seismic waves.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2003-12-01

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

  11. The Elephants Teach: Creative Writing since 1880

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Myers, David Gershom

    2006-01-01

    When Vladimir Nabokov was up for a chair in literature at Harvard, the linguist Roman Jakobson protested: "What's next? Shall we appoint elephants to teach zoology?" That anecdote, with which D. G. Myers begins "The Elephants Teach", perfectly frames the issues this book tackles. Myers explores more than a century of debate over how writing should…

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Research on the spatial patterns of human-wildlife conflict is fundamental to understanding the mechanisms underlying it and to identifying opportunities for mitigation. In the state of Xishuangbanna, containing China’s largest tropical forest, an imbalance between nature conservation and economic development has led to increasing conflicts between humans and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), as both elephant numbers and conversion of habitable land to rubber plantations have increased over the last several decades. We analyzed government data on the compensation costs of elephant-caused damage in Xishuangbanna between 2008 and 2012 to understand the spatial and temporal patterns of conflict, in terms of their occurrence, frequency and distribution. More than 18,261 incidents were reported, including episodes involving damage to rubber trees (n = 10,999), damage to crops such as paddy, upland rice, corn, bananas and sugarcane (n = 11,020), property loss (n = 689) and attacks on humans (n = 19). The conflict data reconfirmed the presence of elephants in areas which have lacked records since the late 1990s. Zero Altered Negative Binomial models revealed that the risk of damage to crops and plantations increased with proximity to protected areas, increasing distance from roads, and lower settlement density. The patterns were constant across seasons and types of crop damaged. Damage to rubber trees was essentially incidental as elephants searched for crops to eat. A predictive map of risks revealed hotspots of conflict within and around protected areas, the last refuges for elephants in the region, and along habitat corridors connecting them. Additionally, we analyzed how mitigation efforts can best diminish the risk of conflict while minimizing financial costs and adverse biological impacts. Our analytical approach can be adopted, adjusted and expanded to other areas with historical records of human-wildlife conflict. PMID:27631976

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  15. Strongyloides infections of humans and great apes in Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas, Central African Republic and in degraded forest fragments in Bulindi, Uganda.

    PubMed

    Hasegawa, Hideo; Kalousova, Barbora; McLennan, Matthew R; Modry, David; Profousova-Psenkova, Ilona; Shutt-Phillips, Kathryn A; Todd, Angelique; Huffman, Michael A; Petrzelkova, Klara J

    2016-10-01

    DNA sequence analysis was carried out on Strongyloides spp. larvae obtained from fecal samples of local humans, a wild western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and a central chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) inhabiting Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas (DSPA), Central African Republic, and eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) living in degraded forest fragments on farmland in Bulindi, Uganda. From humans, both Strongyloides fuelleborni and Strongyloides stercoralis were recorded, though the former was predominant. Only S. fuelleborni was present in the great apes in both areas. Phylogenetic analysis of partial mtDNA cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (Cox1) and comparison of 18S rDNA hyper variable region IV (HVR-IV) sequences implied that in DSPA S. fuelleborni populations in humans differ from those in the nonhuman great apes.

  16. Automated detection of elephants in wildlife video.

    PubMed

    Zeppelzauer, Matthias

    2013-08-01

    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.

  17. 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

  18. Impact of Long-Range Transported African Dust Events on Cloud Composition and Physical Properties at a Caribbean Tropical Montane Cloud Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valle-Diaz, C. J.; Torres-Delgado, E.; Lee, T.; Collett, J. L.; Cuadra-Rodriguez, L. A.; Prather, K. A.; Spiegel, J.; Eugster, W.

    2012-12-01

    We studied the impact of long-range transported African Dust (LRTAD) on cloud composition and properties at the Caribbean tropical montane cloud forest (TMCF) of Pico del Este (PE), as part of the Puerto Rico African Dust and Clouds Study (PRADACS). Here we present results from measurements performed in July 2011. Bulk chemical analysis of cloud water and rainwater showed pH and conductivity higher in the presence of dust. pH and conductivity were also higher for larger cloud droplets (size cut of 17 μm at 50% efficiency) suggesting a higher content of dust in this fraction. The concentration of the water-soluble ions in rainwater was found to be lower than for cloud water. This in turn translates to higher pH and lower conductivity. African dust influence at PE was confirmed by the presence of nss-Ca, Fe, Mg, Na, and Al in cloud/rain water, and inferred by HYSPLIT trajectories and the satellite images from the Saharan Air Layer (SAL). Interstitial single-particle size and chemistry measured using aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry revealed mostly sea-salt particles (Na, Cl, Ca) and dust particles (Fe, Ti, Mg, nss-Ca). Anthropogenic influence detected as the presence of EC, a tracer for combustion processes, was found to be fairly small according to ATOFMS measurements. An increase of total organic carbon, total nitrogen, and dissolved organic carbon was observed during LRTAD events. Cloud droplet distributions revealed that LRTAD can lead to more numerous, but smaller cloud droplets (around 8 μm in average) at PE. However, total liquid water content appeared to be unaffected by this shift of droplet sizes. Overall, differences in the studied physicochemical properties of aerosols and clouds during dust and non-dust events were observed. Our results show that during LRTAD events, aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions are altered at PE. Detailed results will be presented at the meeting.

  19. Contrasting Patterns of Species Richness and Functional Diversity in Bird Communities of East African Cloud Forest Fragments

    PubMed Central

    Ulrich, Werner; Lens, Luc; Tobias, Joseph A.; Habel, Jan C.

    2016-01-01

    Rapid fragmentation and degradation of large undisturbed habitats constitute major threats to biodiversity. Several studies have shown that populations in small and highly isolated habitat patches are prone to strong environmental and demographic stochasticity and increased risk of extinction. Based on community assembly theory, we predict recent rapid forest fragmentation to cause a decline in species and functional guild richness of forest birds combined with a high species turnover among habitat patches, and well defined dominance structures, if competition is the major driver of community assembly. To test these predictions, we analysed species co-occurrence, nestedness, and competitive strength to infer effects of interspecific competition, habitat structure, and species′ traits on the assembly of bird species communities from 12 cloud forest fragments in southern Kenya. Our results do not point to a single ecological driver of variation in species composition. Interspecific competition does not appear to be a major driver of species segregation in small forest patches, while its relative importance appears to be higher in larger ones, which may be indicative for a generic shift from competition-dominated to colonisation-driven community structure with decreasing fragment size. Functional trait diversity was independent of fragment size after controlling for species richness. As fragmentation effects vary among feeding guilds and habitat generalists, in particular, tend to decline in low quality forest patches, we plead for taking species ecology fully into account when predicting tropical community responses to habitat change. PMID:27855174

  20. Contrasting Patterns of Species Richness and Functional Diversity in Bird Communities of East African Cloud Forest Fragments.

    PubMed

    Ulrich, Werner; Lens, Luc; Tobias, Joseph A; Habel, Jan C

    2016-01-01

    Rapid fragmentation and degradation of large undisturbed habitats constitute major threats to biodiversity. Several studies have shown that populations in small and highly isolated habitat patches are prone to strong environmental and demographic stochasticity and increased risk of extinction. Based on community assembly theory, we predict recent rapid forest fragmentation to cause a decline in species and functional guild richness of forest birds combined with a high species turnover among habitat patches, and well defined dominance structures, if competition is the major driver of community assembly. To test these predictions, we analysed species co-occurrence, nestedness, and competitive strength to infer effects of interspecific competition, habitat structure, and species' traits on the assembly of bird species communities from 12 cloud forest fragments in southern Kenya. Our results do not point to a single ecological driver of variation in species composition. Interspecific competition does not appear to be a major driver of species segregation in small forest patches, while its relative importance appears to be higher in larger ones, which may be indicative for a generic shift from competition-dominated to colonisation-driven community structure with decreasing fragment size. Functional trait diversity was independent of fragment size after controlling for species richness. As fragmentation effects vary among feeding guilds and habitat generalists, in particular, tend to decline in low quality forest patches, we plead for taking species ecology fully into account when predicting tropical community responses to habitat change.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    Human conflict generally has substantial negative impacts on wildlife and conservation. The recent civil war (1995-2006) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) resulted in a significant loss of wildlife, including elephants, due to institutional collapse, lawlessness and unbridled exploitation of natural resources such as minerals, wood, ivory and bushmeat. We used data from distance sampling surveys conducted before and after the war in a protected forest, the Okapi Faunal Reserve, to document changes in elephant abundance and distribution. We employed Generalized Additive Models to relate changes in elephant distribution to human and environmental factors. Populations declined by nearly fifty percent coinciding with a major increase in elephant poaching as indicated by reports of ivory trade during the war. Our results suggest that humans influenced elephant distribution far more than habitat, both before and after the war, but post-war models explained more of the variation. Elephant abundance declined more, closer to the park boundary and to areas of intense human activity. After the war, elephant densities were relatively higher in the centre of the park where they were better protected, suggesting that this area may have acted as a refuge. In other sites in Eastern DRC, where no protection was provided, elephants were even more decimated. Post-war dynamics, such as weakened institutions, human movements and availability of weapons, continue to affect elephants. Survival of remaining populations and recovery will be determined by these persistent factors and by new threats associated with growing human populations and exploitation of natural resources. Prioritizing wildlife protection, curbing illegal trade in ivory and bushmeat, and strengthening national institutions and organizations in charge of conservation will be crucial to counter these threats. PMID:22096529

  3. 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

  4. When is a butterfly like an elephant?

    PubMed

    Kelly, D R

    1996-08-01

    The behaviours of organisms as diverse as elephants and butterflies are affected by pheromones with identical or similar structures. Recent developments in the molecular biology of pheromone detection suggest why.

