Article

Elephant-Initiated Interactions with Humans: Individual Differences and Specific Preferences in Captive African Elephants (Loxodonta africana)

Authors:
  • African Elephant Reseearch Unit
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Abstract

South Africa has seen a recent increase in the number of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) maintained in reserves and parks and managed in free contact, where they may spend a significant amount of time in close proximity to humans. This study investigates how individual elephants choose to initiate interactions with humans by examining whether interaction types and frequencies vary both between elephants and with regards to the category of human involved in the interaction. Observations were made on a herd of seven captive African elephants frequently exposed to elephant handlers (guides), volunteers (who carry out general observations for the park's research unit), and tourists. The elephants differed in the frequencies with which they initiated interactions with each category of human and in the types of behaviors they used to initiate interactions. However, all of the elephants interacted most frequently with guides. Certain individual elephants showed preferences in interacting with specific guides, indicating particular elephant-guide bonds. This study provides evidence for elephant-handler bonds as well as information on the extent of interactions between humans and African elephants managed in free contact.

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April 2017
Zoë T. Rossman · Clare Padfield · Debbie Young · Lynette Hart
... Spontaneous yawns by standing elephants outside of arousal episodes within the group thus were extremely rare. This previous study, along with information about elephantinitiated interactions with people at the same study site (21), provided the context for the current study. ...
... Handlers often introduce new commands or forms of enrichment to the elephants during this period of the day and our trials were structured so that they would integrate as seamlessly as possible with the elephants' daily routine. Due to evidence of bonds between the elephants and their handlers (21), it seemed that yawning between the elephants and the handlers could be influenced by the elephant's familiarity with the handler but in this instance all of the handlers who participated in this study had worked with these elephants for several years, and were very familiar to all the elephants. Two trials were conducted on different elephants at the same time, but the trials were situated such that the two focal elephants in the trials were never adjacent to ensure that trials of one focal elephant did not influence trials of the other focal elephant. ...
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While spontaneous yawning is common across all vertebrate classes, contagious yawning is less common and has been observed only in a few species of social animals. Interspecific contagious yawning in response to yawning by humans has been observed only by chimpanzees and dogs. After confirming additional occurrences of intraspecific contagious yawning in a group of captive African elephants previously studied, we further investigated the potential for the same group of elephants to engage in interspecific contagious yawning with familiar human handlers. Ten captive African elephants, most of whom had been previously studied, were observed over 13 nights for evidence of intraspecific contagious yawning. Seven of these elephants were also involved in trials where familiar handlers performed staged yawns, as well as trials with staged non-yawning gapes, or trials with no yawns or gapes. Incorporating previously collected contagious yawning data, we describe nine instances of intraspecific contagious yawning in the elephants. Three of the seven elephants yawned contagiously in response to humans during the interspecific yawning trials. This is the first report of interspecific contagious yawning by elephants in response to yawns by familiar humans.
... In training experiments, the handlers, not conspecifics, are the social partners interacting with the animals. In case of elephants, we know that animals and handlers form social ties that have good consequences on both sides, including operational and affective benefits (Carlstead et al., 2019;Hart, 1994;Rossman et al., 2017). Therefore, in our opinion, positive reinforcement training can be a valuable method in studying aspects of vocal learning in elephants and Sirenians, while taking into consideration the potentially different neuronal mechanisms involved. ...
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... Collectively, the unique Thai historical context of elephants in Thai culture and the current situation changing uses of elephants throughout Thailand may influence more broadly the nature of relationships for mahouts and their elephants. Furthermore, differences in managing systems for Asian and African elephants may affect the quality and quantity of elephant-human interactions-both for the elephant and the human [16]. The rapid changes in mahouts' jobs suggest their quality of life may be in jeopardy, both from having a less rewarding relationship with their elephant, and also because their salaries are insufficient and they lack other employee benefits, such as vacation and medical care. ...
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... The government-owned ECCs apply semi-captive management while the Zoo implements fullcaptive management. Both managements offer humanelephant interactions, such as attending the training shows, hand feeding, walking with, and riding on the elephant (Rossman et al. 2017). However, the semi-captive management is slightly differentthe elephants are less space-restrained than zoo-housed elephants, at least for a moment in a day (de Mori et al. 2019). ...
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... During training, the social partners interacting with the elephants are the handlers, and not conspecifics. At the same time, elephants and handlers are known to establish social bonds with positive effects, including operational and affective benefits on both sides [55][56][57]. ...
