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

Behavior / Care / Enrichment / Handling / Training

de Oliveira, C.A., G.D. West, R. Houck, and M. Leblanc (2004). Control of musth in an Asian elephant bull (Elephas maximus) using leuprolide acetate. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 35(1): 70-6.
NAL Call Number: SF601.J6
Abstract: The results of long-term administration of leuprolide acetate (LA) depot in a 52-yr-old Asian elephant bull (Elephas maximus) for control of musth are presented. Twelve injections were administered for 6 yr during our interpretation of early musth or "premusth." Intervals between musth periods during the study varied from 2 to 34 mo. Blood samples, drawn weekly, were assayed for serum testosterone concentrations; mean levels were 11.78 +/- 1.97 nmol/L throughout the first 26 mo of the study, 7.28 +/- 1.28 nmol/L during the following 21 mo, and 0.45 +/- 0.035 nmol/L in the last 34 mo of this study. Early musth signs ceased within 3 days of drug administration after 10 of 12 injections. The mean serum testosterone concentrations were significantly decreased by the last 34 mo of the study. The results suggest leuprolide is a suitable alternative for controlling or preventing (or both) musth in captive Asian elephants, although permanent reproductive effects may occur. Zoos and wildlife conservation institutions could benefit from the use of LA in Asian elephants to increase the male availability in captivity, consequently ensuring genetic diversity and the perpetuation of the species.
Descriptors: drug effects behavior, physiology, gonadorelin agonists, leuprolide administration and dosage, drug effects on aggression, blood, drug effects on eliminative behavior, leuprolide pharmacology, drug effects on sex behavior, social dominance, testosterone.

Dumon, M., J. Stevens, and L. Van Elsacker (2003). An elephantine problem? A study on elephant behaviour. Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Symposium on Zoo Research, Marwell Zoological Park, Federation of Zoological Gardens of Great Britain and Ireland,July 7, 2003, London, UK, p. 262-265. 342 p.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, aggressive behavior, female dominance, aggression in captivity, Belgium.

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.

Elzanowski, A. and A. Sergiel (2006). Stereotypic behaviour of a female Asiatic elephant (Elephas maximus) in a zoo. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 9(3): 223-232. ISSN: 1088-8705.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15327604jaws0903_4
Abstract: This study recorded daytime behaviour of a female Asiatic elephant at the Municipal Zoo, Wroclaw, Poland, in both an indoor pen and an outdoor paddock as continuous scan sampling for 140 hr, over 35 days in 1 year. Stereotypic sequences involved bouts of highly repetitive stereotypic movements and much more variable interbout behaviour. The study found both stereotypic movements, nodding and body (corpus) swaying, were asymmetric, accompanied by protraction of the right hind leg and to-and-from swinging of the trunk. The elephant spent 52% of the daytime in stereotypic movements, 3.5 times the level reported for females in other zoos' groups. The share of time devoted to stereotypic behaviour was lowest in the summer when the elephant was regularly released to the paddock and highest in the late fall after she had stayed in the pen after months of days outside. This suggests that changes in the management routine enhance stereotypies. Comparing the summer and winter stable management periods, stereotypies were much more frequent in the indoor pen than the outdoor paddock, suggesting that the confinement to a barren pen contributed to the observed levels of stereotypies. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, animal behavior, animal housing, seasonality, stereotypic sequences.

Feng, L. and L. Zhang (2005). Habitat selection by Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China. Acta Theriologica Sinica 25(3): 229-236. ISSN: 1000-1050.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, habitat preference, forest, woodland, bamboo, evergreen, broadleaf mixed forest, shrubland, grassland.
Language of Text: Chinese, with English summary.

