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Butti C.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Ewan fordyce R.,University of Otago | Ann Raghanti M.,Kent State University | Gu X.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | And 12 more authors.
Anatomical Record | Year: 2014

The structure of the hippopotamus brain is virtually unknown because few studies have examined more than its external morphology. In view of their semiaquatic lifestyle and phylogenetic relatedness to cetaceans, the brain of hippopotamuses represents a unique opportunity for better understanding the selective pressures that have shaped the organization of the brain during the evolutionary process of adaptation to an aquatic environment. Here we examined the histology of the cerebral cortex of the pygmy hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis) by means of Nissl, Golgi, and calretinin (CR) immunostaining, and provide a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) structural and volumetric dataset of the anatomy of its brain. We calculated the corpus callosum area/brain mass ratio (CCA/BM), the gyrencephalic index (GI), the cerebellar quotient (CQ), and the cerebellar index (CI). Results indicate that the cortex of H. liberiensis shares one feature exclusively with cetaceans (the lack of layer IV across the entire cerebral cortex), other features exclusively with artiodactyls (e.g., the morphologiy of CR-immunoreactive multipolar neurons in deep cortical layers, gyrencephalic index values, hippocampus and cerebellum volumetrics), and others with at least some species of cetartiodactyls (e.g., the presence of a thick layer I, the pattern of distribution of CR-immunoreactive neurons, the presence of von Economo neurons, clustering of layer II in the occipital cortex). The present study thus provides a comprehensive dataset of the neuroanatomy of H. liberiensis that sets the ground for future comparative studies including the larger Hippopotamus amphibius. Anat Rec, 297:670-700, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Bennett C.,Dallas Zoo | Torgerson-White L.,Macomb Community College | Fripp D.,Dallas Zoo | Watters J.,Brookfield Zoo | Petric A.,Okapi Species Survival Plan retired
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science | Year: 2015

The okapi (Okapia johnstoni), native to the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a large, solitary, and diurnal forest-dwelling ungulate highly sensitive to captive conditions. The captive population demonstrates persistent health problems, reproductive abnormalities, and several potentially abnormal repetitive behaviors. This study reports on locomotion and pacing in adult male and female okapis. Commonly, data on repetitive behavior have been derived from surveys. Although insightful, the results are often highly generalized and provide little information about the true preponderance and nature of such behavior in a population. In this study, direct observations determining how often and when a behavior of interest occurs are paired with information on factors (intrinsic and extrinsic) that can impact a nonhuman animal's propensity to perform repetitive behavior. More than half of the North American okapi population comprised the study population. Each animal was studied for 2 summer and winter seasons. Factors predictive of pacing in both males and females included 3 housing and habitat factors and 4 management factors. Patterns of locomotion and the rate and pattern of pacing in males when compared with females suggested different mechanisms may be driving these behaviors in the different sexes and that a sex-specific management strategy would benefit this species. © 2015, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, 2015.


Kruse T.N.,Sunrise Medical | Kruse T.N.,University of Oviedo | Garner M.M.,Northwest ZooPath | Bonar C.J.,Dallas Zoo
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2015

A retrospective examination of gross and histologic reports was performed to find common lesions in young and adult captive rock hyrax (Procavia capensis) from multiple zoo populations. One hundred and thirty-seven reports were analyzed from specimens that were submitted to Northwest ZooPath from 1997 to 2013. Histologic findings from necropsy and biopsy reports and causes of mortality only from necropsy reports were compiled to determine the most common findings. Within the study population, 41 (30%) were male, 62 (45%) were female, and the remainder (34, 25%) were of undetermined sex. Of the 111 necropsies, 87 (78%) died naturally, and 24 (22%) were euthanatized. There were 26 (19%) biopsies with no known status of the animal. The most frequent causes of death or reason for euthanasia were bacterial septicemia (n = 29, 21%) and degenerative cardiomyopathy (n = 29, 21%). The other most prevalent lesions were hemosiderosis (n = 55, 40%), pancreatic islet and interstitial fibrosis (n = 36, 26%), pneumonia of undetermined cause (n = 26, 19%), enteritis/colitis (n = 24, 18%), and renal tubular necrosis (n = 20, 15%). In many animals of this study population (n = 115, 84%), multiple lesions affecting multiple organs were found. © Copyright 2015 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Bennett C.L.,Dallas Zoo | Booth-Binczik S.D.,Dallas Zoo | Steele S.R.E.,Dallas Zoo
Zoo Biology | Year: 2010

Felids are adapted to eat whole prey, but in North American zoos are usually fed processed diets based on muscle meat. We analyzed proximate nutrient composition and digestibility by ocelots of a commercial processed diet and whole animals of five species. The processed diet did not differ significantly from the whole animals in proximate composition, although it was at one end of the range of results for all nutrients. Domestic chicks were significantly lower than all other dietary items tested in digestibility of energy and fat, and lower than rabbits and quail in digestibility of dry matter. There were no other significant differences. These results suggest that the commercial diet tested provides an appropriate nutritional environment for ocelots with respect to proximate constituents. Studies of vitamin and mineral composition and digestibility and comparisons to wild prey species should be conducted to permit a full evaluation. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


