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Response to long-distance relocation in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) : monitoring adrenocortical activity via serum, urine, and feces

Fanson, Kerry V., Lynch, Michael, Vogelnest, Larry, Miller, Gary and Keeley, Tamara 2013, Response to long-distance relocation in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) : monitoring adrenocortical activity via serum, urine, and feces, European journal of wildlife research, vol. 59, pp. 655-664, doi: 10.1007/s10344-013-0718-7.

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Title Response to long-distance relocation in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) : monitoring adrenocortical activity via serum, urine, and feces
Author(s) Fanson, Kerry V.ORCID iD for Fanson, Kerry V. orcid.org/0000-0001-9372-2018
Lynch, Michael
Vogelnest, Larry
Miller, Gary
Keeley, Tamara
Journal name European journal of wildlife research
Volume number 59
Start page 655
End page 664
Total pages 10
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2013
ISSN 1612-4642
1439-0574
Keyword(s) cortisol
glucocorticoids
individual variation
noninvasive
transfer
transport
Summary Understanding how elephants respond to potentially stressful events, such as relocation, is important for making informed management decisions. This study followed the relocation of eight Asian elephants from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands to mainland Australia. The first goal of this study was to examine patterns of adrenocortical activity as reflected in three different substrates: serum, urine, and feces. We found that the three substrates yielded very different signals of adrenocortical activity. Fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM) increased as predicted post-transport, but urinary glucocorticoid metabolites (UGM) were actually lower following transport. Serum cortisol levels did not change significantly. We suggest that the differences in FGM and UGM may reflect changes in steroid biosynthesis, resulting in different primary glucocorticoids being produced at different stages of the stress response. Additional studies are needed to more thoroughly understand the signals of adrenocortical activity yielded by different substrates. The second goal was to examine individual variation in patterns of adrenal response. There was a positive correlation between baseline FGM value and duration of post-transfer increase in FGM concentration. Furthermore, an individual's adrenocortical response to relocation was correlated with behavioral traits of elephants. Elephants that were described by keepers as being “curious” exhibited a more prolonged increase in FGM post-transfer, and “reclusive” elephants had a greater increase in FGM values. Future research should investigate the importance of these personality types for the management and welfare of elephants.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s10344-013-0718-7
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, Springer
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30055244

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Created: Tue, 27 Aug 2013, 11:44:32 EST

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