Elephant Research Makes Headlines

January 24, 2012 - In the News

Research by U of G scientists is featured today in BBC Nature. A pictorial slide show highlights their research on how elephants keep a comfortable body temperature in warm weather. The researchers used a thermal imaging camera to record how elephants cool down in Busch Gardens zoological park in Florida.

The research was overseen by Esther Finegan, an adjunct graduate faculty member in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science. She studies thermoregulation in “captive exotics” — zoo animals whose climate-control mechanisms remain mostly unstudied.

She is interested in how elephants, hippos, rhinos and giraffes control their internal thermostat, and how zookeepers and landscape architects can better design the animals’ surroundings to keep them happy and healthy.

She and her students are now pioneering thermoregulation studies in zoos and animal parks, notably the Toronto Zoo and a zoo in the southern United States. Read more

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