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How do elephants achieve their enormous vocal flexibility when communicating, imitating or creating idiosyncratic sounds? The mechanisms that underpin this trait combine motoric abilities with vocal learning processes. We demonstrate the unusual production techniques used by five African savanna elephants to create idiosyncratic sounds, which they learn to produce on cue by positive reinforcement training. The elephants generate these sounds by applying nasal tissue vibration via an ingressive airflow at the trunk tip, or by contracting defined superficial muscles at the trunk base. While the production mechanisms of the individuals performing the same sound categories are similar, they do vary in fine-tuning, revealing that each individual has its own specific sound-producing strategy. This plasticity reflects the creative and cognitive abilities associated with ‘vocal’ learning processes. The fact that these sounds were reinforced and cue-stimulated suggests that social feedback and positive reinforcement can facilitate vocal creativity and vocal learning behavior in elephants. Revealing the mechanism and the capacity for vocal learning and sound creativity is fundamental to understanding the eloquence within the elephants’ communication system. This also helps to understand the evolution of human language and of open-ended vocal systems, which build upon similar cognitive processes.
... The behaviors shown by the 18 elephants in the 15 video clips were analyzed quantitatively, by a single observer using the continuous focal animal sampling technique, as defined by Martin and Bateson [43], and using a dedicated Behavioral Observation Research Interactive Software, BORIS [44]. The working ethogram used in this study is based on previous research on the behavior mainly of African elephants [45][46][47][48][49][50], and adapted according to the behaviors observed in the videos (Table 2). Trunk movements were considered a category on their own, even if some of them have been categorized as stereotypies in Asian elephants [51]. ...
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This study aimed to investigate how three groups of people of differing ages, and with differing knowledge of the species, perceived the emotional state of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) managed in captive and semi-captive environments. Fifteen video-clips of 18 elephants, observed during three different daily routines (release from and return to the night boma; interactions with visitors), were used for a free choice profiling assessment (FCP) and then analyzed with quantitative methods. A general Procrustes analysis identified two main descriptive dimensions of elephant behavioral expression explaining 27% and 19% of the variability in the children group, 19% and 23.7% in adults, and 21.8% and 17% in the expert group. All the descriptors the observers came up with showed a low level of correlation on the identified dimensions. All three observers’ groups showed a degree of separation between captive and semi-captive management. Spearman analyses showed that stereotypic “trunk swirling” behavior correlated negatively with first dimension (free/friendly versus sad/bored) in the children’s group; second dimension (agitated/confident versus angry/bored) amongst the adults; and first dimension (active/excited versus agitated/bored) amongst the experts. More studies are needed to investigate other potential differences in assessing elephants’ emotional states by visitors of different ages and backgrounds.
... The interactions offered by these captive elephant facilities range from attending training shows, to hand feeding, walking with, and even riding on the elephants. Usually, these interactions include forms of non-protected contact between people (both handlers and public) and elephants [25], whereas a policy of "protected contact" has long been recommended for western zoos [26]. In the protected contact system, human and animal spaces are separated; the elephants are managed using positive reinforcement training and punishment is not allowed. ...
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... Additionally, keepers that felt accepted as part of the herd, spent more time talking to their elephants, and believed they had special bonds with them worked with elephants that had overall lower cortisol. Rossman et al. [51] investigated how captive African elephants chose to initiate interactions with humans and found several showed preferences in interacting with specific guides, indicating good elephant-keeper bonds. The need for dominance hierarchies is common in social species, including elephants [52]. ...
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... This lack of effect could of course also be due to the small sample size of animals in this study, though it is worth keeping in mind that HAR as a concept, applies to individual animals and needs to always be measured on an individual basis. Studies report varying findings with regard to the effect of such factors on human-animal interactions [1,20,32,33]. For example, Phillips and Peck [34] found that tiger personality did not influence interactions with keepers. ...
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... Positive reinforcement training of zoo animals increases interaction time with keepers and has been reported to decrease abnormal and stress-related behaviors, and increase responsiveness to husbandry cues (Pomerantz & Terkel, 2009;Shepherdson, Lewis, Carlstead, Bauman, & Perrin, 2013;Ward & Melfi, 2013). Rossman, Padfield, Young, and Hart (2017) found individual zoo elephants showed preference for specific keepers, whereas Hart (1994) reported mahouts in Nepal felt their elephants loved and trusted them more than other handlers, and rewarded them with affection and treats. ...
