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North American Asian Elephant Reproduction

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Elephant Enthusiast, 7 Dec 2017.

  1. Elephant Enthusiast

    Elephant Enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    The purpose of this forum is to address the lack of Asian elephant reproduction in North America, to suggest ways to improve breeding between zoos, and to determine potential breeding candidates.

    Many zoos in North America are either committing to their elephant program by building a new state of the art enclosure or ending their elephant program by phasing out their elephants. Those committed to exhibiting elephants are more or less dedicated to breeding elephants as well. Unfortunately, in the past decade, fewer and fewer Asian elephants have been born in North America. Since 2010, 24 Asian elephant calves have been born successfully and of those, 21 are currently alive. Compare this to the 19 Asian elephants born successfully in Europe this year as of November 2017. In addition, the North American Asian elephant population is gradually aging making breeding much more challenging. If a female elephant does not become pregnant by age 25, it's highly unlikely she can successfully carry the pregnancy without complication. Further, North American zoos who have Asian elephants are not working together to bolster the captive population. Although many North American zoos have acquired Asian elephants from other institutions for breeding, very few elephants are becoming pregnant. Currently, two Asian elephants are pregnant; Asha at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Rozana at the Albuquerque Zoo. Ultimately, North American zoos committed to Asian elephant reproduction need to focus their attention on breeding their elephants by collaborating with other institutions and evaluating Asian elephants of breeding age.

    For decades, zoos in North America have been able to breed Asian elephants with success through natural reproduction and artificial insemination. However, the number of births in North America are gradually decreasing. Even though the social understanding of elephants has greatly improved, zoos continue to keep unrelated elephants together. This is understandable as elephants need the companionship of others but causes imbalance in the hierarchy. Dominant elephants will harass inferior elephants causing stress and anxiety within the artificial herd. For this reason, zoos should strive to keep females in matriarchal herds containing mothers, daughters, and calves. By keeping females in a matriarchal herd, it promotes natural behaviors and strengthens the bond between members of the herd. Further, zoos should work toward only moving males from institution to institution for breeding purposes. By moving the males, this enables matriarchal herds to stay intact and encourages the natural movement of bulls between herds. Moreover, zoos should strive to keep males in either bachelor herds or as a breeding male. By keeping males in a bachelor herd, it allows them to socialize with others of the same gender and learn the necessary skills to become an adult male. Overall, North American zoos can improve breeding by forming matriarchal and bachelor herds which promotes naturalistic social structures and enables zoos to work towards a common goal of building a sustainable population.

    In North America, there are currently 229 (47.182) Asian elephants as of July 2017. Of those 229 Asian elephants, only 91 (39.52) are considered potential breeding candidates. The 91 (39.52) Asian elephants were chosen based on age, fertility, and breeding potential.

    The 39 male and 52 female Asian elephants selected are:

    0.0 Name (Father x Mother) Date of Birth (Location)

    1.0 Thai (Unknown) 1965-00-00 (Houston Zoo)
    1.0 Rex (Unknown) 1968-00-00 (Oklahoma City Zoo)
    1.0 Groucho (Unknown) 1970-00-00 (Denver Zoo)
    1.0 Sneezy (Unknown) 1971-00-00 (Tulsa Zoo)
    1.0 Casey (Unknown) 1971-00-00 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    1.0 Indy (Unknown) 1972-00-00 (Dickerson Park Zoo)
    1.0 Spike (Dahlip x Seetna) 1981-07-02 (Busch Gardens Tampa)
    1.0 Billy (Unknown) 1985-00-00 (Los Angeles Zoo)
    1.0 Hank (Vance x Mala) 1988-01-16 (Columbus Zoo)
    1.0 Sabu (Unknown) 1988-00-00 (Cincinnati Zoo)
    1.0 Colonel (Buke x Whimpy) 1991-04-04 (Fort Worth Zoo)
    1.0 Tommy (Vance x Birka) 1992-05-25 (Endangered Ark Foundation)
    1.0 Raja (Onyx x Pearl) 1992-12-27 (Saint Louis Zoo)
    1.0 Romeo (Pete x Alana) 1993-01-10 (Fort Worth Zoo)
    1.0 Nicholas (Tunga x Ronnie) 1993-12-15 (Performing Animal Welfare Society)
    1.0 Doc (Charlie x Alana) 1997-05-08 (Rosamond Gifford Zoo)
    1.0 Samson (Calvin x Kitty) 1998-05-04 (Albuquerque Zoo)
    1.0 Albert (Calvin x Lilly) 1998-11-29 (Albuquerque Zoo)
    1.0 Osgood (Charlie x Emma) 1999-08-16 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    1.0 George (Calvin x Phoebe) 1999-10-21 (African Lion Safari)
    1.0 Johnson (Calvin x Kitty) 2001-04-29 (African Lion Safari)
    1.0 Gunther (Charlie x Mala) 2001-11-18 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    1.0 Kandula (Calvin x Shanthi) 2001-11-25 (Oklahoma City Zoo)
    1.0 P.T. (Charlie x Josky) 2002-05-21 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    1.0 Obert (Buke x Isa) 2003-08-20 (Endangered Ark Foundation)
    1.0 Bodhi (Coco x Phoebe) 2004-04-16 (Denver Zoo)
    1.0 Tucker (Tusko x Tess) 2005-05-12 (Houston Zoo)
    1.0 Irvin (Charlie x Alana) 2005-06-01 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    1.0 Billy (Alexander x Yasmin) 2008-02-17 (Denver Zoo)
    1.0 Chuck (Rex x Mali) 2008-07-15 (African Lion Safari)
    1.0 Samudra (Tusko x Rose Tu) 2008-08-23 (Oregon Zoo)
    1.0 Barack (Doc x Bonnie) 2009-01-19 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    1.0 Beco (Coco x Phoebe) 2009-03-27 (Columbus Zoo)
    1.0 Jake (Rex x Natasha) 2009-11-02 (African Lion Safari)
    1.0 Baylor (Thai x Shanti) 2010-05-04 (Houston Zoo)
    1.0 Hugo (Tommy x Whimpy) 2011-04-25 (Endangered Ark Foundation)
    1.0 Bowie (Samson x Bluebonnet) 2013-08-05 (Fort Worth Zoo)
    1.0 Duncan (Thai x Shanti) 2014-02-07 (Houston Zoo)
    1.0 Batu (Doc x Mali) 2015-05-12 (Rosamond Gifford Zoo)

