• 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….
    • The distribution, status, and conservation outlook of the drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) in Cameroon

      Morgan, Bethan J.; Abwe, E.A.; Dixson, A.F.; Astaras, C. (2013)
      The populations of many endangered species are becoming increasingly fragmented, and accurate, current information on the status of these subpopulations is essential for the design of effective conservation strategies within a human-dominated landscape. The drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) is one of the most spectacular and endangered primates in Africa, yet up-to-date information on its distribution, population status, and conservation outlook is lacking. Cameroon has been estimated to encompass 80 % of the species’ range.…
    • The ethnoprimatology of the Maijuna of the Peruvian Amazon and implications for primate conservation

      Mere Roncal, Carla; Bowler, Mark; Gilmore, Michael P. (2018)
      Background: In Amazonia, primates are not only an important food source but they also hold significant cultural and symbolic value for many indigenous groups. We document the relationship between primates and community members of the Maijuna indigenous community of Sucusari in the Peruvian Amazon and describe how ethnoprimatological studies provide a better understanding of the significance of primates in people's lives. Additionally, we explore how ethnoprimatological studies can help inform and enhance primate conservation initiatives.; Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 residents of the community of Sucusari to assess the classification, cultural significance and traditional uses, beliefs, ceremonies and stories of primates within the Sucusari River basin.; Results: Primates play an important role in the lives of individuals in the Sucusari community. They are distinguished by their arboreal lifestyle, and among the 11 species reported in the area, seven (Lagothrix lagotricha, Alouatta seniculus, Pithecia monachus, Callicebus spp., Saimiri sciureus, Leontocebus nigricollis) are highly recognized and culturally salient. Primates are used as food, medicine, pets, domestic tools and in the production of handicrafts. They are primarily hunted for local consumption, with larger primates such as L. lagotricha being preferred. Lagothrix lagotricha was also the most commonly reported pet species and the only observed pet primate in the community during surveys. Maijuna traditional beliefs include ancestral dietary taboos for A. seniculus, which are referred to as sorcerer monkeys, but this taboo is no longer fully adhered to. Maijuna traditional stories associated with primates describe the origin of primates found in Sucusari.; Conclusion: Primates are embedded in the intricate sociocultural system of the community of Sucusari. Better understanding the relationship between primates and people can help to focus conservation efforts on primate species of particularly high sociocultural importance as well as ecological value, such as L. lagotricha. We highly recommend the inclusion of ethnoprimatological studies into primate conservation initiatives to accomplish more effective conservation planning, ultimately integrating the goals of biodiversity conservation with the cultural and economic needs of indigenous and local communities.;
    • The expectations and challenges of wildlife disease research in the era of genomics: forecasting with a horizon scan-like exercise

      Fitak, Robert R.; Antonides, Jennifer D.; Baitchman, Eric J.; Bonaccorso, Elisa; Braun, Josephine; Kubiski, Steven V.; Chiu, Elliott; Fagre, Anna C.; Gagne, Roderick B.; Lee, Justin S.; et al. (2019)
      The outbreak and transmission of disease-causing pathogens are contributing to the unprecedented rate of biodiversity decline....
    • The exploration-exploitation dilemma: A Multidisciplinary framework

      Berger-Tal, Oded; Nathan, Jonathan; Meron, Ehud; Saltz, David (2014)
      The trade-off between the need to obtain new knowledge and the need to use that knowledge to improve performance is one of the most basic trade-offs in nature, and optimal performance usually requires some balance between exploratory and exploitative behaviors. Researchers in many disciplines have been searching for the optimal solution to this dilemma. Here we present a novel model in which the exploration strategy itself is dynamic and varies with time in order to optimize a definite goal, such as the acquisition of energy, money, or prestige. Our model produced four very distinct phases: Knowledge establishment, Knowledge accumulation, Knowledge maintenance, and Knowledge exploitation, giving rise to a multidisciplinary framework that applies equally to humans, animals, and organizations. The framework can be used to explain a multitude of phenomena in various disciplines, such as the movement of animals in novel landscapes, the most efficient resource allocation for a start-up company, or the effects of old age on knowledge acquisition in humans.
    • The face of conservation responding to a dynamically changing world

