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Krol L.,Los Angeles Zoo | Allender M.,Urbana University | Cray C.,University of Miami | George R.,Ripleys Aquarium of the Smokies
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2014

Plasma protein electrophoresis has been shown to be an important tool when recognizing disease in various species. Plasma was harvested from twenty captive whitespotted bamboo sharks (Chiloscyllium plagiosum) and gel electrophoresis was used to characterize the following protein fractions: total protein, prealbumin, albumin, α-1 globulin, α-2 globulin, β globulin, γ globulin, C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A, and haptoglobin. The selected acute-phase proteins were assayed and reference intervals created for a population of captive whitespotted bamboo sharks, and then used to assess relationships between these protein concentration values, sex, and health status. There were significantly higher β fractions and total protein in females than in males. There did not appear to be a relationship between physical examination abnormalities of individual sharks and their plasma protein levels. Further research is needed to characterize the clinical importance of this response. © Copyright 2014 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Source

Kurle C.M.,University of California at San Diego | Finkelstein M.E.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Smith K.R.,University of California at Santa Cruz | George D.,National Park Service | And 3 more authors.
Condor | Year: 2013

Stable-isotope ratios of carbon (13C/12C; δ13C) and nitrogen (15N/14N; δ15N) in animal tissues are analyzed to estimate animal foraging ecology because these ratios reflect those of an animal's diet. This reflection is generally indirect, as stable-isotope ratios change with trophic level. These differences, called discrimination factors (reported as Δ), vary considerably by species and tissue. Variations in discrimination factors used in stableisotope mixing models can lead to inaccurate estimates of diets. Therefore, determining accurate discrimination factors specific to species and tissue is important. We established the Δ13C and Δ15N values between diet and blood and feathers from chicks and juveniles of the California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus). Hatchlings were fed rats for 76-119 days, whereas juveniles were fed dairy calves for 64 days. The mean Δ13C and Δ15N values ( ± SD) between chick feathers and rat muscle were 0.4 ± 0.4‰ and 3.1 ± 0.2‰, respectively; those between chicks' whole blood and rat muscle were -0.7 ± 0.1‰ and 1.7 ± 0.1‰, respectively. The mean Δ13C and Δ15N values between juvenile condors' plasma and calf muscle were 0.9 ± 0.2‰ and 3.3 ± 0.7‰, respectively; those between juveniles' red blood cells and calf muscle were 0.3 ± 0.3‰ and 1.8 ± 0.1‰, respectively; and those between juveniles' whole blood and calf muscle were 0.3 ± 0.3‰ and 1.9 ± 0.2‰, respectively. We report the first discrimination factors for the Cathartidae (New World vultures), and our findings will have important applications in studies of the critically endangered California Condor's foraging ecology. © The Cooper Ornithological Society 2013. Source

News Article | November 12, 2015
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/earth.xml

In this weekly column, science writer Carrie Poppy puts together the most striking and telling science images from the past week's news for your viewing pleasure. Scroll down to find phenomenal images and fascinating facts about the science behind them. Last week, astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren spent seven hours and 48 minutes working on the International Space Station ... from the outside. Whenever an astronaut leaves his or vehicle while in space, it is termed a "Spacewalk." This particular one, which served to restore the station's cooling system, was the 190th spacewalk. This week, scientists rewrote the book on how DNA replicates, when they used cutting-edge electron beams to get this, the first accurate image of a replisome. Californians cried alien activity when they spotted a UFO (technically, anything flying and not-yet-identified is a UFO). However, their dreams were dashed when the U.S. Navy announced that it was its own test missile. Professional photographer Abe Blair was luckily on the scene, and his spectacular photo was shared by NASA. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this beautiful image of the Cydonia Region of Mars. The Cydonia Region is where the famed "Face on Mars" lives, and this image provides a crystal-clear view of the craters and old channels that probably once contained rivers. Eloise, who has the orangutan equivalent of cerebral palsy, turned 47 on Tuesday, and the Los Angeles Zoo celebrated her special day with this gorgeous portrait on their popular Instagram feed. The zoo reports that "she ambles around with great care and deliberation and with a fair amount of effort, but she's still quite an able ape." This week, winter is settling into the Lower Geyser Basin of Yellowstone, an 11-mile stretch filled with geysers, hot springs and mud pools. Science enthusiast Rebecca Essenpreis and her daughter, Sagan, celebrated Nov. 9, the birthday of Sagan's namesake, Carl Sagan. The late cosmologist was a champion of bringing science to the people. Every year, Sagan fans big and small celebrate his birthday around the world. Some, like Rebecca and Sagan, dress up in his characteristic tan jacket and red turtleneck. Geologists with the United States Geological Survey are studying this bed of mammoth fossils to better understand how climate change affected desert wetlands in the past, the USGS reported on Monday. The scientists say that threatened species in these areas today may face the same challenges that prehistoric animals did: "Their fate may lie in the hands of a rapidly changing climate." International Space Station astronaut Scott Kelly posted this photo to his Instagram feed on Veterans Day, saying, "Salute from 250 [miles] above to all past and present veterans and families. You are my heroes."

