Vitamin E supplementation in African elephants

Vitamin E, an essential vitamin, has antioxidant properties that are important for maintaining optimal health. In the 1990’s, comparisons of zoo-housed and wild elephant species revealed concentrations of blood a-tocopherol (vitamin E) in zoo-housed elephants of approximately half that seen in their wild conspecifics (0.4 vs. 0.8 ug/ml; Dierenfeld and Traber, 1992). Addition of dietary vitamin E supplement for the...

Evaluation of diets offered to elephants in Brazilian zoos

In order to improve the quality of life for captive elephants maintained in Brazilian zoos, the Brazilian Society of Zoos and Aquariums (SZB) organized a workshop concerning management of elephants in zoos in November 2014. Evaluation of nutritional husbandry was identified as a priority. Thus, diets were assessed from information obtained for 4 African (Loxodonta africana) and 12 Asian (Elephas...

Quantifying the activity of captive Asian elephants through the use of a tri-axial accelerometer GPS, and behavioral observation

Quantifying activity levels and specific behaviors in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) has proven challenging and yet is important for managing these animals in zoos. Wild elephants spend a large portion of their day foraging; while in captivity, this activity is significantly decreased. To reduce the development of health risks such as obesity and the formation of undesirable behaviors, new...

Validation of a radioimmunoassay for Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) insulin

Insulin is a principle mediator of metabolic and reproductive function and could provide an indicator for health status in elephants as in humans, equines and other species. This study was intended to validate a radioimmunoassay for insulin in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Four Asian elephant cows (age 11-39 y) at the Fort Worth Zoo were fed coastal hay only overnight,...

Evaluation of type I and II collagen biomarkers for the detection of joint pathology in elephants

The first objective of this trial was to evaluate whether biomarkers for type I and type II collagen were detectable in elephant serum samples. Two commercially available enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent (ELISA) assays for the detection of the crosslinking telopeptides of type I collagen (CTX-I) and type II collagen (CTX-II) were validated for use with elephant sera. The second objective was to...

Normal urinary mineral excretion levels in African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

Metabolic bone disease has occurred in several incidences of elephant neonates hand-reared on milk replacement formula. Monitoring for metabolic bone disease historically has been done through serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations. Serum concentrations are tightly regulated and changes in concentration are typically not evident until skeletal changes have already occurred. Urinary calcium and phosphorus excretion levels may provide earlier evidence...

Study of calcium metabolism in captive elephants by means of feeding trail

Hypocalcemia in elephants is a concern that needs attention. Cases of calcium-responsive dystocia have been reported anecdotally and the number of bone fractures in hospitalized working elephants in Thailand is relatively high. A feeding trial in 4 Asian elephants at the Rotterdam zoo showed that an increase in the calcium concentration of the roughage resulted in a significant rise in...

BODY CONDITION SCORING INDEX FOR FEMALE AFRICAN ELEPHANTS (LOXODONTA AFRICANA) VALIDATED WITH ULTRASOUND MEASUREMENTS OF SUBCUTANEOUS FAT

A major problem of zoo African elephants is ovarian acyclicity, which preliminary studies suggest may be related to obesity. To test this relationship, methods to accurately quantify body condition and obesity in elephants are warranted. Body condition scoring (BCS), an indirect means of measuring body condition based on visual evaluation of subcutaneous fat and key skeletal elements, has become an...

CASE STUDY: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WEIGHT GAIN AND OFFSPRING SEX IN AFRICAN BUSH ELEPHANTS (LOXODONTA AFRICANA AFRICANA) AT THE SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK

Facing a male biased offspring sex ratio (7:4) in the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) population at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (SP), the overall weight and weight gain of the breeding females was analyzed and the weight gain prior to calf conception was determined. The breeding females arrived at the SP heavier than similarly aged Zambian female...

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

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...

Elephants: nutrition and dietary husbandry

Elephants are the largest extant herbivores on earth. Although the average weight of adult Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) tends to be less than that of adult African elephants (Loxodonta africana), in the wild their weight ranges overlap (Asian, 1,800-5,000 kg [4,000-11,000 lb]; African, 1,800-6,000 kg [4,000-13,000 lb])33 and are influenced by age, sex, health, and food supply.1,19 Their nutrient needs...

Limitations of Plasma or Serum Analysis in Assessing Vitamin E Status of Domestic and Wild Animals

Venipuncture is a relatively noninvasive means of sampling tissues for determination of deviations from physiologic norms. To the extent that norms can be defined and deviations from norms can be associated with abnormality, blood analyses may be medically useful. However, studies of vitamin E metabolism have shown that neither the magnitude of body stores nor the availability of dietary supplies...