• 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.
    • Long-term lemur research at Centre Valbio, Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

      Wright, P.C.; Erhart, E.M.; Tecot, S.; Baden, A.L.; Arrigo-Nelson, S.J.; Herrera, J.; Morelli, T.L.; Blanco, M.B.; Deppe, A.; Atsalis, Sylvia; et al. (Springer-VerlagBerlin, Heidelberg, 2012)
      We present findings from 25 years of studying 13 species of sympatric primates at Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Long-term studies have revealed that lemur demography at Ranomafana is impacted by climate change, predation from raptors, carnivores, and snakes, as well as habitat disturbance....
    • Potential effects of a major hurricane on Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) reproduction in the Mississippi Sound

      Miller, Lance J.; Mackey, A.D.; Hoffland, A.D.; Solangi, M.; SA, Kuczaj, II; (2010)
      ...The purpose of the current report is to document the possible effect of increased reproduction for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Data were utilized from ongoing opportunistic surveys conducted in the Mississippi Sound near Cat and Ship islands (see Fig. 1) as well as stranding data for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins provided by the Southeast Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network....
    • Relationship between behavioural diversity and faecal glucocorticoid metabolites: a case study with cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)

      Miller, Lance J.; Pisacane, CB; Vicino, Greg A. (2016)
      ... The goal of the current study was to continue efforts to validate behavioural diversity as an indicator of welfare using cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) as a model species. Behavioural and faecal glucocorticoid metabolite data were collected on 18 cheetah at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park over a period of three months to explore the relationship between behavioural diversity and adrenal hormones related to the stress response.....
    • Reproductive competition and fecal testosterone in wild male giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

      Nie, Yonggang; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Zhang, Zejun; Liu, Xiaobin; Wei, Fuwen (2012)
      ...Using global positioning system/very high frequency radiocollars to locate mating aggregations, we used behavioral observations and fecal testosterone assays to gain insight into male panda reproductive effort and strategies, and test theories relating to reproductive competition. Male pandas initially competed fiercely for access to females that were about to be fertile, but once male competitive status was determined, aggression rates declined....
    • Scent-marking behavior by female sloth bears during estrus

      Khadpekar, Yaduraj; Whiteman, John P.; Durrant, Barbara S.; Owen, Megan A.; Prakash, Sant (2021)
      … Important aspects of sloth bear biology and ecology, such as reproductive physiology and behavior, are largely unknown. Increased scent-marking by anogenital rubbing during breeding season has been recorded in other bear species. We studied the genital rubbing behavior of 37 captive female sloth bears (2–18 yr of age) at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility, India, for 4 breeding seasons over a period of 3.5 years (1 Jun 2015 to 31 Dec 2018)….
    • Seasonal and diurnal patterns of behavior exhibited by Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Mississippi Sound

      Miller, Lance J.; Solangi, M.; SA, Kuczaj, II; (2010)
      Many of the threats to bottlenose dolphins are anthropogenic factors including overfishing, high‐speed boats, chemical runoff, and noise pollution. Having a thorough understanding of the behavior and behavioral patterns of these animals can help with conservation plans to protect this species. This study examined the behavioral states and behavioral events of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Mississippi Sound....
    • Seed dispersal by a captive corvid: the role of the ‘Alalā (Corvus hawaiiensis) in shaping Hawai‘i's plant communities

      Culliney, Susan; Pejchar, Liba; Switzer, Richard A.; Ruiz-Gutierrez, Viviana (2012)
      ...The endangered ‘Alalā (Corvus hawaiiensis), the largest remaining species of native Hawaiian forest bird, was once common in mesic and dry forests on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, but today it exists solely in captivity. Prior to its extinction in the wild, the ‘Alalā may have helped to establish and maintain native Hawaiian forest communities by dispersing seeds of a wide variety of native plants....
    • Size-related differences in the thermoregulatory habits of free-ranging Komodo dragons.

      Harlow, Henry J.; Purwandana, Deni; Jessop, Tim S.; Phillips, John A.; (2010)
      Thermoregulatory processes were compared among three-size groups of free-ranging Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) comprising small (5–20 kg), medium (20–40 gm) and large (40–70 kg) lizards. While all size groups maintained a similar preferred body temperature of 35, they achieved this end point differently. Small dragons appeared to engage in sun shuttling behavior more vigorously than large dragons as represented by their greater frequency of daily ambient temperature and light intensity changes as well as a greater activity and overall exposure to the sun. Large dragons were more sedentary and sun shuttled less. Further, they appear to rely to a greater extent on microhabitat selection and employed mouth gaping evaporative cooling to maintain their preferred operational temperature and prevent overheating. A potential ecological consequence of size-specific thermoregulatory habits for dragons is separation of foraging areas. In part, differences in thermoregulation could contribute to inducing shifts in predatory strategies from active foraging in small dragons to more sedentary sit-and-wait ambush predators in adults.
    • Stereotypic behavior in wild marine carnivores?

      Miller, Lance J.; Kuczaj, S.; Herzing, D. (2011)
      ...The following commentary details the observations of wild lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) engaging in a stereotyped swimming pattern behind a research vessel north of Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas. We consider a possible explanation for the sharks' behavior and hope to stimulate conversation as well as increase examination of animal management routines in zoological facilities.
    • The Elephant Welfare Initiative: a model for advancing evidence-based zoo animal welfare monitoring, assessment and enhancement

      Meehan, C.; Greco, B.; Lynn, B.; Morfeld, K.; Vicino, Greg A.; Orban, D.; Gorsuch, C.; Quick, M.; Ripple, L.; Fournier, K.; et al. (2019)
      The Elephant Welfare Initiative (EWI) is an effort supported by a community of member zoos with the common goal of advancing evidence-based elephant-care practices that enhance welfare. The idea for the EWI came about following the completion of a large-scale North American elephant welfare study, which demonstrated that daily practices, such as social management, enrichment and exercise, play a critical role in improving the welfare of elephants in zoos....
    • The roles of competition and environmental heterogeneity in the maintenance of behavioral variation and covariation

      Dochtermann, Ned A.; Jenkins, Stephen H.; Swartz, Maryke J.; Hargett, Allison C. (2012)
      Many models of selection predict that populations will lose variation in traits that affect fitness. Nonetheless, phenotypic variation is commonly observed in natural populations. We tested the influences of competition and spatial heterogeneity on behavioral variation within and among populations of Merriam's kangaroo rats (Dipodomys merriami) and tested for the differential expression of trait correlations....
    • The rules of attraction: The necessary role of animal cognition in explaining conservation failures and successes

      Greggor, Alison L.; Berger-Tal, Oded; Blumstein, Daniel T. (2020)
      Integrating knowledge and principles of animal behavior into wildlife conservation and management has led to some concrete successes but has failed to improve conservation outcomes in other cases. Many conservation interventions involve attempts to either attract or repel animals, which we refer to as approach/avoidance issues....
    • Visitor reaction to pacing behavior: influence on the perception of animal care and interest in supporting zoological institutions

      Miller, Lance J. (2012)
      Many publications within the field of zoo animal welfare have stated the importance of decreasing stereotypic behavior (e.g., pacing) to help ensure a positive visitor experience. The idea behind these statements is that visitors want to see animals engaged in natural behavior...