• Laboratory diagnostics

      Rideout, Bruce; Braun, Josephine; Pessier, Allan P.; Terio, Karen A.; McAloose, Denise; St. Leger, Judy (Academic PressSan Diego, CA, 2018)
      This chapter focuses on the challenges of using laboratory diagnostics in wildlife and how to choose an appropriate test and interpret the results. Very few diagnostic tests have been validated for use in wildlife, which creates challenges for the diagnostician because some of these tests must be used anyway, while others should be avoided....
    • Lack of genetic diversity across diverse immune genes in an endangered mammal, the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)

      Morris, K.M.; Wright, B.; Grueber, Catherine E.; Hogg, Carolyn J.; Belov, Katherine (2015)
      The Tasmanian devil (S arcophilus harrisii ) is threatened with extinction due to the spread of devil facial tumour disease. Polymorphisms in immune genes can provide adaptive potential to resist diseases. Previous studies in diversity at immune loci in wild species have almost exclusively focused on genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC ); however, these genes only account for a fraction of immune gene diversity. Devils lack diversity at functionally important immunity loci, including MHC and Toll‐like receptor genes. Whether there are polymorphisms at devil immune genes outside these two families is unknown. Here, we identify polymorphisms in a wide range of key immune genes, and develop assays to type single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP s) within a subset of these genes. A total of 167 immune genes were examined, including cytokines, chemokines and natural killer cell receptors. Using genome‐level data from ten devils, SNP s within coding regions, introns and 10 kb flanking genes of interest were identified. We found low polymorphism across 167 immune genes examined bioinformatically using whole‐genome data. From this data, we developed long amplicon assays to target nine genes. These amplicons were sequenced in 29–220 devils and found to contain 78 SNP s, including eight SNPS within exons. Despite the extreme paucity of genetic diversity within these genes, signatures of balancing selection were exhibited by one chemokine gene, suggesting that remaining diversity may hold adaptive potential. The low functional diversity may leave devils highly vulnerable to infectious disease, and therefore, monitoring and preserving remaining diversity will be critical for the long‐term management of this species. Examining genetic variation in diverse immune genes should be a priority for threatened wildlife species. This study can act as a model for broad‐scale immunogenetic diversity analysis in threatened species.
    • Land use change and the future of biodiversity

      Hobohm, Carsten; Beierkuhnlein, Carl; Börtitz, Christine; Ralph Clark, V.; El Balti, Nadja; Fichtner, Andreas; Franklin, Scott; Gaens, Thomas; Härdtle, Werner; Hansen, Andreas Skriver; et al. (Springer International PublishingCham, Switzerland, 2021)
      This synthesis report is a meta-analysis of perspectives for biodiversity and ecosystems, with a strong focus on human impacts on the environment, and a work order to enable and manage the protection, survival and evolution of all species on Earth. The goal is to protect nature without any further species loss (Zero Extinction)....
    • Landscape-level changes to large mammal space use in response to a pastoralist incursion

      Masiaine, Symon; Pilfold, Nicholas W.; Moll, Remington J.; O'Connor, David; Larpei, Lexson; Stacy-Dawes, Jenna; Ruppert, Kirstie; Glikman, Jenny A.; Roloff, Gary; Montgomery, Robert A. (2021)
      Pastoralists and their livestock have long competed with wildlife over access to grazing on shared rangelands. In the dynamic 21st century however, the configuration and quality of these rangelands is changing rapidly. Climate change processes, human range expansion, and the fragmentation and degradation of rangeland habitat have increased competition between pastoralist livestock and wildlife. Interactions of this type are particularly apparent in East Africa, and perhaps most obvious in northern Kenya. In 2017, following months of intense drought, a pastoralist incursion of a protected area (Loisaba Conservancy) occurred in Laikipia County, Kenya. An estimated 40,000 livestock were herded onto the conservancy by armed pastoralists where the cattle were grazed for approximately three months. Using 53 camera trap sites across the 226 km2 conservancy, we quantified spatial patterns in site visitation rates (via spatially-explicit, temporally-dynamic Bayesian models) for seven species of large mammalian herbivores in the three-month period directly before, during, and after the incursion. We detected significant changes in space use of all large mammalian herbivores during the incursion. Furthermore, these patterns did not return to their pre-incursion state in the three-month period after the pastoralists and their livestock left the conservancy. Thus, in addition to reduced site vitiation rates for these large mammalian herbivores, we also detected considerable displacement in response to the livestock incursion. Our results illustrate that pastoralist incursions can cause large-scale disruptions of wildlife space use, supporting the notion that livestock can competitively exclude large mammalian herbivores from grazing access. We discuss the implications of this research for applied management decisions designed to alleviate competition among wildlife and pastoralist livestock for the benefit of wildlife conservation and pastoralist well-being.
    • Laparoscopic vasectomy in african savannah elephant (loxodonta africana); surgical technique and results

