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Melfi V.,Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust | Hosey G.,University of Bolton
International Zoo Yearbook | Year: 2011

All zoos and aquariums aim to maintain animals with good welfare. Empirical evidence has demonstrated that various activities, described collectively as behavioural husbandry (BH), are associated with good animal welfare, so a lot of zoos now integrate BH into many of their captive animal management regimes. The widespread implementation of BH seems ubiquitous; however, some zoos do not have access to the resources, knowledge and skills that underpin BH. Building capacity within these zoos, so they have the information necessary to enhance the welfare of their animals, should be a high priority. In this case study, a workshop successfully provided 16 delegates with this information. Evaluation of the workshop demonstrated it effectively increased knowledge. More importantly, it proved to be a catalyst for a number of BH initiatives in a variety of zoos worldwide, which occurred after the workshop. Information was also promulgated further by delegates to colleagues within their institutions and also further afield within their region. © 2011 The Authors. International Zoo Yearbook © 2011 The Zoological Society of London.


Andanje S.A.,Kenya Wildlife Service | Bowkett A.E.,Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust | Bowkett A.E.,University of Exeter | Agwanda B.R.,Mammal Section | And 5 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2011

Aders' duiker Cephalophus adersi is a small antelope endemic to the coastal forests of east Africa. Threatened by habitat loss and hunting, the species is categorized as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Until recently Aders' duiker was known to persist only on Zanzibar, Tanzania, and in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest National Reserve, Kenya. However, in 2004 a sighting of a single individual was reported from the Dodori forest in northern coastal Kenya, raising the possibility that the species survives elsewhere. Subsequently, an opportunistic camera-trap survey was conducted in September and October 2008 to establish the occurrence of Aders' duiker in Kenyan coastal forests north of the Tana River. One hundred and fifty six images of Aders' duikers were obtained from 12 of 28 camera-trap sites (46 of 358 camera-trap days), confirming the existence of a population of Aders' duiker in the Boni-Dodori forest both inside and outside the National Reserves. In addition, we sighted individuals of the species on three occasions. The relatively high encounter rates per unit effort compared to similar data from Arabuko-Sokoke forest suggest the Boni-Dodori population is significant. Initial surveys of the local Awer community revealed that Aders' duiker is well known by the name guno. These findings significantly improve the conservation prospects for Aders' duiker and highlight the need for greater research and management efforts in the poorly known Boni-Dodori forest. © 2011 Fauna & Flora International.


Bungard M.J.,Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust | Bungard M.J.,University of East Anglia | Jones C.,Mauritian Wildlife Foundation | Jones C.,California State University, Channel Islands | And 2 more authors.
Herpetological Conservation and Biology | Year: 2014

Many fragile ecosystems across the globe are islands with high numbers of endemic species. Most tropical islands have been subject to significant landscape alteration since human colonisation, with a consequent loss of both habitat and those specialist species unable to adapt or disperse in the face of rapid change. Day geckos (genus Phelsuma) are thought to be keystone species in their habitats and are, in part, responsible for pollination of several endangered endemic plant species. However, little is known about key drivers of habitat use which may have conservation implications for the genus. We assessed the habitat use of two species of Phelsuma (Phelsuma ornata and Phelsuma guimbeaui) in Mauritius. Both species showed a strong affinity with tree trunks, specific tree architecture and are both restricted to native forest. Tree hollows or cavities are also important for both species and are a rarely documented microhabitat for arboreal reptiles. Both P. ornata and P. guimbeaui avoid areas of high disturbance. Our data suggest that active conservation of Phelsuma requires not only the protection and restoration of native forest, but also implementation of forestry practices designed to ensure the presence of suitable trees. © 2014, Herpetological Conservation and Biology. All right reserved.


Amin R.,Conservation Programmes | Andanje S.A.,Kenya Wildlife Service | Ogwonka B.,Kenya Wildlife Service | Ali A.H.,National Museums of Kenya | And 3 more authors.
Biodiversity and Conservation | Year: 2015