Gyimesi Z.S.,Louisville Zoological Garden | Burns R.B.,Louisville Zoological Garden | Campbell M.,Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden | Knightly F.,Denver Zoological Gardens | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2011

Fatal abomasal impaction, often combined with omasal impaction, was diagnosed in 11 bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus) from five different zoologic collections in the United States between 1981 and 2009. Nine of 11 cases occurred in young females (10 mo-7 yr old) and typical clinical signs prior to diagnosis or death included partial or complete anorexia, dehydration, and scant fecal production. Although the clinical histories in several of the earlier cases are incomplete, clinical signs were known to begin shortly after an anesthetic event in five of 11 bongo (45%). Pedigree analysis indicates that affected bongo were descendants of multiple founders and not from a single family line, suggesting that the development of abomasal impaction is not a strictly inheritable trait. Treatment, when attempted, was variable and included abomasotomy and removal of impacted ingesta, drug therapy (prokinetic drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, antimicrobials), fluid therapy, and administration of oral lubricants or intralesional stool softeners. Based on the outcomes in the cases presented here, the prognosis for bongo with abomasal impaction is considered poor to grave. Copyright 2011 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Smith T.D.,Slippery Rock University | Smith T.D.,University of Pittsburgh | Eiting T.P.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Bonar C.J.,Dallas Zoo | Craven B.A.,Pennsylvania State University
Anatomical Record | Year: 2014

The two major groups of primates differ in internal nasal anatomy. Strepsirrhines (e.g., lemurs) have more numerous turbinals and recesses compared with haplorhines (e.g., monkeys). Since detailed quantitative comparisons of nasal surface area (SA) have not been made, we measured mucosa in serially sectioned monkeys (Callithrix jacchus, Cebuella pygmaea). Data were compared with previously published findings on the mouse lemur, Microcebus murinus. The nasal airways were digitally reconstructed using computed tomography scanned heads of Cebuella and Microcebus. In addition, morphometric and functional analyses were carried out using segmented photographs of the histological sections of Cebuella and Microcebus. The SA of the ethmoturbinal complex is about half as large in marmosets compared with Microcebus, and is covered with less olfactory mucosa (18%-24% in marmosets, compared with ∼50% in Microcebus). Whereas the ethmoturbinal complex of Microcebus bears half of the total olfactory mucosa in the nasal airway, most (∼80%) olfactory mucosa is distributed on other surfaces in the marmosets (e.g., nasal septum). A comparison to previously published data suggests all primate species have less olfactory surface area (OSA) compared with other similar-sized mammals, but this is especially true of marmosets. Taken together, these findings support the hypothesis that there is a reduced OSA in at least some haplorhines, and this can be linked to diminished posterosuperior dimensions of the nasal fossae. However, haplorhines may have minimized their olfactory loss by redistributing olfactory mucosa on non-turbinal surfaces. Our findings also imply that airflow patterns in the olfactory region differ among primates. Anat Rec, 297:2093-2104, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


PubMed | Dallas Zoo
Type: Clinical Trial | Journal: Zoo biology | Year: 2010

Felids are adapted to eat whole prey, but in North American zoos are usually fed processed diets based on muscle meat. We analyzed proximate nutrient composition and digestibility by ocelots of a commercial processed diet and whole animals of five species. The processed diet did not differ significantly from the whole animals in proximate composition, although it was at one end of the range of results for all nutrients. Domestic chicks were significantly lower than all other dietary items tested in digestibility of energy and fat, and lower than rabbits and quail in digestibility of dry matter. There were no other significant differences. These results suggest that the commercial diet tested provides an appropriate nutritional environment for ocelots with respect to proximate constituents. Studies of vitamin and mineral composition and digestibility and comparisons to wild prey species should be conducted to permit a full evaluation.


PubMed | University of California at San Diego, Kinki University, Nihon University and Dallas Zoo
Type: | Journal: Steroids | Year: 2016

Bile alcohols and bile acids from gallbladder bile of the Arapaima gigas, a large South American freshwater fish, were isolated by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. The structures of the major isolated compounds were determined by electrospray-tandem mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance using (1)H- and (13)C-NMR spectra. The novel bile salts identified were six variants of 2-hydroxy bile acids and bile alcohols in the 5- and 5-series, with 29% of all compounds having hydroxylation at C-2. Three C27 bile alcohols were present (as ester sulfates): (24,25)-5-cholestan-2,3,7,12,24,26-hexol; (25)-5-cholestan-2,3,7,12,26,27-hexol, and (25)-5-cholestan-2,3,7,12,26,27-hexol. A single C27 bile acid was identified: (25)-2,3,7,12-tetrahydroxy-5-cholestan-26-oic acid, present as its taurine conjugate. Two novel C24 bile acids were identified: the 2-hydroxy derivative of allochenodeoxycholic acid and the 2-hydroxy derivative of cholic acid, both occurring as taurine conjugates. These studies extend previous work in establishing the natural occurrence of novel 2- and 2-hydroxy-C24 and C27 bile acids as well as C27 bile alcohols in both the normal (5) as well as the (5) allo A/B-ring juncture. The bile salt profile of A. gigas appears to be unique among vertebrates.


