Standards for elephant management and care

The following standards apply to the husbandry and management of both African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants in AZA accredited institutions, AZA related facilities, and non-member participants in the AZA Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP). The intelligence, strength, and social needs of these magnificent animals can pose many challenges for captive managers. Institutions […]

Elephant cognition

No abstract: Topics include “Why study elephant cognition?”, “What do we know about elephant society?”, “Clues to an advanced intelligence?”, and “How has elephant cognition been studied?”

Highly Accurate Antibody Assays for Early and Rapid Detection of Tuberculosis in African and Asian Elephants

Tuberculosis (TB) in elephants is a reemerging zoonotic disease caused primarily by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Current methods for screening and diagnosis rely on trunk wash culture, which has serious limitations due to low test sensitivity, slow turnaround time, and variable sample quality. Innovative and more efficient diagnostic tools are urgently needed. We describe three novel serologic […]

Statement and Resolutions on the Role of Captive Facilities in In Situ African Elephant Conservation

The IUCN Species Survival Commission African Elephant Specialist Group (AfESG) membership, at its general meeting in Burkina Faso in January 1998, debated the role played by captive facilities in the conservation of the African elephant. The Group areed on the following:

Self-recognition in the Asian elephant and future directions for cognitive research with elephants in zoological settings

The field of animal cognition has grown steadily for nearly four decades, but the primary focus has centered on easily kept lab animals of varying cognitive capacity, including rodents, birds and primates. Elephants (animals not easily kept in a laboratory) are generally thought of as highly social, cooperative, intelligent animals, yet few studies—with the exception […]

Mind and Movement: Meeting the well being of elephants


The Sizes of Elephant Groups in Zoos: Implications for Elephant Welfare

This study examined the distribution of 495 Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and 336 African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in 194 zoos, most of which were located in Europe (49.1%) and North America (32.6%). Cows outnumbered bulls 4 to 1 (Loxodonta) and 3 to 1 (Elephas). Groups contained 7 or fewer: mean, 4.28 ( D 5.73). One […]

Thermal windows on the body surface of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) studied by infrared thermography

In this study, we examined infrared thermograms in the course of time of six African zoo elephants and observed two phenomena. First, we noticed independent thermal windows, highly vascularised skin areas, on the whole elephants’ body and second we observed distinct and sharply delimited hot sections on the elephants’ pinnae. The frequency of thermal windows […]

Toward a Science of Welfare for Animals in the Zoo

Although the accredited institutions of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums have all committed to enhancing the welfare of nonhuman animals, acceptable standards and best practices are still under debate. Currently, experts from zoos and the field hold widely divergent opinions about exhibition and management standards for elephants. Standards and practices for managing nonhuman primates […]

Variation in nature: its implications for zoo elephant management

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20087.abs Despite many advances in animal care and welfare over the past few decades, zoos have been criticized recently for the quality of their elephant management programs. More specifically, critics have argued that elephants live miserable lives in captivity and thus should not be kept in zoos. Poor health and reproductive success, they say, […]