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Sample records for acinonyx jubatus jubatus

  1. Bilateral vision loss in a captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Walser-Reinhardt, Ladina; Wernick, Morena B; Hatt, Jean-Michel; Spiess, Bernhard M

    2010-09-01

    The following case report describes a 1-year-old female cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) with bilateral blindness and unresponsive pupils. For comparison, a second healthy 2.5-year-old male cheetah without visual deficits was also examined. Clinical examination of both animals included biomicroscopy, indirect ophthalmoscopy, tonometry, and electroretinography. The young female cheetah showed no menace response, no direct or indirect pupillary light reflex, and no dazzle reflex in either eye. Fundus lesions, as detected by indirect ophthalmoscopy, are described for the female animal. In both eyes, the fundus color was green/turquoise/yellow with multiple hyperpigmented linear lesions in the tapetal area around the optic nerve. The optic nerve head was dark gray and about half the normal size suggesting bilateral optic nerve hypoplasia and retinal dysplasia or differentially optic nerve atrophy and chorioretinal scarring. The ERG had low amplitudes in the right eye but appeared normal in the left eye compared with the male cheetah. Blood levels did not suggest current taurine deficiency. This is addressed to some degree in the discussion. Bilateral optic nerve hypoplasia or optic nerve atrophy is a rare anomaly in cats and has not yet been described in a cheetah. PMID:20840102

  2. Suspected lead poisoning in two captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) in South Africa, in 2008 and 2013.

    PubMed

    North, Michelle A; Lane, Emily P; Marnewick, Kelly; Caldwell, Peter; Carlisle, Glen; Hoffman, Louw C

    2015-01-01

    Whilst lead poisoning in raptors, scavenging birds and waterfowl is well studied and common knowledge, there is surprisingly little literature detailing the risk to mammalian scavengers and captive carnivores fed hunted meat. This case report describes the death of two captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) following acute onset of nervous symptoms. Clinical signs included hyper-excitability, seizures, arched back, tail held abnormally high and hyper-salivation. Necropsy findings included bullets or a bullet in their stomachs. Kidney and liver lead levels from one cheetah (15.6 ppm and 17 ppm respectively) were consistent with a diagnosis of lead poisoning; liver from the second cheetah was not available for testing. Both animals were routinely fed hunted antelope or game birds. This is the first report of oral lead poisoning in captive large carnivores, although these are unlikely to be the first cases. Without awareness of the risks of feeding hunted game, lead exposure will continue to be an underdiagnosed reality in the rehabilitation of endangered carnivores. PMID:26304137

  3. Bilateral carpal valgus deformity in hand-reared cheetah cubs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Bell, Katherine M; van Zyl, Malan; Ugarte, Claudia E; Hartman, Angela

    2011-01-01

    Four hand-reared cheetah cubs (Acinonyx jubatus) exhibited progressively severe bilateral valgus deformity of the carpi (CV) during the weaning period. Radiographs of the thoracic limbs suggested normal bone ossification, and serum chemistry was unremarkable. All affected cubs developed CV shortly after the onset of gastroenteritis, which was treated medically, and included use of a prescription diet. A sudden decrease in growth rate was associated with gastrointestinal disease. Before gastroenteritis and CV, affected cubs had higher growth rates than unaffected cubs, despite similar mean daily energy intake. Return to normal thoracic limb conformation was consequent to dietary manipulation (including a reduction in energy intake and vitamin and mineral supplementation), as well as decreased growth rates and recovery from gastroenteritis. The cause of the CV is likely to have been multi-factorial with potentially complex physiological interactions involved. PMID:21462246

  4. TREATMENT OF CHRONIC HERPESVIRAL DERMATITIS IN A CAPTIVE CHEETAH (ACINONYX JUBATUS) IN NAMIBIA.

    PubMed

    Flacke, Gabriella L; Schmidt-Küntzel, Anne; Marker, Laurie

    2015-09-01

    A 9-yr-old male cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) housed at the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia developed cutaneous lesions consisting of alopecia, erythema, ulceration, and crusting on the left fore and hind limbs. Histopathology of skin biopsies in conjunction with indirect fluorescent antibody and polymerase chain reaction testing confirmed a diagnosis of feline herpesvirus-1 dermatitis; microbial culture indicated secondary bacterial infection. Therapy included targeted systemic antimicrobial and antiviral treatment, topical medications, and repeated cryotherapy. Lesions exhibited varying degrees of clinical improvement but, overall, progressed in extent, size, and severity during the subsequent 2.5 yr of intense treatment. The cheetah was ultimately euthanized due to a guarded prognosis and concerns about poor quality of life. Potential factors initiating or contributing (or both) to the severity and nonhealing nature of the cutaneous lesions include chronic unidentified stress, altered immune system function, and other environmental influences. PMID:26352979

  5. Diagnosis-based treatment of helminths in captive and wild cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Mény, Marie; Schmidt-Küntzel, Anne; Marker, Laurie L

    2012-12-01

    This study was designed to identify endoparasites in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) living in a seminatural captive environment in north-central Namibia. Results were used to assess the need for anthelmintic treatment and for the selection of an appropriate drug. The study assessed fecal parasite excretion qualitatively and quantitatively using a fecal flotation method during the winter of 2009. Four different species of parasites (two nematodes and two coccidias) were identified. Parasite excretion rates were found to be significantly lower than that of wild cheetahs living in the same area. Samples of the wild cheetahs were obtained at the time of anesthesia or were attributed to the wild individuals using genetic profiling. Captive cheetahs were dewormed with fenbendazole, whereas wild cheetahs were treated using ivermectin. Efficacy of these treatments was demonstrated at the end of the study. PMID:23272366

  6. Acoustic Structure and Contextual Use of Calls by Captive Male and Female Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)

    PubMed Central

    Smirnova, Darya S.; Demina, Tatyana S.; Volodina, Elena V.

    2016-01-01

    The vocal repertoire of captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and the specific role of meow vocalizations in communication of this species attract research interest about two dozen years. Here, we expand this research focus for the contextual use of call types, sex differences and individual differences at short and long terms. During 457 trials of acoustic recordings, we collected calls (n = 8120) and data on their contextual use for 13 adult cheetahs (6 males and 7 females) in four Russian zoos. The cheetah vocal repertoire comprised 7 call types produced in 8 behavioural contexts. Context-specific call types (chirr, growl, howl and hiss) were related to courting behaviour (chirr) or to aggressive behaviour (growl, howl and hiss). Other call types (chirp, purr and meow) were not context-specific. The values of acoustic variables differed between call types. The meow was the most often call type. Discriminant function analysis revealed a high potential of meows to encode individual identity and sex at short terms, however, the vocal individuality was unstable over years. We discuss the contextual use and acoustic variables of call types, the ratios of individual and sex differences in calls and the pathways of vocal ontogeny in the cheetah with relevant data on vocalization of other animals. PMID:27362643

  7. Acoustic Structure and Contextual Use of Calls by Captive Male and Female Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Smirnova, Darya S; Volodin, Ilya A; Demina, Tatyana S; Volodina, Elena V

    2016-01-01

    The vocal repertoire of captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and the specific role of meow vocalizations in communication of this species attract research interest about two dozen years. Here, we expand this research focus for the contextual use of call types, sex differences and individual differences at short and long terms. During 457 trials of acoustic recordings, we collected calls (n = 8120) and data on their contextual use for 13 adult cheetahs (6 males and 7 females) in four Russian zoos. The cheetah vocal repertoire comprised 7 call types produced in 8 behavioural contexts. Context-specific call types (chirr, growl, howl and hiss) were related to courting behaviour (chirr) or to aggressive behaviour (growl, howl and hiss). Other call types (chirp, purr and meow) were not context-specific. The values of acoustic variables differed between call types. The meow was the most often call type. Discriminant function analysis revealed a high potential of meows to encode individual identity and sex at short terms, however, the vocal individuality was unstable over years. We discuss the contextual use and acoustic variables of call types, the ratios of individual and sex differences in calls and the pathways of vocal ontogeny in the cheetah with relevant data on vocalization of other animals. PMID:27362643

  8. Cheetahs, Acinonyx jubatus, balance turn capacity with pace when chasing prey

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, John W.; Mills, Michael G. L.; Wilson, Rory P.; Peters, Gerrit; Mills, Margaret E. J.; Speakman, John R.; Durant, Sarah M.; Bennett, Nigel C.; Marks, Nikki J.; Scantlebury, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Predator–prey interactions are fundamental in the evolution and structure of ecological communities. Our understanding, however, of the strategies used in pursuit and evasion remains limited. Here, we report on the hunting dynamics of the world's fastest land animal, the cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus. Using miniaturized data loggers, we recorded fine-scale movement, speed and acceleration of free-ranging cheetahs to measure how hunting dynamics relate to chasing different sized prey. Cheetahs attained hunting speeds of up to 18.94 m s−1 and accelerated up to 7.5 m s−2 with greatest angular velocities achieved during the terminal phase of the hunt. The interplay between forward and lateral acceleration during chases showed that the total forces involved in speed changes and turning were approximately constant over time but varied with prey type. Thus, rather than a simple maximum speed chase, cheetahs first accelerate to decrease the distance to their prey, before reducing speed 5–8 s from the end of the hunt, so as to facilitate rapid turns to match prey escape tactics, varying the precise strategy according to prey species. Predator and prey thus pit a fine balance of speed against manoeuvring capability in a race for survival. PMID:24004493

  9. Relative availability of natural prey versus livestock predicts landscape suitability for cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus in Botswana

    PubMed Central

    Winterbach, Christiaan W.; Boast, Lorraine K.; Klein, Rebecca; Somers, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    Prey availability and human-carnivore conflict are strong determinants that govern the spatial distribution and abundance of large carnivore species and determine the suitability of areas for their conservation. For wide-ranging large carnivores such as cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), additional conservation areas beyond protected area boundaries are crucial to effectively conserve them both inside and outside protected areas. Although cheetahs prefer preying on wild prey, they also cause conflict with people by predating on especially small livestock. We investigated whether the distribution of cheetahs’ preferred prey and small livestock biomass could be used to explore the potential suitability of agricultural areas in Botswana for the long-term persistence of its cheetah population. We found it gave a good point of departure for identifying priority areas for land management, the threat to connectivity between cheetah populations, and areas where the reduction and mitigation of human-cheetah conflict is critical. Our analysis showed the existence of a wide prey base for cheetahs across large parts of Botswana’s agricultural areas, which provide additional large areas with high conservation potential. Twenty percent of wild prey biomass appears to be the critical point to distinguish between high and low probable levels of human-cheetah conflict. We identified focal areas in the agricultural zones where restoring wild prey numbers in concurrence with effective human-cheetah conflict mitigation efforts are the most immediate conservation strategies needed to maintain Botswana’s still large and contiguous cheetah population. PMID:26213646

  10. MULTICENTRIC T-CELL LYMPHOMA AND CUTANEOUS HEMANGIOSARCOMA IN A CAPTIVE CHEETAH (ACINONYX JUBATUS).

    PubMed

    Lindemann, Dana M; Carpenter, James W; Nietfeld, Jerome C; Gonzalez, Estehela; Hallman, Mackenzie; Hause, Ben M

    2015-12-01

    A 13-yr-old intact male cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) presented for evaluation after a 4-mo history of intermittent lethargy and increased expiratory effort. The clinical signs were initially noted after the diagnosis and death of its 13-yr-old male sibling with solitary hepatic T-cell lymphoma. Physical examination findings included thin body condition, harsh lung sounds, peripheral lymphadenopathy, and a cutaneous mass on the right medial tarsus and scrotum. Excisional biopsies diagnosed well-differentiated cutaneous hemangiosarcomas. Thoracic radiographs revealed a cranial mediastinal mass. Complete blood count and serum biochemical analyses showed a leukocytosis with persistent lymphocytosis, progressive azotemia, and markedly elevated alkaline phosphatase. Because of the cheetah's declining quality of life, euthanasia was elected. Postmortem examination, histopathology, and immunohistochemical staining revealed multicentric T-cell lymphoma. Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, FeLV polymerase chain reaction (whole blood), and viral metagenomic analysis were negative. This is the first case of cutaneous hemangiosarcoma and multicentric T-cell lymphoma reported in a FeLV-negative cheetah. PMID:26667562

  11. Beta amyloid deposition and neurofibrillary tangles spontaneously occur in the brains of captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Serizawa, S; Chambers, J K; Une, Y

