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Can African and Asian elephants coexist?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Holly2873, 27 Aug 2023.

  1. Holly2873

    Holly2873 Active Member

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    I was wondering if a few African elephants could live with a few Asian elephants? All would be females. Thanks
     
  2. Skukuza

    Skukuza Well-Known Member

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    They “can” and have been historically more common place than you will find today.

    Even producing short lived offspring (Chester)

    Whether they “should” be is another matter entirely. Someone more informed will be along to list all the pitfalls but off the top of my head;
    Prevalence of illness specifically herpes virus
    Geographic theming
    Hybrid breeding etc

    Miami (and perhaps others) exhibit both species but in separate exhibits as a happy compromise.
     
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  3. Holly2873

    Holly2873 Active Member

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    They wouldn’t be breeding just living together.
     
  4. Skukuza

    Skukuza Well-Known Member

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    I referenced that anecdotally as I thought may be of interest.

    Unless the all female group you propose has a miraculous conception I think that is a fairly safe bet.
     
  5. Holly2873

    Holly2873 Active Member

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    So it is possible? Sorry my English isn’t good.
     
  6. Skukuza

    Skukuza Well-Known Member

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    It is “possible”, whether it is best practice etc is debatable.

    If you search the media tab at the top of the site for “African and Asian elephants” you will get a number of hits for exhibits as you describe in your original post.

    I can see on the first page Louisville and San Diego for example.
     
  7. dillotest0

    dillotest0 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Quite a few zoos in America still do this; albeit it is certainly a passing fad in this day and age; not as popular as it once was - with most such mixes it is mostly older animals which are cows.
    I am not sure if there is much such in Europe - if I recall correctly, best practice for any elephants in Europe is that they are allowed to breed. Though if I recall correctly again; and I could well be wrong; existing mixes of African and Asian elephant are held under a grandfather's clause; with understanding that the animals will stay there until end of life.
     
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  8. Lafone

    Lafone Well-Known Member

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    What would the purpose of the mix be?

    Not ideal for education, clearly not a setup for breeding. You could argue it's for 'retiring' elephants but randomly gathering unrelated elephants together doesn't seem very fair or as easy as it sounds in practice.

    I think the question 'should' in these cases be as important as 'could'.
     
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  9. NMM

    NMM Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    In the past several zoos in the UK kept one female African and one female Asian elephant in the same enclosure, examples include Paignton and Bristol

    That approach has been phased out.
     
  10. Gibbonsagainstgravity

    Gibbonsagainstgravity Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The San Diego zoo houses them together.
     
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  11. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    In the past, when zoos kept just 1-2 elephants for display, they were often kept together and got along well.

    In the 2000s it was discovered that elephant pox virus (EEHV) which is deadly for Asian elephants, mostly calves, is spread by African elephants. since then zoos stopped mixing the species. A few very old, not breeding elephants remain in mixed groups.
     
  12. Sheather

    Sheather Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    Louisville Zoo houses an Asian cow with an African cow, and until this year also the calf of the African elephant which was born through AI. The calf recently died of EEVH.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. dillotest0

    dillotest0 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I recall I often wondered why little news was heard about African elephant calves dying from EEHV...
    That explains it !
     
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  14. Yazziel

    Yazziel Well-Known Member

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    A very recent introduction between both species this year was in Elephant Refuge North America. Where female African Elephant Mundi was introduced to female Tarra and male Bo (who is castrated). They live together full time now and seem to have bonded. After a period where Mundi would not submit to Bo.
    IMG_6238.jpeg
     
  15. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Do you have any sort of link to this?
     
  16. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    Lincoln Park Zoo kept African and Asian elephants together in the eighties and nineties.
     
  17. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member 15+ year member

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    The "EEHV was spread to Asian Elephants from African Elephants in zoos" wasn't "discovered" - it was a hypothesis, and proved not to be true with later research. There are multiple species and strains of EEHV, of which a number (including the EEHV1 which kills Asian Elephant calves in zoos) are found naturally in wild Asian Elephants.

    This is a paper from 2014 but shows that the idea had been discarded a decade ago:
    Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses EEHV1A, EEHV1B, and EEHV2 from Cases of Hemorrhagic Disease Are Highly Diverged from Other Mammalian Herpesviruses and May Form a New Subfamily | Journal of Virology
    To explain the unexpected severity of acute EEHV hemorrhagic disease, we originally suggested that the juvenile Asian elephants under human care in zoos may have contracted primary infections with EEHV1 viruses that are native to African elephants, either by direct contact with African elephants or from Asian elephant carriers who had themselves acquired the virus asymptomatically. However, the recent discovery and genetic analysis of similar cases of lethal disease in wild calves in Asian range countries showing the presence of multiple strains and subtypes of EEHV1 casts considerable doubt on that assumption.
     
  18. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Not anymore. The last Asian elephant passed away a few months back and it's highly unlikely the zoo will be receiving new individuals.
     
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  19. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Thank you for the link!
     
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  20. CMZman

    CMZman Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    Columbus had African/Asian Elephants together while Cleveland was rebuilding their exhibit back in 2008-2011
     
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