      Marais, Hendrik J; Hendrickson, Dean A; Stetter, Mark; Zuba, Jeffery R.; Penning, Mark; Siegal-Willott, Jess; Hardy, Christine (2013)
      Several small, enclosed reserves in southern Africa are experiencing significant elephant population growth, which has resulted in associated environmental damage and changes in biodiversity. Although several techniques exist to control elephant populations, e.g., culling, relocation, and immunocontraception, the technique of laparoscopic vasectomy of free-ranging bull elephants was investigated....
    • Large carnivores and zoos as catalysts for engaging the public in the protection of biodiversity

      Consorte-McCrea, Adriana; Fernandez, Ana; Bainbridge, Alan; Moss, Andrew; Prévot, Anne-Caroline; Clayton, Susan; Glikman, Jenny A.; Johansson, Maria; López-Bao, José Vicente; Bath, Alistair J.; et al. (2019)
      Addressing the biodiversity crisis requires renewed collaborative approaches. Large carnivores are ambassador species, and as such they can aid the protection of a wide range of species, including evolutionarily distinct and threatened ones, while being popular for conservation marketing. However, conflicts between carnivores and people present a considerable challenge to biodiversity conservation. Our cross disciplinary essay brings together original research to discuss key issues in the conservation of large carnivores as keystone species for biodiversity rich, healthy ecosystems. Our findings suggest the need to promote coexistence through challenging ‘wilderness’ myths; to consider coexistence/conflict as a continuum; to include varied interest groups in decision making; to address fear through positive mediated experiences, and to explore further partnerships with zoos. As wide-reaching institutions visited by over 700 million people/year worldwide, zoos combine knowledge, emotion and social context creating ideal conditions for the development of care towards nature, pro-environmental behaviors and long-term connections between visitors and carnivores. Based on current research, we provide evidence that large carnivores and zoos are both powerful catalysts for public engagement with biodiversity conservation, recognizing barriers and suggesting future ways to collaborate to address biodiversity loss.
    • Large numbers of vertebrates began rapid population decline in the late 19th century

      Li, Haipeng; Xiang-Yu, Jinggong; Dai, Guangyi; Gu, Zhili; Ming, Chen; Yang, Zongfeng; Ryder, Oliver A.; Li, Wen-Hsiung; Fu, Yun-Xin; Zhang, Ya-Ping (2016)
      ...Here we analyzed the genetic diversity data of nuclear and mitochondrial loci of 2,764 vertebrate species and found that the mean genetic diversity is lower in threatened species than in related nonthreatened species. Our coalescence-based modeling suggests that in many threatened species the RPD began ∼123 y ago (a 95% confidence interval of 20–260 y)....
    • Large-scale ruminant genome sequencing provides insights into their evolution and distinct traits

      Chen, Lei; Qiu, Qiang; Jiang, Yu; Wang, Kun; Lin, Zeshan; Li, Zhipeng; Bibi, Faysal; Yang, Yongzhi; Wang, Jinhuan; Nie, Wenhui; et al. (2019)
      The ruminants are one of the most successful mammalian lineages, exhibiting morphological and habitat diversity and containing several key livestock species. To better understand their evolution, we generated and analyzed de novo assembled genomes of 44 ruminant species, representing all six Ruminantia families....
    • Lead exposure risk from trash ingestion by the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus)

      Finkelstein, Myra E.; Brandt, Joseph; Sandhaus, Estelle; Grantham, Jesse; Mee, Allan; Schuppert, Patricia Jill; Smith, Donald R. (2015)
      Lead poisoning from ingestion of spent lead ammunition is one of the greatest threats to the recovery of California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) in the wild…. Our results suggest that trash ingestion of nonammunition items does not pose a significant lead exposure risk to the California Condor population in California.
    • Lead in ammunition: A persistent threat to health and conservation

      Johnson, C. K.; Kelly, T. R.; Rideout, Bruce (2013)
      Many scavenging bird populations have experienced abrupt declines across the globe, and intensive recovery activities have been necessary to sustain several species, including the critically endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus). Exposure to lead from lead-based ammunition is widespread in condors and lead toxicosis presents an immediate threat to condor recovery, accounting for the highest proportion of adult mortality….
    • Lead poisoning and the deceptive recovery of the critically endangered California condor

      Finkelstein, M. E.; Doak, D. F.; George, D.; Burnett, J.; Brandt, J.; Church, Molly; Grantham, J.; Smith, D. R. (2012)
      ...California condors were brought to the brink of extinction, in part, because of lead poisoning, and lead poisoning remains a significant threat today. We evaluated individual lead-related health effects, the efficacy of current efforts to prevent lead-caused deaths, and the consequences of any reduction in currently intensive management actions....
    • Leaping forward in amphibian health and nutrition