Flach, E.J., L. Sambrook, W. Boardman, J. Dodds, R. Chaplin, T. Strike, and A. Routh (2007). Hand rearing and growth of a female Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) calf. Proceedings of the Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin(7): 187-190. ISSN: 1431-7338.
Abstract: An Asian elephant calf which failed to suck effectively was successfully hand reared to weaning. From one to seven months of age Salvana elephant milk formula was used as a supplementary feed (maximum intake 13 L per day) and then, from eight months until weaning at 18 months, SMA Gold human milk formula (maximum intake 22 L per day). The SMA Gold was supplemented with calcium and vitamins C and D. The calf was also exposed to UV light during its first winter. Daily intake of measured solids increased from seven to 14 months of age and this allowed a gradual reduction, and eventual removal, of milk from the diet. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, calves, case report, infant formula, milk composition, sucklings.

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.

Greenwood, D.R., D. Comeskey, M.B. Hunt, and L.E. Rasmussen (2005). Chemical communication: chirality in elephant pheromones. Nature 438(7071): 1097-8.
NAL Call Number: 472 N21
Abstract: Musth in male elephants is an annual period of heightened sexual activity and aggression that is linked to physical, sexual and social maturation. It is mediated by the release of chemical signals such as the pheromone frontalin, which exists in two chiral forms (molecular mirror images, or enantiomers). Here we show that enantiomers of frontalin are released by Asian elephants in a specific ratio that depends on the animal's age and stage of musth, and that different responses are elicited in male and female conspecifics when the ratio alters. This precise control of communication by molecular chirality offers insight into societal interactions in elephants, and may be useful in implementing new conservation protocols.
Descriptors: heterocyclic chemistry of bicyclo compounds, heterocyclic pharmacology of bicyclo compounds, physiology, pheromones chemistry, pheromones secretion, drug effects on animal sex behavior, aging physiology, heterocyclic metabolism of bicyclo compounds, pheromones pharmacology, sex behavior, animal physiology, stereoisomerism.

Isaza, R. and R.P. Hunter (2004). Drug delivery to captive Asian elephants - treating Goliath. Current Drug Delivery 1(3): 291-8.
Abstract: Captive Asian elephants have been maintained in captivity by humans for over 4000 years. Despite this association, there is little published literature on the treatment of elephant diseases or methods of drug administration to these animals. Elephants in captivity are generally healthy and require few therapeutic interventions over the course of their lifetime. However, when they become acutely ill, treatment becomes a serious issue. The successful and consistent administration of therapeutics to elephants is formidable in an animal that presents significant limitations in drug delivery options. The single most important factor in administering drugs to an elephant is the animal's cooperation in accepting the medication. Working around elephants can be very dangerous and this is magnified when working around sick or injured animals where the elephant is subject to increased stress, pain, and unusual situations associated with treatment. The large body size of the Asian elephant produces a separate set of issues. In this paper, methods of drug administration and their associated limitations will be reviewed. Considerations of medicating such large animals can serve to highlight the problems and principles of treatment that are inherent in these species.
Descriptors: zoo animal physiology, drug delivery system methods, drug administration routes, veterinary medicine methods.

Laws, N., A. Ganswindt, M. Heistermann, M. Harris, S. Harris, and C. Sherwin (2007). A case study: fecal corticosteroid and behavior as indicators of welfare during relocation of an Asian elephant. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 10(4): 349-358. ISSN: 1088-8705.
Abstract: 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 of the elephant to a new herd. The study measured cortisol metabolites using 2 enzyme immunoassays indicating a 389% and 340% increase in cortisol metabolite excretion following relocation. Maximal cortisol metabolite excretion occurred 2 days after relocation and remained elevated during establishment of the new herd. Stereotypic behavior increased approximately 400% after relocation. The relocation disturbed sleep patterns, the elephant spent less time sleeping during the night, and the elephant slept standing up. These results provide preliminary evidence that noninvasive monitoring of fecal cortisol metabolites can be used to investigate adrenal activity in Asian elephants and may be a safe, practical, and accurate welfare indicator. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, animal behavior, animal welfare, case report, corticoids, excretion, feces, glucocorticoids, hydrocortisone, immunoassay.

