Coping with heat : behavioural and physiological responses of savanna elephants in their natural habitat

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dc.contributor.author Mole, Michael A.
dc.contributor.author DAraujo, Shaun Rodrigues
dc.contributor.author Van Aarde, Rudi J.
dc.contributor.author Mitchell, Duncan
dc.contributor.author Fuller, Andrea
dc.date.accessioned 2017-05-17T06:08:38Z
dc.date.available 2017-05-17T06:08:38Z
dc.date.issued 2016
dc.description.abstract Most of southern Africa’s elephants inhabit environments where environmental temperatures exceed body temperature, but we do not know how elephants respond to such environments. We evaluated the relationships between apparent thermoregulatory behaviour and environmental, skin and core temperatures for tame savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) that were free-ranging in the hot parts of the day, in their natural environment. Environmental temperature dictated elephant behaviour within a day, with potential consequences for fine-scale habitat selection, space use and foraging. At black globe temperatures of ~30°C, elephants adjusted their behaviour to reduce environmental heat load and increase heat dissipation (e.g. shade use, wetting behaviour). Resting, walking and feeding were also influenced by environmental temperature. By relying on behavioural and autonomic adjustments, the elephants maintained homeothermy, even at environmental temperatures exceeding 40°C. Elephants clearly have the capacity to deal with extreme heat, at least in environments with adequate resources of forage, water and shade. Future conservation actions should provide for the thermoregulatory, resource and spatial needs of elephants. en_ZA
dc.description.department Zoology and Entomology en_ZA
dc.description.librarian am2017 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation via Elephants Without Borders, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the University of Pretoria. en_ZA
dc.description.uri https://academic.oup.com/conphys en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Mole MA, Rodrigues DÁraujo S, van Aarde RJ, Mitchell D, Fuller A (2016) Coping with heat: behavioural and physiological responses of savanna elephants in their natural habitat. Conserv Physiol 4(1): cow044; DOI:10.1093/conphys/cow044. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 2051-1434
dc.identifier.other 10.1093/conphys/cow044.
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/60479
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Oxford University Press en_ZA
dc.rights © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press and the Society for Experimental Biology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. en_ZA
dc.subject Behaviour en_ZA
dc.subject Homeothermy en_ZA
dc.subject Savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) en_ZA
dc.subject Thermal imaging en_ZA
dc.subject Thermoregulation en_ZA
dc.title Coping with heat : behavioural and physiological responses of savanna elephants in their natural habitat en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA


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