Diurnal and Nocturnal Activity Time Budgets of Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) in a Zoological Park

The diurnal and nocturnal activity time budgets of five adult female Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) were studied in a zoological park for two 24-hour, five 14-hour, and one 9-hour observation periods between May and June 2011. Relatively few studies have looked at detailed daytime and nighttime activity time budgets in captive Asian elephants. Continuous observation […]

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 […]

A review of Asian and African elephant gastrointestinal anatomy, physiology and pharmacology

Elephants are susceptible to a variety of gastrointestinal problems. Knowledge of elephant nutrition and gastrointestinal anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology is essential for successful treatment, especially because diagnostic options are limited. The horse is considered the most appropriate model for extrapolation to the elephant. While similarities do exist, elephant-specific information is needed, especially in the areas […]

A Case Study: Fecal Corticosteroid and Behavior as Indicators of Welfare During Relocation of an Asian Elephant

This study was a preliminary investigation of an enzyme immunoassay for measuring fecal glucocorticoid metabolites in a male Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) by investigating changes in behavior and cortisol metabolite excretion associated with a putative stressful event. The study collected fecal samples for 10 days prior to, and 10 days after, 24-hr transport and relocation […]

Tuberculosis in Elephants in North America

Within the past 4 years, tuberculosis (TB) has emerged as a disease of concern in elephants. The population of elephants in North America is declining [Wiese, 1997], and transmissible diseases such as TB may exacerbate this trend. Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants, which require the screening of all elephants for TB, were […]

Elephant sociality and complexity: The scientific evidence


Review of a Newly Recognized Disease of Elephants Caused by Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses

There are two newly recognized herpesviruses that cause a fatal disease syndrome in elephants. They are known as the elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses, of which one is fatal for Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and the other for African elephants (Loxodonta africana) [Richman et al., Science 283:1171–1176, 1999a]. The disease syndrome affects predominantly young elephants and has […]

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 […]

Skewed birth sex ratio and premature mortality in elephants

Sex allocation theories predict equal offspringnumber of both sexes unless differential investment is required or some competition exists. Left undisturbed, elephants reproduce well and in approximately even numbers in the wild.We report an excess of males are born and substantial juvenile mortality occurs, perinatally, in captivity. Studbook data on captive births (CB, n = 487) […]

Behavioural and endocrinological parameters of female African and Asian elephants

Reproduction of African elephants Loxodonta africana and Asian elephants Elephas maximus has in the past been poor in European zoos and juvenile survival has been low. A range of potential complications, such as stillbirths or maternal aggression towards the calf, makes it imperative that the date of parturition is predicted as accurately as possible. Behavioural, […]