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Elephant tourism in Thailand has developed into an important socio-economic factor after a logging ban initiated in 1989 resulted in thousands of out-of-work elephants. However, the welfare of captive elephants has been a topic of intense debate among tourists, scientists and stakeholders because of the range of working conditions and management practices to which they are exposed. The aim of this paper is to summarize the current state of knowledge on captive elephant welfare, with an emphasis on tourist elephants in Thailand, and highlight information gaps and recommendations for future directions. Tourist-oriented elephant camps could improve the welfare of elephants through better management practices that take into account physiological and psychological needs of individual animals, including meeting social and nutritional requirements, providing good health care, and maintaining adequate facilities. Our goal is to develop science-based guidelines that government agencies can use to develop an enforceable set of practical regulations to ensure good management of tourist elephants in Thailand.
... Mahouts in Nepal state that elephants want a mahout who loves and spends time with them, and in return the elephant they care for reliably obeys only their commands (Hart, 1994). In a recent study of seven elephants in a South African Elephant Park (Rossman et al., 2017), elephant handlers with identified bonds to a specific elephant described that elephant as responding better to their commands. ...
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Fifty-one owner-dog pairs were observed in a modified version of M. D. S. Ainsworth's (1969) Strange Situation Test. The results demonstrate that adult dogs (Canis familiaris) show patterns of attachment behavior toward the owner. Although there was considerable variability in dogs' attachment behavior to humans, the authors did not find any effect of gender, age, living conditions, or breed on most of the behavioral variables. The human-dog relationship was described by means of a factor analysis in a 3-dimensional factor space: Anxiety, Acceptance, and Attachment. A cluster analysis revealed 5 substantially different classes of dogs, and dogs could be categorized along the secure-insecure attached dimensions of Ainsworth's original test. A dog's relationship to humans is analogous to child-parent and chimpanzee-human attachment behavior because the observed behavioral phenomena and the classification are similar to those described in mother-infant interactions.
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The author explores the viability of a comparative approach to personality research. A review of the diverse animal-personality literature suggests that (a) most research uses trait constructs, focuses on variation within (vs. across) species, and uses either behavioral codings or trait ratings; (b) ratings are generally reliable and show some validity (7 parameters that could influence reliability and 4 challenges to validation are discussed); and (c) some dimensions emerge across species, but summaries are hindered by a lack of standard descriptors. Arguments for and against cross-species comparisons are discussed, and research guidelines are suggested. Finally, a research agenda guided by evolutionary and ecological principles is proposed. It is concluded that animal studies provide unique opportunities to examine biological, genetic, and environmental bases of personality and to study personality change, personality-health links, and personality perception.
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Handled frequently and subjected to a wide range of medical procedures that may be particularly invasive, nonhuman animals in a laboratory setting have unique needs. To produce the most reliable research results and to protect and enhance the well-being of the animals, it is desirable to perform these procedures with as little stress for the animals as possible. Positive reinforcement training can use targeted activities and procedures to achieve the voluntary cooperation of nonhuman primates. The benefits of such work include diminished stress on the animals, enhanced flexibility and reliability in data collection, and a reduction in the use of anesthesia. Training also provides the means to mitigate social problems, aid in introductions, reduce abnormal behavior, enhance enrichment programs, and increase the safety of attending personnel. This article describes the application of operant conditioning techniques to animal management.
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Among terrestrial mammals, elephants share the unique status, along with humans and great apes, of having large brains, being long-lived and having offspring that require long periods of dependency. Elephants have the largest brains of all terrestrial mammals, including the greatest volume of cerebral cortex. In contrast to what one might expect from such a large-brained species, the performance of elephants in cognitive feats, such as tool use, visual discrimination learning and tests of "insight" behavior, is unimpressive in comparison to the performance by chimpanzees and, of course, humans. Where elephants do seem to excel is in long-term, extensive spatial-temporal and social memory. In addition, elephants appear to be somewhat unique among non-human species in their reactions to disabled and deceased conspecifics, exhibiting behaviors that are mindful of "theory-of-mind" phenomena. Information gleaned from studies on the neural cytoarchitecture of large brains reveals that the neurons of the cerebral cortex of elephants are much less densely populated than in large-brained primates. The interactions between cortical neurons would appear to be more global and less compartmentalized into local areas, and cortical information processing slower, than in great apes and humans. Although focused neural cytoarchitecture studies on the elephant are needed, this comparative perspective on the cortical neural cytoarchitecture appears to relate to differences in behavior between elephants and their primate counterparts.
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This article reviews evidence for the existence of attachment bonds directed toward humans in dog-human and horse-human dyads. It explores each species' alignment with the four features of a typical attachment bond: separation-related distress, safe haven, secure base and proximity seeking. While dog-human dyads show evidence of each of these, there is limited alignment for horse-human dyads. These differences are discussed in the light of the different selection paths of domestic dogs and horses as well as the different contexts in which the two species interact with humans. The role of emotional intelligence in humans as a potential mediator for human-animal relationships, attachment or otherwise, is also examined. Finally, future studies, which may clarify the interplay between attachment, human-animal relationships and emotional intelligence, are proposed. Such avenues of research may help us explore the concepts of trust and bonding that are often said to occur at the dog-human and horse-human interface.
