Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation

Boulemane, Morocco

Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation

Boulemane, Morocco
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Hardouin L.A.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Nevoux M.,University of Pretoria | Robert A.,CNRS Science Conservation Center | Gimenez O.,CNRS Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology | And 4 more authors.
Oikos | Year: 2012

Avoidance of competition and inbreeding have been invoked as the major ultimate causes of natal dispersal, but proximate factors such as sex, body condition or birth date can also be important. Natal dispersal is expected to be of particular importance to understanding the ecological and evolutionary implications of dispersal strategies, since 1) numerous evidences suggest that individual differences in dispersal strategies are expressed early in life (i.e. at the onset of dispersal movement), 2) ultimate and proximate factors are more likely to act during this stage and 3) this stage is associated with the highest mortality rates in most vertebrates. We analysed the natal dispersal (hereafter, dispersal) behaviour in 100 marked individuals of a lekking species, the North African houbara bustards Chlamydotis undulata undulata, during four years. We investigated the effects of proximate factors on dispersal pattern and distance, as well as the mortality cost associated with movement using multievent models, allowing uncertainty in sex assignment and mixture of live recaptures and dead recoveries. Overall, males exhibited longer dispersal distances than females, contrary to the common pattern in birds. Moreover, males in poorer body condition moved further than those in better condition, whereas distance was independent of body condition in females. Finally, survival rates during dispersal were lower for females than for males and were negatively correlated with the distances covered with a similar distance-survival slope in the two sexes. Collectively, our results suggest that 1) there is substantial dispersal cost in both sexes, 2) dispersal is strongly male-biased, 3) this bias is unlikely to be explained by differential movement costs of each sex, and 4) dispersal differences found across different categories of individuals are in broad agreement with both the inbreeding avoidance and intraspecific competition mechanisms for dispersal. © 2012 The Authors. Oikos © 2012 Nordic Society Oikos.

Hardouin L.A.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Hardouin L.A.,CNRS Science Conservation Center | Hingrat Y.,RENECO for Wildlife Preservation | Nevoux M.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 3 more authors.
Animal Conservation | Year: 2015

For endangered species that are hunted, the establishment of mixed conservation areas including both hunting zones and sanctuaries to complement translocation actions (i.e. reinforcement) can improve both hunting yields and population sustainability. However, the effects of this type of management on the demography of the exploited species are not well understood. We used multi-event capture-recapture modelling in a population of captive-bred houbara bustards Chlamydotis undulata translocated into a mixed conservation area in Morocco. The specific management practice of our system (hunting regime varying in time and space) led to a quasi-experimental situation that allowed the differentiation of 'natural' from 'hunting-induced' mortality and movement between areas. The analysis uncovered strong asymmetries in both movement and survival that were not only due to direct hunting effects. Firstly, movement probabilities were higher from the sanctuary to the hunting areas than vice versa, even in years without hunting. Secondly, in addition to a direct effect of hunting on mortality in hunting areas, our results uncovered permanent differences in both areas (even outside the hunting period). Overall, our results were consistent with predictions under a source-sink dynamic model but illustrated that mixed conservation areas should not merely be treated as homogeneous systems with spatially heterogeneous hunting pressure but rather as fully heterogeneous systems. The patterns observed may be related to (1) the choice and design of hunting and sanctuary areas by managers, which might not be neutral with respect to habitat quality, or (2) indirect consequences of hunting via an effect on local growth rate and density. © 2015 The Zoological Society of London.

Cornec C.,University Paris - Sud | Cornec C.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Hingrat Y.,Reneco for Wildlife Consultants | Rybak F.,University Paris - Sud
Ethology | Year: 2014

Selection pressures acting on both intrasexual competition and intersexual relationships may lead to the emphasis of individual variation and might thus lead to the expression of individual signature. This is particularly true in lek mating systems, where providing information on identity and/or quality to potential mates or congeners of the same sex can be essential for individuals to optimize their reproductive success. Visual and acoustic signals produced during the courtship of the lekking North African Houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata undulata), based on field data from wild birds, are investigated here for the first time. Results show that the vocal signals, called booms, are characterized by a very low frequency, a rare phenomenon in birds which should allow booms to propagate over long distances. Results also show that both visual and acoustic signals are individualized and stereotyped between males. Using three methods of analysis, we highlight the acoustic parameters likely to support vocal individual signature and show that such information mainly relies on frequency parameters. © 2014 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

