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Om Koi, Thailand

Khonmee J.,Chiang Mai University | Brown J.L.,Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute | Taya K.,Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology | Rojanasthien S.,Chiang Mai University | And 7 more authors.
Theriogenology | Year: 2014

To date, there is no information on gonadal steroidogenic activity of female goral (. Naemorhedus griseus), a threatened species of Thailand. Captive goral populations have been established to produce animals for ex situ conservation and reintroduction, but as yet none are self-sustaining. The objectives of the present study were to (1) determine the influence of season on ovarian steriodogenic function; and (2) examine the relationship between gonadal hormone excretion and sexual behaviors throughout the year. Fecal samples were collected 5 to 7days/wk for 15months from 8 adult females housed at Omkoi Wildlife Breeding Center in Thailand and analyzed for ovarian steroid metabolites using validated enzyme immunoassays. Observations of sexual behaviors and mating were conducted each morning for 30min/session. Based on fecal estrogen and progestagen metabolite concentrations, the overall estrous cycle length was about 21days, with a 2- to 3-day follicular phase and an 18- to 20-day luteal phase. Sexual behaviors, most notably tail-up, increased for 2 to 3days during the time estrogens were elevated during mating. Fecal progestagens were elevated during luteal phases and increased further during gestation, which lasted approximately 7months. The lactation period was 5months, and females were anestrus for 2 to 5 of those months, with the exception of one that cycled continuously throughout. Two females conceived around 2months postpartum and so were pregnant during lactation. Birth records over the past 21years indicated young are born throughout the year. This combined with the hormonal data suggests that female gorals are not strongly seasonal, at least in captivity, although there was considerable variation among females in estrogen and progestagen patterns. In conclusion, fecal steroid metabolite monitoring is an effective means of assessing ovarian function in this species and will be a useful tool for breeding management and planned development of assisted reproductive techniques such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Khonmee J.,Chiang Mai University | Brown J.L.,Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute | Rojanasthien S.,Chiang Mai University | Thumasanukul D.,Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary | And 5 more authors.
Animal Reproduction Science | Year: 2014

There is no information on the endocrinology of Chinese goral (Naemorhedus griseus), a high priority species for captive breeding and reintroduction in Thailand. This study characterized fecal androgen and glucocorticoid metabolites in male goral at Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary to investigate seasonal relationships. Fecal samples were collected 3 days/week for 1 year from eight adult males. Mean androgen metabolite concentrations were greater (P< 0.05) during the rainy season (289.82. ±. 9.18. ng/g) and winter (224.09. ±. 11.97. ng/g) compared to the summer (195.48. ±. 8.23. ng/g), and were related to breeding activity. A similar pattern was observed for glucocorticoid concentrations (22.10. ±. 0.72. ng/g compared to 21.98. ±. 0.98. ng/g compared to 15.30. ±. 0.48. ng/g), respectively, and this resulted in a positive correlation between the two hormones (P< 0.05). There also were positive correlations between fecal androgen metabolite concentrations and temperature (P< 0.05) and day length (P< 0.05). In summary, this is the first study to assess endocrine function in male goral, and results showed seasonal variation in testicular and adrenal steroidogenic function, with greater activity in the rainy season and winter. Given that resources for captive male goral are consistent throughout the year, reproduction may be regulated primarily by photoperiod in this species. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Khonmee J.,Chiang Mai University | Brown J.L.,Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute | Rojanasthien S.,Chiang Mai University | Aunsusin A.,Chiang Mai Night Safari | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Chinese goral (Naemorhedus griseus) are a threatened species in Thailand and the focus of captive breeding for possible reintroduction. However, little is known of their biology or what factors in the captive environment affect welfare. Our objective was to determine the impact of gender, season, and management on goral adrenal activity. We hypothesized that differences in fecal glucocorticoid concentrations would be related to animal density. Fecal samples were collected 3 days/ week for 1 year from 63 individuals (n = 32 males, 31 females) at two facilities that house the majority of goral in Thailand: Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary (Omkoi), an off-exhibit breeding center that houses goral in individual pens (16 pens; n = 8 males, 8 females) and in small family groups (8 pens; n = 8 males, 8 females); and the Chiang Mai Night Safari (NS), a zoo that maintains 31 goral (n = 17 males, 14 females) in one large pen. Glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations were higher in male than female goral at Omkoi throughout the year, and there was a seasonal effect on adrenal activity (p,0.05). Goral at Omkoi and NS were used to test the effect of animal density on fecal glucocorticoid excretion of goral housed in similarsized enclosures. Overall, the highest levels were found at NS (n = 31 adults/pen; 27 m2 per animal) compared to Omkoi (n = 2 adults/pen; 400 m2 per animal) (p,0.05). Overall findings support our hypothesis that animal density and aspects of the captive environment impact adrenal steroid activity in captive goral. In addition, gender and season also had significant effects on glucocorticoid metabolite production. Potential stressors pertaining to the welfare of this species were identified, which will guide future efforts to improve management and create self-sustaining and healthy populations of this threatened species.

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