Wild-caught timber elephants in Myanmar die earlier than captive-born ones

first_imgMyanmar’s wild-caught timber elephants have higher rates of mortality and shorter life spans compared to those born in captivity, a new study has found.Among wild-caught individuals, elephants that were captured at older ages were worse off than those caught at younger ages, the researchers found.Wild-caught elephants also suffered the highest mortality rates during the first year after capture, which decreased slowly over subsequent years.The high number of deaths in the year following capture is likely related to capture-related injuries and trauma, followed by harsh taming, the authors say. In Myanmar, more than 5,000 elephants have been put to work in the logging industry over the past century, accounting for one of the world’s largest captive elephant populations. They include elephants caught from the wild and tamed, as well as elephants born in captivity.Both the wild-caught and captive-born elephants live, eat and work together, hauling logs by day and foraging in the forest by night. They are also subject to the same rules, including those governing workload, rest periods, retirement age and data recording.But there’s a key difference: Myanmar’s wild-caught timber elephants have higher rates of mortality and shorter life spans than those born in captivity, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.A Myanmar timber elephant hauling a log. Image by Virpi Lummaa.For more than a century, the government of Myanmar (formerly Burma) has maintained detailed records of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) employed in the timber industry, such as when an elephant was born, whether in the wild or in captivity; its age when it was tamed; and who its parents and offspring are. If the elephant was captured, then the records detailed how it was caught: whether it was part of a herd that had been driven into a stockade, whether it was immobilized by sedation or captured by lasso.By combing through this dataset of 5,150 timber elephants — of which 2,072 were captured from the wild between 1951 and 2000, and 3,078 were born in captivity between 1925 and 1999 — researchers found that wild-caught elephants had higher mortality rates than captive-born elephants at all ages, irrespective of how they were caught.“Our analysis reveals that wild-captured elephants had lower survival chances than captive-born elephants regardless of how they’d been captured, whether by stockade of whole groups, lassoing single elephants, or immobilisation by sedation,” lead author Mirkka Lahdenpera, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Turku, Finland, said in a statement. “This means that all these methods had an equally negative effect on the elephant’s subsequent life.”In fact, capture seemed to reduce the median life span of elephants by up to seven years compared to their captive-born peers. Among the wild-caught individuals, elephants that were captured at older ages were worse off than those caught at younger ages.The team also found that wild-caught elephants suffered the highest mortality rates during the first year after capture. This decreased slowly over subsequent years. Such a high number of deaths in the year following capture is likely related to capture-related injuries and trauma, followed by harsh taming, the authors say.For instance, captured elephants in Myanmar are “first broken and then trained to walk with hobbles to restrict their movement while night foraging,” the authors write, “and the older the elephants at capture, the more difficult it is to move around with hobbles (to which captive-born individuals are used to after their taming around age 5), which is also likely to restrict their nutritional intake.”This capture and training likely induces chronic stress in captured elephants, they add. However, there are currently no studies that directly compare stress in wild-captured and captive-born elephants kept in similar systems.The Myanmar government banned the wild capture of elephants in 1994. But the pachyderms continue to be captured throughout Southeast and South Asia to sustain populations in zoos, and for research and conservation programs.“The long-term overall cost of capture and taming resulted in a median lifespan that is 3-7 years shorter than that of captive-born elephants,” said Virpi Lummaa, the study’s senior investigator and an academy professor at the University of Turku. “Capturing elephants to sustain captive populations is, consequently, detrimental, because it not just reduces wild populations of this endangered species, but it also cannot provide a viable solution to sustain captive populations. These wild-caught animals live shorter lives and reproduce poorly in captivity.”Most captured elephants are taken from the wild at a relatively young age. Image by Virpi Lummaa.Citation:Lahdenperä, M., Mar, K. U., Courtiol, A., & Lummaa, V. (2018). Differences in age-specific mortality between wild-caught and captive-born Asian elephants. Nature communications, 9(1), 3023.Banner image of Asian elephant by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Article published by Shreya Dasgupta Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Elephants, Endangered Species, Environment, Forest Elephants, Forests, Green, Mammals, Research, Timber, Tropical Forests, Wildlife center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? 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In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img

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