THE GROWTH AND NUTRITION OF THE AFRICAN ELEPHANT II. The chemical nature of the diet

Authors

  • K. McCullagh

    Corresponding author
    1. Dunn Nutritional Laboratory, University of Cambridge and Medical Research Council, Cambridge
      Dunn Nutritional Laboratory, Milton Road, Cambridge, England.
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Dunn Nutritional Laboratory, Milton Road, Cambridge, England.

SUMMARY

The stomach contents of 148 elephants, cropped at different times of the year, were analysed chemically as part of a programme of elephant research taking place in 1966 and 1967.

On average these samples contained 8.4 g of protein, 1.5 g of fat, 43.5 g of carbohydrate, 35.7 g of fibre and 11.0 g of mineral material in 100 g of their dry matter. The percentage of protein during the dry season was less than half its value during the wet season and calculations suggest that these animals may be deficient in protein at this time.

Calculations suggest that the intake of calcium is higher during the dry season than during the wet season, although it is argued that this is not a factor in inducing damage to trees.

Analysis of the quality of the dietary fat showed it to contain relatively small amounts of essential poly-unsaturated fatty acids.

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