• In-air auditory psychophysics and the management of a threatened carnivore, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus)

      Owen, Megan A.; AE, Bowles (2011)
      Management criteria for preventing biologically-significant noise disturbance in large terrestrial mammals have not been developed based on a sound, empirical understanding of their sensory ecology. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternal denning areas on the coastal plain of Alaska’s North Slope hold large petroleum reserves and will be subject to increased development in the future. Anthropogenic noise could adversely affect polar bears by disrupting intra-specific communication, altering habitat use, or causing behavioral and physiological stress. However, little is known about the hearing of any large, carnivorous mammal, including bears; so, management criteria currently in use to protect denning female polar bears may or may not be proportionate and effective. As part of a comprehensive effort to develop efficient, defensible criteria we used behavioral psycho acousticmethods to test in-air hearing sensitivity of five polar bears at frequencies between 125 Hz and 31.5kHz. Results showed best sensitivity between 8 and 14 kHz. Sensitivity declined sharply between 14and 25 kHz, suggesting an upper limit of hearing 10-20 kHz below that of small carnivores. Low frequency sensitivity was comparable to that of the domestic dog, and a decline in functional hearingwas observed at 125 Hz. Thresholds will be used to develop efficient exposure metrics, which will be needed increasingly as the Arctic is developed and effects of disturbance are intensified by anticipated declines in polar bear health and reproduction associated with climate change driven sea ice losses.
    • Induced pluripotent stem cells from highly endangered species

      Ben-Nun, Inbar Friedrich; Montague, Susanne C; Houck, Marlys L.; Tran, Ha T; Garitaonandia, Ibon; Leonardo, Trevor R; Wang, Yu-Chieh; Charter, Suellen J.; Laurent, Louise C; Ryder, Oliver A.; et al. (2011)
      For some highly endangered species there are too few reproductively capable animals to maintain adequate genetic diversity, and extraordinary measures are necessary to prevent extinction. We report generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from two endangered species: a primate, the drill, Mandrillus leucophaeus and the nearly extinct northern white rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum cottoni. iPSCs may eventually facilitate reintroduction of genetic material into breeding populations.
    • Koala birth seasonality and sex ratios across multiple sites in Queensland, Australia

      Ellis, William A.H.; Bercovitch, Fred B.; FitzGibbon, S.; Melzer, A.; de Villers, D.; Dique, D.; (2010)
      ...he annual pattern of births was identical for males and females within locations, but overall annual patterns of births differed between the southern and northern sites. We conclude that koalas can bear offspring in every month of the year, but breed seasonally across Australia, and that a sex bias in the timing of births is absent from most regions.
    • 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....
    • Mating strategies

      Steyaert, Sam M.J.G.; Zedrosser, Andreas; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Filipczykova, Eva; Crudge, Brian; Dutta, Trishna; Sharma, Sandeep; Ratnayeke, Shyamala; Koike, Shinsuke; Leclerc, Martin; et al. (Cambridge University PressCambridge, 2020)
      The mating system and mating strategies of a species refer to the behavioral strategies used to obtain reproductive partners and ensure reproductive success. Common determining factors of mating systems and strategies are: the manner of mate acquisition, the number of mates obtained by an individual, as well as the absence or presence and duration of parental care….
    • Methods of estrus detection and correlates of the reproductive cycle in the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus)

      Frederick, Cheryl; Kyes, Randall; Hunt, Kathleen; Collins, Darin; Durrant, Barbara S.; Wasser, Samuel K.; (2010)
      The objective was to explore multiple methods for detecting and characterizing the reproductive cycle of the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus). Thirteen H. m. euryspilus females, loaned from the Malaysian government to US zoos, were used....
    • Miller-Fowler's Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine Current Therapy

      Miller, R. Eric; Lamberski, Nadine; Calle, Paul; Miller, R. Eric; Lamberski, Nadine; Calle, Paul (Elsevier Health Sciences, 2019)
      Bringing together a globally diverse range of timely topics related to zoo and wild animals, Fowler’s Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine, Volume 9 is an invaluable tool for any professional working directly with wildlife and zoo animals. The text’s user-friendly format guides readers through biology, anatomy, and special physiology; reproduction; restraint and handling; housing requirements; nutrition and feeding; surgery and anesthesia; diagnostics, and therapeutics for each animal....
    • Mixing genetically differentiated populations successfully boosts diversity of an endangered carnivore

