Coomera, Australia
Coomera, Australia

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Hogan L.A.,University of Queensland | Johnston S.D.,University of Queensland | Lisle A.T.,University of Queensland | Keeley T.,Taronga Western Plains Zoo | And 4 more authors.
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2011

The response of animals to handling by humans has been extensively evaluated in domesticated livestock, but rarely examined in wildlife species. Twelve captive wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons) were subjected to two treatments in a replicated design: (1) daily handling, involving 15 min of tactile contact 5 d/wk for 12 wk and (2) no-handling, involving no contact apart from that received during routine husbandry. The effect of handling was assessed via overt responses to human approach and touch, a stressor, and a novel stimulus. Daily handling reduced the wombat's flight distance in response to human approach; more in the first handling replicate (-0.16 ± 0.02 m/wk) than in the second (-0.06 ± 0.02 m/wk). A behavioural reactivity score also declined faster in the first than second handling replicate. Synthetic ACTH was used to validate the measurement of faecal cortisol metabolites in L. latifrons by EIA. Faecal cortisol metabolite secretion consistently increased in reaction to a handling procedure involving forced human contact (indicating a lack of habituation) but the magnitude of this response was not reduced by regular handling. Regular handling therefore changed the human-wombat relationship by lowering reactivity to and avoidance of the human handler, but did reduce the stress response, suggesting that the wombats entered into a state of learned helplessness. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Parnell T.,Griffith University | Narayan E.J.,Griffith University | Magrath M.J.L.,Wildlife Conservation and Science | Roe S.,Wildlife Conservation and Science | And 5 more authors.
Conservation Physiology | Year: 2014

Glucocorticoid quantification using non-invasive methods provides a powerful tool for assessing the health and welfare of wildlife in zoo-based programmes. In this study, we provide baseline data on faecal-based glucocorticoid (cortisol) monitoring of Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris ssp. sumatrae) managed at the Melbourne Zoo in Victoria, Australia. We sampled five tigers daily for 60 days. Faecal cortisol metabolites (FCMs) in tiger faecal extracts were quantified using enzyme immunoassays that were successfully validated using parallelism and accuracy recovery checks. Two female tigers had significantly higher mean FCM levels than the two males and another female, suggesting that females may have higher FCM levels. A significant elevation was noted in the FCM levels for one female 2 days after she was darted and anaesthetized; however, the FCM levels returned to baseline levels within 3 days after the event. Comparative analysis of FCM levels of tigers sampled at Melbourne Zoo with tigers sampled earlier at two other Australian Zoos (Dreamworld Themepark and Australia Zoo) showed that FCM levels varied between zoos. Differences in the enclosure characteristics, timing of sampling, size and composition of groupings and training procedures could all contribute to this variation. Overall, we recommend the use of non-invasive sampling for the assessment of adrenocortical activity of felids managed in zoos in Australia and internationally in order to improve the welfare of these charismatic big cats. © The Author 2014.


PubMed | Griffith University, Wildlife Conservation and Science, Dreamworld and Australia Zoo
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Conservation physiology | Year: 2016

Glucocorticoid quantification using non-invasive methods provides a powerful tool for assessing the health and welfare of wildlife in zoo-based programmes. In this study, we provide baseline data on faecal-based glucocorticoid (cortisol) monitoring of Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris ssp. sumatrae) managed at the Melbourne Zoo in Victoria, Australia. We sampled five tigers daily for 60days. Faecal cortisol metabolites (FCMs) in tiger faecal extracts were quantified using enzyme immunoassays that were successfully validated using parallelism and accuracy recovery checks. Two female tigers had significantly higher mean FCM levels than the two males and another female, suggesting that females may have higher FCM levels. A significant elevation was noted in the FCM levels for one female 2days after she was darted and anaesthetized; however, the FCM levels returned to baseline levels within 3days after the event. Comparative analysis of FCM levels of tigers sampled at Melbourne Zoo with tigers sampled earlier at two other Australian Zoos (Dreamworld Themepark and Australia Zoo) showed that FCM levels varied between zoos. Differences in the enclosure characteristics, timing of sampling, size and composition of groupings and training procedures could all contribute to this variation. Overall, we recommend the use of non-invasive sampling for the assessment of adrenocortical activity of felids managed in zoos in Australia and internationally in order to improve the welfare of these charismatic big cats.