    0.1 Ellie (Unknown) 1971-00-00 (Saint Louis Zoo)
    0.1 Rasha (Unknown) 1971-00-00 (Fort Worth Zoo)
    0.1 Moola (Unknown) 1981-00-00 (Dickerson Park Zoo)^
    0.1 Tess (Unknown) 1983-00-00 (Houston Zoo)
    0.1 Lilly (Motek x Warda) 1985-01-31 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Phoebe (Motek x Warda) 1987-05-15 (Columbus Zoo)^
    0.1 Jati (Unknown) 1987-00-00 (Cincinnati Zoo)^
    0.1 Angel (Vance x Sally) 1988-12-30 (Fort Worth Zoo)*
    0.1 Karnaudi (Vance x Carina) 1990-04-13 (Busch Gardens Tampa)*
    0.1 Maharani (Bandara x Kamala) 1990-07-14 (Smithsonian National Zoo)
    0.1 Shanti (Onyx x Bozie) 1990-10-11 (Houston Zoo)
    0.1 Rozana (Ranchipur x Alice) 1992-11-08 (Albuquerque Zoo)
    0.1 Juliet (Pete x Icky) 1992-12-30 (Center for Elephant Conservation)*
    0.1 Natasha (Tusko x Whimpy) 1994-02-27 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Rose Tu (Hugo x Me Tu) 1994-08-31 (Oregon Zoo)
    0.1 Bonnie (Vance x Sid) 1994-10-29 (Center for Elephant Conservation)^
    0.1 Asha (Onyx x Connie) 1995-02-02 (Oklahoma City Zoo)
    0.1 Shirley (Vance x Mala) 1995-02-19 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    0.1 Kirina (Indy x Romani) 1995-06-20 (Rosamond Gifford Zoo)
    0.1 Kelly Ann (Vance x Sally) 1996-01-01 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    0.1 Chandra (Onyx x Moola) 1996-07-02 (Oklahoma City Zoo)
    0.1 Rani (Indy x Ellie) 1996-07-05 (Saint Louis Zoo)
    0.1 Mali (Indy x Targa) 1997-02-28 (Rosamond Gifford Zoo)
    0.1 Angelica (Charlie x Icky) 1997-06-23 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    0.1 Bluebonnet (Groucho x Rasha) 1998-12-16 (Fort Worth Zoo)
    0.1 Sara (Charlie x Icky) 2001-04-16 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    0.1 Rudy (Charlie x Sally) 2002-01-29 (Columbus Zoo)
    0.1 Asha (Charlie x Alana) 2002-03-05 (Tulsa Zoo)
    0.1 Aree (Charlie x Mala) 2005-04-21 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    0.1 Opal (Rex x Natasha) 2005-11-04 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Mable (Romeo x Shirley) 2006-04-06 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    0.1 Emily (Rex x Kitty) 2006-04-23 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Maliha (Raja x Ellie) 2006-08-02 (Saint Louis Zoo)
    0.1 Jade (Raja x Rani) 2007-02-25 (Saint Louis Zoo)
    0.1 Val (Tommy x Whimpy) 2007-04-27 (Endangered Ark Foundation)
    0.1 Sundara (Charlie x Sally) 2008-11-09 (Columbus Zoo)
    0.1 April (Charlie x Alana) 2010-04-03 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    0.1 Tupelo (Thai x Tess) 2010-10-03 (Houston Zoo)
    0.1 Kenzi (Raja x Rani) 2011-06-24 (Saint Louis Zoo)
    0.1 Piper (Romeo x Shirley) 2012-08-13 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    0.1 Lily (Tusko x Rose Tu) 2012-11-30 (Oregon Zoo)
    0.1 Priya (Raja x Ellie) 2013-04-26 (Saint Louis Zoo)
    0.1 Belle (Groucho x Rasha) 2013-07-07 (Fort Worth Zoo)
    0.1 Nellie (Johnson x Natasha) 2013-08-02 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Jazmine (Samson x Rozana) 2013-10-02 (Albuquerque Zoo)
    0.1 Hannah (Johnson x Lilly) 2014-10-19 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Achara (Rex x Asha) 2014-12-22 (Oklahoma City Zoo)
    0.1 Gigi (George x Emily) 2015-02-24 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Anna May (Johnson x Opal) 2015-05-04 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Dory Marie (Tommy x Whimpy) 2015-07-28 (Endangered Ark Foundation)
    0.1 Rose (Johnson x Natasha) 2016-02-28 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Joy (Thai x Shanti) 2017-07-12 (Houston Zoo)

    * Females older than 25 that have not reproduced but possibly could depending on fertility
    ^ Females who have reproduced but have not become pregnant in 6 years or more.