      McLennan, E. A.; Grueber, Catherine E.; Wise, P.; Belov, K.; Hogg, Carolyn J. (2020)
      …We used an introduced population of Tasmanian devils Sarcophilus harrisii descended from two genetically differentiated source populations to illustrate the benefits of genetic admixture for translocation programmes. Devils are endangered due to an infectious cancer causing 80% population declines across their range since disease emergence in 1996…. As part of their conservation management, devils were introduced to Maria Island, Tasmania in an assisted colonization in 2012 with supplementations in 2013 and 2017….
    • Pedigree analysis reveals a generational decline in reproductive success of captive Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii): implications for captive management of threatened species

      Farquharson, Katherine A.; Hogg, Carolyn J.; Grueber, Catherine E. (2017)
      Captive breeding programs are an increasingly popular tool to augment the conservation of threatened wild populations. Many programs keep detailed pedigrees, which are used to prescribe breeding targets to meet demographic and genetic goals....
    • 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....
    • 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....
    • Reproductive life history of Thornicroft’s giraffe in Zambia: Giraffe reproduction in Zambia

      Bercovitch, Fred B.; Berry, Philip S.M.; (2010)
      Knowledge of the reproductive life history of giraffe in the wild is sparse. Giraffe have two fairly unusual reproductive patterns among large mammals: they can become pregnant while lactating, and calf mortality is extremely high. Longitudinal records are largely absent, so tracking reproductive parameters tends to combine information from captive and field studies. In this study, we examine longitudinal data obtained over a 33‐year period in one population of Thornicroft’s giraffe in order to chart their reproductive careers. We found that age at first parturition was 6.4 years, or slightly later than in captivity. Giraffe bred throughout the year, with cows producing offspring on average every 677.7 days. About half of the calves died before one year of age, but death of a calf did not reduce interbirth interval. We conclude that the lifetime reproductive success of giraffe is more dependent on longevity and calf survivorship than on reproductive rate.
    • 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)….
    • Sex-specific epigenetic profile of inner cell mass of mice conceived in vivo or by IVF

      Ruggeri, Elena; Lira-Albarrán, Saúl; Grow, Edward J; Liu, Xiaowei; Harner, Royce; Maltepe, Emin; Ramalho-Santos, Miguel; Donjacour, Annemarie; Rinaudo, Paolo (2020)
      …Animal studies indicate that IVF offspring display metabolic alterations, including hypertension, glucose intolerance and cardiac hypertrophy, often in a sexual dimorphic fashion. The detailed nature of epigenetic changes following in-vitro culture is, however, unknown. This study was performed to evaluate the epigenetic (using whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) and assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq)) and transcriptomic changes (using RNA-seq) occurring in the inner cell mass (ICM) of male or female mouse embryos generated in vivo or by IVF....
    • Sexing of mid-incubation avian embryos as a management tool for zoological breeding programs

      Jensen, Thomas; Mace, Michael E.; Durrant, Barbara S. (2012)
      …The ability to selectively incubate and hatch eggs of a desired sex represents a significant improvement in the long-term management of avian species. This study describes a successful method for in ovo sexing of embryos from stage 30 through 42 of incubation (Hamburger and Hamilton [1951] J Morphol 88:49–92).…
    • The acute phase protein ceruloplasmin as a non-invasive marker of pseudopregnancy, pregnancy, and pregnancy loss in the giant panda

      Willis, Erin L.; Kersey, David C.; Durrant, Barbara S.; Kouba, Andrew J. (2011)
      After ovulation, non-pregnant female giant pandas experience pseudopregnancy. During pseudopregnancy, non-pregnant females exhibit physiological and behavioral changes similar to pregnancy. Monitoring hormonal patterns that are usually different in pregnant mammals are not effective at determining pregnancy status in many animals that undergo pseudopregnancy, including the giant panda. Therefore, a physiological test to distinguish between pregnancy and pseudopregnancy in pandas has eluded scientists for decades. We examined other potential markers of pregnancy and found that activity of the acute phase protein ceruloplasmin increases in urine of giant pandas in response to pregnancy. Results indicate that in term pregnancies, levels of active urinary ceruloplasmin were elevated the first week of pregnancy and remain elevated until 20–24 days prior to parturition, while no increase was observed during the luteal phase in known pseudopregnancies. Active ceruloplasmin also increased during ultrasound-confirmed lost pregnancies; however, the pattern was different compared to term pregnancies, particularly during the late luteal phase. In four out of the five additional reproductive cycles included in the current study where females were bred but no birth occurred, active ceruloplasmin in urine increased during the luteal phase. Similar to the known lost pregnancies, the temporal pattern of change in urinary ceruloplasmin during the luteal phase deviated from the term pregnancies suggesting that these cycles may have also been lost pregnancies. Among giant pandas in captivity, it has been presumed that there is a high rate of pregnancy loss and our results are the first to provide evidence supporting this notion.
    • The role of bioacoustic signals in koala sexual selection: Insights from seasonal patterns of associations revealed with GPS-proximity units

