• A comparison of walking rates Between wild and zoo African elephants

      Miller, Lance J.; Chase, Michael J.; Hacker, Charlotte E. (2016)
      The goal of the current study was to compare the walking rates of elephants in the wild versus elephants in zoos to determine if elephants are walking similar distances relative to their wild counterparts. Eleven wild elephants throughout different habitats and locations in Botswana were compared to 8 elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Direct comparisons revealed no significant difference in average walking rates of zoo elephants when compared with wild elephants….
    • Devastating decline of forest elephants in Central Africa

      Maisels, F.; Strindberg, S.; Blake, S.; Wittemyer, G.; Hart, J.; Williamson, E. A.; Aba'a, R.; Abitsi, G.; Ambahe, R. D.; Amsini, F.; et al. (2013)
      African forest elephants-taxonomically and functionally unique-are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002-2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced.
    • Developmental milestones among African elephant calves on their first day of life

      Bercovitch, Fred B.; Andrews, Jeff; (2010)
      ...We show that calves born in a zoo stand and walk on their own for the first time at the same age as those born in the wild. Calves born in the zoo take a little longer until first successful nursing, but the difference in age between wild and zoo is not statistically significant....
    • Elephant behavior toward the dead: A review and insights from field observations

      Goldenberg, Shifra Z.; Wittemyer, George (2020)
      Many nonhuman animals have been documented to take an interest in their dead. A few socially complex and cognitively advanced taxa—primates, cetaceans, and proboscideans—stand out for the range and duration of behaviors that they display at conspecific carcasses....
    • Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus

      Howard, Lauren L.; Schaftenaar, Willem (ElsevierSt. Louis, MO, 2019)
    • Elephant training in zoos

      Vicino, Greg A.; Melfi, Vicky A.; Dorey, Nicole R.; Ward, Samantha J. (Wiley-BlackwellHoboken, NJ, 2020)
    • Elephants of south-east Angola in war and peace: their decline, re-colonization and recent status: Elephants in war and peace in SE Angola

      Chase, Michael J.; Griffin, Curtice R. (2011)
      ...the full impact of the civil war on elephants is uncertain because there are no reliable estimates of Angolan elephant populations. Following the end of the civil war in 2002, our three aerial surveys of Luiana PR indicated that elephant numbers are increasing rapidly, from 366 in January 2004 to 1827 in November 2005, and expanding their range in the Reserve....
    • Elephants, ivory, and trade

      Wasser, Samuel; Poole, Joyce; Lee, Phyllis; Lindsay, Keith; Dobson, Andrew; Hart, John; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Wittemyer, George; Granli, Petter; Morgan, Bethan J.; et al. (2010)
      ...Tanzania and Zambia (1 5, 1 6) are exploit- ing this restricted moratorium in their peti- tions. Approval requires demonstration that their elephant populations are secure, law enforcement is effective, and sales will not be detrimental to elephants....
    • Estimating daily walking distance of captive African elephants using an accelerometer

      Rothwell, E. S.; Bercovitch, Fred B.; Andrews, Jeff R. M.; Anderson, Matthew J. (2011)
      Two central concerns for elephant husbandry and management are whether zoological enclosures are appropriately sized and the degree to which naturalistic exercise and activity are observed in such enclosures. In order to address these issues, accurate data on the daily walking distance of elephants both in situ and ex situ are necessary. We used an accelerometer, a pedometer that measures step count and activity level, to estimate walking distance in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park….
    • Examination of enrichment using space and food for African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

      Hacker, CE; Miller, Lance J.; Schulte, BA (2018)
      Concern for elephant welfare in zoological facilities has prompted a number of exhibit and management modifications, including those involving enrichment. Knowledge of how these changes impact indicators of welfare, such as elephant movement and behaviour, is crucial for continued improvement of elephant husbandry and care....
    • Genetic connectivity across marginal habitats: the elephants of the Namib Desert

      Ishida Yasuko; Van Coeverden de Groot Peter J.; Leggett Keith E. A.; Putnam, Andrea S.; Fox Virginia E.; Lai Jesse; Boag Peter T.; Georgiadis Nicholas J.; Roca Alfred L. (2016)
      Locally isolated populations in marginal habitats may be genetically distinctive and of heightened conservation concern. Elephants inhabiting the Namib Desert have been reported to show distinctive behavioral and phenotypic adaptations in that severely arid environment. The genetic distinctiveness of Namibian desert elephants relative to other African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana ) populations has not been established. To investigate the genetic structure of elephants in Namibia, we determined the mitochondrial (mt) DNA control region sequences and genotyped 17 microsatellite loci in desert elephants (n = 8) from the Hoanib River catchment and the Hoarusib River catchment. We compared these to the genotypes of elephants (n = 77) from other localities in Namibia. The mtDNA haplotype sequences and frequencies among desert elephants were similar to those of elephants in Etosha National Park, the Huab River catchment, the Ugab River catchment, and central Kunene, although the geographically distant Caprivi Strip had different mtDNA haplotypes. Likewise, analysis of the microsatellite genotypes of desert‐dwelling elephants revealed that they were not genetically distinctive from Etosha elephants, and there was no evidence for isolation by distance across the Etosha region. These results, and a review of the historical record, suggest that a high learning capacity and long‐distance migrations allowed Namibian elephants to regularly shift their ranges to survive in the face of high variability in climate and in hunting pressure.
    • Genome-wide characterization of centromeric satellites from multiple mammalian genomes

