Students' Research Circle    
 
 
2022
2021
2020
» 2019
Call for papers
The conference
Veterinary Session
Veterinary Jury
Biology Session
Sponsors
Awards-list
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
Home » Archive » 2019

TDK conference 2019

The effect of elephant rides and walks on the number of "Self-Directed Behaviours" in African Elephants (Loxodonta africana)
Schwilp Laura - year 5
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department Animal Breeding, Nutrition and Laboratory Animal Science
Supervisor: Dr. Gabriella Korsós

Abstract:

Elephant rides are one of the most often discussed topics under the aspect of animal welfare. As the “Knysna Elephant Park” (KEP) South Africa stopped elephant rides on the 28th of February 2018 the “African Elephant Research Unit” took the chance to analyze the effect of elephant rides and -walks on the animals. Therefore “Self-Directed Behaviours” (SDBs) have been recorded during elephant rides and -walks. SDBs are non-invasive identifiers of increased stress levels that an animal performs on itself without a partner.

The Knysna Elephant Park offered the experience of elephant rides twice daily. And after they stopped them, they offered only elephant walks but with that an increased amount to three per day. The aim of the studies was it to proof that the amount of “Self-Directed behaviours” during elephant rides are significantly higher than in elephant walks and also to measure the effect the increased number of walks per day has on the elephant.

A total of 109 rides and 105 walks have been recorded for this study over a period of 7 months in 2018 and using elephant ride data from previous studies in 2015 and 2016. Analyzing the data of the entire group revealed that there are major differences in the amount of SDBs in each individual animal during the rides and walkes. When analyzing the significance of recorded SDBs per each elephant it can be seen that Keisha is showing significantly lower SDBs during walks, Shungu and Thato have higher SDBs during elephant walks, Mashudu showing no significant difference and Sally showing significantly higher Body SDBs and lower Mouth SDBs in elephant walks.

Comparing the amount of SDBs during the 3 different walks per day it revealed that the additional walk that was introduced on the 1st of March 2018 showed the highest amount of SDBs in all elephants. The same results can be seen when we analyzed if it makes a difference if the elephant did one or two walks prior. Results show that also here the highest amount of SDBs can be seen with one walk prior.

Concluding we can say that it less the elephant ride itself being a problem for the animal but the additional number of walks that is causing an increase in SDBs.



List of lectures