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Indian African elephants

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Nigel, 6 Dec 2005.

  1. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

    23 Jan 2004
    Wellington , New Zealand
    I have just discovered that Tucson Zoo in USA has 2 female elephants together in the same enclosure . One African elephant and one Indian elephant .And apparently they get along well with each other ! I would have thought that the African would have gored its companion .

    Does anyone else know of any other zoo that has mixed elephant display ?
  2. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

    29 Nov 2004
    melbourne, victoria, australia
    nigel, there are a plethora and i mean PLETHORA of zoos that have displayed both species together both in the past and present. the most interesting case resulted in the first and only hybrid elephant birth. what is so strange about a hybrid asian/african elephant (as opposed to say a hybrid zebra/horse, tiger/lion wolf/dog) is that unlike any other species that commonly hybridize - the two elephant varieties are not just different species, they are different genus' as well! science generally does not accept that two seperate genus' can interbreed. of course the calf didn't live longer than a few days but did display an interesting blend of both types.
  3. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

    23 Jan 2004
    Wellington , New Zealand
    mixed elephant displays

    Your response is interesting , Patrick . A number of years ago I asked several zoos about the feasibility of having mixed elephant displays at zoos -- mainly for the purpose of consolidating space , but also for companionship for the elephants ( as I knew were very social animals ) All the zoos responded by saying that the African elephants would attack the Indian elephants .
    Do you know of other zoos that still have a mixed group together -- I would like to ask them questions about their experiences . You say there is a plethora of zoos that have done this , and I have no reason to doubt you . Your zoology knowledge far outstrips mine .

    I knew of the (supposed ) incompatibility of the two types to breed . It was interesting to hear of the case that you mentioned , although it is probably hardly surprising that it died a few days after birth
  4. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

    29 Nov 2004
    melbourne, victoria, australia
    hey nigel, two zoo's that come to mind are the LA zoo, which definately had the two species together recently. though this may have changed from memory. i think they had a african cow called ruby and they sent her to knoxville zoo and then back to LA again. it was a big controversy - check either zoo's websites.the other is seattle zoo - which houses one african cow with their herd of asian elephants. when i was in buenos aires i remeber the zoo there housed a cow of each species. but there are many many more. in these scenario's it does seem the african elephants are boss'.

    i believe it was a popular practice as it displayed the differences between the two.
  5. Paul Scott

    Paul Scott Member

    21 Mar 2005
    Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
    Motty the hybrid elephant

    Below you will find the full story of Motty the hybrid elephant born at Chester Zoo. Because of his traumatic birth and subsequent death, Chester decided never again to house the two species and so the Africans were sent to Safari Parks.
    I also believe that many zoos won't even consider African elephants due to their aggressiveness.

    The Asian elephant Elephas maximus and the African elephant, Loxodonta africanaare not only regarded as different species, but also belonging to different genus. Crossbreeds between two individuals, belonging to the same genus, but different species, are in most cases sterile, like the the mule, while a crossbreed between to genus was regarded as impossible.

    So when the Asian elephant cow "Sheba" in Chester Zoo, England, 1978 gave birth to a calf with an African elephant bull" Jumbolino" as father the scientists became puzzled.

    The staff had observed several matings between the elephants, but since a cross was impossible, noone expected a delivery.

    The male calf, named Motty, had an African elephants cheek, ears and back,while nail numbers, (5 front, 4 hind) and the single trunk finger were like Asians.

    This sensational elephant died two weeks after the birth. It was an early birth and Motty had stomach problems. Thres no real evidence however, that there is any genetical difference preventing this type of crossbreeding, since the two species has the same numbers of chromosomes.

    Dr Derek Lyon was veterinary in charge at Chester Zoo during Mottys birth.

