Duisburg, Germany
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Van der Weyde L.K.,University of Western Australia | Van der Weyde L.K.,Institute for Breeding Rare and Endangered African Mammals IBREAM | Martin G.B.,University of Western Australia | Martin G.B.,University of Oxford | And 6 more authors.
Animal Reproduction Science | Year: 2015

African wild dogs are one of the most endangered canid species, with free-living populations declining as a consequence of habitat loss, disease and human conflict. Captive breeding is considered an important conservation strategy, but is hampered by a poor overall understanding of the reproductive biology of the species. To improve our basic knowledge, we studied hormone patterns in 15 female wild dogs using non-invasive faecal collections. By comparing longitudinal hormone profiles with behavioural and anatomical changes, females could be allocated among three reproductive classes: pregnant (. n=. 1), pseudopregnant (. n=. 9) and acyclic (. n=. 4). We also monitored a single female in which contraception was induced with a deslorelin implant. Comparison of pseudopregnant and acyclic females showed that, in both classes, faecal oestradiol concentrations increased from anoestrus to pro-oestrus then declined into the oestrous and dioestrous phases. Progestagen concentrations rose steadily from anoestrus to the dioestrous phase in both pseudopregnant and acyclic females and, pseudopregnant females had significantly higher concentrations of progestagens than acyclic females in all phases of the oestrous cycle. Most females classed as pseudopregnant were found in female-only groups, suggesting that wild dogs are spontaneous ovulators. Furthermore, only one adult female did not ovulate, so suppression of reproduction in subordinates is likely to be behavioural rather than physiological. © 2015.


PubMed | Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, Zoo Duisburg, University of Western Australia and University of Pretoria
Type: | Journal: Animal reproduction science | Year: 2015

African wild dogs are one of the most endangered canid species, with free-living populations declining as a consequence of habitat loss, disease and human conflict. Captive breeding is considered an important conservation strategy, but is hampered by a poor overall understanding of the reproductive biology of the species. To improve our basic knowledge, we studied hormone patterns in 15 female wild dogs using non-invasive faecal collections. By comparing longitudinal hormone profiles with behavioural and anatomical changes, females could be allocated among three reproductive classes: pregnant (n=1), pseudopregnant (n=9) and acyclic (n=4). We also monitored a single female in which contraception was induced with a deslorelin implant. Comparison of pseudopregnant and acyclic females showed that, in both classes, faecal oestradiol concentrations increased from anoestrus to pro-oestrus then declined into the oestrous and dioestrous phases. Progestagen concentrations rose steadily from anoestrus to the dioestrous phase in both pseudopregnant and acyclic females and, pseudopregnant females had significantly higher concentrations of progestagens than acyclic females in all phases of the oestrous cycle. Most females classed as pseudopregnant were found in female-only groups, suggesting that wild dogs are spontaneous ovulators. Furthermore, only one adult female did not ovulate, so suppression of reproduction in subordinates is likely to be behavioural rather than physiological.


Lucke K.,Curtin University Australia | Lucke K.,Wageningen University | Hastie G.D.,University of St. Andrews | Ternes K.,Zoo Duisburg | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology | Year: 2016

The hearing sensitivity of 18 free-ranging and 10 captive harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) to aerial sounds was measured in the presence of typical environmental noise through auditory brainstem response measurements. A focus was put on the comparative hearing sensitivity at low frequencies. Low- and mid-frequency thresholds appeared to be elevated in both captive and free-ranging seals, but this is likely due to masking effects and limitations of the methodology used. The data also showed individual variability in hearing sensitivity with probable age-related hearing loss found in two old harbour seals. These results suggest that the acoustic sensitivity of free-ranging animals was not negatively affected by the soundscape they experienced in the wild. © 2016 The Author(s)


PubMed | Tierpark Nordhorn, Zoo Duisburg, Curtin University Australia and University of St. Andrews
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology | Year: 2016

The hearing sensitivity of 18 free-ranging and 10 captive harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) to aerial sounds was measured in the presence of typical environmental noise through auditory brainstem response measurements. A focus was put on the comparative hearing sensitivity at low frequencies. Low- and mid-frequency thresholds appeared to be elevated in both captive and free-ranging seals, but this is likely due to masking effects and limitations of the methodology used. The data also showed individual variability in hearing sensitivity with probable age-related hearing loss found in two old harbour seals. These results suggest that the acoustic sensitivity of free-ranging animals was not negatively affected by the soundscape they experienced in the wild.


Scharpegge J.,Zoo Heidelberg | Hartmann M.G.,Zoo Duisburg | Eulenberger K.,Zoological Garden Leipzig
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2012

Thoracic auscultation is an important diagnostic method used in cases of suspected pulmonary disease in many species, as respiratory sounds contain significant information on the physiology and pathology of the lungs and upper airways. Respiratory diseases are frequent in marine mammals and are often listed as one of their main causes of death. The aim of this study was to investigate and report baseline parameters for the electronic-mediated thoracic auscultation of one cetacean species and two pinniped species in captivity. Respiratory sounds from 20 captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), 6 California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), and 5 South African fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) were recorded with an electronic stethoscope. The sounds were analyzed for duration of the respiratory cycle, adventitious sounds, and peak frequencies of recorded sounds during expiration and inspiration as well as for sound intensity as reflected by waveform amplitude during the respiratory cycle. In respiratory cycles of the bottlenose dolphins' expiring "on command," the duration of the expiration was significantly shorter than the duration of the inspiration. In the examined pinnipeds of this study, there was no clear pattern concerning the duration of one breathing phase: Adventitious sounds were detected most often in bottlenose dolphins that were expiring on command and could be compared with "forced expiratory wheezes" in humans. This is the first report of forced expiratory wheezes in bottlenose dolphins; they can easily be misinterpreted as pathologic respiratory sounds. The peak frequencies of the respiratory sounds reached over 2,000 Hz in bottlenose dolphins and over 1,000 Hz in California sea lions and South African fur seals, but the variation of the frequency spectra was very high in all animals. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first systematic analysis of respiratory sounds of bottlenose dolphins and two species of pinnipeds. © 2012 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Traditionally the water in Zoo Duisburg's dolphin exhibits has been treated with chlorine to guarantee a clean and healthy environment for the dolphins. In a pilot project in the 1990s Zoo Duisburg and the Forschungszentrum Jülich, one of the largest research institutes in Europe with a focus on physics and supercomputing, a new purely biological filtration system on the basis of large protein skimmers was developed to treat the water of Zoo Duisburg's dolphin exhibit, without the need to use any additional chemicals. A total of 13 specially developed protein skimmers, so called Aquaflotoren, were incorporated into the dolphinarium's filtration system, which resulted in a highly efficient water treatment, constantly good water values and a substantial reduction of waste water in comparison to the former filtration device based on the use of chlorine. © 2010.

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