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Zoo Biology

Kylen Gartland, Monica McDonald, Stephanie Braccini Slade, Frances White, Crickette Sanz
Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in zoos are housed in family or bachelor groups to maximize social opportunities. While wild bachelor groups are transient, all-male groups in zoos may be maintained for many years. Captive bachelor groups need to be carefully monitored, particularly during periods of demographic transition, due to the possibility for escalating aggression. We examined behavioral changes in a bachelor group at the Saint Louis Zoo following two significant alterations in group composition: (1) the introduction of two immature related males in 2011 and (2) the death of the dominant silverback in 2015...
October 29, 2018: Zoo Biology
David M Powell, Joseph Lan, Curtis Eng
Population management euthanasia, or culling, is a recognized tool for managing animal populations in human care. Previous research in zoos has shown that animal care staff attitudes about culling vary based on gender, job type, awareness of culling, the taxon in question for culling, and situational factors, but the attitudes of zoo veterinarians have not been studied previously, despite the fact that they are often tasked with carrying out euthanasia. We surveyed a sample of currently employed, zoo-based veterinarians in the United States on their knowledge and attitudes about population management euthanasia...
October 23, 2018: Zoo Biology
Lance J Miller, Jerry F Luebke, Jennifer Matiasek
African and Asian elephants are popular within zoos, however there is currently limited information on how viewing them impacts zoo visitors. The goal of the current study was to examine the relationship between viewing elephants in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoo visitors' reported conservation intent and perceptions of animal welfare. Visitors were systematically selected to fill out questionnaires following elephant observation at nine facilities throughout North America...
September 26, 2018: Zoo Biology
Kelley A Winship, Holli C Eskelinen
This study assessed the interest toward novel video clips as enrichment stimuli in two species of captive dolphins (Tursiops: n = 11; Steno: n = 5). Videos were played at underwater viewing windows while the animals were housed with conspecifics, and responses were subsequently analyzed based on general content of each novel video. Interest levels (i.e., percentage of time watching and behavioral rate) were compared between species and within species across video categories. While the varied video contexts did not produce significant differences among the time spent watching or behaviors observed, species differences and sex differences were noted...
September 13, 2018: Zoo Biology
Stephanie Jayson, Amanda Ferguson, Matthias Goetz, Andrew Routh, Benjamin Tapley, Luke Harding, Christopher J Michaels, Jeff Dawson
It is vital to provide appropriate nutrition to maintain healthy populations in conservation breeding programs. Knowledge of the wild diet of a species can be used to inform captive diet formulation. The nutritional content of the wild diet of the critically endangered mountain chicken frog (Leptodactylus fallax) is unknown, like that of most amphibians. In this study, we analyzed the nutritional content of food items that comprise 91% of the wild diet of L. fallax, by dry weight of food items, and all food items offered to captive L...
September 2018: Zoo Biology
Ari H Fustukjian, Jennifer E Flower, Gayle Sirpenski, Allison D Tuttle
Mystic Aquarium has successfully maintained an active breeding population of African penguins since 1990. Between 1990 and 2015, 477 eggs were laid, 84 of which were recommended for rearing according to the SSP Breeding and Transfer Plan. Sixty-five percent hatched successfully, and total fertility ranged from 56% to 78%. Of the 55 hatchlings, 60% of chicks reached fledgling age (80 days). Of the 22 chicks that died before fledging, 59% died within 7 days of hatching, and 82% within 30 days of hatching. Categories of mortality were broken down into the following categories: failure to thrive (in the absence of a definitive cause of death) (41%), respiratory disease (32%), parent-associated trauma (13%), congenital defects (9%), and gastrointestinal disease (5%)...
September 2018: Zoo Biology
Michael Hutchins, Peter P Marra, Ed Diebold, Michael D Kreger, Christine Sheppard, Sara Hallager, Colleen Lynch
As threats to migratory birds in the Western Hemisphere, including North America, intensify and bird populations decline, there is a growing interest among zoo biologists in the conservation and management of these taxa. The purpose of this article is to explore the role that Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited zoos and aquariums either are playing or could play in the conservation and management of migratory birds. Topics explored include: (1) Public education and advocacy; (2) Captive breeding and reintroduction; (3) In situ conservation; (4) Tracking and monitoring; (5) Research/technology development; and (6) Sustainability/green practices; and (7) Partnerships...