Aders’ duiker Cephalophus adersi is a critically endangered small antelope endemic to the coastal forests of east Africa. Threatened by habitat loss and hunting, the species was until recently known to persist only on Zanzibar, Tanzania, and in the Arabuko-Sokoke National Reserve, Kenya. However, more recent observations, have confirmed the occurrence of Aders’ duiker in Kenyan coastal forests north of the Tana River. This paper reports systematic camera trapping results for three sites in the Boni–Dodori coastal forest system north of the Tana and the only other known mainland site for Aders’ duiker, the Arabuko-Sokoke forest. From a total survey effort of 5,723 camera trap days, we demonstrated that the known area of occurrence for Aders’ duiker has more than doubled with occupancy values at or close to 100 % for all three northern sites. An index of relative abundance for Aders’ duiker was also one to two orders of magnitude greater at these sites compared to Arabuko-Sokoke. Application of a replicate count N-mixture model to camera trap data from Boni National Reserve resulted in an estimate of 7.3 Aders’ duikers/km2 (95 % CI 4.5–10.1/km2). The results also indicate higher densities of suni Nesotragus moschatus and Harvey’s duiker Cephalophus harveyi in the northern forests relative to Arabuko-Sokoke. Blue duiker Philantomba monticola was recorded at low density in Arabuko-Sokoke forest but not detected at the northern sites. These findings significantly improve the conservation prospects for Aders’ duiker and highlight the global importance of the northern coastal forests of Kenya. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Clark F.E.,Zoological Society of London | Melfi V.A.,Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust
Zoo Biology | Year: 2012

Environmental enrichment (EE) is an integral aspect of modern zoo animal management but, empirical evaluation of it is biased toward species housed in single-species groups. Nocturnal houses, where several nocturnal species are housed together, are particularly overlooked. This study investigated whether three species (nine-banded armadillos, Dasypus novemcinctus; Senegal bush babies, Galago senegalensis; two-toed sloths, Choloepus didactylus) in the nocturnal house at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, UK could be enriched using food-based and sensory EE. Subjects were an adult male and female of each species. EE was deemed effective if it promoted target species-typical behaviors, behavioral diversity, and increased use of enriched exhibit zones. Results from generalized linear mixed models demonstrated that food-based EE elicited the most positive behavioral effects across species. One set of food-based EEs (Kong®, termite mound and hanging food) presented together was associated with a significant increase in species-typical behaviors, increased behavioral diversity, and increased use of enriched exhibit zones in armadillos and bush babies. Although one type of sensory EE (scented pine cones) increased overall exhibit use in all species, the other (rainforest sounds) was linked to a significant decrease in species-typical behavior in bush babies and sloths. There were no intra or interspecies conflicts over EE, and commensalism occurred between armadillos and bush babies. Our data demonstrate that simple food-based and sensory EE can promote positive behavioral changes in a mixed-species nocturnal mammal exhibit. We suggest that both food and sensory EE presented concurrently will maximize opportunities for naturalistic activity in all species. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


PubMed | University of Exeter, Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, Imperial College London and Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
Type: | Journal: Microbial biotechnology | Year: 2016

The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) causes chytridiomycosis, a lethal epizootic disease of amphibians. Rapid identification of the pathogen and biosecurity is essential to prevent its spread, but current laboratory-based tests are time-consuming and require specialist equipment. Here, we describe the generation of an IgM monoclonal antibody (mAb), 5C4, specific to Bd as well as the related salamander and newt pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). The mAb, which binds to a glycoprotein antigen present on the surface of zoospores, sporangia and zoosporangia, was used to develop a lateral-flow assay (LFA) for rapid (15min) detection of the pathogens. The LFA detects known lineages of Bd and also Bsal, as well as the closely related fungus Homolaphlyctis polyrhiza, but does not detect a wide range of related and unrelated fungi and oomycetes likely to be present in amphibian habitats. When combined with a simple swabbing procedure, the LFA was 100% accurate in detecting the water-soluble 5C4 antigen present in skin, foot and pelvic samples from frogs, newts and salamanders naturally infected with Bd or Bsal. Our results demonstrate the potential of the portable LFA as a rapid qualitative assay for tracking these amphibian pathogens and as an adjunct test to nucleic acid-based detection methods.


