• Conservation genomics of threatened animal species

      Steiner, Cynthia C.; Putnam, Andrea S.; Hoeck, Paquita E. A.; Ryder, Oliver A. (2013)
      The genomics era has opened up exciting possibilities in the field of conservation biology by enabling genomic analyses of threatened species that previously were limited to model organisms. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) and the collection of genome-wide data allow for more robust studies of the demographic history of populations and adaptive variation associated with fitness and local adaptation.…
    • Tumoral calcinosis form of hydroxyapatite deposition disease in related red-bellied short-necked turtles, Emydura subglobosa

      Burns, Rachel E.; Bicknese, Elizabeth; Westropp, J. L.; Shiraki, R.; Stalis, Isle H. (2013)
      Ten of 12 red-bellied short-necked turtles from a single clutch presented at 9 months of age with multiple white to tan nodules on their feet. Histologically, the nodules were composed of large periarticular deposits of mineralized crystalline material that extended into the joint spaces of interphalangeal joints and was surrounded by granulomatous inflammation and fibrosis. Crystallographic analysis determined the material to be apatite (calcium phosphate hydroxide) consistent with the tumoral calcinosis form of hydroxyapatite deposition disease (HADD). HADD has previously been described in aquatic turtles and rarely lizards and must be differentiated from gout in reptiles. A cause for the tumoral calcinosis lesions in these turtles could not be determined; however, based on previous reports in this species, a species-specific predilection, in conjunction with unknown environmental factors, is suspected. The use of the terms HADD, pseudogout (calcium pyrophosphate crystal deposition disease), and calcinosiscircumscripta has been inconsistent, creating confusion in the literature.
    • Social learning in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana africana)

      Greco, Brian J.; Brown, Tracey K.; Andrews, Jeff R. M.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Caine, Nancy G. (2013)
      …Social learning is assumed to be important for elephants, but evidence in support of that claim is mostly anecdotal. Using a herd of six adult female African bush elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, we evaluated whether viewing a conspecific’s interactions facilitated learning of a novel task….
    • Clinical challenge. Renal adenocarcinoma in a spitting cobra

      Belasco-Zeitz, Marianne; Pye, Geoffrey W.; Burns, Rachel E.; Pessier, Allan P. (2013)
      A 16-yr-old, male red spitting cobra (Naja pallida) (weight, 1.9 kg) presented with caudal coelomic swelling…. Blood from a male sibling (weight, 1.35 kg) was collected for comparison purposes and was reported with WBC < 5,000 × 106 cells/μl; uric acid, 6.4 mg/dl; calcium, 14.8 mg/dl; phosphorous, 6.6 mg/dl; total protein, 6.9 g/dl; and globulins, 4.2 g/dl…
    • Using rattlesnake microsatellites to determine paternity in captive bushmasters (Lachesis muta)

      Pozarowski, K.; Ivy, Jamie A.; Herrmann, H.W. (2013)
      We used 10 microsatellite DNA markers originally described for two Crotalus and one Sistrurus species to infer paternity in a captive‐hatched clutch of Lachesis muta. Although the dam was known, records listed two potential sires, which prevented the inclusion of those offspring in a captive breeding program....
    • Immunocontraception of captive exotic species: v. prolonged antibody titers in dall sheep (ovis dalli dalli) and domestic goats (capra hircus) immunized with porcine zona pellucida

      Lyda, Robin O.; Frank, Kimberly M.; Wallace, Roberta; Lamberski, Nadine; Kirkpatrick, Jay F. (2013)
      Native porcine zona pellucida (PZP) immunocontraception has been used to inhibit fertility in more than 80 species of ungulates, although the duration of contraception efficacy varies among species in both Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla. This study examined anti-PZP antibody titers in Dall sheep and domestic goats at the Milwaukee County Zoo, and also Himalayan tahr and Armenian Mouflon sheep at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and, for comparison, Altai wapiti, lowland wisent, Javan banteng, and southern pudu at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, all were given a primer dose and booster dose of PZP....
    • 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....
    • Evaluating the performance of captive breeding techniques for conservation hatcheries: A case study of the delta smelt captive breeding program

      Fisch, Kathleen M.; Ivy, Jamie A.; Burton, Ronald S.; May, Bernie (2013)
      The delta smelt, an endangered fish species endemic to the San Francisco Bay-Delta, California, United States, was recently brought into captivity for species preservation. This study retrospectively evaluates the implementation of a genetic management plan for the captive delta smelt population....
    • Management of neonatal mammals

      Frazier, H. B.; Hawes, Janet; Michelson, K. J. (University of Chicago PressChicago, Illinois, 2013)
      Techniques and philosophies regarding neonatal care of zoo animals continue to evolve. The cornerstone of neonatal care should be reproduction in species- appropriate family groups that meets the physical and behavioral needs of zoo animals and supports healthy and sustainable captive populations. Historically, zoo infant care practices have included removing infants or neonates from their dams for hand-rearing to “tame” them for public programs, to increase reproduction, or to decrease infant mortality caused by parental neglect....
    • 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....
    • Metabolic bone disease in juvenile koalas (phascolartcos cinereus)

      Pye, Geoffrey W.; Gait, Sarah Catherine; Mulot, Baptiste; de Asua, Maria Delclaux Real; Martinez-Nevado, Eva; Bonar, Christopher J.; Baines, Stephen J.; Baines, Elizabeth A. (2013)
      Due to climate restrictions in parts of North America and Europe, koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are housed indoors. Koala young (joeys) raised indoors are susceptible to the development of metabolic bone disease (MBD) due to a lack of exposure to natural ultraviolet light to themselves and their female paren....
    • Development of a case definition for clinical feline herpesvirus infection in cheetahs (acinonyx jubatus) housed in zoos