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To determine the basic dimensions of social interactions in infant rhesus monkeys, 12 animals were divided into groups of four each and observed in a playroom situation. Each monkey was observed for a total of 3 hr. in 18 test sessions over a 2-mo. period. A factor analysis of three separate sets of data yielded two independent factors: an approach-avoidance factor in which the monkey being observed passes or approaches another animal who withdraws, and an avoidance-approach factor in which the monkey being observed withdraws as another monkey passes or approaches. The first factor appears similar to what is ordinarily called “dominance” among humans and the second factor appears similar to what is ordinarily called “submission.” Unlike studies with humans, no “love-hostility” factor emerged. This was thought to be due to the age and/or early social deprivation of Ss. There was little consistency in the behavior of the monkeys when group compositions were changed.
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This review collates peer-reviewed evidence for desirable attributes for those who work with dogs and horses. It is written with a particular focus on the veterinary profession. Although veterinarians and veterinary nurses (VNs) occupy variable roles when interacting with their patients, several behavioural attributes emerge as helpful across the range of such roles. In light of recent research on the value of considering animals' arousal and affective state as predictors of behaviour and welfare, best practice in human-horse and human-dog-interactions is outlined. The attributes of affiliation, safety and positive reinforcement seem to contribute greatly to the development and maintenance of moderate arousal and positive affect in animals. The information in this review article is offered in an attempt to show why veterinary professionals with good horsemanship are likely to remain safe, and to introduce the concept of dogmanship. In the light of the peer-reviewed evidence assembled here, it is arguable that veterinary teams, comprising both veterinarians and VNs, can become scholars in these areas. The benefits of this approach for practitioner safety, animal welfare and client satisfaction are likely to be significant. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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The aim of our study was to examine the influence of dyadic attachment, owner and dog personality, and owner gender on stress hormone dynamics in owner–dog dyads. We hypothesized that owner personality modulates dyadic relationships and, hence, would affect the cortisol levels resulting from acute and chronic stressors. Data were collected during three meetings with 10 male and 12 female owners aged 23–68 years, with their medium-to-large, intact male dogs aged 1.5–6.0 years. These owner-dog dyads were observed and video-taped during different tasks. The NEO-FFI (Five-Factor Inventory) was used to determine owner personality, and questionnaires covering owner–dog relationship and attachment were employed. Salivary cortisol levels were measured from samples collected during the dyads' daily routine and after experimental challenges. It was found that our experimental tasks had little effect on the salivary cortisol levels of either dog or owner except that dogs and male owners showed elevated levels during the first 20 minutes of our visit to their homes. However, owners who scaled high in neuroticism (NEO-FFI dimension 1) or low in conscientiousness (NEO-FFI dimension 5) showed high morning salivary cortisol values, in contrast to their dogs, which were low in morning salivary cortisol. In general, dogs of owners who considered them as being “social partners” and “meaningful companions” showed low morning salivary cortisol values. We conclude that the main individual and dyadic factors for stress coping in owner–dog dyads are owner personality, relationship with the dog, and attachment to the dog, and that relationship had generally a greater effect on dog cortisol levels than our experimental tasks.
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Twenty-three observational sessions for each of three groups of 4 infant rhesus monkeys were conducted over a 4½-mo. period in order to develop a method for observing and recording social behavior. The final system provided for the reduction of all social interactions to two-digit numbers representing the interaction of the monkey under observation (P) and the other monkey involved in the interaction (O). Reliability coefficients for three pairs of observers were .84, .85, and .70.
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The development of indices to assist in the management of captive animals and assess their well-being is a key priority for those responsible for providing care to animals in captivity, including the zoological community. In particular, the design of indices for use with some of the more charismatic and socially complex animals, such as African elephants is a major focus. The use of personality ratings and/or cortisol measurements has become a common tool for managing farm animals and is gaining popularity within zoos. However, a combined behavioral and physiological approach has not been examined in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana). We sought to characterize African elephants using serum and salivary cortisol measurements and our Elephant Behavior Index, a personality rating system modified from an index designed for nonhuman primates. Subjects were five adult female African elephants housed at Disney's Animal Kingdom®. Each subject was rated on the Elephant Behavior Index, which consisted of 23 personality adjectives on a 5-point scale, by 16 raters familiar with the elephants. Saliva and blood samples were collected for cortisol analyses. Reliability across raters for the Elephant Behavior Index was established and correlations between the 23 ratings revealed four components of elephant personality: fearful, effective, sociable and aggressive. Salivary and serum cortisol were correlated and the afternoon decline in cortisol that has been documented in a variety of species was detected for both salivary and serum cortisol (morning salivary – M = 0.038, SD = 0.012; morning serum – M = 2.147, SD = 1.305; afternoon salivary – M = 0.020, SD = 0.008; afternoon serum – M = 0.445, SD = 0.251). We found positive correlations between morning cortisol levels and the fearful component and negative correlations between cortisol and effective, sociable and aggressive components. Our study demonstrated how personality ratings and cortisol can be utilized to assess individual characteristics of African elephants. Determining these unique characteristics will allow caregivers to tailor management protocols to the meet the needs of individual elephants.