      Olea-Popelka, Francisco; Ferrie, Gina M.; Morris, Cheryl; Pessier, Allan P.; Schad, Kristine; Stamper, M. Andrew; Gagliardo, Ron; Koutsos, Elizabeth; Valdes, Eduardo V. (2014)
      …In this manuscript, we describe and summarize the outcomes of this workshop with regards (a) the identified gaps in knowledge, (b) identified priorities for closing these gaps, and (c) compile a list of actions to address these priorities. Four general areas of improvement were identified in relation to how measurements are currently being taken to evaluate ex situ amphibian health: nutrition, infectious diseases, husbandry, and integrated biology including genetics and endocrinology….
    • Leiocephalus carinatus (Northern curly-tailed lizard). Turks and Caicos Islands.

      Colosimo, Giuliano; Gerber, Glenn P.; Clay, Cameron (2020)
      The adult lizard was observed at 1545 h basking in the parking lot of a restaurant next to Leeward Highway....
    • Lemurs in mangroves and other flooded habitats

      Donati, Giuseppe; Eppley, Timothy M.; Ralison, J.; Youssouf, J.; Ganzhorn, Jörg U.; Barnett, A. A.; Matsuda, I.; Nowak (Cambridge University PressCambridge, UK, 2019)
      Recent estimates indicate that mangroves in Madagascar occupy an area of approximately 2800 km2, representing about 2% of global mangroves. Being marginal habitats with extreme temperatures, solar radiation levels, winds, salinity and flooding, mangrove forests are relatively poor in species diversity....
    • Lesser Antillean Iguana: Iguana delicatissima: Conservation Action Plan, 2014-2016

      Knapp, Charles R.; Breuil, C.; Rodriguez, C.; Iverson, John (IUCN/SSC Iguana Specialist GroupGland, Switzerland, 2014)
      The Lesser Antillean iguana represents a unique component of the overall biodiversity of the Caribbean region. In October 2009, members of the IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group met on Dominica with regional experts and stakeholders to draft this comprehensive conservation action plan for the Lesser Antillean iguana. The overall goal of the plan is to prioritize the conservation actions necessary to ensure the long-term survival of the Lesser Antillean iguana throughout its natural range. The work presented here details managing the wild population, conducting ecological and genetic studies, implementing education awareness programs, establishing and managing a national park, and mobilizing financial, technical and human resources to preserve an important and unique component of Lesser Antillean natural heritage for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. The plan is also intended to guide decision makers in government, and inspire funding agencies and the international conservation community to provide the attention this unique iguana species deserves.
    • Lessons from a retrospective analysis of a 5-yr period of preshipment testing at San Diego Zoo: a risk-based approach to preshipment testing may benefit animal welfare

      Marinkovich, Matt; Wallace, Chelsea; Morris, Pat J.; Rideout, Bruce; Pye, Geoffrey W. (2016)
      ...An alternative disease risk-based approach, based on a comprehensive surveillance program including necropsy and preventive medicine examination testing and data, has been in practice since 2006 between the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. A retrospective analysis, evaluating comprehensive necropsy data and preshipment testing over a 5-yr study period, was performed to determine the viability of this model for use with sending animals to other institutions. Animals (607 birds, 704 reptiles and amphibians, and 341 mammals) were shipped to 116 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited and 29 non–AZA-accredited institutions....
    • Leukoencephalomyelopathy of mature captive cheetahs and other large felids: A novel neurodegenerative disease that came and went?

