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You are here: Home / Publications / Bibliographies and Resource Guides / Information Resources on Elephants   / African Elephants - Behavior / Care / Enrichment / Handling / Training  Printer Friendly Page
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Information Resources on Elephants
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African Elephants

Behavior / Care / Enrichment / Handling / Training

Ayesu, S., F. Tetteh Kumah, H. Gyesi, and R. Baning Darko (2003). Training as a critical component of elephant research and management in Ghana. Pachyderm 35: 137-139. ISSN: 1026-2881.
Descriptors: African elephant, training, research, management, Loxodonta africana, techniques, Ghana.

Baldrian, B. and H.M. Schwammer (2004). Chronobiologische Untersuchungen an einem neugeborenen Afrikanischen Elefantenbullen (Loxodonta africana). [Chronobiological investigations of a newborn African elephant bull (Loxodonta africana)]. Zoologische Garten 74(2): 81-87. ISSN: 0044-5169.
NAL Call Number: 410 Z724
Descriptors: African elephant, newborn, chronobiological studies, control, welfare, Loxodonta africana, social behavior, activity patterns, nursing.
Language of Text: German, with English and German summaries.

Burks, K.D., J.D. Mellen, G.W. Miller, J. Lehnhardt, A. Weiss, A.J. Figueredo, and T.L. Maple (2004). Comparison of two introduction methods for African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Zoo Biology 23(2): 109-126. ISSN: 0733-3188.
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.Z6
Descriptors: African elephants, two introduction methods, comparison.

Carpenter, M. (2003). Increasing activity levels in captive elephants: 'spread' (is) the word. Animal Keepers' Forum 30(8): 328-330. ISSN: 0164-9531.
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.A54
Descriptors: Asian elephant, African elephant, Elephas maximus, Loxodonta africana, care in captivity, spreading of food, enrichment items, enclosure, increased activity levels.

Dumonceaux, G. (2005). Elephant behaviour. In: Small Animal and Exotics, Proceedings of the North American Veterinary Conference,January 8, 2005-January 12, 2005, Orlando, Florida, USA, Gainesville, USA: Eastern States Veterinary Association, Vol. 19, p. 1413.
Descriptors: behavior, training, zoo elephants, Elephas maximus, Loxodonta africana, Asian elephants, African elephants, handling.

Evans, K.E. and S. Harris (2008). Adolescence in male african elephants, Loxodonta africana, and the importance of sociality. Animal Behaviour 76(Part 3): 779-787. ISSN: 0003-3472; Online: 1095-8282.
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, social learning, male behavior, young males.

Freeman, E.W., E. Weiss, and J.L. Brown (2004). Examination of the interrelationships of behavior, dominance status, and ovarian activity in captive Asian and African elephants. Zoo Biology 23(5): 431-448. ISSN: 0733-3188.
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.Z6
Descriptors: ovarian activity, Asian elephants, African elephants, dominance status, behavior, interrelationships.

Ganswindt, A., M. Heistermann, and K. Hodges (2005). Physical, physiological, and behavioral correlates of musth in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 78(4): 505-14.
NAL Call Number: QL1.P52
Abstract: Although musth in male African elephants (Loxodonta africana) is known to be associated with increased aggressiveness, urine dribbling (UD), temporal gland secretion (TGS), and elevated androgens, the temporal relationship between these changes has not been examined. Here, we describe the pattern of musth-related characteristics in 14 captive elephant bulls by combining long-term observations of physical and behavioral changes with physiological data on testicular and adrenal function. The length of musth periods was highly variable but according to our data set not related to age. Our data also confirm that musth is associated with elevated androgens and, in this respect, show that TGS and UD are downstream effects of this elevation, with TGS responding earlier and to lower androgen levels than UD. Because the majority of musth periods were associated with a decrease in glucocorticoid levels, our data also indicate that musth does not represent a physiological stress mediated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the occurrence of musth is associated with increased aggression and that this is presumably androgen mediated because aggressive males had higher androgen levels. Collectively, the information generated contributes to a better understanding of what characterizes and initiates musth in captive African elephants and provides a basis for further studies designed to examine in more detail the factors regulating the intensity and duration of musth.
Descriptors: zoo animals, physiology, reproduction physiology, sex behavior, animal physiology, adrenal glands physiology, aggression physiology, analysis of variance, androgens metabolism, feces chemistry, glucocorticoids metabolism, observation, testis physiology, time factors.

