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Zoo biology [journal]
- The effects of auditory enrichment on gorillas. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Apr 8.
Several studies have demonstrated that auditory enrichment can reduce stereotypic behaviors in captive animals. The purpose of this study was to determine the relative effectiveness of three different types of auditory enrichment-naturalistic sounds, classical music, and rock music-in reducing stereotypic behavior displayed by Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Three gorillas (one adult male, two adult females) were observed at the Buffalo Zoo for a total of 24 hr per music trial. A control observation period, during which no sounds were presented, was also included. Each music trial consisted of a total of three weeks with a 1-week control period in between each music type. The results reveal a decrease in stereotypic behaviors from the control period to naturalistic sounds. The naturalistic sounds also affected patterns of several other behaviors including locomotion. In contrast, stereotypy increased in the presence of classical and rock music. These results suggest that auditory enrichment, which is not commonly used in zoos in a systematic way, can be easily utilized by keepers to help decrease stereotypic behavior, but the nature of the stimulus, as well as the differential responses of individual animals, need to be considered. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Biology, life history, and captive management of the kultarr (Antechinomys laniger). [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Apr 7.
The kultarr (Antechinomys laniger) is a small marsupial that inhabits arid and semi-arid areas of central Australia. The kultarr is the only species within its genus and is morphologically unique from other dasyurids. Like many Australian marsupials, the kultarr has undergone significant population declines and although it is listed as "least concern" on the IUCN red list little is known of their ecology in the wild. A lack of knowledge on their biology can be attributed to their cryptic nature and sparse population densities. Recent studies of kultarrs have increased knowledge of the biology and captive management, with current data predominately coming from captive colonies. Captive studies of the kultarr have provided data on reproduction, diet choice, nutrition, health, and disease. Kultarrs are polyestrous seasonal breeders and are believed to be mostly insectivorous. Diseases noted in captive individuals provide some insight into those that may influence animals in the wild. Further research is required on both wild and captive populations to increase the knowledge base and determine appropriate management techniques for both wild and captive populations. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Factors affecting initial training success of blood glucose testing in captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Apr 3.
Type 2 diabetes can be a problem for captive chimpanzees. Accurate blood glucose (BG) readings are necessary to monitor and treat this disease. Thus, obtaining voluntary samples from primates through positive reinforcement training (PRT) is critical. The current study assessed the voluntary participation of 123 chimpanzees in BG sampling and investigated factors that may contribute to individual success. All subjects participate in regular PRT sessions as part of a comprehensive behavioral management program. Basic steps involved in obtaining BG values include: voluntarily presenting a finger/toe; allowing digit disinfection; holding for the lancet device; and allowing blood collection onto a glucometer test strip for analysis. We recorded the level of participation (none, partial, or complete) when each chimpanzee was first asked to perform the testing procedure. Nearly 30% of subjects allowed the entire procedure in one session, without any prior specific training for the target behavior. Factors that affected this initial successful BG testing included sex, personality (chimpanzees rated higher on the factor "openness" were more likely to participate with BG testing), and past training performance for "present-for-injection" (chimpanzees that presented for their most recent anesthetic injection were more likely to participate). Neither age, rearing history, time since most recent anesthetic event nor social group size significantly affected initial training success. These results have important implications for captive management and training program success, underlining individual differences in training aptitude and the need for developing individual management plans in order to provide optimal care and treatment for diabetic chimpanzees in captivity. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Long-acting neuroleptic use for reproductive management of non-domestic ungulates using the domestic goat (Capra hircus) as a model. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Mar 18.
Fluphenazine decanoate is a long-acting phenothiazine neuroleptic that attenuates the stress response and may be useful during intensive handling for reproductive procedures in non-domestic ungulates. However, phenothiazines are also associated with elevated serum prolactin, which can suppress fertility in some species. For this study, 10 female domestic goats were used as a model for non-domestic caprids to test effects of fluphenazine decanoate on serum cortisol and reproductive cyclicity following estrus synchronization. Two identical trials were conducted during the breeding season, employing a random crossover design. First, females underwent estrus synchronization using a 14-day treatment with progesterone (330 mg; CIDR). After 7 days of CIDR exposure, the treatment group (n = 5) received fluphenazine decanoate (1.0 mg/kg IM) and controls (n = 5) received an equivalent volume of 0.9% saline IM. At CIDR withdrawal (Day 14), animals received 125 mg cloprostenol sodium to lyse any luteal tissue and synchronize estrus. Blood was collected every 2 hr from 36 hr after CIDR withdrawal until 24 hr after standing estrus, or up to 5 days to monitor stress and reproductive hormones. Serum cortisol, prolactin, luteinizing hormone (LH) and progesterone concentrations were determined by enzyme immunoassay. While treatment with fluphenazine was associated with lower cortisol concentrations compared to controls (P = 0.001), 4 of the 10 treated animals experienced elevated serum prolactin, suppression of the LH surge and inhibition of ovulation. These findings suggest that long-acting neuroleptic drugs reduce the adrenal stress response, but may interfere with reproductive responses and negatively influence breeding success. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Personality traits of pair members predict pair compatibility and reproductive success in a socially monogamous parrot breeding in captivity. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Mar 12.
