• Increasing conservation translocation success by building social functionality in released populations

      Goldenberg, Shifra Z.; Owen, Megan A.; Brown, Janine L.; Wittemyer, George; Oo, Zaw Min; Leimgruber, Peter (2019)
      The importance of animal behavior to successful wildlife translocations has been acknowledged in recent decades, and it has been increasingly considered and more frequently incorporated into translocation management and research. However, explicit consideration of social behavior is often overlooked in this context. Social relationships take a variety of forms (e.g., cooperative partners, members of a dominance hierarchy, territorial neighbors) and play important roles in survival, reproduction, and resource exploitation. We review the ways in which concepts from studies of social behavior in wild populations may be leveraged to increase translocation success. Social structure and cohesion, social roles, social learning, and social competency may all be important to consider in building populations that are resilient and likely to persist. We argue that relevant data collected at all stages of translocation, including candidate selection, and during pre-release, release, and post-release monitoring, may inform the establishment of functional social structure post-release in species dependent on social processes. Integrating knowledge of social behavior into management decisions may be particularly useful when comparing the success of alternative release protocols or release candidate behavioral traits. Complementary datasets on a range of fitness-related metrics post-release will further leverage our understanding of social establishment in translocated populations. We illustrate the potential of these ideas using Asian and African elephants as a model. Both species are particularly challenging to manage but are translocated frequently; thus, evidence-based protocols for conservation translocations of elephants are urgently needed.
    • Increasing generations in captivity is associated with increased vulnerability of Tasmanian devils to vehicle strike following release to the wild

      Grueber, Catherine E.; Reid-Wainscoat, Elizabeth E.; Fox, Samantha; Belov, Katherine; Shier, Debra M.; Hogg, Carolyn J.; Pemberton, David (2017)
      Captive breeding of threatened species, for release to the wild, is critical for conservation. This strategy, however, risks producing captive-raised animals with traits poorly suited to the wild. We describe the first study to characterise accumulated consequences of long-term captive breeding on behaviour, by following the release of Tasmanian devils to the wild. We test the impact of prolonged captive breeding on the probability that captive-raised animals are fatally struck by vehicles. Multiple generations of captive breeding increased the probability that individuals were fatally struck, a pattern that could not be explained by other confounding factors (e.g. age or release site). Our results imply that long-term captive breeding programs may produce animals that are naïve to the risks of the post-release environment. Our analyses have already induced changes in management policy of this endangered species, and serve as model of productive synergy between ecological monitoring and conservation strategy.
    • Indeterminate growth in desert tortoises

      Nafus, Melia G. (2015)
      ...Using a captive colony of desert tortoises, I explored three questions about adult growth: 1) Do tortoises experience growth at reproductively mature size classes? 2) For those adults that experience growth, is growth continuous throughout adulthood? 3) Are there differences in growth and size between males and females...?
    • Individual identification of wild giant pandas from camera trap photos – a systematic and hierarchical approach

      Zheng, X.; Owen, Megan A.; Nie, Y.; Hu, Y.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Yan, L.; Wei, F. (2016)
      ...Here we tested the utility of an approach to individually identify wild giant pandas Ailuropoda melanoleuca from camera trap images, by cataloguing and careful scrutiny of numerous traits. We developed our identification strategy first by analyzing images of known (captive) individuals (N = 7). We then deployed camera traps at 23 control sites and at seven camera trap arrays ‘baited’ with conspecific decoys, in Foping Nature Reserve, China….
    • Induction of sperm hypermotility through membrane progestin receptor alpha (mPRα): A teleost model of rapid, multifaceted, nongenomic progestin signaling

      Tan, Wenxian; Pang, Yefei; Tubbs, Christopher W.; Thomas, Peter (2018)
      Rapid progestin effects on sperm physiology have been described in a variety of vertebrate species. Here, we briefly review the signaling pathways mediating rapid progestin induction of sperm hypermotility and increased fertility in two teleost species, Atlantic croaker and southern flounder....
    • Inference of gorilla demographic and selective history from whole-genome sequence data