Litchfield, P. (2005). Leaders and matriarchs - a new look at elephant social hierarchies. International Zoo News 52(6, No. 343): 338-339. ISSN: 0020-9155.
NAL Call Number: QL76.I58
Descriptors: Asian elephants, Elephas maximus, social hierarchy, observations, captive herd, wildlife park, England, Kent, observations, leaders, matriarchs.

Malhotra, A.K. and Manoj Kumar (2003). Management of musth Indian elephant at National Zoological Park, New Delhi. Zoos' Print Journal 18(10): 8. ISSN: 0971-6378.
Descriptors: Indian elephant, musth, behavior, management, case report, clinical aspects, zoo elephant, Elephas maximus, New Delhi.

Mallapur, A. and A. Ramanathan (2009). Differences in husbandry and management systems across ten facilities housing Asian elephants Elephas maximus in India. International Zoo Yearbook 43(1): 189-197. ISSN: 0074-9664.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-1090.2008.00077.x
NAL Call Number: QL76.I5
Abstract: A face-to-face questionnaire survey was conducted to document the husbandry and management systems followed by ten facilities housing Asian elephants Elephas maximas in India. Eighty-two Asian elephants at these ten facilities were surveyed between November 2004 and February 2005. A significantly greater percentage of the elephants managed by zoos (n=4 zoos; 13 elephants surveyed) and the forest elephant camp (n=1 forest elephant camp; five elephants surveyed) were housed in pairs or groups; whereas animals maintained by tourist camps (n=2 tourist camps; 40 elephants surveyed) and temples (n=3 temples; 24 elephants surveyed) were permanently restrained with minimal social contact (physical contact with other elephants). A considerably larger proportion of elephants from tourist camps and temples were housed in environments devoid of natural features, such as trees, shrubs and water bodies. Forest elephant camp and zoo elephants, on the other hand, were housed in complex species-specific environments, which included water bodies, trees/shrubs and a substrate of compacted mud. From this paper, it is evident that the husbandry and management protocols vary significantly across the degrees of captivity, with some facilities (e.g. zoos and a forest elephant camp) being more conducive for housing elephants than others (e.g. temples and tourist camps). Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, zoos, India, forest elephant camps, husbandry, management, temples, tourist camps.

Martin, F. and C. Niemitz (2003). "Right-trunkers" and "left-trunkers": side preferences of trunk movements in wild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Journal of Comparative Psychology 117(4): 371-9.
NAL Call Number: BF671.J6
Abstract: In this article, the side preferences of feeding-related trunk movements of free-ranging Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) were investigated for the first time. It is hypothesized that a functional asymmetry of the trunk is necessary to perform skillful feeding movements more efficiently. This might be connected with a corresponding hemispheric specialization. Video recordings of 41 wild elephants provided frequencies and durations of the following trunk-movement categories: object contact, retrieval, and reaching. In each category, individual side preferences were found. The strength of side preferences varied between the trunk-movement categories and the sexes. Mean durations of retrieval and reaching correlated negatively with the strength of side biases. Comparing the side preferences in the unpaired trunk with analogous phenomena in other unpaired grasping organs and in primate handedness. the authors discuss possible explanations for the evolution of asymmetries in unpaired grasping organs.
Descriptors: brain physiology, choice behavior, laterality physiology, movement, behavior, videotape recording.

Meller, C.L., C.C. Croney, and D. Shepherdson (2007). Effects of rubberized flooring on Asian elephant behavior in captivity. Zoo Biology 26(1): 51-61. ISSN: 0733-3188.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/zoo.20119
Abstract: Six Asian elephants at the Oregon Zoo were observed to determine the effects of a poured rubber flooring substrate on captive Asian elephant behavior. Room utilization also was evaluated in seven rooms used for indoor housing, including Front and Back observation areas. Data were collected in three phases. Phase I (Baseline Phase) examined elephant behavior on old concrete floors. In Phase II (Choice Phase), elephant behavior was observed in the Back observation area where room sizes were comparable and when a choice of flooring substrates was available. Phase III (Final Phase) examined elephant behavior when all rooms in both observation areas, Front and Back, were converted to rubberized flooring. Room use in both observation areas remained stable throughout the study, suggesting that flooring substrate did not affect room use choice. However, there was a clear pattern of decreased discomfort behaviors on the new rubber flooring. Normal locomotion as well as stereotypic locomotion increased on the new rubber flooring. In addition, resting behavior changed to more closely reflect the resting behavior of wild elephants, which typically sleep standing up, and spend very little time in lateral recumbence. Overall, these findings suggest that the rubber flooring may have provided a more comfortable surface for locomotion as well as standing resting behavior. It is suggested that poured rubber flooring may be a beneficial addition to similar animal facilities. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, animal behavior, animal welfare, floors, locomotion, rubber, zoo animals, zoological gardens.

