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New paper published

PhD student Hannah Tilley recently published her first PhD paper on body temperature changes in Asian elephants. Why are we interested in that? Elephants being so big have to put a lot of resources into thermoregulation. They can only sweat around their toenails so they use things like bathing in water and flapping their ears to reduce body temperature. Captive elephants often do activities that might make them warmer and give them less time for their natural behaviours to prevent them from overheating.

Orange heat image of an elephant marked in the shoulder, leg and torso with points where measurements were taken
Thermal image of an elephant, including the body regions where Tilley took measurements. For more details, check out the paper!

Tilley worked at our partner site, Tiger Tips in Nepal to collect data with a thermal imaging camera. She found that elephants that were involved in a polo tournament and those that did their regular walks and activities had similar increases in body temperatures and none that got them into the risk zone for heat stroke. This is important to know, but is not the only consideration for these kinds of activities- we know to know about behavioural and hormonal responses to to make a call about the welfare implications.

Congrats to Tilley, the co-authors and the not too hot elephants.

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