Zoo biology [journal]
- Initial founders of captive populations are genetically representative of natural populations in critically endangered dusky gopher frogs, Lithobates sevosus. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2016 Jul 6.
The rapid rate of decline in amphibian populations has urged many researchers and conservationists to establish captive, or ex situ, populations. Such populations are guarded against effects of habitat loss and degradation, and if actively managed, can serve as a reservoir for rare alleles that might be lost in the wild. Without proper management, ex situ population sizes can dwindle and will no longer perform this function. The dusky gopher frog, Lithobates sevosus, is a critically endangered species, imperiled by habitat loss and population isolation. To assist in recovery of the species and prevent further genetic erosion, a captive breeding program was initiated. We investigated how well natural genetic variation was captured within the ex situ population and determined relatedness within each ex situ population. We genotyped individuals from two natural populations and two founding, captive populations to compare metrics of genetic variation and relatedness. The data show the initial founder populations are genetically representative of the natural populations, although variation is low in each, and that relatedness values are similar. Therefore, founding captive populations were successful at capturing genetic variation in the wild. Future research should continue to compare genetic variation of captive and natural populations to monitor efficacy of their management programs. Zoo Biol. XX:1-7, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- The weight of Rothschild giraffe-Is it really well known? [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2016 Jun 22.
Despite being regularly bred in zoos, giraffes remain a challenge, especially in terms of feeding. Assessment of factors influencing growth and weight changes during ontogeny, as well as analysis of weight fluctuations in adult individuals, may become a critical point in captive diet evaluation. Knowledge about weight is a crucial husbandry tool; however, such data are rarely acquired. Using a unique dataset from regularly weighed Rothschild giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi) from Prague zoo, we determined the growth functions of male and female giraffes and calculated weight gains during giraffe ontogeny. The mean weights of adult males and females were 1307 ± 52 and 835 ± 45 kg, respectively confirming the large overall dimensions of G. c. rothschildi in comparison with other giraffe subspecies. As the giraffe is a polygynous species showing considerable sexual dimorphism, we expected male calves to have larger first weights and faster growth during the most intensive period of maternal care. Growth rates and daily weight gains were higher in males than in females during the whole postnatal period. Males grew faster and longer than females. However, differences in weight between males and females appeared as late as after 1 year of age. The weight of adult males and non-pregnant adult females fluctuated significantly across seasons, being the highest during the autumn and winter months, respectively which may reflect the different effects of sexual activity and feeding ratios in males and females. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Body condition scoring system for greater one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis): Development and application. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2016 Jun 20.
Preventing obesity in zoo animals is increasingly recognized as an important husbandry objective. To achieve this goal, body condition scoring (BCS) systems are available for an ever-increasing number of species. Here, we present a BCS for the greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) based on an evaluation (on a scale from 1 to 5) of seven different body regions, and report resulting scores for 62 animals from 27 facilities, based on digital photographs. In animals above 4 years of age, this BCS correlated with the body mass:shoulder height ratio. Although differences between the sexes for individual regions were noted (with consistently higher scores in males for the neck and shoulder and in parous females for the abdomen), the average BCS of all regions did not differ significantly between males (4.3 ± 0.4) and females (4.1 ± 0.5). Linking the BCS to results of a questionnaire survey and studbook information, there were no differences in BCS between animals with and without foot problems or between parous and non-parous females. In a very limited sample of 11 females, those eight that had been diagnosed with leiomyoma in a previous study had a higher BCS (range 3.9-4.9) than the three that had been diagnosed as leiomyoma-free (range 3.5-3.7). The BCS was correlated to the amount of food offered as estimated from the questionnaire. Adjusting the amounts and the nutritional quality of the diet components is an evident measure to maintain animals at a target BCS (suggested as 3-3.5). Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Zoo visitor perceptions, attitudes, and conservation intent after viewing African elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2016 Jun 13.
Elephants in the wild face several conservation issues. With the rebranding of zoos as conservation and education pioneers, they have the ability to both educate and inspire guests to action. The purpose of this research was to analyze visitor perceptions and attitudes toward elephant conservation and outcomes post-exhibit visit. A one-page survey was randomly administered to assess perceptions of elephant behavior, attitudes about elephant conservation, and intended conservation-related outcomes from September 2013 to January 2014. Principle component analysis identified three major components: concern for elephants in zoos, importance of elephants in the wild, and modification of nature. Visitors who scored highly on conservation intent were those with positive attitudes towards elephants in the wild and negative attitudes regarding the modification of nature. The greatest changes in conservation intent were a result of a self-reported up-close encounter and the ability to witness active behaviors. Providing guests with the opportunity to witness or experience such occurrences may aid in a more successful delivery of the zoo's conservation message. Further research into guest emotions and affective states in relation to viewing elephants in a zoological institution would provide greater insight into improving the guest experience and helping zoos meet their conservation mission. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Kinship, maternal effects, and management: Juvenile mortality and survival in captive African painted dogs, Lycaon pictus. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2016 Jun 8.
