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An Elephant Never Forgets ... The Right Microclimate : Thermal Comfort and Microclimatic Design of Asian Elephant Zoo Enclosures

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Title: An Elephant Never Forgets ... The Right Microclimate : Thermal Comfort and Microclimatic Design of Asian Elephant Zoo Enclosures
Author: Crawford, Erin
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Landscape Architecture
Advisor: Brown, Robert, DCorry, Robert, C
Abstract: An animal’s ability to find thermal comfort can be can be limited within a zoo enclosure. This creates a need to design comfortable microclimates for the animal within their enclosure space. This is an exploratory study intended to investigate the relationships between an elephant’s movements throughout their space and the microclimatic conditions within its zoological enclosure. By outlining an understanding of microclimates and how they are affected by the landscape combined with knowledge of elephant behaviours it will be possible design or plan for microclimatic use within zoo enclosures. Observational data were collected from five Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). The movements of the elephants were monitored along with the use of microclimates within their enclosure. Thermal regulatory movements involving microclimatic use typically involved water and shade use, however evidence suggests that the animals were also avoiding terrestrial radiation from some of the gunite walls. It is important that animals are given the opportunity to find microclimates within the space to regulate their body temperature. Designing landscapes that incorporate microclimates within their habitats is crucial to the welfare and health of zoo elephants.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/5319
Date: 2012-12


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