News Article | October 25, 2016
Site: www.cnet.com

Social media is wringing its hands over another potential spying scandal hitting AT&T. This comes almost a decade after the carrier first faced lawsuits over a National Security Agency spy program -- and amid a general atmosphere today of privacy worries that wasn't helped by this month's accusations that Yahoo had been spying on its users as well. Social Cues is our daily guide on what people are talking about across Facebook and Twitter. Here's what is trending on social media on Tuesday: AT&T is Spying: The phrase started trending on Twitter on Tuesday morning after The Daily Beast reported that the Dallas telecommunications giant is helping the US government trace call records and analyze cellular data. New documents uncovered about the already known "Project Hemisphere" seem to show that AT&T has built and sold a product for millions of dollars to government agencies that searches through trillions of phone records from AT&T, according to the Daily Beast. Twitter users are furious about the alleged invasion of privacy. AT&T reps did not immediately respond to requests for comments. Queensland: An Australian theme park turned deadly in a freak accident that killed four people. Two men and two women died on a river rapids ride at Dreamworld in Queensland. News of the deaths spread throughout social media as investigators try to figure out what went wrong. Jay Z: He's in a campaigning state of mind. The hip-hop superstar is performing for free on November 4 in Cleveland to get out the vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. While some Facebook users are excited about the free show, others criticized the rapper's lyrics, arguing that they don't fit with Clinton's image. It's a lot like the time a surrogate for Republican nominee Donald Trump recited Beyoncé lyrics to criticize Clinton. (Yes, this really happened.) MacBook Pro: The rumors are already swirling about what Apple's next laptops will look like. While the tech giant won't officially reveal anything until its event on Thursday, we've got some ideas of our own, too. The biggest concern for Facebook users is that Apple could be removing its USB ports. Let's see if the company has the "courage" to do that, as when it nixed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. NBA: Basketball season officially starts Tuesday. The first games include the New York Knicks against defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz against the Portland Trailblazers and the San Antonio Spurs versus the Golden State Warriors. Get ready for the NBA to fill up your newsfeed again. The Twittersphere is already waiting for the first tip-off. Be sure to check out Social Cues' weekly roundup called T.GIF. It will pop up every Friday on CNET's Snapchat and Instagram accounts. Add us on Instagram at @CNET or on Snapchat at @CNETsnaps. Our social accounts also feature CNET Update daily and Mailbox Mondays. Join us!


HONG KONG, Dec. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Entertainment Gaming Asia Inc. (NASDAQ: EGT) (the "Company") announced today that it has sold gaming assets in Cambodia, including its 278 electronic gaming machine (EGM) seats placed in Dreamworld Club (Poipet), 72 EGM seats held in Cambodia...


Narayan E.J.,Griffith University | Webster K.,Macquarie University | Nicolson V.,Dreamworld | Mucci A.,Dreamworld | Hero J.-M.,Griffith University
General and Comparative Endocrinology | Year: 2013