    2012-03-01

    Alzheimer disease is a dementing disorder characterized pathologically by Aβ deposition, neurofibrillary tangles, and neuronal loss. Although aged animals of many species spontaneously develop Aβ deposits, only 2 species (chimpanzee and wolverine) have been reported to develop Aβ deposits and neurofibrillary tangles in the same individual. Here, the authors demonstrate the spontaneous occurrence of Aβ deposits and neurofibrillary tangles in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Among 22 cheetahs examined in this study, Aβ deposits were observed in 13. Immunostaining (AT8) revealed abnormal intracellular tau immunoreactivity in 10 of the cheetahs with Aβ deposits, and they were mainly distributed in the parahippocampal cortex and CA1 in a fashion similar to that in human patients with Alzheimer disease. Ultrastructurally, bundles of straight filaments filled the neuronal somata and axons, consistent with tangles. Interestingly, 2 of the cheetahs with the most severe abnormal tau immunoreactivity showed clinical cognitive dysfunction. The authors conclude that cheetahs spontaneously develop age-related neurodegenerative disease with pathologic changes similar to Alzheimer disease. PMID:21712514

  12. Cheetahs, Acinonyx jubatus, balance turn capacity with pace when chasing prey.

    PubMed

    Wilson, John W; Mills, Michael G L; Wilson, Rory P; Peters, Gerrit; Mills, Margaret E J; Speakman, John R; Durant, Sarah M; Bennett, Nigel C; Marks, Nikki J; Scantlebury, Michael

    2013-10-23

    Predator-prey interactions are fundamental in the evolution and structure of ecological communities. Our understanding, however, of the strategies used in pursuit and evasion remains limited. Here, we report on the hunting dynamics of the world's fastest land animal, the cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus. Using miniaturized data loggers, we recorded fine-scale movement, speed and acceleration of free-ranging cheetahs to measure how hunting dynamics relate to chasing different sized prey. Cheetahs attained hunting speeds of up to 18.94 m s(-1) and accelerated up to 7.5 m s(-2) with greatest angular velocities achieved during the terminal phase of the hunt. The interplay between forward and lateral acceleration during chases showed that the total forces involved in speed changes and turning were approximately constant over time but varied with prey type. Thus, rather than a simple maximum speed chase, cheetahs first accelerate to decrease the distance to their prey, before reducing speed 5-8 s from the end of the hunt, so as to facilitate rapid turns to match prey escape tactics, varying the precise strategy according to prey species. Predator and prey thus pit a fine balance of speed against manoeuvring capability in a race for survival. PMID:24004493

  13. Relative availability of natural prey versus livestock predicts landscape suitability for cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus in Botswana.

    PubMed

    Winterbach, Hanlie E K; Winterbach, Christiaan W; Boast, Lorraine K; Klein, Rebecca; Somers, Michael J

    2015-01-01

    Prey availability and human-carnivore conflict are strong determinants that govern the spatial distribution and abundance of large carnivore species and determine the suitability of areas for their conservation. For wide-ranging large carnivores such as cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), additional conservation areas beyond protected area boundaries are crucial to effectively conserve them both inside and outside protected areas. Although cheetahs prefer preying on wild prey, they also cause conflict with people by predating on especially small livestock. We investigated whether the distribution of cheetahs' preferred prey and small livestock biomass could be used to explore the potential suitability of agricultural areas in Botswana for the long-term persistence of its cheetah population. We found it gave a good point of departure for identifying priority areas for land management, the threat to connectivity between cheetah populations, and areas where the reduction and mitigation of human-cheetah conflict is critical. Our analysis showed the existence of a wide prey base for cheetahs across large parts of Botswana's agricultural areas, which provide additional large areas with high conservation potential. Twenty percent of wild prey biomass appears to be the critical point to distinguish between high and low probable levels of human-cheetah conflict. We identified focal areas in the agricultural zones where restoring wild prey numbers in concurrence with effective human-cheetah conflict mitigation efforts are the most immediate conservation strategies needed to maintain Botswana's still large and contiguous cheetah population. PMID:26213646

  14. An investigation into the prevalence of exploratory behavior in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Quirke, Thomas; O'Riordan, Ruth

    2015-01-01

    Exploratory behavior in the wild is fundamentally linked to an animal's survival and natural life history. The ability to gather information about their environment, establish territories, assert dominance, communicate information regarding reproductive status and locate mates are closely associated with a range of exploratory behaviors. Understanding how these behaviors are performed within the captive setting is crucial in order to create a captive environment in which these behaviors can be expressed, and their function conserved. The objective of this research was to highlight the factors of captive husbandry and management that influence the occurrence of exploratory behaviour of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in captivity. One hundred and twelve cheetahs in 88 enclosures across nine zoological institutions in five countries were the subjects of this study. The presence of raised areas, number of movements between enclosures, group composition, sex and an interaction between group composition and the ability to view cheetahs in adjacent enclosures, all significantly influenced the prevalence of exploratory behavior in captive cheetahs. The presence of raised areas and an increasing number of movements between enclosures significantly increased the probability of observing exploratory behaviour, while this probability was significantly decreased for female cheetahs, when cheetahs were able to view conspecifics in adjacent enclosures, and were maintained in groups. A number of recommendations are discussed in relation to promoting exploratory behavior in captive cheetahs. PMID:25557735

  15. Serosurvey of viral infections in free-ranging Namibian cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Munson, Linda; Marker, Laurie; Dubovi, Edward; Spencer, Jennifer A; Evermann, James F; O'Brien, Stephen J

    2004-01-01

    Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in captivity have unusually high morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases, a trait that could be an outcome of population homogeneity or the immunomodulating effects of chronic stress. Free-ranging Namibian cheetahs share ancestry with captive cheetahs, but their susceptibility to infectious diseases has not been investigated. The largest remaining population of free-ranging cheetahs resides on Namibian farmlands, where they share habitat with domestic dogs and cats known to carry viruses that affect cheetah health. To assess the extent to which free-ranging cheetahs are exposed to feline and canine viruses, sera from 81 free-ranging cheetahs sampled between 1992 and 1998 were evaluated for antibodies against canine distemper virus (CDV), feline coronavirus (feline infectious peritonitis virus; FCoV/ FIPV), feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV1), feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and feline calicivirus (FCV) and for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) antigens. Antibodies against CDV, FCoV/FIPV, FHV1, FPV, and FCV were detected in 24, 29, 12, 48, and 65% of the free-ranging population, respectively, although no evidence of viral disease was present in any animal at the time of sample collection. Neither FIV antibodies nor FeLV antigens were present in any free-ranging cheetah tested. Temporal variation in FCoV/FIPV seroprevalence during the study period suggested that this virus is not endemic in the free-ranging population. Antibodies against CDV were detected in cheetahs of all ages sampled between 1995 and 1998, suggesting the occurrence of an epidemic in Namibia during the time when CDV swept through other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. This evidence in free-ranging Namibian cheetahs of exposure to viruses that cause severe disease in captive cheetahs should direct future guidelines for translocations, including quarantine of seropositive cheetahs and preventing contact between cheetahs and domestic pets

  16. BACTERIAL PROFILE OF NECROTIC PULPS IN CHEETAH (ACINONYX JUBATUS) CANINE TEETH.

    PubMed

    Almansa Ruiz, José C; Bosman, Anna-Mari; Steenkamp, Gerhard

    2016-03-01

    The role of microbes and their antimicrobial susceptibilities in both acute and chronic infections of the dental pulp in humans has been well studied. Presently, no data are available on endodontic pathogens in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). The aim of this study was to isolate and identify the bacteria found in the canine teeth of cheetahs, where the pulp was necrotic and exposed due to a complicated crown fracture. Thirty-six microbiologic samples were taken from root canals (RCs) of the canine teeth of 19 cheetahs: one pulp sample was taken from 10 cheetahs, four samples from 2 cheetahs, two samples from 3 cheetahs, and three samples from 4 cheetahs. Exposed pulps were cultured for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria; an additional screening with a 16S rRNA-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used for the last six samples. Antimicrobial susceptibility of isolates was determined by use of the Kirby-Bauer diffusion test. In total, 59 cultivable isolates belonging to 19 microbial species and 13 genera were recovered from the 36 RCs sampled. Only two samples yielded no cultivable bacteria. Thirty-two (54.49%) of the cultivable isolates were Gram positive and 27 (45.71%) were Gram negative. The maximum number of isolates cultivated from an individual RC was six. Facultative anaerobes (62.72%) were the most common bacteria of the RCs that yielded cultivable bacteria. Of the isolates, 28.81% were aerobic and 8.47% were strict anaerobes. The antimicrobials that showed the greatest efficacy in vitro against the different bacteria isolates were amikacin and gentamicin. The more common bacterial species isolated by PCR were anaerobes (60.8%), facultative anaerobes (30.2%), and aerobes (8.6%). PMID:27010269

  17. Movement Activity Based Classification of Animal Behaviour with an Application to Data from Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

    PubMed Central

    Grünewälder, Steffen; Broekhuis, Femke; Macdonald, David Whyte; Wilson, Alan Martin; McNutt, John Weldon; Shawe-Taylor, John; Hailes, Stephen

    2012-01-01

    We propose a new method, based on machine learning techniques, for the analysis of a combination of continuous data from dataloggers and a sampling of contemporaneous behaviour observations. This data combination provides an opportunity for biologists to study behaviour at a previously unknown level of detail and accuracy; however, continuously recorded data are of little use unless the resulting large volumes of raw data can be reliably translated into actual behaviour. We address this problem by applying a Support Vector Machine and a Hidden-Markov Model that allows us to classify an animal's behaviour using a small set of field observations to calibrate continuously recorded activity data. Such classified data can be applied quantitatively to the behaviour of animals over extended periods and at times during which observation is difficult or impossible. We demonstrate the usefulness of the method by applying it to data from six cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Cumulative activity data scores were recorded every five minutes by accelerometers embedded in GPS radio-collars for around one year on average. Direct behaviour sampling of each of the six cheetah were collected in the field for comparatively short periods. Using this approach we are able to classify each five minute activity score into a set of three key behaviour (feeding, mobile and stationary), creating a continuous behavioural sequence for the entire period for which the collars were deployed. Evaluation of our classifier with cross-validation shows the accuracy to be , but that the accuracy for individual classes is reduced with decreasing sample size of direct observations. We demonstrate how these processed data can be used to study behaviour identifying seasonal and gender differences in daily activity and feeding times. Results given here are unlike any that could be obtained using traditional approaches in both accuracy and detail. PMID:23185301

  18. Counting Cats: Spatially Explicit Population Estimates of Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) Using Unstructured Sampling Data

    PubMed Central

    Broekhuis, Femke; Gopalaswamy, Arjun M.

    2016-01-01

    Many ecological theories and species conservation programmes rely on accurate estimates of population density. Accurate density estimation, especially for species facing rapid declines, requires the application of rigorous field and analytical methods. However, obtaining accurate density estimates of carnivores can be challenging as carnivores naturally exist at relatively low densities and are often elusive and wide-ranging. In this study, we employ an unstructured spatial sampling field design along with a Bayesian sex-specific spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) analysis, to provide the first rigorous population density estimates of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. We estimate adult cheetah density to be between 1.28 ± 0.315 and 1.34 ± 0.337 individuals/100km2 across four candidate models specified in our analysis. Our spatially explicit approach revealed ‘hotspots’ of cheetah density, highlighting that cheetah are distributed heterogeneously across the landscape. The SECR models incorporated a movement range parameter which indicated that male cheetah moved four times as much as females, possibly because female movement was restricted by their reproductive status and/or the spatial distribution of prey. We show that SECR can be used for spatially unstructured data to successfully characterise the spatial distribution of a low density species and also estimate population density when sample size is small. Our sampling and modelling framework will help determine spatial and temporal variation in cheetah densities, providing a foundation for their conservation and management. Based on our results we encourage other researchers to adopt a similar approach in estimating densities of individually recognisable species. PMID:27135614

  19. Counting Cats: Spatially Explicit Population Estimates of Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) Using Unstructured Sampling Data.