Menargues, A., V. Urios, and M. Mauri (2008). Welfare assessment of captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) using salivary cortisol measurement. Animal Welfare 17(3): 305-312. ISSN: 0962-7286.
Abstract: The measurement of salivary cortisol allows non invasive assessment of welfare in captive animals. We utilised this technique to test the effect of zoo opening on six Asian elephants and two Indian rhinoceros at the Terra Natura Zoological Park, Alicante, Spain, during pre opening, opening and post opening periods. Salivary cortisol concentrations were found to be significantly higher during the opening period than during pre and post opening periods for both species. This method could prove a useful tool in monitoring the success of decisions taken to improve the welfare of captive animals. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, animal welfare assessment, cortisol measurement, zoo animals, Indian Rhinoceros, Rhinoceros unicornis.

Moss, A., D. Francis, and M. Esson (2008). The relationship between viewing area size and visitor behavior in an immersive Asian elephant exhibit. Visitor Studies 11(1): 26-40. ISSN: 1064-5578.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10645570801938418
Abstract: Immersive exhibits are increasingly popular in zoos, being seen as benefiting both animals and visitors. Multiple, discreet viewing areas are one of the key features of immersive zoo exhibits. Small, discreet viewing areas afford the visitor a very personal and intimate experience and may promote an affiliative response between the visitor and the animals on display, thus enhancing the immersive experience. This investigation sought to determine the effect of these viewing areas on visitor behavior, particularly in exhibits where the same animals could be viewed from different-sized viewing areas. This study in the Elephants of the Asian Forest exhibit at Chester Zoo, used unobtrusive visitor tracking to investigate how visitors behave at the exhibit's different-sized viewing areas. The results show that visitors are much more likely to stop, and stay for longer, at the largest viewing areas. Furthermore, there appears to be a proportional increase in visitor interest with increasing viewing area size. These findings have implications for zoo exhibit designers, particularly on the order in which viewing areas should be positioned. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, animal exhibits, spatial distribution, visitor behavior, zoo animals.

Nissani, M. (2006). Do Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) apply causal reasoning to tool-use tasks? Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Behavior Processes 32(1): 91-6.
NAL Call Number: QL750.J682
Descriptors: tool use, causual reasoning, associative learning, food reward, clinical trials.

Nissani, M., D. Hoefler Nissani, U.T. Lay, and U.W. Htun (2005). Simultaneous visual discrimination in Asian elephants. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 83(1): 15-29.
Abstract: Two experiments explored the behavior of 20 Asian elephants (Elephas aximus) in simultaneous visual discrimination tasks. In Experiment 1, 7 Burmese logging elephants acquired a white+/black- discrimination, reaching criterion in a mean of 2.6 sessions and 117 discrete trials, whereas 4 elephants acquired a black+/white- discrimination in 5.3 sessions and 293 trials. One elephant failed to reach criterion in the white+/black- task in 9 sessions and 549 trials, and 2 elephants failed to reach criterion in the black+/white- task in 9 sessions and 452 trials. In Experiment 2, 3 elephants learned a large/small transposition problem, reaching criterion within a mean of 1.7 sessions and 58 trials. Four elephants failed to reach criterion in 4.8 sessions and 193 trials. Data from both the black/white and large/small discriminations showed a surprising age effect, suggesting that elephants beyond the age of 20 to 30 years either may be unable to acquire these visual discriminations or may require an inordinate number of trials to do so. Overall, our results cannot be readily reconciled with the widespread view that elephants possess exceptional intelligence.
Descriptors: discrimination psychology, visual perception, aging, behavior, cognition, visual acuity.

