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Lukas K.E.,Cleveland Metroparks Zoo | Ross S.R.,Lincoln Park Zoo
Anthrozoos | Year: 2014

Zoos play a unique role in wildlife conservation, particularly in the area of conservation education. Because of their popularity and flagship status for broader conservation issues, great apes may prove to be one of the most important educational conduits in zoos. In 2002, we surveyed knowledge of and attitudes toward African apes in visitors to the Lester E. Fisher Great Ape House (GAH) at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, IL, USA. In the current study, we replicated the survey to document attitudes to and knowledge of the newly renovated and naturalistic Regenstein Center for African Apes (RCAA) and compared results. We found RCAA was no more effective than GAH in increasing visitor knowledge about apes, although visitors answered more questions correctly upon exit than on entrance in both buildings. We did find, however, that RCAA was more effective than GAH at improving visitor attitudes toward chimpanzees. Specifically, upon exiting, RCAA visitors showed increased naturalistic attitudes and reduced utilitarian attitudes toward chimpanzees. Exhibiting apes in naturalistic settings may therefore be an effective way to increase visitor concern for apes in nature and in zoos. Zoos and aquariums investing in new, naturalistic ape exhibits with the aim to educate about, provide emotional connections to, improve attitudes toward, and ultimately increase conservation of apes, need to then critically evaluate whether the actual effect of the designed environment on visitors—above and beyond intended benefits for the animals—is commensurate with the investment. The broader impacts of even small shifts in visitor attitude in the right direction could be significant. These findings may vary across species and settings, however, and should be assessed accordingly. © ISAZ 2014.

Ter Beest J.M.,The Wilds | Schook M.W.,Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Zoo Biology | Year: 2016

The endangered Persian onager (Equus hemionus onager) has experienced significant population declines over the past century due to poaching, habitat destruction, and resource competition. Remaining animals in zoos and the wild are regionally isolated. Artificial insemination (AI) may be particularly useful as a means of aiding in global genetic management of these isolated populations. The first successful AI in onagers was performed in 2009 utilizing urinary hormone analyses and regular transrectal ultrasound examinations that required specialized handling devices. A method for estrous synchronization in this species would alleviate the need for daily handling and provide a more feasible approach to AI. This study tested long-acting controlled-release preparations of estradiol and progesterone, followed by a single injection of prostaglandin 10 days later, in six adult female Persian onagers to determine whether ovulation would occur within a narrow window of time. Serial transrectal ultrasound exams were performed to determine the day of ovulation following hormone treatment. Means and standard deviations were determined for the lengths of follicular and luteal phases, follicle sizes, and time to ovulation, and compared to historical data in this species. All six onagers ovulated between Days 18 and 22, with three females ovulating on Day 19, as determined by the presence of a corpus luteum. This is an apparently safe and effective method for the synchronization of estrous cycles in the Persian onager, and may be used to develop a timed AI protocol for use at institutions that do not have specialized handling facilities to enable regular transrectal ultrasound. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Kane-Sutton M.,Case Western Reserve University | Kinter B.,Case Western Reserve University | Dennis P.M.,Cleveland Metroparks Zoo | Koonce J.F.,Case Western Reserve University
Journal of Great Lakes Research | Year: 2010

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) infects wild and hatchery fish in Europe, Japan, and the Great Lakes and Pacific regions of North America. The virus was associated with a large die-off of yellow perch, Perca flavescens, in Lake Erie in 2006. To determine the infection pattern of VHSV, we sampled yellow perch during the spring, summer, and fall of 2007 and 2008 in the central basin of Lake Erie during routine sampling by the Ohio Division of Wildlife with bottom trawls in nearshore, mid-depth, and offshore locations near the Chagrin River. The Ohio Department of Agriculture's Diagnostic Laboratories and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's La Crosse Fish Health Center tested for VHSV from homogenized samples obtained from yellow perch kidney, spleen, and brain. At each lake sample location, we also measured temperature, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity. In both years, we found yellow perch infected with VHSV during a three-week period starting in the last week of spawning to early June. A high proportion of adult male and female yellow perch tested positive for VHSV during the infection period in our sample population. Infection appeared to be associated with temperatures between 12 and 18 °C and with significantly higher yellow perch densities during spawning. No large mortalities of yellow perch were observed during the VHSV infection period in 2007 and 2008. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Muehlenbein M.P.,Indiana University Bloomington | Sakong R.,Red Ape Encounters | Prall S.,Indiana University Bloomington | Fuller G.,Cleveland Metroparks Zoo | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Nature-based tourism can generate important revenue to support conservation of biodiversity. However, constant exposure to tourists and subsequent chronic activation of stress responses can produce pathological effects, including impaired cognition, growth, reproduction, and immunity in the same animals we are interested in protecting. Utilizing fecal samples (N = 53) from 2 wild habituated orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus morio) (in addition to 26 fecal samples from 4 wild unhabituated orangutans) in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, we predicted that i) fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations would be elevated on the day after tourist visitation (indicative of normal stress response to exposure to tourists on the previous day) compared to samples taken before or during tourist visitation in wild, habituated orangutans, and ii) that samples collected from habituated animals would have lower fecal glucocorticoid metabolites than unhabituated animals not used for tourism. Among the habituated animals used for tourism, fecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels were significantly elevated in samples collected the day after tourist visitation (indicative of elevated cortisol production on the previous day during tourist visitation). Fecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels were also lower in the habituated animals compared to their age-matched unhabituated counterparts. We conclude that the habituated animals used for this singular ecotourism project are not chronically stressed, unlike other species/populations with documented permanent alterations in stress responses. Animal temperament, species, the presence of coping/escape mechanisms, social confounders, and variation in amount of tourism may explain differences among previous experiments. Acute alterations in glucocorticoid measures in wildlife exposed to tourism must be interpreted conservatively. While permanently altered stress responses can be detrimental, preliminary results in these wild habituated orangutans suggest that low levels of predictable disturbance can likely result in low physiological impact on these animals. © 2012 Muehlenbein et al.

Bauernfeind A.L.,George Washington University | de Sousa A.A.,University of Coimbra | Avasthi T.,George Washington University | Dobson S.D.,Dartmouth College | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2013

The neuronal composition of the insula in primates displays a gradient, transitioning from granular neocortex in the posterior-dorsal insula to agranular neocortex in the anterior-ventral insula with an intermediate zone of dysgranularity. Additionally, apes and humans exhibit a distinctive subdomain in the agranular insula, the frontoinsular cortex (FI), defined by the presence of clusters of von Economo neurons (VENs). Studies in humans indicate that the ventral anterior insula, including agranular insular cortex and FI, is involved in social awareness, and that the posterodorsal insula, including granular and dysgranular cortices, produces an internal representation of the body's homeostatic state. We examined the volumes of these cytoarchitectural areas of insular cortex in 30 primate species, including the volume of FI in apes and humans. Results indicate that the whole insula scales hyperallometrically (exponent = 1.13) relative to total brain mass, and the agranular insula (including FI) scales against total brain mass with even greater positive allometry (exponent = 1.23), providing a potential neural basis for enhancement of social cognition in association with increased brain size. The relative volumes of the subdivisions of the insular cortex, after controlling for total brain volume, are not correlated with species typical social group size. Although its size is predicted by primate-wide allometric scaling patterns, we found that the absolute volume of the left and right agranular insula and left FI are among the most differentially expanded of the human cerebral cortex compared to our closest living relative, the chimpanzee. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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