    PubMed

    Broekhuis, Femke; Gopalaswamy, Arjun M

    2016-01-01

    Many ecological theories and species conservation programmes rely on accurate estimates of population density. Accurate density estimation, especially for species facing rapid declines, requires the application of rigorous field and analytical methods. However, obtaining accurate density estimates of carnivores can be challenging as carnivores naturally exist at relatively low densities and are often elusive and wide-ranging. In this study, we employ an unstructured spatial sampling field design along with a Bayesian sex-specific spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) analysis, to provide the first rigorous population density estimates of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. We estimate adult cheetah density to be between 1.28 ± 0.315 and 1.34 ± 0.337 individuals/100km2 across four candidate models specified in our analysis. Our spatially explicit approach revealed 'hotspots' of cheetah density, highlighting that cheetah are distributed heterogeneously across the landscape. The SECR models incorporated a movement range parameter which indicated that male cheetah moved four times as much as females, possibly because female movement was restricted by their reproductive status and/or the spatial distribution of prey. We show that SECR can be used for spatially unstructured data to successfully characterise the spatial distribution of a low density species and also estimate population density when sample size is small. Our sampling and modelling framework will help determine spatial and temporal variation in cheetah densities, providing a foundation for their conservation and management. Based on our results we encourage other researchers to adopt a similar approach in estimating densities of individually recognisable species. PMID:27135614

  20. Dietary isoflavone absorption, excretion, and metabolism in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Whitehouse-Tedd, Katherine M; Cave, Nicholas J; Ugarte, Claudia E; Waldron, Lucy A; Prasain, Jeevan K; Arabshahi, Alireza; Barnes, Stephen; Thomas, David G

    2011-12-01

    Dietary isoflavones, capable of influencing reproductive parameters in domestic cats (Felis catus), have been detected in commercial diets fed to captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). However, the absorptive and metabolic capacity of cheetahs towards isoflavones has not yet been studied. Experiments were designed to describe the plasma concentration-time curve, metabolite profile, and urinary and fecal excretion of genistein and daidzein in cheetahs following consumption of isoflavones. Four adult cheetahs were administered a single oral bolus of genistein and daidzein, and five juvenile cheetahs consuming a milk replacer formula found to contain isoflavones were also included. Urine was collected from all animals, and blood and feces were also collected from adult cheetahs following isoflavone exposure. Samples were analyzed for isoflavone metabolite concentration by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-multiple reaction ion monitoring mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography. Sulfate conjugates were the primary metabolites detected of both genistein and daidzein (60-80% of total isoflavones present) in the plasma and urine of cheetahs. A smaller proportion of daidzein was detected as conjugates in the urine of juvenile cheetahs, compared to adult cheetahs. Other metabolites included unconjugated genistein and daidzein, O-desmethylangolensin, and dihydrodaidzein, but not equol. Only 33% of the ingested genistein dose, and 9% of daidzein, was detected in plasma from adult cheetahs. However, of the ingested dose, 67% of genistein and 45% of daidzein were detected in the feces of adults. This study revealed that cheetahs appear efficient in their conjugation of absorbed dietary isoflavones and only a small fraction of ingested dose is absorbed. However, the capacity of the cheetah to conjugate genistein and daidzein with sulfate moieties appears lower than reported in the domestic cat. This may confer greater opportunity for biologic

  1. Focal palatine erosion in captive and free-living cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and other felid species.

    PubMed

    Zordan, Martýn; Deem, Sharon L; Sanchez, Carlos R

    2012-01-01

    We examined 1,092 skulls of captive and free-living individuals, representing 33 felid species, to determine the prevalence of focal palatine erosion (FPE). FPE was detected in 3.2% of cats evaluated, including cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and 14 other felid species. The prevalence of FPE between cheetah (9.4%; n = 64) and non-cheetah species (2.8%; n = 1,028) (χ(2) test; P = 0.004) and between captive (5.7%; n = 246) and free-living (2.4%; n = 824) individuals (χ(2) test; P = 0.010) were significantly different, with prevalence between captive (19%; n = 21) and free-living (2.9%; n = 34) cheetahs approaching significance (Fisher's exact test; P = 0.064). FPE was diagnosed with equal prevalence in skulls from individuals in which the lower molars did not meet the palatine bone (60.6%) and individuals in which it did (39.4%; n = 33) (χ(2) test; P = 0.139). In cheetahs with FPE, one was a captive animal in Germany, one a free-living cheetah from Mali, one captive cheetah from Kenya, and three captive cheetahs of unknown origin. Additionally, we evaluated the medical records of 49 captive cheetahs in Namibia. Of these cheetahs, 48 (98.0%) had clinical signs consistent with FPE, although only 16 of these 48 (39.6%) had perforation of the palatine bone. Based on physical examinations, FPE was diagnosed in two caracals (Caracal caracal) and one fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) from a North American Zoo. Results from this study confirm FPE in cheetahs outside of Namibia, in a minimum of 15 felid species, and a higher FPE prevalence in captive individuals than free-living ones. Clinical implications of these findings and recommendations for future studies are provided. PMID:21541986

  2. Movement activity based classification of animal behaviour with an application to data from cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Grünewälder, Steffen; Broekhuis, Femke; Macdonald, David Whyte; Wilson, Alan Martin; McNutt, John Weldon; Shawe-Taylor, John; Hailes, Stephen

    2012-01-01

    We propose a new method, based on machine learning techniques, for the analysis of a combination of continuous data from dataloggers and a sampling of contemporaneous behaviour observations. This data combination provides an opportunity for biologists to study behaviour at a previously unknown level of detail and accuracy; however, continuously recorded data are of little use unless the resulting large volumes of raw data can be reliably translated into actual behaviour. We address this problem by applying a Support Vector Machine and a Hidden-Markov Model that allows us to classify an animal's behaviour using a small set of field observations to calibrate continuously recorded activity data. Such classified data can be applied quantitatively to the behaviour of animals over extended periods and at times during which observation is difficult or impossible. We demonstrate the usefulness of the method by applying it to data from six cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Cumulative activity data scores were recorded every five minutes by accelerometers embedded in GPS radio-collars for around one year on average. Direct behaviour sampling of each of the six cheetah were collected in the field for comparatively short periods. Using this approach we are able to classify each five minute activity score into a set of three key behaviour (feeding, mobile and stationary), creating a continuous behavioural sequence for the entire period for which the collars were deployed. Evaluation of our classifier with cross-validation shows the accuracy to be 83%-94%, but that the accuracy for individual classes is reduced with decreasing sample size of direct observations. We demonstrate how these processed data can be used to study behaviour identifying seasonal and gender differences in daily activity and feeding times. Results given here are unlike any that could be obtained using traditional approaches in both accuracy and detail. PMID:23185301

  3. Ultrasonographic and laparoscopic evaluation of the reproductive tract in older captive female cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Schulman, M L; Kirberger, R M; Tordiffe, A S W; Marker, L L; Schmidt-Küntzel, A; Hartman, M J

    2015-12-01

    The study uniquely described the clinical value of transabdominal ultrasonography for monitoring features characterizing the estrous cycle in female cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). The reproductive tracts of 21 female, nulliparous, and relatively aged (median: 11 and interquartile range: 9.25-14 years) captive cheetahs resident on two sites in Namibia were assessed by transabdominal ultrasound. Subsequently, the ovarian findings on ultrasound were compared with direct visualization while performing laparoscopic sterilization. A combination of these observations supported by concurrent sampling for vaginal cytology and serum progesterone concentrations defined the estrous status of individual animals. At one site, six cheetahs had been implanted with the GnRH agonist, deslorelin as a contraceptive at least once within the preceding 11 years. On ultrasound, 31 uterine horns and 35 ovaries with discernible structures on 28 (86%) were visualized in the 21 cheetahs. The uterine body was difficult to visualize because of its intrapelvic location. Eleven of 19 uteri (58%) visualized showed endometrial edema suggestive of estrogenization. The uteri of four cheetahs (19%) showed evidence of mild cystic endometrial hyperplasia. Paraovarian cysts were seen on ultrasound (n = 21) and laparoscopy (n = 26) in 16 (76.2%) and 18 (85.7%) cheetahs, respectively. Ovarian volumes obtained from ultrasonographically determined dimensions predicted cyclic activity. Laparoscopy showed that 19 ovaries had discernible follicular structures. In the study population, 10 (47.6%) cheetahs were in proestrus or estrus; none in the luteal phase; and 11 (52.4%) in anestrus. Transabdominal ultrasound, in combination with serum progesterone concentrations and vaginal cytology, was used with acceptable accuracy to assess cyclic ovarian activity in captive cheetahs. A considerable proportion of this aged population showed ovarian activity and the prevalence of paraovarian cysts was notable. A

  4. Comparison of noninvasive blood pressure measurement techniques via the coccygeal artery in anesthetized cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Sadler, Ryan A; Hall, Natalie H; Kass, Philip H; Citino, Scott B

    2013-12-01

    Two indirect blood pressure measurement techniques, Doppler (DOP) sphygmomanometry and oscillometry, applied at the ventral coccygeal artery were compared with simultaneous direct blood pressure measurements at the dorsal pedal artery in 10 anesthetized, captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). The DOP method was moderately accurate, with relatively little bias (mean difference 3.8 mmHg) and 88.6% of the DOP systolic arterial pressure measurements being within 10 mmHg of the direct systolic arterial measurement. With the oscillometric (OM) method, 89.2% of the mean arterial pressure measurements were within 10 mmHg of the direct measurement and had the least bias (mean difference 2.3 mmHg), 80.7% of the systolic measurements were within 10 mmHg of the direct measurement and had the second least bias (mean difference 2.3 mmHg), and 59% of the diastolic measurements were within 10 mmHg of the direct measurement and had significant bias (mean difference 7.3 mmHg). However, DOP showed relatively poor precision (SD 11.2 mmHg) compared with OM systolic (SD 8.0 mmHg), diastolic (SD 8.6 mmHg), and mean (SD 5.7 mmHg). Both techniques showed a linear relationship with the direct technique measurements over a wide range of blood pressures. The DOP method tended to underestimate systolic measurements below 160 mmHg and overestimate systolic measurements above 160 mmHg. The OM method tended to underestimate mean pressures below 160 mm Hg, overestimate mean pressures above 160 mmHg, underestimate systolic pressures below 170 mmHg, overestimate systolic pressures above 170 mmHg, and underestimate diastolic pressures throughout the measured blood pressure range. Indirect blood pressure measurement using the ventral coccygeal artery, particularly when using an OM device for mean and systolic arterial pressure, may be useful in the clinical assessment of cheetahs when monitoring trends over time, but caution should be taken when interpreting individual values. PMID:24450051

  5. SOLITARY T-CELL HEPATIC LYMPHOMA WITH LARGE GRANULAR LYMPHOCYTE MORPHOLOGY IN A CAPTIVE CHEETAH (ACINONYX JUBATUS).

    PubMed

    Lindemann, Dana M; Carpenter, James W; Almes, Kelli M; Schumacher, Loni; Ryseff, Julia K; Hallman, Mackenzie

    2015-06-01

    A 13-yr-old male cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) presented for an acute history of lateral recumbency and anorexia. Upon physical examination under general anesthesia, severe icterus was noted. A serum biochemical profile confirmed markedly elevated total bilirubin and alanine transaminase. Based on ultrasound-guided liver aspirates and cytology, a presumptive diagnosis of large granular lymphocyte hepatic lymphoma was reached. Abdominal and thoracic radiographs did not assist in reaching an antemortem diagnosis. Postmortem examination and histopathology provided a definitive diagnosis of hepatic lymphoma with acute massive hepatocelluar necrosis and hemorrhage, as well as concurrent lesions of gastric ulcers, ulcerative and sclerosing enteritis, myocardial hypertrophy, and splenic myelolipomas. Immunohistochemistry of the liver yielded CD-3 positive and CD-20 negative results, confirming lymphocytes of a T-cell lineage. Due to concern for possible retrovirus-associated disease, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus were performed retrospectively on a banked serum sample and yielded negative results, thus diminishing concern for the male conspecific housed in the same exhibit. PMID:26056904

  6. Daily fecal sex steroid hormonal changes and mating success in captive female cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in Japan.

    PubMed

    Kinoshita, Kodzue; Ohazama, M; Ishida, R; Kusunoki, H

    2011-05-01

    Daily fecal estrogen and progestin concentrations were measured by enzyme immunoassay in five female cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) for 4-6 months. The animals were housed under different conditions: (1) a female always housed in a group including one or more males; (2) two females isolated individually for short or long periods; (3) the other two females housed together. These females were separately housed with males for mating around the time of the estrogen peaks. The hormone profiles were similar in all five females regardless of the housing conditions. However, only the female that had been isolated from other cheetahs for over a year mated and reproduce cubs successfully, whereas the remaining four did not (one was isolated for only 6 weeks, another was always housed with males and the other two were housed together). In all females, the estrogen peaks were obtained at regular intervals of approximately 8-15 days. Unlike estrogen, the progestin concentrations were always low in all females except during pregnancy and they did not increase following the estrogen surges. These results showed that female cheetahs are typically reflex ovulators and female receptiveness may not be reflected to her hormonal states. It was also suspected that individual housing and long-term separation are advantageous for breeding this wild cat in captivity, mimicking the ecological/behavioral patterns in the wild, though housing condition might have no effect on the estrous cycle. PMID:21398057

  7. Development of a case definition for clinical feline herpesvirus infection in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) housed in zoos.