Article
The extent to which elephants hold behavioural traits in common with human beings is relevant to the ethics of how we treat them. Observations show that elephants, like humans, are concerned with distressed or deceased individuals, and render assistance to the ailing and show a special interest in dead bodies of their own kind. This paper reports helping and investigative behaviour of different elephants and their families towards a dying and deceased matriarch. We make use of long-term association records, GPS tracking data and direct observations. Records made around the time of death, shows that the helping behaviour and special interest exhibited was not restricted to closely related kin. The case is made that elephants, like human beings, can show compassionate behaviour to others in distress. They have a general awareness and curiosity about death, as these behaviours are directed both towards kin and non-related individuals.
Article
This study investigates if there are relationships between personality and performance of dogs (Canis familiaris) in working dog trials. Data from 2655 dogs of the two breeds German Shepherd dog (GSD) and Belgian Tervuren (BT) were used. The breeds were chosen because of indications of differences in personality between these breeds, and because both breeds are commonly trained for working dog trials. All dogs were tested in a personality test between 12 and 18 months of age. Using a factor analysis, five factors were extracted: “Playfulness”, “Curiosity/Fearlessness”, “Chase-proneness”, “Sociability”, and “Aggressiveness”. Further analyses showed that these factors, with the exception of Aggressiveness, were all related to one higher-order factor, which was interpreted as a shyness–boldness dimension. Because of the risk of confounding variables, the influence of the owners’ previous experience was tested. This showed that owner experience was related to performance, as well as to the shyness–boldness score. Therefore, only data from dogs with inexperienced owners were used in the later analyses. According to their success in working dog trials, the dogs could be categorised as low, middle, or high performing. The results show that the shyness–boldness score is related to the level of performance: high-performing dogs have higher scores (i.e. are bolder) compared to low-performing dogs. This difference was significant in Belgian Tervurens of both sexes, and in female German Shepherds. In general, German Shepherds scored higher than Belgian Tervurens, and males scored higher than females. However, in well-performing dogs there were no breed or sex differences. This indicates a threshold effect; to reach high levels in working dog trials the dog, independent of breed or sex, should have a certain level of boldness. These results imply that a lower proportion of dogs of shyer breeds are able to reach higher performance levels, compared to dogs of breeds that in general score higher on the shyness–boldness axis. In German Shepherds, a relationship was also found between personality and age of success; bolder dogs reached success at a younger age. There were no differences in Boldness score between dogs succeeding in different types of working dog trials (tracking, searching, delivering messages, handler protection), suggesting that the personality dimension predisposes trainability in general. The results might be applied to the selection of breeding dogs in working breeds and in selecting suitable working and service dogs. A test like the one used in this study can give a description of an individual dog’s personality, which also can help matching the dog with adequate training.
Article
Research in a number of livestock industries has shown that interactions between stockpeople and their animals can limit the productivity and welfare of these animals. While many of these interactions are routinely and, at times, habitually used by stockpeople, the frequent use of some of these routine behaviours can result in farm animals becoming highly fearful of humans. It is these high fear levels, through stress, that appear to limit animal productivity and welfare. This research has also shown that an important antecedent of stockperson behaviour is the attitude of the stockperson towards interacting with his or her farm animals. Intervention studies in the dairy and pig industries have shown the potential of cognitive-behavioural intervention techniques designed to specifically target those attitudes and behaviours of stockpeople that have a direct effect on animal fear, welfare and productivity.It is recommended that such cognitive-behavioural training programs for stockpeople are introduced in the livestock industries. Selection tools targeting the important human characteristics that affect work performance may also be valuable not only to select stockpeople but also to identify experienced and inexperienced stockpeople that require training. More extensive research is also required to identify the full range of stockperson interactions that have implication for farm animals. In addition to identifying the aversive elements of handling, the rewarding elements of human–animal interactions for animals should be identified and the opportunities to utilise these rewarding elements to alleviate some of the aversive interactions, that are at times necessary in livestock production, should be explored.