While pair behavioral compatibility seems to be a determinant of reproductive success in at least some species of monogamous birds, the specific factors underlying among-pair variation in behavioral compatibility remain poorly understood. However, recent research on the relationship between personality traits and reproductive success in several species of socially monogamous birds suggests that the fit between mates' personality traits might play a role in determining behavioral compatibility. To test this hypothesis, we used ten pairs formed by free choice from a captive population of cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) to investigate whether personality ratings could be used to predict pair compatibility and reproductive success in pairs breeding for the first time. We found that pairs that ultimately hatched eggs paired disassortatively for agreeableness (an aggregate measure of social style which measures birds' tendency to be aggressive vs. gentle, submissive, and tolerant of others' behavior), and, as predicted, showed lower intrapair aggression and better coordination during incubation. Conversely, unsuccessful pairs paired assortatively for agreeableness, showed higher levels of intrapair aggression, and showed poorer coordination during incubation. Our results suggest that personality measurements may provide a useful adjunct to other information currently used in selecting mates for birds breeding in captivity. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Assessment of ovarian cycles in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) by measurement of salivary progesterone metabolites. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Mar 9.
Monitoring ovarian cycles through hormonal analysis is important in order to improve breeding management of captive elephants, and non-invasive collection techniques are particularly interesting for this purpose. However, there are some practical difficulties in collecting proper samples, and easier and more practical methods may be an advantage for some institutions and/or some animals. This study describes the development and validation of an enzymeimmunoassay (EIA) for progestins in salivary samples of African elephants, Loxodonta africana. Weekly urinary and salivary samples from five non-pregnant elephant cows aged 7-12 years were obtained for 28 weeks and analyzed using EIA. Both techniques correlated positively (r = 0.799; P < 0.001), and the cycle characteristics obtained were identical. The results clearly show that ovarian cycles can be monitored by measuring progestins from salivary samples in the African elephant. This is a simple and non-invasive method that may be a practical alternative to other sampling methods used in the species. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Chironomidae bloodworms larvae as aquatic amphibian food. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Feb 17.
Different species of chironomids larvae (Diptera: Chironomidae) so-called bloodworms are widely distributed in the sediments of all types of freshwater habitats and considered as an important food source for amphibians. In our study, three species of Chironomidae (Baeotendipes noctivagus, Benthalia dissidens, and Chironomus riparius) were identified in 23 samples of larvae from Belgium, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine provided by a distributor in Belgium. We evaluated the suitability of these samples as amphibian food based on four different aspects: the likelihood of amphibian pathogens spreading, risk of heavy metal accumulation in amphibians, nutritive value, and risk of spreading of zoonotic bacteria (Salmonella, Campylobacter, and ESBL producing Enterobacteriaceae). We found neither zoonotic bacteria nor the amphibian pathogens Ranavirus and Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in these samples. Our data showed that among the five heavy metals tested (Hg, Cu, Cd, Pb, and Zn), the excess level of Pb in two samples and low content of Zn in four samples implicated potential risk of Pb accumulation and Zn inadequacy. Proximate nutritional analysis revealed that, chironomidae larvae are consistently high in protein but more variable in lipid content. Accordingly, variations in the lipid: protein ratio can affect the amount and pathway of energy supply to the amphibians. Our study indicated although environmentally-collected chironomids larvae may not be vectors of specific pathogens, they can be associated with nutritional imbalances and may also result in Pb bioaccumulation and Zn inadequacy in amphibians. Chironomidae larvae may thus not be recommended as single diet item for amphibians. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Evaluating the conservation impact of an innovative zoo-based educational campaign: 'Don't Palm Us Off' for orang-utan conservation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Feb 17.
