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AZA Ex-situ Research Projects (2005)

BEHAVIOR/ETHOLOGY

Year

Title

Species

Description of Project

2005

Identifying Individual Differences in Cortisol Production in Elephants (Loxodonta Africana; Elephas Maximus)

African and Asian Elephant

The objective of this project is to evaluate individual differences in cortisol production from African and Asian elephants across the United States.  Part of the study includes the development of a "personality" assessment tool to help identify individual elephants that may be more likely to be easily stressed and show elevated cortisol levels in captivity.  This information can help the Elephant TAG of the AZA in their yearly evaluations of elephant temperament.

2005

Asian Elephant Infrasonic Communication

Asian Elephant

Investigation of the role in infrasonic communication in Asian elephant social interactions.


BEHAVIOR ETHOLOGY
HUSBANDRY

Year

Title

Species

Description of Project

2005

The Effect of Human Touch on the Heart Rate of Captive African Elephants (Loxodonta Africana)

African Elephant

The purpose of the study is to see what effect human touch has upon the heart rate of elephants. In horses and dogs it has been found that grooming or petting lowers heart rate.  Is this true in elephants also? If it is true, factors that affect this response will be examined, including the elephant’s familiarity with the human, and the human’s heart rate. For example, if the human has a higher than normal heart rate (as if he/she were excited), will the elephant’s heart rate still go down? The data gathered in this study will help define the benefits, if any, played by direct human/elephant contact in the management of captive African elephants.


BEHAVIOR ETHOLOGY
HUSBANDRY
PHYSIOLOGY

Year

Title

Species

Description of Project

2005

Thermal Managment by Elephants

African and Asian Elephant

A major conclusion of the 2004 American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Elephant Management Strategic Planning Workshop was that there is a need to “identify and compile data to support our practices and positions.”  Currently, scientific data is needed to support the AZA temperature guidelines for elephants. The goals of this project are 1) to define the range of microhabitats in an exhibit (both spatial and temporal) that will allow an elephant to physiologically and behaviorally manage its temperature in a way similar to the way it does in the wild, and 2) to identify the appropriate daily variation in an easy to obtain measure (elephant rectal temperature) that can be used to determine whether specific elephants are adequately managing their temperatures.  In 2005 an organizational meeting was held to initiate this study.


ELEPHANT COMMUNICATION

Year

Title

Species

Description of Project

2005 (ongoing)

Identifying Individual Differences in Cortisol Production in Elephants

African Elephant

The objective is to try and evaluate individual differences in cortisol production from African and Asian elephants across the United States.  Part of the study includes the development of a “personality” assessment tool to help identify individual elephants that may be more likely to be easily stressed and show elevated cortisol levels in captivity.  This information can help the Elephant TAG of the AZA in their yearly evaluations of elephant temperament.

2002 (ongoing)

Examining the Relationship Between Vocalizations, Reproductive Status and Overt Behavior in Captive Female African Elephants

African Elephant

This study examines the complex communication system of the African elephant by correlating behavior, vocalizations,and hormonal status in a herd of captive African elephants.


HUSBANDRY
VETERINARY

Year

Title

Species

Description of Project

2005

Evaluation of the
Pharmacokinetics/
pharmacodynamics of Orally Administered Ivermectin in African Elephants

African Elephant

This project will measure plasma levels of ivermectin in elephants being treated for lice infestation.  It will describe the pharmacokinetics/
pharmacodynamics of this treatment.


REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGY
Year
Title
Species
Description of Project

2005

Determining Relationships Among Temperament, Socio-Environmental Factors, Adrenal Activity, and Reproductive Function in Asian and African Elephants

African Elephant

Biological materials were collected and behavioral surveys were conducted by keeper staff.


REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGY
GENETICS

Year

Title

Species

Description of Project

2005

Comparative Analyses of Seminal Plasma from Asian and African Elephants

African and Asian Elephant

Comparative analyses of seminal plasma from Asian and African elephants.



REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGY
POPULATION MANAGEMENT

Year

Title
Species
Description of Project

2005

Test of Different Formulations of a Long-lasting, Single-dose Contraceptive Vaccine on Captive African Elephants

African Elephant

The purpose of this project is to quantify antibody titers raised in response to a pZP vaccine, which is being considered for immunocontraception of African elephants.


VETERINARY/ PATHOLGY/ EPIDEMIOLOGY

Year

Title

Species

Description of Project

2005

Encephalomyocarditis Virus (EMCV) Research

Elephant (also involves other species of animals)

This project will fund half the cost of serum analysis (100 samples) at the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic lab for serum antibody titers to EMCV. This survey is a four zoo collaborative project on testing the experimental vaccine in numerous species in hopes of acquiring a USDA experimental license to make vaccine available to zoo veterinarians.

 

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Updated: January 3, 2012