    PubMed

    Witte, Carmel L; Lamberski, Nadine; Rideout, Bruce A; Fields, Victoria; Teare, Cyd Shields; Barrie, Michael; Haefele, Holly; Junge, Randall; Murray, Suzan; Hungerford, Laura L

    2013-09-01

    The identification of feline herpesvirus (FHV) infected cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and characterization of shedding episodes is difficult due to nonspecific clinical signs and limitations of diagnostic tests. The goals of this study were to develop a case definition for clinical FHV and describe the distribution of signs. Medical records from six different zoologic institutions were reviewed to identify cheetahs with diagnostic test results confirming FHV. Published literature, expert opinion, and results of a multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) were used to develop a clinical case definition based on 69 episodes in FHV laboratory confirmed (LC) cheetahs. Four groups of signs were identified in the MCA: general ocular signs, serious ocular lesions, respiratory disease, and cutaneous lesions. Ocular disease occurred with respiratory signs alone, with skin lesions alone, and with both respiratory signs and skin lesions. Groups that did not occur together were respiratory signs and skin lesions. The resulting case definition included 1) LC cheetahs; and 2) clinically compatible (CC) cheetahs that exhibited a minimum of 7 day's duration of the clinical sign groupings identified in the MCA or the presence of corneal ulcers or keratitis that occurred alone or in concert with other ocular signs and skin lesions. Exclusion criteria were applied. Application of the case definition to the study population identified an additional 78 clinical episodes, which represented 58 CC cheetahs. In total, 28.8% (93/322) of the population was identified as LC or CC. The distribution of identified clinical signs was similar across LC and CC cheetahs. Corneal ulcers and/or keratitis, and skin lesions were more frequently reported in severe episodes; in mild episodes, there were significantly more cheetahs with ocular-only or respiratory-only disease. Our results provide a better understanding of the clinical presentation of FHV, while presenting a standardized case definition that can

  8. Serum protein capillary electrophoresis and measurement of acute phase proteins in a captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) population.

    PubMed

    Depauw, Sarah; Delanghe, Joris; Whitehouse-Tedd, Katherine; Kjelgaard-Hansen, Mads; Christensen, Michelle; Hesta, Myriam; Tugirimana, Pierrot; Budd, Jane; Dermauw, Veronique; Janssens, Geert P J

    2014-09-01

    Renal and gastrointestinal pathologies are widespread in the captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) population but are often diagnosed at a late stage, because diagnostic tools are limited to the evaluation of clinical signs or general blood examination. Presently, no data are available on serum proteins and acute-phase proteins in cheetahs during health or disease, although they might be important to improve health monitoring. This study aimed to quantify serum proteins by capillary electrophoresis in 80 serum samples from captive cheetahs, categorized according to health status and disease type. Moreover, serum amyloid A concentrations were measured via a turbidimetric immunoassay validated in domestic cats, whereas haptoglobin and C-reactive protein were determined by non-species-specific functional tests. Cheetahs classified as healthy had serum protein and acute phase protein concentrations within reference ranges for healthy domestic cats. In contrast, unhealthy cheetahs had higher (P < 0.001) serum amyloid A, alpha2-globulin, and haptoglobin concentrations compared with the healthy subgroup. Moreover, serum amyloid A (P = 0.020), alpha2-globulin (P < 0.001) and haptoglobin (P = 0.001) concentrations in cheetahs suffering from chronic kidney disease were significantly greater compared to the reportedly healthy cheetahs. Our study indicates that serum proteins in the cheetah can be analyzed by routine capillary electrophoresis, whereas acute-phase proteins can be measured using available immunoassays or non-species-specific techniques, which are also likely to be applicable in other exotic felids. Moreover, results suggest that serum amyloid A and haptoglobin are important acute-phase proteins in the diseased cheetah and highlight the need to evaluate their role as early-onset markers for disease. PMID:25314816

  9. COMPARISON OF HIGH-DEFINITION OSCILLOMETRIC AND DIRECT ARTERIAL BLOOD PRESSURE MEASUREMENT IN ANESTHETIZED CHEETAHS (ACINONYX JUBATUS).

    PubMed

    Sant Cassia, Emma V; Boswood, Adrian; Tordiffe, Adrian S W

    2015-09-01

    Blood pressure measurement reveals important insights into the health of conscious and anesthetized individuals. This is of particular interest in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), which in captivity are known to suffer from chronic diseases that may be associated with hypertension and which often require immobilization for transport or veterinary treatment. Invasive testing methods are considered the gold standard but are not practical in many settings. Consequently, it is important to evaluate the use of noninvasive methods in this species. Measurements for systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial pressure obtained using high-definition oscillometry (HDO) at the coccygeal artery were compared to simultaneous direct measurements obtained via catheterization of the femoral or dorsal pedal artery in eight anesthetized captive cheetahs during nine anesthetic events. Overall, HDO and direct measurements agreed most closely for mean arterial pressure, and the poorest agreement was observed for systolic pressure. There was a tendency for low diastolic pressures to be underestimated and for high diastolic pressures to be overestimated. Across all three parameters, HDO measurements from the tail overestimated directly measured pressures in the femoral artery and underestimated those in the dorsal pedal artery. HDO agreed most closely with directly measured dorsal pedal pressures. Mean arterial pressure showed the greatest precision (standard deviation of 10.2 mm Hg) and lowest bias (-1.2 mm Hg), with 75.9% of readings within 10 mm Hg of the direct dorsal pedal pressure. Agreement with systolic pressure was hindered by a high bias (-10.4 mm Hg), but if a correction factor of +10 mm Hg was applied to all systolic measurements, agreement was improved and 65.7% of readings were within 10 mm Hg of the direct pressure. When compared to criteria defined by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine for validation of blood pressure devices, results were favorable, but a

  10. Increasing age influences uterine integrity, but not ovarian function or oocyte quality, in the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Crosier, Adrienne E; Comizzoli, Pierre; Baker, Tom; Davidson, Autumn; Munson, Linda; Howard, JoGayle; Marker, Laurie L; Wildt, David E

    2011-08-01

    Although the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) routinely lives for more than 12 yr in ex situ collections, females older than 8 yr reproduce infrequently. We tested the hypothesis that reproduction is compromised in older female cheetahs due to a combination of disrupted gonadal, oocyte, and uterine function/integrity. Specifically, we assessed 1) ovarian response to gonadotropins; 2) oocyte meiotic, fertilization, and developmental competence; and 3) uterine morphology in three age classes of cheetahs (young, 2-5 yr, n = 17; prime, 6-8 yr, n = 8; older, 9-15 yr, n = 9). Ovarian activity was stimulated with a combination of equine chorionic gonadotropin and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and fecal samples were collected for 45 days before gonadotropin treatment and for 30 days after oocyte recovery by laparoscopy. Twenty-six to thirty hours post-hCG, uterine morphology was examined by ultrasound, ovarian follicular size determined by laparoscopy, and aspirated oocytes assessed for nuclear status or inseminated in vitro. Although no influence of age on fecal hormone concentrations or gross uterine morphology was found (P > 0.05), older females produced fewer (P < 0.05) total antral follicles and oocytes compared to younger counterparts. Regardless of donor age, oocytes had equivalent (P > 0.05) nuclear status and ability to reach metaphase II and fertilize in vitro. A histological assessment of voucher specimens revealed an age-related influence on uterine tissue integrity, with more than 87% and more than 56% of older females experiencing endometrial hyperplasia and severe pathologies, respectively. Our collective findings reveal that lower reproductive success in older cheetahs appears to be minimally influenced by ovarian and gamete aging and subsequent dysfunction. Rather, ovaries from older females are responsive to gonadotropins, produce normative estradiol/progestogen concentrations, and develop follicles containing oocytes with the capacity to mature and be

  11. Blood vitamins and trace elements in Northern-East African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii) in captivity in the Middle East.

    PubMed

    Beckmann, Katie M; O'Donovan, Declan; McKeown, Sean; Wernery, Ulli; Basu, Puja; Bailey, Tom A

    2013-09-01

    There are few published data regarding the endangered Northern-East African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii), held in captivity in the Middle East and Europe. Studies have demonstrated a high incidence of disease in captive cheetahs, in which vitamin and trace element imbalances have often been implicated. Blood vitamin and trace element reference values in cheetahs merit further investigation. In this study, blood samples were opportunistically collected from apparently healthy A. j. soemmeringii from two collections (A and B) with successful breeding programs in the United Arab Emirates. The cheetahs were fed whole prey of mixed species (and, in Collection B, goat muscle and bone as well) dusted with vitamin and mineral supplements. Mean serum vitamin and trace element values (for cheetahs > 4 mo in age) were as follows: vitamin A (retinol), 2.20 microM/L (n = 27); vitamin B1, 0.0818 microM/L (n = 45); vitamin C, 28.6 microM/L (n=10); vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), 35.6 microM/L (n = 27); copper (Cu), 12.53 microM/L (n = 27); selenium (Se), 3.10 microM/L (n = 27); and zinc (Zn), 10.87 microM/L (n = 27). Mean values of vitamin A, vitamin E, Cu, and Zn fell within ranges of published cheetah mean values, and mean Se was lower than range values for cheetahs presented in one previous study; blood vitamin B1 and vitamin C values of cheetahs have not previously been published. The values were taken to indicate that the cheetahs' nutritional status was adequate with regard to those nutrients analyzed. Serum vitamin E was particularly high in cheetahs fed fresh whole prey, and on this basis vitamin E supplementation of fresh whole prey appeared to have been unnecessary. There were differences (P < 0.05) between collections in serum vitamin B1, vitamin E, Cu, and 10 other hematologic and biochemical parameters. Nine hematologic and blood biochemical parameters differed among age categories. PMID:24063089

  12. Myosin heavy chain composition of tiger (Panthera tigris) and cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) hindlimb muscles.

    PubMed

    Hyatt, Jon-Philippe K; Roy, Roland R; Rugg, Stuart; Talmadge, Robert J

    2010-01-01

    Felids have a wide range of locomotor activity patterns and maximal running speeds, including the very fast cheetah (Acinonyx jubatas), the roaming tiger (Panthera tigris), and the relatively sedentary domestic cat (Felis catus). As previous studies have suggested a relationship between the amount and type of activity and the myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoform composition of a muscle, we assessed the MHC isoform composition of selected hindlimb muscles from these three felid species with differing activity regimens. Using gel electrophoresis, western blotting, histochemistry, and immunohistochemistry with MHC isoform-specific antibodies, we compared the MHC composition in the tibialis anterior, medial gastrocnemius (MG), plantaris (Plt), and soleus muscles of the tiger, cheetah, and domestic cat. The soleus muscle was absent in the cheetah. At least one slow (type I) and three fast (types IIa, IIx, and IIb) MHC isoforms were present in the muscles of each felid. The tiger had a high combined percentage of the characteristically slower isoforms (MHCs I and IIa) in the MG (62%) and the Plt (86%), whereas these percentages were relatively low in the MG (44%) and Plt (55%) of the cheetah. In general, the MHC isoform characteristics of the hindlimb muscles matched the daily activity patterns of these felids: the tiger has daily demands for covering long distances, whereas the cheetah has requirements for speed and power. PMID:19768738

  13. COMPARISON OF TWO α2-ADRENERGIC AGONISTS ON URINE CONTAMINATION OF SEMEN COLLECTED BY ELECTROEJACULATION IN CAPTIVE AND SEMI-FREE-RANGING CHEETAH (ACINONYX JUBATUS).

    PubMed

    Marrow, Judilee C; Woc-Colburn, Margarita; Hayek, Lee-Ann C; Marker, Laurie; Murray, Suzan

    2015-06-01

    Alpha2-adrenergic agonists are used to immobilize many veterinary species, but use has been infrequently linked to urine contamination of semen collected via electroejaculation. The objective of the study was to compare the α2-agonists medetomidine and dexmedetomidine on urine contamination of semen in anesthetized cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) during electroejaculation procedures. From 2009-2012, a retrospective medical record review revealed 21 anesthesia events in 12 adult male cheetahs. Animals were immobilized with combinations of Telazol® (2.33±0.43 mg/kg) and ketamine (2.38±1 mg/kg); Telazol (1.17±0.14 mg/kg), ketamine (1.17±0.14 mg/kg), and medetomidine (0.012±0.0017 mg/kg); or Telazol (1.59±0.1 mg/kg), ketamine (1.59±0.1 mg/kg) and dexmedetomidine (0.01±0.001 mg/kg). Semen was successfully collected in all animals; four animals anesthetized with medetomidine had urine contamination (P=0.037). Medetomidine may contribute to urine contamination; however, further investigation is needed to determine significance in cheetahs. PMID:26056908

  14. Evaluating the status of African wild dogs Lycaon pictus and cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus through tourist-based photographic surveys in the Kruger National Park [corrected].

