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Body Condition Scores (BCS) in European zoo elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus) lifetimes – a longitudinal analysis


Schiffmann, Christian; Clauss, Marcus; Hoby, Stefan; Codron, Daryl; Hatt, Jean-Michel (2019). Body Condition Scores (BCS) in European zoo elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus) lifetimes – a longitudinal analysis. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 7(2):74-86.

Abstract

In further improving zoo elephant welfare, diet and feeding regimes are key factors. Together with the encouragement of physical activity, they support the management of weight and the prevention of obesity, which is considered a common concern in zoo elephants. Besides weight monitoring, visual body condition scoring (BCS) has proven a practical tool for the assessment of (zoo) elephants' physical condition. From the individual management as well as the medical perspective, documentation of an elephant´s BCS changes over time might be much more informative than a population-wide crosssectional analysis. We present a compilation of cases where European zoo elephant BCS can be assessed against influencing factors, such as reproductive activity, physical disorders, advanced age, stressful situations and diet adaptations. The present study of the European zoo elephant population describes how various life circumstances and management adaptations are reflected in the BCS of individual elephants, and in population-wide BCS over time. An online archive to build up a reliable, individualbased data basis with minimal additional workload for elephant-keeping facilities is introduced.

Abstract

In further improving zoo elephant welfare, diet and feeding regimes are key factors. Together with the encouragement of physical activity, they support the management of weight and the prevention of obesity, which is considered a common concern in zoo elephants. Besides weight monitoring, visual body condition scoring (BCS) has proven a practical tool for the assessment of (zoo) elephants' physical condition. From the individual management as well as the medical perspective, documentation of an elephant´s BCS changes over time might be much more informative than a population-wide crosssectional analysis. We present a compilation of cases where European zoo elephant BCS can be assessed against influencing factors, such as reproductive activity, physical disorders, advanced age, stressful situations and diet adaptations. The present study of the European zoo elephant population describes how various life circumstances and management adaptations are reflected in the BCS of individual elephants, and in population-wide BCS over time. An online archive to build up a reliable, individualbased data basis with minimal additional workload for elephant-keeping facilities is introduced.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2019
Deposited On:30 Apr 2019 14:51
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:33
Publisher:EAZA
ISSN:2214-7594
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.19227/jzar.v7i2.375

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