Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology

Chicago, IL, United States

Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology

Chicago, IL, United States

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Santymire R.M.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology | Livieri T.M.,Prairie Wildlife Research 308 | Branvold-Faber H.,Southside Animal Hospital | Marinari P.E.,Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology | Year: 2014

In an attempt to save the species from extinction, the last remaining 18 black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) were trapped up from the wild to initiate a captive breeding program. Nearly 30 years later more than 8,000 black-footed ferrets have been produced in captivity and approximately 4,100 animals have been reintroduced into 20 sites in eight US states (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana), Mexico and Canada. However, full recovery of the species has yet to be achieved, mainly due to limited viable habitat, disease and reduced fecundity. This chapter will highlight the advances in the black-footed ferret recovery program over the last 10 years including: (1) adaptive management techniques employed for the captive population; (2) development of new reintroduction sites and associated challenges facing wild black-footed ferrets; and (3) optimization of assisted reproductive techniques to secure the future of this rare species. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Lembo T.,University of Glasgow | Lembo T.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology | Hampson K.,University of Sheffield | Kaare M.T.,Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute | And 5 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2010

Background: Canine rabies causes many thousands of human deaths every year in Africa, and continues to increase throughout much of the continent. Methodology/Principal Findings: This paper identifies four common reasons given for the lack of effective canine rabies control in Africa: (a) a low priority given for disease control as a result of lack of awareness of the rabies burden; (b) epidemiological constraints such as uncertainties about the required levels of vaccination coverage and the possibility of sustained cycles of infection in wildlife; (c) operational constraints including accessibility of dogs for vaccination and insufficient knowledge of dog population sizes for planning of vaccination campaigns; and (d) limited resources for implementation of rabies surveillance and control. We address each of these issues in turn, presenting data from field studies and modelling approaches used in Tanzania, including burden of disease evaluations, detailed epidemiological studies, operational data from vaccination campaigns in different demographic and ecological settings, and economic analyses of the cost-effectiveness of dog vaccination for human rabies prevention. Conclusions/Significance: We conclude that there are no insurmountable problems to canine rabies control in most of Africa; that elimination of canine rabies is epidemiologically and practically feasible through mass vaccination of domestic dogs; and that domestic dog vaccination provides a cost-effective approach to the prevention and elimination of human rabies deaths. © 2010 Lembo et al.


Poessel S.A.,Colorado State University | Biggins D.E.,U.S. Geological Survey | Santymire R.M.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology | Livieri T.M.,Prairie Wildlife Research | And 2 more authors.
General and Comparative Endocrinology | Year: 2011

Potential stressors of wildlife living in captivity, such as artificial living conditions and frequent human contact, may lead to a higher occurrence of disease and reduced reproductive function. One successful method used by wildlife managers to improve general well-being is the provision of environmental enrichment, which is the practice of providing animals under managed care with environmental stimuli. The black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) is a highly-endangered carnivore species that was rescued from extinction by removal of the last remaining individuals from the wild to begin an ex situ breeding program. Our goal was to examine the effect of environmental enrichment on adrenocortical activity in ferrets by monitoring fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM). Results demonstrated that enrichment lowered FGM in juvenile male ferrets, while increasing it in adult females; enrichment had no effect on FGM in juvenile females and adult males. These results correspond with our findings that juvenile males interacted more with the enrichment items than did adult females. However, we did not detect an impact of FGM on the incidence of disease or on the ability of ferrets to become reproductive during the following breeding season. We conclude that an environmental enrichment program could benefit captive juvenile male ferrets by reducing adrenocortical activity. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Travis D.A.,University of Minnesota | Travis D.A.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology | Watson R.P.,Watson Consulting | Tauer A.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology
OIE Revue Scientifique et Technique | Year: 2011

Discussions on diseases of wildlife have generally focused on two basic models: the effect of disease on wildlife, and the role that wildlife plays in diseases affecting people or domestic animal health, welfare, economics and trade. Traditionally, wildlife professionals and conservationists have focused on the former, while most human/animal health specialists have been concerned largely with the latter. Lately, the (re-)emergence of many high-profile infectious diseases in a world with ever-increasing globalisation has led to a more holistic approach in the assessment and mitigation of health risks involving wildlife (with a concurrent expansion of literature). In this paper, the authors review the role of wildlife in the ecology of infectious disease, the staggering magnitude of the movement of wild animals and products across international borders in trade, the pathways by which they move, and the growing body of risk assessments from a multitude of disciplines. Finally, they highlight existing recommendations and offer solutions for a collaborative way forward.


