• Evolutionary genomics and conservation of the endangered Przewalski’s horse

      Der Sarkissian, Clio; Ermini, Luca; Schubert, Mikkel Heide; Yang, Melinda A.; Librado, Pablo; Fumagalli, Matteo; Jónsson, Hákon; Bar-Gal, Gila Kahila; Albrechtsen, Anders; Vieira, Filipe G.; et al. (2015)
      Przewalski’s horses (PHs, Equus ferus ssp. przewalskii) were discovered in the Asian steppes in the 1870s and represent the last remaining true wild horses. PHs became extinct in the wild in the 1960s but survived in captivity, thanks to major conservation efforts....
    • Examination of enrichment using space and food for African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

      Hacker, CE; Miller, Lance J.; Schulte, BA (2018)
      Concern for elephant welfare in zoological facilities has prompted a number of exhibit and management modifications, including those involving enrichment. Knowledge of how these changes impact indicators of welfare, such as elephant movement and behaviour, is crucial for continued improvement of elephant husbandry and care....
    • Examining the efficacy of anti-predator training for increasing survival in conservation translocations: a systematic review protocol

      Greggor, Alison L.; Price, Catherine J.; Shier, Debra M. (2019)
      Background How animals respond to predators can have consequences when they are reintroduced into the wild or translocated to new habitats. Animals raised in captivity often lack adequate experience with predators, and wild animals can be ill-equipped to respond to invasive predators. When these animals are released or translocated for conservation purposes, their naivety can jeopardize their survival and the outcome of the conservation intervention. Anti-predator training, i.e. the purposeful exposure of animals to predators or predatory-like cues for promoting predatory learning and awareness, is often suggested to be a useful tool in combating prey naivety. However, the prevalence of such training and the evidence for its effectiveness in conservation settings are currently unknown. We detail a set of protocols aimed at resolving both of these unknowns. Methods We will aim to gather studies from multiple databases and grey literature sources which document the occurrence of anti-predator training. We will search beyond the conservation management literature to also cover interventions aimed at promoting anti-predator behaviour in commercial contexts and other academic fields (e.g. animal cognition, behavioral ecology). Studies will be screened in two phases. The first stage of screening will collect studies that conduct anti-predator training. Metadata from this stage will help highlight biases in the use of anti-predator training across geographic locations, funding contexts and taxonomic groups. We will then further screen for research that measures training efficacy either by using learning assessments, designating experimental groups, or by collecting post-release survival data. A narrative synthesis at this stage will describe the relative proportion of studies that measure the efficacy of their training. The smaller research pool will then be systematically reviewed to assess the efficacy of anti-predator training. We will attempt to extract data from all studies which assess efficacy, judging study validity and conducting a meta-analysis if sufficient evidence is found. By creating two stages to our screening and review of evidence, we will be able to better judge the biases and reliability of the efficacy evidence we find.
    • Exit strategies for wildlife conservation: why they are rare and why every institution needs one

      Ruiz-Miranda, Carlos R.; Vilchis, L. Ignacio; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2020)
      Exit strategies – plans to end involvement in a project once selected criteria have been reached – are rare in conservation planning but can play a vital role in the conservation planning process; such strategies also prepare the institution, its staff, its partners, and a wider group of stakeholders for eventual success or failure and signal when it is time to move on. Exit strategies may indicate that the project has been terminated but may also signal success, or that project leadership has transitioned to another, more appropriate entity. We address why exit strategies are uncommon in conservation, why they are essential, what determines when to transition or leave, and how to plan for circumstances afterwards. A good exit strategy addresses financial and legal liabilities to employees, publication of results, and ownership of data, among other things. A comprehensive, thoughtful strategy can lead to “beautiful exits” that minimize negative consequences to the project.
    • Experimental habitat restoration for conserved species using ecosystem engineers and vegetation management

      Hennessy, Sarah McCullough; Deutschman, D. H.; Shier, Debra M.; Nordstrom, Lisa A.; Lenihan, C.; Montagne, J.P.; Wisinski, Colleen L.; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2016)
      We manipulated vegetation and the ecosystem engineer California ground squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi, in a replicated, large-scale field experiment for 2 years, and monitored through a third year…. The overarching goal of this experiment was to provide conservation managers with a cost-effective tool for restoring degraded habitats to a hybrid ecosystem state with improved suitability for species of conservation concern, in this case, the western burrowing owl Athene cunicularia hypugaea.
    • Exploring saiga horn consumption in Singapore