Oliveira, C.A. de, G.D. West, R. Houck, and M. Leblanc (2004). Control of musth in an Asian elephant bull (Elephas maximus) using leuprolide acetate. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 35(1): 70-76. ISSN: 1042-7260.
NAL Call Number: SF601.J6
Descriptors: Asian elephant, bull, musth, behavior, testosterone, control, leuprolide acetate, Elephas maximus.

Pan WenJing, Lin Liu, Luo AiDong, and Zhang Li (2009). Corridor use by Asian elephants. Integrative Zoology 4(2): 220-231. ISSN: 1749-4869.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-4877.2009.00154.x
Abstract: There are 18 km of Kunming-Bangkok Highway passing through the Mengyang Nature Reserve of Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Yunnan Province, China. From September 2005 to September 2006 the impact of this highway on movement of wild Asian elephants between the eastern and western part of the nature reserve was studied using track transecting, rural surveys and direct monitoring. Our results showed that the number of crossroad corridors used by Asian elephants diminished from 28 to 23 following the construction of the highway. In some areas, the elephant activity diminished or even disappeared, which indicated a change in their home ranges. The utilization rate of artificial corridors was 44%. We also found that elephants preferred artificial corridors that were placed along their original corridors. During the research, wild elephants revealed their adaptation to the highway. They were found walking across the highway road surface many times and for different reasons. We suggest that the highway management bureau should revise their management strategies to mitigate the potential risks caused by elephants on the road for the safety of the public and to protect this endangered species from harm. It is also very important to protect and maintain current Asian elephants corridors in this region. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, wild animals, wildlife management, conservation.

Plotnik, J.M., F.B.M.d. Waal, and D. Reiss (2006). Self-recognition in an Asian elephant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103(45): 17053-17057. ISSN: 0027-8424.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0608062103
Abstract: Considered an indicator of self-awareness, mirror self-recognition (MSR) has long seemed limited to humans and apes. In both phylogeny and human ontogeny, MSR is thought to correlate with higher forms of empathy and altruistic behaviour. Apart from humans and apes, dolphins and elephants are also known for such capacities. After the recent discovery of MSR in dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), elephants thus were the next logical candidate species. We exposed three Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to a large mirror to investigate their responses. Animals that possess MSR typically progress through four stages of behaviour when facing a mirror: (i) social responses, (ii) physical inspection (e.g., looking behind the mirror), (iii) repetitive mirror-testing behaviour, and (iv) realization of seeing themselves. Visible marks and invisible sham-marks were applied to the elephants' heads to test whether they would pass the litmus "mark test" for MSR in which an individual spontaneously uses a mirror to touch an otherwise imperceptible mark on its own body. Here, we report a successful MSR elephant study and report striking parallels in the progression of responses to mirrors among apes, dolphins, and elephants. These parallels suggest convergent cognitive evolution most likely related to complex sociality and cooperation. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, animal behavior, awareness, cognitive development, mental ability, mirrors, social behavior.

Rasmussen, L., V. Krishnamurthy, and R. Sukumar (2005). Behavioural and chemical confirmation of the preovulatory pheromone, (Z) -7-dodecenyl acetate, in wild Asian elephants: its relationship to musth. Behaviour 142(3): 351-396. ISSN: 0005-7959.
NAL Call Number: 410 B393
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, age, reproductive behavior, musth, mating strategies, female preovulatory hormone, pheromones, preovulatory urinary hormone, social behavior, India, preovulatory hormone identification, male chemosensory responses.