  5. 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

  6. Habitat differences in dung beetle assemblages in an African savanna-forest ecotone: implications for secondary seed dispersal.

    PubMed

    Kunz, Britta K; Krell, Frank-Thorsten

    2011-06-01

    The probability and pattern of secondary seed dispersal by dung beetles (Scarabaeinae) depend on their community structure and composition at the site of primary deposition, which, in turn, seem to be strongly determined by vegetation. Consequently, we expected pronounced differences in secondary seed dispersal between forest and savanna in the northern Ivory Coast, West Africa. We found 99 dung beetle species at experimentally exposed dung piles of the olive baboon (Papio anubis (Lesson, 1827)), an important primary seed disperser in West Africa. Seventy-six species belonged to the roller and tunneler guilds, which are relevant for secondary seed dispersal. Most species showed a clear habitat preference. Contrary to the Neotropics, species number and abundance were much higher in the savanna than in the forest. Rollers and tunnelers each accounted for approximately 50% of the individuals in the savanna, but in the forest rollers made up only 4%. Seeds deposited into the savanna by an omnivorous primary disperser generally have a higher overall probability of being more rapidly dispersed secondarily by dung beetles than seeds in the forest. Also, rollers disperse seeds over larger distances. In contrast to other studies, small rollers were active in dispersal of large seeds, which were seemingly mistaken for dung balls. Our results suggest that rollers can remove seeds from any plant dispersed in primate dung in this ecosystem.

  7. Density as an explanatory variable of movements and calf survival in savanna elephants across southern Africa.

    PubMed

    Young, K D; Van Aarde, R J

    2010-05-01

    1. Southern Africa's 'elephant problem' is often attributed to an overabundance of elephants (Loxodonta africana) in conservation areas. Paradoxically, the African elephant is listed as 'vulnerable' (IUCN Redlist) despite occupying a large geographical range and numbering about 600 000. How densities influence elephant populations is therefore important for conservation management decisions, particularly because a move towards non-equilibrium management of savannas implies a need for elephant populations to fluctuate in response to variation in intrinsic (demographic) and extrinsic (resource) factors. 2. A study on one of the world's largest elephant populations demonstrated that population regulation is driven by a spatial response to water availability, environmental stochasticity and density. The challenge remains to identify the demographic and behavioural variables that drive density dependence. 3. We evaluated whether the movements of elephant family groups from 13 populations across a wide resource gradient were explained by variability in primary productivity, rainfall and population density. We then assessed whether density-related movements explained variability in juvenile survival, hence inferring a spatially driven behavioural mechanism that may explain density-dependent population growth. We also analysed whether management actions modified this mechanism. 4. In the dry season, daily-displacement distances (DDDs) increased non-linearly with density, and declined with increased vegetation productivity and previous wet season rainfall. In the wet season, DDDs were primarily explained by vegetation productivity. 5. The survival of weaned calves (4-7 years) decreased with increasing dry season DDDs, but this did not hold for suckling calves (1-3 years) or sub-adults (8-11 years). 6. Fences and supplementary water modified the shape and strength of relationships between DDDs and densities, vegetation productivity and rainfall and negated the relationships

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection among Asian Elephants in Captivity

    PubMed Central

    Simpson, Gary; Zimmerman, Ralph; Shashkina, Elena; Chen, Liang; Richard, Michael; Bradford, Carol M.; Dragoo, Gwen A.; Saiers, Rhonda L.; Peloquin, Charles A.; Daley, Charles L.; Planet, Paul; Narachenia, Apurva; Mathema, Barun

    2017-01-01

    Although awareness of tuberculosis among captive elephants is increasing, antituberculosis therapy for these animals is not standardized. We describe Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission between captive elephants based on whole genome analysis and report a successful combination treatment. Infection control protocols and careful monitoring of treatment of captive elephants with tuberculosis are warranted. PMID:28221115

  11. Consider a non-spherical elephant: computational fluid dynamics simulations of heat transfer coefficients and drag verified using wind tunnel experiments.

    PubMed

    Dudley, Peter N; Bonazza, Riccardo; Porter, Warren P

    2013-07-01

    Animal momentum and heat transfer analysis has historically used direct animal measurements or approximations to calculate drag and heat transfer coefficients. Research can now use modern 3D rendering and computational fluid dynamics software to simulate animal-fluid interactions. Key questions are the level of agreement between simulations and experiments and how superior they are to classical approximations. In this paper we compared experimental and simulated heat transfer and drag calculations on a scale model solid aluminum African elephant casting. We found good agreement between experimental and simulated data and large differences from classical approximations. We used the simulation results to calculate coefficients for heat transfer and drag of the elephant geometry.

  12. Sensitivity of the grassland-forest ecotone in East African open woodland savannah to historical rainfall variation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ssemmanda, I.; Gelorini, V.; Verschuren, D.

    2014-04-01

    Fossil pollen records provide key insight into the sensitivity of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change at longer time scales. However, tracing vegetation response to relatively modest historical climate fluctuations is often complicated by the overriding signature of anthropogenic landscape disturbance. Here we use high-resolution pollen data from a ~200 year lake-sediment record in open woodland savannah of Queen Elisabeth National Park (southwestern Uganda) to assess the sensitivity of the tropical lowland grassland-forest ecotone to historical fluctuations in annual rainfall on the order of 10% lasting several decades. Specifically we trace vegetation response to three episodes of increased regional rainfall dated to the 1820s-1830s, ca. 1865-1890 and from 1962 to around 2000. During inferred wetter episodes we find increases in the relative pollen abundance from trees and shrubs of moist semi-deciduous forest (Allophylus, Macaranga, Celtis, Alchornea), riparian forest (Phoenix reclinata) and savannah woodland (Myrica, Acalypha, Combretaceae/Melostomataceae) as well as local savannah taxa (Acacia, Rhus type vulgaris, Ficus), together creating strong temporary reductions in Poaceae pollen (to 45-55% of the terrestrial pollen sum). During intervening dry episodes, most notably the period ca. 1920-1962, Poaceae pollen attained values of 65-75%, and dryland herbs such as Commelina, Justicia type odora and Chenopodiaceae expanded at the expense of Asteraceae, Solanum-type, Swertia usumbarensis-type, and (modestly so) Urticaceae. Noting that the overall diversity of arboreal taxa remained high but their combined abundance low, we conclude that the landscape surrounding Lake Chibwera has been an open woodland savannah throughout the past 200 years, with historical rainfall variation exerting modest effects on local tree cover (mostly the abundance of Acacia and Ficus) and the prevalence of damp soil areas promoting Phoenix reclinata. The strong apparent expansion

  13. Using IKONOS and Aerial Videography to Validate Landsat Land Cover Maps of Central African Tropical Rain Forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, T.; Laporte, N. T.

    2003-12-01

    Compared to the traditional validation methods, aerial videography is a relatively inexpensive and time-efficient approach to collect "field" data for validating satellite-derived land cover map over large areas. In particular, this approach is valuable in remote and inaccessible locations. In the Sangha Tri-National Park region of Central Africa, where road access is limited to industrial logging sites, we are using IKONOS imagery and aerial videography to assess the accuracy of Landsat-derived land cover maps. As part of a NASA Land Cover Land Use Change project (INFORMS) and in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society in the Republic of Congo, over 1500km of aerial video transects were collected in the Spring of 2001. The use of MediaMapper software combined with a VMS 200 video mapping system enabled the collection of aerial transects to be registered with geographic locations from a Geographic Positioning System. Video frame were extracted, visually interpreted, and compared to land cover types mapped by Landsat. We addressed the limitations of accuracy assessment using aerial-base data and its potential for improving vegetation mapping in tropical rain forests. The results of the videography and IKONOS image analysis demonstrate the utility of very high resolution imagery for map validation and forest resource assessment.

  14. Primate remains from African crowned eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) nests in Ivory Coast's Tai Forest: implications for primate predation and early hominid taphonomy in South Africa.

