• Hierarchical dominance structure in reintroduced California condors: correlates, consequences, and dynamics

      Sheppard, James; Walenski, Matthew; Wallace, Michael P.; Vargas Velazco, J.J.; Porras, C.; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2013)
      Populations of reintroduced California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) develop complex social structures and dynamics to maintain stable group cohesion, and birds that do not successfully integrate into group hierarchies have highly impaired survivability. Consequently, improved understanding of condor socioecology is needed to inform conservation management strategies…
    • Efficacy of treatment and long-term follow-up of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis PCR-positive anurans following itraconazole bath treatment

      Georoff, Timothy A.; Moore, Robert P.; Rodriguez, Carlos; Pessier, Allan P.; Newton, Alisa L.; McAloose, Denise; Calle, Paul P. (2013)
      All anuran specimens in the Wildlife Conservation Society's collections testing positive for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) were treated with itraconazole and then studied after treatment to assess the long-term effects of itraconazole and the drug's effectiveness in eliminating Bd carriers. Twenty-four individuals and eight colonies of 11 different species (75 total specimens) tested positive for Bd via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on multicollection survey. All positive individuals and colonies were treated with a 0.01% itraconazole bath solution and retested for Bd via one of two PCR methodologies within 14 days of treatment completion, and all were negative for Bd. A total of 64 animals received secondary follow-up PCR testing at the time of death, 6–8 mo, or 12–15 mo post-treatment. Fourteen animals (14/64, 21.9%) were PCR positive for Bd on second follow-up. The highest percentage positive at second recheck were green-and-black poison dart frogs (Dendrobates auratus; 5/5 specimens, 100%), followed by red-eyed tree frogs (Agalychnis callidryas; 4/11, 36.4%), grey tree frogs (Hyla versicolor; 1/3, 33.3%), and green tree frogs (Hyla cinera; 3/11, 27.3%). Re-testing by PCR performed on 26/28 individuals that died during the study indicated 11/26 (42.3%) were positive (all via DNA extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded skin sections). However, there was no histologic evidence of chytridiomycosis in any of 27/28 individuals. The small number of deceased animals and effects of postmortem autolysis limited the ability to determine statistical trends in the pathology data, but none of the necropsied specimens showed evidence of itraconazole toxicity. Problems with itraconazole may be species dependent, and this report expands the list of species that can tolerate treatment. Although itraconazole is effective for clearance of most individuals infected with Bd, results of the study suggest that repeat itraconazole treatment and follow-up diagnostics may be required to ensure that subclinical infections are eliminated in amphibian collections.
    • Survey of Plasmodium spp. in free-ranging neotropical primates from the Brazilian Amazon region impacted by anthropogenic actions

      Bueno, Marina G.; Rohe, Fabio; Kirchgatter, Karin; Di Santi, Silvia M. F.; Guimarães, Lilian O.; Witte, Carmel L.; Costa-Nascimento, Maria J.; Toniolo, Christina R. C.; Catão-Dias, José Luiz (2013)
      This study investigated Plasmodium spp. infection in free-ranging neotropical primates from Brazilian Amazon regions under the impact of major anthropogenic actions. Blood samples from 19 new world primates were collected and analyzed with microscopic and molecular procedures. The prevalence of Plasmodium infection was 21.0% (4/19) and PCR positive samples were identified as P. brasilianum. Considering the social-economic changes that the Amazon is facing, the prevalence of P. brasilianum infection highlights the necessity to closely monitor the movement of both human and non-human primate populations, in order to mitigate pathogen exposure and the introduction of new agents into previously naïve areas.
    • Xenogeneic transfer of adult quail (Coturnix coturnix) spermatogonial stem cells to embryonic chicken (Gallus gallus) hosts: a model for avian conservation

      Roe, Mandi; McDonald, Nastassja; Durrant, Barbara S.; Jensen, Thomas (2013)
      ...This is the first study to suggest that it is feasible to rescue adult germ stem cells of deceased birds to prolong the reproductive lifespan of critically endangered species or genetically valuable individuals by transferring them to an embryonic chicken host.
    • 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….
    • Annual variation in breeding success and changes in population density of Cacajao calvus ucayalii in the Lago Preto Conservation Concession, Peru