    PubMed

    Marnewick, Kelly; Ferreira, Sam M; Grange, Sophie; Watermeyer, Jessica; Maputla, Nakedi; Davies-Mostert, Harriet T

    2014-01-01

    The Kruger National Park is a stronghold for African wild dog Lycaon pictus and cheetah Acinonyx jubatus conservation in South Africa. Tourist photographic surveys have been used to evaluate the minimum number of wild dogs and cheetahs alive over the last two decades. Photographic-based capture-recapture techniques for open populations were used on data collected during a survey done in 2008/9. Models were run for the park as a whole and per region (northern, central, southern). A total of 412 (329-495; SE 41.95) cheetahs and 151 (144-157; SE 3.21) wild dogs occur in the Kruger National Park. Cheetah capture probabilities were affected by time (number of entries) and sex, whereas wild dog capture probabilities were affected by the region of the park. When plotting the number of new individuals identified against the number of entries received, the addition of new wild dogs to the survey reached an asymptote at 210 entries, but cheetahs did not reach an asymptote. The cheetah population of Kruger appears to be acceptable, while the wild dog population size and density are of concern. The effectiveness of tourist-based surveys for estimating population sizes through capture-recapture analyses is shown. PMID:24465998

  15. Motile Sperm Output by Male Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) Managed Ex Situ Is Influenced by Public Exposure and Number of Care-Givers

    PubMed Central

    Koester, Diana C.; Freeman, Elizabeth W.; Brown, Janine L.; Wildt, David E.; Terrell, Kimberly A.; Franklin, Ashley D.; Crosier, Adrienne E.

    2015-01-01

    The collective cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) population in zoological institutions has never been self-sustaining because of challenges in natural reproduction. A retrospective analysis of North American zoo-breeding records has revealed that >90% of litters produced since 2003 occurred in facilities ‘off-display’ from the public. We examined seminal, endocrine, and behavioral traits of 29 adult male cheetahs that were: 1) managed in public exhibit or off-display facilities; 2) maintained by different numbers of cheetah-specific care-givers; and 3) living adjacent to varying numbers of adult conspecifics. Cheetahs housed off-display produced more total motile sperm/ejaculate (P = 0.04) than on-exhibit males. This finding was mirrored in our laboratory’s historical records where two-fold more total motile sperm (P < 0.01) were measured in ejaculates from individuals with no public exposure (n = 43) compared to on-exhibit (n = 116) counterparts. Males at institutions with ≤3 care-givers also produced more total motile sperm/ejaculate (P < 0.03) and spent more time behaviorally active (P < 0.01) than at facilities using >3 care-givers. Exposure to high numbers of conspecifics within the same institution did not impact (P > 0.05) seminal traits, and presence of the public, care-giver number, or animals/facility had no influence (P > 0.05) on androgen or glucocorticoid excretion or other behavioral metrics. Findings indicate that male cheetahs are sensitive to general public exposure and too many care-givers, resulting in compromised motile sperm output/ejaculate with mechanism of action unrelated to altered androgen or glucocorticoid excretion. PMID:26332582

  16. Oligotyping reveals differences between gut microbiomes of free-ranging sympatric Namibian carnivores (Acinonyx jubatus, Canis mesomelas) on a bacterial species-like level

    PubMed Central

    Menke, Sebastian; Wasimuddin; Meier, Matthias; Melzheimer, Jörg; Mfune, John K. E.; Heinrich, Sonja; Thalwitzer, Susanne; Wachter, Bettina; Sommer, Simone

    2014-01-01

    Recent gut microbiome studies in model organisms emphasize the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic factors on the variation of the bacterial composition and its impact on the overall health status of the host. Species occurring in the same habitat might share a similar microbiome, especially if they overlap in ecological and behavioral traits. So far, the natural variation in microbiomes of free-ranging wildlife species has not been thoroughly investigated. The few existing studies exploring microbiomes through 16S rRNA gene reads clustered sequencing reads into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) based on a similarity threshold (e.g., 97%). This approach, in combination with the low resolution of target databases, generally limits the level of taxonomic assignments to the genus level. However, distinguishing natural variation of microbiomes in healthy individuals from “abnormal” microbial compositions that affect host health requires knowledge of the “normal” microbial flora at a high taxonomic resolution. This gap can now be addressed using the recently published oligotyping approach, which can resolve closely related organisms into distinct oligotypes by utilizing subtle nucleotide variation. Here, we used Illumina MiSeq to sequence amplicons generated from the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene to investigate the gut microbiome of two free-ranging sympatric Namibian carnivore species, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and the black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas). Bacterial phyla with proportions >0.2% were identical for both species and included Firmicutes, Fusobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria. At a finer taxonomic resolution, black-backed jackals exhibited 69 bacterial taxa with proportions ≥0.1%, whereas cheetahs had only 42. Finally, oligotyping revealed that shared bacterial taxa consisted of distinct oligotype profiles. Thus, in contrast to 3% OTUs, oligotyping can detect fine-scale taxonomic differences between microbiomes

  17. Oligotyping reveals differences between gut microbiomes of free-ranging sympatric Namibian carnivores (Acinonyx jubatus, Canis mesomelas) on a bacterial species-like level.

    PubMed

    Menke, Sebastian; Wasimuddin; Meier, Matthias; Melzheimer, Jörg; Mfune, John K E; Heinrich, Sonja; Thalwitzer, Susanne; Wachter, Bettina; Sommer, Simone

    2014-01-01

    Recent gut microbiome studies in model organisms emphasize the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic factors on the variation of the bacterial composition and its impact on the overall health status of the host. Species occurring in the same habitat might share a similar microbiome, especially if they overlap in ecological and behavioral traits. So far, the natural variation in microbiomes of free-ranging wildlife species has not been thoroughly investigated. The few existing studies exploring microbiomes through 16S rRNA gene reads clustered sequencing reads into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) based on a similarity threshold (e.g., 97%). This approach, in combination with the low resolution of target databases, generally limits the level of taxonomic assignments to the genus level. However, distinguishing natural variation of microbiomes in healthy individuals from "abnormal" microbial compositions that affect host health requires knowledge of the "normal" microbial flora at a high taxonomic resolution. This gap can now be addressed using the recently published oligotyping approach, which can resolve closely related organisms into distinct oligotypes by utilizing subtle nucleotide variation. Here, we used Illumina MiSeq to sequence amplicons generated from the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene to investigate the gut microbiome of two free-ranging sympatric Namibian carnivore species, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and the black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas). Bacterial phyla with proportions >0.2% were identical for both species and included Firmicutes, Fusobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria. At a finer taxonomic resolution, black-backed jackals exhibited 69 bacterial taxa with proportions ≥0.1%, whereas cheetahs had only 42. Finally, oligotyping revealed that shared bacterial taxa consisted of distinct oligotype profiles. Thus, in contrast to 3% OTUs, oligotyping can detect fine-scale taxonomic differences between microbiomes. PMID

  18. Detection of feline coronavirus in cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) feces by reverse transcription-nested polymerase chain reaction in cheetahs with variable frequency of viral shedding.

    PubMed

    Gaffney, Patricia M; Kennedy, Melissa; Terio, Karen; Gardner, Ian; Lothamer, Chad; Coleman, Kathleen; Munson, Linda

    2012-12-01

    Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) are a highly threatened species because of habitat loss, human conflict, and high prevalence of disease in captivity. An epidemic of feline infectious peritonitis and concern for spread of infectious disease resulted in decreased movement of cheetahs between U.S. zoological facilities for managed captive breeding. Identifying the true feline coronavirus (FCoV) infection status of cheetahs is challenging because of inconsistent correlation between seropositivity and fecal viral shedding. Because the pattern of fecal shedding of FCoV is unknown in cheetahs, this study aimed to assess the frequency of detectable fecal viral shedding in a 30-day period and to determine the most efficient fecal sampling strategy to identify cheetahs shedding FCoV. Fecal samples were collected from 16 cheetahs housed at seven zoological facilities for 30 to 46 consecutive days; the samples were evaluated for the presence of FCoV by reverse transcription-nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-nPCR). Forty-four percent (7/16) of cheetahs had detectable FCoV in feces, and the proportion of positive samples for individual animals ranged from 13 to 93%. Cheetahs shed virus persistently, intermittently, or rarely over 30-46 days. Fecal RT-nPCR results were used to calculate the probability of correctly identifying a cheetah known to shed virus given multiple hypothetical fecal collection schedules. The most efficient hypothetical fecal sample collection schedule was evaluation of five individual consecutive fecal samples, resulting in a 90% probability of identifying a known shedder. Demographic and management risk factors were not significantly associated (P < or = 0.05) with fecal viral shedding. Because some cheetahs shed virus intermittently to rarely, fecal sampling schedules meant to identify all known shedders would be impractical with current tests and eradication of virus from the population unreasonable. Managing the captive population as endemically

  19. Evaluation of two milk replacers fed to hand-reared cheetah cubs (Acinonyx jubatus): nutrient composition, apparent total tract digestibility, and comparison to maternal cheetah milk.

    PubMed

    Bell, Katherine M; Rutherfurd, Shane M; Cottam, Yvette H; Hendriks, Wouter H

    2011-01-01

    Commercially prepared milk replacers are frequently used to provide the sole source of nutrition for hand-reared cheetah cubs (Acinonyx jubatus). The nutrient composition of two commonly used milk replacers was determined. Using titanium dioxide as an indigestible marker, nutrient digestibility was calculated from the analyses of fecal samples collected from each cub (n = 4 on formula 1, and n = 2 on formula 2). Mean apparent total tract digestibility for both formulas was >90% for all nutrients analyzed (crude protein, amino acids, crude fat (CF), and dry matter). However, the total CF content and the concentration of the essential fatty acids, such as α-linolenic, linolenic, and arachidonic acid, of both formulas was lower than reported for maternal cheetah milk. Additionally, one formula contained a comparatively high amount of carbohydrate, at the expense of protein. Although data were lacking for cheetah maternal milk, comparison with domestic cat milk revealed high concentrations of a number of minerals (K, Fe, Zn, and Cu), while vitamin D(3) was not detected in one formula. Both formulas were low in the majority of essential amino acids compared with domestic cat maternal milk. Despite their apparently high digestibility, neither formula was complete or balanced in terms of nutrient concentrations and ratios when maternal cheetah milk and/or the requirements established for growth in domestic cats were used as estimates of ideal. On this basis, although all cubs in this study were healthy and maintained good body conditions for the duration of the trial, the results of dietary analyses indicate that these milk replacers may not provide optimal nutrition for growth in cheetah cubs when used for extended periods. PMID:20853414

  20. Motile Sperm Output by Male Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) Managed Ex Situ Is Influenced by Public Exposure and Number of Care-Givers.

    PubMed

    Koester, Diana C; Freeman, Elizabeth W; Brown, Janine L; Wildt, David E; Terrell, Kimberly A; Franklin, Ashley D; Crosier, Adrienne E

    2015-01-01

    The collective cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) population in zoological institutions has never been self-sustaining because of challenges in natural reproduction. A retrospective analysis of North American zoo-breeding records has revealed that >90% of litters produced since 2003 occurred in facilities 'off-display' from the public. We examined seminal, endocrine, and behavioral traits of 29 adult male cheetahs that were: 1) managed in public exhibit or off-display facilities; 2) maintained by different numbers of cheetah-specific care-givers; and 3) living adjacent to varying numbers of adult conspecifics. Cheetahs housed off-display produced more total motile sperm/ejaculate (P = 0.04) than on-exhibit males. This finding was mirrored in our laboratory's historical records where two-fold more total motile sperm (P < 0.01) were measured in ejaculates from individuals with no public exposure (n = 43) compared to on-exhibit (n = 116) counterparts. Males at institutions with ≤3 care-givers also produced more total motile sperm/ejaculate (P < 0.03) and spent more time behaviorally active (P < 0.01) than at facilities using >3 care-givers. Exposure to high numbers of conspecifics within the same institution did not impact (P > 0.05) seminal traits, and presence of the public, care-giver number, or animals/facility had no influence (P > 0.05) on androgen or glucocorticoid excretion or other behavioral metrics. Findings indicate that male cheetahs are sensitive to general public exposure and too many care-givers, resulting in compromised motile sperm output/ejaculate with mechanism of action unrelated to altered androgen or glucocorticoid excretion. PMID:26332582

  1. INDUCTION OF CYTOKINE PRODUCTION IN CHEETAH (ACINONYX JUBATUS) PERIPHERAL BLOOD MONONUCLEAR CELLS AND VALIDATION OF FELINE-SPECIFIC CYTOKINE ASSAYS FOR ANALYSIS OF CHEETAH SERUM.