    PubMed

    McGraw, W Scott; Cooke, Catherine; Shultz, Susanne

    2006-10-01

    Understanding the initial processes of deposition can help with interpretations of fossil assemblages. Here we discuss the taphonomy of primate remains collected under 16 nests of African crowned eagles (Stephanoaetus coronatus) in the Tai Forest, Ivory Coast. From 1,200 bones collected, including 669 primate bones, we calculated minimum number of individuals (MNI), survivability profiles, and damage profiles using methods identical to those employed by Sanders et al. (2003 J. Hum. Evol. 44:87-105) in their analysis of bones from eagle nests in Uganda. Crowned eagles leave a consistent taphonomic signature on their prey remains; hence, results from our analysis of the Tai assemblage are similar to those from the Ugandan sample. Hindlimb and cranial bones are relatively abundant in the sample, while ribs, vertebrae, carpals, and tarsals do not survive well. Primate crania typically display puncture marks around the eye, long bones remain largely intact, and scapulae exhibit raked breakage. These data have implications for understanding the dynamic between extant primates and one of their principle predators, as well as the taphonomy of hominid-bearing caves in South Africa. We concur with Berger and Clarke (1995 J. Hum. Evol. 29:275-299) that a large raptor could have been responsible for the death of the Taung child, Australopithecus africanus.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-01-01

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

  16. What is the use of elephant hair?

    PubMed

    Myhrvold, Conor L; Stone, Howard A; Bou-Zeid, Elie

    2012-01-01

    The idea that low surface densities of hairs could be a heat loss mechanism is understood in engineering and has been postulated in some thermal studies of animals. However, its biological implications, both for thermoregulation as well as for the evolution of epidermal structures, have not yet been noted. Since early epidermal structures are poorly preserved in the fossil record, we study modern elephants to infer not only the heat transfer effect of present-day sparse hair, but also its potential evolutionary origins. Here we use a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches, and a range of hair densities determined from photographs, to test whether sparse hairs increase convective heat loss from elephant skin, thus serving an intentional evolutionary purpose. Our conclusion is that elephants are covered with hair that significantly enhances their thermoregulation ability by over 5% under all scenarios considered, and by up to 23% at low wind speeds where their thermoregulation needs are greatest. The broader biological significance of this finding suggests that maintaining a low-density hair cover can be evolutionary purposeful and beneficial, which is consistent with the fact that elephants have the greatest need for heat loss of any modern terrestrial animal because of their high body-volume to skin-surface ratio. Elephant hair is the first documented example in nature where increasing heat transfer due to a low hair density covering may be a desirable effect, and therefore raises the possibility of such a covering for similarly sized animals in the past. This elephant example dispels the widely-held assumption that in modern endotherms body hair functions exclusively as an insulator and could therefore be a first step to resolving the prior paradox of why hair was able to evolve in a world much warmer than our own.

  17. 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.

  18. Further diagnostic thoughts about the Elephant Man.

    PubMed

    Cohen, M M

    1988-04-01

    Further evidence for a diagnosis of the Elephant Man's condition is reviewed. It is known that the Elephant Man had "mocassin" lesions, hyperostoses of the skull, and absence of café-au-lait spots, all of which are characteristic of Proteus syndrome. Recently, questions have been raised about his skeletal findings and their relevance to neurofibromatosis. However, other skeletal diagnoses have been entertained, including Maffucci syndrome, Paget's disease of bone, pyarthrosis, and fibrous dysplasia. These diagnostic possibilities are discussed and evaluated critically. It is concluded that the skeletal findings are most consistent with Proteus syndrome and coincidental hip disease secondary to childhood trauma.

  19. Monitoring great ape and elephant abundance at large spatial scales: measuring effectiveness of a conservation landscape.

    PubMed

    Stokes, Emma J; Strindberg, Samantha; Bakabana, Parfait C; Elkan, Paul W; Iyenguet, Fortuné C; Madzoké, Bola; Malanda, Guy Aimé F; Mowawa, Brice S; Moukoumbou, Calixte; Ouakabadio, Franck K; Rainey, Hugo J

    2010-04-23

    Protected areas are fundamental to biodiversity conservation, but there is growing recognition of the need to extend beyond protected areas to meet the ecological requirements of species at larger scales. Landscape-scale conservation requires an evaluation of management impact on biodiversity under different land-use strategies; this is challenging and there exist few empirical studies. In a conservation landscape in northern Republic of Congo we demonstrate the application of a large-scale monitoring program designed to evaluate the impact of conservation interventions on three globally threatened species: western gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants, under three land-use types: integral protection, commercial logging, and community-based natural resource management. We applied distance-sampling methods to examine species abundance across different land-use types under varying degrees of management and human disturbance. We found no clear trends in abundance between land-use types. However, units with interventions designed to reduce poaching and protect habitats--irrespective of land-use type--harboured all three species at consistently higher abundance than a neighbouring logging concession undergoing no wildlife management. We applied Generalized-Additive Models to evaluate a priori predictions of species response to different landscape processes. Our results indicate that, given adequate protection from poaching, elephants and gorillas can profit from herbaceous vegetation in recently logged forests and maintain access to ecologically important resources located outside of protected areas. However, proximity to the single integrally protected area in the landscape maintained an overriding positive influence on elephant abundance, and logging roads--even subject to anti-poaching controls--were exploited by elephant poachers and had a major negative influence on elephant distribution. Chimpanzees show a clear preference for unlogged or more mature forests

  20. The skull and mandible of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    van der Merwe, N J; Bezuidenhout, A J; Seegers, C D

    1995-12-01

    In the present study the bones of the skull, excluding the hyoid apparatus, are described. All the bones are aerated by sinuses. In the occipital bone the squamous part is aerated from the sinus of the parietal bone, the lateral part is aerated from the tympanic bulla and the basal part from the sinus of the basisphenoid bone. Condylar foramens and hypoglossal canals are absent. A small interparietal bone is present at birth. At an early age it fuses with the surrounding cranial bones. The squamous part of the temporal bone lies sagittally in young animals, but moves progressively to a transverse plane as the animals age. A foramen lacerum is represented by jugular and oval foramens and the carotid canal. The body of the basisphenoid bone is excavated by the massive maxillary tuberosity. The latter extends to the oval foramen and contains the developing molar teeth. The ethmoturbinate, nasal and lacrimal bones are exceptionally small. In old bulls the palatine process of the incisive bones and their sinuses are gradually displaced by the palatine process of the maxillae.

  1. Using Social Media to Measure the Contribution of Red List Species to the Nature-Based Tourism Potential of African Protected Areas

    PubMed Central

    Drakou, Evangelia G.; Burgess, Neil D.

    2015-01-01

    Cultural ecosystem services are defined by people’s perception of the environment, which make them hard to quantify systematically. Methods to describe cultural benefits from ecosystems typically include resource-demanding survey techniques, which are not suitable to assess cultural ecosystem services for large areas. In this paper we explore a method to quantify cultural benefits through the enjoyment of natured-based tourism, by assessing the potential tourism attractiveness of species for each protected area in Africa using the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. We use the number of pictures of wildlife posted on a photo sharing website as a proxy for charisma, popularity, and ease of observation, as these factors combined are assumed to determine how attractive species are for the global wildlife tourist. Based on photo counts of 2473 African animals and plants, species that seem most attractive to nature-based tourism are the Lion, African Elephant and Leopard. Combining the photo counts with species range data, African protected areas with the highest potential to attract wildlife tourists based on attractive species occurrence were Samburu National Reserve in Kenya, Mukogodo Forest Reserve located just north of Mount Kenya, and Addo Elephant National Park in South-Africa. The proposed method requires only three data sources which are freely accessible and available online, which could make the proposed index tractable for large scale quantitative ecosystem service assessments. The index directly links species presence to the tourism potential of protected areas, making the connection between nature and human benefits explicit, but excludes other important contributing factors for tourism, such as accessibility and safety. This social media based index provides a broad understanding of those species that are popular globally; in many cases these are not the species of highest conservation concern. PMID:26068111

  2. Using Social Media to Measure the Contribution of Red List Species to the Nature-Based Tourism Potential of African Protected Areas.

    PubMed

    Willemen, Louise; Cottam, Andrew J; Drakou, Evangelia G; Burgess, Neil D

    2015-01-01

    Cultural ecosystem services are defined by people's perception of the environment, which make them hard to quantify systematically. Methods to describe cultural benefits from ecosystems typically include resource-demanding survey techniques, which are not suitable to assess cultural ecosystem services for large areas. In this paper we explore a method to quantify cultural benefits through the enjoyment of natured-based tourism, by assessing the potential tourism attractiveness of species for each protected area in Africa using the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species. We use the number of pictures of wildlife posted on a photo sharing website as a proxy for charisma, popularity, and ease of observation, as these factors combined are assumed to determine how attractive species are for the global wildlife tourist. Based on photo counts of 2473 African animals and plants, species that seem most attractive to nature-based tourism are the Lion, African Elephant and Leopard. Combining the photo counts with species range data, African protected areas with the highest potential to attract wildlife tourists based on attractive species occurrence were Samburu National Reserve in Kenya, Mukogodo Forest Reserve located just north of Mount Kenya, and Addo Elephant National Park in South-Africa. The proposed method requires only three data sources which are freely accessible and available online, which could make the proposed index tractable for large scale quantitative ecosystem service assessments. The index directly links species presence to the tourism potential of protected areas, making the connection between nature and human benefits explicit, but excludes other important contributing factors for tourism, such as accessibility and safety. This social media based index provides a broad understanding of those species that are popular globally; in many cases these are not the species of highest conservation concern.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  5. East African Rift Valley, Kenya

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    This rare, cloud free view of the East African Rift Valley, Kenya (1.5N, 35.5E) shows a clear view of the Turkwell River Valley, an offshoot of the African REift System. The East African Rift is part of a vast plate fracture which extends from southern Turkey, through the Red Sea, East Africa and into Mozambique. Dark green patches of forests are seen along the rift margin and tea plantations occupy the cooler higher ground.

  6. Hearing in the elephant (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Heffner, R; Heffner, H

    1980-05-02

    Auditory thresholds were determined for a 7-year-old Indian elephant. The hearing range extended from 17 hertz to 10.5 kilohertz. The results indicate that the inverse relationship between functional interaural distance (that is, the distance between the two ears divided by the speed of sound) and high-frequency hearing limit is valid even for very large mammals.