      Bowler, Mark; Barton, C.; McCann-Wood, S.; Puertas, P.; Bodmer, R.; Veiga, Liza M.; Barnett, Adrian A.; Ferrari, Stephen F.; Norconk, Marilyn A. (Cambridge University PressCambridge, 2013)
    • Effect of widespread agricultural chemical use on butterfly diversity across Turkish provinces

      Pekin, Burak K. (2013)
      …I assessed the effects of a major component of agricultural intensification, agricultural chemical use, and land-cover and climatic variables on butterfly diversity across 81 provinces in Turkey, where agriculture is practiced extensively but with varying degrees of intensity…. Although overall butterfly richness was primarily explained by climatic and land-cover variables, such as the area of natural vegetation cover, threatened butterfly richness and the relative number of threatened butterfly species decreased substantially as the proportion of agricultural households using pesticides increased. These findings suggest that widespread use of agricultural chemicals, or other components of agricultural intensification that may be collinear with pesticide use, pose an imminent threat to the biodiversity of Turkey.…
    • Communities and uacaris: conservation initiatives in Brazil and Peru

      Bowler, Mark; Valsecchi, João; Queiroz, Helder L.; Bodmer, Richard; Puertas, Pablo; Veiga, Liza M.; Barnett, Adrian A.; Ferrari, Stephen F.; Norconk, Marilyn A. (Cambridge University PressCambridge, 2013)
    • Hepatitis and splenitis due to systemic tetratrichomoniasis in an American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

      Burns, Rachel E.; Braun, Josephine; Armién, Aníbal G.; Rideout, Bruce (2013)
      A free-ranging, young adult, female American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), found dead on the grounds of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Southern California, had severe multifocal to coalescing necrotizing hepatitis and splenitis on postmortem examination. Histologically, within the large areas of necrosis were myriad pleomorphic, 5–20 µm in diameter, protozoal organisms with 1 to multiple nuclei. Ultrastructurally, the organisms were consistent with a trichomonad flagellate. Polymerase chain reaction and sequencing of the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene identified nucleotide sequences with 99% identity to Tetratrichomonas gallinarum, which is a common inhabitant of the intestinal tract of galliform and anseriform birds that has occasionally been associated with disease, including typhlitis and hepatitis. Damage to the cecal mucosa in the pelican from trematodes and secondary bacterial infection could have allowed invasion and systemic dissemination of the organism. Exposure of the pelican to a variety of native and exotic anseriform and galliform birds at the zoological institution could have led to cross-species infection and severe manifestation of disease in a novel host.
    • Estimating past and future male loss in three Zambian lion populations

      Becker, Matthew S.; Watson, Fred G.R.; Droge, Egil; Leigh, Kellie; Carlson, Ron S.; Carlson, Anne A. (2013)
      …Zambia contains viable lion populations of considerable importance for photographic and hunting tourism, but long‐term lion demographic data do not exist to guide recent management directives and population projections under different strategies. We described population size, as well as age and sex structure of lions in 3 Zambian national park populations bordering hunting areas, and found them to be male‐depleted relative to other systems….
    • Ecology and behavior of uacaris (genus Cacajao)

      Barnett, Adrian A.; Bowler, Mark; Bezerra, Bruna M.; Defler, Thomas R.; Veiga, Liza M.; Barnett, Adrian A.; Ferrari, Stephen F.; Norconk, Marilyn A. (Cambridge University PressCambridge, 2013)
    • Utilizing first occurrence, nursing behavior, and growth data to enhance animal management: An example with African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