Ganswindt, A., R. Palme, M. Heistermann, S. Borragan, and J.K. Hodges (2003). Non-invasive assessment of adrenocortical function in the male African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and its relation to musth. General and Comparative Endocrinology 134(2): 156-66.
NAL Call Number: 444.8 G28
Abstract: Adult male elephants periodically show the phenomenon of musth, a condition associated with increased aggressiveness, restlessness, significant weight reduction and markedly elevated androgen levels. It has been suggested that musth-related behaviours are costly and that therefore musth may represent a form of physiological stress. In order to provide data on this largely unanswered question, the first aim of this study was to evaluate different assays for non-invasive assessment of adrenocortical function in the male African elephant by (i) characterizing the metabolism and excretion of [3H]cortisol (3H-C) and [14C]testosterone (14C-T) and (ii) using this information to evaluate the specificity of four antibodies for determination of excreted cortisol metabolites, particularly with respect to possible cross-reactions with androgen metabolites, and to assess their biological validity using an ACTH challenge test. Based on the methodology established, the second objective was to provide data on fecal cortisol metabolite concentrations in bulls during the musth and non-musth condition. 3H-C (1 mCi) and 14C-T (100 microCi) were injected simultaneously into a 16 year old male and all urine and feces collected for 30 and 86 h, respectively. The majority (82%) of cortisol metabolites was excreted into the urine, whereas testosterone metabolites were mainly (57%) excreted into the feces. Almost all radioactive metabolites recovered from urine were conjugated (86% 3H-C and 97% 14C-T). In contrast, 86% and >99% of the 3H-C and 14C-T metabolites recovered from feces consisted of unconjugated forms. HPLC separations indicated the presence of various metabolites of cortisol in both urine and feces, with cortisol being abundant in hydrolysed urine, but virtually absent in feces. Although all antibodies measured substantial amounts of immunoreactivity after HPLC separation of peak radioactive samples and detected an increase in glucocorticoid output following the ACTH challenge, only two (in feces against 3alpha,11-oxo-cortisol metabolites, measured by an 11-oxo-etiocholanolone-EIA and in urine against cortisol, measured by a cortisol-EIA) did not show substantial cross-reactivity with excreted 14C-T metabolites and could provide an acceptable degree of specificity for reliable assessment of glucocorticoid output from urine and feces. Based on these findings, concentrations of immunoreactive 3alpha,11-oxo-cortisol metabolites were determined in weekly fecal samples collected from four adult bulls over periods of 11-20 months to examine whether musth is associated with increased adrenal activity. Results showed that in each male levels of these cortisol metabolites were not elevated during periods of musth, suggesting that in the African elephant musth is generally not associated with marked elevations in glucocorticoid output. Given the complex nature of musth and the variety of factors that are likely to influence its manifestation, it is clear, however, that further studies, particularly on free-ranging animals, are needed before a possible relationship between musth and adrenal function can be resolved. This study also clearly illustrates the potential problems associated with cross-reacting metabolites of gonadal steroids in EIAs measuring glucocorticoid metabolites. This has to be taken into account when selecting assays and interpreting results of glucocorticoid metabolite analysis, not only for studies in the elephant but also in other species.
Descriptors: adrenal cortex metabolism, adrenal cortex function tests, metabolism, feces chemistry, hydrocortisone analysis, stress, psychological physiopathology, testosterone analysis, adrenal cortex secretion, adrenal cortex function tests methods, diagnostic use of carbon isotopes, high pressure liquid chromatography, corticotropin physiology, urine, glucocorticoids analysis, glucocorticoids in urine, diagnostic use of hydrocortisone, hydrocortisone in urine, immunoenzyme techniques and methods, reproduction physiology, sex behavior, animal physiology, psychological diagnosis of stress, diagnostic use of testosterone, testosterone in urine.