  7. Elephant teeth from the atlantic continental shelf.

    PubMed

    Whitmore, F C; Emery, K O; Cooke, H B; Swift, D J

    1967-06-16

    Teeth of mastodons and mammoths 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, anz relict sands. Evidently elephants and other large mammals ranged this region during the glacial stage of low sea level of the last 25,000 years.

  8. Elephant teeth from the atlantic continental shelf

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1967-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. Carbon, nitrogen cycling and land cover changes during regrowth in African dry tropical forests: integrating perspectives from field and satellite data across a chronosequence in the Miombo Woodlands of western Tanzania

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mayes, M. T.; Melillo, J. M.; Mustard, J. F.; Neill, C.; Nyadzi, G.

    2015-12-01

    tree C stocks. We use ground and canopy cover data to test remote sensing characterizations of land cover across disturbed and regrowth sites. Such scaling relationships will allow us to improve remote sensing characterization of land cover in African SDTFs and develop landscape-scale estimates of how forest cover changes affect C, N and water cycling regionally.

  11. [Keeping of elephants in the zoo and circus].

    PubMed

    Rietschel, W

    2002-03-01

    There is a decrease in the number of elephants kept in European zoological gardens and circus companies. In the future the import of animals will only be possible for holders which are able to keep family-groups of elephants under species-specific conditions. This will not be possible under circus conditions. This article will describe some problems observed in elephant holdings in zoological gardens and circus companies.

  12. 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. Kinetics of viral loads and genotypic analysis of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus-1 infection in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

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

    2013-03-01

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

  14. Why Do Elephants Flap Their Ears?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koffi, Moise; Jiji, Latif; Andreopoulos, Yiannis

    2009-11-01

    It is estimated that a 4200 kg elephant generates as much as 5.12 kW of heat. How the elephant dissipates its metabolic heat and regulates its body temperature has been investigated during the past seven decades. Findings and conclusions differ sharply. The high rate of metabolic heat coupled with low surface area to volume ratio and the absence of sweat glands eliminate surface convection as the primary mechanism for heat removal. Noting that the elephant ears have high surface area to volume ratio and an extensive vascular network, ear flapping is thought to be the principal thermoregulatory mechanism. A computational and experimental program is carried out to examine flow and heat transfer characteristics. The ear is modeled as a uniformly heated oscillating rectangular plate. Our computational work involves a three-dimensional time dependent CFD code with heat transfer capabilities to obtain predictions of the flow field and surface temperature distributions. This information was used to design an experimental setup with a uniformly heated plate of size 0.2m x 0.3m oscillating at 1.6 cycles per second. Results show that surface temperature increases and reaches a steady periodic oscillation after a period of transient oscillation. The role of the vortices shed off the plate in heat transfer enhancement will be discussed.

  15. Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in Free-Roaming Wild Asian Elephant

    PubMed Central

    Shivashankar, Beechagondahalli Papanna; Umashankar, Kunigal Srinivasa; Nandini, Poojappa; Giridhar, Papanna; Byregowda, Somenahalli Munivenkatappa; Shrinivasa, Basavegowdanadoddi Marinaik

    2017-01-01

    Postmortem examination of a wild Asian elephant at Rajiv Gandhi National Park, India, revealed nodular lesions, granulomas with central caseation, and acid-fast bacilli in the lungs. PCR and nucleotide sequencing confirmed the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This study indicates that wild elephants can harbor M. tuberculosis that can become fatal. PMID:28221114

  16. Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Wild Asian Elephants, Southern India

    PubMed Central

    Zachariah, Arun; Pandiyan, Jeganathan; Madhavilatha, G.K.; Mundayoor, Sathish; Chandramohan, Bathrachalam; Sajesh, P.K.; Santhosh, Sam

    2017-01-01

    We tested 3 ild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in southern India and confirmed infection in 3 animals with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an obligate human pathogen, by PCR and genetic sequencing. Our results indicate that tuberculosis may be spilling over from humans (reverse zoonosis) and emerging in wild elephants. PMID:28221104

  17. Drug delivery to captive Asian elephants - treating Goliath.

    PubMed

    Isaza, Ramiro; Hunter, Robert P

    2004-07-01

    Captive Asian elephants have been maintained in captivity by humans for over 4000 years. Despite this association, there is little published literature on the treatment of elephant diseases or methods of drug administration to these animals. Elephants in captivity are generally healthy and require few therapeutic interventions over the course of their lifetime. However, when they become acutely ill, treatment becomes a serious issue. The successful and consistent administration of therapeutics to elephants is formidable in an animal that presents significant limitations in drug delivery options. The single most important factor in administering drugs to an elephant is the animal's cooperation in accepting the medication. Working around elephants can be very dangerous and this is magnified when working around sick or injured animals where the elephant is subject to increased stress, pain, and unusual situations associated with treatment. The large body size of the Asian elephant produces a separate set of issues. In this paper, methods of drug administration and their associated limitations will be reviewed. Considerations of medicating such large animals can serve to highlight the problems and principles of treatment that are inherent in these species.

  18. 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

  19. 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…

  20. 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…

  1. Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Wild Asian Elephants, Southern India.

    PubMed

    Zachariah, Arun; Pandiyan, Jeganathan; Madhavilatha, G K; Mundayoor, Sathish; Chandramohan, Bathrachalam; Sajesh, P K; Santhosh, Sam; Mikota, Susan K

    2017-03-01

    We tested 3 ild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in southern India and confirmed infection in 3 animals with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an obligate human pathogen, by PCR and genetic sequencing. Our results indicate that tuberculosis may be spilling over from humans (reverse zoonosis) and emerging in wild elephants.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sasani, Samira

    2015-01-01

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

  4. 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

  5. The impact of competition on elephant musth strategies: A game-theoretic model.

    PubMed

    Wyse, J Max; Hardy, Ian C W; Yon, Lisa; Mesterton-Gibbons, Mike

    2017-03-21

    Mature male African Savannah elephants are known to periodically enter a temporary state of heightened aggression called "musth", often linked with increased androgens, particularly testosterone. Sexually mature males are capable of entering musth at any time of year, and will often travel long distances to find estrous females. When two musth bulls or two non-musth bulls encounter one another, the agonistic interaction is usually won by the larger male. However, when a smaller musth bull encounters a larger non-musth bull, the smaller musth male can win. The relative mating success of musth males is due partly to this fighting advantage, and partly to estrous females' general preference for musth males. Though musth behavior has long been observed and documented, the evolutionary advantages of musth remain poorly understood. Here we develop a game-theoretic model of male musth behavior which assumes musth duration as a parameter, and distributions of small, medium and large musth males are predicted in both time and space. The predicted results are similar to the musth timing behavior observed in the Amboseli National Park elephant population, and further results are generated with relevance to Samburu National Park. We discuss small male musth behavior, the effects of estrous female spatial heterogeneity on musth timing, conservation applications, and the assumptions underpinning the model.

  6. 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.

  7. Geographic population structure of the African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae suggests a role for the forest-savannah biome transition as a barrier to gene flow.

    PubMed

    Pinto, J; Egyir-Yawson, A; Vicente, Jl; Gomes, B; Santolamazza, F; Moreno, M; Charlwood, Jd; Simard, F; Elissa, N; Weetman, D; Donnelly, Mj; Caccone, A; Della Torre, A

    2013-09-01

    The primary Afrotropical malaria mosquito vector Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto has a complex population structure. In west Africa, this species is split into two molecular forms and displays local and regional variation in chromosomal arrangements and behaviors. To investigate patterns of macrogeographic population substructure, 25 An. gambiae samples from 12 African countries were genotyped at 13 microsatellite loci. This analysis detected the presence of additional population structuring, with the M-form being subdivided into distinct west, central, and southern African genetic clusters. These clusters are coincident with the central African rainforest belt and northern and southern savannah biomes, which suggests restrictions to gene flow associated with the transition between these biomes. By contrast, geographically patterned population substructure appears much weaker within the S-form.

  8. Geographic population structure of the African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae suggests a role for the forest-savannah biome transition as a barrier to gene flow

    PubMed Central

    Pinto, J; Egyir-Yawson, A; Vicente, JL; Gomes, B; Santolamazza, F; Moreno, M; Charlwood, JD; Simard, F; Elissa, N; Weetman, D; Donnelly, MJ; Caccone, A; della Torre, A

    2013-01-01

    The primary Afrotropical malaria mosquito vector Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto has a complex population structure. In west Africa, this species is split into two molecular forms and displays local and regional variation in chromosomal arrangements and behaviors. To investigate patterns of macrogeographic population substructure, 25 An. gambiae samples from 12 African countries were genotyped at 13 microsatellite loci. This analysis detected the presence of additional population structuring, with the M-form being subdivided into distinct west, central, and southern African genetic clusters. These clusters are coincident with the central African rainforest belt and northern and southern savannah biomes, which suggests restrictions to gene flow associated with the transition between these biomes. By contrast, geographically patterned population substructure appears much weaker within the S-form. PMID:24062800

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Global trends and factors associated with the illegal killing of elephants: A hierarchical bayesian analysis of carcass encounter data.

