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Regents Park, United Kingdom

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Site: www.reuters.com

LONDON - Zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo began carrying out the annual stocktake of animals on Monday, with newborn baby gorilla Gernot a new addition to the 2016 census. Gernot was born at the end of November, bringing to six the number of Western lowland gorillas at the zoo in the British capital. "It's really important that we do the stocktake, it gives us an opportunity to evaluate what successes we've had throughout the year, particularly in breeding critically endangered species, like the Western lowland gorilla," said Mark Habben, Zoological Manager at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). The information from the annual stocktake is shared with other zoos to manage international breeding programs.

Clark F.E.,ZSL London Zoo | Clark F.E.,UK Institute of Zoology | Clark F.E.,Royal Veterinary College University of London | Fitzpatrick M.,ZSL London Zoo | And 9 more authors.
Zoo Biology | Year: 2012

Monitoring adrenal activity through noninvasive fecal hormone sampling is rapidly gaining popularity as a tool to assess zoo animal welfare. However, few studies have sought to investigate the interrelationships between behavior, adrenal activity, and environment, and ask whether both behavioral and adrenal monitoring strategies are required to assess welfare sufficiently. We present the findings of a 9-month study of a small group (one male, two females) of Western lowland gorillas, Gorilla gorilla gorilla. First, we examined the effect of environmental variables on gorilla behavior. Second, we examined the effect of environmental variables on the concentration of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGC) and the relationship between behavior and FGC. Environmental variables had similar effects on all three gorillas. Negative vigilance of visitors (NVV; staring, posturing, and charging at visitors) significantly increased in all subjects as environmental noise levels increased, and food-related behavior significantly decreased in all subjects as crowd size increased. Exhibit modifications had a number of positive effects on behavior. Notably, when privacy screens were used, NVV significantly decreased in two subjects. We found no significant effects of environmental variables on FGC. However, we did find significant relationships between behavior and FGC in one female. Specifically, her NVV was significantly higher one day before, and on the same day as, raised FGC. Also, hair plucking significantly increased in the two days following raised FGC. Overall, this study demonstrates how concurrent noninvasive fecal and behavioral monitoring can be used for gorilla welfare assessment. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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