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In his prose retelling The Mountains in Labour , Fable 26 , Samuel Croxall also draws from it a warning against the promises of politicians and cites 'Great cry and little wool' as a parallel English proverb that fits the situation. In the 19th century it was also given a political application under the title 'The Mountain of Horace' in an American political cartoon by Thomas Nast satirising the supporters of Horace Greeley in the presidential election of It depicts Greeley as a mouse emerging from a pile of mud labeled "Liberal Mountain.

Though it has been less popular in more modern times, the brevity of narration leading to the fable's satirical pay-off, which recommended it also to La Fontaine, is underlined by the setting given it by the musician Bob Chilcott in his Aesop's Fables for piano and choir From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The fable and its interpretation [ edit ]. Or lion, hyena, or zebra, for that matter. His successful adaptation of The Jungle Book wowed audiences in , using cutting-edge tools to bring exotic animals to astonishing animated life a technology that his collaborators at visual-arts firm MPC have only further developed since.

But even Favreau would tell you: The jungle and the savannah are two vastly different beasts, and no beast roars louder than The Lion King. Released in June , the film remains the highest-grossing hand-drawn animated movie ever made. It was the No.

Lions devour rhino poacher trampled to death by an elephant

The simplest explanation for its success is its story: a Hamlet -inspired, African-set fable of a young lion prince named Simba forced to fill the vast footprints of his late father, the fallen king Mufasa. How do you take advantage of all the new technological breakthroughs but still maintain the soul and the spirit of the original Lion King? The idea of taking these characters and this music, just as the stage play took it, sticking closely to the story but reinventing it for a different medium… I thought that this technology would be separate enough from the animated film that it felt fresh and new, yet completely related to the original.

Imagine it: To get to the Lion King set, simply pop on a virtual-reality headset like EW did way, way back in the summer of Look down and you see your VR avatar, a little green humanoid… ball… thing. Using the controller in your real-life hand, you eventually figure out how to fly up and join him, and suddenly there you are, suspended in the clouds alongside the director, watching a scene play out between two animated lions on the rocky, sun-drenched peak.

Every set piece, from shadowy elephant graveyards to lush romantic waterfalls, can be as freely explored as any open-world 3-D video game, allowing Favreau, his director of photography Caleb Deschanel, and the crew to scout locations together in real time in virtual reality. They can lay down camera positions and find their shots, just as they would on a physical set, only without having to relocate heavy camera units, chase the light of a dwindling sun, or coerce animal actors into doing their scenes once more with feeling.

Kinetic, impulsive camerawork capturing beautifully rendered animal behavior. An imperfect shot of perfect action. But other than that, you really are doing exactly what you do when you make a movie. Not because of its quantifiable metrics or its grand Shakespearean undertones, but for the particular pristine nostalgia it holds among young and millennial audiences as a formative film that dealt with fatal themes. Not that Favreau needed any reminding. The trick is to quantify those things. Figure out what those connection points are.

So the director tried to identify impactful opportunities where he could safely expand on the piece for modern audiences — for instance, in casting. However, the seasonal pattern of births in human populations does not always maximize offspring survival, possibly because it is influenced both by biological and cultural factors Lummaa et al. These two components could also be relevant in natural animal populations interacting with humans, such as working elephants whose seasonal workloads and rest schedules are set by humans but nonetheless reproduce and feed with little human intervention.

Elephants have week reproductive cycles throughout the year, each with 2—3 receptive days Fowler and Mikota There is variation in cycle duration range 12—19 weeks , and more variation between than within individuals Glaeser et al. In elephant species, there is some evidence that wild African elephants from Amboseli Kenya experiencing poorer early-life environments showed higher mortality before age 2 years Moss et al.

Male mortality was more responsive to poor environmental conditions, due to higher energetic demands of male calves Lee and Moss Female African elephants that reproduce before the start of the rainy season give birth at the time of maximum resource availability Wittemyer et al. Females reproducing before the rains were also more likely to be dominant, and therefore it is not clear whether differential offspring mortality is attributable to environmental conditions, maternal dominance, or their interaction.

