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Zoo biology [journal]
- Hand-rearing, growth, and development of common loon (Gavia immer) chicks. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Apr 21.
Common loon chicks were reared in captivity in association with studies to evaluate the effects of radiotransmitter implants and to assess the ecological risk of dietary methylmercury. Here we report on hatching and rearing methods used to successfully raise chicks to 105 days of age. We experienced a 91.5% hatch rate, and 89.6% of loon chicks survived to the end of the study at 105 days. Baseline information on observed rates of fish consumption, behavioral development, and growth patterns are provided. Husbandry techniques are provided that should prove valuable to wildlife rehabilitators caring for abandoned or injured loons, and biologists contemplating methods for restoring loons to areas within their former breeding range. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals Inc.
- The use of semen evaluation and assisted reproduction in Spix's macaws in terms of species conservation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Apr 19.
The Spix's macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) is the rarest parrot on earth. The remaining captive population consists of 79 individuals. Captive propagation is ongoing to increase the number of individuals for future reintroduction back into the wild. Unfortunately, from 2004 to 2012, only 33 chicks hatched from 331 eggs. Semen evaluation and assisted reproduction might help to overcome this problem. Therefore, a recently developed electro-stimulated semen collection technique was used in Spix's macaws. Semen collection was successful in 39 of 78 attempts in 10 out of 17 males. Examination of the semen included evaluation of volume, color, consistency, contaminations and pH, as well as determination of motility, viability, morphology, concentration, and total count of spermatozoa. The median volume of semen samples was 5.6 µl. On average, 34.7 ± 21.9% (median 30%) of the sperm were motile and 23.1 ± 22.1% (median 16.5%) were progressively motile. In addition to spermatozoa, round cells were detected in the samples. Median sperm concentration was 15,500/µl (range 500-97,500/µl) and median viability was 50% (range 5-87%). Morphological examination revealed in 26.5% normal spermatozoa, high numbers of malformations of the head (50.2%) and tail region (20.5%), with 29% of all sperm showing multiple abnormalities. Artificial insemination was performed in three females; two eggs laid after artificial insemination had spermatozoa present on the perivitelline layer, suggesting the possible success of the insemination technique. Although no fertilization could be demonstrated, these preliminary results are promising, as they indicate that assisted reproduction might be a tool for species conservation in the Spix's macaw. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals Inc.
- Spatial distribution, seasonality and trap preference of stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans L. (Diptera: Muscidae), adults on a 12-hectare zoological park. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Apr 17.
Although this study was originally designed to compare the efficacy of two different stable fly traps within 10 sites at a 12-ha zoological park, seasonal and spatial population distribution data were simultaneously collected. The two traps included an Alsynite fiberglass cylindrical trap (AFT) and a blue-black cloth target modified into a cylindrical trap (BCT). Both traps were covered with sticky sleeves to retain the attracted flies. Paired trap types were placed at sites that were 20-100 m apart. Distance between trap pairs within sites ranged from 1 to 2 m, and was limited by exhibit design and geography. Both trap types reflect/refract ultraviolet (UV) light which attracts adult S. calcitrans. During this 15-week study, AFTs captured significantly more stable flies than the BCTs at 8 of the 10 sites. Of the 12,557 stable flies found on the traps, 80% and 20% were captured by AFTs and BCTs, respectively. The most attractive trap site at the zoo was at the goat exhibit where most stable flies were consistently captured throughout the study. This exhibit was 100 m from the other exhibits, next to a small lake, and adjacent to a field containing pastured exotic ungulates, rhea and ostrich. Stable fly populations peaked in early June then slowly decreased as the last trapping date approached. We believe this to be the first seasonality data collected at a zoological park. Results demonstrate the use of urban zoos by stable flies and the need to develop environmentally friendly stable fly management systems for zoos. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
- 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.