    With only 91 (39.52) Asian elephants considered potential breeding candidates, pairing must be well thought out before any mating occurs to prevent inbreeding and to ensure a sustainable population.

    Hopefully this forum will help raise awareness of Asian elephant reproduction in North America. All questions, comments, and suggestions are welcome.
     
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  2. Elephant Enthusiast

    Elephant Enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    The purpose of this comment is to evaluate the potential breeding candidates, to suggest the importation and exportation of Asian elephants, and to propose breeding pairs based on the potential breeding candidates.

    The 91 (39.52) Asian elephants selected as potential breeding candidates were primarily chosen based on breeding experience and age. After reviewing the potential breeding candidates, there are 8 (2.6) Asian elephants that are considered post reproductive.

    The 2 male and 6 female Asian elephants are:

    0.0 Name (Father x Mother) Date of Birth (Location)
    Explanation

    1.0 Casey (Unknown) 1971-00-00 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Casey has produced one stillborn offspring but has failed to breed since.
    1.0 Indy (Unknown) 1972-00-00 (Dickerson Park Zoo)
    Indy has produced 4 viable offspring which makes him well represented in the population.
    0.1 Ellie (Unknown) 1971-00-00 (Saint Louis Zoo)
    Ellie has produced 3 viable offspring but was recently diagnosed with Tuberculosis.
    0.1 Moola (Unknown) 1981-00-00 (Dickerson Park Zoo)
    Moola has produced 1 viable offspring but has not reproduced in nearly 12 years.
    0.1 Phoebe (Motek x Warda) 1987-05-15 (Columbus Zoo)
    Phoebe has produced 3 viable offspring but has not reproduced in nearly 9 years.
    0.1 Angel (Vance x Sally) 1988-12-30 (Fort Worth Zoo)
    Angel is rumored to have reproduced but at 32 years old, she is past her prime.
    0.1 Karnaudi (Vance x Carina) 1990-04-13 (Busch Gardens Tampa)
    Karnaudi has never reproduced and at 27 years old, she is past her prime.
    0.1 Juliet (Pete x Icky) 1992-12-30 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Juliet has never reproduced and at 26 years old, she is past her prime.

    Even though losing 8 of the 91 potential breeding candidates is unfortunate, most of these post reproductive elephants have contributed to the North American population.

    With 83 (37.46) potential breeding candidates remaining, the importation of additional elephants would greatly enhance the North American population. Since Asian elephants are no longer obtained from the wild for North American zoos, zoological institutions in other countries are the best alternative. Europe is the best choice as North America and Europe have imported and exported elephants in the past. After examining the European Asian Elephant Studbook and analyzing the elephants of breeding age, there are 3 male elephants and 1 breeding pair that would significantly contribute to the North American population.

    The 3 male Asian elephants and 1 breeding pair are:

    0.0 Name (Father x Mother) Date of Birth (Location)

    1.0 Ananda Yingthway (Radza x Htoo Yin Aye) 2008-02-25 (Maubeuge Zoo)
    1.0 Shahrukh (Hussein x Yashoda) 2008-11-21 (Osnabrück Zoo)
    1.0 Rajendra (Sang Raja x Tong Koon) 2011-04-08 (Cologne Zoo)

    1.0 Laokompomay (Unknown) 1998-00-00 (Almaty Zoo)
    0.1 Aru (Unknown) 1998-00-00 (Almaty Zoo)

    The importation of these 3 male elephants and 1 breeding pair could be a costly and risky endeavor but the outcome would bolster the genetic diversity of Asian elephants in North America. If Europe is willing to establish a breeding exchange program with North America, it's only fair that North America export Asian elephants to Europe. After examining the potential breeding candidates, there are 5 male elephants that could be beneficial to the European Asian elephant population.

    The 5 male Asian elephants are:

    0.0 Name (Father x Mother) Date of Birth (Location)

    1.0 Doc (Charlie x Alana) 1997-05-08 (Rosamond Gifford Zoo)
    1.0 Osgood (Charlie x Emma) 1999-08-16 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    1.0 Gunther (Charlie x Mala) 2001-11-18 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    1.0 P.T. (Charlie x Josky) 2002-05-21 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    1.0 Irvin (Charlie x Alana) 2005-06-01 (Center for Elephant Conservation)

    Despite all 5 males having the same father, the lineage of these elephants are not represented in Europe. With many of the Asian elephants in Europe possessing the same father, new genetics would enhance the European population. One or more of these elephants could be exported rather than all five.

    If these ideas can be achieved, the potential breeding candidates will number 83 (36.47) individuals. After examining the lineage of the potential breeding candidates, there are 31 breeding pairs that have been selected.