      Miller, Lance J.; Andrews, Jeff (2013)
      One of the many goals of zoological institutions is to actively breed endangered species to enhance conservation efforts. Unfortunately, many of these species are not reproducing at high enough levels to sustain populations within zoos. Low reproductive success and high infant mortality are two areas of concern for some of these species. Collecting behavioral data on developmental milestones following successful births can create a database of information to aide animal management to help make more informed decisions during subsequent births. The current study provides valuable information for African elephant calf developmental norms and demonstrates how data on first occurrences, nursing behavior and growth patterns can aide animal management. Data were collected on eleven African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, CA of which ten have survived. Results show that on average African elephant calves were standing within 40 minutes, attempted to nurse within an hour and a half, and successfully nursed within six hrs. There were no significant differences in nursing rates, growth patterns, or first occurrence behaviors between males and females during the first 75 days of life and elephants gained on average 0.59 kg/day over that same period of time. Results also show a significant change in nursing behavior on day 22 for the elephant calf that died. This information is intended to serve as a resource for elephant managers with newborn African elephants and to serve as a model to develop similar type databases for other species in need within zoological institutions.
    • Into the night: camera traps reveal nocturnal activity in a presumptive diurnal primate, (Rhinopithecus brelichi)

      Tan, Chia L.; Yang, Yeqin; Niu, Kefeng (2013)
      Most living primates exhibit a daytime or nighttime activity pattern. Strict diurnality is thought to be the rule among anthropoids except for owl monkeys. Here we report the diel activity pattern of an Asian colobine, the Guizhou snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus brelichi, based on a methodology that relied on using 24-h continuously operating camera traps. We conducted the study in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in Guizhou, China from March 22 to May 19 and from June 17 to October 14, 2011. After standardizing all time elements to a meridian-based time according to the geographic coordinates of the study site, we showed unequivocally that the monkeys, though predominantly diurnal, exhibited activity beyond daylight hours throughout the study. Specifically, their activity at night and during twilight periods suggests a complex interplay of behavioral adaptations, among others, to living in a temperate environment where day length and food resources fluctuate substantially across seasons. We contend that, under prevailing ecological conditions, so-called strictly diurnal primates may adjust their activity schedule opportunistically in order to increase energy intake. We also discuss the advantages of using camera traps in primate studies, and how the standardized use of meridian-based time by researchers would benefit comparisons of diel activity patterns among primates.
    • The socio-cultural importance of Mauritia flexuosa palm swamps (aguajales) and implications for multi-use management in two Maijuna communities of the Peruvian Amazon

      Gilmore, Michael P.; Endress, Bryan A.; Horn, Christa M. (2013)
      Background Fruit from the palm Mauritia flexuosa (aguaje) is harvested throughout the Peruvian Amazon for subsistence and commercial purposes. Recent estimates suggest that residents of Iquitos, the largest city in the region, consume approximately 148.8 metric tons of aguaje fruit per month, the vast majority of which is harvested by felling and killing adult female trees. In this study, we sought to better understand and document the importance of M. flexuosa palm swamps (aguajales) in two Maijuna indigenous communities to inform the sustainable management of this habitat and species. Methods Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and household surveys were carried out to assess the significance of aguajales and their associated plant and animal resources as well as to determine how the relationship that the Maijuna have with aguajales has changed over time. Results Aguajales and their associated resources are culturally significant and useful to the Maijuna in a wide variety of ways. In addition to M. flexuosa, the Maijuna use over 60 different species of plants from aguajales. When M. flexuosa is in fruit, aguajales are important hunting areas with a total of 20 different animal species hunted. The Maijuna also have traditional beliefs about aguajales, believing that malevolent supernatural beings reside in them. Notably, the relationship that the Maijuna have with aguajales has changed considerably over the years as aguaje fruit went from a subsistence item collected opportunistically from the ground to a market good destructively harvested beginning in the early 1990s. The Maijuna are concerned not only about how this has affected the future commercial harvest of aguaje but also about its effects on game animals given the importance of hunting to Maijuna cultural identity, subsistence, and income generation. Conclusions In order to meet the multiple socio-cultural and economic needs of the Maijuna, sustainable management efforts must be expanded to not only focus on the commercial harvest of aguaje but also other facets of their relationship with this habitat. Our study suggests that the research and development of multi-use forest management plans must not be restricted to commercial forest products and ecosystem services given that many communities rely on tropical forests for a wide range of non-market cultural, economic, and subsistence goods and services.
    • Great ape genetic diversity and population history

