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Li S.,Peking University | Mcshea W.J.,Conservation and Research Center | Wang D.,Peking University | Shao L.,Wanglang National Nature Reserve | Shi X.,Wolong National Nature Reserve
Ibis | Year: 2010

We report on the use of infrared-triggered cameras as an effective tool to survey phasianid populations in Wanglang and Wolong Nature Reserves, China. Surveys at 183 camera-trapping sites recorded 30 bird species, including nine phasianids (one grouse and eight pheasant species). Blood Pheasant Ithaginis cruentus and Temminck's Tragopan Tragopan temminckii were the phasianids most often detected at both reserves and were found within the mid-elevation range (2400-3600 m asl). The occupancy rate and detection probability of both species were examined using an occupancy model relative to eight sampling covariates and three detection covariates. The model estimates of occupancy for Blood Pheasant (0.30) and Temminck's Tragopan (0.14) are close to the naïve estimates based on camera detections (0.27 and 0.13, respectively). The estimated detection probability during a 5-day period was 0.36 for Blood Pheasant and 0.30 for Temminck's Tragopan. The daily activity patterns for these two species were assessed from the time/date stamps on the photographs and sex ratios calculated for Blood Pheasant (152M: 72F) and Temminck's Tragopan (48M: 21F). Infrared cameras are valuable for surveying these reclusive species and our protocol is applicable to research or monitoring of phasianids. © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 British Ornithologists' Union.

Freeman E.W.,Conservation and Research Center | Freeman E.W.,George Mason University | Schulte B.A.,Georgia Southern University | Brown J.L.,Conservation and Research Center
Zoo Biology | Year: 2010

Over a third of captive female African elephants in North America fail to exhibit normal estrous cycles based on long-term serum progestagen analyses. Why acyclicity occurs is unknown; however, the majority of noncycling females are ranked by keepers as the dominant individual within the group. To investigate the relationship between ovarian cyclicity status and keeper-determined social rank, observations were conducted on 33 female African elephants (18 cycling, 15 noncycling). Based on keeper evaluations, five cycling elephants were ranked dominant, seven in the middle and six as subordinate. In contrast, 10 noncycling elephants were ranked as dominate and five as subordinate with none ranked as middle. When comparing the behavior of the elephants by their keeper-determined rank, the dominant females dominant were significantly more likely to approach, displace and push. Similarly, keeper-determined subordinate females more frequently presented their hind end and held their ears erect. Behaviors initiated by one elephant toward another did not vary between cycling and noncycling females, except when the interaction with social rank was tested. Dominant, noncycling females initiated a higher percentage of "approach" and "displace" behaviors than both cycling and noncycling, subordinate elephants. Subordinate, noncycling elephants displayed the highest percentage of "ears erect." Social rank drives the interactions of ex situ female African elephants more than ovarian cyclicity status. Thus, behavioral interactions cannot be used to predict which cycling elephants are most likely to become acyclic. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Freeman E.W.,Conservation and Research Center | Freeman E.W.,George Mason University | Schulte B.A.,Georgia Southern University | Brown J.L.,Conservation and Research Center
Zoo Biology | Year: 2010

Free-ranging African elephants are highly social animals that live in a society where age, size, kinship, and disposition all contribute to social rank. Although captive elephant herds are small and largely comprises of unrelated females, dominance hierarchies are common. The goal of this study was to delineate how the behavior of captive female African elephants varies with respect to age and social rank based on a combination of keeper questionnaires and behavioral observations. "Body movements" and "trunk to" behaviors of 33 nonpregnant female African elephants housed at 14 North American zoos were recorded over 8 hr. Keepers at each facility also rated each elephant based on a series of questions about interactions with herdmates. The assessment of social rank based on observations correlated strongly with ranks assigned by keepers via the questionnaires. Observations and questionnaire responses indicated that body weight of the female, and to a lesser extent age, were significantly related to rates and types of "body movements" and that these demographic factors dictate the captive elephant hierarchy, similar to that observed in the wild. Many of the observed "body movements," such as back away, displace, push, and present, were correlated with keeper questionnaire responses about elephant interactions. However, none of the "trunk to" behaviors were related to age, size, or questionnaire responses even though they occurred frequently. In conclusion, we demonstrated that short-term behavioral observations and keeper questionnaires provided similar behavioral profiles for female African elephants housed in North American zoos. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Proctor C.M.,Conservation and Research Center | Freeman E.W.,George Mason University | Brown J.L.,Conservation and Research Center
Zoo Biology | Year: 2010