Ganswindt, A., H.B. Rasmussen, M. Heistermann, and J.K. Hodges (2005). The sexually active states of free-ranging male African elephants (Loxodonta africana): defining musth and non-musth using endocrinology, physical signals, and behavior. Hormones and Behavior 47(1): 83-91.
NAL Call Number: QP801.H7H64
Abstract: Musth in male African elephants, Loxodonta africana, is associated with increased aggressive behavior, continuous discharge of urine, copious secretions from the swollen temporal glands, and elevated androgen levels. During musth, bulls actively seek out and are preferred by estrous females although sexual activity is not restricted to the musth condition. The present study combines recently established methods of fecal hormone analysis with long-term observations on male-female associations as well as the presence and intensity of physical signals to provide a more detailed picture about the physical, physiological, and behavioral characteristics of different states of sexual activity in free-ranging African elephants. Based on quantitative shifts in individual bull association patterns, the presence of different physical signals, and significant differences in androgen levels, a total of three potential sub-categories for sexually active bulls could be established. The results demonstrate that elevations in androgen levels are only observed in sexually active animals showing temporal gland secretion and/or urine dribbling, but are not related to the age of the individual. Further, none of the sexually active states showed elevated glucocorticoid output indicating that musth does not represent an HPA-mediated stress condition. On the basis of these results, we suggest that the term "musth" should be exclusively used for the competitive state in sexually active male elephants and that the presence of urine dribbling should be the physical signal used for defining this state.
Descriptors: behavior, animal physiology, competitive behavior physiology, sex behavior, age factors, androsterone analysis, feces chemistry, hydrocortisone analysis, hydrocortisone metabolism, longitudinal studies, testosterone analysis.

Ganswindt, A., H.B. Rasmussen, M. Heistermann, and J.K. Hodges (2005). The sexually active states of free-ranging male African elephants (Loxodonta africana): defining musth and non-musth endocrinology, physical signals, and behavior. Hormones and Behavior 47(1): 83-91. ISSN: 0018-506X.
NAL Call Number: QP801.H7H64
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, reproductive behavior, musth, characteristics, free ranging males, Kenya, temporal glands, secretions, glucocorticoid, urine dribbling, androgen levels, aggressive behavior.

Gray, C., H. Loizi, M. Correll, T. Goodwin, L.E.L. Rasmussen, and B. Schulte (2004). Social group association patterns by young male and female African elephants. Integrative and Comparative Biology 43(6): 864. ISSN: 1540-7063.
NAL Call Number: QL1.I67
Descriptors: African elephants, behavior, social group, association patterns, male, female, young.

Hollister Smith, J.A., S.C. Alberts, and L.E.L. Rasmussen (2008). Do male African elephants, Loxodonta africana, signal musth via urine dribbling? Animal Behaviour 76(Part 6): 1829-1841. ISSN: 0003-3472; Online: 1095-8282.
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, reproductive success, social relationships, social grouping, dominance status, urine dribbling, signaling musth.

Hollister Smith, J.A., J.H. Poole, E.A. Archie, E.A. Vance, N.J. Georgiadis, C.J. Moss, and S.C. Alberts (2007). Age, musth and paternity success in wild male African elephants, Loxodonta africana. Animal Behaviour 74(Part 2): 287-296. ISSN: 0003-3472; Online: 1095-8282.
Descriptors: African elephant, sexual activity, intrasexual selection, age-related paternity success, musth.

Leggett, K. (2004). Coprophagy and unusual thermoregulatory behaviour in desert-dwelling elephants of north-western Namibia. Pachyderm 36: 113-115. ISSN: 1026-2881.
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, body temperature, diet, coprophagy, behavior, thermoregulatory behavior, Namibia, unusual thermoregulatory behavior, desert dwelling.