Article
Elephant drivers, sometimes termed mahouts, are known to share a relationship with their elephants rarely matched in other human-animal interactions with regard to time invested, extent of cooperative activity, and everpresent risk to the driver. An investigation of this relationship was pursued at two tourist lodges in Nepal where elephants are used to transport tourists into a nearby jungle to view wildlife. The study sought to investigate the drivers' perceptions regarding the individual and social behavior of the elephants, the perceptions of the elephants, and the elephants' interactions with drivers. Standardized open-ended questions were administered with translator assistance to 17 head drivers of elephants. Drivers attributed their management success to the time and care they invested in caring for and becoming familiar with the elephant. Drivers worked in partnership with elephants to gather and prepare the elephants' food. Elephants responded to vocal commands of drivers for saddling. Drivers also took responsibility for elephants in their varied interactions with tourists. Although drivers varied in specifying the most desirable elephant at their lodge, they highly agreed on the identity of the worst elephant because of its aggressivity. In general, drivers believed that their elephants loved and trusted them. Most drivers reported that their elephants did not get angry with them. Yet, they knew that elephants would most like to be free in the jungle. Drivers presented consistent information as to the elephants' social preferences for and dislikes of one another.
Article
Two experiments were carried out on farmed deer calves at weaning (at 3–4 months of age) to compare individual temperament. In Experiment 1, 30 male red deer calves were confined indoors in groups of 15. On Days 1–27 following weaning they were subjected to the following tests: time taken to feed in the presence of a human (n=15 trials); time taken to sniff a novel object (n=5 trials); drafting order (n=8 trials); aggression during feeding (n=3 trials); isolation in a novel pen with and without a human; individual confinement (n=5 trials). Individual rangkings within groups within the same type of test revealed some consistency in individual behaviour. Principal components analysis indicated behavioural variability in fear of humans and exploratory behaviour. In Experiment 2, 22 red deer×Père David deer and 34 red deer calves were tested in pairs of the same genotype, on either Day 1 or Day 2 after weaning. Each pair was confined for 20 min in an unfamiliar pen, with a stationary human in the pen during the last 10 min of the test. Hybrid calves showed a tendency to avoid the human more and to be less active in the presence of the human compared with red deer calves. This tendency was significant for nosing activities directed at the walls and floor of the pen (P<0.05). Principal components analysis indicated that the genotypes differed most in their nosing frequency and mobility within the pen, with hybrid calves nosing less than red deer at the same level of mobility. Thus both experiments indicated variability in the degree to which deer calves avoided humans and exhibited exploratory behaviour in new surroundings.
Article
Conducted a field study of 72 cats encountered on 356 different occasions to investigate 3 questions: (1) how house cats react to a stranger (person) encountered outside of the primary home, (2) whether their reactions to that person change over repeated encounters, and (3) whether cats can be placed on a continuum between extremely shy and extremely trusting animals. Evidence was found to indicate that the operationally defined "shy" and "trusting" cats are indeed representatives of 2 basically different personality types within the cat population. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Individual differences in behavior may be examined at two levels. First, individuals may differ in terms of frequencies, durations and/or patterning of particular measures of their behavior. Second, individuals may differ in their temperament, the way they react to environmental change and challenge. Individual differences in temperament are particularly relevant to animal welfare studies, for the welfare of an individual largely depends on whether it can cope with environmental challenge. Whereas the study of individual differences in behavior at the first level may be achieved by using standard behavioral methods, the study of individual differences in temperament requires the use of more unusual methods, namely observers' ratings and behavioral tests. Observers' ratings provide information on subtle aspects of an individual's behavior that could otherwise be overlooked Behavioral tests facilitate comparisons between individuals in a more standardized way. It is suggested that both systems should be used together. Taking individual differences into account when designing experiments may help reduce variability in studies on welfare issues and understanding the causes of individual differences in temperament may allow us to reduce the incidence of some welfare problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The purpose of this research was to ascertain the repertoire of behavior of female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in captivity. Seven female African elephants were observed for 558 hours and 22 minutes for a period of one year. This paper gives a detailed description of the activities of the elephants maintained in a relatively restricted environment. Twenty one different kinds of behaviors were observed, 14 of which were considered unique to elephants. The most frequently occurring behavior was the placement of the trunk of one elephant into or near the mouth of another elephant. The activities were discussed in terms of: (1) social behaviors; (2) individual behaviors; (3) biological behaviors; (4) dominance hierarchy; (5) four factors derived by statistical factor analysis.