    The 31 breeding pairs are:

    Male (Location) x Female (Location)

    Billy (Los Angeles Zoo) & Rose Tu (Oregon Zoo)
    Groucho (Denver Zoo) & Rasha (Fort Worth Zoo)
    Sabu (Cincinnati Zoo) & Jati (Cincinnati Zoo)
    Spike (Busch Gardens Tampa) & Maharani (Smithsonian National Zoo)
    Rex (Oklahoma City Zoo) & Natasha (African Lion Safari)
    Bodhi (Denver Zoo) & Bluebonnet (Fort Worth Zoo)
    Beco (Columbus Zoo) & Belle (Fort Worth Zoo)
    Colonel (Fort Worth Zoo) & Rozana (Albuquerque Zoo)
    Thai (Houston Zoo) & Tess (Houston Zoo)
    Raja (Saint Louis Zoo) & Rani (Saint Louis Zoo)
    Raja (Saint Louis Zoo) & Kirina (Rosamond Gifford Zoo)
    Raja (Saint Louis Zoo) & Mali (Rosamond Gifford Zoo)
    Sneezy (Tulsa Zoo) & Shanti (Houston Zoo)
    Sneezy (Tulsa Zoo) & Asha (Oklahoma City Zoo)
    Sneezy (Tulsa Zoo) & Chandra (Oklahoma City Zoo)
    Samson (Albuquerque Zoo) & Angelica (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Samson (Albuquerque Zoo) & Sara (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Johnson (African Lion Safari) & Asha (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Johnson (African Lion Safari) & April (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Kandula (Oklahoma City Zoo) & Rudy (Columbus Zoo)
    Kandula (Oklahoma City Zoo) & Sundara (Columbus Zoo)
    Romeo (Fort Worth Zoo) & Bonnie (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Romeo (Fort Worth Zoo) & Shirley (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Romeo (Fort Worth Zoo) & Kelly Ann (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Obert (Endangered Ark Foundation) & Opal (African Lion Safari)
    Ananda (Maubeuge Zoo) & Mable (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Ananda (Maubeuge Zoo) & Piper (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Shahrukh (Osnabruck Zoo) & Jade (Saint Louis Zoo)
    Shahrukh (Osnabruck Zoo) & Kenzi (Saint Louis Zoo)
    Rajendra (Cologne Zoo) & Tupelo (Houston Zoo)
    Laokompomay (Almaty Zoo) & Aru (Almaty Zoo)

    Understandably, these breeding pairs are audacious but with such a small breeding population, bold measures must be taken to guarantee a viable population.

    To further ensure that inbreeding does not occur, it would be pivotal to exclude some potential breeding candidates. Of the 83 (36.47) potential breeding candidates, there are 31 (15.16) Asian elephants that are not beneficial to the North American population.

    The 15 male and 16 female Asian elephants are:

    Reason
    0.0 Name (Father x Mother) Date of Birth (Location)

    Descended from an elephant whose lineage is well represented in North America or Europe
    1.0 Hank (Vance x Mala) 1988-01-16 (Columbus Zoo
    1.0 Tommy (Vance x Birka) 1992-05-25 (Endangered Ark Foundation)
    1.0 Albert (Calvin x Lilly) 1998-11-29 (Albuquerque Zoo)
    1.0 George (Calvin x Phoebe) 1999-10-21 (African Lion Safari)
    1.0 Tucker (Tusko x Tess) 2005-05-12 (Houston Zoo)
    1.0 Billy (Alexander x Yasmin) 2008-02-17 (Denver Zoo)
    0.1 Lilly (Motek x Warda) 1985-01-31 (African Lion Safari)

    Partial relation to one or more breeding candidates or their future offspring, makes pairing of these elephants much more challenging
    1.0 Chuck (Rex x Mali) 2008-07-15 (African Lion Safari)
    1.0 Samudra (Tusko x Rose Tu) 2008-08-23 (Oregon Zoo)
    1.0 Barack (Doc x Bonnie) 2009-01-19 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    1.0 Baylor (Thai x Shanti) 2010-05-04 (Houston Zoo)
    1.0 Hugo (Tommy x Whimpy) 2011-04-25 (Endangered Ark Foundation)
    1.0 Bowie (Samson x Bluebonnet) 2013-08-05 (Fort Worth Zoo)
    1.0 Duncan (Thai x Shanti) 2014-02-07 (Houston Zoo)
    1.0 Batu (Doc x Mali) 2015-05-12 (Rosamond Gifford Zoo)
    0.1 Aree (Charlie x Mala) 2005-04-21 (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    0.1 Emily (Rex x Kitty) 2006-04-23 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Maliha (Raja x Ellie) 2006-08-02 (Saint Louis Zoo)
    0.1 Val (Tommy x Whimpy) 2007-04-27 (Endangered Ark Foundation)
    0.1 Lily (Tusko x Rose Tu) 2012-11-30 (Oregon Zoo)
    0.1 Priya (Raja x Ellie) 2013-04-26 (Saint Louis Zoo)
    0.1 Nellie (Johnson x Natasha) 2013-08-02 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Jazmine (Samson x Rozana) 2013-10-02 (Albuquerque Zoo)
    0.1 Hannah (Johnson x Lilly) 2014-10-19 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Achara (Rex x Asha) 2014-12-22 (Oklahoma City Zoo)
    0.1 Gigi (George x Emily) 2015-02-24 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Anna May (Johnson x Opal) 2015-05-04 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Dory Marie (Tommy x Whimpy) 2015-07-28 (Endangered Ark Foundation)
    0.1 Rose (Johnson x Natasha) 2016-02-28 (African Lion Safari)
    0.1 Joy (Thai x Shanti) 2017-07-12 (Houston Zoo)

    Unable to reproduce due to ownership
    1.0 Nicholas (Tunga x Ronnie) 1993-12-15 (Performing Animal Welfare Society)

    After evaluating the potential breeding candidates of post reproductive and inessential elephants, and proposing the importation and exportation of particular elephants, the potential breeding candidates will consist of 52 (21.31) individuals. Even though these ideas decrease the breeding population by almost half, it guarantees the impossibility of inbreeding and the development of a sustainable population.