Rafacz M.L.,University of Chicago | Rafacz M.L.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology | Margulis S.,University of Chicago | Margulis S.,Canisius College | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2012

Only one of the 15 species of monogamous hylobatids, the siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus), demonstrates direct paternal care in the form of infant-carrying, providing a unique model for examining hormonal correlates of paternal care differences between siamangs and gibbons. We used behavioral data and fecal hormone analysis to investigate (1) differences in monthly percent father-infant proximity in relation to monthly fecal androgen metabolite concentrations from infant birth to the late postpartum period between siamangs and gibbons, (2) the pattern of change in fecal androgen and fecal estrogen metabolite concentrations during the 8-week peripartum period between siamangs and gibbons, and (3) the change in mean fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations at 1-month postpartum from individual baseline between siamangs and gibbons. Father-infant proximity increased as androgen concentrations decreased over the postpartum period in siamangs but not in gibbons. Androgen concentrations increased around birth in siamangs during the 8-week peripartum period, but exhibited a decreasing trend around birth in gibbons. Estrogen concentrations increased from pre- to postpartum in siamangs during the 8-week peripartum period, but exhibited a decreasing trend from pre- to postpartum in gibbons. The difference in mean glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations from baseline was greater in siamangs than gibbons. Our data suggest a relationship between specific steroid hormone patterns and differences in paternal care among the hylobatids, warranting further investigation of such proximate mechanisms. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Loeding E.,University of Chicago | Loeding E.,Western Illinois University | Thomas J.,University of Chicago | Bernier D.,Lincoln Park Zoo | Santymire R.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science | Year: 2011

Introductions of sable antelope (Hippotragus niger) can be difficult due to the potential ensuing aggression compounded by their large horns. The goal was to use hormonal assays and behavioral analyses to evaluate the success of an introduction of 2 adult females at Lincoln Park Zoo. The objectives were to (a) document behavioral and hormonal changes in 2 female sable antelope during the introduction, (b) compare fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM) in each individual during the introduction stages, (c) measure fecal androgen metabolites (FAM) during introduction and compare with dominance rank and observed aggression, and (d) monitor estrous cycle synchronization. Results demonstrate that FGM were higher before than during and after the introduction. Behavioral observations indicated limited aggression between females, although the keeper survey results revealed that the new female was more dominant and had higher mean FGM and FAM than the resident. Both sable antelope were reproductively active throughout the year. Results indicate that fecal hormone analysis can provide zoo management with valuable information to minimize the risk of aggression, injury, and stress during introductions of nonhuman animals. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Howell-Stephens J.A.,University of Illinois at Chicago | Howell-Stephens J.A.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology | Brown J.S.,University of Illinois at Chicago | Bernier D.,Lincoln Park Zoo | And 3 more authors.
General and Comparative Endocrinology | Year: 2012

Improving the husbandry in the southern three-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes matacus) through gaining knowledge of its stress physiology is imperative to maintaining a healthy, zoo-housed population. Our objectives were to: 1) validate the use of fecal hormone analysis for monitoring adrenocortical activity using both an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) challenge and biological events; and 2) characterize longitudinal adrenocortical activity in male and female southern three-banded armadillos. An ACTH injection was given intra-muscularly to one male (4. IU/kg; 5.6. IU total) and one female (5.5. IU/kg; 8. IU total) southern three-banded armadillo. Fecal samples were collected 1. day pre- and continued 5. days post-ACTH to capture the physiological response measured by elevated fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM) to validate these techniques. Additionally, natural and routine events, including pairing individuals for breeding and veterinary procedures/handling, were used to biologically validate these techniques. To characterize adrenocortical activity, fecal samples (∼3025 total; n= 275/animal/yr) were collected from 11 (5 males; 6 females) southern three-banded armadillos 5-7 times a week for 1. year at Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago, IL). A cortisol enzyme immunoassay was used for FGM analysis. The ACTH challenge in the male resulted in a twofold increase of FGM (1123.2 ± 36.2. ng/g dry feces) above baseline (675.7 ± 10.0. ng/g dry feces) at approximately 54-94. h post- injection. The female exhibited a twofold increase (1635.4. ng/g dry feces) over baseline FGMs (608.5 ± 12.3. ng/g dry feces) approximately 30. h post-injection. Reproductive behaviors and veterinary procedures resulted in elevated FGM concentrations from all individuals except for one male. The longitudinal characterization demonstrated that sex and season did not influence (P< 0.05) FGM concentrations. Individuals were highly variable with mean FGM concentration of 2010.1 ± 862.4. ng/g dry feces (range, 816.3-7889.1. ng/g dry feces). Mean FGM baseline concentration was 878.5 ± 201.8. ng/g dry feces (range, 475.2-1955.5. ng/g dry feces) with a mean elevated FGM concentrations of 2694.3 ± 1111.4. ng/g dry feces (range, 1110.3-10,683.3. ng/g dry feces). This study provides the foundation for future research on how the environment directly affects the adrenocortical activity in this species of armadillo. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Santymire R.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology
Reproduction, Fertility and Development | Year: 2016