    PubMed

    Burn, Robert W; Underwood, Fiona M; Blanc, Julian

    2011-01-01

    Elephant poaching and the ivory trade remain high on the agenda at meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Well-informed debates require robust estimates of trends, the spatial distribution of poaching, and drivers of poaching. We present an analysis of trends and drivers of an indicator of elephant poaching of all elephant species. The site-based monitoring system known as Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE), set up by the 10(th) Conference of the Parties of CITES in 1997, produces carcass encounter data reported mainly by anti-poaching patrols. Data analyzed were site by year totals of 6,337 carcasses from 66 sites in Africa and Asia from 2002-2009. Analysis of these observational data is a serious challenge to traditional statistical methods because of the opportunistic and non-random nature of patrols, and the heterogeneity across sites. Adopting a bayesian hierarchical modeling approach, we used the proportion of carcasses that were illegally killed (PIKE) as a poaching index, to estimate the trend and the effects of site- and country-level factors associated with poaching. Important drivers of illegal killing that emerged at country level were poor governance and low levels of human development, and at site level, forest cover and area of the site in regions where human population density is low. After a drop from 2002, PIKE remained fairly constant from 2003 until 2006, after which it increased until 2008. The results for 2009 indicate a decline. Sites with PIKE ranging from the lowest to the highest were identified. The results of the analysis provide a sound information base for scientific evidence-based decision making in the CITES process.

  12. Global Trends and Factors Associated with the Illegal Killing of Elephants: A Hierarchical Bayesian Analysis of Carcass Encounter Data

    PubMed Central

    Burn, Robert W.; Underwood, Fiona M.; Blanc, Julian

    2011-01-01

    Elephant poaching and the ivory trade remain high on the agenda at meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Well-informed debates require robust estimates of trends, the spatial distribution of poaching, and drivers of poaching. We present an analysis of trends and drivers of an indicator of elephant poaching of all elephant species. The site-based monitoring system known as Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE), set up by the 10th Conference of the Parties of CITES in 1997, produces carcass encounter data reported mainly by anti-poaching patrols. Data analyzed were site by year totals of 6,337 carcasses from 66 sites in Africa and Asia from 2002–2009. Analysis of these observational data is a serious challenge to traditional statistical methods because of the opportunistic and non-random nature of patrols, and the heterogeneity across sites. Adopting a Bayesian hierarchical modeling approach, we used the proportion of carcasses that were illegally killed (PIKE) as a poaching index, to estimate the trend and the effects of site- and country-level factors associated with poaching. Important drivers of illegal killing that emerged at country level were poor governance and low levels of human development, and at site level, forest cover and area of the site in regions where human population density is low. After a drop from 2002, PIKE remained fairly constant from 2003 until 2006, after which it increased until 2008. The results for 2009 indicate a decline. Sites with PIKE ranging from the lowest to the highest were identified. The results of the analysis provide a sound information base for scientific evidence-based decision making in the CITES process. PMID:21912670

  13. Residues of persistent organochlorine contaminants in southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) from Elephant Island, Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Miranda-Filho, Kleber C; Metcalfe, Tracy L; Metcalfe, Chris D; Robaldo, Ricardo B; Muelbert, Mônica M C; Colares, Elton P; Martinez, Pablo E; Bianchini, Adalto

    2007-06-01

    Contamination of blubber tissues by organochlorine pesticides (OC) and PCBs was assessed in female and male pups and juveniles, as well as in adult females and subdominant adult males of the Southern elephant seal, Mirounga leonina, from Elephant Island in the Antarctic Peninsula. All residues of persistent organochlorine contaminants analyzed were found in blubber samples, except for beta-HCH, endosulfan II, endrin, heptachlor, and aldrin. The relative concentrations of the analytes detected were sigmaDDT > sigmaPCB > sigmachlordane > mirex > dieldrin > HCB> sigmaendosulfan > methoxychlor > sigmaHCHs > other OC pesticides. OC and PCBs concentrations were 1 or 2 orders of magnitude lower than those found in pinnipeds from northern hemisphere. The ratio sigmaDDT/sigmaPCB was higher in southern elephant seals. The relative importance of some OC residues indicates that pesticides used either currently or in the recent past in countries in the southern hemisphere are the sources of contamination in the Antarctic region. Data showed that concentrations of contaminants generally increased from pups < juveniles < adults and suggested that pups accumulated contaminants through transfer from the mother seals via transplacental and lactational routes.

  14. Positive reinforcement training for a trunk wash in Nepal's working elephants: demonstrating alternatives to traditional elephant training techniques.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  15. The Proteus syndrome: the Elephant Man diagnosed.

    PubMed

    Tibbles, J A; Cohen, M M

    1986-09-13

    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.

  16. Blood temperature profiles of diving elephant seals.

    PubMed

    Meir, Jessica U; Ponganis, Paul J

    2010-01-01

    Hypothermia-induced reductions in metabolic rate have been proposed to suppress metabolism and prolong the duration of aerobic metabolism during dives of marine mammals and birds. To determine whether core hypothermia might contribute to the repetitive long-duration dives of the northern elephant seal Mirounga angustirostris, blood temperature profiles were obtained in translocated juvenile elephant seals equipped with a thermistor and backpack recorder. Representative temperature (the y-intercept of the mean temperature vs. dive duration relationship) was 37.2 degrees C +/- 0.6 degrees C (n=3 seals) in the extradural vein, 38.1 degrees C +/- 0.7 degrees C (n = 4 seals) in the hepatic sinus, and 38.8 degrees +/- 1.6 degrees C (n = 6 deals) in the aorta. Mean temperature was significantly though weakly negatively related to dive duration in all but one seal. Mean venous temperatures of all dives of individual seals ranged between 36 degrees and 38 degrees C, while mean arterial temperatures ranged between 35 degrees and 39 degrees C. Transient decreases in venous and arterial temperatures to as low as 30 degrees -33 degrees C occurred in some dives >30 min (0.1% of dives in the study). The lack of significant core hypothermia during routine dives (10-30 min) and only a weak negative correlation of mean temperature with dive duration do not support the hypothesis that a cold-induced Q(10) effect contributes to metabolic suppression of central tissues during dives. The wide range of arterial temperatures while diving and the transient declines in temperature during long dives suggest that alterations in blood flow patterns and peripheral heat loss contribute to thermoregulation during diving.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  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. 78 FR 690 - Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-01-04

    ... Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants AGENCY... regulations as related to elephant tuberculosis as well as to aid users in their compliance with those... Tuberculosis in Elephants'' developed by The National Tuberculosis Working Group for Zoo and Wildlife...

  1. 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'.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Detecting floristic structure and pattern across topographic and moisture gradients in a mixed species Central African forest using IKONOS and Landsat-7 ETM+ images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thenkabail, Prasad S.; Hall, Jefferson; Lin, Tiffany; Ashton, Mark S.; Harris, David; Enclona, Eden A.

    2003-06-01

    The strengths and limitations of high spatial resolution broadband IKONOS data and Landsat-7 ETM+ data are compared with respect to, distinguishing floristic structure (basal area, stem density) and pattern (diversity indices, species associations) across a topography that exhibits subtle variations in surface hydrology and elevation. Three site types can be described in relation to the topography and hydrology of the study area: (1) seasonally drought stressed; (2) valley streams; and (3) well-drained bottomlands. Non-metric Multidimensional Scaling (NMS) emphasized the importance of seasonal moisture stress in determining floristic structure and species associations in this forest. Forest structure and species data gathered across the three sites of the topographic/hydrologic gradient are related to spectral values and indices gathered from IKONOS and ETM+. Statistical tests of significance at 95% confidence level or higher showed that the IKONOS wavebands and vegetation indices were most sensitive to changes in floristic structure and species composition for images taken during the dry season (October-March) as compared to those for the wet season (April-September). Within the IKONOS data, the near-infrared (NIR) waveband (band 4) was most sensitive to changes in forest structure and species composition across the three site types (seasonally drought stressed; valley streams; and well-drained bottomlands). However, the IKONOS spectral relationships with biotic variables did not exceed an R2 value of 0.34, with an overwhelming number of best regression models having any two waveband combinations; typically combinations of band 1 and 2, or 1 and 3, or 2 and 3. The best relationships were obtained when ETM+ mid-infrared (MIR) band 5 or 7 were involved with R2 values of 0.52 and 0.54 for basal area and stem density respectively, explaining about 20% greater variability compared to IKONOS data. Thereby, the most interesting aspect of the paper was the degree to which

  7. The comparative phylogeography of fruit bats of the tribe Scotonycterini (Chiroptera, Pteropodidae) reveals cryptic species diversity related to African Pleistocene forest refugia.