    Derek Lyon´s story about Motty
    "I hope you find the following of some interest as several people believed thatour cross-bred never occured!
    Believe me it did.The following is a brief resume.
    Mother "Sheba"-arrived Chester Zoo 13/2/65 aged 9yrs. Had a dead Asian babyborn 26/10/74-father "Nobby"(Asian).
    Sheba's second pregnancy was result of mating with African bull"Jumbolina"(Bubbles).Bubbles arrived at Chester on 14/8/64 from the NorthRhodesian Wildlife Conservation Society."Motty" was born on 11/7/78.The suspicion of pregnancy was somewhat doubted at the time as it was ONLYpossible for her to be pregnant to with "Bubbles" and crossbreds were notbelieved to have been possible."Nobby" had been destroyed at a time earlierthat would have been impossible for him to have been the father.

    Clinical signs during "Sheba's" pregnancy consisted of the appearance of afluid filled area along the ventral abdominal wall in Feb 1978.By May 1978this swelling had persisted and increased in size to about 2 feet in lengthand 7-8 inches wide.By 1/7/78 the swelling had gone(oral diuretics had beengiven previously)and abdominal enlargement was noted,particularly on the left hand side.

    For several months during the later stages of her pregnancy "Sheba" spent aconsiderable amount of time on her own.On 10/7/78 parturition initiallystarted with production of small amounts of a milky vulval discharge."Motty"was born in the outside paddock at 9.20am on 11/7/78.

    Foetal membranes wereremoved by the keepers and the placenta followed almost immediately. The other Elephants were taken and kept inside away from "Sheba" and calf who both remained outside.From the calf's size it was thought to bepremature(?).Initially, hourly feeds of glucose were given and later that daysupplemented by hourly feeds consisting of cow's milk/Shebas colostrum/Duphalyte (electrolytes, vitamins, amino acids and dextrose) and A-vitamin supplement(Abidec).

    The calf during this time had not yet stood. By9.20pm on 12/7/78 the calf was standing and walking after 36 hrs of recumbencysince his birth during which time the keepers had aided and encouragedstanding by packing straw beneath the calf. On 13/7/78 "Sheba" and "Motty" were introduced to the rest of the herd on the outside paddock and the calf later allowed to the inside house for the first time.

    Hourly bottle feeding continued up to 12.30pm on 14/7/78 when it was possible for the calf to suckle from"Sheba" for the first time.

    By 10.00 pm on 15/7/78 "Motty" was suckling normally and bottle feeding was stopped.

    A laboratory analysis of colostrum obtained earlier revealed:
    FAT 3%
    SOLIDS NOT FAT 8.03%
    TOTAL SOLIDS 11.03%
    PROTEIN 3.27%
    LACTOSE 2.95% ASH 1.81%
    On 18/7/78 the calf developed an umbilical infection-treated with oral and topical antibiotcs.

    After 48hrs the calf appeared to have recovered and wasfeeding and sleepng normally. At 9.00am on 21/7/78 the calf was found comatoseand dying and despite being given extra warmth,cardiac stimulants, artificialrespiration and chest massage died an hour later. Post mortem revealed death tobe due to necrotic-enterocolitis and E coli septicaemia.

    All very,very sad."
    1998-01-17 Derek Lyon
    Consultant Derek Lyon was Veterinary surgeon at Chester Zoo for 30 years, and is now an active member of the British Veterinary Zoological Society.

    Details from Phil Walley, Elephant Keeper of the Chester Zoo
    Ears - Large, African shaped with pointed lobes
    Head - Sloping forehead with one dome and two smaller ones behind
    Trunk - Deeply wrinkled, like African, but with one finger at the tip
    Body - Overall like African, with centre hump as in Asian, and hump in rear as in African
    Tail - Long, hangs below the ankle, flat with hairs in small groupsforming two rows, one row on each edge
    Foot - Asian, fore-feet five nails, back-feet four nails
    Legs - Long and slim like African
    "Motty's" story was published in three places with pictures clearly depicting the mixed African and Asian characters:
    "Elephant", Volume 1, Number 3, pages 36-41.
    "Elephants: Majestic Creatures of the Wild", pages 168-171.
    "The Proboscidea: evolution and palaeoecology of elephants and their relatives", pages 53-54.
    Motty is now at the London History Museum
  6. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