In the current global health climate, many conservation biologists are managing crisis situations, including increased species extinction rates. One strategy for securing wildlife populations into the future is to preserve biomaterials in genome resource banks (GRB; or 'biobanks'). However, for GRBs to be successful we must understand the fundamental reproductive biology of species, along with developing assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs), including AI and semen cryopreservation. ART has been successfully used for several taxa, from amphibians to mammals, including ungulates, carnivores and primates. Not all these success stories implemented the use of a biobank, but one example that discussed herein is the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) GRB. From a founder population of seven individuals, this species has been breeding in a managed setting for nearly 30 years. The goal of the breeding program is to maintain genetic integrity by ensuring each individual has the opportunity to pass his/her genes onto the next generation, while simultaneously providing animals for release into the wild. Scientists have used ART (e.g. AI) in the recovery program. Recently, semen from an individual of the founder population that was cryopreserved for up to 20 years was used successfully for AI, which improved the genetic diversity of the population. The black-footed ferret recovery program can serve as a model for other endangered species and demonstrates the usefulness of ART and GRBs to maintain highly endangered species into the future. © CSIRO 2016.


Rafacz M.L.,Columbia College at Chicago | Rafacz M.L.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology | Santymire R.M.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology
Zoo Biology | Year: 2014

Olfactory enrichment, like odor cues, can positively affect behavior, reproductive success, and stress physiology in zoo-housed species. Our goal was to determine if odor cues were enriching to the African wild dog (AWD; Lycaon pictus), a species with a complex social structure and a highly developed sense of smell. Our objectives were to: (1) examine changes in activity levels and stress hormone physiology in response to fecal odor cues from natural competitor and natural/unnatural prey species; and (2) determine whether these odor cues could function as effective enrichment for zoo-housed AWDs. Over a 6-month period, fecal samples were collected from two males (AWD 1: dominant, AWD 2: subordinate), fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGMs) were validated using an ACTH-challenge, and hormones were analyzed for FGMs by enzyme immunoassay. Behavioral observations were conducted using scan-sampling, and contact and proximity were recorded. AWDs were presented with three fecal odor cues: LION (competitor), CATTLE (unnatural prey), and GAZELLE (natural prey). Only the GAZELLE cue elicited an increase in activity (10.6%) in both individuals and increased positive social behaviors with higher frequencies of affiliative, submissive, and dominant behavior. AWD 1 demonstrated lower (P<0.05) FGMs than AWD 2 both before and after all odor cues, and FGMs decreased (P=0.08) in AWD 2 after all cues. We conclude that exposure to natural prey odor cues may be used as effective enrichment for AWDs, and that changes in stress hormone physiology in response to odor cues may be dependent on social rank in this species. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Heintz M.R.,University of Chicago | Santymire R.M.,University of Chicago | Santymire R.M.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology | Parr L.A.,Emory University | Lonsdorf E.V.,University of Chicago
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2011

Monitoring concentrations of stress hormones is an important tool for behavioral research and conservation for animals both in the wild and captivity. Glucocorticoids can be measured in mammals as an indicator of stress by analyzing blood, feces, urine, hair, feathers, or saliva. The advantages of using saliva for measuring cortisol concentrations are three-fold: it is minimally invasive, multiple samples can be collected from the same individual in a short timeframe, and cortisol has a relatively short response time in saliva as compared with other materials. The purpose of this study was to: (1) conduct an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) challenge as a physiological validation for an enzyme immunoassay to measure salivary cortisol in chimpanzees and (2) characterize the circadian rhythm of salivary cortisol in chimpanzees. We determined that salivary cortisol concentrations peaked 45min following the ACTH challenge, which is similar to humans. Also, salivary cortisol concentrations peaked early in the morning and decreased throughout the day. We recommend that saliva collection may be the most effective method of measuring stress reactivity and has the potential to complement behavioral, cognitive, physiological, and welfare studies. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc..

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