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Journal of the Elephant Managers Association

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For many years, field researchers studying both African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximas) elephants have indicated that they have observed relatively few births in situ, suggesting that most elephant dams give birth at night. For example, according to Cynthia Moss, "Possibly the majority of births occur at night and perhaps those that do take place in the daytime happen in secluded places" (1988, p. 151). Others, for example, Clive Spinage, have referred to "the old beliefs that the cows retreated to 'calving grounds' or that birth took place at night." (Spinage, 1994, p. 90). Although observers in several areas of Africa and Asia are keeping systematic birth records (Sukumar, 2003, p. 256), nobody seems to have summarized the distributions of birth times at these sites.


This article was originally published in the Journal of the Elephant Managers Association, all rights reserved.