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Data collection

To observe the elephants I recorded video footage from each zoo for three days per week, each night lasting from 7 pm to 7 am. I later analyzed the video footage, recording time spent engaging in standing rest, lying rest and time out of sight. I also recorded the time each individual spent within close proximity of an individual who was resting. Close proximity refering to an individual being within a body lenght of the resting individual.

Elephants housed in Sweden are, during the winter season, kept indoors due to the cold weather and therefore were all data collected on the resting behaviour of both the African elephants and the Asian elephants collected from their indoor enclosures.

The conditions under which the individuals were kept differed between the species and between individuals. You will find these in the text below and in the table at the end of the page. 

To the left: Elephant engaging in standing rest. To the right: Elephant engaging in lying rest.

African elephants

I observed three African elephants kept together at Borås Zoo. The individuals were two females and a three year old bull calf. The older of the female were the mother of the other two individuals. They were housed in an enclosure of 164 m2 with concrete flooring. The African elephants were housed under the same condition throughout the study (condition A). 

Asian elephants

At Kolmården Wildlife park I observed five Asian elephants housed under different housing conditions. The housing conditions also changed during the period of data collection. The individuals observed at Kolmården Wildlife Park was one bull, three females (one older and two younger) and one three year old bull calf.  
The bull was kept with the bull calf during the first part of the study and they had access to sand (130 m2) and concrete flooring (70m2) (condition B). The bull was later kept alone in this enclosure (condition C) as the calf was moved to the enclosure with the two younger females who were kept together (condition D). Before the calf moved in the females only had access to concrete flooring (condition A) and when the calf moved in the females also gained sand as substrate in their entire enclosure (200m2). The older female was kept alone during the study but could be within close proximity and in contact with the two younger females and later, also the calf. She was kept in an enclosure with two compartments (50 m2 each). In the beginning of the study, had the older female only access to concrete flooring (condition A) and later gained access to sand as substrate in one of the compartments (condition C). 

Description of the conditions under which the elephants were kept

Condition     Description 
A

Substrate: concrete
Proximity: able to be within a body length and in physical contact with another individual.

B

Substrate: concrete and sand
Proximity: able to be within a body length and in physical contact with another individual.

C Substrate: concrete and sand
Proximity: not able to be within a body length of another individual or have physical contact with another individual.
 
D Substrate: sand
Proximity: able to be within a body length and in physical contact with another individual.
 


Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/28/17