The North American African (Loxodonta africana) elephant population is not self-sustaining, in part because of a high rate of abnormal ovarian activity. About 12% of adult females exhibit irregular cycles and 31% do not cycle at all. Our earlier work revealed a relationship between dominance status and ovarian acyclicity, with dominant females being more likely to not cycle normally. One theory is that dominant females may be expending more energy to maintaining peace within the captive herd than for supporting reproduction. The goal of this study was to determine if there was a relationship among dominance status, serum cortisol concentrations, and ovarian acyclicity. We hypothesized that adrenal glucocorticoid activity would be increased in dominant, noncycling elephants as compared with subdominant individuals. Blood samples were collected weekly over a 2-year period in 81 females of known dominance and cyclicity status, and analyzed for cortisol. Based on a path analysis model (Reticular Action Model Or Near Approximation [RAMONA]), noncycling, dominant African elephant females did not have higher mean serum cortisol concentrations, or exhibit more variability (i.e., coefficient of variation, standard deviation) in cortisol secretion. This study suggests that alterations in adrenal activity are not related to dominance status nor contribute directly to acyclicity in captive African elephants. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Harris T.R.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Harris T.R.,Conservation and Research Center | Chapman C.A.,McGill University | Chapman C.A.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Monfort S.L.,Conservation and Research Center
Behavioral Ecology | Year: 2010

The influence of diet and food distribution on the socioecology of group-living species has long been debated, particularly for primates. It has typically been assumed that folivorous primates experience relatively little feeding competition due to the abundant, widespread nature of their food, freeing them to form large groups in response to predation, to disperse with relative ease, and to have egalitarian female social relationships. Recent studies, however, have come to different conclusions about the extent to which folivorous primates are limited by food and experience food competition and how these factors affect folivore socioecology. To better understand the selective pressures that diet places on folivores, we investigated how 2 small highly folivorous groups of colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza) in Kibale National Park, Uganda, responded behaviorally and physiologically to a steep reduction in availability of their most important foods. The monkeys decreased their reliance on their 2 most frequently eaten food species and increased their daily path length, number of feeding patches visited/day, size of individual feeding areas, percentage of time spent feeding, and dietary diversity. They also showed evidence of physiological costs, in that lactating females' urinary C-peptide levels (i.e., insulin production) declined as top foods became scarce, and parasite loads slightly, but significantly, increased in 2 of 3 adult females examined. These results suggest that highly folivorous primates, even in very small groups, may experience behavioral and physiological effects of food limitation, within-group scramble competition for food, and possibly substantial selective pressures during periods of food scarcity.

Swaisgood R.R.,San Diego Zoos Institute for Conservation Research | Wei F.,CAS Institute of Zoology | Wildt D.E.,Conservation and Research Center | Kouba A.J.,Memphis Zoo | And 2 more authors.
Biology Letters | Year: 2010

The giant panda is a conservation icon, but science has been slow to take up its cause in earnest. In the past decade, researchers have been making up for lost time, as reflected in the flurry of activity reported at the symposium Conservation Science for Giant Pandas and Their Habitat at the 2009 International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) in Beijing. In reports addressing topics ranging from spatial ecology to molecular censusing, from habitat recovery in newly established reserves to earthquake-induced habitat loss, from new insights into factors limiting carrying capacity to the uncertain effects of climate change, this symposium displayed the vibrant and blossoming application of science to giant panda conservation. Collectively, we find that we have come a long way, but we also reach an all-too-familiar conclusion: the more we know, the more challenges are revealed. While many earlier findings are supported, many of our assumptions are debatable. Here we discuss recent advancements in conservation science for giant pandas and suggest that the way forward is more direct application of emerging science to management and policy. © 2010 The Royal Society.

