Effect of housing and husbandry practices on adrenocortical activity in captive Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)

Fanson, K.V. and Wielebnowski, N.C. 2013, Effect of housing and husbandry practices on adrenocortical activity in captive Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), Animal welfare, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 159-165.

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Title Effect of housing and husbandry practices on adrenocortical activity in captive Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)
Author(s) Fanson, K.V.
Wielebnowski, N.C.
Journal name Animal welfare
Volume number 22
Issue number 2
Start page 159
End page 165
Total pages 7
Publisher Universities Federation for Animal Welfare
Place of publication Hertfordshire, England
Publication date 2013
ISSN 0962-7286
Keyword(s) animal welfare
Canada lynx
captive breeding
faecal glucocorticoid metabolites
felid
stress
Summary In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on the study and assessment of animal welfare in captive settings, such as zoological gardens and aquaria. Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) are a relatively common species in zoos, yet are known to exhibit frequent reproductive problems in captive environments. We provide an exploratory analysis of housing and husbandry factors that are associated with patterns of adrenocortical activity in lynx. Adrenocortical activity was assessed using the non-invasive technique of monitoring faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM). First, we calculated baseline FGM values for each individual and controlled for sex, age class, and reproductive status. The residual values were used to determine how levels of adrenocortical activity correlated with institutional husbandry practices. Second, we compared the occurrence of FGM peaks to events and disturbances recorded by keepers. Our results highlighted that adrenocortical activity is strongly correlated with: (i) the size of the enclosure, (ii) the number of hiding locations available, and (iii) the social environment. Based on our findings, we recommend that lynx should generally be housed alone (unless with dependant offspring or temporarily paired up for mating purposes), in larger enclosures and with the provision of several species-appropriate hiding locations.
Language eng
Field of Research 060604 Comparative Physiology
060809 Vertebrate Biology
Socio Economic Objective 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30055454

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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