Charge R.,French Natural History Museum | Charge R.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Sorci G.,University of Burgundy | Hingrat Y.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Background: The "good genes" theory of sexual selection postulates that females choose mates that will improve their offspring's fitness through the inheritance of paternal genes. In spite of the attention that this hypothesis has given rise to, the empirical evidence remains sparse, mostly because of the difficulties of controlling for the many environmental factors that may covary with both the paternal phenotype and offspring fitness. Here, we tested the hypothesis that offspring sired by males of a preferred phenotype should have better survival in an endangered bird, the houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata undulata). Methodology/Principal Findings: We tested if natural and experimentally-induced variation in courtship display (following an inflammatory challenge) predicts the survival of offspring. Chicks were produced by artificial insemination of females, ensuring that any effect on survival could only arise from the transfer of paternal genes. One hundred and twenty offspring were equipped with radio transmitters, and their survival monitored in the wild for a year. This allowed assessment of the potential benefits of paternal genes in a natural setting, where birds experience the whole range of environmental hazards. Although natural variation in sire courtship display did not predict offspring survival, sires that withstood the inflammatory insult and maintained their courtship activity sired offspring with the best survival upon release. Conclusions: This finding is relevant both to enlighten the debate on "good genes" sexual selection and the management of supportive breeding programs. © 2011 Chargé et al.

Charge R.,French Natural History Museum | Charge R.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Jalme M.S.,French Natural History Museum | Lacroix F.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Animal Ecology | Year: 2010

1. The information content of secondary sexual traits and the benefits gathered by choosy females are at the heart of sexual selection theory. Indicator models of sexual selection assume that secondary sexual traits reflect the phenotypic/genetic quality of their bearers and that females gather benefits fromchoosing these high-quality males. 2. Here, we tested the idea that courtship display reflects the health status in a bird species with a lek-based mating system, the houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata undulata). A group of males was treated with the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of the cell wall of the bacterium Escherichia coli during the seasonal peak of courtship display, while another group of males was injected with a phosphate-buffered saline solution (PBS) as a control. We then monitored the effect of the treatment on both courtship display and ejaculate quality. Finally, females were artificially inseminated with semen from LPS and PBS males, which allowed us to assess the effect of the immunological treatment on reproduction. 3. We found that the inflammatory challenge reduced courtship display and semen quality compared to controls. Interestingly, males that better resisted to the immune challenge in terms of courtship display also better resisted in terms of ejaculate quality. Early reproductive failure was increased when females were artificially inseminated with semen from immune-activated males. Failure of eggs laid by females inseminated with LPS semen was due to a reduced fertilization power of sperm of LPS males or to increased embryo mortality in the very early stage of embryo development. As a consequence, hatching rate was reduced for females inseminated with semen collected fromLPS males. 4. These results show that by assessing male courtship display, females may gain insight into the current phenotypic/genetic quality of mates and gather fitness benefits in terms of reproductive success. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Ecological Society.

Charge R.,French Natural History Museum | Charge R.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Charge R.,University of Jyväskylä | Sorci G.,CNRS Biogeosciences Laboratory | And 5 more authors.
Evolutionary Applications | Year: 2014

Supportive breeding is one of the last resort conservation strategies to avoid species extinction. Management of captive populations is challenging because several harmful genetic processes need to be avoided. Several recommendations have been proposed to limit these deleterious effects, but empirical assessments of these strategies remain scarce. We investigated the outcome of a genetic management in a supportive breeding for the Houbara Bustard. At the phenotypic level, we found an increase over generations in the mean values of gamete production, body mass and courtship display rate. Using an animal model, we found that phenotypic changes reflected genetic changes as evidenced by an increase in breeding values for all traits. These changes resulted from selection acting on gamete production and to a lesser extent on courtship display. Selection decreased over years for female gametes, emphasizing the effort of managers to increase the contribution of poor breeders to offspring recruited in the captive breeding. Our results shed light on very fast genetic changes in an exemplary captive programme that follows worldwide used recommendations and emphasizes the need of more empirical evidence of the effects of genetic guidelines on the prevention of genetic changes in supportive breeding. © 2014 The Authors.