Chen S.-L.,Conservation and Research Center | Yeh W.-C.,Taiwan Forestry Research Institute
Zootaxa | Year: 2014

Sarasaeschna chiangchinlii sp. nov. collected from Daxi, Taoyuan County in northern Taiwan is described and diagnosed. Judging from male penile structure, this species is considered to belong to the pryeri-group of its genus. It is easily distin-guished from all known congeners in having peculiar sickle-shaped cerci in male. The habitats of S. chiangchinlii are mainly shaded brooks in lowland areas, which are exceptional for its Taiwanese relatives. Distributional maps and a key are also provided for the four species of Taiwanese Sarasaeschna. Copyright © 2014 Magnolia Press.

Al-Khafif G.D.,Conservation and Research Center | El-Banna R.,National Research Center of Egypt
BioMed Research International | Year: 2015

One of the most important advantages of LIBS that make it suitable for the analysis of archeological materials is that it is a quasi-nondestructive technique. Archeological mandibles excavated from Qubbet el Hawa Cemetery, Aswan, were subjected to elemental analysis in order to reconstruct the dietary patterns of the middle class of the Aswan population throughout three successive eras: the First Intermediate Period (FIP), the Middle Kingdom (MK), and the Second Intermediate Period (SIP). The bone Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios were significantly correlated, so the Sr/Ca ratios are considered to represent the ante-mortem values. It was suggested that the significantly low FIP Sr/Ca compared to that of both the MK and the SIP was attributed to the consumption of unusual sorts of food and imported cereals during years of famine, while the MK Sr/Ca was considered to represent the amelioration of climatic, social, economic, and political conditions in this era of state socialism. The SIP Sr/Ca, which is nearly the same as that of the MK, was considered to be the reflection of the continuity of the individualism respect and state socialism and a reflection of agriculture conditions amelioration under the reign of the 17th Dynasty in Upper Egypt. © 2015 Ghada Darwish Al-Khafif and Rokia El-Banna.

Songsasen N.,Conservation and Research Center | Rodden M.D.,Conservation and Research Center
International Zoo Yearbook | Year: 2010

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums Maned Wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP) was established almost 25 years ago. The goals of the MWSSP are to (1) maintain a viable self-sustaining captive population in North America, (2) enhance health and well-being of individuals living in North American zoos and (3) promote conservation of this species through education and field-conservation initiatives. Since its inception, the MWSSP and member institutions have supported studies on nutrition, medical management, behaviour and reproductive biology, and published a husbandry manual, which serves as a guide for captive management of Maned wolves Chrysocyon brachyurus in North and South American zoos. Furthermore, the MWSSP has provided funding for field studies aimed at identifying potential threats to wild populations in range countries, including Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina, as well as for the first Population and Habitat Viability Assessment Workshop for this species. Finally, the MWSSP has played an active role in promoting education and outreach efforts in both the United States and range countries. In this paper, we review and discuss the roles of the MWSSP in ex situ and in situ conservation of the Near Threatened Maned wolf. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 The Zoological Society of London.

Proctor C.M.,Conservation and Research Center | Freeman E.W.,Conservation and Research Center | Brown J.L.,Conservation and Research Center
Zoo Biology | Year: 2010

Surveys are being conducted to monitor the reproductive health of elephants managed by the TAG/SSP. This study summarizes results of a 2005 survey and compares data to one conducted in 2002. Surveys were returned for 100% and 79.0% of Asian and African elephants, respectively. Of those, 79.3% of Asian and 92.1% of African elephants had weekly progestagen data to assess ovarian cyclicity. For Asian elephants, acyclicity rates were similar between the 2002 and 2005 surveys (13.3% versus 10.9%), whereas irregular cycling increased in 2005 (2.6% versus 7.6%), respectively. For African elephants, the percentages of both acyclicity (22.0% versus 31.2%) and irregular cycling females (5.2% versus 11.8%) increased. In both species, ovarian inactivity was more prevalent in the older age categories (>30 years of age), but for African elephants also occurred in the reproductive aged groups. Reproductive tract pathologies did not account for the majority of acyclicity problems. Several females changed cyclicity status between the two surveys, including from noncycling to cycling, suggesting this is not an irreversible condition. However, seven African females went from cycling to abnormal or no cyclic activity. In summary, the incidence of ovarian acyclicity in Asian elephants is low and stable, but appears to be increasing in African females. These findings reinforce the need for long-term reproductive monitoring programs and continuous reproductive surveys, even for females not being considered for breeding. With more data we hope to determine what factors are related to changes in ovarian status and how to reverse the trend towards acyclicity. Zoo Biol 29:127-139, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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