    Ultimately, the survival of the North American Asian elephant population will be dictated by the collaboration between zoological institutions in North America and Europe, the development of naturalistic social structures, and fundamentally the reproduction of the species. If action isn't taken soon, the Asian elephant, and elephants overall, will disappear from zoological institutions in North America.
     
  3. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    I am assuming that individuals in private collections, circuses, and other places (eg. Circus World Museum) are not included in this?
     
  4. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    A couple of thoughts:

    It seems the part missing from your post is actual recommendations about which males to send to which zoos. Is this going to follow?

    I think organising the potential breeding pairs by female firstly, and by zoo secondly, would make it much easier to follow, given that in the majority of cases females should not be moved out of matriarchal groups.

    I'm not sure, although I appreciate you've thought about this a lot more than me, that excluding so many potential breeding candidates is a good idea at all. Let's say that female Fb and female Fc both share the same mother and father. As I understand it you are choosing to exclude Fc to ensure diversity in the gene pool in the future. But what if Fb fails to breed? Or only produces male offspring? Then you've really shot yourself in the foot. It would be better to try to breed them both and if they do then at least that's a much better problem than the reverse (with various solutions as well).
     
  5. Elephant Enthusiast

    Elephant Enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    The 229 (47.182) Asian elephants include individuals from accredited institutions (ex. Oregon Zoo) and private institutions (ex. Have Trunk Will Travel). I have collected this information through the North American Asian Elephant Studbook, which is only current as of October 2014, and other reliable sources.

    In addition, the population now consist of 228 (47.181) Asian elephants after the passing of 0.1 Gunda at the Tulsa Zoo on January 22, 2018.

    Asian Elephant Studbook - Elephant TAG
     
  6. Elephant Enthusiast

    Elephant Enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    I fully intend on posting a comment of that context. I first wanted to propose these breeding pairs to see what others think and then go from there. I also wanted to get my second post published as soon as possible as I haven't posted anything to this thread in some time.

    If I'm understanding this correctly, your saying that I should state the breeding pair females first rather than breeding pair males when proposing the breeding pairs to convey the importance of keeping the matriarchal herds intact.

    The reason I excluded quite a number of potential breeding candidates is to ensure that the North American population doesn't become all interrelated. When it comes to choosing breeding candidates I primarily choose elephants that are fully related (share the same mother and father) as that makes pairing simpler.

    A prime example would be the pairing of 0.1 Bluebonnet & 1.0 Bodhi and the pairing of 0.1 Belle & 1.0 Beco. Bluebonnet and Belle are full blood sisters and Bodhi and Beco are full blood brothers. The offspring of Bluebonnet and Bodhi could not breed to the offspring of Belle and Beco and vise versa. If Bluebonnet or Belle were paired with a different males, from different lineages, their offspring could not breed with any elephants from the bloodlines of their fathers.

    Understandably, many elephants are partially related through either their fathers or their mothers so to combat inbreeding I have paired a few females with a single male. A prime example would be the pairing of 1.0 Raja with 0.1 Rani, 0.1 Kirina, and 0.1 Mali. Since all three females share the same father (1.0 Indy) it would be best to pair all three with one male as any offspring produced by one of the females will not be able to breed with the offspring of their aunts.

    Hopefully this clarifies any questions or uncertainty about the the information I've posted.
     
    Last edited: 31 Jan 2018
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  7. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    This was actually based on a misunderstanding. Because I could easily see that single males had multiple female matches I assumed the reverse was also true and that you were suggesting various mutually exclusive possibilities. That not being the case, sorting by male makes more sense.

    However, your system currently seems to require either touring males, or AI, and in either case I believe that is slightly less than desirable? Furthermore, if you are trying to impregnate a cow with a bull from a different zoo until you are successful you won't be able to mix the zoo's own bull with the herd without seperating said cow. Not insurmountable obviously but certainly a complication.

    I feel like this doesn't address my own point about the possibilites of the pairings you've chosen being unsuccessful. In that case it may be already too late to go back and attempt to breed an animal you had previously excluded. Surely it's better to have animals that probably won't breed in the future than no animals at all?
     
  8. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Hi, in elephant breeding, pairs are actually not recommended. Females generally stay in stable herds of relatives. Breeding elephants involves bringing a breeding bull to a group, or moving the group of relatives, both breeding and non-breeding members.

    In Europe, big part of elephant breeding was building facilities which can hold securely an adult bull (preferably two, as there are infertile and incompatible bulls) together with several females. They are expensive and space-consuming. Nevertheless, rather surprisingly, many zoos built them.

    I wonder if you have something like a list of potential breeding enclosures in North America, and how they match with potential breeding animals?
     