    PubMed

    Hassanin, Alexandre; Khouider, Souraya; Gembu, Guy-Crispin; Goodman, Steven M; Kadjo, Blaise; Nesi, Nicolas; Pourrut, Xavier; Nakouné, Emmanuel; Bonillo, Céline

    2015-03-01

    The hypothesis of Pleistocene forest refugia was tested using comparative phylogeography of Scotonycterini, a fruit bat tribe endemic to Africa containing four species: Scotonycteris zenkeri, Casinycteris argynnis, C. campomaanensis, and C. ophiodon. Patterns of genetic structure were assessed using 105 Scotonycterini (including material from three holotypes) collected at 37 localities, and DNA sequences from the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (1140 nt) and 12 nuclear introns (9641 nt). Phylogenetic trees and molecular dating were inferred by Bayesian methods. Multilocus analyses were performed using supermatrix, SuperTRI, and *BEAST approaches. Mitochondrial analyses reveal strong phylogeographical structure in Scotonycteris, with four divergent haplogroups (4.9-8.7%), from Upper Guinea, Cameroon, western Equatorial Africa, and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In C. argynnis, we identify two mtDNA haplogroups corresponding to western and eastern Equatorial Africa (1.4-2.1%). In C. ophiodon, the mtDNA haplotypes from Cameroon and Ivory Coast differ by only 1.3%. Nuclear analyses confirm the validity of the recently described C. campomaanensis and indicate that western and eastern populations of C. argynnis are not fully isolated. All mtDNA clusters detected in Scotonycteris are found to be monophyletic based on the nuclear dataset, except in eastern DRC. In the nuclear tree, the clade from western Equatorial Africa is closely related to individuals from eastern DRC, whereas in the mitochondrial tree it appears to be the sister-group of the Cameroon clade. Migrate-n analyses support gene flow from western Equatorial Africa to eastern DRC. Molecular dating indicates that Pleistocene forest refugia have played an important role in shaping the evolution of Scotonycterini, with two phases of allopatric speciation at approximately 2.7 and 1.6 Mya, resulting from isolation in three main forest areas corresponding to Upper Guinea, Cameroon, and Equatorial

  8. Forest refugia revisited: nSSRs and cpDNA sequences support historical isolation in a wide-spread African tree with high colonization capacity, Milicia excelsa (Moraceae).

    PubMed

    Daïnou, Kasso; Bizoux, Jean-Philippe; Doucet, Jean-Louis; Mahy, Grégory; Hardy, Olivier J; Heuertz, Myriam

    2010-10-01

    The impact of the Pleistocene climate oscillations on the structure of biodiversity in tropical regions remains poorly understood. In this study, the forest refuge theory is examined at the molecular level in Milicia excelsa, a dioecious tree with a continuous range throughout tropical Africa. Eight nuclear microsatellites (nSSRs) and two sequences and one microsatellite from chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) showed a deep divide between samples from Benin and those from Lower Guinea. This suggests that these populations were isolated in separate geographical regions, probably for several glacial cycles of the Pleistocene, and that the nuclear gene pools were not homogenized despite M. excelsa's wind-pollination syndrome. The divide could also be related to seed dispersal patterns, which should be largely determined by the migration behaviour of M. excelsa's main seed disperser, the frugivorous bat Eidolon helvum. Within Lower Guinea, a north-south divide, observed with both marker types despite weak genetic structure (nSSRs: F(ST) = 0.035, cpDNA: G(ST)  = 0.506), suggested the existence of separate Pleistocene refugia in Cameroon and the Gabon/Congo region. We inferred a pollen-to-seed dispersal distance ratio of c.1.8, consistent with wide-ranging gene dispersal by both wind and bats. Simulations in an Approximate Bayesian Computation framework suggested low nSSR and cpDNA mutation rates, but imprecise estimates of other demographic parameters, probably due to a substantial gene flow between the Lower Guinean gene pools. The decline of genetic diversity detected in some Gabonese populations could be a consequence of the relatively recent establishment of a closed canopy forest, which could negatively affect M. excelsa's reproductive system.

  9. Contrasting patterns of gene flow between sister plant species in the understorey of African moist forests - the case of sympatric and parapatric Marantaceae species.

    PubMed

    Ley, A C; Hardy, O J

    2014-08-01

    Gene flow within and between species is a fundamental process shaping the evolutionary history of taxa. However, the extent of hybridization and reinforcement is little documented in the tropics. Here we explore the pattern of gene flow between three sister species from the herbaceous genus Marantochloa (Marantaceae), sympatrically distributed in the understorey of the African rainforest, using data from the chloroplast and nuclear genomes (DNA sequences and AFLP). We found highly contrasting patterns: while there was no evidence of gene flow between M. congensis and M. monophylla, species identity between M. monophylla and M. incertifolia was maintained despite considerable gene flow. We hypothesize that M. incertifolia originated from an ancient hybridization event between M. congensis and M. monophylla, considering the current absence of hybridization between the two assumed parent species, the rare presence of shared haplotypes between all three species and the high percentage of haplotypes shared by M. incertifolia with each of the two parent species. This example is contrasted with two parapatrically distributed species from the same family in the genus Haumania forming a hybrid zone restricted to the area of overlap. This work illustrates the diversity of speciation/introgression patterns that can potentially occur in the flora of tropical Africa.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  11. 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

  12. Salmonella and Campylobacter spp. in northern elephant seals, California.

    PubMed

    Stoddard, Robyn A; Gulland, M D Frances; Atwill, E Rob; Lawrence, Judy; Jang, Spencer; Conrad, Patricia A

    2005-12-01

    Campylobacter and Salmonella spp. prevalence and antimicrobial drug sensitivity were determined in northern elephant seals that had not entered the water and seals that were stranded on the California coast. Stranded seals had a higher prevalence of pathogenic bacteria, possibly from terrestrial sources, which were more likely to be resistant.

  13. The "elephant man" of Cambridge. a case report of neurofibromatosis.

    PubMed

    Rai, G S; Coni, N K

    1981-03-01

    The case is presented of a 65-year-old man with neurofibromatosis manifesting facial and skeletal features resembling those of the "elephant man" described by Sir Frederick Treves. Autopsy revealed not only a pheochromocytoma (a common accompaniment of neurofibromatosis), but an enlarged infarcted spleen and a subphrenic abscess. These findings have not been described previously in a patient with neurofibromatosis.

  14. Thyroid function testing in elephant seals in health and disease.

    PubMed

    Yochem, Pamela K; Gulland, Frances M D; Stewart, Brent S; Haulena, Martin; Mazet, Jonna A K; Boyce, Walter M

    2008-02-01

    Northern Elephant Seal Skin Disease (NESSD) is a severe, ulcerative, skin condition of unknown cause affecting primarily yearling northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris); it has been associated with decreased levels of circulating thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Abnormalities of the thyroid gland that result in decreased hormone levels (hypothyroidism) can result in hair loss, scaling and secondary skin infections. However, concurrent illness (including skin ailments) can suppress basal levels of thyroid hormones and mimic hypothyroidism; when this occurs in animals with normal thyroid glands it is called "sick euthyroid syndrome". The two conditions (true hypothyroidism vs. "sick euthyroid") can be distinguished in dogs by testing the response of the thyroid gland to exogenous thyrotropin (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, TSH). To determine whether hypothyroidism is involved in the etiology of NESSD, we tested thyroid function of stranded yearling elephant seals in the following categories: healthy seals (rehabilitated and ready for release; N=9), seals suffering from NESSD (N=16) and seals with other illnesses (e.g., lungworm pneumonia; N=10). Levels of T4 increased significantly for all three categories of elephant seals following TSH stimulation, suggesting that seals with NESSD are "sick euthyroid" and that the disease is not associated with abnormal thyroid gland function.

  15. 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.

  16. 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)

  17. A multi-locus species phylogeny of African forest duikers in the subfamily Cephalophinae: evidence for a recent radiation in the Pleistocene

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Duikers in the subfamily Cephalophinae are a group of tropical forest mammals believed to have first originated during the late Miocene. However, knowledge of phylogenetic relationships, pattern and timing of their subsequent radiation is poorly understood. Here we present the first multi-locus phylogeny of this threatened group of tropical artiodactyls and use a Bayesian uncorrelated molecular clock to estimate divergence times. Results A total of 4152 bp of sequence data was obtained from two mitochondrial genes and four nuclear introns. Phylogenies were estimated using maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian analysis of concatenated mitochondrial, nuclear and combined datasets. A relaxed molecular clock with two fossil calibration points was used to estimate divergence times. The first was based on the age of the split between the two oldest subfamilies within the Bovidae whereas the second was based on the earliest known fossil appearance of the Cephalophinae and molecular divergence time estimates for the oldest lineages within this group. Findings indicate strong support for four major lineages within the subfamily, all of which date to the late Miocene/early Pliocene. The first of these to diverge was the dwarf duiker genus Philantomba, followed by the giant, eastern and western red duiker lineages, all within the genus Cephalophus. While these results uphold the recognition of Philantomba, they do not support the monotypic savanna-specialist genus Sylvicapra, which as sister to the giant duikers leaves Cephalophus paraphyletic. BEAST analyses indicate that most sister species pairs originated during the Pleistocene, suggesting that repeated glacial cycling may have played an important role in the recent diversification of this group. Furthermore, several red duiker sister species pairs appear to be either paraphyletic (C.callipygus/C. ogilbyi and C. harveyi/C. natalensis) or exhibit evidence of mitochondrial admixture (C. nigrifrons

  18. 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

  19. How to improve fertility of African soils? Leguminous fallows (Cameroon), addition of farmyard manure and mineral fertilizer (Kenya), organic residues management and introduction of N2 fixing species in forest plantations (Congo).

