Asian elephants are not self-sustaining in captivity. The main reasons for this phenomenon are a low birth rate, an aging population, and poor calf-rearing. Therefore, it is essential that reproductive rates had to be improved and there is need for rapid quantitative measures to monitor reproductive functions focussing on estrous detection and the prediction of the period of parturition.
Expansion of ecotourism-based industries, changes in land-use practices, and escalating competition for resources have increased contact between free-ranging wildlife and humans. Although human presence in wildlife areas may provide an important economic benefit through ecotourism, exposure to human pathogens
In the Asian elephant, wetness akin to perspiration is commonly observed on the cuticles and interdigital areas of the feet; this observation has lead to speculation regarding the existence of an interdigital gland. Our goal was to search for interdigital glands and characterize them morphologically, histochemically, and immunohistochemically. Necropsy samples of interdigital areas from two Asian elephants were obtained. Multiple sections were fixed and processed routinely, then stained with hematoxylin/eosin and differential mucin stains.
An Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) required general anesthesia for orthopedic foot surgery. The elephant was unable to lie down, so it was placed in a custom-made sling, administered i.m. etorphine hydrochloride in the standing position, and lowered to lateral recumbency. General anesthesia was maintained with isoflurane administered through an endotracheal tube. After surgery, the isoflurane anesthesia was terminated, with immobilization maintained with additional i.v. etorphine.
Demographic analysis of the captive Asian elephants in North America indicates that the population is not self-sustaining. First year mortality is nearly 30%, but perhaps more importantly the fecundity is extremely low (Mx = 0.01-0.02) throughout the prime reproductive years. Without continued importation or a drastic increase in birth rates the Asian elephant population in North America will drop to approximately ten elephants in 50 years and be demographically extinct. Model mortality and fecundity curves needed to establish a self-sustaining…