      Theng, Meryl; Glikman, Jenny A.; Milner-Gulland, E. J. (2018)
      The Critically Endangered saiga antelope Saiga tatarica faces an uncertain future, with populations dwindling from epidemics in its range countries, and ongoing demand for its horns in the traditional Chinese medicine trade....
    • Exploring the limits of saving a subspecies: The ethics and social dynamics of restoring northern white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum cottoni)

      Ryder, Oliver A.; Friese, Carrie; Greely, Henry T.; Sandler, Ronald; Saragusty, Joseph; Durrant, Barbara S.; Redford, Kent H. (2020)
      The northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) is functionally extinct with only two females left alive. However, cryopreserved material from a number of individuals represents the potential to produce additional individuals using advanced reproductive and genetic rescue technologies and perhaps eventually a population to return to their native range. If this could and were done, how should it be done responsibly and thoughtfully. What issues and questions of a technical, bioethical, and societal nature will it raise that need to be anticipated and addressed? Such issues are explored in this article by an interdisciplinary team assembled to provide context to the northern white rhino project of the San Diego Zoo Global.
    • External reinfection of a fungal pathogen does not contribute to pathogen growth

      DiRenzo, Graziella V.; Tunstall, Tate S.; Ibáñez, Roberto; deVries, Maya S.; Longo, Ana V.; Zamudio, Kelly R.; Lips, Karen R. (2018)
      Chytridiomycosis is an emerging infectious disease of amphibians caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has led to devastating declines in amphibian populations worldwide. Current theory predicts that Bd infections are maintained through both reproduction on the host’s skin and reinfection from sources outside of the host....
    • Extreme selective sweeps independently targeted the X chromosomes of the great apes

      Nam, Kiwoong; Munch, Kasper; Hobolth, Asger; Dutheil, Julien Yann; Veeramah, Krishna R.; Woerner, August E.; Hammer, Michael F.; Great Ape Genome Diversity Project; Mailund, Thomas; Schierup, Mikkel Heide; et al. (2015)
      …We perform a comparative analysis of X chromosome polymorphism in 10 great ape species, including humans. In most species, we identify striking megabase-wide regions, where nucleotide diversity is less than 20% of the chromosomal average....
    • Fat-soluble vitamin and mineral comparisons between zoo-based and free-ranging koalas (phascolarctos cinereus)

      Schmidt, Debra A.; Pye, Geoffrey W.; Hamlin-Andrus, Chris C.; Ellis, William A.; Ellersieck, Mark R.; Chen, Tai C.; Holick, Michael F. (2013)
      As part of a health investigation on koalas at San Diego Zoo, serum samples were analyzed from 18 free-ranging and 22 zoo-based koalas, Phascolarctos cinereus. Serum concentrations of calcium, chloride, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc, and vitamins A, E, and 25(OH)D3 were quantified....
    • Fear of failure in conservation: The problem and potential solutions to aid conservation of extremely small populations

      Meek, Mariah H.; Wells, Caitlin; Tomalty, Katharine M.; Ashander, Jaime; Cole, Esther M.; Gille, Daphne A.; Putman, Breanna J.; Rose, Jonathan P.; Savoca, Matthew S.; Yamane, Lauren; et al. (2015)
      …We describe methods for increased information sharing and improved decision-making in the face of uncertainty, and recommend a shift in focus to cooperative actions and improving methods for evaluating success. Our hope is that by tackling stumbling blocks due to the apprehension of failure, conservation and management organizations can take steps to move from fear to action.
    • Field genebanks or inter situ collection

      Maschinski, Joyce; Westwood, Murphy; Havens, Kayri; Hoban, Sean; Anderson, Stacy; Walsh, Seana; Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) (Center for Plant ConservationEscondido, California, 2019)
      Maintaining small populations of plants in protected places may be a necessary conservation strategy for some species; these are known as field genebanks. At botanical gardens, these are often part of living display collections....
    • First evidence for crossbreeding between invasive Iguana iguana and the native rock iguana (Genus Cyclura) on Little Cayman Island

