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You are here: Home / Publications / Bibliographies and Resource Guides / Information Resources on Elephants   / African Elephants - Digestive / Food / Nutrition  Printer Friendly Page
Information Resources on Elephants
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African Elephants

Digestive / Food / Nutrition

Andrews, J., A. Mecklenborg, and F.B. Bercovitch (2005). Milk intake and development in a newborn captive African elephant (Loxodonta africana). Zoo Biology 24(3): 275-281. ISSN: 0733-3188.
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.Z6
Descriptors: zoo animals, maternal milk, feeding behavior, parity reproduction, maternal behavior, physical activity.

Cerling, T.E., G. Wittemyer, H.B. Rasmussen, F. Vollrath, C.E. Cerling, T.J. Robinson, and I. Douglas Hamilton (2006). Stable isotopes in elephant hair document migration patterns and diet changes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103(2): 371-3.
NAL Call Number: 500 N31P
Abstract: We use chronologies of stable isotopes measured from elephant (Loxodonta africana) hair to determine migration patterns and seasonal diet changes in elephants in and near Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya. Stable carbon isotopes record diet changes, principally enabling differentiation between browse and tropical grasses, which use the C3 and C4 photosynthetic pathways, respectively; stable nitrogen isotopes record regional patterns related to aridity, offering insight into localized ranging behavior. Isotopically identified range shifts were corroborated by global positioning system radio tracking data of the studied individuals. Comparison of the stable isotope record in the hair of one migrant individual with that of a resident population shows important differences in feeding and ranging behavior over time. Our analysis indicates that differences are the result of excursions into mesic environments coupled with intermittent crop raiding by the migrant individual. Variation in diet, quantified by using stable isotopes, can offer insight into diet-related wildlife behavior.
Descriptors: animal migration, diet, physiology, hair chemistry, hair metabolism, carbon isotopes, metabolism, hair growth and development, nitrogen isotopes, seasons, time factors.

Cerling, T.E., B.H. Passey, L.K. Ayliffe, C.S. Cook, J.R. Ehleringer, J.M. Harris, M.B. Dhidha, and S.M. Kasiki (2004). Orphans' tales: seasonal dietary changes in elephants from Tsavo National Park, Kenya. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 206(3-4): 367-376. ISSN: 0031-0182.
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, teeth, hair, food plants, seasonal changes, Kenya, Tsavo East National Park, seasonal diet, dietary changes.

Clauss, M., Y. Wang, K. Ghebremeskel, C.E. Lendl, and W.J. Streich (2003). Plasma and erythrocyte fatty acids in captive Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants. Veterinary Record 153(2): 54-8.
NAL Call Number: 41.8 V641
Abstract: The fatty acid components of the plasma triglycerides and the phospholipid fractions of the red blood cells of a captive group of two African (Loxodonta africana) and four Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants were investigated. All the animals received the same diet of hay, fruits and vegetables, and concentrates. A comparison with data from free-ranging African elephants or Asian work-camp elephants showed that the captive elephants had lower proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and for several lipid fractions a higher n-6:n-3 ratio, than their counterparts in the wild or under the more natural, in terms of diet, work-camp conditions. The difference in PUFA content was smaller in the African than in the Asian elephants. The captive Asian elephants tended to have lower levels of n-3 and total unsaturated fatty acids in their red blood cells than the captive African elephants.
Descriptors: metabolism, erythrocytes metabolism, unsaturated metabolism fatty acids, phospholipids metabolism, triglycerides metabolism, zoo animals, blood chemical analysis, diet, blood, unsaturated blood fatty acids, triglycerides blood, workload.

Clauss, M., N. Robert, C. Walzer, C. Vitaud, and J. Hummel (2005). Testing predictions on body mass and gut contents: dissection of an African elephant Loxodonta africana Blumenbach 1797. European Journal of Wildlife Research 51(4): 291-294. ISSN: 1612-4642.
NAL Call Number: SK351.Z45
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, weight, gut contents, diet, body mass, digestive system, gastrointestinal tract, ingesta, caecum, colon, dissection.

Emmett, M. (2003). An analysis of the seasonal diet of African elephant at Ngala for the period August 2001-July 2002 with particular reference to nine key plant groups. CCA Ecological Journal 5: 65-73.
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, seasonal diet, food plants, food availability, South Africa, Ngala, seasonal diet analysis.

Holdo, R.M. and L.R. McDowell (2004). Termite mounds as nutrient-rich food patches for elephants. Biotropica 36(2): 231-239. ISSN: 0006-3606.
NAL Call Number: QH301.B52
Descriptors: Loxodonta africana, browsing, food plants, termite mounds, dietary nutrient sources, nutrient content, mineral content, protein content, soil nutrients, botanical composition, woodlands, Zimbabwe, Kalahari, sand soils.

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.

Osthoff, G., H.O. De Waal, A. Hugo, M. de Wit, and P. Botes (2005). Milk composition of a free-ranging African elephant (Loxodonta africana) cow during early lactation. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular and Integrative Physiology 141(2): 223-9.
NAL Call Number: QP1.C6
Abstract: Only one study previously reported comprehensively on the composition of African elephant's (Loxodonta africana) milk that was collected from 30 dead animals. In the current study milk was obtained from a tame but free-ranging African elephant cow without immobilization during the period when she was 4-47 days postpartum. At the respective collection times the nutrient content was 21.8 and 25.0 g protein; 56.0 and 76.0 g fat; 71.1 and 26.0 g sugars per kilogram of milk. The protein fraction, respectively, consisted of 10.0 and 14.0 g caseins/kg milk and of 11.8 and 11 g whey proteins/kg milk. During lactation the lactose content dropped from 52.5 to 11.8 g/kg milk, while the oligosaccharide content increased from 11.8 to 15.2 g/kg milk. The oligosaccharide was characterized as a galactosyllactose, which is digestible by cellulase. Electrophoresis and identification of protein bands showed a similar migrating sequence of proteins as seen in cow's milk, but some of the corresponding proteins were less negatively charged. The lipid fraction contains a high content of capric and lauric acids, approximately 60% of the total fatty acids, and low content of myristic, palmitic and oleic acids.
Descriptors: physiology, lactation physiology, milk chemistry, albumins analysis, carbohydrates analysis, caseins analysis, cattle, fatty acids analysis, globulins analysis, milk proteins analysis.

Pendlebury, C., N.E. Odongo, A. Renjifo, J. Naelitz, E.V. Valdes, and B.W. McBride (2005). Acid-insoluble ash as a measure of dry matter digestibility in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Zoo Biology 24(3): 261-265. ISSN: 0733-3188.
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.Z6
Descriptors: zoo animals, biomarkers, ash content, dry matter, ash, digestibility, acid insoluble, captive African elephants.



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