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Persson Wallenius, Mikaela, 2010. Diurnal rhythm of the savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) in Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)



Elephants are hindgut fermenters, which affects their diurnal rhythm. To reach their nutrient demands, elephants must eat almost constantly throughout the light part of the day. Sexual dimorphism may also affect their behavioral patterns.

To understand the elephants' normal living habits and foraging behaviour, we conducted a pre-study in the Mara Triangle, the north-western part of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Each of four to six observers randomly chose a focal animal within the group of elephants by the criteria that they were adults and visible. During a total amount of about 100 observations hours, instantaneous sampling was used to record the behaviour of one specific elephant per observer. This was done every minute from an off-road car. The behaviours monitored were walking, standing, grazing, browsing, and a category called other behaviours that included nursing, drinking, defecating, urinating, self-grooming, other social behaviours, bathing, vigilance and other behaviours.

The time periods were divided into three different groups. The period between 8:00 to 9:59 and 16.00 to 17:59 was called early and late hours. Late morning was from 10:00 to 12.59 and afternoon from 13:00-15.59. The most common behaviour for all time periods was foraging while standing and walking was very limited. These results confirmed our expectations that elephants eat most of the day, even compared to other herbivores. Walking, standing and other behaviour was performed most in the period between 10-11.59 am while foraging was performed mostly during the first two hours and the last two hours. When looking into the difference between sexes, males stood significantly more than both the lactating and non-lactating females did. No other behaviours in the comparison between the sexes differed significantly.

Main title:Diurnal rhythm of the savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) in Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Authors:Persson Wallenius, Mikaela
Supervisor:Andersson, Maria and Jung, Jens
Examiner:Rehn, Therese
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:343
Year of Publication:2010
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK002 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)
Keywords:Elephants, Loxodonta africana, diurnal rhythm, hindgut fermenters
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal physiology - Nutrition
Animal feeding
Deposited On:09 Jul 2010 04:48
Metadata Last Modified:20 Apr 2012 14:14

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