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are the only extant representatives of Australia's unique marsupial family Phascolarctidae and were listed as nationally Vulnerable in 2012. Causes of mortality are diverse, although the disease chlamydiosis, dog attacks, collisions with cars, and loss of habitat represent the principal reasons for the continued species decline. Koala breeding facilities in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia have been established for conservation and tourism. Non-invasive monitoring of physiological stress is important for determining the sub-lethal effects of environmental stressors on the well-being, reproduction and survival of Koalas in Zoos and also in the wild. In this study, we developed a faecal cortisol metabolite (FCM) enzyme-immunoassay (EIA) for monitoring physiological stress in Koalas from two established Zoos in Australia and also within a free-living sub-population from Queensland. Biological validation of the FCM EIA was done using an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) challenge. We discovered excretory lag-times of FCM of 24. h in females (n=. 2) and 48. h in male (n=. 2) Koalas in response to the ACTH challenge. FCM levels showed an episodic and delayed peak response lasting up to 9. days post ACTH challenge. This finding should be taken into consideration when designing future experiments to study the impacts of short-term (acute) and chronic stressors on the Koalas. Laboratory validations were done using parallelism and recovery checks (extraction efficiency) of the cortisol standard against pooled Koala faecal extracts. Greater than 99% recovery of the cortisol standard was obtained as well as a parallel displacement curve against Koala faecal extracts. FCM levels of the captive Koalas (n=. 10 males and 13 females) significantly differed by sex, reproductive condition (lactating versus non-lactating Koalas) and the handling groups. Handled male Koalas had 200% higher FCM levels than their non-handled counterparts, while females were not affected by handling as long they were not undergoing lactation. There was no significant difference in FCM levels between the captive and wild Koalas (n=. 9 males and 7 females). Overall, these results provide foundation knowledge on non-invasive FCM analysis in this iconic Australian marsupial. Non-invasive stress endocrinology opens up opportunities for evaluating the sub-lethal physiological effects of management activities (including caging, translocation) on the nutritional status, reproductive behaviors and disease status of captive and managed in situ Koala populations. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


PubMed | Dreamworld, University of Queensland and Moggill Koala Hospital
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Australian veterinary journal | Year: 2016

Under predicted climate change scenarios, koala distribution in Australia is expected to be adversely affected. Recent studies have attempted to identify suitable habitat, based on models of bioclimatic regions, but to more accurately reflect the thermal tolerance and behavioural adaptations of the various regional populations, the koalas response to periods of heat stress will need to be investigated at the individual animal level.To explore the safety and suitability of temperature-sensitive intra-abdominal implants for monitoring core body temperature in the koala.A temperature-sensitive radio transmitter and thermal iButton data-logger, waxed together as a package, were surgically implanted into the abdominal cavity of four captive koalas. In one animal the implant was tethered and in the other three, it was left free-floating.After 3months, the implants were removed and all four koalas recovered without complications. The tethering of the package in the one koala resulted in minor inflammation and adhesion, so this practice was subsequently abandoned. The free-floating deployments were complication-free and revealed a diurnal body temperature rhythm, with daily ranges of 0.4-2.8C. The minimum recorded body temperature was 34.2C and the maximum was 37.7C. The difference in the readings obtained from the transmitters and iButtons never exceeded 0.3C.The suitability of the surgical approach was confirmed, from both the animal welfare and data collection points of view.


Narayan E.J.,Griffith University | Parnell T.,Griffith University | Clark G.,Australia Zoo | Martin-Vegue P.,Dreamworld | And 2 more authors.
General and Comparative Endocrinology | Year: 2013

The tiger (Panthera tigris) faces a great risk of extinction as its wild numbers have plummeted due to poaching and habitat destruction so ex-situ conservation programs are becoming ever more necessary. Reliable non-invasive biomarkers of the stress hormone (cortisol) are necessary for assessing the health and welfare of tigers in captivity. To our knowledge, non-invasive stress endocrinology methods have not been tested as widely in tigers. The first aim of this study was to describe and validate a faecal cortisol metabolite enzyme-immmunoassay (FCM EIA) for two tiger sub-species, the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) and the Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae). Individual tigers (n= 22) were studied in two large Zoos in Queensland, Australia (Dreamworld Theme Park and Australia Zoo). Fresh faecal samples (<12. h old) were collected each morning from both Zoos over a study period of 21. days. Biological validation was conducted separately by collecting feces 5. days before and 5. days after blood was taken from four male and five female tigers. Results showed that mean FCM levels increased by 138% and 285% in the male and female tigers within 1. day after bloods were taken, returning to baseline in 5. days. Laboratory validations of the FCM EIA were done using an extraction efficiency test and parallelism. Results showed >89% recovery of the cortisol standard that was added to tiger faecal extract. We also obtained parallel displacement of the serially diluted cortisol standard against serially diluted tiger faecal extract. Our second aim was to determine whether the FCM levels were significantly different between tiger sub-species and sex. Results showed no significant difference in mean FCM levels between the Bengal and Sumatran tiger sub-species. Mean levels of FCMs were significantly higher in females than in male tigers. Those male and female tigers with reported health issues during the study period expressed higher FCM levels than the reportedly healthy tigers. Interestingly, those tigers that took part in some activity (such as walks, photos, presentations and guest feeds) expressed moderately higher FCM levels at Dreamworld and lower FCM levels at Australia Zoo in comparison to those tigers that did not take part in such activities. These results indicate potential habituation in some tigers for routine activity through specialized training and pre-conditioning. In conclusion, the FCM EIA described in this study provides a reliable non-invasive method for evaluating the stress status of tigers in Zoos. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Narayan E.,Griffith University | Hero J.-M.,Griffith University | Evans N.,Griffith University | Nicolson V.,Dreamworld | Mucci A.,Dreamworld
Endangered Species Research | Year: 2012