      Witte, Carmel L.; Lamberski, Nadine; Rideout, Bruce; Fields, Victoria; Teare, Cyd Shields; Barrie, Michael; Haefele, Holly; Junge, Randall; Murray, Suzan; Hungerford, Laura L. (2013)
      The identification of feline herpesvirus (FHV) infected cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and characterization of shedding episodes is difficult due to nonspecific clinical signs and limitations of diagnostic tests. The goals of this study were to develop a case definition for clinical FHV and describe the distribution of signs. Medical records from six different zoologic institutions were reviewed to identify cheetahs with diagnostic test results confirming FHV….
    • Winning the genetic lottery: Biasing birth sex ratio results in more grandchildren

      Thorgerson, C.M.; Brady, C.M.; Howard, H.R.; Mason, G.J.; Vicino, Greg A. (2013)
      Population dynamics predicts that on average parents should invest equally in male and female offspring; similarly, the physiology of mammalian sex determination is supposedly stochastic, producing equal numbers of sons and daughters. However, a high quality parent can maximize fitness by biasing their birth sex ratio (SR) to the sex with the greatest potential to disproportionately outperform peers. All SR manipulation theories share a fundamental prediction: grandparents who bias birth SR should produce more grandoffspring via the favored sex. The celebrated examples of biased birth SRs in nature consistent with SR manipulation theories provide compelling circumstantial evidence. However, this prediction has never been directly tested in mammals, primarily because the complete three-generation pedigrees needed to test whether individual favored offspring produce more grandoffspring for the biasing grandparent are essentially impossible to obtain in nature. Three-generation pedigrees were constructed using 90 years of captive breeding records from 198 mammalian species. Male and female grandparents consistently biased their birth SR toward the sex that maximized second-generation success. The most strongly male-biased granddams and grandsires produced respectively 29% and 25% more grandoffspring than non-skewing conspecifics. The sons of the most male-biasing granddams were 2.7 times as fecund as those of granddams with a 50∶50 bias (similar results are seen in grandsires). Daughters of the strongest female-biasing granddams were 1.2 times as fecund as those of non-biasing females (this effect is not seen in grandsires). To our knowledge, these results are the first formal test of the hypothesis that birth SR manipulation is adaptive in mammals in terms of grandchildren produced, showing that SR manipulation can explain biased birth SR in general across mammalian species. These findings also have practical implications: parental control of birth SR has the potential to accelerate genetic loss and risk of extinction within captive populations of endangered species.
    • California Condor North American Studbook (Gymnogyps californianus)

      Mace, Michael E. (Diego Zoo GlobalEscondido, CA, 2014)
    • Impacts of upper respiratory tract disease on olfactory behavior of the Mojave desert tortoise

      Germano, Jennifer M.; Van Zerr, Vanessa E.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Ken E.; Lamberski, Nadine (2014)
      Upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) caused by Mycoplasma agassizii is considered a threat to desert tortoise populations that should be addressed as part of the recovery of the species. Clinical signs can be intermittent and include serous or mucoid nasal discharge and respiratory difficulty when nares are occluded. This nasal congestion may result in a loss of the olfactory sense....
    • Computed tomography and magnetic resonance for the advanced imaging of the normal nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

      Bercier, Marjorie; Alexander, Kate; Gorow, April; Pye, Geoffrey W. (2014)
      The objective of this study is to describe computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) for the cross-sectional imaging of the normal anatomy of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), to provide reference figures for gross anatomy with corresponding CT and MR images, and to compare the features of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses of the normal koala with that reported in other domestic species. Advanced imaging can be used to aid in diagnosis, to plan surgical intervention, and to monitor therapeutic responses to diseases of the nasal passages in koalas....
    • Space use as an indicator of enclosure appropriateness in African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus)

      Hunter, Sally C.; Gusset, Markus; Miller, Lance J.; Somers, Michael J. (2014)
      A clear understanding of space use is required to more fully understand biological requirements of nonhuman animals in zoos, aid the design of exhibits, and maximize the animals' welfare. This study used electivity indexes to assess space use of two packs of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) and the appropriateness of two naturalistic, outdoor enclosures at the San Diego Zoo and Bronx Zoo....
    • Gastrointestinal torsions and intussusception in Northern koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) at San Diego Zoo (1976–2012)

      Joyce-Zuniga, Nicole M.; Roesler, Jennifer; Andrus, Chris Hamlin; Sutherland-Smith, Meg; Rideout, Bruce; Pye, Geoffrey W. (2014)
      The recent classification as threatened status of the northern koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) by the Australian Government highlights the importance of the conservation and health management of this iconic Australian marsupial. This case series describes gastrointestinal torsion and intussusception in six northern koalas (three males, three females, 2–11 yr old) at the San Diego Zoo from 1976 to 2012….
    • Esophageal dissection and hematoma associated with obstruction in an Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus)

      Phair, Kristen A.; Sutherland-Smith, Meg; Pye, Geoffrey W.; Pessier, Allan P.; Clippinger, Tracy L. (2014)
      A 42-year-old female Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) developed a sudden onset of excessive salivation and dysphagia. Esophageal obstruction was suspected; possibly related to palm frond ingestion. Esophageal endoscopy revealed a mat of plant material in the distal esophagus....