Rees, P.A. (2009). Activity budgets and the relationship between feeding and stereotypic behaviors in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in a Zoo. Zoo Biology 28(2): 79-97. ISSN: 0733-3188.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/zoo.20200
Abstract: Activity budgets were studied in eight Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) at Chester Zoo (UK) for 35 days, between January and November 1999. Recordings were made between 10:00 and 16:00 hr (with most behavior frequencies calculated between 10:00 and 14:00 hr). The elephants exhibited variation in activity depending on their age, sex, the time of day and the time of year. Only the five adult cows exhibited stereotypic behavior, with frequencies ranging from 3.9 to 29.4% of all observations. These elephants exhibited individual, diurnal and seasonal variation in stereotypic behavior. This has implications for studies that use short sampling periods and may make comparisons of data collected at different times of the day or year invalid. The six adult elephants spent 27.4-41.4% of the time feeding (between 10:00 and 14:00 hr), 22.9-42.0% standing still, 6.1-19.2% walking and 3.9-9.6% dusting. The hypothesis that the frequency of stereotypic behavior in adult cow elephants was negatively correlated with the frequency of feeding behavior was tested and was found to be true. Stereotypic behavior increased in frequency toward the end of the day - while waiting to return to the elephant house for food - and elephants spent more time stereotyping during the winter months than during the summer months. Elephants were inactive (i.e. exhibited behaviors other than locomotion) for between 70.1 and 93.9% of the time. Creating more opportunities for elephants to exhibit foraging behavior and the introduction of greater unpredictability into management regimes, especially feeding times, may reduce the frequency of stereotypic behavior and increase general activity levels. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, animal behavior, activity budgets, feeding, seasonal variation, zoo animals.

Rees, P.A. (2004). Low environmental temperature causes an increase in stereotypic behaviour in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Journal of Thermal Biology 29(1): 37-43. ISSN: 0306-4565.
NAL Call Number: QP82.2.T4J6
Descriptors: captive Asian elephants, behavior, low environmental temperature, stress, stress response, steriotypic behavior, Elephas maximus.

Rees, P.A. (2004). Some preliminary evidence of the social facilitation of mounting behavior in a juvenile bull Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 7(1): 49-58.
NAL Call Number: HV4701.J68
Abstract: This study recorded sexual behavior within a captive herd of 8 Asian elephants for approximately 230 hr on 50 days over a period of 10 months. The study observed a single adult and a single juvenile bull mounting cows more than 160 times. When the juvenile bull was between 4 years, 2 months and 4 years, 8 months old, he exhibited mounting behavior only on days when adult mounting occurred. Adult mounting always occurred first. Beyond the age of 4 years, 8 months, the juvenile bull exhibited spontaneous mounting behavior in the absence of adult mounting. This suggests that mounting behavior may develop because of social facilitation. Determining the significance of the presence of sexually active adults in the normal development of sexual behavior in juveniles will require further studies. Encouraging the establishment of larger captive herds containing adults and calves of both sexes-if their presence is important-would improve the welfare of elephants in zoos and increase their potential conservation value.
Descriptors: sex behavior, social environment, zoo animals.

Rees, P. (2004). Unreported appeasement behaviours in the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 101(1): 71-78. ISSN: 0006-6982.
NAL Call Number: 513 B63
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, agonistic behavior, submissive behavior, captive population, adult bull, cows. bow down, musth.