      Prado-Martinez, Javier; Sudmant, Peter H.; Kidd, Jeffrey M.; Li, Heng; Kelley, Joanna L.; Lorente-Galdos, Belen; Veeramah, Krishna R.; Woerner, August E.; O’Connor, Timothy D.; Santpere, Gabriel; et al. (2013)
      Most great ape genetic variation remains uncharacterized; however, its study is critical for understanding population history, recombination, selection and susceptibility to disease. Here we sequence to high coverage a total of 79 wild- and captive-born individuals representing all six great ape species and seven subspecies and report 88.8 million single nucleotide polymorphisms. Our analysis provides support for genetically distinct populations within each species, signals of gene flow, and the split of common chimpanzees into two distinct groups: Nigeria–Cameroon/western and central/eastern populations. We find extensive inbreeding in almost all wild populations, with eastern gorillas being the most extreme. Inferred effective population sizes have varied radically over time in different lineages and this appears to have a profound effect on the genetic diversity at, or close to, genes in almost all species. We discover and assign 1,982 loss-of-function variants throughout the human and great ape lineages, determining that the rate of gene loss has not been different in the human branch compared to other internal branches in the great ape phylogeny. This comprehensive catalogue of great ape genome diversity provides a framework for understanding evolution and a resource for more effective management of wild and captive great ape populations.
    • Duration of maternal antibodies against canine distemper virus and hendra virus in pteropid bats

      Epstein, Jonathan H.; Baker, Michelle L.; Zambrana-Torrelio, Carlos; Middleton, Deborah; Barr, Jennifer A.; DuBovi, Edward; Boyd, Victoria; Pope, Brian; Todd, Shawn; Crameri, Gary; et al. (2013)
      Old World frugivorous bats have been identified as natural hosts for emerging zoonotic viruses of significant public health concern, including henipaviruses (Nipah and Hendra virus), Ebola virus, and Marburg virus. Epidemiological studies of these viruses in bats often utilize serology to describe viral dynamics, with particular attention paid to juveniles, whose birth increases the overall susceptibility of the population to a viral outbreak once maternal immunity wanes. However, little is understood about bat immunology, including the duration of maternal antibodies in neonates. Understanding duration of maternally derived immunity is critical for characterizing viral dynamics in bat populations, which may help assess the risk of spillover to humans. We conducted two separate studies of pregnant Pteropus bat species and their offspring to measure the half-life and duration of antibodies to 1) canine distemper virus antigen in vaccinated captive Pteropus hypomelanus; and 2) Hendra virus in wild-caught, naturally infected Pteropus alecto. Both of these pteropid bat species are known reservoirs for henipaviruses. We found that in both species, antibodies were transferred from dam to pup. In P. hypomelanus pups, titers against CDV waned over a mean period of 228.6 days (95% CI: 185.4–271.8) and had a mean terminal phase half-life of 96.0 days (CI 95%: 30.7–299.7). In P. alecto pups, antibodies waned over 255.13 days (95% CI: 221.0–289.3) and had a mean terminal phase half-life of 52.24 days (CI 95%: 33.76–80.83). Each species showed a duration of transferred maternal immunity of between 7.5 and 8.5 months, which was longer than has been previously estimated. These data will allow for more accurate interpretation of age-related Henipavirus serological data collected from wild pteropid bats.
    • Diverse captive non-human primates with phytanic acid-deficient diets rich in plant products have substantial phytanic acid levels in their red blood cells