Captive breeding programs are increasingly being used as a management option for threatened mammals. The greater bilby Macrotis lagotis, for example, is a vulnerable species which is maintained in captivity at several facilities in Australia. Non-invasive evaluation of stress hormones (cortisol in mammals) via excretory metabolites can be used to monitor physiological stress responses of captive individuals. In this study, we validated an enzyme-immunoassay (EIA) to measure cortisol metabolites in fresh faecal samples of adult male and female bilbies (n = 7) held in captivity at the Dreamworld Theme Park, Queensland, Australia. The faecal cortisol EIA was validated via parallelism and the recovery of exogenous cortisol added to pooled faecal extracts (>99% recovery). Female bilbies had higher average faecal cortisol metabolite concentrations and higher day-to-day variation than male bilbies; however, there was no relationship with bilby age. Cortisol metabolites for most individuals varied widely through time, with numerous peaks and troughs in response to long-term stressors (illnesses, injury and reproductive issues) and short-term stressors, such as use in shows at Dreamworld or public displays in local schools, manual restraint and short-term veterinary procedures (e.g. general anaesthesia). Overall, the higher mean cortisol metabolite concentrations of individuals suffering long-term stress was related to a greater response to short-term stressors. This suggests an interaction between responses to short-term and long-term stressors which is perhaps due to habituation and/or facilitation of long-term stressors. Non-invasive faecal monitoring of stress hormones could provide further information on the implications of captive breeding programs and the release of animals reared in captivity. © Inter-Research 2012.


Ballantyne K.,University of Queensland | Anderson S.T.,University of Queensland | Pyne M.,Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary | Nicolson V.,Dreamworld | And 3 more authors.
Reproduction, Fertility and Development | Year: 2016

This study investigated the efficacy of a synthetic progestogen, levonorgestrel (LNG), to control koala ovarian activity for the purposes of oestrous synchronisation. Captive koalas were administered either saline control or a 70-mg LNG implant on Day 2 of oestrus. Urogenital cytology, oestrous behaviour and plasma oestradiol-17β and LH concentrations were monitored over a 6-week period. After LNG implant removal females were monitored to determine if the return to oestrus was synchronised. LNG-treated koalas immediately ceased displaying oestrous behaviour, showed no evidence of cornified epithelial cells in smears of urogenital cytology and exhibited low plasma oestradiol-17β concentrations throughout the implantation period. In contrast, oestradiol-17β levels in control koalas showed evidence of continued cyclic activity associated with behavioural oestrus and increased cornified epithelial cells in urogenital smears on Days 33 to 35 after saline injection. After implant removal, LNG-treated koalas exhibited oestrus at 13, 14, 17 and 30 days after implant removal. Plasma LH concentrations varied throughout the study period with no significant time (P≤0.49) or treatment (P≤0.13) effect. Overall results from this study suggest that LNG implants in koalas can inhibit oestrous behaviour and reduce circulating oestradiol-17β levels before oestrus, most likely by preventing development of the pre-ovulatory follicle. However, there was no evidence of LH suppression by the LNG implants. Removal of LNG implants resulted in the synchronous return to oestrus in three of the four treated koalas. Further studies on a larger population are required to validate these findings. © CSIRO 2016.

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