European Elephant Management

Dr. Ann-Kathrin Oerke


Present position:

Head of the “European Elephant Service” = service for monitoring reproductive status in captive Asian and African elephants via non-invasive methods (hormone analyses in urine and fecal samples)

Present address:

Department of Reproductive Biology
German Primate Center
Kellnerweg 4
D-37077 Göttingen
Tel. 0049-551-3851-141
Fax 0049-551-3851-288

Year of birth: 1960
Marital status: single
Nationality: German

Academic career:

  • 1966-1979 school in Bisperode and Hameln, qualification: matriculation
  • 1982-1990 study of agriculture in Göttingen, qualification: diploma
  • 1987-1990 diploma thesis in Göttingen on “Histology of testis in boar”
  • 1991-1994 doctor thesis in Göttingen on “Use of ultrasonography in common marmosets”
  • 1994 post doc in Göttingen on “Ultrasonography of cycle in marmoset monkeys”
  • 1997 post doc in Zürich on “Ultrasonography of pregnancy in Callimico”
  • 1998 post doc in Göttingen on “Ultrasonography in cotton-top tamarins”
  • 1999 post doc in Antwerpen on “Ultrasonography in golden lion-tamarins”
  • 2003 project on “Ultrasonography in lesser mouse lemurs”, University of Hannover

Professional work:

  • 1980-1982 professional training in Verden/Aller, qualification: veterinary assistant
  • 1985-1990 work as veterinary assistant in Göttingen
  • 1995-1997 management of marmoset colony at German Primate Center, Göttingen

Training practice:

  • 1979-1980 training of horse keeping & riding in Verden/Aller
  • 1984-1985 training on dairy farm in Bördel, keeping & breeding of milk cattle
  • 1986-1990 work in horse breeding & training in Göttingen
  • 1995-2002 work at horse riding stable in Bösinghausen
  • 1996 field training at Kirindy Research Camp on Madagascar, tracking of lemurs

Elephant related activities:

  • since 1994 coordinator of the European Elephant Service
  • 1995 field training at Amboseli Elephant Research Camp, monitoring of population
  • since 2000 appointed advisory member of the EEP Asian and African Elephant TAG
  • since 2001 head of European Elephant Service, all work including laboratory
  • 2002 field research: Samburu Elephant Research Camp, monitoring of bulls

Scientific projects:

  1. since 1996: “Analysis of reproductive potential of the European Elephant population”
    Total number of monitored animals = 204 (97 Asian elephants cows in 27 facilities in 12 European countries and 107 African elephants in 28 facilities in 12 European countries)
  2. since 2000: in collaboration with 12 European zoos and safari parks “Onset of reproductive function in young female captive African elephants”
  3. since 2000: in collaboration with 3 zoos (Rome, Basel, Beekse Bergen) “The CALIMERO project: effects of the transfer of an African elephant bull into different social situations”
  4. since 2001: in collaboration with Leipzig Zoo: “Correlation of signs of musth in an Asian elephant bull with female reproductive status”
  5. since 2001: in collaboration with SAVE THE ELEPHANTS, Samburu, Kenya “Onset of reproductive function in young free-ranging African elephant cows”
  6. since 2001: in collaboration with University of Berkley, USA “Monitoring female reproductive status on a population of free-ranging elephant cows in Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves, Kenya”

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