With significant biodiversity loss occurring presently, increased emphasis is being placed upon the capacity of zoos to contribute to species conservation. This paper evaluates an innovative conservation education campaign 'Don't Palm Us Off' implemented at Melbourne Zoo, Australia. This sought to address a lack of public awareness regarding palm oil (the product most threatening the survival of the orang-utan) and to create public support for mandatory labeling of palm oil on food products, allowing for informed consumer purchasing. Communication tools utilized included an educational video presentation played on-site, as well as You Tube video, celebrity ambassadors, and social media. Evaluation took place across four time-points: baseline, mid-point, conclusion (12 months), and follow-up. Zoo visitors (N = 403) were randomly selected whilst visiting the orang-utan exhibit, completing a questionnaire regarding knowledge about orang-utans, attitudes toward orang-utans, support for palm oil labeling, previous conservation behavior, and intentions for future behavior. Results revealed significant increases in palm oil awareness; attitudes toward orang-utans; support for palm oil labeling; and indicating labeling would influence purchasing behavior, at all times relative to baseline (P < 0.01). There were also significant increases in self-reported conservation behavior at the end of the campaign and follow-up (P < 0.05). In excess of 160,000 people additionally signed an associated petition for mandatory palm oil labeling. Overall the findings support the efficacy of this multi-faceted initiative; highlighting the importance of continued innovation in zoo-based conservation education and practice (including the integration of emerging technologies with traditional on-site education) to maximize contributions to species conservation. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 The Authors. Zoo Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Effects of management strategies on glucocorticoids and behavior in Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis): Translocation and operant conditioning. [Journal Article]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Mar; 33(2):131-43.
The ex situ Indian rhino population experienced a decrease in genetic diversity indicating that the breeding program could possibly benefit from novel reproductive management strategies to ensure population sustainability. We sought to determine how management tools used for reproductive management, specifically translocation and operant conditioning, impact physiological and behavioral measures of welfare in Indian rhinos. First, an adrenocorticotropic hormone challenge performed in an adult male resulted in a 38-fold increase in urinary and a 3.5-fold increase in fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM). Mean and peak FGM differed among three females, but all demonstrated elevated (P < 0.0001) concentrations for variable durations after translocation that lasted up to 9 weeks. Lastly, behavioral and adrenal responses of two females to operant conditioning to stand during transrectal ultrasound exams were monitored and rhinos differed in their mean and peak FGM concentrations. However, FGM were not different before versus during training or on pasture versus in the barn. One female exhibited more stereotypic behavior during training in the barn than on pasture (P < 0.05); although, stereotypies (1.73% of time) were relatively uncommon overall. In summary, individual variation exists in FGM both at baseline levels and in response to a stressor. In addition, while a transient rise in glucocorticoid activity post-translocation indicated that Indian rhinos have a physiological response to changes in their environment, minor alterations in daily routines using operant conditioning only resulted in minimal changes in behaviors and FGM. Zoo Biol. 33:131-143, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals Inc.
- Preliminary report on the behavior of spotted-necked otter (Lutra maculicollis, Lichtenstein, 1835) living in a lentic ecosystem. [Journal Article]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Mar; 33(2):121-30.
Little is known of spotted-necked otter behavior, particularly in lentic ecosystems. In 2005, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) selected this species for management under the Small Carnivore Taxonomic Regional Collection Plan (SCTAG). In 2012, the AZA Otter group recommended this species for Red SSP status. As a result of the paucity of information on natural behaviors and the requirement of thoroughly understanding a species' behavior to properly manage ex-situ populations this study was initiated. Behavioral data was recorded on Rubondo Island National Park, Tanzania between 2006 and 2009. Data was collected on habitat use as well as general behavior. Additionally, a complete catalogue of observed behaviors was maintained for future ethogram construction. Latrines, where scat is deposited, were predominantly located on projections and scattered in 20 m areas. The majority of latrines were located along forest edge habitats. Females routinely used key core areas for denning and extensive intra- and inter-sex overlapping of ranges was evident. Forest-edge habitat was used for denning; foraging and resting occurred along both forest-edge and emergent wetland shorelines. Behavioral results indicate this species is cathemeral on RINP. Average group size recorded was 1.99 with a range of 1-12. Group composition consisted of singletons or females with young. These basic groups often coalesced into packs which occasionally joined to form temporary larger schools. The results of this study will provide valuable information for the design and implementation of ex-situ spotted-necked otter management in the future. Zoo Biol. 33:121-130, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals Inc.