The human population explosion has pushed many mammalian wildlife species to the brink of extinction. Conservationists are increasingly turning to captive breeding as a means of preserving the gene pool. We previously reported that serum immunoactive relaxin provided a reliable means of distinguishing between true and pseudopregnancy in domestic dogs, and this method has since been found to be a reliable indicator of true pregnancy in endangered Asian and African elephants and Sumatran rhinoceroses.
Plant responses to herbivory vary depending on herbivory type, yet the comparative effects of defoliation (e.g. by insects) and pruning (e.g. by large mammals) on a single tree species are poorly documented. We investigated this in the Northern Province of South Africa by comparing the regrowth of Colophospermum mopane trees previously defoliated by caterpillars or pruned by elephants, the two main browsers of C. mopane foliage.
Electrocardiograms (ECGs) are infrequently performed on Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), and few studies have been reported in the literature. The aim of this study was to determine reference ranges of ECG parameters in Asian elephants and to ascertain if age, body weight, and position of the elephant significantly affected the ECG. Electrocardiograms were obtained from 27 captive, nonsedated apparently healthy Asian elephants while they were standing (ST), in right lateral recumbency (RL), and/or in left lateral recumbency (LL).
Mycobacterium szulgai was associated with mortality in two captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) housed at Lincoln Park Zoo. The first elephant presented with severe, acute lameness of the left rear limb. Despite extensive treatments, the animal collapsed and died 13 mo after initial presentation. Necropsy revealed osteomyelitis with loss of the femoral head and acetabulum and pulmonary granulomas with intralesional M. szulgai. The second elephant collapsed during transport to another institution with no premonitory clinical signs.
Although captive elephants are commonly vaccinated annually against tetanus using commercially available tetanus toxoid vaccines marketed for use in horses and livestock, no data exists to prove that tetanus toxoid vaccination produces measurable antibody titers in elephants. An ELISA test was created to measure antibody responses to tetanus toxoid vaccinations in 22 Asian elephants ranging in age from 24 to 56 years (mean age 39 years) over a 7-month period.