Clauss M.,University of Zürich | Lunt N.,Antelope Project | Ortmann S.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Plowman A.,Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust | And 2 more authors.
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2011

Ruminants are characterised by two different types of reticulorumen (RR) physiology. 'Cattle-type' ruminants have, amongst other features such as RR contents stratification and a heterogenous intraruminal papillation, a distinct difference between the mean retention time (MRT) of small particles and fluids (the ratio is called the selectivity factor, SF). 'Moose-type' ruminants have RR contents that are less stratified, a more homogenous intraruminal papillation and low SFs, indicating less difference in the MRT of small particles and fluids. To date, physiological data indicating a 'moose-type' physiology have only been measured in giraffids and Odocoilean cervids, raising the question whether it is limited to these taxonomic groups only. Here, we measured MRTs of fluids and particles in five duikers (Bovidae, Cephalophinae) from three species (Sylvicapra grimmia, Cephalophus monticola and Cephalophus sylvicultor) and found SFs in the RR of 1. 27 ± 0. 18-well within the range of these other browsers. These results are the first physiological indication that a 'moose-type' physiology may also occur in bovid species and thus might represent a true convergent adaptation. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.


Bowkett A.E.,University of Exeter | Jones T.,Udzungwa Elephant Project | Jones T.,Anglia Ruskin University | Laizzer R.L.,Udzungwa Elephant Project | And 2 more authors.
Conservation Genetics Resources | Year: 2013

Forest-dwelling antelope species are often difficult to detect during surveys due to their cryptic behaviour and densely vegetated habitats. Dung counts have traditionally been used to infer forest antelope abundance but genetic identification has shown that visual identification of ungulate dung to species is often unreliable. This study attempted to use easily obtained morphometric data from faecal pellets to statistically assign antelope dung piles to species. We measured pellets from 238 dung piles collected from the Udzungwa Mountains, south-central Tanzania, a largely forested landscape with five forest-associated antelope species including the endangered Abbott's duiker Cephalophus spadix. The species identity of sampled dung piles was determined by amplifying a c. 600 bp fragment of the mitochondrial control region and aligning DNA sequences with published references. We found no diagnostic differences in faecal pellet size between antelope species although there were significant differences in mean pellet length and width. We employed a single variable linear discriminant analysis to predict the species of dung piles based on pellet length. Despite significant differentiation between species we obtained an overall accuracy of 58.8 % that did not meet our specified probability threshold (P < 0.05). Abbott's duiker dung piles were correctly assigned in the majority of cases (74 %). Overall, morphometric assignment of dung piles to species was not accurate enough to validate dung counts as a survey method for forest antelope although our results do not preclude the development of alternative field identification methods using additional non-molecular characters. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Melfi V.A.,Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust
International Zoo Yearbook | Year: 2012

Many zoos take part in captive-management programmes for gibbon species, which contribute to the conservation of this highly threatened taxon. Eight gibbon species are represented in captive-management programmes globally, although the numbers held are highly biased towards only two species, which fill most of the space available in zoos. The other gibbon species are held in small populations that are difficult to manage and, thus, are unlikely in their current form to be self-sustaining. Effort and, more importantly, space are required to grow these small gibbon populations. In addition, the space that is available needs to be used wisely. This may require that only animals that can actively contribute, whether genetically or socially, to the goal of achieving a self-sustaining captive population are maintained. There is also a need to investigate the impact of environmental factors in captivity as they relate to birth and death rates, which would enable evidence-based captive management of gibbons with the aim of stimulating breeding and mitigating the potential deleterious impacts associated with managing small populations. © 2011 The Authors. International Zoo Yearbook © 2011 The Zoological Society of London.


Farmer H.L.,Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust | Farmer H.L.,University of Exeter | Plowman A.B.,Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust | Leaver L.A.,University of Exeter
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2011

Over the last 12 years the European captive population of black and gold howler monkeys, Alouatta caraya, has increased at a slow rate and many groups have not produced offspring. This study aims to determine the influence of social organisation of captive groups and both performing and hearing howl vocalisations on reproductive success. Data were extracted from the European Studbook to calculate three variables of female reproductive success per capita, for each year of their reproductively active life (from three years of age). Reproductive success for females was measured as the occurrence of a birth each year, the total number of births per year and the number of successful births per year (offspring surviving to one year of age). Male data were analysed separately, using behavioural observations in addition to studbook data, to determine the effect of daily howling rates on reproductive success (mean number of offspring surviving to one year of age). We found that more offspring were born to and survived (both P<. 0.001) from females held in family groups than those in pairs. Male howler monkeys held in family groups had a higher mean number of offspring born per individual than those held in a pair (P<. 0.001) and males which performed a higher howl rate also had increased reproductive success. We also found that for females, regularly hearing the howls of familiar conspecifics was related to an increase in reproductive success (P= 0.003). This study provides the first evidence of a link between howling and reproductive success in A. caraya and provides suggestions for the management of captive black howlers to increase the current captive population. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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