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Low environmental temperature causes an increase in stereotypic behaviour in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)

Rees, PA 2003, 'Low environmental temperature causes an increase in stereotypic behaviour in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)' , Journal of Thermal Biology, 29 (1) , pp. 37-43.

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Abstract

(1) Captive Asian elephants exhibited a strong negative correlation between maximum daily temperature and the frequency of stereotypic behaviour, in those animals predisposed to exhibit stereotypies. (2) The frequency of stereotypic behaviours increased throughout each study day (1000-1400h), reaching maximum values at the end of the day, as feeding time approached. (3) The frequencies of stereotypic behaviour were higher at all times of the day on the 10 coldest days (mean maximum daily temperature=9.0oC) than on the 10 warmest days (mean maximum daily temperature=23.2oC) of the study. (4) There was a strong negative correlation between body mass and mean frequency of stereotypic behaviour. This may have been because smaller animals lost heat faster than larger animals. (5) The aetiology of stereotypic behaviour was unclear, but it was likely to be the result of poor husbandry experienced in early life, such as chaining and inappropriate housing. Hunger and the physical thwarting of attempts to reach food and shelter may have been the proximate cause of individual episodes of stereotypic behaviour, with temperature acting as a compounding factor. There was no evidence that stereotypic behaviour developed in response to exposure to cold.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Subjects / Themes > S Agriculture > SF Animal culture > SF408 Zoo animals
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment
Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Thermal Biology
Publisher: Elsevier
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0306-4565
Depositing User: H Kenna
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2007 11:17
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 16:50
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/746

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