Serum cortisol concentrations associated with artificial insemination events in an African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephants are among the most charismatic and controversial species in modern zoo collections. Advanced cognitive and emotional capabilities have been attributed to elephants. As a result, good zoo management includes monitoring and enhancing the well-being of individual animals. To this purpose, we have assessed the serum cortisol concentration (SCC) of an adult female African elephant […]

Influence of male presence on female Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) behaviour in captivity

The maintenance of natural behaviour in captivity is relevant for optimizing animal welfare and reproductive efficiency. In captivity, few studies have evaluated the male´s influence on the behaviour of Asian females’ elephants (Elephas maximus). Therefore, we investigated foraging, standing, elimination, vocalization, courtship, mating and stereotypic behaviours in four female Asian elephants after the recent introduction […]

Potential Impact of Construction Noise on Selected Zoo Animals

In anticipation of a major construction project in an urban New Zealand zoo, a study was initiated to assess the response to construction noise of selected animal species (elephant, giraffe, emu and alligator) previously observed to be sensitive to this kind of noise. The overall aim was to detect any signs of aversive responses to […]

Relationships between housing and management factors and clinical health events in elephants in North American zoos

Elephants experience a number of health issues that can contribute to their well-being and survival. In managed populations, housing conditions and management practices can influence individual health, so potential risk factors associated with morbidity or mortality should be identified to ensure the best possible standards of care. The goal of this study was to determine […]

Development of a behavioural welfare assessment tool for routine use with captive elephants

There has been much concern in recent years about the welfare of elephants in zoos across North America and Europe. While some previous studies have assessed captive elephant welfare at a particular point in time, there has been little work to develop methods which could be used for regular, routine welfare assessment. Such assessment is […]

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.