      Ellis, William A.; FitzGibbon, Sean; Pye, Geoffrey W.; Whipple, Bill; Barth, Ben; Johnston, Stephen; Seddon, Jenny; Melzer, Alistair; Higgins, Damien; Bercovitch, Fred B. (2015)
      Despite being a charismatic and well-known species, the social system of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus—the only extant member of the family Phascolarctidae) is poorly known and much of the koala’s sociality and mating behaviors remain un-quantified. We evaluated these using proximity logging-GPS enabled tracking collars on wild koalas and discuss their implications for the mating system of this species. The frequency and duration of male-female encounters increased during the breeding season, with male-male encounters quite uncommon, suggesting little direct mating competition. By comparison, female-female interactions were very common across both seasons. Body mass of males was not correlated with their interactions with females during the breeding season, although male size is associated with a variety of acoustic parameters indicating individuality. We hypothesise that vocal advertising reduces the likelihood of male-male encounters in the breeding season while increasing the rate of male-female encounters. We suggest that male mating-season bellows function to reduce physical confrontations with other males allowing them to space themselves apart, while, at the same time, attracting females. We conclude that indirect male-male competition, female mate choice, and possibly female competition, mediate sexual selection in koalas.
    • 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....
    • Urinary profiles of progestin and androgen metabolites in female polar bears during parturient and non-parturient cycles

      Knott, Katrina K.; Mastromonaco, Gabriela F.; Owen, Megan A.; Kouba, Andrew J. (2017)
      Due to the environmental and anthropogenic impacts that continue to threaten the reproductive success of polar bears, a more detailed understanding of their reproductive cycle is needed. Captive populations of polar bears provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about the reproductive physiology of the species. Progestin (P4) and androgen (T) metabolites in urine, and their ratio (P4:T), were examined during 11 reproductive cycles of captive female polar bears (n = 4) to characterize the steroid hormone profile during pregnancy and determine possible variations related to reproductive failure. The concentration of hormone metabolites in urine were determined through enzyme immunoassay. Reproductive cycles were classified as pregnant (n = 3), anovulatory (n = 4) and ovulatory-non-parturient (n = 4) based on the changes in urinary hormone metabolite values and cub production. In the absence of a lactational suppression of estrus, elevated androgen concentrations suggested resumption of follicular development within 3 weeks of parturition. Breeding behaviours were most often observed when androgen values were at their highest or in decline. Ovulation was identified by a return to basal androgen concentration and elevation of progestins within 1–4 weeks after breeding. As a result, urinary concentrations of progestins were greater than androgens (P4:T ratio ≥ 1.0) during ovulatory cycles whereas the P4:T ratio was <1.0 when females were anovulatory. Progestins and the P4:T ratio of parturient cycles were greatest beginning in June/July (17–20 weeks after breeding) and reached a peak at 24–37 weeks (mid-October/mid-November, 4–9 weeks before birth of cubs). Non-invasive monitoring of hormone metabolites in urine provided a rapid determination of endocrine function for improved husbandry and reproductive management of polar bears in captivity. Further research is warranted to understand the reproductive endocrinology of polar bears and its impact on conservation and management of this species in captivity and the wild.
    • Wildlife-microbiome interactions and disease: Exploring opportunities for disease mitigation across ecological scales

      Williams, Candace L.; Caraballo-Rodríguez, Andrés Mauricio; Allaband, Celeste; Zarrinpar, Amir; Knight, Rob; Gauglitz, Julia M. (2018)
      … we will examine how the microbiome influences gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic dysregulation, reproduction, and disease susceptibility in captive wildlife. Investigation of wildlife, and specifically captive wildlife, affords a unique opportunity to gain understanding of the broad diversity of the associated microbiota and learn from nature’s molecular and microbial responses to disease. Studies like these could lead to the discovery of new interventions, ranging from dietary changes to the use of microbes or their natural products as treatment…