  9. Sarus Crane

    Sarus Crane Well-Known Member

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    I was at BG Tampa a month ago and was talking with the keepers about Spike possibly being relocated to DC since Kandula left. I'm glad he's on the list to possibly go there and I think he'd fit right in since most of the the females there would remember him. He's also probably the largest bull in the country (height wise) and would make a great central figure for the zoo's elephant herd, especially when his tusks grow back to their full length.
     
  10. Elephant Enthusiast

    Elephant Enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    I understand that there is some confusion and uncertainty about the information I've posted so I'll do my best to clarify.

    When I proposed these breeding pairs I was not suggesting that these pairs live at separate institutions as only a breeding pair, I was proposing that these elephants should be bred together whether the male be transferred to the female's facility to breed with her (best option) or the female and her matriarchal companions be transferred to the male's facility to breed with him (last option). I do believe that keeping the matriarchal herds intact are most important.

    I have full intention on posting content regarding which zoological institutions will accommodate the proposed breeding candidates. Further, I intend to elaborate on how the elephants will be transferred or relocated to promote the breeding recommendations.

    Hypothetically, if the parents of Fb and Fc were wild born and only produced Fb and Fc as their offspring, I would breed both these females as Fb and Fc are full blood siblings and are only related to their parents and each other. An example would be 0.1 Bluebonnet and 0.1 Belle. Bluebonnet and Belle were born to Groucho (sire) and Rasha (dam) making them full blood sisters. I would not exclude Belle just because she has a sibling and vice versa for Bluebonnet. I understand the difficulty of backtracking as those individuals may be post productive or deceased but there are also problems with going forward.

    The diagram below visually depicts how there can be problems with continuing.

    Female 1.0 = Female of first generation
    Female 0.1 = First of the females in that generation
    upload_2018-1-31_16-18-27.png

    Once you reach third generation, the two individuals are unable to breed with one another as they share the same maternal grandfather. The only solution to the problem is to acquire or import more individuals to breed with the third generation elephants but the offspring of the third generation individuals will still be interrelated not matter who they breed to.

    My method of selecting an elephant for breeding depends on the lineage and fertility of that individual. If an elephant is unrelated to any other elephant in the population and can reproduce, that individual is an ideal breeding candidate. If an elephant is related to a reasonable amount of full blood relatives and can reproduce, that individual is an ideal breeding candidate. If an elephant is related to a large quantity of half relatives and can reproduce, that individual may be considered but the lineage of that elephant and its relatives has to be evaluated.

    One of the biggest problems that I have when elephants are bred are that a mother and daughter are bred to the same male. This should be avoided as any offspring produced by the mother will be the half aunt or uncle and the half sibling of the offspring produced by the daughter. Further, any offspring produced by the daughter will be the half niece or nephew and the half sibling of the offspring produced by the mother. To makes things even more complicated, what if the father of these offspring has half siblings of his own, or the father of the daughter produced offspring with other female elephants. Ultimately, it's best to not breed mothers and daughters with the same male as family relations become too complex.

    At first, I thought you were inquiring about the exclusion of so many potential breeding candidates, which is still the case, but then realized that you were also referring to the viability of the breeding pairs. I do not have any information on the fertility of Asian elephants in North America thus I took it upon myself to pair certain elephants to convey the importance of breeding these individuals. I have reason to believe that most of the breeding candidates are reproductively viable because of breeding experience or reproductive age.
     
    Last edited: 1 Feb 2018
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  11. Elephant Enthusiast

    Elephant Enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    The purpose of this comment is to publish the transfer recommendations of the male breeding candidates and/or the female breeding candidates, along with their matriarchal herd members, to form the breeding recommendations.

    Of the 31 proposed breeding pairs for the North American population, there are 2 cancelled breeding pairs, 24 achievable breeding pairs, and 5 potential breeding pairs. The recommendations are organized by cancelled breeding pairs, then achievable breeding pairs, then potential breeding pairs. Following each pair is the explanation of how the match came to be rejected or how the match will come together.

    The 2 cancelled breeding pairs are:

    Laokompomay (Almaty Zoo) & Aru (Almaty Zoo)
    Even though Laokompomay and Aru are ideal candidates for the breeding program in North America, logistically it would be a complicated endeavor to approve the importation of two Asian elephants from Kazakhstan. Regardless, Laokompomay and Aru should be imported to Europe to participate in the European breeding program as both are of reproductive age and the Almaty Zoo doesn't have a suitable facility for breeding.

    Sabu (Cincinnati Zoo) & Jati (Cincinnati Zoo)
    Even though Sabu and Jati have reproduced with one another, it would be in the best interest of Sabu to pair him with another female. The Cincinnati Zoo renovated their elephant facility to accommodate Sabu and with his return in November of 2007 that enabled the Cincinnati Zoo to reestablish the breeding program. For over a decade the Cincinnati Zoo has tried to breed Jati and Sabu but to no avail. Ultimately, Sabu should be transferred to another institution as Jati is essentially post reproductive.

    The 24 achievable breeding pairs are:

    Billy (Los Angeles Zoo) & Rose Tu (Oregon Zoo)
    Billy should be transferred from the Los Angeles Zoo to the Oregon Zoo to breed with Rose Tu.

