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

Digestive / Food / Nutrition

Ashoka Dangolla, A.G. Malitha, and Indira Silva (2004). Mineral status in blood serum of domesticated elephants (Elephas maximus) and certain plants of Sri Lanka. Zoos' Print Journal 19(7): 1549-1550. ISSN: 0971-6378.
Descriptors: bark, blood serum, calcium, coconuts, jackfruits, leaves, magnesium, mineral deficiencies, nutritional state, nutritive value, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, Artocarpus heterophyllus, Caryota urens, Cocos nucifera, Elephas maximus, coconut, jak, kitul, ear vein.

Clauss, M., W. Loehlein, E. Kienzle, and H. Wiesner (2003). Studies on feed digestibilities in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 87(3-4): 160-73.
NAL Call Number: 389.78 Z3
Abstract: In order to test the suitability of the horse as a nutritional model for elephants, digestibility studies were performed with six captive Asian elephants on six different dietary regimes, using the double marker method with acid detergent lignin as an internal and chromium oxide as an external digestibility marker. Elephants resembled horses in the way dietary supplements and dietary crude fibre content influenced digestibility, in calcium absorption parameters and in faecal volatile fatty acid composition. However, the absolute digestibility coefficients achieved for all nutrients are distinctively lower in elephants. This is because of much faster ingesta passage rates reported for elephants. No answer is given to why elephants do not make use of their high digestive potential theoretically provided by their immense body weight. Differences in volatile fatty acid concentrations between these captive elephants and those reported from elephants from the wild are in accord with a reported high dependence of free-ranging elephants on browse forage.
Descriptors: animal nutrition, dietary fiber metabolism, digestion, elephant metabolism, animal feed, zoo animals, biological markers analysis, fatty acids, volatile analysis, feces chemistry, gastrointestinal transit physiology, lignin metabolism, animal models.

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.

Groendahl Nielsen, C. (2004). Drunken Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) from ryegrass hay. Proceedings: American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians, Wildlife Disease Association: Health and Conservation of Captive and Free-Ranging Wildlife. Joint Conference,August 28, 2004-September 3, 2004, San Diego, California, American Association of Zoo Veterinarians: p. 372-373. 660 p.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, diet, ryegrass hay, diseases, disorders, ethanol intoxication, ataxia associated with rygrass hay, captivity, drunken elephants.

Pradhan, N.M.B., P. Wegge, and S.R. Moe (2007). How does a recolonizing population of Asian elephants affect the forest habitat. Journal of Zoology 273(2): 183-191. ISSN: 0952-8369; Online: 1469-7998.
NAL Call Number: QL1.J68
Abstract: The Asian elephant Elephas maximus is currently re-colonizing the Bardia National Park in lowland Nepal. We studied their impact on woody vegetation in the nutrient-rich floodplain and in the relatively nutrient-poor sal forest. The types and extent of tree impact were recorded along fixed-width transects (335 km). Species composition, density and size classes >=8 cm diameter breast height (dbh) were recorded in 15-m radius random plots (n=95). Impact was higher in the floodplain complex than in the sal-dominated forest. Our hypothesis that elephants were more selective on species in the nutrient-poor sal forest was only partly supported; the niche breadth of impacted trees was slightly higher in the floodplain complex. Pushed-over trees accounted for the highest proportion of impact (55%), followed by killed trees (39%). Of the pushed trees, 10% were not used for food. Among food trees, elephants selectively impacted size class 12-16 cm dbh, whereas non-food trees were impacted independently of size. A large proportion of the freshly browsed trees had been felled previously, indicating that most felled trees survived, enabling elephants to feed on them again. This may reflect an evolutionary adaptation among long-lived species with high site fidelity. Owing to preferential use but low abundance, two species in sal forest, Grewia spp. and Desmodium oojeinense, were found to be particularly vulnerable to local extinction due to elephants. Although the elephants had impacted a large number of species (62, 73% of all), 56.4% of the impacted trees consisted of Mallotus phillippinensis. A recently observed increase in the density of M. phillippinensis and the concurrent reduction of the hardly utilized Shorea robusta indicates that the rapidly growing elephant population may modify the composition of the forest by increasing its preferred food species. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, Asia, Nepal, alluvial-floodplain, Mallotus phillippinensis, megaherbivores, sal forest, tree impact.

Pradhan, N.M.B., P. Wegge, S.R. Moe, and A.K. Shrestha (2008). Feeding ecology of two endangered sympatric megaherbivores: Asian elephant Elephas maximus and greater one horned rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis in lowland Nepal. Wildlife Biology 14(1): 147-154. ISSN: 0909-6396.
Abstract: We studied the diets of low-density but increasing populations of sympatric Asian elephants Elephas maximus and greater one-horned rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis in the Bardia National Park in lowland Nepal. A microhistological technique based on fecal material was used to estimate the seasonal diet composition of the two megaherbivores. Rhinos ate more grass than browse in all seasons, and their grass/browse ratio was significantly higher than that of elephants. Both species ate more browse in the dry season, with bark constituting an estimated 73% of the elephant diet in the cool part of that season. Diet overlap was high in the resource-rich monsoon season and lower in the resource-poor dry season, indicating partitioning of food between the two species in the period of resource limitation. Both species consumed large amounts of the floodplain grass Saccharum spontaneum, particularly during the monsoon season. As the numbers of both species increase, intraspecific and interspecific competition for S. spontaneum in the limited floodplains is likely to occur. Owing to their higher grass diet and more restricted all year home ranges within the floodplain habitat complex, rhinos are then expected to be affected more than elephants. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, animal behavior, browsing, diet, feces composition, feeding behavior, food preferences, herbivores, interspecific competition, intraspecific competition, lowland areas, sympatric species, Rhinoceros, Rhinoceros unicornis.

Steinheim, G., P. Wegge, J.I. Fjellstad, S.R. Jnawali, and R.B. Weladji (2005). Dry season diets and habitat use of sympatric Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinocerus [Rhinoceros] unicornis) in Nepal. Journal of Zoology (London) 265(4): 377-385. ISSN: 0952-8369.
NAL Call Number: 410.9 L84P
Descriptors: Rhinoceros unicornis, Elephas maximus, food plants, dry season diets, habitat utilization, dry season habitat, semi aquatic habitat, forest, woodland, grassland, Nepal, grass, browse, bark.



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