Leighty, K.A., J. Soltis, C.M. Wesolek, A. Savage, J. Mellen, and J. Lehnhardt (2009). GPS determination of walking rates in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Zoo Biology 28(1): 16-28. ISSN: 0733-3188.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/zoo.20199
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.Z6
Abstract: The movements of elephants in captivity have been an issue of concern for animal welfare activists and zoological professionals alike in recent years. In order to fully understand how movement rates reflect animal welfare, we must first determine the exact distances these animals move in the captive environment. We outfitted seven adult female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at Disney's Animal Kingdom with collar-mounted global positioning recording systems to document their movement rates while housed in outdoor guest viewing habitats. Further, we conducted preliminary analyses to address potential factors impacting movement rates including body size, temperature, enclosure size, and social grouping complexity. We found that our elephants moved at an average rate of 0.409pl0.007 km/hr during the 9-hr data collection periods. This rate translates to an average of 3.68 km traveled during the observation periods, at a rate comparable to that observed in the wild. Although movement rate did not have a significant relationship with an individual's body size in this herd, the movements of four females demonstrated a significant positive correlation with temperature. Further, females in our largest social group demonstrated a significant increase in movement rates when residing in larger enclosures. We also present preliminary evidence suggesting that increased social group complexity, including the presence of infants in the herd, may be associated with increased walking rates, whereas factors such as reproductive and social status may constrain movements.
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, captive animals, zoo animals, physical activity, walking, radio frequency identification, global positioning systems, collars, body size, ambient temperature, animal housing, group effect, animal welfare, animal movements, GPS tracking collars, enclosure size.

Loizi, H., T.E. Goodwin, L.E.L. Rasmussen, A.M. Whitehouse, and B.A. Schulte (2009). Sexual dimorphism in the performance of chemosensory investigatory behaviours by African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Behaviour 146(Part 3): 373-392. ISSN: 0005-7959; Online: 1568-539X.
Descriptors: African elephants, Loxodonta africana, investigatory behavior, sexual dimorphism, chemosensory behavior.

McKinney, G.C. (2003). The ambassadorship of the captive African elephant in North America: a demographic comparison of African elephant management strategies. Animal Keepers' Forum 30(9): 376-384. ISSN: 0164-9531.
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.A54
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, housing techniques, housing conditions, management strategies, comparison of wild vs captivity, influence of housing conditions.

Meyer, J.M., T.E. Goodwin, and B.A. Schulte (2008). Intrasexual chemical communication and social responses of captive female African elephants, Loxodonta africana. Animal Behaviour 76(1): 163-174. ISSN: 0003-3472.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.12.019
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, social behavior, communication, ovulation, zoo animals.

Ortolani, A., K. Leong, L. Graham, and A. Savage (2005). Behavioral indices of estrus in a group of captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Zoo Biology 24(4): 311-329. ISSN: 0733-3188.
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.Z6
Descriptors: estrous cycle, sexual behavior, flehmen, estrus detection, males, females.

Pinter Wollman, N., L.A. Isbell, and L.A. Hart (2009). The relationship between social behaviour and habitat familiarity in African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences 276(1659): 1009-1014. ISSN: 0962-8452.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2008.1538
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, social behavior, acclimation to novel environments, translocated animals, body condition, social relationships, habitat familiarity.

Pinter Wollman, N., L.A. Isbell, and L.A. Hart (2009). Assessing translocation outcome: comparing behavioral and physiological aspects of translocated and resident African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Biological Conservation 142(5): 1116-1124. ISSN: 0006-3207.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2009.01.027
NAL Call Number: S900.B5
Abstract: Evaluating translocation outcomes is important for improving wildlife management and conservation actions. Often, when quick decisions need to be made and long-lived animals with slow reproduction rates are translocated, traditional assessment methods such as long-term survival and reproductive success cannot be used for assessing translocation outcomes. Thus, alternative, seldom used, measures such as comparing the behavior and physiology of translocated animals to those of local residents should be employed to assess the translocated animals' acclimation to their new home. Here we monitored the survival, physiology, and behavior of translocated African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and compared these measures to the local resident population at the release site. Adult male and female translocated elephants' death rates were higher than those of the local population. Furthermore, the mortality rate of translocated adult males and calves was greater than expected based on their proportion in the translocated elephant population. No difference was found in stress hormone levels between the two populations, but the body condition of the translocated elephants was significantly poorer than that of the local population throughout the study period. The behavioral time budgets of the translocated elephants converged with those of the local population over time. Finally, translocated elephants utilized habitat that was similar to their source site (hills and permanent rivers) more than did the local population. Based on these findings we recommend careful consideration of timing, release location, and individuals targeted in future elephant translocations. More broadly, we introduce and explore seldom used translocation assessment techniques.
Descriptors: wildlife management, African elephant, Loxodonta africana, mortality, animal behavior, males, females, animal stress, wildlife habitats, rivers, Kenya.