      Brower, A. I.; Munson, L.; Radcliffe, R. W.; Citino, S. B.; Lackey, L. B.; Van Winkle, T. J.; Stalis, Ilse H.; Terio, K. A.; Summers, B. A.; de Lahunta, A. (2014)
      A novel leukoencephalomyelopathy was identified in 73 mature male and female large captive felids between 1994 and 2005. While the majority of identified cases occurred in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), the disease was also found in members of 2 other subfamilies of Felidae: 1 generic tiger (Panthera tigris) and 2 Florida panthers (Puma concolor coryi). The median age at time of death was 12 years, and all but 1 cheetah were housed in the United States. Characteristic clinical history included progressive loss of vision leading to blindness, disorientation, and/or difficulty eating. Neurologic deficits progressed at a variable rate over days to years. Mild to severe bilateral degenerative lesions were present in the cerebral white matter and variably and to a lesser degree in the white matter of the brain stem and spinal cord. Astrocytosis and swelling of myelin sheaths progressed to total white matter degeneration and cavitation. Large, bizarre reactive astrocytes are a consistent histopathologic feature of this condition. The cause of the severe white matter degeneration in these captive felids remains unknown; the lesions were not typical of any known neurotoxicoses, direct effects of or reactions to infectious diseases, or nutritional deficiencies. Leukoencephalomyelopathy was identified in 70 cheetahs, 1 tiger, and 2 panthers over an 11-year period, and to our knowledge, cases have ceased without planned intervention. Given what is known about the epidemiology of the disease and morphology of the lesions, an environmental or husbandry-associated source of neurotoxicity is suspected., A novel leukoencephalomyelopathy was identified in 73 mature male and female large captive felids between 1994 and 2005. While the majority of identified cases occurred in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), the disease was also found in members of 2 other subfamilies of Felidae: 1 generic tiger (Panthera tigris) and 2 Florida panthers (Puma concolor coryi). The median age at time of death was 12 years, and all but 1 cheetah were housed in the United States. Characteristic clinical history included progressive loss of vision leading to blindness, disorientation, and/or difficulty eating. Neurologic deficits progressed at a variable rate over days to years. Mild to severe bilateral degenerative lesions were present in the cerebral white matter and variably and to a lesser degree in the white matter of the brain stem and spinal cord. Astrocytosis and swelling of myelin sheaths progressed to total white matter degeneration and cavitation. Large, bizarre reactive astrocytes are a consistent histopathologic feature of this condition. The cause of the severe white matter degeneration in these captive felids remains unknown; the lesions were not typical of any known neurotoxicoses, direct effects of or reactions to infectious diseases, or nutritional deficiencies. Leukoencephalomyelopathy was identified in 70 cheetahs, 1 tiger, and 2 panthers over an 11-year period, and to our knowledge, cases have ceased without planned intervention. Given what is known about the epidemiology of the disease and morphology of the lesions, an environmental or husbandry-associated source of neurotoxicity is suspected.
    • Lifetime cancer prevalence and life history traits in mammals

      Boddy, Amy M.; Abegglen, Lisa M.; Pessier, Allan P.; Schiffman, Joshua D.; Maley, Carlo C.; Witte, Carmel L. (2020)
      Background Cancer is a common diagnosis in many mammalian species, yet they vary in their vulnerability to cancer. The factors driving this variation are unknown, but life history theory offers potential explanations to why cancer defense mechanisms are not equal across species. Methodology Here we report the prevalence of neoplasia and malignancy in 37 mammalian species, representing 11 mammalian orders, using 42 years of well curated necropsy data from the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We collected data on life history components of these species and tested for associations between life history traits and both neoplasia and malignancy, while controlling for phylogenetic history. Results These results support Peto’s paradox, in that we find no association between lifespan and/or body mass and the prevalence of neoplasia or malignancy. However, a positive relationship exists between litter size and prevalence of malignancy (P = 0.005, Adj. R2 = 0.212), suggesting that a species’ life history strategy may influence cancer vulnerabilities. Lastly, we tested for the relationship between placental invasiveness and malignancy. We find no evidence for an association between placental depth and malignancy prevalence (P = 0.618, Adj. R2 = 0.068). Conclusions Life history theory offers a powerful framework to understand variation in cancer defenses across the tree of life. These findings provide insight into the relationship between life history traits and cancer vulnerabilities, which suggest a trade-off between reproduction and cancer defenses. Lay summary Why are some mammals more vulnerable to cancer than others? We test whether life history trade-offs may explain this variation in cancer risk. Bigger, longer-lived animals do not develop more cancer compared to smaller, shorter-lived animals. However, we find a positive association between litter size and cancer prevalence in mammals.
    • Lifetime changes in vocal syntactic complexity of rock hyrax males are determined by social class

      Demartsev, Vlad; Kershenbaum, Arik; Ilany, Amiyaal; Barocas, Adi; Weissman, Yishai; Koren, Lee; Geffen, Eli (2019)
      The ontogeny of quality-based signals has been studied in numerous animal systems but the degradation of vocal signals with age has received much less attention. Investigating age-related changes in quality-based acoustic signals and the associated social processes (e.g. rank changes, competition intensity) can expand our understanding of the information content of signals and their perception by receivers....
    • Lineage identification and genealogical relationships among captive Galápagos tortoises

      Benavides, Edgar; Russello, Michael; Boyer, Donal; Wiese, Robert J.; Kajdacsi, Brittney; Marquez, Lady; Garrick, Ryan; Caccone, Adalgisa (2012)
      Genetic tools have become a critical complement to traditional approaches for meeting short‐ and long‐term goals of ex situ conservation programs. The San Diego Zoo (SDZ) harbors a collection of wild‐born and captive‐born Galápagos giant tortoises (n = 22) of uncertain species designation and unknown genealogical relationships. Here, we used mitochondrial DNA haplotypic data and nuclear microsatellite genotypic data to identify the evolutionary lineage of wild‐born and captive‐born tortoises of unknown ancestry, to infer levels of relatedness among founders and captive‐born tortoises, and assess putative pedigree relationships assigned by the SDZ studbook....