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koutika, Lydie-Stella; Mareschal, Louis; Mouanda, Cadeau; Epron, Daniel

    2014-05-01

    Most of African soils are inherently infertile and poor in nutrients mainly nitrogen and phosphorus. Several practices are used to improve soil fertility, increase productivity and ensure their sustainability. Soil fertility in the leguminous fallows was evaluated through particulate organic matter (POM), the more active part of soil organic matter (SOM) in Cameroon. The combination of mineral and organic (manure) fertilizers increased microbial P biomass allowing the release of P along the plant growing period in the Kenyan soils. Organic residues management and introduction of nitrogen fixing species (Acacia) were used to improve soil fertility and sustain forest productivity on the coastal plains of Congo. SOM fractionation was made under Pueraria, Mucuna fallows and natural regrowth mainly Chromolaena and under 3 forest plantation treatments installed in previous savanna: 1) no input, 2) normal input, and 3) double input of organic residues. Microbial P biomass and sequential P fractionation were evaluated in high and low P fixing soils. N, C, available P and pH were determined on soil sampled in acacia (100A), eucalypt (100E) and mixed-species (50A:50E) stands. N and P were determined in aboveground litters and in leaves, bark and wood of trees. The two leguminous fallows increased N content in POM fractions i.e., N >1% for Pueraria and Mucuna against N<1% for natural regrowth in the 0-0.10m depth, probably through N input from N2 fixation from the atmosphere (Cameroon).The addition of mineral fertilizers and farmyard manure increases P biomass (4.8 after 2 weeks to 15.2 after 16 weeks), and then decreased to 9.7 mg P g-1 soil (week 32). It also changes the P Hedley fractions partition in the high P fixing Kenyan soil (0-0.10m). After two rotations (14 years), SOM mineralization was the highest in the double input of organic residues treatment (low coarse POM 5.6 g kg-1 of soil and high organo-mineral fraction (OMF) 115 g kg-1 of soil). The introduction of A

  20. Effect of feeding different levels of wheat roti on nutrient utilization and blood metabolite profile in semi-captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Das, A; Saini, M; Katole, S; Kullu, S S; Swarup, D; Sharma, A K

    2015-04-01

    This experiment was conducted to study the effect of different levels of wheat roti (WR) on nutrient utilization and blood metabolites in Asian elephants fed roughages ad libitum. Nine (3 M, 6 F) Asian elephants (14-52 years of age, 1909-3968 kg BW) were used in an experiment based on replicated Latin square design. Animals in each group (n = 3) were assigned to one of the three dietary treatments in a manner that animals in all the three groups were exposed to all the three treatments in three different periods. Each feeding trial comprised 30 days (25 days of adaptation and 5 days collection period). The amount of WR fed to the elephants was 0.18, 0.12 and 0.06% of BW in groups I, II and III, respectively. They were allowed to forage in the nearby forests for 6 h/day and to bathe for 2 h/day. The animals had ad libitum access to cut Rohini (Mallotus philippensis) trees in their night shelter. Intake and apparent digestibility of dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), gross energy (GE), Ca, P, Fe, Cu and Zn were measured. Feed consumption was not significantly different among the groups. Significant (p < 0.01) decrease in digestibility of DM and GE and blood glucose concentration was observed with decreased level of WR in the diet. Feeding of WR at 0.06% of BW supplied adequate amount of DE, CP, Ca, P, Fe, Cu and Zn to meet requirement for adult maintenance. Feeding of WR in excess of 0.06% of BW supplied DE in excess of requirement, increased blood glucose concentration which may cause obesity and other associated health problems. It was concluded that the amount of WR should be restricted to 0.06% of BW in the diet of captive Asian elephants.

  1. Comparison of cortisol and thyroid hormones between tuberculosis-suspect and healthy elephants of Nepal

    PubMed Central

    PAUDEL, Sarad; BROWN, Janine L.; THAPALIYA, Sharada; DHAKAL, Ishwari P.; MIKOTA, Susan K.; GAIRHE, Kamal P.; SHIMOZURU, Michito; TSUBOTA, Toshio

    2016-01-01

    We compared cortisol and thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) concentrations between tuberculosis (TB)-suspected (n=10) and healthy (n=10) elephants of Nepal. Whole blood was collected from captive elephants throughout Nepal, and TB testing was performed using the ElephantTB STAT-PAK® and DPP VetTB® serological assays that detect antibodies against Mycobacterium tuberculosis and M. bovis in elephant serum. Cortisol, T3 and T4 were quantified by competitive enzyme immunoassays, and the results showed no significant differences in hormone concentrations between TB-suspect and healthy elephants. These preliminary data suggest neither adrenal nor thyroid function is altered by TB disease status. However, more elephants, including those positively diagnosed for TB by trunk wash cultures, need to be evaluated over time to confirm results. PMID:27452878

  2. Environmental Perturbations, Behavioral Change, and Population Response in a Long-Term Northern Elephant Seal Study

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-09-30

    Population Response in a Long-Term Northern Elephant Seal Study Daniel P. Costa University of California, Santa Cruz 100 Shaffer Rd. Santa Cruz, CA...grant has allowed us to extend and improve a four-decade study of northern elephant seal populations in California, aiming specifically to quantify...in a Long-Term Northern Elephant Seal Study 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b. GRANT NUMBER 5c. PROGRAM ELEMENT NUMBER 6. AUTHOR(S) 5d. PROJECT NUMBER 5e

  3. Indigenous Systems within the African-American Community

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Marbley, Aretha Faye; Rouson, Leon

    2011-01-01

    For the African-American family, life ain't been no crystal stair. The African-American family has trotted for over 400 years through a wilderness of racism, poverty, discrimination of all kinds, crossing seas of monsters and forests of demons. Yet, despite the numerous obstacles and attacks that society has mounted against it since slavery, the…

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    There is a need to identify strategic investments in Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) health that will yield maximal benefits for overall elephant health and conservation. As an exploratory first step, a survey was administered to veterinarians from Asian elephant range countries at a workshop and via email to help prioritize health-related concerns that will mostly benefit elephants. Responses were received from 45 veterinarians from eight countries that had a range of experience with captive and wild elephants. The occurrence of medical conditions and responses to treatment varied among responses. However, injuries, parasitism, and gastrointestinal disease were reported as the most common syndromes responsible for elephant morbidity, whereas injury and infectious disease not due to parasitism were the most commonly reported sources of elephant mortality. Substandard nutrition, water quality and quantity deficiencies, and inadequate or absent shelter were among the factors listed as barriers to optimal elephant health. While this survey's results do not support definitive conclusions, they can be used to identify where and how subsequent investigations should be directed. Rigorous assessment of the relative costs and benefits of available options is required to ensure that investments in individual and population health yield the maximal benefits for elephants. PMID:25688328

  5. 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

  6. Ancient biodeterioration: an FT-Raman spectroscopic study of mammoth and elephant ivory.

    PubMed

    Edwards, Howell G M; Jorge Villar, Susana E; Nik Hassan, Nik F; Arya, Nlin; O'Connor, Sonia; Charlton, Donna M

    2005-10-01

    Raman spectra of mammoth ivory specimens have been recorded using near-infrared excitation, and comparisons made with modern Asian and African elephant ivories. Whereas the most ancient mammoth ivory (60-65 ky) showed no evidence for an organic collagen component, more recent samples of mammoth ivory indicated that some preservation had occurred, although with biodeterioration of the protein structure exhibited by the amide I and III bands in the 1200-1700 cm(-1) region of the Raman spectrum. The consequent difficulties encountered when applying chemometrics methods to ancient ivory analysis (which are successful for modern specimens) are noted. In the most ancient mammoth ivory specimens, which are extensively fragmented, evidence of mineralization is seen, with the production of gypsum, calcite and limonite; Raman microscopic analysis of crystalline material inside the fissures of the mammoth ivory shows the presence of gypsum as well as cyanobacterial colonisation. The application of Raman spectroscopy to the nondestructive analysis of archaeological materials in order to gain information of relevance to their preservation or restoration is highlighted.

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

    PubMed

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

    1986-09-01

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

  8. Characterization of an endogenous retrovirus class in elephants and their relatives

    PubMed Central

    Greenwood, Alex D; Englbrecht, Claudia C; MacPhee, Ross DE

    2004-01-01

    Background Endogenous retrovirus-like elements (ERV-Ls, primed with tRNA leucine) are a diverse group of reiterated sequences related to foamy viruses and widely distributed among mammals. As shown in previous investigations, in many primates and rodents this class of elements has remained transpositionally active, as reflected by increased copy number and high sequence diversity within and among taxa. Results Here we examine whether proviral-like sequences may be suitable molecular probes for investigating the phylogeny of groups known to have high element diversity. As a test we characterized ERV-Ls occurring in a sample of extant members of superorder Uranotheria (Asian and African elephants, manatees, and hyraxes). The ERV-L complement in this group is even more diverse than previously suspected, and there is sequence evidence for active expansion, particularly in elephantids. Many of the elements characterized have protein coding potential suggestive of activity. Conclusions In general, the evidence supports the hypothesis that the complement had a single origin within basal Uranotheria. PMID:15476555

  9. Forest Management.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Weicherding, Patrick J.; And Others

    This bulletin deals with forest management and provides an overview of forestry for the non-professional. The bulletin is divided into six sections: (1) What Is Forestry Management?; (2) How Is the Forest Measured?; (3) What Is Forest Protection?; (4) How Is the Forest Harvested?; (5) What Is Forest Regeneration?; and (6) What Is Forest…

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-04-15

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. African Aesthetics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Abiodun, Rowland

    2001-01-01

    No single traditional discipline can adequately supply answers to the many unresolved questions in African art history. Because of the aesthetic, cultural, historical, and, not infrequently, political biases, already built into the conception and development of Western art history, the discipline of art history as defined and practiced in the West…

  17. African Pentecostalism

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Garrard, David J.

    2009-01-01

    The diversity of African Pentecostalism, its early colonial and missionary history and its current characteristics are described and analysed. Reference is made to methods of training and forms of leadership, and suggestions are made about the reasons for its growth and persistence. (Contains 19 notes.)