    PubMed

    Franklin, Ashley D; Crosier, Adrienne E; Vansandt, Lindsey M; Mattson, Elliot; Xiao, Zhengguo

    2015-06-01

    Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from the whole blood of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus ; n=3) and stimulated with lipopolysaccharides (LPS) to induce the production of proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 for establishment of cross-reactivity between these cheetah cytokines and feline-specific cytokine antibodies provided in commercially available Feline DuoSet® ELISA kits (R&D Systems, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413, USA). This study found that feline-specific cytokine antibodies bind specifically to cheetah proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 from cell culture supernatants. The assays also revealed that cheetah PBMCs produce a measurable, cell concentration-dependent increase in proinflammatory cytokine production after LPS stimulation. To enable the use of these kits, which are designed for cell culture supernatants for analyzing cytokine concentrations in cheetah serum, percent recovery and parallelism of feline cytokine standards in cheetah serum were also evaluated. Cytokine concentrations in cheetah serum were approximated based on the use of domestic cat standards in the absence of cheetah standard material. In all cases (for cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6), percent recovery increased as the serum sample dilution increased, though percent recovery varied between cytokines at a given dilution factor. A 1:2 dilution of serum resulted in approximately 45, 82, and 7% recovery of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 standards, respectively. Adequate parallelism was observed across a large range of cytokine concentrations for TNF-α and IL-1β; however, a significant departure from parallelism was observed between the IL-6 standard and the serum samples (P=0.004). Therefore, based on our results, the Feline DuoSet ELISA (R&D Systems, Inc.) kits are valid assays for the measurement of TNF-α and IL-1β in cheetah serum but should not be used for accurate measurement of IL-6. PMID:26056884

  2. Effects of Hand-Rearing on Reproductive Success in Captive Large Cats Panthera tigris altaica, Uncia uncia, Acinonyx jubatus and Neofelis nebulosa

    PubMed Central

    Hampson, Maja Coulthard; Schwitzer, Christoph

    2016-01-01

    Species Survival Plans and European Endangered Species Programmes have been developed for several species of endangered felids in order to build up captive reserve populations and support their conservation in the wild. The Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), snow leopard (Uncia uncia), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) are managed in such ex situ conservation programmes. Many zoological institutions hand-rear offspring if rearing by the mother fails. Hand-rearing can cause behavioural problems, resulting in decreased copulation and lower breeding success in some species. In this study, studbook data subsets were examined: from 1901 to 2011; and 2000 to 2011. We analysed records from 4273 Siberian tigers, 2045 snow leopards, 3435 cheetahs, and 804 clouded leopards. We assessed the number of offspring produced, litter size, age at first reproduction, longevity, infant mortality and generational rearing of hand-reared versus parent-reared individuals. Hand-reared Siberian tigers (p<0.01; p = 0.0113), snow leopards (p<0.01), male cheetahs (p<0.01) and female clouded leopards (p<0.01) produced fewer offspring than parent-reared individuals. Hand-reared snow leopard breeding pairs had larger litters than parent-reared pairs (p = 0.0404). Hand-reared snow leopard females reproduced later in life (p<0.01). Hand-reared female Siberian tigers lived shorter lives, while hand-reared cheetahs lived longer (p<0.01; p = 0.0107). Infant mortality was higher in hand-reared snow leopards (p<0.01) and male cheetahs (p = 0.0395) in the 1901–2011 dataset and lower in hand-reared female Siberian tiger and male snow leopard cubs (p = 0.0404; p = 0.0349) in the 2000–2011 dataset. The rearing of the mother and subsequent rearing of offspring showed a significant relationship for all species (p<0.01 for Siberian tiger and snow leopard cubs; p<0.001 for cheetah and snow leopard cubs). Taking into account the limited carrying capacity of zoos, the

  3. Effects of Hand-Rearing on Reproductive Success in Captive Large Cats Panthera tigris altaica, Uncia uncia, Acinonyx jubatus and Neofelis nebulosa.

    PubMed

    Hampson, Maja Coulthard; Schwitzer, Christoph

    2016-01-01

    Species Survival Plans and European Endangered Species Programmes have been developed for several species of endangered felids in order to build up captive reserve populations and support their conservation in the wild. The Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), snow leopard (Uncia uncia), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) are managed in such ex situ conservation programmes. Many zoological institutions hand-rear offspring if rearing by the mother fails. Hand-rearing can cause behavioural problems, resulting in decreased copulation and lower breeding success in some species. In this study, studbook data subsets were examined: from 1901 to 2011; and 2000 to 2011. We analysed records from 4273 Siberian tigers, 2045 snow leopards, 3435 cheetahs, and 804 clouded leopards. We assessed the number of offspring produced, litter size, age at first reproduction, longevity, infant mortality and generational rearing of hand-reared versus parent-reared individuals. Hand-reared Siberian tigers (p<0.01; p = 0.0113), snow leopards (p<0.01), male cheetahs (p<0.01) and female clouded leopards (p<0.01) produced fewer offspring than parent-reared individuals. Hand-reared snow leopard breeding pairs had larger litters than parent-reared pairs (p = 0.0404). Hand-reared snow leopard females reproduced later in life (p<0.01). Hand-reared female Siberian tigers lived shorter lives, while hand-reared cheetahs lived longer (p<0.01; p = 0.0107). Infant mortality was higher in hand-reared snow leopards (p<0.01) and male cheetahs (p = 0.0395) in the 1901-2011 dataset and lower in hand-reared female Siberian tiger and male snow leopard cubs (p = 0.0404; p = 0.0349) in the 2000-2011 dataset. The rearing of the mother and subsequent rearing of offspring showed a significant relationship for all species (p<0.01 for Siberian tiger and snow leopard cubs; p<0.001 for cheetah and snow leopard cubs). Taking into account the limited carrying capacity of zoos, the

  4. Sarcocystis canis associated hepatitis in a Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) from Alaska.

    PubMed

    Welsh, Trista; Burek-Huntington, Kathy; Savage, Kate; Rosenthal, Benjamin; Dubey, J P

    2014-04-01

    Sarcocystis canis infection was associated with hepatitis in a Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus). Intrahepatocellular protozoal schizonts were among areas of necrosis and inflammation. The parasite was genetically identical to S. canis and is the first report in a Steller sea lion, indicating another intermediate host species for S. canis. PMID:24484486

  5. First Isolation of Streptococcus halichoeri and Streptococcus phocae from a Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) in South Korea.

    PubMed

    Lee, Kichan; Kim, Ji-Yeon; Jung, Suk Chan; Lee, Hee-Soo; Her, Moon; Chae, Chanhee

    2016-01-01

    Streptococcus species are emerging potential pathogens in marine mammals. We report the isolation and identification of Streptococcus halichoeri and Streptococcus phocae in a Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) in South Korea. PMID:26555114

  6. Functional anatomy of the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) hindlimb

    PubMed Central

    Hudson, Penny E; Corr, Sandra A; Payne-Davis, Rachel C; Clancy, Sinead N; Lane, Emily; Wilson, Alan M

    2011-01-01

    The cheetah is capable of a top speed of 29 ms−1 compared to the maximum speed of 17 ms−1 achieved by the racing greyhound. In this study of the hindlimb and in the accompanying paper on the forelimb we have quantified the musculoskeletal anatomy of the cheetah and greyhound and compared them to identify any differences that may account for this variation in their locomotor abilities. Specifically, bone length, mass and mid-shaft diameter were measured, along with muscle mass, fascicle lengths, pennation angles and moment arms to enable estimates of maximal isometric force, joint torques and joint rotational velocities to be calculated. Surprisingly the cheetahs had a smaller volume of hip extensor musculature than the greyhounds, and we therefore propose that the cheetah powers acceleration using its extensive back musculature. The cheetahs also had an extremely powerful psoas muscle which could help to resist the pitching moments around the hip associated with fast accelerations. The hindlimb bones were proportionally longer and heavier, enabling the cheetah to take longer strides and potentially resist higher peak limb forces. The cheetah therefore possesses several unique adaptations for high-speed locomotion and fast accelerations, when compared to the racing greyhound. PMID:21062282

  7. Functional anatomy of the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) hindlimb.

    PubMed

    Hudson, Penny E; Corr, Sandra A; Payne-Davis, Rachel C; Clancy, Sinead N; Lane, Emily; Wilson, Alan M

    2011-04-01

    The cheetah is capable of a top speed of 29 ms(-1) compared to the maximum speed of 17 ms(-1) achieved by the racing greyhound. In this study of the hindlimb and in the accompanying paper on the forelimb we have quantified the musculoskeletal anatomy of the cheetah and greyhound and compared them to identify any differences that may account for this variation in their locomotor abilities. Specifically, bone length, mass and mid-shaft diameter were measured, along with muscle mass, fascicle lengths, pennation angles and moment arms to enable estimates of maximal isometric force, joint torques and joint rotational velocities to be calculated. Surprisingly the cheetahs had a smaller volume of hip extensor musculature than the greyhounds, and we therefore propose that the cheetah powers acceleration using its extensive back musculature. The cheetahs also had an extremely powerful psoas muscle which could help to resist the pitching moments around the hip associated with fast accelerations. The hindlimb bones were proportionally longer and heavier, enabling the cheetah to take longer strides and potentially resist higher peak limb forces. The cheetah therefore possesses several unique adaptations for high-speed locomotion and fast accelerations, when compared to the racing greyhound. PMID:21062282

  8. Functional anatomy of the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) forelimb.

    PubMed

    Hudson, Penny E; Corr, Sandra A; Payne-Davis, Rachel C; Clancy, Sinead N; Lane, Emily; Wilson, Alan M

    2011-04-01

    Despite the cheetah being the fastest living land mammal, we know remarkably little about how it attains such high top speeds (29 m s(-1)). Here we aim to describe and quantify the musculoskeletal anatomy of the cheetah forelimb and compare it to the racing greyhound, an animal of similar mass, but which can only attain a top speed of 17 m s(-1). Measurements were made of muscle mass, fascicle length and moment arms, enabling calculations of muscle volume, physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA), and estimates of joint torques and rotational velocities. Bone lengths, masses and mid-shaft cross-sectional areas were also measured. Several species differences were observed and have been discussed, such as the long fibred serratus ventralis muscle in the cheetah, which we theorise may translate the scapula along the rib cage (as has been observed in domestic cats), thereby increasing the cheetah's effective limb length. The cheetah's proximal limb contained many large PCSA muscles with long moment arms, suggesting that this limb is resisting large ground reaction force joint torques and therefore is not functioning as a simple strut. Its structure may also reflect a need for control and stabilisation during the high-speed manoeuvring in hunting. The large digital flexors and extensors observed in the cheetah forelimb may be used to dig the digits into the ground, aiding with traction when galloping and manoeuvring. PMID:21332715

  9. Genomic characterization of novel marine vesiviruses from Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) from Alaska.

    PubMed

    McClenahan, Shasta D; Burek, Kathy A; Beckmen, Kimberlee B; Knowles, Nick J; Neill, John D; Romero, Carlos H

    2008-12-01

    Marine vesiviruses were isolated in cell culture from oral and rectal swabs and vesicular fluid from Alaskan Steller sea lions (SSL; Eumetopias jubatus). Further characterization by RT-PCR, complete genomic sequencing, and phylogenetic analyses indicated that these viruses are most closely related to the marine vesiviruses, but are distinct viruses and represent two novel genotypes. The complete genome of these two SSL isolates was sequenced after cloning their viral cDNA. The genomes were found to be 8302 and 8305 nucleotides in length, organized in three open reading frames and contained 5' and 3' untranslated regions (UTR) of 19 and 180 nucleotides, respectively. The complete genomes of both SSL viruses were most closely related to each other and shared 83.0% nucleotide identity. Using the very limited number of complete genomic vesivirus sequences available in the NCBI database, these novel SSL vesiviruses seem most closely related to vesicular exanthema of swine virus-A48 and least related to rabbit vesivirus and walrus calicivirus. Specific antiserum against some evolutionary closer marine vesiviruses did not neutralize these isolates supporting the novel nature of these SSL viruses. PMID:18765261

  10. No Evidence of Metabolic Depression in Western Alaskan Juvenile Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus)

    PubMed Central

    Hoopes, Lisa A.; Rea, Lorrie D.; Christ, Aaron; Worthy, Graham A. J.

    2014-01-01

    Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) populations have undergone precipitous declines through their western Alaskan range over the last four decades with the leading hypothesis to explain this decline centering around changing prey quality, quantity, or availability for this species (i.e., nutritional stress hypothesis). Under chronic conditions of reduced food intake sea lions would conserve energy by limiting energy expenditures through lowering of metabolic rate known as metabolic depression. To examine the potential for nutritional stress, resting metabolic rate (RMR) and body composition were measured in free-ranging juvenile Steller sea lions (N = 91) at three distinct geographical locations (Southeast Alaska, Prince William Sound, Central Aleutian Islands) using open-flow respirometry and deuterium isotope dilution, respectively. Average sea lion RMR ranged from 6.7 to 36.2 MJ d−1 and was influenced by body mass, total body lipid, and to a lesser extent, ambient air temperature and age. Sea lion pups captured in the Aleutian Islands (region of decline) had significantly greater body mass and total body lipid stores when compared to pups from Prince William Sound (region of decline) and Southeast Alaska (stable region). Along with evidence of robust body condition in Aleutian Island pups, no definitive differences were detected in RMR between sea lions sampled between eastern and western populations that could not be accounted for by higher percent total body lipid content, suggesting that that at the time of this study, Steller sea lions were not experiencing metabolic depression in the locations studied. PMID:24416394

  11. Spatial patterns and scaling behaviors of Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) distributions and their environment.

