CZAAWE Resource Article

Diurnal and Nocturnal Activity Time Budgets of Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) in a Zoological Park
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Animal Behavior and Cognition
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 was used to measure the activity time budgets of at least one focal animal per observation period. The activity time budgets varied between animals and observation periods. The elephants spent 17-49% of the day (daylight hours) standing, 1-9% of the day walking, 19-44% of the day eating, and 1-20% of the day using enrichment items. At night, the elephants spent 29-87% of the observation period standing, 1-19% of the night eating, and 0.1-10% of the night using enrichment items. At night, elephants spent 0-45% of the observation period lying down. Variations in activity time budgets between elephants and observation periods have been observed in other studies of captive and wild elephants. Results of this observational study allow comparison between groups of captive elephants and between captive and wild elephants. Furthermore, results of this study can inform management strategies.