Loyau A.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Loyau A.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Loyau A.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Lacroix F.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

Male attractiveness can have tremendous effects on the fitness of his offspring via good genes, but also via enhanced maternal allocation of resources. Yet the proximate mechanisms influencing differential maternal allocation in relation to male sexiness are poorly known. Here, we studied the importance of visual stimulation for maternal allocation in the Houbara bustard, a vulnerable bird species bred in captivity to support wild populations. Artificial insemination allowed controlling for potential confounding factors, such as a male's territory quality, social interactions or sperm quality/quantity, probably linked to mate attractiveness. We show that artificially inseminated females stimulated by highly displaying males increased their hatching success, owing to increased fertilization success. The females also increased the allocation of maternal androgens in their eggs, leading to an increase of circulating testosterone and growth rate in chicks. Hence, visual stimulation of the females can promote differential maternal allocation and favour offspring fitness. Our results further suggest that using artificial insemination for species conservation without appropriate stimulation of the breeding females probably has negative impacts on their breeding performance and therefore on population viability. © 2010 The Royal Society.

Frenette-Dussault C.,Université de Sherbrooke | Shipley B.,Université de Sherbrooke | Leger J.-F.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Meziane D.,University Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah | Hingrat Y.,RENECO Wildlife Consultants LLC
Journal of Vegetation Science | Year: 2012

Questions: (1) How do community-weighted mean (CWM) trait values of 23 functional traits measured on 34 plant species vary along a gradient of aridity under grazed and ungrazed conditions in an arid steppe? (2) How does variation in our CWM trait values differ from those of more mesic grasslands? Location: Eastern Morocco. Methods: We measured relative abundance and functional traits along a short aridity gradient over two consecutive years at five heavily grazed sites, each with an exclosure preventing grazing. We analysed the relationship between aridity, grazing, and the expression of CWM trait values using ordination methods and a fourth-corner analysis. Results: Unconstrained and constrained ordinations identified three distinct suites of temporally consistent functional traits that co-varied with aridity and grazing, and the fourth-corner analysis identified a number of significant but weak trait-environment associations. Grazing selected for short, fast-growing annual species with high SLA, high pastoral value and low seed mass, while aridity selected for species possessing succulent leaves with high δ 13C leaf content, spines, low LDMC and short stature, although the relative importance of precipitation and grazing changed between years. Conclusions: Although distinct from more mesic grasslands, our study sites exhibited patterns of trait correlations that were similar to the worldwide leaf economics spectrum. These correlation patterns represented three groups that were reminiscent of Grime's C-S-R model. Direct ordinations supported this interpretation. Temporal variation in our results was due in part to precipitation fluctuations. Our results also indicated selection for a grazing avoidance strategy under heavy grazing. Integrating plant functional traits in conservation and management of arid ecosystems represents a novel and challenging task to ensure more sustainable use of these lands. © 2011 International Association for Vegetation Science.

Lesobre L.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Lacroix F.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Le Nuz E.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Hingrat Y.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Avian Biology | Year: 2010

Behavioural studies have led to the perception that lekking species experience a high male reproductive skew as a consequence of females' selective mate choice. In addition, observations suggest that females copulate only once and therefore polyandry seems unlikely as females are supposed to choose the best male available. In order to analyse the mating strategy of the Houbara bustard, an endangered lekking species under reinforcement in eastern Morocco, we used microsatellite data to perform paternity analyses. None of our observations followed common expectations under a lek mating system: we found no male reproductive skew suggesting no apparent selective female mate choice and no apparent male benefit from lekking. In contrast, a high level of polyandry (60 % of the nests) was recorded suggesting that sperm competition may operate. In addition, we present another case of conspecific brood parasitism in a lekking species and this was an unexpected alternative strategy for a species presenting high parental cost and low fecundity. The increasing number of studies contradicting common assumptions on lekking species suggests that alternative breeding strategies such as males pursuing an off-lek mating strategy, female polyandry and even conspecific brood parasitism might be more widespread in lekking species than previously thought. © 2010 The Authors.

Soldati F.,Laboratoire National dEntomologie Forestiere | Francois A.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation
Annales Zoologici | Year: 2015

Alphasida (Glabrasida) bounaceurensis sp. nov. is described from the Jbel Bou Naceur top, the most eastern summit of the Moroccan Middle Atlas range. It is compared to other morphologically and geographically related species. Type material of Alphasida (Glabrasida) lecerfi Koch, 1940 and its subspecies is studied. A lectotype is designated for Alphasida (Glabrasida) iblanensis Antoine, 1939. We propose here a new synonymy: Alphasida (Glabrasida) iblanensis Antoine, 1939 = Alphasida (Glabrasida) lecerfi ighrezranensis Koch, 1940.

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