Myanma Timber Enterprise

Rangoon, Myanmar

Myanma Timber Enterprise

Rangoon, Myanmar
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Lynsdale C.L.,University of Sheffield | dos Santos D.J.F.,University of Lisbon | Hayward A.D.,University of Edinburgh | Mar K.U.,University of Sheffield | And 4 more authors.
International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife | Year: 2015

The quantitative assessment of parasite infection is necessary to measure, manage and reduce infection risk in both wild and captive animal populations. Traditional faecal flotation methods which aim to quantify parasite burden, such as the McMaster egg counting technique, are widely used in veterinary medicine, agricultural management and wildlife parasitology. Although many modifications to the McMaster method exist, few account for systematic variation in parasite egg output which may lead to inaccurate estimations of infection intensity through faecal egg counts (FEC). To adapt the McMaster method for use in sampling Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), we tested a number of possible sources of error regarding faecal sampling, focussing on helminth eggs and using a population of over 120 semi-captive elephants distributed across northern Myanmar. These included time of day of defecation, effects of storage in 10% formalin and 10% formol saline and variation in egg distribution between and within faecal boluses. We found no significant difference in the distribution of helminth eggs within faecal matter or for different defecation times, however, storage in formol saline and formalin significantly decreased egg recovery. This is the first study to analyse several collection and storage aspects of a widely-used traditional parasitology method for helminth parasites of E.maximus using known host individuals. We suggest that for the modified McMaster technique, a minimum of one fresh sample per elephant collected from any freshly produced bolus in the total faecal matter and at any point within a 7.5h time period (7.30am-2.55. pm) will consistently represent parasite load. This study defines a protocol which may be used to test pre-analytic factors and effectively determine infection load in species which produce large quantities of vegetative faeces, such as non-ruminant megaherbivores. © 2015 The Authors.


PubMed | University of Sheffield, University of Edinburgh, Myanma Timber Enterprise and University of Lisbon
Type: Journal Article | Journal: International journal for parasitology. Parasites and wildlife | Year: 2015

The quantitative assessment of parasite infection is necessary to measure, manage and reduce infection risk in both wild and captive animal populations. Traditional faecal flotation methods which aim to quantify parasite burden, such as the McMaster egg counting technique, are widely used in veterinary medicine, agricultural management and wildlife parasitology. Although many modifications to the McMaster method exist, few account for systematic variation in parasite egg output which may lead to inaccurate estimations of infection intensity through faecal egg counts (FEC). To adapt the McMaster method for use in sampling Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), we tested a number of possible sources of error regarding faecal sampling, focussing on helminth eggs and using a population of over 120 semi-captive elephants distributed across northern Myanmar. These included time of day of defecation, effects of storage in 10% formalin and 10% formol saline and variation in egg distribution between and within faecal boluses. We found no significant difference in the distribution of helminth eggs within faecal matter or for different defecation times, however, storage in formol saline and formalin significantly decreased egg recovery. This is the first study to analyse several collection and storage aspects of a widely-used traditional parasitology method for helminth parasites of E.maximus using known host individuals. We suggest that for the modified McMaster technique, a minimum of one fresh sample per elephant collected from any freshly produced bolus in the total faecal matter and at any point within a 7.5h time period (7.30am-2.55pm) will consistently represent parasite load. This study defines a protocol which may be used to test pre-analytic factors and effectively determine infection load in species which produce large quantities of vegetative faeces, such as non-ruminant megaherbivores.


Mumby H.S.,University of Sheffield | Chapman S.N.,University of Sheffield | Crawley J.A.H.,University of Sheffield | Mar K.U.,University of Sheffield | And 4 more authors.
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2015

Background: The growth strategy of a species influences many key aspects of its life-history. Animals can either grow indeterminately (throughout life), or grow determinately, ceasing at maturity. In mammals, continued weight gain after maturity is clearly distinguishable from continued skeletal growth (indeterminate growth). Elephants represent an interesting candidate for studying growth because of their large size, long life and sexual dimorphism. Objective measures of their weight, height and age, however, are rare. Results: We investigate evidence for indeterminate growth in the Asian elephant Elephas maximus using a longitudinal dataset from a semi-captive population. We fit growth curves to weight and height measurements, assess sex differences in growth, and test for indeterminate growth by comparing the asymptotes for height and weight curves. Our results show no evidence for indeterminate growth in the Asian elephant; neither sex increases in height throughout life, with the majority of height growth completed by the age of 15 years in females and 21 years in males. Females show a similar pattern with weight, whereas males continue to gain weight until over age 50. Neither sex shows any declines in weight with age. Conclusions: These results have implications for understanding mammalian life-history, which could include sex-specific differences in trade-offs between size and reproductive investment. © 2015 Mumby et al.