PubMed | Slippery Rock University, Dallas Zoo, University of Florida, NEOMED and 3 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007) | Year: 2015

In this report we provide data on dental eruption and tooth germ maturation at birth in a large sample constituting the broadest array of non-human primates studied to date. Over 100 perinatal primates, obtained from natural captive deaths, were screened for characteristics indicating premature birth, and were subsequently studied using a combination of histology and micro-CT. Results reveal one probable unifying characteristic of living primates: relatively advanced maturation of deciduous teeth and M1 at birth. Beyond this, there is great diversity in the status of tooth eruption and maturation (dental stage) in the newborn primate. Contrasting strategies in producing a masticatory battery are already apparent at birth in strepsirrhines and anthropoids. Results show that dental maturation and eruption schedules are potentially independently co-opted as different strategies for attaining feeding independence. The most common strategy in strepsirrhines is accelerating eruption and the maturation of the permanent dentition, including replacement teeth. Anthropoids, with only few exceptions, accelerate mineralization of the deciduous teeth, while delaying development of all permanent teeth except M1. These results also show that no living primate resembles the altricial tree shrew (Tupaia) in dental development. Our preliminary observations suggest that ecological explanations, such as diet, provide an explanation for certain morphological variations at birth. These results confirm previous work on perinatal indriids indicating that these and other primates telegraph their feeding adaptations well before masticatory anatomy is functional. Quantitative analyses are required to decipher specific dietary and other influences on dental size and maturation in the newborn primate.


News Article | December 23, 2016
Site: www.theguardian.com

More than 30 wild elephants were being readied on Friday evening for an airlift from Zimbabwe to captivity in China, according to wildlife advocates. The founder of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, Johnny Rodrigues, said on Friday that their plane was still at Victoria Falls airport because officials could not find scales big enough to weigh the animals, which were confined inside heavy crates. But once that was accomplished, he added, “they’re gone”. Some of the elephants are reportedly as young as three years of age. The live export of elephants is controversial, although legal. Wildlife advocates argue that elephants do not belong in captivity and the practice of wild capture disrupts the social structure of their herds. “Everything is wrong with [elephant exports],” said Daniela Freyer of the German-based conservation group Pro Wildlife, “starting from the welfare perspective. But also the conservation aspects are really important. There is a high mortality rate during capture and in transport and in captivity. It is morally not acceptable and not sustainable.” Dallas Zoo, which recently imported a number of wild elephants from Swaziland, says on its website that “those claims are unsubstantiated by science. Much of the information being cited is old, and doesn’t take into account the current methods of human care of elephants.” Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife management authority (ZimParks) announced in August that it would be capturing elephants from Hwange National Park in a conservation scheme that it said would repopulate another park in the country. But wildlife groups said at that time that they suspected the country was planning to export the elephants to China. Zimbabwe’s environment minister, Oppah Muchinguri, recently said: “Zim must sell its elephants because not only are they a global resource but also a local one, as it [the sale] will support the livelihoods of our local communities and for future generations.” Sharon Pincott, an elephant conservationist who monitored a clan of elephants in Hwange for 13 years, said: “What Zimbabwe is doing may be legal but it is in no way ethical, especially given all we know about elephant families today: their deep family bonds, their indisputable level of intelligence, the way they grieve.” Pincott said she did not know if some of the elephants being sent abroad could be the ones she studied for more than a decade. She also noted that the fragility of the young elephants could not be overstated as they were being deprived of their mothers’ milk. Patricia Awori of the African Elephant Coalition (AEC) Secretariat, a coalition of 29 countries that has proposed a ban on the export of African elephants outside their natural range, said: “The essence of being an elephant is that they live, function within and are shaped by their environment. Foraging for and consuming food, rolling in the mud, and frolicking with its siblings is an essential part of being an elephant. An elephant that ceases to be wild ceases to be.” The elephants will most likely be sent to the Shanghai Wild Animal Park and the Yunnan Wild Animal Park, according to Chunmei Hu, currently with the advocacy group the Endangered Species Fund in China. Hu has closely followed a previous export of wild Zimbabwe elephants to China in 2015. As of August, she said, the elephants were still in quarantine and she believes at least one of them is dead. Other zoos in China have requested African elephants, including the North Forest Zoo in Harbin, Ordos Zoo in inner Mongolia, and Beijing Wildlife Park, she added. Iris Ho, wildlife campaign manager at Humane Society International, said she was highly concerned over the elephant export: “The sales of baby elephants and other animals from Zimbabwe to China are possibly the worst-case scenario for wildlife caught in shady deals.” On the demand side, Ho said, “We have a country that continues to attract international condemnation for its deplorable treatment of iconic wild animals in captivity, from Pizza the polar bear in a Guanzhou shopping mall, to elephants forced to perform or languish in captivity.” And on the supply side, “We have a corrupt regime that disregards human rights and freedom, and that is selling its wildlife to the highest bidder with no meaningful oversight.” Efforts to reach ZimParks for comment were not responded to. Neither was an email to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species authority in Beijing.

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