How stressed are elephants captured from the wild compared to their captive-born workmates, and how does time spent in captivity affect this? How does taming affect stress hormone (cortisol) levels and health, and which factors help to reduce such effects? How do cortisol levels relate to workload, body condition and measures of reproductive ability, and does seasonal variation in cortisol underlay the seasonal patterns in mortality and birth rates of elephants?
We collect monthly faecal samples of timber elephants with known birth origin and life-history documented in their logbooks, to investigate the factors which cause variation in stress hormones.
Watch this space in the near future!