      Wiederholt, Ruscena; Trainor, Anne M.; Michel, Nicole; Shirey, Patrick D.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Tallamy, Doug; Cook-Patton, Susan C. (2015)
      …Here, we highlight contemporary and emerging trends and innovations in conservation science that we believe represent the most effective responses to biodiversity threats. We focus on specific areas where conservation science has had to adjust its approach to address emerging threats to biodiversity, including habitat destruction and degradation, climate change, declining populations and invasive species….
    • The first reptilian circovirus identified infects gut and liver tissues of black-headed pythons

      Altan, Eda; Kubiski, Steven V.; Burchell, Jennifer; Bicknese, Elizabeth; Deng, Xutao; Delwart, Eric (2019)
      Viral metagenomic analysis of the liver of a black headed python (Aspidites melanocephalus) euthanized for a proliferative spinal lesion of unknown etiology yielded the first characterized genome of a reptile-infecting circovirus (black-headed python circovirus or BhPyCV). BhPyCV-specific in situ hybridization (ISH) showed that viral nucleic acids were strongly expressed in the intestinal lining and mucosa and multifocally in the liver. To investigate the presence of this virus in other snakes and its possible pathogenicity, 17 snakes in the python family with spinal disease were screened with ISH yielding a second BhP positive in intestinal tissue, and a Boelen’s python (Morelia boeleni) positive in the liver. BhPyCV specific PCR was used to screen available frozen tissues from 13 of these pythons, four additional deceased pythons with and without spinal disease, and fecal samples from 37 live snakes of multiple species with unknown disease status. PCR detected multiple positive tissues in both of the ISH positive BhP and in the feces of another two live BhP and two live annulated tree boas (Corallus annulatus). Preliminary analysis indicates this circovirus can infect BhPs where it was found in 4/5 BhPs tested (2/2 with spinal disease, 2/3 live with unknown status), Boelen’s python (1/2 with spinal disease), and annulated tree boa (2/6 live with unknown status) but was not detected in other python species with the same spinal lesions. This circovirus’ causal or contributory role in spinal disease remains speculative and not well supported by these initial data.
    • The Genome 10K Project: A Way Forward

      Koepfli, Klaus-Peter; Benedict, Paten; The Genome 10K Community of Scientists; Antunes, Agostinho; Belov, Kathy; Bustamante, Carlos; Castoe, Todd A.; Clawson, Hiram; Crawford, Andrew J.; Diekhans, Mark; et al. (2015)
      The Genome 10K Project was established in 2009 by a consortium of biologists and genome scientists determined to facilitate the sequencing and analysis of the complete genomes of 10,000 vertebrate species. Since then the number of selected and initiated species has risen from ∼26 to 277 sequenced or ongoing with funding, an approximately tenfold increase in five years....
    • The Giant Otter: Giants of the Amazon

      Groenendijk, Jessica (White OwlBarnsley, UK, 2019)
      The aptly named giant otter is exceptionally well adapted to life in rivers, lakes and wetlands in tropical South America. Known in Spanish as lobo del rio or 'river wolf', it can be as long as a human is tall, and is the most social of the world's thirteen otter species. Each individual is identifiable from birth by its pale throat pattern, as unique as your fingerprint. Giant otters are top carnivores of the Amazon rainforest and have little to fear… except man.There are many reasons why scientists and tourists alike are fascinated by this charismatic species. Spend a day in the life of a close-knit giant otter family and you’ll realise why. Learn about their diet and hunting techniques, marking and denning behaviour, and breeding and cub-rearing strategies, including shared care of the youngest members. Become familiar with the complex life histories of individual otters over their 15-year lifespans. And accompany a young disperser during the trials and tribulations of a year spent looking for a mate and a home of its own.Although giant otters have few natural enemies, they became the target of the international pelt trade in the 1940s, and by the early 1970s had been hunted to the brink of extinction. Today, illegal hunting is a minor hazard. So why is the giant otter still endangered? Find out about current threats to the species and discover how a variety of conservation actions are benefiting the otters over the last decades. Then be a part of the solution by acting on the steps we can all take to help further giant otter conservation.
    • The i5K Initiative: Advancing arthropod genomics for knowledge, human health, agriculture, and the environment