      Moss, Jeanette B.; Welch, Mark E.; Burton, Frederic J.; Vallee, Michael V.; Houlcroft, Edward W.; Laaser, Tanja; Gerber, Glenn P. (2017)
      Green iguanas (Iguana iguana) are invasive throughout the West Indies and co-occur on several islands with native rock iguanas (Genus Cyclura). In August 2016, three hybrid hatchlings were captured on Little Cayman Island, providing the first evidence for a successful crossbreeding event between I. iguana and any Cyclura rock iguana species in the wild.....
    • First evidence of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and ranavirus in Hong Kong amphibian trade

      Kolby, Jonathan E.; Smith, Kristine M.; Berger, Lee; Karesh, William B.; Preston, Asa; Pessier, Allan P.; Skerratt, Lee F. (2014)
      The emerging infectious amphibian diseases caused by amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) and ranaviruses are responsible for global amphibian population declines and extinctions. Although likely to have been spread by a variety of activities, transcontinental dispersal appears closely associated with the international trade in live amphibians. The territory of Hong Kong reports frequent, high volume trade in amphibians, and yet the presence of Bd and ranavirus have not previously been detected in either traded or free-ranging amphibians. In 2012, a prospective surveillance project was conducted to investigate the presence of these pathogens in commercial shipments of live amphibians exported from Hong Kong International Airport. Analysis of skin (Bd) and cloacal (ranavirus) swabs by quantitative PCR detected pathogen presence in 31/265 (11.7%) and in 105/185 (56.8%) of amphibians, respectively. In addition, the water in which animals were transported tested positive for Bd, demonstrating the risk of pathogen pollution by the disposal of untreated wastewater. It is uncertain whether Bd and ranavirus remain contained within Hong Kong’s trade sector, or if native amphibians have already been exposed. Rapid response efforts are now urgently needed to determine current pathogen distribution in Hong Kong, evaluate potential trade-associated exposure to free-ranging amphibians, and identify opportunities to prevent disease establishment.
    • First video footage of the elusive Ebo gorillas in Cameroon

      Mfossa, D.; Ndimbe, M.; Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Morgan, Bethan J. (2019)
    • Fish hatchery genetic management techniques: Integrating theory with implementation

      Fisch, Kathleen M.; Kozfkay, Christine C.; Ivy, Jamie A.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Waples, Robin S. (2015)
      ...This article reviews the application of small‐population management techniques to conservation hatcheries in an effort to increase their utility in recovery plans for endangered fish species.
    • Fitness costs associated with ancestry to isolated populations of an endangered species

      Wilder, Aryn P.; Navarro, Asako Y.; King, Shauna N. D.; Miller, William B.; Thomas, Steven M.; Steiner, Cynthia C.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Shier, Debra M. (2020)
      ... The endangered Pacific pocket mouse (Perognathus longimembris pacificus) persists in three isolated populations in southern California. Mitochondrial and microsatellite data indicated that effective population sizes were extremely small (Ne< 50), and continued declines prompted a conservation breeding program founded by individuals from each population....
    • Foraging behavior, contaminant exposure risk, and the stress response in wild California condors (Gymnogyps californianus)

      Glucs, Zeka E.; Smith, Donald R.; Tubbs, Christopher W.; Bakker, Victoria J.; Wolstenholme, Rachel; Dudus, Kristina; Burnett, Joseph; Clark, Melissa; Clark, Michael; Finkelstein, Myra E. (2020)
      Wild California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) are frequently exposed to lead via lead-based ammunition ingestion, and recent studies indicate significant exposure to organochlorines (e.g. dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)) for condors feeding on beach-cast marine mammals. We investigated the influence of contaminant exposure on condor glucocorticoid response through comparisons between wild and captive populations and identified modifiers of glucocorticoid release….
    • Foraging ecologies of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) and camels (Camelus dromedarius) in northern Kenya: effects of habitat structure and possibilities for competition?

      O'Connor, David; Butt, Bilal; Foufopoulos, Johannes B. (2015)
      …The foraging ecologies of reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) and domestic camels (Camelus dromedarius) were examined in the Laikipia District of Kenya, where these species have recently become sympatric…. These findings have important implications in achieving the twin objectives of wildlife conservation and pastoralist livestock production in northern Kenya.