Kafkas Üniversitesi Veteriner Fakültesi Dergisi 2017 , Vol 23 , Issue 3
Biomechanical Parameters of Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) Walking Gait
1Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences and Center of Excellence in Elephant Research and Education, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, THAILAND
2Thai Elephant Conservation Center, Forest Industry Organization, Lampang 52190, THAILAND
3Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Mae Hia, Chiang Mai 50100, THAILAND
DOI : 10.9775/kvfd.2016.16653 Quadruped animals have a unique mechanism of movement that minimizes energy use and allows muscles to work effectively. Elephants are the biggest quadruped animals on earth and how they stabilize their body and use energy are of interest. This study aimed to analyze the characteristics of kinematic gait in Asian elephants trained to work with a mahout for tourism activities in Thailand. Twenty-one healthy adult Asian elephants were recorded by 2 digital cameras while walking at normal speed (average 1.1 m s-1.) along a 15-meter, solid-soil path. The temporospatial parameters evaluated for each limb consisted of stride length (cm), stride time (sec), swing time (sec), stance time (sec) and stance time percentage, using 2D motion analysis software. The result revealed that the average stride length was varied between 192-199 cm with no significant difference between fore and hindlimbs on either side but the stride length on the right side was significantly longer than that on the left in both forelimbs (right 197.5 cm; left 192.6 cm, P<0.05) and hindlimbs (right 198.9 cm; left 193.2 cm, P<0.01). The mean gait cycle time (stride time) was varied between 2.26 and 2.34 seconds for each limb and mean stance time was varied between 1.67-1.80 seconds, with both parameters were longer on the forelimbs than hindlimbs significantly (P<0.01). Hence, swing time for the forelimb was shorter than that for the hindlimb (P<0.001). The calculated stance time percentage for each limb was 72.64-76.09%. Data from this study confirmed that elephants walk with a lateral sequence and footfall pattern, and distribute the center of mass proportionally between all four limbs. Gait analysis is a valuable tool for identifying and understanding the pathogenesis of gait abnormality. Keywords : Elephant, Gait cycle, Stride length, Stance time, Swing time