September 2018: Zoo Biology
Lydia M Hopper, Katherine A Cronin, Stephen R Ross
There are two commonly-used methods for calculating primates' personality dimensions, behavioral assessments and surveys, which can be used separately or in conjunction. However, these methods have limitations. Behavioral assessments, such as the novel object test or human intruder test, often require subjects to be separated and demand highly-controlled conditions. This is likely not feasible in many zoological institutions. Furthermore, it may be difficult to replicate methods across institutions. While surveys are easier to implement, the most commonly used one - the Hominoid Personality Questionnaire (HPQ) - is long and can be time consuming to complete, especially if multiple individuals need assessing...
September 2018: Zoo Biology
Paul E Rose, Imogen Lloyd, James E Brereton, Darren P Croft
Wild flamingos are known to forage overnight, but little is known of their nocturnal activity patterns in captivity. Captive flamingos can show daytime inactivity, reflecting natural periods of resting and loafing documented in wild birds. Assessment of behavior outside of normal zoo opening hours can provide more detailed information on how animals use the space provided to them, and highlights how enclosure areas not commonly occupied during the day may still be important for inhabitants at other times. We examine whether captive flamingos at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre change their enclosure usage and behavior overnight compared to that observed during daylight...
September 2018: Zoo Biology
Lara C Metrione, Helen L Bateman, William F Swanson, Linda M Penfold
Propagation of giant river otters (GRO) in zoos is inconsistent: some pairs never reproduce while others are prolific in producing young but can be hindered by low cub survival. Developing effective breeding programs requires understanding normal reproductive parameters and behavior. Fecal samples were collected for 6-16 months from five breeding pairs, two individual females, and one female pair at seven zoos, and analyzed for fecal progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and glucocorticoid (FGM) metabolites via enzyme immunoassay...
September 2018: Zoo Biology
Rangsinee Sankhom, Natapot Warrit, Amporn Wiwegweaw
The eastern sarus crane, Grus antigone sharpii, is distributed in the Indochina area, though it has become extinct in Thailand. The Thai government has tried to repopulate the cranes using wild individuals from Cambodia as initial breeding stock. Although captive breeding can reintroduce species back into the wild, the genetic diversity of the population is also important. This study aimed to screen microsatellite markers to investigate the genetic diversity of G. a. sharpii from two breeding facilities in Thailand and to assess its potential for future conservation programs...
September 2018: Zoo Biology
Benjamin B Norton, Devin Tunseth, Kali Holder, Michael Briggs, Lee-Ann C Hayek, Suzan Murray
The lion (Panthera leo) is an iconic resident of zoos and wild animal parks throughout the world. Regular assessment of the morbidity of captive lions is necessary to address wellness concerns and improve the healthcare and management of this vulnerable species. In an effort to understand disease morbidity broadly and guide future inquiries into captive lion health, we distributed a questionnaire that emphasized diseases of organ systems rather than individual diagnoses. We sent the questionnaire to 108 American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) institutions housing lions between 2001 and 2016...
September 2018: Zoo Biology
Michael L Monson, Patricia M Dennis, Kristen E Lukas, Katherine L Krynak, Sarah R Carrino-Kyker, David J Burke, Mandi W Schook
We evaluated whether increasing the hay-to-grain ratio offered to Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo would reduce oral stereotypies and alter feeding behaviors, maintain or increase serum calcium-to-phosphorus ratio, decrease serum insulin-to-glucose ratio and salivary insulin, and alter fecal bacterial community structure. Giraffe transitioned to a ∼90:10 hay-to-grain ratio in even increments over 8 weeks. A ration balancer was added during the seventh week of transition to ensure proper mineral and nutrient balance...
