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Elephants involved in temple processions elevate stress hormones: CCMB study

Elephants involved in temple processions elevate stress hormones: CCMB study

Hyderabad, Aug 17 (UNI) Elephants involved in temple public processions are elevated stress hormones compared to other elephants, scientists team from Laboratory for the Conservation of endangered Species (LaCONES, CSIR-CCMB (Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology), revealed in their study report published in a recent issue of Journal 'Animals.'

"Elephants are an integral part of human culture and mythology in Asia. More than 20 per cent of Asian elephants live in captivity and are an indispensable workforce for forest departments, tourism, and religious purposes," the study said.

The captive elephants facing stress due to poor management practices, the study said this includes increased use of non-traditional or unskilled and inexperienced mahouts.

The different physical and physiological stresses influence the behaviour, welfare and long-term survival of the captive populations.

Their fertility is compromised, thus threatening the long term survival of their populations. Higher violence in the stressed animals has resulted in human casualties too, it said.

In the state of Kerala which has a long tradition of keeping captive elephants, 274 cases of manslaughter by captive elephants have been recorded between 1989 and 2003 (an average of 10 man-slaughters/year).

In their study lead by Dr GUmapathy, Principal Scientist, Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES), CSIR- CCMB, has examined the physiological stress response of captive Asian elephants.

They studied the health of elephants under different working conditions by checking glucocorticoid metabolities (stress hormones) levels in 870 dung samples of 37 captive elephants (24 males and 13 females) from 4 elephant facilities - Mysore Zoo, Mysore Dusshera Camp, Mudumalai elephant camp and Bandhavgarh elephant camp.

The other members of research group, who involved in this study, ncludes Vinod Kumar, Muthulingam Pradheeps, Adiseshu Kokkiligadda, Rajashekhar Niyogi from LaCONES, CSIR-CCMB.


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