News Article | November 15, 2015
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/environment.xml

"Terminator" icon Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) new video as part of a campaign to save African elephants from illegal poaching. The video shows Schwarzenegger blowing up an elephant tusk with explosives in order to get rid of the demand for ivory tusks. WCS, a conservationist group based at the Bronx Zoo in New York, said the elephant tusk blown up in the video was donated by the Los Angeles Zoo. The group added that this year, over 42 tons of illegally poached ivory, also called 'the white gold of jihad,' were openly destroyed across eight countries worldwide. "We are extremely grateful Arnold Schwarzenegger has joined the 96 Elephants campaign, and we are hopeful that his global following of fans will become allies to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand of ivory," said WCS's 96 Elephants director John Calvelli. WCS's campaign called "96 Elephants" is building a countrywide support community to tighten limitations of ivory's commercial sale in the U.S., which is the second biggest ivory market after China. Early in 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed limits and an almost complete ban of commercial ivory trade. Backed by WCS, the proposed rules were opposed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) who said it will spur potential limits on guns with ivory handles, which are considered family heirlooms. NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker explained that the proposed limit will make a legally owned possession illegal by law. This will then make criminals out of decent citizens who possess a gun with ivory handles. Though elephant ivory tusks appear sophisticated, illegal poaching these treasured teeth are brutal. The poachers use high-tech gear including helicopters, night-vision goggles and GPS equipment to locate African elephants before hacking the tusks off with an axe while the animal is still alive. Ivory is used to make elaborate art and trinkets for buyers mostly concentrated in East Asia. The demand for ivory results in killing at least 96 elephants in Africa every day. In 2012, approximately 35,000 elephants were killed due to the high demand. In June, a ton of seized ivory sculptures were publicly smashed in Times Square in New York. The ivory shards will be used to create an elephant memorial.

News Article
Site: http://phys.org/biology-news/

Los Angeles Zoo officials say the koala went missing on March 3 and its bloody, partially eaten remains were found a short time later found outside the zoo. The night before the koala was found, a 7-year-old male puma known as P-22 was seen on black and white surveillance video near the zoo inside Griffith Park, the sprawling urban wilderness that he calls home. The big cat may have managed to leap a 9-foot-high fence to reach the koala enclosure and snatch Killarney, a 14-year-old female that was the oldest koala in the exhibit. She had a habit of leaving the trees and wandering around on the ground at night, zookeepers said. However, the evidence is circumstantial, zoo director John Lewis and other officials acknowledged Thursday. The attack itself wasn't recorded, and there are other predators, such as bobcats and coyotes, that were capable of killing the koala. The remaining 10 koalas have been removed from the outside enclosure. Zoo workers are taking extra precautions, such as locking up smaller animals in barns at night. "Unfortunately, these types of incidents happen when we have a zoo in such close proximity to one of the largest urban parks in the country," Barbara Romero, Los Angeles deputy mayor for city services, said in a statement. P-22 wears a tracking collar and was famously photographed near the Hollywood sign for National Geographic. The 130-pound cat crossed two freeways to enter the 4,355-acre park several years ago. It's a lonely life with little chance of finding a mate. Cougars typically need ranges of 75 to 200 square miles for hunting and breeding, while P-22's habitat is around 8 square miles. The attack is just one more reason that P-22 should move, City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell said. "Regardless of what predator killed the koala, this tragedy just emphasizes the need to contemplate relocating P-22 to a safer, more remote wild area where he has adequate space to roam without the possibility of human interaction," O'Farrell said. Last year, P-22 wandered out of the park and lolled under a crawlspace of a home in the nearby Los Feliz neighborhood, attracting a media frenzy until he finally wandered home. "P-22 is maturing, will continue to wander and runs the risk of a fatal freeway crossing as he searches for a mate. ... We should consider resettling him in the environment he needs," Mitchell said. But fellow Councilman David Ryu said it would be a mistake to evict P-22. "Mountain lions are a part of the natural habitat of Griffith Park and the adjacent hillsides" Ryu said. "There's a lot of native wildlife in this area. This is their home," Lewis said. "So we'll learn to adapt to P-22 just like he's learned to adapt to us." Explore further: Two red panda cubs born at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo

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