Article
Research on acoustic communication has often focused on signalling between territorial individuals or static neighbouring groups. Under these circumstances, receivers have the opportunity to learn to recognize the signals only of the limited number of conspecifics with which they are in auditory contact. In some mammals, however, social units move freely with respect to one another and range widely, providing individuals with opportunities to learn to recognize the signals of a wide range of conspecifics in addition to those of their immediate neighbours. We conducted playback experiments on African elephants,Loxodonta africana , in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, to determine the extent to which adult female elephants, which have a highly fluid social system, can recognize others in the population through infrasonic contact calls. Female elephants could distinguish the calls of female family and bond group members from those of females outside of these categories; moreover, they could also discriminate between the calls of family units further removed than bond group members, on the basis of how frequently they encountered them. We estimated that subjects would have to be familiar with the contact calls of a mean of 14 families in the population (containing around 100 adult females in total), in order to perform these discriminations. Female elephants thus appear to have unusually extensive networks of vocal recognition, which may prove to be typical of long-lived species that have both fluid social systems and the means for long-distance vocal communication.
Article
Elephant, Loxodonta africana, calves are born into stable family units, with a variety of partners with whom they can interact. In a population of elephants with known lineages and calf ages, interactions between calves and other elephants were found to be frequent and consisted of either relaxed, friendly greetings and investigations of others or assistance when calves were threatened or distressed. Juvenile and adolescent females comforted, assisted and protected calves; these females were defined as allomothers. Allomothers tended to be family members but were not always siblings. Siblings maintained close proximity to calves, while calf defence also involved less closely related family members. The early establishment of close caretaking relationships within families may act to enhance the stability of the family through time. Suckling of calves by non-mothers was extremely rare, and unlikely to enhance the nutritional intake of calves.
Article
Observations were carried out on a group of twenty autumn born Friesian heifer calves from birth until calving at about 25 months of age. During rearing they experienced several rearing conditions; (I) Calf house, where from 48 hrs of age they were individually penned. (II) Group housed Indoors. At weaning they were housed in pens in groups of 10–20 animals and fed hay or silage ad libitum plus some concentrate food. (III) Grazing out doors (HGI) from spring to autumn in groups of 15–30 animals and moved to fresh pastures at about 2 week intervals. (IV) Housed indoors in large groups of 70–80 animals in a yard with access to covered or indoor cubicles, and fed silage ad lib. During this period they were artificially inseminated. (V) Second grazing period. In the following spring they were kept in large groups for grazing. Focal animal sampling to allow sequence analysis of behaviour was performed and a time base was used to estimate time budgets. In addition the temperament of each animal was assessed by recording its reaction to being touched. The development of behaviour was strongly influenced by changes between rearing conditions but generally stabilized rapidly within a particular husbandry condition.
Article
Research on intensively farmed animals over the past 25 years has shown that human-animal interactions, by affecting the animal's fear of humans, can markedly limit the productivity and welfare of farm animals. This article begins to explore some of the factors that need to be considered to investigate Keeper-Animal Relationships (KARs) in the zoo. In the mid-1990s, a large body of multi-institutional data on zookeepers and animals was collected from 46 Zoos. Using standardized questionnaires, 82 keepers rated how they behaved towards animals, their husbandry routine, how the animal responds to them and to other people, and provided information about themselves. These data include 219 individuals of four endangered species: black rhinoceros, cheetah, maned wolf, and great hornbill. At each zoo, keepers were also videotaped calling to their animals in order to directly observe animal responses to keeper behaviors. Principle Components Analysis reduced eight animal variables to three components and ten keeper variables to five components. Scores for animals and for keepers were calculated on these components and compared, according to five predictions based on models of human-animal interactions in the literature. Animal responses to keepers varied along three dimensions: Affinity to Keeper, Fear of People, and Sociable/Curious. Animal scores of Fear of People were significantly and positively correlated with independent measures of poor welfare from two later studies: fecal corticoid concentrations for 12 black rhinos and "tense-fearful" scores for 12 cheetahs. (1) Significant species differences were found for Affinity to Keeper and Fear of People, and the interaction of these two dimensions of animal response to keepers appears to be species-specific. (2) The quality of KAR is influenced by whether the zookeeper goes in the enclosure with the animal or not, the frequency and time of feeding, and keeper visibility to the animal. Among keepers who go in with their animals, a significant negative correlation between Frequency of Feeding/Early Feedtime and average Affinity to Keeper of their animals, and a positive correlation between Keeper Experience and their animals' Fear of People, indicates that certain zoo keeping styles or habits among experienced keepers might be aversive and increase fear among animals. (3) Keepers who locomote or make unexpected noises when calling their animals elicit increased aggression or apprehension from maned wolves and cheetahs. (4) Wild-born black rhino and parent-reared maned wolf have significantly less affinity to keepers than their captive-born or hand-reared counterparts, but neither differs in Fear of People. (5) Keeper-animal relationships are likely to be reciprocal as evidenced by a negative correlation of Job Satisfaction with animal Fear of People. Future research directions are discussed with respect to assessment of keeper attitudes and behaviors, animal fear, positive measures of welfare, and positive reinforcement training.