      McManus, Kimberly F.; Kelley, Joanna L.; Song, Shiya; Veeramah, Krishna R.; Woerner, August E.; Stevison, Laurie S.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Great Ape Genome Project; Kidd, Jeffrey M.; Wall, Jeffrey D.; et al. (2015)
      Although population-level genomic sequence data have been gathered extensively for humans, similar data from our closest living relatives are just beginning to emerge. Examination of genomic variation within great apes offers many opportunities to increase our understanding of the forces that have differentially shaped the evolutionary history of hominid taxa. Here, we expand upon the work of the Great Ape Genome Project by analyzing medium to high coverage whole-genome sequences from 14 western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), 2 eastern lowland gorillas (G. beringei graueri), and a single Cross River individual (G. gorilla diehli). We infer that the ancestors of western and eastern lowland gorillas diverged from a common ancestor approximately 261 ka, and that the ancestors of the Cross River population diverged from the western lowland gorilla lineage approximately 68 ka. Using a diffusion approximation approach to model the genome-wide site frequency spectrum, we infer a history of western lowland gorillas that includes an ancestral population expansion of 1.4-fold around 970 ka and a recent 5.6-fold contraction in population size 23 ka. The latter may correspond to a major reduction in African equatorial forests around the Last Glacial Maximum. We also analyze patterns of variation among western lowland gorillas to identify several genomic regions with strong signatures of recent selective sweeps. We find that processes related to taste, pancreatic and saliva secretion, sodium ion transmembrane transport, and cardiac muscle function are overrepresented in genomic regions predicted to have experienced recent positive selection.
    • Inferring public interest from search engine data requires caution

      Correia, Ricardo A.; Di Minin, Enrico; Jarić, Ivan; Jepson, Paul; Ladle, Richard; Mittermeier, John; Roll, Uri; Soriano-Redondo, Andrea; Veríssimo, Diogo (2019)
    • Influence of season and social context on male giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) vocal behaviour

      Charlton, Benjamin D.; Owen, Megan A.; Zhou, Xiaoping; Zhang, Hemin; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2019)
      Documenting the different social and behavioural contexts that vocalisations are produced in remains an important step towards understanding the functional relevance of specific call types in a given species’ vocal repertoire. In this study we investigated whether seasonal differences and the presence or absence of male and female conspecifics influence the production of male giant panda vocal signals. To this end, captive male giant pandas were observed during and outside of the breeding season in three social contexts: only male conspecific neighbours, only female conspecific neighbours, and a context with no neighbours. We found that males were more likely to bleat, chirp, honk and moan during the breeding season, and showed a tendency to growl more outside of the reproductive period. The contextual analysis revealed that bleats were more likely to be produced by males when opposite-sexed conspecifics are in close attendance during the breeding season. Conversely, males were more likely to chirp when neighboured by males than females or no neighbours. In addition, males were more likely to honk in the absence of neighbouring conspecifics during the breeding season, raising the possibility that these calls function to signal location and gain the attention of potential mates. Moans were produced more often when male giant pandas had male than female neighbours during the breeding season, which may reflect mild aggression towards these same-sexed rivals, whereas the production of barks and growls did not vary according to season or the sex of conspecific neighbours. Our findings underscore the importance of male giant panda bleats for coordinating reproduction and promoting contact with potential mating partners in this non-gregarious species, and yield fresh insights into the function of male honks that warrant further investigation. They also provide a basis for comparison with free-ranging giant panda vocal behaviour that could potentially inform conservation efforts.
    • Integrating current methods for the preservation of amphibian genetic resources and viable tissues to achieve best practices for species conservation

