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The demography and life history strategies of timber elephants in Myanmar.

Mar, K.U.; (2002) The demography and life history strategies of timber elephants in Myanmar. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

Although the Union of Myanmar is home to the second largest population of Asian elephants {lcub}Elephas maximus) in the world, the demography of its captive elephant population has never been studied before in any detail. Life history data analyzed in this thesis are taken from the records and reports archived and maintained by Myanma Timber Enterprise, which is under the charge of the Ministry of Forestry, the Government of the Union of Myanmar. The study population contains 5292 individually identified captive timber elephants, which were born or captured between 1952 and 2000. In this thesis, birth origins of timber elephants are referred to as wild-caught and captive-born. Life-table analysis indicates that the captive-born section of the population should be self-sustaining, but that the demographic rates seen in the wild-caught section would not be sufficient to maintain a stable a population. I extend my analysis by conducting detailed survival analyses. Males have a higher mortality than females throughout the age range. In adults, wild-caught elephants suffered significantly higher mortality than captive- bom elephants, and their mortality differed by capture methods. Elephants captured by immobilization showed the lowest survival rate when compared with elephants captured by either milarshikar (lasso or noose) or stockade. Regarding the causes of mortality. I document that accidents and agalactia of mothers were the primary causes of death in calves, while malnutrition and accidents were the main causes in adults. Exploring reproductive patterns and maternal investment. I find that elephant mothers do not adapt their offspring sex ratio, and that reproductive fitness is lower in wild-caught females than captive-born females. Lastly. I explore how the process of increasing time in captivity influences survival probabilities and reproductive potential in captive elephants, both within individuals and between generations. I report that capture stress causes measurable reductions in survival and fecundity rates up to 12 years after capture, as well as reducing the survivorship of calves born to captured females. To achieve a self-sustaining population of captive timber elephants in Myanmar without the need for further capture from the wild. I recommended that Myanma Timber Enterprise re-evaluates elephant management strategies, aiming to improving both the fecundity and surv ival of captive elephants in all age groups.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The demography and life history strategies of timber elephants in Myanmar.
Identifier: PQ ETD:593347
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by Proquest
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1446021
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