      Evans, Jay D.; Brown, Susan J.; Hackett, Kevin J.; Robinson, Gene; Richards, Stephen; Lawson, Daniel; Elsik, Christine; Coddington, Jonathan; Edwards, Owain; Emrich, Scott; et al. (2013)
      Insects and their arthropod relatives including mites, spiders, and crustaceans play major roles in the world’s terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems. Arthropods compete with humans for food and transmit devastating diseases. They also comprise the most diverse and successful branch of metazoan evolution, with millions of extant species. Here, we describe an international effort to guide arthropod genomic efforts, from species prioritization to methodology and informatics. The 5000 arthropod genomes initiative (i5K) community met formally in 2012 to discuss a roadmap for sequencing and analyzing 5000 high-priority arthropods and is continuing this effort via pilot projects, the development of standard operating procedures, and training of students and career scientists. With university, governmental, and industry support, the i5K Consortium aspires to deliver sequences and analytical tools for each of the arthropod branches and each of the species having beneficial and negative effects on humankind.
    • The importance of behavioral research in zoological institutions: An introduction to the special issue

      Miller, Lance J.; Mellen, Jill D.; Kuczaj, Stan, A.II (2013)
      Behavioral research within zoological institutions (zoos and aquariums) has a long history that has helped to increase basic scientific knowledge and to facilitate the ability of institutions to make informed animal management decisions. Kleiman (1992) stated that "behavior research in zoos has enormous potential to contribute positively to the science of animal management, long-term breeding programs, conservation biology, and the advancement of scientific theory" (p. 309). As evidenced by the papers in this issue, behavioral research in zoos continues to be important. The purpose of this special issue is to highlight some of the behavioral research being conducted within zoos and aquariums and to demonstrate the importance of such work to zoological institutions and the greater scientific community. With a better understanding of the importance of behavioral research, we hope to inspire more zoological facilities to become involved either through funding/conducting research or by actively promoting the use of their animal collections for behavioral research to both the zoological and academic communities....
    • The influence of ambient noise on maternal behavior in a Bornean sun bear (Helarctos malayanus euryspilus)

      Owen, Megan A.; Hall, S.; Bryant, L.; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2014)
      …Here we correlate behavioral and vocal patterns in a Bornean sun bear (Helarctos malayanus euryspilus ) mother and cub with ambient noise levels during the 6‐month post‐partum period. We hypothesized that loud ambient noise would be correlated with changes in behavior, and predicted that noise would be negatively correlated with maternal care behavior, potentially masking cub vocalizations or providing a distraction to the mother….
    • The influence of captive breeding management on founder representation and inbreeding in the ‘Alalā, the Hawaiian crow

      Hedrick, Philip W.; Hoeck, Paquita E. A.; Fleischer, Robert C.; Farabaugh, Susan M.; Masuda, Bryce M. (2016)
      The ‘Alalā (Corvus hawaiiensis), or the Hawaiian crow, was historically only found on the island of Hawai‘i, declined greatly in the twentieth century, and was last seen in the wild in 2002. A captive breeding program was initiated in the 1970s and 113 individuals were in captivity in 2014....
    • The influence of social context on animal behavior: Implications for conservation

      Owen, Megan A. (University of California, Los Angeles.Los Angeles, 2014)
      The pervasive perturbation of natural systems by human activities has rapidly changed the social context of many free-ranging animals, potentially reducing the efficiency of reproductive strategies, as well as the effective population size (Ne). Behavioral flexibility can be beneficial to species confronted with rapid contextual change, and the range of flexibility may ultimately influence whether a species can buy the time needed to respond adaptively to change. From the perspective of conservation management, an understanding of species' behavioral flexibility may improve predictions regarding the effects of rapid environmental change on populations, and facilitate the application of behavioral knowledge to conservation management. Fundamentally, an animal's decision-making processes are responsible for generating flexible behavioral responses, thus the lability of mechanisms underpinning decision-making influences the flexibility of behavioral responses. Here I evaluate the study of animal decision-making across scientific disciplines. I critically assess the use of animal decision-making in conservation and suggest ways in which decision theory could enhance conservation strategies. My empirical research is focused on the influence of social context on behavioral flexibility in the endangered giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). The panda is a compelling species in which to study behavioral flexibility in the conservation context, because they are solitary, and females are seasonally-monoestrus and ovulate spontaneously. While energetic constraints play a prominent role in reproductive strategies, little is known regarding their mating system or the plasticity of reproductive behavior. Pandas are behaviorally expressive, using multiple modes of signaling during courtship, however, a holistic understanding of multimodal signaling in the species is lacking. Further, although populations are depleted throughout most of their range, the influence of social context on behavior and communication has not been described. Here we show that female signaling effort is generally lower in the exclusive presence of other females, suggesting that females can modify their behavioural efforts during the pre-ovulatory period according to the prevailing social context. We also found that multimodal signaling during social interactions did not consistently evoke an immediate, discrete response from receivers. Together these findings suggest that giant pandas demonstrate a limited degree of flexible behavioral responses dependent upon the prevailing social context.
    • The Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei): a report of 25 years of conservation effort

