Two important priorities set at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington are understanding human reproductive health and aging. As a Morris Animal Foundation postdoctoral fellow and elephant researcher, Dr. Daniella Chusyd is dedicated to understanding elephant reproduction and health, which closely coincides with our own health and aging cycles.
Elephants share many behavioral characteristics with humans. The information and knowledge gained through research led by Chusyd will not only help to conserve elephants but also offer translational opportunities to better understand ourselves.
Forest elephants live in the forests of central and western Africa. They are highly understudied, unique creatures. Although smaller and less gregarious than the savanna elephants found in eastern and southern Africa, they have huge effects on their habitat. Little is known about their basic biology or ecology. Chusyd’s research will study the length of the forest elephant’s estrous cycle and how their health relates to their reproduction.
All animals instinctively want to pass on their genes, so why do forest elephants wait so long to reproduce? Through her research, Chusyd is trying to understand why African forest elephants have their first baby more than a decade later in life than African savanna elephants. Answers to these questions may unlock answers to our own human reproduction and aging processes.
Forest elephant population has decreased by 62%. Help save these wonderful creatures. Please consider a gift today: https://iufoundation.fundly.com/elephants. Your generous gift will fund elephant research and expand the research portfolio of the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington.