Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar human visual and olfactory cues

Social animals use individual identity cues to form and maintain social relationships with conspecifics. This ability to discriminate between individuals extends to heterospecifics in some social mammals. The aim of this study was to determine if Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) could differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar people using visual, auditory, and olfactory cues independently. Two […]

Impact of a new exhibit on stereotypic behavior in an elderly captive African elephant

Stereotypic behavior in zoo elephants is considered an indicator of impaired welfare. The underlying causes are diverse and many aspects are still unexplored. Nevertheless, many zoological institutions take huge efforts to improve the well-being of their elephants. The construction of a new exhibit provides a chance to gain further evidence on the impact of such […]

Elephants in circuses: Analysis of practice, policy, and future


Keeping an “Ear” to the Ground: Seismic Communication in Elephants

This review explores the mechanisms that elephants may use to send and receive seismic signals from a physical, anatomical, behavioral, and physiological perspective. The implications of the use of the vibration sense as a multimodal signal will be discussed in light of the elephant’s overall fitness and survival.

Do Elephants Belong in Zoos?

Zoos and animal welfare advocates differ over elephants in captivity. Critics say zoos lack space to house elephants. Zoos argue that they are expanding and improving exhibits, and that elephants live better in captivity than in the wild with disease, drought, habitat loss, poaching, and conflicts with people.

Stereotypic Behavior of a Female Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus) in a Zoo

This study recorded daytime behavior of a female Asiatic elephant at the Municipal Zoo, Wroclaw, Poland, in both an indoor pen and an outdoor paddock as continuous scan sampling for 140 hr, over 35 days in 1 year. Stereotypic sequences involved bouts of highly repetitive stereotypic movements and much more variable interbout behavior. The study […]

The effect of penning versus picketing on stereotypic behavior of circus elephants

The behavior of nine female Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants who performed two shows each day with a circus that traveled to a new location (40 to 250 km from the previous day’s lot) daily or every two days was studied during the 1996 and 1998 seasons. When not performing or working, the elephants were picketed […]

A review of injuries caused by elephants in captivity: an examination of predominant factors

Injuries to people caused by elephants in zoos can be lethal. Data on incidents of injury to keepers and visitors were collated from newspaper articles, personal communications with zoo directors and keepers, and published information from the European Elephant Group. Although the data were not of consistent quality and detail across the three sources, the […]

Optimal Conditions for Captive Elephants: A Report by the Coalition for Captive Elephant Well-Being

Loxodonta africana

species monograph