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The goal of this study is to assess body condition and nutritional status in zoo-maintained African elephants and to determine how these factors are related to known problems of ovarian acyclicity, which causes infertility. In many species, reproductive problems are associated with obesity, poor body condition and altered metabolic status. Using newly validated diagnostic procedures, the investigators will determine if there are differences between normal reproductive cycling and noncycling (infertile) elephants in body condition scores and several metabolic indices of nutritional status (insulin, leptin, glucose). Understanding metabolic syndrome in captive African elephants has the potential to improve animal management and welfare so that science-based strategies can be developed to improve health and fertility.

Study ID
Study Status
Start Date
Grant amount awarded
Grant recipient
Smithsonian Institution
Study country
United States
Janine L. Brown, PhD
Study category
Endocrine/Metabolic (Diabetes, Thyroid)