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Adele Lim PSYCH 200 David Barash Robert Mohr 24th May 2013 Annotated Bibliography: Articles on the

Asian Elephant Asian Elephants (Elephas Maximus) Dust Bathe in Response to an Increase in Environmental Temperature In this article, Paul A Rees explores the hypothetical proportional relation of environmental temperature and genetic relatedness with the dusting behavior of elephants that had not yet been proven by empirical evidence. As part of the experimental process itself, the elephants studied were mostly a genetically unrelated heard of bulls, cows, and calves, at Chester Zoo in England, where the elephants had baths every morning such that no soil remained on their bodies at the beginning of each day. The observations made about these elephants mostly coincided with mine: first, they noticed that the elephants hardly bathed in the shallow pool provided and secondly, the elephants commonly dusted their skin with soil through “[scraping] the curved end of the trunk along the ground, rotated it into a vertical position (with the trunk hanging down), and then throw or blow the soil over the head, back or flanks.”1 In addition, some elephants used other materials such as the grass cuttings given to them as food, to throw on their backs. All these behaviors were similarly observed for my elephant. In the results, Rees gathered that all the elephants did not exhibit dusting behavior below the mean temperature of 13 degrees Celsius, and that there was no correlation between thermoregulatory abilities, hence the elephants’ body mass, and dusting frequencies. It was also concluded that dusting was a social behavior where the elephants would gather at the area where the soil was most loose, thus resulting in a synchronization of their dusting. The calf was often seen dust bathing beside her mother as well. In the discussion


of outliers where dusting could be attributed to other factors outside of temperature, there were predicted causes such as displacement behavior and dust bathing after baths or heavy rain. While this research was unable to produce any specific justifications as to why dust-bathing occurs due to the lack of data, is was hypothesized that it promoted skin care, protection from insects and from radiation. Using Personality Ratings and Cortisol to Characterize Individual Differences in African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) Being knowledgeable about the personality of elephants provides insight to their keepers in the way they approach and handle the elephants in zoos. This article tackles the difference between individual elephants through first assessing them with a personality rating system before comparing that to measurements of cortisol levels. “Several studies with children have shown that anxious or inhibited individuals have increased basal cortisol levels,” and this relation has also been shown similarly in non-human primates. In the results, it was demonstrated that the Elephant Behavior Index was able to assess the elephants’ personalities, and that demonstrating “the potential value of salivary cortisol as a proxy for serum or plasma cortisol [shows] how cortisol could provide an additional tool for detecting individual differences between elephants.” Lastly, there was also a relationship between cortisol levels and the personality characteristics of elephants in that the higher the fearfulness of an elephant’s personality, the higher its morning cortisol levels, and vice versa for sociable and aggressive elephants (the four main personality components have been concluded to be fearful, effective, sociable and aggressive). To reiterate its significance, these findings are important towards our treatment of elephants in captivity. For example, the elephants in Woodland Park Zoo are kept separately due to conflicts of domination, and this problem should be avoided altogether to ensure a better situation for these animals.

Self-recognition in the Asian elephant and Future Directions for Cognitive Research with Elephants in Zoological Settings While not much research has been put into elephant cognition in zoological settings, there are a few examples of experiments concerning these elephants. An example includes an elephant named Happy and two others who were found to be able to demonstrate similar abilities to that of dolphins in looking into mirrors and recognizing themselves, although it required them to have had physical marks on their faces to explore it. This caused the experimenters to think that they are at the third-developmental stage as compared to humans. While the goal of this research wasn’t to explore the animals in themselves since it was to further the education of the public, such as at zoos, I think that in learning the capabilities of the animals, the zoos should be able to better accommodate for the elephants’ needs. This relates to the source above. In the observed behavior of my elephant at the zoo, she repetitively bobbed her head, swayed her body, and crossed her legs one over another. In the final pie chart that I will produce, this repetitive behavior takes up majority of the time. The websites that I have visited to find out what this is, while there was not any official research, that behavior is a neurotic one. The evidence of elephants’ cognitive abilities in the above experiment is already a form of proof that elephants confined to small spaces of captivity need more mental stimulation. This is the significance to which I argue research should be devoted towards.

Citations: Paul A Rees, P. (2002). Asian Elephants (Elephas Maximus) Dust Bathe in Response to an Increase in Environmental Temperature. School of Environment and Life Sciences, Univer-

sity of Salford, 27(5), 353–358. Retrieved from

Grand, A. (2012). Using Personality Ratings and Cortisol to Characterize Individual Differences in African Elephants (Loxodonta Africana). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Elsevier, 142(1-2), 69-75. Retrieved from

Plotnik, J., & , (2010). Self-recognition in the asian elephant and future directions for cognitive research with elephants in zoological settings. Zoo Biology, John Wiley and Sons, 29(2), 179–191. doi: 10.1002/zoo.20257