Rees, P.A. (2009). Activity budgets and the relationship between feeding and stereotypic behaviors in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in a Zoo. Zoo Biology 28(2): 79-97. ISSN: 0733-3188.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/zoo.20200
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.Z6
Abstract: Activity budgets were studied in eight Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) at Chester Zoo (UK) for 35 days, between January and November 1999. Recordings were made between 10:00 and 16:00 hr (with most behavior frequencies calculated between 10:00 and 14:00 hr). The elephants exhibited variation in activity depending on their age, sex, the time of day and the time of year. Only the five adult cows exhibited stereotypic behavior, with frequencies ranging from 3.9 to 29.4% of all observations. These elephants exhibited individual, diurnal and seasonal variation in stereotypic behavior. This has implications for studies that use short sampling periods and may make comparisons of data collected at different times of the day or year invalid. The six adult elephants spent 27.4-41.4% of the time feeding (between 10:00 and 14:00 hr), 22.9-42.0% standing still, 6.1-19.2% walking and 3.9-9.6% dusting.The hypothesis that the frequency of stereotypic behavior in adult cow elephants was negatively correlated with the frequency of feeding behavior was tested and was found to be true. Stereotypic behavior increased in frequency toward the end of the day--while waiting to return to the elephant house for food--and elephants spent more time stereotyping during the winter months than during the summer months. Elephants were inactive (i.e. exhibited behaviors other than locomotion) for between 70.1 and 93.9% of the time. Creating more opportunities for elephants to exhibit foraging behavior and the introduction of greater unpredictability into management regimes, especially feeding times, may reduce the frequency of stereotypic behavior and increase general activity levels. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, zoo animals, animal behavior, diurnal variation, seasonal variation, feeding behavior, stereotyped behavior, animal age, gender differences.

Rees, P.A. (2003). Early experience of sexual behaviour in Asian elephants. International Zoo News 50(4): 200-206; No 325. ISSN: 0020-9155.
NAL Call Number: QL76.I58
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, reproductive behavior, early experience of sexual behavior, captive observations.

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.

Slade Cain, B.E., L.E.L. Rasmussen, and B.A. Schulte (2008). Estrous state influences on investigative, aggressive, and tail flicking behavior in captive female Asian elephants. Zoo Biology 27(3): 167-180. ISSN: 0733-3188.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/zoo.20181
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.Z6
Abstract: Females of species that live in matrilineal hierarchies may compete for temporally limited resources, yet maintain social harmony to facilitate cohesion. The relative degree of aggressive and nonaggressive interactions may depend on the reproductive condition of sender and receiver. Individuals can benefit by clearly signaling and detecting reproductive condition. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) live in social matrilineal herds. Females have long estrous cycles (14-16 weeks) composed of luteal (8-12 weeks) and follicular (4-8 weeks) phases. In this study, we observed the behavior of four captive Asian elephant females during multiple estrous cycles over 2 years. We evaluated whether investigative, aggressive, and tail flicking behaviors were related to reproductive condition. Investigative trunk tip contacts showed no distinct pattern by senders, but were more prevalent toward female elephants that were in their follicular compared with their luteal phase. The genital area was the most frequently contacted region and may release reproductively related chemosignals. Aggression did not differ significantly with estrus; however, rates of aggression were elevated when senders were approaching ovulation and receivers were in the luteal phase. Females in the follicular phase may honestly advertise their condition. Contacts by conspecifics may serve to assess condition and reduce aggression. A behavior termed "tail flicking" was performed mainly during the mid-follicular phase when estrogen and luteinizing hormone levels are known to spike. Tail flicking may disperse chemical signals in urine or mucus as well as act as a tonic signal that could provide a means of anticipating forthcoming ovulation by elephants and also for human observers and caretakers. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, estrous cycle, estrus, ovulation, animal behavior, social behavior, aggression, tail, touch, animal communication, zoo animals, follicular phase, luteal phase, female behavior, investigative behavior, tactile behavior.

Swain, D. and L.K. Singh (2003). Musth in female asian elephant. Zoos' Print Journal 18(9): 1202.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, female, reproduction, musth.

Vodicka, R. and J. Kral (2003). Purulent trunk dermatitis in a male Ceylon elephant (Elephas maximus maximus). In: Erkrankungen der Zootiere: Verhandlungsbericht des 41 Internationalen Symposiums uber die Erkrankungen der Zoo und Wildtiere,May 1, 1928-June 1, 2003, Rome, Italy, Vol. 5, p. 151-153.
NAL Call Number: SF996.I5
Descriptors: Asian elephant, trunk, purulent dermatitis, pyoderma, skin diseases, treatment, aggressive male, anesthesia, handling, Elephas maximus.

 

 

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