      Alkan, C.; Cardone, M. F.; Catacchio, C. R.; Antonacci, F.; O'Brien, S. J.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Purgato, S.; Zoli, M.; Della Valle, G.; Eichler, E. E.; et al. (2011)
      ...We analyzed genome datasets from six species of mammals representing the diversity of the mammalian lineage, namely, horse, dog, elephant, armadillo, opossum, and platypus. We define candidate monomer satellite repeats and demonstrate centromeric localization for five of the six genomes....
    • Incorporating mortality into habitat selection to identify secure and risky habitats for savannah elephants

      Roever, C. L.; van Aarde, R. J.; Chase, Michael J. (2013)
      Empirical models of habitat selection are increasingly used to guide and inform habitat-based management plans for wildlife species. However, habitat selection does not necessarily equate to habitat quality particularly if selection is maladaptive, so incorporating measures of fitness into estimations of occurrence is necessary to increase model robustness. Here, we incorporated spatially explicit mortality events with the habitat selection of elephants to predict secure and risky habitats in northern Botswana....
    • Increasing conservation translocation success by building social functionality in released populations

      Goldenberg, Shifra Z.; Owen, Megan A.; Brown, Janine L.; Wittemyer, George; Oo, Zaw Min; Leimgruber, Peter (2019)
      The importance of animal behavior to successful wildlife translocations has been acknowledged in recent decades, and it has been increasingly considered and more frequently incorporated into translocation management and research. However, explicit consideration of social behavior is often overlooked in this context. Social relationships take a variety of forms (e.g., cooperative partners, members of a dominance hierarchy, territorial neighbors) and play important roles in survival, reproduction, and resource exploitation. We review the ways in which concepts from studies of social behavior in wild populations may be leveraged to increase translocation success. Social structure and cohesion, social roles, social learning, and social competency may all be important to consider in building populations that are resilient and likely to persist. We argue that relevant data collected at all stages of translocation, including candidate selection, and during pre-release, release, and post-release monitoring, may inform the establishment of functional social structure post-release in species dependent on social processes. Integrating knowledge of social behavior into management decisions may be particularly useful when comparing the success of alternative release protocols or release candidate behavioral traits. Complementary datasets on a range of fitness-related metrics post-release will further leverage our understanding of social establishment in translocated populations. We illustrate the potential of these ideas using Asian and African elephants as a model. Both species are particularly challenging to manage but are translocated frequently; thus, evidence-based protocols for conservation translocations of elephants are urgently needed.
    • Intensity of play behavior as a potential measure of welfare: A novel method for quantifying the integrated intensity of behavior in African elephants

      Vicino, Greg A.; Marcacci, Emily S. (2015)
      This study was developed to test an equation that quantified the intensity and duration of play bouts in a particularly gregarious mammal, African elephants (Loxodonta africana ) housed at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, CA.… Here we present the methods and technique used to calculate a standardized Integrated Play Index (IPI) that has potential for use in other socially living species that are known to exhibit play behavior
    • Laparoscopic vasectomy in african savannah elephant (loxodonta africana); surgical technique and results

      Marais, Hendrik J; Hendrickson, Dean A; Stetter, Mark; Zuba, Jeffery R.; Penning, Mark; Siegal-Willott, Jess; Hardy, Christine (2013)
      Several small, enclosed reserves in southern Africa are experiencing significant elephant population growth, which has resulted in associated environmental damage and changes in biodiversity. Although several techniques exist to control elephant populations, e.g., culling, relocation, and immunocontraception, the technique of laparoscopic vasectomy of free-ranging bull elephants was investigated....
    • Noninvasive sampling for detection of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus and genomic DNA in Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants

      Jeffrey, Alison; Evans, Tierra Smiley; Molter, Christine M.; Howard, Lauren L.; Ling, Paul; Goldstein, Tracey; Gilardi, Kirsten (2020)
      Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) hemorrhagic disease (EEHV-HD) threatens Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) population sustainability in North America…. To evaluate noninvasive sample collection options, paired invasively collected (blood, trunk wash and oral swabs), and noninvasively collected (chewed plant and fecal) samples were compared over 6 wk from 9 Asian elephants and 12 African elephants….
    • Personality assessment in African elephants (Loxodonta africana): Comparing the temporal stability of ethological coding versus trait rating

      Horback, Kristina M.; Miller, Lance J.; Kuczaj, Stan A. (2013)
      The consistency of personality assessment was addressed in this study of 12 zoological African elephants living at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, CA, USA during the 2010 and 2011 summer seasons. Using 480 h of observational behavior data, three personality traits were determined based on behavior events, with the most significant correlations (two-tailed rs > 0.77, P < 0.005) being playful, curious, and sociable….
    • Social learning in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana africana)

      Greco, Brian J.; Brown, Tracey K.; Andrews, Jeff R. M.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Caine, Nancy G. (2013)
      …Social learning is assumed to be important for elephants, but evidence in support of that claim is mostly anecdotal. Using a herd of six adult female African bush elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, we evaluated whether viewing a conspecific’s interactions facilitated learning of a novel task….
    • Spatial mapping shows that some African elephants use cognitive maps to navigate the core but not the periphery of their home ranges

      Presotto, Andrea; Fayrer-Hosken, Richard; Curry, Caitlin; Madden, Marguerite (2019)
      Strategies of navigation have been shown to play a critical role when animals revisit resource sites across large home ranges. The habitual route system appears to be a sufficient strategy for animals to navigate while avoiding the cognitive cost of traveling using the Euclidean map....