Mumby H.S.,University of Sheffield | Mar K.U.,University of Sheffield | Thitaram C.,Chiang Mai University | Courtiol A.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | And 5 more authors.
Conservation Physiology | Year: 2015

Establishing links between ecological variation, physiological markers of stress and demography is crucial for understanding how and why changes in environmental conditions affect population dynamics, and may also play a key role for conservation efforts of endangered species. However, detailed longitudinal studies of long-lived species are rarely available. We test how two markers of stress and body condition vary through the year and are associated with climatic conditions and large-scale mortality and fertility variation in the world's largest semi-captive population of Asian elephants employed in the timber industry in Myanmar. Glucocorticoid metabolites (used as a proxy for stress levels in 75 elephants) and body weight (used as a proxy for condition in 116 elephants) were monitored monthly across a typical monsoon cycle and compared with birth and death patterns of the entire elephant population over half a century (n = 2350). Our results show seasonal variation in both markers of stress and condition. In addition, this variation is correlated with population-level demographic variables. Weight is inversely correlated with population mortality rates 1 month later, and glucocorticoid metabolites are negatively associated with birth rates. Weight shows a highly positive correlation with rainfall 1 month earlier. Determining the factors associated with demography may be key to species conservation by providing information about the correlates of mortality and fertility patterns. The unsustainability of the studied captive population has meant that wild elephants have been captured and tamed for work. By elucidating the correlates of demography in captive elephants, our results offer management solutions that could reduce the pressure on the wild elephant population in Myanmar. © The Author 2015.


PubMed | University of Sheffield, Yezin University, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Conservation physiology | Year: 2016

Establishing links between ecological variation, physiological markers of stress and demography is crucial for understanding how and why changes in environmental conditions affect population dynamics, and may also play a key role for conservation efforts of endangered species. However, detailed longitudinal studies of long-lived species are rarely available. We test how two markers of stress and body condition vary through the year and are associated with climatic conditions and large-scale mortality and fertility variation in the worlds largest semi-captive population of Asian elephants employed in the timber industry in Myanmar. Glucocorticoid metabolites (used as a proxy for stress levels in 75 elephants) and body weight (used as a proxy for condition in 116 elephants) were monitored monthly across a typical monsoon cycle and compared with birth and death patterns of the entire elephant population over half a century (n=2350). Our results show seasonal variation in both markers of stress and condition. In addition, this variation is correlated with population-level demographic variables. Weight is inversely correlated with population mortality rates 1month later, and glucocorticoid metabolites are negatively associated with birth rates. Weight shows a highly positive correlation with rainfall 1month earlier. Determining the factors associated with demography may be key to species conservation by providing information about the correlates of mortality and fertility patterns. The unsustainability of the studied captive population has meant that wild elephants have been captured and tamed for work. By elucidating the correlates of demography in captive elephants, our results offer management solutions that could reduce the pressure on the wild elephant population in Myanmar.


PubMed | University of Sheffield, Myanma Timber Enterprise and Yezin University
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2015

Senescent declines in reproduction and survival are found across the tree of life, but little is known of the factors causing individual variation in reproductive ageing rates. One contributor may be variation in early developmental conditions, but only a few studies quantify the effects of early environment on reproductive ageing and none concern comparably long-lived species to humans. We determine the effects of stressful birth conditions on lifetime reproduction in a large semi-captive population of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). We categorise birth month into stressful vs. not-stressful periods based on longitudinal measures of glucocorticoid metabolites in reproductive-aged females, which peak during heavy workload and the start of the monsoon in June-August. Females born in these months exhibit faster reproductive senescence in adulthood and have significantly reduced lifetime reproductive success than their counterparts born at other times of year. Improving developmental conditions could therefore delay reproductive ageing in species as long-lived as humans.


PubMed | University of Sheffield and Myanma Timber Enterprise
Type: | Journal: BMC evolutionary biology | Year: 2015

The growth strategy of a species influences many key aspects of its life-history. Animals can either grow indeterminately (throughout life), or grow determinately, ceasing at maturity. In mammals, continued weight gain after maturity is clearly distinguishable from continued skeletal growth (indeterminate growth). Elephants represent an interesting candidate for studying growth because of their large size, long life and sexual dimorphism. Objective measures of their weight, height and age, however, are rare.We investigate evidence for indeterminate growth in the Asian elephant Elephas maximus using a longitudinal dataset from a semi-captive population. We fit growth curves to weight and height measurements, assess sex differences in growth, and test for indeterminate growth by comparing the asymptotes for height and weight curves. Our results show no evidence for indeterminate growth in the Asian elephant; neither sex increases in height throughout life, with the majority of height growth completed by the age of 15 years in females and 21 years in males. Females show a similar pattern with weight, whereas males continue to gain weight until over age 50. Neither sex shows any declines in weight with age.These results have implications for understanding mammalian life-history, which could include sex-specific differences in trade-offs between size and reproductive investment.

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