Poole, J.H., P.L. Tyack, A.S. Stoeger Horwath, and S. Watwood (2005). Animal behaviour: elephants are capable of vocal learning. Nature 434(7032): 455-6.
NAL Call Number: 472 N21
Abstract: There are a few mammalian species that can modify their vocalizations in response to auditory experience--for example, some marine mammals use vocal imitation for reproductive advertisement, as birds sometimes do. Here we describe two examples of vocal imitation by African savannah elephants, Loxodonta africana, a terrestrial mammal that lives in a complex fission-fusion society. Our findings favour a role for vocal imitation that has already been proposed for primates, birds, bats and marine mammals: it is a useful form of acoustic communication that helps to maintain individual-specific bonds within changing social groupings.
Descriptors: physiology, learning physiology, sound, vocalization, acoustic stimulation, Africa, aging physiology, automobiles.

Roocroft, A. (2005). Indoors natural substrates for elephants & medical issues associated with hard surfaces. Animal Keepers' Forum 32(10): 480-492. ISSN: 0164-9531.
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.A54
Descriptors: Elephantidae, housing techniques, indoor natural substrates, medical issues associated with hard surfaces, treatment techniques, injuries.

Shannon, G., B.R. Page, R.L. Mackey, K.J. Duffy, and R. Slotow (2008). Activity budgets and sexual segregation in African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Journal of Mammalogy 89(2): 467-476. ISSN: 0022-2372; Online: 1545-1542.
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, body size, energy demands, sexual segregation, feeding time, activity budget, behavioral synchrony.

Vidya, T.N.C. and R. Sukumar (2005). Social and reproductive behaviour in elephants. Current Science (Bangalore) 89(7): 1200-1207. ISSN: 0011-3891.
NAL Call Number: 475 SCI23
Descriptors: African elephant, savannah, social behavior, reproductive behavior, forest elephant, Asian elephant, social organization, matriarchal leadership.

Weissenbock, N.M., H.M. Schwammer, and T. Ruf (2009). Estrous synchrony in a group of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) under human care. Animal Reproduction Science 113(1/4): 322-327. ISSN: 0378-4320.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anireprosci.2008.07.003
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, estrous synchrony, captive zoo animals, dominance hierarchy.

Wells, D.L. and R.M. Irwin (2008). Auditory stimulation as enrichment for zoo-housed Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Animal Welfare 17(4): 335-340. ISSN: 0962-7286.
Online: http://www.ufaw.org.uk/animal.php
NAL Call Number: HV4701.A557
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, environmental enrichment, animal welfare, zoo animals, animal behavior, Northern Ireland.

Wilson, M.L., M.A. Bloomsmith, and T.L. Maple (2004). Stereotypic swaying and serum cortisol concentrations in three captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Animal Welfare 13(1): 39-43. ISSN: 0962-7286.
NAL Call Number: HV4701.A557
Descriptors: zoo animals, stereotyped behavior, cortisol, animal welfare.

Wittemyer, G. and W.M. Getz (2007). Hierarchical dominance structure and social organization in African elephants, Loxodonta africana. Animal Behaviour 73(4): 671-681. ISSN: 0003-3472.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2006.10.008
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, agonistic behavior, intraspecific competition, learning, social behavior, social dominance, dominance relationships.

 

 

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