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Some preliminary evidence of the social facilitation of mounting behavior in a juvenile bull Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus )

By P. A. Rees

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Abstract

This study recorded sexual behaviour within a captive herd of 8 Asian elephants in England, UK, for approximately 230 h on 50 days over a period of 10 months (January-November 1999). A single adult and a single juvenile bull mounting cows more than 160 times were observed. When the juvenile bull was between 4 years and 2 months and 4 years and 8 months old, he exhibited mounting behaviour only on days when adult mounting occurred. Adult mounting always occurred first. Beyond the age of 4 years and 8 months, the juvenile bull exhibited spontaneous mounting behaviour in the absence of adult mounting. This suggests that mounting behaviour may develop because of social facilitation. Determining the significance of the presence of sexually active adults in the normal development of sexual behaviour in juveniles will require further studies. Encouraging the establishment of larger captive herds containing adults and calves of both sexes - if their presence is important - would improve the welfare of elephants in zoos and increase their potential conservation value.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 49-58
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1207/s15327604jaws0701_3
Language English
Author Address School of Environment & Life Sciences, Telford Institute of Environmental Systems, Peel Building, University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK.p.a.rees@salford.ac.uk
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal reproduction
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  7. British Isles
  8. Commonwealth of Nations
  9. Developed countries
  10. Elephants
  11. Europe
  12. Great Britain
  13. Mammals
  14. OECD countries
  15. peer-reviewed
  16. Sexual behavior
  17. sexuality
  18. Sexual practices
  19. Social behavior
  20. United Kingdom
  21. vertebrates
  22. Zoo and captive wild animals
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  1. peer-reviewed