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Saint-Aignan, France

After reviewing several cases of atherosclerosis in young Brahminy kites (Haliastur indus), a genetic predisposition to atherosclerosis in this species was hypothesized. A direct relationship between plasma cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis has already been formerly demonstrated in various bird species. Therefore, to test this hypothesis, 62 blood samples were collected from hand-raised birds of prey species, including five Brahminy kites, fed with whole day-old chicks, in order to compare cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerids concentrations in serum. All birds included in the study came from the same collection. Cholesterol serum concentration in Brahminy kites was significantly higher (P < 0.001) compared to other bird of prey species. Results showed that, under study conditions, the Brahminy kite is likely to be an atherosclerosis-susceptible species. However, the diet offered in this study greatly differs from the diet of wild Brahminy kites, which includes shellfish and fish. The effect of diet in captivity, especially the polyunsaturated fatty acid/saturated fatty acid ratio, still needs to be evaluated in this species. © American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Source

Hildebrandt T.B.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Hermes R.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Saragusty J.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Potier R.,ZooParc de Beauval | And 6 more authors.
Theriogenology | Year: 2012

The first successful AI in an elephant was reported in 1998, using fresh semen. Since then almost 40 calves have been produced through AI in both Asian and African elephants worldwide. Following these successes, with the objective of enriching the captive population with genetic material from the wild, we evaluated the possibility of using frozen-thawed semen collected from wild bulls for AI in captivity. Semen, collected from a 36-yr-old wild African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) in South Africa was frozen using the directional freezing technique. This frozen-thawed semen was used for four inseminations over two consecutive days, two before and two after ovulation, in a 26-yr-old female African savanna elephant in Austria. Insemination dose of 1200 × 106 cells per AI with 61% motility resulted in pregnancy, which was confirmed through ultrasound examination 75, 110 and 141 days after the AI procedure. This represents the first successful AI using wild bull frozen-thawed semen in elephants. The incorporation of AI with frozen-thawed semen into the assisted reproduction toolbox opens the way to preserve and transport semen between distant individuals in captivity or, as was done in this study, between wild and captive populations, without the need to transport stressed or potentially disease-carrying animals or to remove animals from the wild. In addition, cryopreserved spermatozoa, in combination with AI, are useful methods to extend the reproductive lifespan of individuals beyond their biological lifespan and an important tool for genetic diversity management and phenotype selection in these endangered mammals. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.. Source

Bairrao Ruivo E.,ZooParc de Beauval | Wormell D.,Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
International Zoo Yearbook | Year: 2012

The White-footed or Silvery brown tamarin Saguinus leucopus is an endemic Colombian species, threatened by the pet trade and loss of habitat, and for which protection is minimal. Local authorities confiscate about one animal every week, placing them in rescue centres and zoos where there are many husbandry problems. An international conservation programme was established in 2005, currently coordinated by Beauval Zoo in France and locally by Asociación Colombiana de Parques Zoológicos y Acuarios (ACOPAZOA). The programme is a partnership between a consortium of 21 European zoos, ACOPAZOA, local organizations (including nine Colombian zoos), central and regional conservation public authorities, non-governmental organizations (especially the Wildlife Conservation Society), Colombian universities and researchers. The project combines ex situ in-country reproduction, education and research, and in situ conservation and education projects, to protect the species. All efforts to date have been a starting point for the conservation of this endemic species, but the final goals are to: (1) create a protected area for the White-footed tamarins in Colombia, (2) develop two breeding programmes for the species, one in Colombia and the other in Europe, (3) reduce capture of White-footed tamarins for the pet-trade market, through education initiatives, and (4) ease the pressure on the forest habitat that is still intact. © 2012 The Authors. International Zoo Yearbook © 2012 The Zoological Society of London. Source

Hermes R.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Saragusty J.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Goritz F.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Bartels P.,National Research Foundation | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background: The captive elephant population is not self-sustaining and with a limited number of breeding bulls, its genetic diversity is in decline. One way to overcome this is to import young and healthy animals from the wild. We introduce here a more sustainable alternative method - importation of semen from wild bulls without removing them from their natural habitat. Due to the logistics involved, the only practical option would be to transport cryopreserved sperm. Despite some early reports on African elephant semen cryopreservation, the utility of this new population management tool has not been evaluated. Methodology/Principal Findings: Semen was collected by electroejaculation from 14 wild African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) bulls and cryopreserved using the directional freezing technique. Sperm treatments evaluated included the need for centrifugation, the use of hen or quail yolk, the concentration of glycerol (3%, 5% or 7%) in the extender, and maintenance of motility over time after thawing. Our results suggest that dilution in an extender containing hen yolk and 7% glycerol after centrifugation best preserved post-thaw sperm motility when compared to all other treatments (P≤0.012 for all). Using this approach we were able to achieve after thawing (mean ± SD) 54.6±3.9% motility, 85.3±2.4% acrosome integrity, and 86.8±4.6% normal morphology with no decrease in motility over 1 h incubation at 37°C. Sperm cryopreserved during this study has already lead to a pregnancy of a captive female elephant following artificial insemination. Conclusions/Significance: With working techniques for artificial insemination and sperm cryopreservation of both African and Asian elephants in hand, population managers can now enrich captive or isolated wild elephant populations without removing valuable individuals from their natural habitat. © 2013 Hermes et al. Source

Hermes R.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Schwarzenberger F.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Goritz F.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Oh S.,Singapore Zoological Gardens | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Reproductive tract tumours, specifically leiomyoma, are commonly found in female rhinoceroses. Similar to humans, tumour growth in rhinoceroses is thought to be sex hormone dependent. Tumours can form and expand from the onset of ovarian activity at puberty until the cessation of sex-steroid influences at senescence. Extensive tumour growth results in infertility. The aim of this study was to down regulate reproductive function of tumour-diseased and infertile females to stop further tumour growth using a Gonadotropin releasing factor (GnRF) vaccine. Four infertile southern white (Ceratotherium simum simum) and three Greater one-horned rhinoceroses (rhinoceros unicornis) with active ovaries and 2.7 ± 0.9 and 14.0 ± 1.5 reproductive tract tumours respectively were vaccinated against GnRF (Improvac®, Zoetis, Germany) at 0, 4 and 16 weeks and re-boostered every 6-8 months thereafter. After GnRF vaccination ovarian and luteal activity was suppressed in all treated females. Three months after vaccination the size of the ovaries, the number of follicles and the size of the largest follicle were significantly reduced (P<0.03). Reproductive tract tumours decreased significantly in diameter (Greater-one horned rhino: P<0.0001; white rhino: P<0.01), presumably as a result of reduced sex-steroid influence. The calculated tumour volumes were reduced by 50.8 ± 10.9% in Greater one-horned and 48.6 ± 12.9% in white rhinoceroses. In conclusion, GnRF vaccine effectively down regulated reproductive function and decreased the size of reproductive tract tumours in female rhinoceros. Our work is the first to use down regulation of reproductive function as a symptomatic treatment against benign reproductive tumour disease in a wildlife species. Nonetheless, full reversibility and rhinoceros fertility following GnRF vaccination warrants further evaluation. © 2016 Hermes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

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