    PubMed

    Lander, Michelle E; Logsdon, Miles L; Loughlin, Thomas R; Van Blaricom, Glenn R

    2011-04-01

    Fractal geometry and other multi-scale analyses have become popular tools for investigating spatial patterns of animal distributions in heterogeneous environments. In theory, changes in patterns of animal distributions with changes in scale reflect transitions between the controlling influences of one environmental factor or process over another. In an effort to find linkages between Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) and their environment, the objective of this study was to determine if the spatial distribution of Steller sea lions at sea displayed similar scaling properties to the variation of two environmental features, including bathymetry and sea surface temperature (SST). Additionally, distributions of Steller sea lion point patterns were examined with respect to measurements of bathymetric complexity. From February 2000 to May 2004, satellite transmitters were deployed on 10 groups of juvenile Steller sea lions (n=52) at eight different locations within the Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska. Indices of fractal dimension were calculated for each group of sea lions using a unit square box-counting method, whereas indices of bathymetry and SST patchiness were derived by conducting a variance ratio analysis over the same scales. Distributions of Steller sea lions at sea displayed self-similar fractal patterns, suggesting that individuals were distributed in a continuous hierarchical set of clumps within clumps across scales, and foraging behavior was likely influenced by a scale invariant mechanism. Patterns of bathymetric variability also were self-similar, whereas patterns of SST variability were scale dependent and failed to retain self-similar spatial structure at larger scales. These results indicate that the distributions of Steller sea lions at sea were more influenced by bathymetry than SST at the scales examined, but scale-dependent patterns in the distribution of Steller sea lions at sea or linkages with SST may have been apparent if analyses

  12. Foraging Behaviour and Landscape Utilisation by the Endangered Golden-Crowned Flying Fox (Acerodon jubatus), The Philippines

    PubMed Central

    de Jong, Carol; Field, Hume; Tagtag, Anson; Hughes, Tom; Dechmann, Dina; Jayme, Sarah; Epstein, Jonathan; Smith, Craig; Santos, Imelda; Catbagan, Davinio; Lim, Mundita; Benigno, Carolyn; Daszak, Peter; Newman, Scott

    2013-01-01

    Species of Old World fruit-bats (family Pteropodidae) have been identified as the natural hosts of a number of novel and highly pathogenic viruses threatening livestock and human health. We used GPS data loggers to record the nocturnal foraging movements of Acerodon jubatus, the Golden-crowned flying fox in the Philippines to better understand the landscape utilisation of this iconic species, with the dual objectives of pre-empting disease emergence and supporting conservation management. Data loggers were deployed on eight of 54 A. jubatus (two males and six females) captured near Subic Bay on the Philippine island of Luzon between 22 November and 2 December 2010. Bodyweight ranged from 730 g to 1002 g, translating to a weight burden of 3–4% of bodyweight. Six of the eight loggers yielded useful data over 2–10 days, showing variability in the nature and range of individual bat movements. The majority of foraging locations were in closed forest and most were remote from evident human activity. Forty-six discrete foraging locations and five previously unrecorded roost locations were identified. Our findings indicate that foraging is not a random event, with the majority of bats exhibiting repetitious foraging movements night-to-night, that apparently intact forest provides the primary foraging resource, and that known roost locations substantially underestimate the true number (and location) of roosts. Our initial findings support policy and decision-making across perspectives including landscape management, species conservation, and potentially disease emergence. PMID:24278154

  13. Ultrasonographic adrenal gland findings in healthy semi-captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Kirberger, Robert M; Tordiffe, Adrian S W

    2016-05-01

    Cheetahs in captivity are believed to suffer from stress predisposing them to poor health. To date fecal glucocorticoids have been used as a non-invasive indicator of chronic stress. This study examines, the feasibility of transabdominal adrenal gland ultrasonography in cheetahs and determined normal adrenal measurements that can potentially be used as a more reliable indicator of chronic stress and/or adrenal function. Thirty-three adult cheetahs, aged between 2 and 13 years, accommodated in large off-display camps were examined over 9 days under general anesthesia. The adrenals were readily identified, with the right adrenal being more difficult to find and measure than the left, and were smaller than those expected in similar sized dogs. The left adrenal was shorter and slightly more oval shaped than the right with a length and cranial pole width at a 95% prediction interval of 16.3-22.4 and 4.1-8.7 mm. The same measurements for the right adrenal were 16.8-26.2 and 3.4-10.8 mm, respectively. Corticomedullary ratios were larger for the left adrenal. When corrected for body size, females had significantly longer and greater left adrenal corticomedullary ratios than males. Adrenal measurements did not correlate with left renal length, body size measurements, or enclosure size. Measurements that increased with age included the cortical and total adrenal widths. Adrenal ultrasonography offers potential benefits in assessment of individual cheetah adrenal pathology or the evaluation of stress induced adrenomegally especially in combination with other evaluations such as non-invasive fecal glucocorticoid analyses. Zoo Biol. 35:260-268, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27093075

  14. Reference intervals for selected serum biochemistry analytes in cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus.

    PubMed

    Hudson-Lamb, Gavin C; Schoeman, Johan P; Hooijberg, Emma H; Heinrich, Sonja K; Tordiffe, Adrian S W

    2016-01-01

    Published haematologic and serum biochemistry reference intervals are very scarce for captive cheetahs and even more for free-ranging cheetahs. The current study was performed to establish reference intervals for selected serum biochemistry analytes in cheetahs. Baseline serum biochemistry analytes were analysed from 66 healthy Namibian cheetahs. Samples were collected from 30 captive cheetahs at the AfriCat Foundation and 36 free-ranging cheetahs from central Namibia. The effects of captivity-status, age, sex and haemolysis score on the tested serum analytes were investigated. The biochemistry analytes that were measured were sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, urea and creatinine. The 90% confidence interval of the reference limits was obtained using the non-parametric bootstrap method. Reference intervals were preferentially determined by the non-parametric method and were as follows: sodium (128 mmol/L - 166 mmol/L), potassium (3.9 mmol/L - 5.2 mmol/L), magnesium (0.8 mmol/L - 1.2 mmol/L), chloride (97 mmol/L - 130 mmol/L), urea (8.2 mmol/L - 25.1 mmol/L) and creatinine (88 µmol/L - 288 µmol/L). Reference intervals from the current study were compared with International Species Information System values for cheetahs and found to be narrower. Moreover, age, sex and haemolysis score had no significant effect on the serum analytes in this study. Separate reference intervals for captive and free-ranging cheetahs were also determined. Captive cheetahs had higher urea values, most likely due to dietary factors. This study is the first to establish reference intervals for serum biochemistry analytes in cheetahs according to international guidelines. These results can be used for future health and disease assessments in both captive and free-ranging cheetahs. PMID:26974036

  15. Characterization of the gastric immune response in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with Helicobacter-associated gastritis.

    PubMed

    Terio, K A; Munson, L; Moore, P F

    2012-09-01

    Captive cheetahs have an unusually severe progressive gastritis that is not present in wild cheetahs infected with the same strains of Helicobacter. This gastritis, when severe, has florid lymphocyte and plasma cell infiltrates in the epithelium and lamina propria with gland destruction, parietal cell loss, and, in some cases, lymphoid follicles. The local gastric immune response was characterized by immunohistochemistry in 21 cheetahs with varying degrees of gastritis. The character of the response was similar among types of gastritis except that cheetahs with severe gastritis had increased numbers (up to 70%) of lamina proprial CD79a+CD21- B cells. CD3+CD4+ T cells were present in the lamina propria, and CD3+CD8α+ T cells were within the glandular epithelium. Lymphoid aggregates had follicular differentiation with a central core of CD79a+/CD45R+ B cells and with an outer zone of CD3+ T cells that expressed both CD4 and CD8 antigens. MHC II antigens were diffusely expressed throughout the glandular and superficial epithelium. No cheetah had evidence of autoantibodies against the gastric mucosa when gastric samples from 30 cheetahs with different degrees of gastritis were incubated with autologous and heterologous serum. These findings indicate that T-cell distribution in cheetahs is qualitatively similar to that in other species infected with Helicobacter but that large numbers of lamina propria activated B cells and plasma cells did distinguish cheetahs with severe gastritis. Further research is needed to determine whether alterations in the Th1:Th2 balance are the cause of this more plasmacytic response in some cheetahs. PMID:21730348

  16. Fecal progestagens to detect and monitor pregnancy in captive female cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Adachi, Itsuki; Kusuda, Satoshi; Kawai, Hitomi; Ohazama, Megumi; Taniguchi, Atsushi; Kondo, Natsuko; Yoshihara, Masato; Okuda, Ryuta; Ishikawa, Tatsuya; Kanda, Iwai; Doi, Osamu

    2011-04-01

    The purposes of the present study were to establish a noninvasive monitoring assay of fecal progestagen measurement to detect pregnancy and to identify the components of fecal progestagens in early, middle and late pregnancy in cheetahs. Feces were collected from 7 female cheetahs and analyzed from 30 days before the last copulation to parturition in 9 pregnancies. Blood was collected from one cheetah. Fecal progestagen and serum progesterone concentrations were determined by enzyme immunoassay (EIA). The profiles of the fecal progestagen concentrations were similar to the serum progesterone profile. Fecal progestagen and serum progesterone concentrations remained at the baseline until copulation. In the mean fecal progestagen profile during pregnancy (92.8 ± 0.4 days; from the last copulation to parturition), the concentrations increased 3-4 days after the last copulation and remained high until parturition. To investigate changes in the components of progestagen metabolites in the tripartite periods of gestation, fecal progestagens were analyzed by HPLC-EIA. Marked immunoreactive peaks consistent with 5α-pregnan-3α/β-ol-20-one and 5α-pregnan-3,20-dione and small peaks consistent with 5β-pregnan-3α/β-ol-20-one were detected. There were no distinct difference in the components of progestagens among the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The hormone assay, as an indicator of fecal 5α-reduced pregnanes, is useful for detecting pregnancy and monitoring pregnant luteal activity in cheetahs. PMID:21242656

  17. Lion (Panthera leo) and cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) IFN-gamma sequences.

    PubMed

    Maas, Miriam; Van Rhijn, Ildiko; Allsopp, Maria T E P; Rutten, Victor P M G

    2010-04-15

    Cloning and sequencing of the full length lion and cheetah interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) transcript will enable the expression of the recombinant cytokine, to be used for production of monoclonal antibodies and to set up lion and cheetah-specific IFN-gamma ELISAs. These are relevant in blood-based diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis, an important threat to lions in the Kruger National Park. Alignment of nucleotide and amino acid sequences of lion and cheetah and that of domestic cats showed homologies of 97-100%. PMID:19913304

  18. First report of Taenia acinonyxi (Ortlopp, 1938) in Acinonyx jubatus venaticus from Iran.

    PubMed

    Hosseini, Sh; Youssefi, Mr; Mobedi, I; Hosseini, Sm; Zaheri, Ba

    2011-12-01

    The Asian cheetah is known as Iranian panther. A four years old female cheetah was killed in a road accident by a truck in Abbas Abad (Biarjamand) County around Shahrood City in Semnan Province, central part of Iran. Two days after the accident the carcass of animal was autopsied and only five cestodes were obtained from its intestine. In inspection of other organs no other helminth was observed. Cestod samples were fixed and stained by carmine acid. Characterization of the cestodes using morphological standard key, identified the cestodes as Taenia acinonyxi. PMID:22347321

  19. Exposure of growing and adult captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) to dietary isoflavones: twenty years later.