September 2018: Zoo Biology
Emma Mellor, Heather McDonald Kinkaid, Georgia Mason
This paper reviews a way of investigating health and welfare problems in captive wild animals (e.g., those in zoos, aviaries, aquaria, or aquaculture systems) that has great potential, but to date has been little used: systematically comparing species with few or no health and welfare issues to those more prone to problems. Doing so empirically pinpoints species-typical welfare risk and protective factors (such as aspects of their natural behavioral biology): information which can then be used to help prevent or remedy problems by suggesting new ways to improve housing and husbandry, and by identifying species intrinsically best suited to captivity...
September 2018: Zoo Biology
Hani D Freeman, Michelle Wood, Mandi W Schook, Katherine A Leighty, Shana R Lavin, Susan Wiebe, Tracy E Blowers, Rachel Daneault, Natalie Mylniczenko, Catharine J Wheaton
Large flying foxes (Pteropus vampyrus) are a socially complex species. In situ colonies typically comprise thousands of individuals in small harems of one male to many females. In ex situ environments, all-male colonies are becoming more common due to a surplus of males in the population. There is limited information describing the hormonal and behavioral patterns of all-male colonies during the breeding season. We assessed seasonal changes in hormones and behavior in an all-male colony of 12 large flying foxes at Disney's Animal Kingdom® ...
July 22, 2018: Zoo Biology
Lauren Lee, Nathan Tirrell, Christian Burrell, Scott Chambers, Steve Vogel, Eric T Domyan
Maintenance of ex situ populations for species conservation is a collaborative effort involving multiple agencies, institutions, and individuals around the world. Gentoo penguins (Pyogoscelis papua) are one species involved in such a conservation effort, and a Species Survival Plan (SSP) has been put in place by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to foster their long-term sustainability. As a part of their SSP, a Breeding and Transfer Plan has been created to support interagency exchanges of specimens...
July 11, 2018: Zoo Biology
Mark James Learmonth, Sally Sherwen, Paul H Hemsworth
The behavior of zoo animals may be influenced by visitors, with possible implications on animal welfare. We examined the effects of the presence of visitors on the presence and visibility of free-ranging quokkas (Setonix brachyurus) in preferred areas of a walk-through enclosure at Melbourne Zoo, Australia. In a controlled experiment, two visitor treatments were randomly imposed: (1) enclosure open to visitors as normal ("Open") and (2) enclosure closed to visitors ("Closed"). Treatments were imposed for 2-day periods, with five replicates of each treatment (10 2-day periods in total)...
July 10, 2018: Zoo Biology
Priscilla P Grunauer, Justin W Walguarnery
Digital devices, including tablet computers and other touchscreens, can potentially serve as flexible and convenient means for providing behavioral enrichment activities to captive primates. Despite increased interest in incorporating technology into enrichment programs, no direct quantitative comparison has previously been made between the effectiveness of typical tactile enrichment activities and enrichment activities on digital devices. One way in which these activities differ is in the degree of controllability afforded the animals in interacting with the enrichment objects, since digital devices will be limiting to varying degrees based on the particulars of software and the interface format...
July 5, 2018: Zoo Biology
Mary I Thurber, Mark Greenberg, Dawn Weiss, Lynn Richardson, Andrew Stallard, Nadine Lamberski
A female western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) infant was delivered by cesarean section (C-section) to an 18-year-old primiparous dam after prolonged labor. The infant required resuscitation at birth and was hospitalized for management of pneumonia and associated respiratory distress secondary to the aspiration of meconium-stained amniotic fluid. The infant received nine days of intensive care with respiratory support, antibiotics, intravenous fluid therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, bronchodilators, and chest physiotherapy...
July 4, 2018: Zoo Biology
Gail M Simpson, Grace Fuller, Kristen E Lukas, Christopher W Kuhar, Helena Fitch-Snyder, Jessica Taylor, Patricia M Dennis
Delineating patterns of morbidity can reveal management practices in need of reassessment to improve individual welfare, as well as population health and sustainability. We reviewed medical records from 38 North American zoological institutions for 276 slender lorises, slow lorises, and pottos born between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 2010. This sample included animals identified as 116 Nycticebus pygmaeus, 84 N. coucang, 48 Loris tardigradus tardigradus, 6 L.t. nordicus (now classified as L. lydekkerianus nordicus), and 22 Perodicticus potto...
July 3, 2018: Zoo Biology
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