      Moser, Ann B.; Hey, Jody; Dranchak, Patricia K.; Karaman, Mazen W.; Zhao, Junsong; Cox, Laura A.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Hacia, Joseph G. (2013)
      Background Humans and rodents with impaired phytanic acid (PA) metabolism can accumulate toxic stores of PA that have deleterious effects on multiple organ systems. Ruminants and certain fish obtain PA from the microbial degradation of dietary chlorophyll and/or through chlorophyll-derived precursors. In contrast, humans cannot derive PA from chlorophyll and instead normally obtain it only from meat, dairy, and fish products. Results Captive apes and Old world monkeys had significantly higher red blood cell (RBC) PA levels relative to humans when all subjects were fed PA-deficient diets. Given the adverse health effects resulting from PA over accumulation, we investigated the molecular evolution of thirteen PA metabolism genes in apes, Old world monkeys, and New world monkeys. All non-human primate (NHP) orthologs are predicted to encode full-length proteins with the marmoset Phyh gene containing a rare, but functional, GA splice donor dinucleotide. Acox2, Scp2, and Pecr sequences had amino acid positions with accelerated substitution rates while Amacr had significant variation in evolutionary rates in apes relative to other primates. Conclusions Unlike humans, diverse captive NHPs with PA-deficient diets rich in plant products have substantial RBC PA levels. The favored hypothesis is that NHPs can derive significant amounts of PA from the degradation of ingested chlorophyll through gut fermentation. If correct, this raises the possibility that RBC PA levels could serve as a biomarker for evaluating the digestive health of captive NHPs. Furthermore, the evolutionary rates of the several genes relevant to PA metabolism provide candidate genetic adaptations to NHP diets.
    • Health risks from lead-based ammunition in the environment

      Bellinger, David C.; Burger, Joanna; Cade, Tom J.; Cory-Slechta, Deborah A.; Finkelstein, Myra; Hu, Howard; Kosnett, Michael; Landrigan, Philip J.; Lanphear, Bruce; Pokras, Mark A.; et al. (2013)
      ...No rational deliberation about the use of lead-based ammunition can ignore the overwhelming evidence for the toxic effects of lead, or that the discharge of lead bullets and shot into the environment poses significant risks of lead exposure to humans and wildlife. Given the availability of non-lead ammunition for shooting and hunting (Thomas 2013), the use of lead-based ammunition that introduces lead into the environment can be reduced and eventually eliminated. This seems to be a reasonable and equitable action to protect the health of humans and wildlife....
    • Co-infection by alveolate parasites and frog virus 3-like ranavirus during an amphibian larval mortality event in Florida, USA

      Landsberg, J.H.; Kiryu, Y.; Tabuchi, M.; Preston, Asa; Pessier, Allan P. (2013)
      A multispecies amphibian larval mortality event, primarily affecting American bullfrogs Lithobates catesbeianus, was investigated during April 2011 at the Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park, Clay County, Florida, USA. Freshly dead and moribund tadpoles had hemorrhagic lesions around the vent and on the ventral body surface, with some exhibiting a swollen abdomen. Bullfrogs (100%), southern leopard frogs L. sphenocephalus (33.3%), and gopher frogs L. capito (100%) were infected by alveolate parasites. The intensity of infection in bullfrog livers was high. Tadpoles were evaluated for frog virus 3 (FV3) by histology and PCR. For those southern leopard frog tadpoles (n = 2) whose livers had not been obscured by alveolate spore infection, neither a pathologic response nor intracytoplasmic inclusions typically associated with clinical infections of FV3-like ranavirus were noted. Sequencing of a portion (496 bp) of the viral major capsid protein gene confirmed FV3-like virus in bullfrogs (n = 1, plus n = 6 pooled) and southern leopard frogs (n = 1, plus n = 4 pooled). In July 2011, young-of-the-year bullfrog tadpoles (n = 7) were negative for alveolate parasites, but 1 gopher frog tadpole was positive. To our knowledge, this is the first confirmed mortality event for amphibians in Florida associated with FV3-like virus, but the extent to which the virus played a primary role is uncertain. Larval mortality was most likely caused by a combination of alveolate parasite infections, FV3-like ranavirus, and undetermined etiological factors.
    • The conservation status of the world’s reptiles

      Böhm, Monika; Collen, Ben; Baillie, Jonathan E.M.; Bowles, Philip; Chanson, Janice; Cox, Neil; Hammerson, Geoffrey; Hoffmann, Michael; Livingstone, Suzanne R.; Ram, Mala; et al. (2013)
      …We present the first ever global analysis of extinction risk in reptiles, based on a random representative sample of 1500 species (16% of all currently known species). To our knowledge, our results provide the first analysis of the global conservation status and distribution patterns of reptiles and the threats affecting them, highlighting conservation priorities and knowledge gaps which need to be addressed urgently to ensure the continued survival of the world’s reptiles….