Myanmar Timber Elephant Project


Growth, body condition and weight gain

Asian elephants live in a highly seasonal climate and the timber elephants experience seasonal variation in workload across the year. How does such variation in food availability and workload relate to body condition? How do male and female elephants gain weight and grow taller with age, and how are these patterns affected by sex, maternal history or capture from the wild?

We use electronic scales for determining monthly variation in body weight of elephants with known birth origin and life-history, documented in their logbooks. Because the timber elephants are very used to human handling and obeying their oozie commands, with a few treats and their mother’s support, even most babies are happy to step on the scale. We take advantage of the unusual level of cooperation among the timber elephants by also collecting longitudinal data on body height and other morphometrics.

Watch this space in the near future!