A survey of African (Loxodonta Africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephant diets and measured body dimensions compared to their estimated nutrient requirements

Citation

Ange K, Crissey SD, Doyal C, Lance K, Hintz H. 2001. A survey of African (Loxodonta Africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephant diets and measured body dimensions compared to their estimated nutrient requirements. In Edwards M, Lisi KJ, Schlegel ML, Bray RE, Eds., Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Abstract

Nineteen zoos completed a survey between 1997 and 1998 detailing information on their elephants including: species (African; Loxodonta africana or Asian; Elephas maximus), sex, weight, height, girth, length, and age. Captive female African (3375 kg) and Asian (3453 kg) elephants appeared heavier than published data for their free-ranging counterparts (2800 and 2720 kg, respectively). Elephant weight and dimension information from the survey served as a tool to evaluate the condition of the captive elephants. Fifteen of the 19 surveyed zoos that housed 22 African and 29 Asian elephants completed a three-day diet intake study. Calculated nutrient intake was compared to estimated elephant nutrient requirements. At least one nutrient was low in all diets reviewed. Every institution had elephant diets deficient in at least two nutrients and several zoos had elephant diets that were deficient in almost every nutrient when compared to suggested elephant requirements. Those nutrients found low for elephant diets in one or more institutions included: selenium, riboflavin, vitamin D, thiamin, iodine, zinc, vitamin E, copper, iron, crude protein, cobalt, manganese, vitamin A, sodium, and phosphorus. However, elephants at all the zoos were reportedly healthy. Since possible nutrient inadequacies may potentially go unnoticed for long periods of time, results from this study illustrate the importance of evaluating the diets of captive elephants.

Ange-ASurveyOfElephant.pdf     3 MB

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