In summary, previous studies of elephants have not yet fully clarified the relationship between birth timing, offspring mortality and seasonal variation in environmental conditions, and in addition they have primarily focused on wild African elephants. African and Asian elephants are known to differ in reproductive endocrinology with a higher rate of noncycling females Freeman et al. Asian elephants Elephas maximus ; Fig.

They inhabit regions characterized by a seasonal climate, which has been shown to influence mortality rates Mumby et al. In addition, this species includes large populations of working elephants that also face the possible effects of seasonal work schedules. They are for this reason a relevant system for studies of effects of seasonal variation on birth timing and short- and long-term mortality of calves, with results that could be applied to management practices.

Due to paucity of longitudinal data on Asian elephants, it is not clear whether there is a seasonal pattern of births in wild or captive Asian elephants, or whether females time conceptions or births to the most favorable periods of the year in terms of offspring survival. Two studies of elephants in India found signs of birth seasonality and a peak of births in January: logging elephants in the south Sukumar et al. However, the first study miscalculated conception dates by subtracting 26 instead of 22 months from birth dates , whereas the second includes only 58 individuals.

Therefore, further investigation into the links between seasonal conditions, birth seasonality, and calf survival is required.


Asian elephant Elephas maximus female and her calf. Pan Cho Lwin, born on 3 April , is shown with her fourth calf; two older female offspring are still alive, while a male died at age 8 months. Both mother and offspring are being longitudinally weighed and measured as part of the Myanmar Timber Elephant Project. Photograph by Virpi Lummaa. Here, we investigate seasonal timing of births, stillbirths, and mortality and their relation to birth month and maternal work schedule in a population of semicaptive Asian elephants.

We use a unique demographic data set of working timber elephants from Myanmar born between and We investigate 1 the distribution of births through the year, and the effects of climate seasonality temperature and rainfall on birth timing. In all analyses, we test whether effects of birth month on mortality are modulated by sex and birth order. Finally 5 we discuss how such patterns coincide with the known seasonal workload of the mothers.

Myanmar maintains the largest population of Asian elephants in the world after India with up to wild animals, although this figure is debated and could be much lower Leimgruber et al. Over half of the semicaptive population is owned by the state through Myanma Timber Enterprise MTE and work in the timber industry Leimgruber et al.

Between-individual variation in workload and rest periods is set by law: all state-owned elephants are subject to the same central government regulations for hours of work per week, working days per year, and tonnage to extract per elephant. For example, in all mature elephants 17—55 years old worked 3—5 days a week depending on weather and forage availability , 5—6 h a day maximum 8 h with a break at noon. Based on our study of the logbooks and observation of working elephants, these rules are strictly adhered to. Throughout the year, elephants are not provisioned and forage unsupervised in the forest at night Toke Gale There is no selective breeding and most reproduction takes place at night in the forest where both captive and wild bulls depending on location have access to estrus females Mar For this reason timber elephants are characterized as semicaptive.

Pregnant females are given a rest period from midpregnancy around 11 months into gestation until the calf is 1 year old Toke Gale , although they are tracked by their mahouts individual caretakers and riders throughout this period and the calf is monitored. Following this break, mothers are used for light work but are kept with calves at heel and able to suckle on demand. Weaning age is around 4 years, and at around 5 years calves are separated from the maternal herd, tamed and given a name, ID number, and a mahout.

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Calves are then trained and used for light work duties, until they are put in the workforce at the age of 17 years as logging elephants, continuing to work until retirement at the age of 55 years Mar This comprehensive countrywide system is unique to Myanmar and is the equivalent to studbooks kept by Western zoos. Data for each individual include registration number, sex, maternal identity, birth and death dates, location of birth, origin wild caught or captive born , capture method if applicable , year of capture and birth dates, identities, and cause of death if applicable of offspring.

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Births of captive-born elephants are recorded precisely. In order to check the health, condition, and working ability of each elephant, individual logbooks are updated by local veterinarians and regional extraction managers at least bimonthly. The multiple sources of data recorded by the MTE individual elephant logbooks, annual extraction reports, and end-of-the-year reports from each region allow effective cross-checking of any apparent errors.

Our complete data set collected from the records of the MTE contains details of over elephants from 11 regions Clubb et al.

