Ultrasonography of the urogenital tract in elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus): An important tool for assessing female reproductive function


At present, the worldwide captive elephant population is not self-sustaining. The major reason for low reproductive rates is the heretofore undiagnosed reproductive disorders of nulliparous females of prime breeding age. Recent advances in ultrasound technology have facilitated the detection of these disorders in non-sedated animals. Approximately 2,000 ultrasonographic examinations were performed in more than 280 captive and wild African and captive Asian female elephants. The entire urogenital tract was scanned, measured, and documented to provide a reference for ultrasound specialists involved in elephant breeding programs. The primary pathological lesions that influenced reproductive rates in these females were uterine tumors and endometrial cysts and ovarian cysts that resulted in acyclicity. The detection of these disorders and their stage of development can be used by elephant managers to make decisions approximately which animals to include in breeding programs. Ultrasonography can be used as an effective tool for assessing the reproductive fitness of female breeding candidates in both African and Asian elephants.


Animal Science

Document Type





Breeding evaluation, Elephant, Ovary, Reproductive anatomy, Ultrasonography, Uterus

Publication Date


Journal Title

Zoo Biology