  18. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  20. 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...

  1. Survey Sequencing and Comparative Analysis of the Elephant Shark (Callorhinchus milii) Genome

    PubMed Central

    Venkatesh, Byrappa; Kirkness, Ewen F; Loh, Yong-Hwee; Halpern, Aaron L; Lee, Alison P; Johnson, Justin; Dandona, Nidhi; Viswanathan, Lakshmi D; Tay, Alice; Venter, J. Craig; Strausberg, Robert L; Brenner, Sydney

    2007-01-01

    Owing to their phylogenetic position, cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays, skates, and chimaeras) provide a critical reference for our understanding of vertebrate genome evolution. The relatively small genome of the elephant shark, Callorhinchus milii, a chimaera, makes it an attractive model cartilaginous fish genome for whole-genome sequencing and comparative analysis. Here, the authors describe survey sequencing (1.4× coverage) and comparative analysis of the elephant shark genome, one of the first cartilaginous fish genomes to be sequenced to this depth. Repetitive sequences, represented mainly by a novel family of short interspersed element–like and long interspersed element–like sequences, account for about 28% of the elephant shark genome. Fragments of approximately 15,000 elephant shark genes reveal specific examples of genes that have been lost differentially during the evolution of tetrapod and teleost fish lineages. Interestingly, the degree of conserved synteny and conserved sequences between the human and elephant shark genomes are higher than that between human and teleost fish genomes. Elephant shark contains putative four Hox clusters indicating that, unlike teleost fish genomes, the elephant shark genome has not experienced an additional whole-genome duplication. These findings underscore the importance of the elephant shark as a critical reference vertebrate genome for comparative analysis of the human and other vertebrate genomes. This study also demonstrates that a survey-sequencing approach can be applied productively for comparative analysis of distantly related vertebrate genomes. PMID:17407382

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 'The Elephant Man' as 'self' and 'other': the psycho-social costs of a misdiagnosis.

    PubMed

    Ablon, J

    1995-06-01

    'The Elephant Man's Disease' acquired enormous notoriety through the portrayals of the life of Joseph Merrick, 'The Elephant Man', on American stage, screen and television. These portrayals, inspired by Ashley Montagu's book, The Elephant Man (1971) parleyed the designation of Merrick's condition into a household phrase, a metaphor for the grimmest extreme of ugliness. This paper explores the impact of 'The Elephant Man' as the chief referent and role model for persons who believed they shared the condition of neurofibromatosis 1, a neurological genetic disorder, which was erroneously believed at the time his story was popularized to have affected Joseph Merrick. Data were gathered through interviews with sixty affected individuals and families about their responses to the media representations of 'The Elephant Man'. Informants were recruited from three NF Support Groups and two urban hospital caseloads in Northern California.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-02-15

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

  6. 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

  7. African-American Biography.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Martin, Ron

    1995-01-01

    Suggests sources of information for African American History Month for library media specialists who work with students in grades four through eight. Gale Research's "African-American Reference Library," which includes "African-America Biography,""African-American Chronology," and "African-American Almanac,"…

  8. African Trypanosomiasis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-06-01

    infection by protozoan hemo- flagellates of the Trypanosoma brucei complex, 2 subspe- cies of which cause disease in humans: Trypanosoma bru- cei gambiense...public release; distribution unlimited 13. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES See also ADA545141. Chapter 3 from e-book, Topics on the Pathology of Protozoan and...the brief ferry crossing. 2 3 • Topics on The paThology of proTozoan and invasive arThropod diseases Three severe epidemics of African trypanosomiasis

  9. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! children's conceptions of forests and their inhabitants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strommen, Erik

    Forty first-grade children, drawn from urban areas in Nebraska and New Jersey, were asked to produce drawings of forests and were interviewed about forests and the types of living things found in them. Results indicate that the children's concepts of animals and where they live are quite diverse, but highly concrete and unorganized. Although children correctly assigned most forest-dwellers to the forest (deer and squirrels, for example), they also tended to assign almost all other animals (elephants, sharks, etc.) to the forest as well, especially carnivores. A general lack of awareness of plant life, insects, water resources, and other forest features was also observed.Received: 17 March 1994; Revised: 17 January 1995;

  10. Locomotion in diving elephant seals: physical and physiological constraints.

    PubMed

    Davis, Randall W; Weihs, Daniel

    2007-11-29

    To better understand how elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) use negative buoyancy to reduce energy metabolism and prolong dive duration, we modelled the energetic cost of transit and deep foraging dives in an elephant seal. A numerical integration technique was used to model the effects of swim speed, descent and ascent angles, and modes of locomotion (i.e. stroking and gliding) on diving metabolic rate, aerobic dive limit, vertical displacement (maximum dive depth) and horizontal displacement (maximum horizontal distance along a straight line between the beginning and end locations of the dive) for aerobic transit and foraging dives. Realistic values of the various parameters were taken from previous experimental data. Our results indicate that there is little energetic advantage to transit dives with gliding descent compared with horizontal swimming beneath the surface. Other factors such as feeding and predator avoidance may favour diving to depth during migration. Gliding descent showed variable energy savings for foraging dives. Deep mid-water foraging dives showed the greatest energy savings (approx. 18%) as a result of gliding during descent. In contrast, flat-bottom foraging dives with horizontal swimming at a depth of 400m showed less of an energetic advantage with gliding descent, primarily because more of the dive involved stroking. Additional data are needed before the advantages of gliding descent can be fully understood for male and female elephant seals of different age and body composition. This type of data will require animal-borne instruments that can record the behaviour, three-dimensional movements and locomotory performance of free-ranging animals at depth.

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

    PubMed

    Lester, Christopher W; Costa, Daniel P

    2006-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-15

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  18. Of Mice, Men and Elephants: The Relation between Articular Cartilage Thickness and Body Mass

    PubMed Central

    Malda, Jos; de Grauw, Janny C.; Benders, Kim E. M.; Kik, Marja J. L.; van de Lest, Chris H. A.; Creemers, Laura B.; Dhert, Wouter J. A.; van Weeren, P. René

    2013-01-01

    Mammalian articular cartilage serves diverse functions, including shock absorption, force transmission and enabling low-friction joint motion. These challenging requirements are met by the tissue’s thickness combined with its highly specific extracellular matrix, consisting of a glycosaminoglycan-interspersed collagen fiber network that provides a unique combination of resilience and high compressive and shear resistance. It is unknown how this critical tissue deals with the challenges posed by increases in body mass. For this study, osteochondral cores were harvested post-mortem from the central sites of both medial and lateral femoral condyles of 58 different mammalian species ranging from 25 g (mouse) to 4000 kg (African elephant). Joint size and cartilage thickness were measured and biochemical composition (glycosaminoclycan, collagen and DNA content) and collagen cross-links densities were analyzed. Here, we show that cartilage thickness at the femoral condyle in the mammalian species investigated varies between 90 µm and 3000 µm and bears a negative allometric relationship to body mass, unlike the isometric scaling of the skeleton. Cellular density (as determined by DNA content) decreases with increasing body mass, but gross biochemical composition is remarkably constant. This however need not affect life-long performance of the tissue in heavier mammals, due to relatively constant static compressive stresses, the zonal organization of the tissue and additional compensation by joint congruence, posture and activity pattern of larger mammals. These findings provide insight in the scaling of articular cartilage thickness with body weight, as well as in cartilage biochemical composition and cellularity across mammalian species. They underscore the need for the use of appropriate in vivo models in translational research aiming at human applications. PMID:23437402

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

    PubMed

    Maslow, J N; Mikota, S K

    2015-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

  2. HEREDITARY FACTOR VII DEFICIENCY IN THE ASIAN ELEPHANT (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) CAUSED BY A F7 MISSENSE MUTATION.

    PubMed

    Lynch, Michael; McGrath, Ken; Raj, Karthik; McLaren, Philippa; Payne, Karen; McCoy, Richard; Giger, Urs

    2017-04-01

    Hereditary disorders and genetic predispositions to disease are rarely reported in captive and free-ranging wildlife, and none have been definitively identified and characterized in elephants. A wild-caught, 41-yr-old male Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus ) without an apparent increased bleeding tendency was consistently found to have prolonged prothrombin times (PTs, mean=55±35 s) compared to 17 other elephants (PT=10±2 s). This elephant's partial thromboplastin times (PTT) fell within the normal range of the other elephants (12-30 s). A prolonged PT in the presence of a normal PTT suggests disruption of the extrinsic pathway via deficiency of coagulation Factor VII (FVII). This elephant's plasma FVII activity was very low (2%) compared to that of 15 other elephants (57-80%), but other coagulation factors' activities did not differ from the control elephants. Sequencing of genomic DNA from ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid blood revealed a single homozygous point mutation (c.202A>G) in the F7 gene of the FVII deficient elephant that was not present in unrelated elephants. This mutation causes an amino acid substitution (p.Arg68Gly) that is predicted to be deleterious. Two living offspring of the affected elephant were heterozygous for the mutation and had normal plasma FVII activities and coagulation profiles. Tissue from a third offspring, a deceased calf, was utilized to show that it was also a heterozygote. A DNA test has been developed to enable the screening of additional elephants for this mutation. Consistent with FVII deficiency investigations in other species, the condition did not cause a serious bleeding tendency in this individual elephant.

  3. 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 w