    30 Aug 2005
    asian elephants and african elephants

    hello hello
    hope everyone had a merry christmas
    i know of another zoo that displays asian and african elephants together and this is the the newquay zoo in southwest england. the two females have been together for decades and are inseperable.
    following a $1.5 million upgrade of their elephant enclousre western plains zoo displays both species although they are seperated by a fence. to capitalise on the educationall value of this exhibit the zoo has created two full size models of both species out of a heavy duty type of plastic. the models are positioned next to each other and visitors can mount them as a mahout would before the elephant stands.
    other zoos to have both species living together have included national zoo in washington. one problem when keeping both species together in a breeding situation is that african elephants are beleived to carry a disease they are immune to-but when young asian elephants come in to contact with the virus they succumb and die rapidly. pathologists in the u.s have identified this virus as the cause of at least 6 elephant deaths in captivity-all animals were under 2 years of age and all had contact with african species. an anti-virus, has been developed although the AZA's recent reccomendations to move different animals from some zoos to others, with the inherent controversy this brings, is an effort to create safe breeding environments for asian elephants and reduce the risk of disease transfer.
    back to the australian breeding program and a number of interesting developments have occurred. after auckland zoo withdrew from the import syndicate, speculation surrounded the future of the 4 year old male earmarked for new zealand's zoo. originally, taronga was only going to take 4 cows as was melbourne. now, the male is coming to taronga and when he matures will be relocated to taronga's old elephant exhibit. this area was, under the master-plan, going to form part of a central core of parkland which would run down through the zoo from the old seal pools and incorporate the many heritage features of that part of the site. it will now be used exclusively for the bull elephant and the females, it is anticipated, will be introduced to him by walking them down from their rainforest exhibit along the road. and the (as would be expected of taronga and melbourne) first-class elephants quarantine facility in thailand will be donated to the local university where veterinary science students will use the facilites to treat local elephants. what a fantastic outcome.
    also at taronga, new species include indian crested porcupines in the old clouded leopard exhibit and collared peccary in the old tapir exhibit. originally babirusa were to be the priority species of wild pig but i beleive that ARAZPA has had difficulty with import permits. new bird species include javan peafowl, red junglefowl and amhersts, kalij and golden pheasant. chukar partidge will shortly be arriving.
    the new rainforest and its extensive holding capacity means taronga can now accomodate a far greater number of many species. a new pair of binturong have come to taronga from singapore zoo, bringing the number of animals to 4. adelaide, taronga and i assume melbourne now hold this species. from melbourne a female fishing cat has been paired with a male from singapore, a second pair of these cats in sydney and one which taronga has already been succesful in breeding.
    other changes include the remodelling of the long-beaked echidna exhibit into another exhibit for an anti-social southern hairy-nosed wombat and the relocation of the echidnas off-exhibit. the rock wallaby enclosure is also being redevloped and also on macropods, a new male tree kangaroo bred in melbourne and one of only 8 in australia will soon be paired with an overseas female. these animals are bred well in adelaide, currumbin and melbourne but its a different story overseas, particularly in europe. unfortunately, an illness transferred from rats killed a valuable male tree roo in taronga years ago.
    the amazon aviary is also being extensively renovated and repaired.
    a new female giraffe from western plains zoo has also been brought into taronga as the ZPB of nsw restarts its sydney breeding program for giraffe, which stopped several years ago after a decision to phase out hybrids and concentrate only on rothschild's. this decison has obviously been reversed.
    finally, barney, the male kodiak bear has died of age-related athritis. this leaves only bethel and cynthia, also 28 and who, when they die, will be replaced by sun bear (who are mating).
  7. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

    8 Jan 2004
    brisbane, qld, australia
    HI Glyn
    Some of this info was familiar to me from the zoo news of zoo friends but other stuff isn't, where do you get some of it from?
    Also don't count your chickens re the elephants. RSPCA et al have brought the issue higher and this time the relevant court are not so disposed towards the zoos. They are giving the zoos all sorts of demands to fix or improve aspects of the enclosures.
    I shall be visiting Taroga in a couple of weeks and am really looking forward to seeing the new asian exhibits. I'm hoping to get photos of all the animals there, especially the silvery gibbon.
    I hope to place the pictures both here and on my slightly defuncy website.