      Wilson, B.; Grant, Tandora D.; Van Veen, R.; Hudson, R.; Fleuchaus, D.; Robinson, O.; Stephenson, K.; Iverson, John B.; Grant, Tandora D.; Knapp, Charles R.; et al. (2016)
      Considered extinct by the late 1940s, the Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei) was re-discovered in 1970, and its existence confirmed in 1990. The 1970 re-discovery went largely unnoticed; in contrast, the 1990 “re-discovery” spawned a successful international recovery effort….
    • The past, present, and future of using social marketing to conserve biodiversity

      Veríssimo, Diogo (2019)
      Since the establishment of social marketing as a discipline, it was clear that environmental sustainability would be part of its scope. Yet, whereas the academic scope of the field was broadly defined, the origins of social marketing practice, which were heavily linked to the promotion of family planning, meant that the development of this practice-led field has been historically focused on public health....
    • The pitfalls of ignoring behaviour when quantifying habitat selection

      Roever, C.L.; Beyer, H.L.; Chase, Michael J.; van Aarde, R.J. (2014)
      Habitat selection is a behavioural mechanism by which animals attempt to maximize their inclusive fitness while balancing competing demands, such as finding food and rearing offspring while avoiding predation, in a heterogeneous and changing environment. Different habitat characteristics may be associated with each of these demands, implying that habitat selection varies depending on the behavioural motivations of the animal. Here, we investigate behaviour‐specific habitat selection in African elephants and discuss its implications for distribution modelling and conservation.
    • The plight of the northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni): is there still hope to prevent extinction?

      Ryder, Oliver A.; Hermes, R.; Goeritz, F.; Durrant, Barbara S.; Stejskal, J.; Hrudy, J.; Vahala, L.; Loring, Jeanne F.; Hildebrandt, T.B.; Szentiks, C.A.; et al. (Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife ResearchBerlin, 2015)
    • The population genetics of wild chimpanzees in Cameroon and Nigeria suggests a positive role for selection in the evolution of chimpanzee subspecies

      Mitchell, Matthew W.; Locatelli, Sabrina; Ghobrial, Lora; Pokempner, Amy A.; Sesink Clee, Paul R.; Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Nicholas, Aaron; Nkembi, Louis; Anthony, Nicola M.; Morgan, Bethan J.; et al. (2015)
      Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) can be divided into four subspecies. Substantial phylogenetic evidence suggests that these subspecies can be grouped into two distinct lineages: a western African group that includes P. t. verus and P. t. ellioti and a central/eastern African group that includes P. t. troglodytes and P. t. schweinfurthii. The geographic division of these two lineages occurs in Cameroon, where the rages of P. t. ellioti and P. t. troglodytes appear to converge at the Sanaga River. Remarkably, few population genetic studies have included wild chimpanzees from this region.
    • The role of den quality in giant panda conservation

      Wei, Wei; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Owen, Megan A.; Pilfold, Nicholas W.; Han, Han; Hong, Mingsheng; Zhou, Hong; Wei, Fuwen; Nie, Yonggang; Zhang, Zejun (2019)
      Small features in ecological systems are often underrepresented in conservation monitoring, management and policy. Tree cavities and other forms of refuge play disproportionately large ecological roles due to their importance for shelter and rearing vulnerable offspring....