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The sample in this study is a subset of captive-born elephants females, males with known birth dates, maternal identity, and mortality status dead or alive by age ; of which died by age 1 month, between the ages of 1 month and 1 year, between ages 1 and 5 years, and between the ages of 5 and 17 years. For a further subset of elephants born between and in the regions of Gangaw, Katha, Mawlaik, and Shwebo, climatic conditions in the month of birth were available from the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology of Myanmar for further details of this subset, see Mumby et al.

These data highlight the three clear seasons; from March to June the hot season is characterized by high temperatures with the highest recorded at As such, birth seasonality corresponds to a discrete time event analysis in which row replicates do not introduce pseudoreplication issues Allison For each elephant the cumulative probability of being born in one of the 12 months is 1. Therefore, in our model the intercept is only influenced by the factor month and by effects interacting with it; no other effect modifying the intercept is considered.

Sex and birth order were hence not modeled as first-order terms, but only through their interactions with month. As month is a categorical variable, introducing random terms is not justified either, and therefore only fixed effects were considered. In this model it is not possible to control for cohort, location, or kinship effects as interactions of these categorical variables with the covariate month would imply the estimation of different coefficients for each year—month, location—month, or family—month combination, which would produce a largely overparameterized model.

We fitted interactions between month and sex, month and birth order, and three-way interaction between month, sex, and birth order.

We also repeated the analyses for a subset of elephants for which data on climate in the year of birth were available, and instead of month, probability of birth was then predicted by total monthly rainfall linear and quadratic terms and average monthly temperature linear and quadratic terms. The mean average monthly temperature was In contrast to the birth seasonality model above, each row of the data set corresponds to a different elephant because only two possible outcomes characterize each elephant dead or alive.

Logistic regression models for each of the four age intervals were implemented as a generalized linear mixed-effect model to predict the probability of death binary as a function of three fixed effects: birth month 12 levels , sex two levels , and birth order firstborn or later born. We included all two-way interactions between birth month, sex and birth order, and the three-way interaction.

We also included three additional random terms to take into account sibship effects maternal ID, a factor with levels , location 11 levels , and cohort effects year of birth, 43 levels. All analyses were conducted using R 2. Birth models were fitted using the function glm , and mortality models were fitted using glmer from the package lme4 version 0. Test of seasonality effects, using the function anova , were performed as a comparison between the deviance of models described above and the same models fitted without the variable month.

We found clear evidence that although female Asian elephants can cycle throughout the year, their reproductive rate fluctuates seasonally. We predicted birth rates controlling for sex and birth order, and identified that, similar to raw data, the predicted birth rate was the highest between December and March. Firstborn individuals represent For firstborns, the odds of being born between December and March were 3.

Total number of births A and probability of death by age 5 years B by birth and conception month — in Asian elephants from Myanmar. Both month of birth and estimated month of conception are displayed. Month of conception is estimated by subtracting 22 months the average pregnancy duration in Asian elephants from the date of birth recorded in logbooks. Death by age 5 years is the number of deaths occurring between ages 0 and 5 years divided by the total number of births for each month.

The shaded gray region indicates the rest period which all elephants are mandated to take from February to June each year.

Birth seasonality and calf mortality in a large population of Asian elephants

In total, births and deaths were recorded. Predictions of monthly probability of birth-by-birth order in Asian elephants from Myanmar. The dashed line indicates the predicted birth rate if births were distributed evenly across months. Predictions are for males similar pattern is observed in females.

Birth seasonality and calf mortality in a large population of Asian elephants

We also investigated the direct effects of temperature and rainfall on birth rate, which are highly seasonal in Myanmar with three distinct seasons see Material and Methods. This model also predicted the highest birth rates between December and March corresponding to the cool, dry season and the beginning of the hot season, although birth months were only considered indirectly in the model through associated climatic conditions see Fig.

S1 for details. We then investigated whether the observed seasonal timing of births maximizes immediate calf survival prospects and if mothers are timing their births to the most favorable periods. Overall, A further 5. Finally, we investigated the long-term consequences of the seasonal timing of birth on mortality risk. A total of Controlling for birth order and other covariates considered as fixed or random effects , the lowest calf mortality rates predicted from this model corresponded to being born in the months December—April Fig.

S2 and the same result can directly be observed in raw data Fig. The odds of survival were 1. For the Both the presence and the pattern of birth seasonality vary widely across long-lived species.