    Groucho (Denver Zoo) & Rasha (Fort Worth Zoo)
    Groucho should be transferred from the Denver Zoo to the Fort Worth Zoo to breed with Rasha.

    Spike (Busch Gardens Tampa) & Maharani (Smithsonian National Zoo)
    Spike should be transferred from Busch Gardens Tampa to the Smithsonian National Zoo to breed with Maharani.

    Rex (Oklahoma City Zoo) & Natasha (African Lion Safari)
    Rex should be transferred from the Oklahoma City Zoo to African Lion Safari to breed with Natasha.

    Bodhi (Denver Zoo) & Bluebonnet (Fort Worth Zoo)
    Bodhi should be transferred from the Denver Zoo to the Fort Worth Zoo to breed with Bluebonnet.

    Beco (Columbus Zoo) & Belle (Fort Worth Zoo)
    Beco should be transferred from the Columbus Zoo to the Fort Worth Zoo to breed with Belle.

    Sabu (Cincinnati Zoo) & Rozana (Albuquerque Zoo)

    Sabu should be transferred from the Cincinnati Zoo to the Albuquerque Zoo to breed with Rozana.

    Thai (Houston Zoo) & Tess (Houston Zoo)
    Thai and Tess are already paired and Thai has reached an age that transferring could be hazardous to his health.

    Raja (Saint Louis Zoo) & Rani (Saint Louis Zoo)
    Raja should have primary residence at the Saint Louis Zoo to breed with Rani.

    Raja (Saint Louis Zoo) & Kirina (Rosamond Gifford Zoo)
    Raja should have secondary residence at the Dickerson Park Zoo to breed with Kirina while Kirina, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to the Dickerson Park Zoo to breed with Raja.

    Raja (Saint Louis Zoo) & Mali (Rosamond Gifford Zoo)
    Raja should have secondary residence at the Dickerson Park Zoo to breed with Mali while Mali, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to the Dickerson Park Zoo to breed with Raja.

    Sneezy (Tulsa Zoo) & Shanti (Houston Zoo)
    Sneezy should have secondary residence at the Tulsa Zoo to breed with Shanti while Shanti, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Houston Zoo to the Tulsa Zoo to breed with Sneezy.

    Sneezy (Tulsa Zoo) & Asha (Oklahoma City Zoo)
    Sneezy should be transferred from the Tulsa Zoo to the Oklahoma City Zoo to breed with Asha and have primary residence at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

    Sneezy (Tulsa Zoo) & Chandra (Oklahoma City Zoo)
    Sneezy should be transferred from the Tulsa Zoo to the Oklahoma City Zoo to breed with Chandra and have primary residence at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

    Samson (Albuquerque Zoo) & Angelica (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Samson should be transferred from the Albuquerque Zoo to the Columbus Zoo to breed with Angelica while Angelica, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Center for Elephant Conservation to the Columbus Zoo to breed with Samson.

    Samson (Albuquerque Zoo) & Sara (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Samson should be transferred from the Albuquerque Zoo to the Columbus Zoo to breed with Sara while Sara, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Center for Elephant Conservation to the Columbus Zoo to breed with Samson.

    Johnson (African Lion Safari) & Asha (Center for Elephant Conservation)

    Johnson should be transferred from African Lion Safari to the Cincinnati Zoo to breed with Asha while Asha, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Center for Elephant Conservation to the Cincinnati Zoo to breed with Johnson.

    Johnson (African Lion Safari) & April (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Johnson should be transferred from the African Lion Safari to the Cincinnati Zoo to breed with April while April, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Center for Elephant Conservation to the Cincinnati Zoo to breed with Johnson.

    Kandula (Oklahoma City Zoo) & Rudy (Columbus Zoo)
    Kandula should be transferred from the Oklahoma City Zoo to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to breed with Rudy while Rudy, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Columbus Zoo to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to breed with Kandula.

    Kandula (Oklahoma City Zoo) & Sundara (Columbus Zoo)
    Kandula should be transferred from the Oklahoma City Zoo to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to breed with Sundara while Sundara, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Columbus Zoo to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to breed with Kandula.

    Romeo (Fort Worth Zoo) & Bonnie (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Romeo should be transferred from the Fort Worth Zoo to the Houston Zoo to breed with Bonnie while Bonnie, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Center for Elephant Conservation to the Houston Zoo to breed with Romeo.

    Romeo (Fort Worth Zoo) & Shirley (Center for Elephant Conservation)

    Romeo should be transferred from the Fort Worth Zoo to the Houston Zoo to breed with Shirley while Shirley, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Center for Elephant Conservation to the Houston Zoo to breed with Romeo.

    Romeo (Fort Worth Zoo) & Kelly Ann (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Romeo should be transferred from from the Fort Worth Zoo to the Houston Zoo to breed with Shirley and Bonnie while Kelly Ann should be transferred from the Center for Elephant Conservation to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to stay with her matriarchal herd members. In the best interest of both elephants, artificial insemination should be considered as the distance between these two are going to be quite far and Kelly Ann should remain with her mother and sisters.

    Obert (Endangered Ark Foundation) & Opal (African Lion Safari)
    Obert should be transferred from the Endangered Ark Foundation to African Lion Safari to breed with Opal.

    The 5 potential breeding pairs are:

    Ananda (Maubeuge Zoo) & Mable (Center for Elephant Conservation)
    Ananda should be transferred from the Maubeuge Zoo to the Houston Zoo to breed with Mable while Mable, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Center for Elephant Conservation to the Houston Zoo to breed with Ananda.