      Zimkus, Breda M; Hassapakis, Craig L; Houck, Marlys L. (2018)
      Global amphibian declines associated with anthropogenic causes, climate change, and amphibianspecific infectious diseases (e.g., chytridiomycosis) have highlighted the importance of biobanking amphibian genetic material. Genetic resource collections were the first to centralize the long-term storage of samples for use in basic science, including disciplines such as molecular evolution, molecular genetics, phylogenetics, and systematics. Biobanks associated with conservation breeding programs put a special emphasis on the cryopreservation of viable cells. These cell lines have a broader application, including the potential for genetic rescue and use in species propagation for population enhancement, such as captive breeding and reintroduction programs. We provide an overview of the most commonly used methods for the preservation of genetic resources, identify ways to standardize collection processes across biobanks, and provide decision trees to assist researchers in maximizing the potential use of their samples for both scientific research and the practice of species conservation. We hope that the collection and deposition of tissues preserved using methods that enable eventual cell line establishment will become routine practice among researchers, particularly herpetologists working in the field. While many major museums do not yet cryopreserve reproductive cells or cell lines, they contain the infrastructure and staff to maintain these collections if protocols and procedures are adapted. Collaboration between organizations can play an important future role in the conservation of amphibians, especially biobanks associated with research institutions and those pioneering techniques used in breeding programs.
    • Inter-aviary distance and visual access influence conservation breeding outcomes in a territorial, endangered bird

      Flanagan, Alison M.; Rutz, Christian; Farabaugh, Susan M.; Greggor, Alison L.; Masuda, Bryce M.; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2020)
      Species extinctions are becoming a global crisis, affecting biodiversity and ecosystem services, with island populations being particularly vulnerable. In response, conservation managers are increasingly turning to ex situ conservation breeding programs to establish assurance populations and provide a source for release and re-establishment of wild populations. The 'Alalā (Hawaiian crow, Corvus hawaiiensis) is a critically endangered and territorial island corvid that became extinct in the wild in 2002, following a severe and prolonged population decline during the late 20th century....
    • Intestinal helminths in wild Peruvian red uakari monkeys (Cacajao calvus ucayalii) in the northeastern Peruvian Amazon

      Conga, David F.; Bowler, Mark; Tantalean, Manuel; Montes, Daniel; Serra-Freire, Nicolau Maués; Mayor, Pedro (2014)
      …We examined 36 fecal samples from Peruvian red uakari monkeys (Cacajao calvus ucayalii ) collected from wild animals in the northeastern Peruvian Amazon. Samples were positive for helminth infection. Nematodes egg: Strongyloididae, Trypanoxyuris sp., Spirurid, and a cestode egg were identified.
    • 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.
    • Isolation of a Bohle-like iridovirus from boreal toads housed within a cosmopolitan aquarium collection

      Cheng, Kwang; Jones, Megan E. B.; Jancovich, James K.; Burchell, Jennifer; Schrenzel, Mark D.; Reavill, Drury R.; Imai, Denise M.; Urban, Abby; Kirkendall, Maryanne; Woods, Leslie W.; et al. (2014)
      A captive ‘survival assurance’ population of 56 endangered boreal toads Anaxyrus boreas boreas, housed within a cosmopolitan collection of amphibians originating from Southeast Asia and other locations, experienced high mortality (91%) in April to July 2010. Histological examination demonstrated lesions consistent with ranaviral disease, including multicentric necrosis of skin, kidney, liver, spleen, and hematopoietic tissue, vasculitis, and myriad basophilic intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies…. This finding has implications for the management of amphibians destined for use in reintroduction programs, as their release may inadvertently lead to viral dissemination.
    • IUCN Red List Assessment: Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis ssp. reticulata)

      Muneza, A.; Doherty, J. B.; Ali, A. Hussein; Fennessy, J.; Marais, A.; O'Connor, David; Wube, T. (2018)
      Reticulated Giraffe is listed as Endangered under criterion A because of an estimated continuing of ~56% over the last 30 years (3 generations). The decline is most likely attributed to habitat loss, deterioration in habitat quality and illegal killing/poaching....
    • Jaguar persecution without “cowflict”: Insights from protected territories in the Bolivian Amazon

