Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low rainfall and extreme temperatures double risk of baby elephant deaths

Date:
February 4, 2013
Source:
University of Sheffield
Summary:
Extremes of temperature and rainfall are affecting the survival of elephants working in timber camps in Myanmar and can double the risk of death in calves aged up to five, new research has found.

New research shows that extremes of temperature and rainfall are affecting the survival of elephants working in timber camps in Myanmar and can double the risk of death in calves aged up to five.
Credit: Hannah Mumby

Extremes of temperature and rainfall are affecting the survival of elephants working in timber camps in Myanmar and can double the risk of death in calves aged up to five, new research from the University of Sheffield has found.

Related Articles


With climate change models predicting higher temperatures and months without rainfall; this could decrease the populations of already endangered Asian elephants.

The researchers matched monthly climate records with data on birth and deaths, to track how climate variation affects the chances of elephant survival.

It is hoped this research -- which was published in the journal Ecology -- will make a difference by highlighting the importance of protecting vulnerable calves in captivity from the effects of climate change

Experts at the University of Sheffield accessed unique recordings of the life and deaths of more than 8,000 elephants from Myanmar spanning three generations throughout almost a century.

The elephants in the database are semi-captive animals working in the timber industry by pushing and dragging logs.

Lead author and PhD student Hannah Mumby, from the University of Sheffield, said: "Our results show that the optimal conditions for elephant survival correspond to high rainfall and a moderate temperature of 23ēC, but that further from those optimal conditions, elephant survival was lower.

"Overall, switching from good to bad climatic conditions within an average year significantly increases mortality rates of elephants of all ages. The most dramatic example comes from baby elephants, whose risk of death before the age of five approximately doubles in the hottest weather in comparison to the optimal moderate temperature for elephant survival."

The researchers found that increases in deaths from heat stroke and infectious diseases accounted for the larger number of deaths during the hot months. Elephants are vulnerable to heat stress because their large size and because they don't sweat like humans or pant like dogs to cool down.

"These results could have important implications for Asian elephant populations both in western zoos, where they may experience unfamiliar climate," added Hannah, "and in range countries where climate may be changing faster than elephants can adapt to it. It also highlights the importance of protecting vulnerable calves from extremes of temperature because more calves will be needed to maintain the dwindling population of endangered Asian elephants."

The project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and was carried out at the University of Sheffield and Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Sheffield. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hannah S. Mumby, Alexandre Courtiol, Khyne U. Mar, Virpi Lummaa. Climatic variation and age-specific survival in Asian elephants from Myanmar. Ecology, 2013; 130201021245002 DOI: 10.1890/12-0834.1

Cite This Page:

University of Sheffield. "Low rainfall and extreme temperatures double risk of baby elephant deaths." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204095934.htm>.
University of Sheffield. (2013, February 4). Low rainfall and extreme temperatures double risk of baby elephant deaths. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204095934.htm
University of Sheffield. "Low rainfall and extreme temperatures double risk of baby elephant deaths." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204095934.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — Hundreds of Amazon River turtles released into the wild in Peru. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins