By Maya Aranovich

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The percentages are not corrected for population size. In working Asian elephants and even in the wild (both in Asian and in African elephants) females continue to reproduce into their 50‟s (Mar 2002; Moss 2001; Taylor and Poole 1998). It is not clear why females in zoos stop reproducing by their mid thirties. It could be that the process of asymmetric (premature) reproductive aging is responsible for this early cessation (Hermes et al. 2004). Other possible causes include: (1) increased prevalence of reproductive tract pathologies (ovarian cysts, leiomayomas), something that might be related to overweight, (2) long-lasting negative effects of early onset of reproduction.

Captive-born Asian elephants survivorship in zoos was even poorer than that of wild-born ones. 5) for those from the wild. 8) for wild-born elephant bulls. This distinction based on birth origin was also found in the Myanmar Timber Enterprise elephants, but in the opposite direction – wild-born elephants were likely to die younger than captive-born ones (Mar 2007). Survivorship of wild-born young elephant in that study was especially compromised, probably due to the stress related to severing them from their maternal group and stress related to the taming process.

013). THE ELEPHANT CALF The elephant calf is the key to the future of the elephant population. This key can be viewed as a combination of three, intertwined elements – birth rate, infant and juvenile mortality and sex ratio. To a great extent, the combination of these three aspects will determine how the population will look in the future and what is the probability that it will survive and flourish. The obvious general goal should be to increase birth rate, decrease infant and juvenile mortality rate and keep the offspring sex ratio at unity or even slightly biased towards excess of females.

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