      Knox, Jillian; Negrões, Nuno; Marchini, Silvio; Barboza, Kathrin; Guanacoma, Gladys; Balhau, Patricia; Tobler, Mathias W.; Glikman, Jenny A. (2019)
      Persecution by humans is one of the most pressing threats to jaguars (Panthera onca) throughout the Americas, yet few studies have examined the killing of jaguars outside cattle-ranching communities. Although over one-third of the jaguar’s range is formally protected, relatively little is known about human-jaguar relationships within protected areas and indigenous territories. Protected land within the Bolivian Amazon, considered a stronghold for the jaguar, contains communities who differ economically, legally, and socially from previously-studied human populations living with jaguars. Using in-person structured interviews, we investigated attitudes and norms related to jaguars and jaguar killing, self-reported past killing of jaguars, and demographic variables in two protected areas and an indigenous territory: Integrated Management Area of Santa Rosa del Abuná (Santa Rosa, n=224), Indigenous Territory Tacana II (n=137), and Manuripi National Amazon Wildlife Reserve (MNAWR, n=169). Overall, people disliked (48.9%) or felt neutral (26.8%) toward jaguars. A relatively large number of people reported either being attacked or knowing someone who had been attacked by a jaguar: 15.45% in Santa Rosa, 14.20% in MNAWR, and 30.88% in Tacana II. Many respondents stated to have killed a jaguar, although the proportion differed among study areas: 20.39% of Santa Rosa, 55.47% of Tacana II, and 32.72% of MNAWR. People perceived jaguar persecution as relatively common: 44.9% of Santa Rosa, 90.8% of Tacana II, and 65.8% of MNAWR said their neighbors kill jaguars (i.e. descriptive norm). Also, 75.4% of Santa Rosa, 89.1% of Tacana II, and 69.1% of MNAWR said that some of their family members and neighbors thought jaguar killing was good (i.e. subjective norm). Descriptive and subjective norms positively influenced both attitudes toward killing and past killing of jaguars. This perception of jaguar killing being common and socially-accepted, combined with high rates of past killing and a growing illegal trade of jaguar parts, may create an atmosphere conducive to widespread jaguar persecution in the Bolivian Amazon. We recommend management strategies that focus on preventing jaguar depredation of small domestic animals, lessening the perception of carnivore encounters as dangerous to decrease safety-related fears, and making large carnivore killing socially unacceptable (e.g. through social marketing).
    • Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei) AZA Animal Program Population Viability Analysis Report.

      Mechak, L.; Grant, Tandora D.; Krebs, J. (Associaton of Zoos and Aquariums, 2015)
    • Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei) AZA Regional Studbook. AZA Yellow SSP Program.

      Grant, Tandora D. (Associaton of Zoos and Aquariums, 2017)
    • Jamaican Iguana: Species Recovery Plan, 2006-2013

      Grant, Tandora D.; Pagni, L; Wilson, B (IUCNGland, Switzerland, 2013)
      Thought to be extinct by the mid 1900s, the Jamaican Iguana was rediscovered in 1970, and again in 1990. The 1970 rediscovery generated surprisingly little interest, either within Jamaica or among international conservation organizations. But when pig hunter Edwin Duffus brought a live specimen to the Hope Zoo in 1990, the local Jamaican Iguana Research and Conservation Group (JIRCG) was rapidly formed, and international support quickly materialized. The renamed Jamaican Iguana Recovery Group (JIRG) is a consortium of local Jamaican organizations and international conservation groups that held a workshop in July 2006 to formulate the present Species Recovery Plan (SRP)...
    • Joint species distribution models with species correlations and imperfect detection

      Tobler, Mathias W.; Kéry, Marc; Hui, Francis K. C.; Guillera-Arroita, Gurutzeta; Knaus, Peter; Sattler, Thomas (2019)
      Spatiotemporal patterns in biological communities are typically driven by environmental factors and species interactions. Spatial data from communities are naturally described by stacking models for all species in the community....
    • Justifying and deciding whether to conduct a reintroduction or other conservation translocation

      Maschinski, Joyce; Albrecht, Matthew A.; Font, Jeremie; Monks, Leonie; Haskins, Kristin E.; Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) (Center for Plant ConservationEscondido, California, 2019)
      Reintroduction is not the first step toward the conservation of a species, but rather follows a careful process of gathering information about the species, threats, alternative actions, and future needs. There are several considerations for justifying a reintroduction.