    Ananda (Maubeuge Zoo) & Piper (Center for Elephant Conservation)

    Ananda should be transferred from the Maubeuge Zoo to the Houston Zoo to breed with Piper while Piper, along with her matriarchal herd members, should be transferred from the Center for Elephant Conservation to the Houston Zoo to breed with Ananda.

    Shahrukh (Osnabruck Zoo) & Jade (Saint Louis Zoo)

    Shahrukh should be transferred from the Osnabruck Zoo to the Saint Louis Zoo to breed with Jade.

    Shahrukh (Osnabruck Zoo) & Kenzi (Saint Louis Zoo)

    Shahrukh should be transferred from the Osnabruck Zoo to the Saint Louis Zoo to breed with Kenzi.

    Rajendra (Cologne Zoo) & Tupelo (Houston Zoo)
    Rajendra should be transferred from the Cologne Zoo to the Houston Zoo to breed with Tupelo.

    If these transfers can be achieved, the Houston Zoo will house 4.6 Asian elephants at one time which is abnormal as there will be two distinct matriarchal herds. The reason behind having two matriarchal herds at one location is because 1.0 Thai is currently 53 years old making transfer hazardous to his health and eventually the Houston Zoo will need to acquire a new breeding bull. By having 1.0 Romeo, 0.1 Bonnie, 0.1 Shirley, 0.1 Mable, 0.1 Piper, and hopefully 1.0 Ananda along with 1.0 Thai, 0.1 Tess, 0.1 Tupelo, and hopefully 1.0 Rajendra, that ensures the next breeding group is established at the Houston Zoo and no relocation stress is put upon the older individuals. Eventually, Romeo’s herd should become the Houston Zoo’s breeding herd while Tess’ herd should be transferred to another institution once Thai has passed.

    Ultimately, these breeding pairs will ensure the viability and sustainability of the North American Asian elephant population. Further, the zoological institutions that are committed to the care and husbandry of Asian elephants will ensure the development of matriarchal herds. As for the current Asian elephants that live at these institutions, the thread North American Asian Elephant Population examines where these elephants should be transferred to in further detail while the thread North American Asian Elephant Institutions examines which institutions should accommodate elephants in further detail.
     
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  12. Elephant Enthusiast

    Elephant Enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    Even though 0.1 Kenzi passed away, I still recommend that 1.0 Shahrukh and 0.1 Jade be bred together. If 1.0 Raja and 0.1 Rani produce female offspring together, I recommend those female offspring be bred to 1.0 Shahrukh once they reach reproductive age.

    With the transfer of 1.0 Spike from Busch Gardens Tampa to the Smithsonian National Zoo, that achieves the pairing of 1.0 Spike and 0.1 Maharani.
     
    Last edited: 29 Mar 2018
  13. Elephant Enthusiast

    Elephant Enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    With the transfer of 1.0 Samson from the Albuquerque Zoo to the Oregon Zoo, that enables the Oregon Zoo to reestablish their breeding program. However, 0.1 Rose Tu should have been paired with an equally genetically valuable male.

    1.0 Billy from the Los Angeles Zoo would be a excellent mate for Rose Tu as Billy has not contributed his genetics to the population, both Billy and Rose Tu are genetically valuable individuals, and the proximity of the Los Angeles Zoo to the Oregon Zoo is ideal for transfer.
     
  14. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Looking at this list, I'm amazed how many elephants have 'people names' as oppose to names which relfect their heritage.

    In Australasia, almost all the elephants have Thai names and the only exceptions are animals over 30/40 years of age.

    I was intererested to read your annonatation of elephants who haven't bred for over 6 years. We have an elephant in our region (Kulab at Melbourne), who was born in 2000 and gave birth to her first calf in 2010. To my knowledge, she is not pregnant again and I often wonder if the large inter birth gap they've allowed will prove detrimental.
     
  15. Yassa

    Yassa Well-Known Member

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    That Billy is still in L.A. without any hope for breeding is a symbol for the failure of elephant breeding in us zoos. He should have been moved MANY years ago. Elephants are actually rather easy to breed, but zoos need to cooperate with each other!
     
  16. Yassa

    Yassa Well-Known Member

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    And yes, a large gap between birts can cause inferility. That is a problem in all zoos that rely on A.I. instead of natural breeding - it seems A.I. is too expensive and the logistic too complicated. The gaps between 2 births are w usually way too long and the number of calves per female way too low.

    But it seems that many us zoos are too selfish to move their fertile female elephants to zoos where they could breed naturally and regularly.
     
  17. Yi Qi

    Yi Qi Well-Known Member

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    Who is in favour of taking Lucy from Edmonton Valley to African Lion Safari (is she still capable of breeding)?
     
  18. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

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    I’m certainly not. Moving her at this point could come with deadly consequences at her age. She most definitely is no longer capable of breeding at age 50 and moving her would be absurd and she can and likely will die in the process.
     
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  19. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

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    Does your crystal ball have any suggestions for Miami ? :rolleyes:
     
  20. Hyak_II

    Hyak_II Well-Known Member

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    ^^^^^^^^^tthhiisss

    However I will note Lucy is 42 turning 43 this year, not quite 50 yet ;)
     
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