Article
The biological diversity of a species gives rise to individual differences in behavioural tendency. Traditionally, this variation has been considered to be of little scientific importance or value, but the description and quantification of the fundamental basis of this variability is relevant to many aspects of equine science. The reliable identification of these features may allow the development of more accurate diagnostic and prognostic indicators for a range of clinical diseases. Biologically based traits also provide a more rational basis for selective management and breeding programmes in which specific behavioural tendencies are sought. Individual differences in behaviour also reflect the range of subjective feelings experienced by animals and therefore need to be understood by those concerned with animal welfare. Psychometric techniques concerned with the assessment of personality may provide a suitable basis for scientific study in this field. Potentially methodologies include: behavioural tests, objective behaviour measures or the quantification of reports from those familiar with the subjects. The assessment of the validity and reliability of the variables measured in these tests is an integral part of their development. Interobserver correlation in an experiment based on the subjective rating of 20 horses with respect to 14 familiar terms used to describe horse personality was generally low. This suggests that, with the exception of the terms 'flighty' and 'sharp', the empirical terminology commonly used to describe horse personality is unreliable.
Article
This analysis of the moral implications of a human-animal bond in a research setting begins by describing a set of criteria that delineate the human-animal bond in general and form the foundation on which moral issues rest. Questions about if, when, and how such bonds are formed are discussed briefly; the discussion focuses on how the concept of a human-animal bond fits into standard moral theories. The conclusion is that “impartial” theories such as utilitarianism and deontological theories must be supplemented with an “ethics of caring” and that the moral duties engendered by the human-animal bond are best identified with such a supplemented theory.
Article
A training program has been in place at Disney's Animal Kingdom since the nonhuman animals first arrived at the park. The Primate Team and the Behavioral Husbandry Team have worked together closely to establish a philosophy and framework for this program. This framework emphasizes setting goals, planning, implementing, documenting, and evaluating. The philosophy focuses on safety, staff training, and an integrated approach to training as an animal management tool. Behaviors to be trained include husbandry and veterinary as well as behaviors identified for specific species, individuals, or situations. Input from all the teams was used to prioritize these behaviors. Despite the challenges to maintaining such a program, the benefits to animal care and welfare have been enormous.
Article
Temperament describes the idea that individual behavioural differences are repeatable over time and across situations. This common phenomenon covers numerous traits, such as aggressiveness, avoidance of novelty, willingness to take risks, exploration, and sociality. The study of temperament is central to animal psychology, behavioural genetics, pharmacology, and animal husbandry, but relatively few studies have examined the ecology and evolution of temperament traits. This situation is surprising, given that temperament is likely to exert an important influence on many aspects of animal ecology and evolution, and that individual variation in temperament appears to be pervasive amongst animal species. Possible explanations for this neglect of temperament include a perceived irrelevance, an insufficient understanding of the link between temperament traits and fitness, and a lack of coherence in terminology with similar traits often given different names, or different traits given the same name. We propose that temperament can and should be studied within an evolutionary ecology framework and provide a terminology that could be used as a working tool for ecological studies of temperament. Our terminology includes five major temperament trait categories: shyness-boldness, exploration-avoidance, activity, sociability and aggressiveness. This terminology does not make inferences regarding underlying dispositions or psychological processes, which may have restrained ecologists and evolutionary biologists from working on these traits. We present extensive literature reviews that demonstrate that temperament traits are heritable, and linked to fitness and to several other traits of importance to ecology and evolution. Furthermore, we describe ecologically relevant measurement methods and point to several ecological and evolutionary topics that would benefit from considering temperament, such as phenotypic plasticity, conservation biology, population sampling, and invasion biology.
Carrots and sticks, people and elephants: rank, domination, and training
  • Lehnhardt
Lehnhardt, J., and Galloway, M. (2008). "Carrots and sticks, people and elephants: rank, domination, 443 and training," in Elephants and Ethics: Toward a Morality of Coexistence, eds. C.M. 444 Wemmer and C.A. Christen (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press), 167-182.
Large brains and cognition: where do elephants fit in?
  • Hart