In 77 African painted dog (Lycaon pictus) litters born in North American zoos since 1998, pup mortality at 30 days was 53% (n = 478). More alarmingly, 52% of those 77 litters had zero pups surviving at 30 days. Many variables may have the potential to affect pup mortality in captivity, including kinship, maternal age, prior maternal breeding experience, and numerous social and husbandry factors. Data on these variables were obtained from the North American Regional Studbook, with supplemental information compiled from a survey sent to painted dog breeding facilities in North America. Survival curve analysis revealed significant effects for maternal age and kinship, with kinship being most significant (χ(2) , df = 19.71, 1; P < 0.0001). Pups born to unrelated parents had a median age at death two orders of magnitude higher than pups born to parents who were related to each other. Pup mortality was also lower for experienced mothers and for females under 2.5 years or between 4.5 and 6.5 years old. Follow-up analyses of these findings indicated that among first-time mothers, the youngest females achieved the lowest juvenile mortality, while juvenile mortality for experienced mothers was relatively low in all age classes until 6.5 years old. Regression analysis indicated that chances of survival are improved for pups born to younger mothers, unrelated parents, and in packs of >2 individuals. Enclosure size and area per animal may also be important factors. Our findings indicate that specific characteristics can be used to predict and potentially reduce pup mortality in captive African painted dogs. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Behavioral responses of three armadillo species (Mammalia: Xenarthra) to an environmental enrichment program in Villavicencio, Colombia. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2016 Jun 8.
Enrichment is a powerful tool to improve the welfare of animals under human care. Stress-related health and behavioral problems, as well as reproductive failure, are frequent in armadillos (Xenarthra, Cingulata, Dasypodidae) under human care, which hinders the development of successful ex situ conservation programs. Nevertheless, scientific studies on the effect of enrichment programs on armadillos are virtually non-existent. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of an enrichment program on the behavior of armadillos under human care. The behavior of 12 individuals of three species (Dasypus novemcinctus, D. sabanicola, and Cabassous unicinctus) maintained at Finca El Turpial, Villavicencio, Colombia, was recorded using scan sampling during three daily time blocks of 2 hr each before (4 weeks) and after (4 weeks) implementing an enrichment program. Enrichment did not stimulate the armadillos to change or extend their activity period. In general, activity levels were low during the entire study, and virtually no activity was recorded in the morning in any species, neither without nor with enrichment. The latter did, however, improve welfare by reducing abnormal and increasing natural foraging behaviors. All species were attracted by artificial termite mounds. Dasypus spp. showed special interest in cardboard boxes with food, while Cabassous was mainly attracted to hollow plastic balls filled with food. Our results suggest that separate enrichment programs need to be developed for different armadillo species, and that they should be applied during the time of day at which they are most active. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Chicks produced in the Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) after cloacal insemination of frozen-thawed semen. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2016 Jun 8.
The in vitro and in vivo functionality of cryopreserved spermatozoa was examined over two breeding seasons in a zoological colony of Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus). Frozen-thawed semen was inseminated into five anesthetized females, over a total of eight egg production cycles, with a different male used for each artificial insemination (AI) within each season. Females were maintained within the colony in cordoned nest sites to prevent copulation with their paired male, and were inseminated every 3-10 days until the first oviposition. Semen frozen from seven males using a straw method retained 39.8%, 25.7%, 74.0%, and 52.1% of its initial total motility, progressive motility, average path velocity, and plasma membrane integrity, respectively. Normal morphology of motile cells was reduced (P < 0.05) during freeze-thawing from 76.7% immediately prior to freezing to 65.3% post-thawing. Conceptive females received 1.6 ± 0.2 inseminations before the first oviposition, with 19.2 ± 1.6 × 10(6) motile, morphologically normal spermatozoa per insemination. Overall fertility was 53.3% (8/15 eggs), hatchability was 50.0% (4/8), and genetic analyses confirmed that all embryos and hatchlings were sired by the AI male. Fertile eggs were laid at 4.0-12.1 days after AI, indicating that frozen-thawed spermatozoa resided in the female reproductive tract for up to ∼7.2 days prior to fertilization. Results demonstrate that frozen-thawed Magellanic penguin spermatozoa are fully functional in vivo and support the use of genome banking and AI as tools for managing the sustainability of zoological penguin populations. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Instructions for Contributors. [Journal Article]
- Zoo Biol 2016 May; 35(3):276-7.
- Forthcoming in Zoo Biology. [Journal Article]
- Zoo Biol 2016 May; 35(3):275.
- Announcements. [Journal Article]
- Zoo Biol 2016 May; 35(3):274.