    PubMed

    Bell, K M; Rutherfurd, S M; Hendriks, W H

    2010-12-01

    Dietary isoflavones are associated with oestrogenic and anti-oestrogenic effects, and have been linked to infertility in cheetahs. This study aimed to determine the isoflavone content of commercially prepared diets consumed by captive cheetahs. Sixteen international zoological facilities provided diets, and the isoflavone content of each diet was determined by acid hydrolysis and HPLC quantification. Proximate nutritional composition was also determined. Over half the diets analysed contained detectable concentrations of isoflavones, whereby total isoflavone content ranged from 1.75-183 mg/kg dry matter. The zoo-specific diets were calculated to deliver a median isoflavone dose of 0.07 mg/kg body weight (BW) and a maximum of 1.95 mg/kg BW to captive cheetahs. On a metabolic body weight basis this equates to a maximum of 4.90-5.43 mg/kg(0.75) . Some diets prepared for hand-rearing neonatal cheetahs could expose neonates to doses of up to 4.24 mg/kg BW (or 4.24-6.33 mg/kg(0.75) for cubs under 3 months of age). Only one of six zoo-specific diets was found to deliver isoflavones in doses shown to possess biological activity in other species. Therefore, on average, dietary isoflavones were not found in commercially prepared diets consumed by captive cheetahs in concentrations predicted to cause physiological changes. However, a small proportion of these diets, including hand-rearing formulas, contained elevated isoflavones concentrations which may influence cheetah fertility, behaviour or other physiological parameters. PMID:20662971

  20. Power output of skinned skeletal muscle fibres from the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    West, Timothy G; Toepfer, Christopher N; Woledge, Roger C; Curtin, Nancy A; Rowlerson, Anthea; Kalakoutis, Michaeljohn; Hudson, Penny; Wilson, Alan M

    2013-08-01

    Muscle samples were taken from the gluteus, semitendinosus and longissimus muscles of a captive cheetah immediately after euthanasia. Fibres were 'skinned' to remove all membranes, leaving the contractile filament array intact and functional. Segments of skinned fibres from these cheetah muscles and from rabbit psoas muscle were activated at 20°C by a temperature-jump protocol. Step and ramp length changes were imposed after active stress had developed. The stiffness of the non-contractile ends of the fibres (series elastic component) was measured at two different stress values in each fibre; stiffness was strongly dependent on stress. Using these stiffness values, the speed of shortening of the contractile component was evaluated, and hence the power it was producing. Fibres were analysed for myosin heavy chain content using gel electrophoresis, and identified as either slow (type I) or fast (type II). The power output of cheetah type II fibre segments was 92.5±4.3 W kg(-1) (mean ± s.e., 14 fibres) during shortening at relative stress 0.15 (the stress during shortening/isometric stress). For rabbit psoas fibre segments (presumably type IIX) the corresponding value was significantly higher (P<0.001), 119.7±6.2 W kg(-1) (mean ± s.e., 7 fibres). These values are our best estimates of the maximum power output under the conditions used here. Thus, the contractile filament power from cheetah was less than that of rabbit when maximally activated at 20°C, and does not account for the superior locomotor performance of the cheetah. PMID:23580727

  1. Growth rates and energy intake of hand-reared cheetah cubs (Acinonyx jubatus) in South Africa.

    PubMed

    Bell, K M; Rutherfurd, S M; Morton, R H

    2012-04-01

    Growth rate is an important factor in neonatal survival. The aim of this study was to determine growth rates in hand-reared cheetah cubs in South Africa fed a prescribed energy intake, calculated for growth in the domestic cat. Growth was then compared with previously published data from hand-reared cubs in North America and the relationship between growth and energy intake explored. Daily body weight (BW) gain, feed and energy intake data was collected from 18 hand-reared cheetah cubs up to 120 days of age. The average pre-weaning growth rate was 32 g/day, which is lower than reported in mother-reared cubs and hand-reared cubs in North American facilities. However, post-weaning growth increased to an average of 55 g/day. Growth was approximately linear prior to weaning, but over the entire age range it exhibited a sigmoidal shape with an asymptotic plateau averaging 57 kg. Energy intake associated with pre-weaning growth was 481 kJ ME/kg BW(0.75). Regression analysis described the relationship between metabolic BW, metabolisable energy (ME) intake, and hence daily weight gain. This relationship may be useful in predicting energy intake required to achieve growth rates in hand-reared cheetah cubs similar to those observed for their mother-reared counterparts. PMID:21429043

  2. Blood values of adult captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) fed either supplemented beef or whole rabbit carcasses.

    PubMed

    Depauw, Sarah; Hesta, M; Whitehouse-Tedd, K; Stagegaard, J; Buyse, J; Janssens, G P J

    2012-01-01

    This study evaluated nutrient intake and relevant blood parameters of 14 captive cheetahs, randomly assigned to a meat-only diet (supplemented beef, SB) or a whole prey diet (whole rabbit, WR) for 4 weeks each. Despite a higher food intake, daily metabolizable energy intake was lower when fed WR (308 kJ BW(-1) ) compared with SB (347 kJ BW(-1) ) (P = 0.002). The ratio of protein to fat was markedly lower for WR (2.3:1) compared with SB (8.8:1), which was reflected in higher serum urea levels when fed SB (P = 0.033), and a tendency for elevated cholesterol levels when fed WR (P = 0.055). Taurine intake of cheetahs fed WR was low (0.06% on DM basis); however, analytical error during taurine analysis cannot be ruled out. Feeding WR resulted in a well-balanced mineral intake, in contrast to SB. The latter provided a low calcium:phosphorus ratio (1:2.3), thereby increasing the risk of metabolic bone disease. The high zinc content of SB (200 mg/kg DM), compared with WR (94 mg/kg DM), was reflected in higher serum zinc concentrations (P = 0.011). Feeding WR resulted in an increase in serum vitamin A (P = 0.011). Therefore, the risk of hypervitaminosis A in captive cheetahs when fed WR exclusively on a long-term basis should be evaluated. Our findings suggest that neither diet is likely to provide appropriate nutrition to captive cheetahs when fed exclusively. PMID:22052742

  3. First evidence of hemoplasma infection in free-ranging Namibian cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Krengel, Annika; Meli, Marina L; Cattori, Valentino; Wachter, Bettina; Willi, Barbara; Thalwitzer, Susanne; Melzheimer, Jörg; Hofer, Heribert; Lutz, Hans; Hofmann-Lehmann, Regina

    2013-03-23

    Infections with feline hemotropic mycoplasmas (hemoplasmas) have been documented in domestic cats and free-ranging feline species with high prevalences in Iberian lynxes (Lynx pardinus), Eurasian lynxes (Lynx lynx), European wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris), African lions (Panthera leo) in Tanzania and domestic cats in South Africa. The prevalence of hemoplasmas has not yet been investigated in free-ranging felids in southern Africa. In this study we screened 73 blood samples from 61 cheetahs in central Namibia for the presence of hemoplasmas using quantitative real-time PCR. One of the cheetahs tested PCR-positive. Phylogenetic analysis based on partial sequencing of the 16S rRNA and RNAse P genes revealed that the isolate belongs to the Mycoplasma haemofelis/haemocanis group. This is the first molecular evidence of a hemoplasma infection in a free-ranging cheetah. PMID:23123173

  4. Seroprevalences to viral pathogens in free-ranging and captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) on Namibian Farmland.

    PubMed

    Thalwitzer, Susanne; Wachter, Bettina; Robert, Nadia; Wibbelt, Gudrun; Müller, Thomas; Lonzer, Johann; Meli, Marina L; Bay, Gert; Hofer, Heribert; Lutz, Hans

    2010-02-01

    Cheetah populations are diminishing rapidly in their natural habitat. One reason for their decline is thought to be a high susceptibility to (infectious) diseases because cheetahs in zoos suffer from high disease-induced mortality. Data on the health status of free-ranging cheetahs are scarce, and little is known about their exposure and susceptibility to infectious diseases. We determined seroprevalences to nine key viruses (feline herpesvirus 1, feline calicivirus, feline parvovirus, feline coronavirus, canine distemper virus, feline immunodeficiency virus [FIV], puma lentivirus, feline leukemia virus, and rabies virus) in 68 free-ranging cheetahs on east-central Namibian farmland, 24 nonvaccinated Namibian captive cheetahs, and several other wild carnivore species and conducted necropsies of cheetahs and other wild carnivores. Eight of 11 other wild carnivores were seropositive for at least one of the viruses, including the first record of an FIV-like infection in a wild felid west of the Kalahari, the caracal (Felis caracal). Seroprevalences of the free-ranging cheetahs were below 5% for all nine viruses, which is significantly lower than seroprevalences in nonvaccinated captive cheetahs and those for five of seven viruses in previously studied free-ranging cheetahs from north-central Namibia (L. Munson, L. Marker, E. Dubovi, J. A. Spencer, J. F. Evermann, and S. J. O'Brien, J. Wildl. Dis. 40:23-31, 2004). There was no clinical or pathological evidence of infectious diseases in living or dead cheetahs. The results suggest that while free-ranging wild carnivores may be a source of pathogens, the distribution of seroprevalences across studies mirrored local human population density and factors associated with human habitation, probably reflecting contact opportunities with (nonvaccinated) domestic and feral cats and dogs. They also suggest that Namibian cheetahs respond effectively to viral challenges, encouraging consistent and sustainable conservation efforts. PMID:19955325

  5. Maternal-to-fetal transfer and concentration profiles of PCB congeners for Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) from Hokkaido, Japan.

    PubMed

    Kubo, Keiko; Yamaguchi, Katsuyuki; Ishinazaka, Tsuyoshi; Yamada, Wakana; Hattori, Kaoru; Tanaka, Shunitz

    2014-01-15

    The concentrations of PCB congeners in the blubber and liver of mother Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus; SSLs) and their fetuses from the coast of Hokkaido, Japan in 2008, 2010 and 2012 were analyzed by HRGC-HRMS, in order to elucidate PCB congener profiles and maternal-to-fetal transfer of PCBs in SSLs. ΣPCBs in the fetuses were 1400 ± 660 (the mean ± SD) ng/g-fat in the blubber and 570 ± 320 ng/g-fat in the liver, respectively. There was a concern that SSLs had been contaminated by PCBs during the fetal period. The concentrations of the major congeners in the blubber and liver were a correlation between the fetus and mother (blubber: r=0.9934, liver: r=0.9160; P ≦ 0.05). The results indicated that PCBs in the fetuses came from the mothers. #177 and #199 showed no correlations between the fetus and the mother in the blubber and liver. This indicated a selective capture by some natural protector such as the placenta. PMID:24269191

  6. Discrimination of carbon and nitrogen isotopes from milk to serum and vibrissae in Alaska Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stegall, V.K.; Farley, Sean D.; Rea, Lorrie D.; Pitcher, K.W.; Rye, R.O.; Kester, C.L.; Stricker, C.A.; Bern, C.R.

    2008-01-01

    Knowledge of diet-tissue stable isotope discrimination is required to properly interpret stable isotope values and to identify possible diet shifts, such as might be expected from nursing through weaning. This study compared ??13C and ??15N of paired serum and vibrissal roots with those of ingested milk (n = 52) from free-ranging Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus (Schreber, 1776)) pups (1-11 months) and juveniles (14-27 months) to estimate diet-tissue discrimination. Mean 15N enrichment from ingested milk to serum was 2.1??? ?? 0.6%??? and ??15N at the root of the vibrissae (representing current growth) were not significantly different from serum values. Milk was enriched for mean 13C by 5.0??? ?? 1.0%??? and 7.3??? ?? 1.2??? relative to serum and vibrissal roots, respectively, which was due to the presence of 13C-depleted lipids in milk. This was confirmed by lipid extraction from a subset of milk and serum samples, resulting in a 5.8??? ?? 1.0??? change only in milk. This study established that vibrissal roots and serum are reflective of a milk diet with approximately 2.0??? 15N enrichment, and vibrissal roots reflect serum and lipid-extracted milk values with approximately 2.0??? 13C enrichment. These discrimination factors are important to establish for stable isotope studies assessing diet shifts. ?? 2008 NRC.

  7. Deep genetic subdivision within a continuously distributed and highly vagile marine mammal, the Steller's sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus).

    PubMed

    Hoffman, J I; Matson, C W; Amos, W; Loughlin, T R; Bickham, J W

    2006-09-01

    The Steller's sea lion Eumetopias jubatus is an endangered marine mammal that has experienced dramatic population declines over much of its range during the past five decades. Studies using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have shown that an apparently continuous population includes a strong division, yielding two discrete stocks, western and eastern. Based on a weaker split within the western stock, a third Asian stock has also been defined. While these findings indicate strong female philopatry, a recent study using nuclear microsatellite markers found little evidence of any genetic structure, implying extensive paternal gene flow. However, this result was at odds with mark-recapture data, and both sample sizes and genetic resolution were limited. To address these concerns, we increased analytical power by genotyping over 700 individuals from across the species' range at 13 highly polymorphic microsatellite loci. We found a clear phylogenetic break between populations of the eastern stock and those of the western and Asian stocks. However, our data provide little support for the classification of a separate Asian stock. Our findings show that mtDNA structuring is not due simply to female philopatry, but instead reflects a genuine discontinuity within the range, with implications for both the phylogeography and conservation of this important marine mammal. PMID:16911203

  8. Organochlorine contaminant concentrations in multiple tissues of free-ranging Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in Alaska.

    PubMed

    Beckmen, Kimberlee B; Keogh, Mandy J; Burek-Huntington, Kathleen A; Ylitalo, Gina M; Fadely, Brian S; Pitcher, Kenneth W

    2016-01-15

    The relationships of selected organochlorine (OC) contaminants between blubber, blood, feces, and milk of young, free-ranging Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) were examined. Both between and within each tissue there was considerable individual variation. In spite of the variation, similar patterns were observed across the tissues for most of the selected PCB congeners. In all four tissues, the major PCB congeners were PCB101, PCB118, PCB138, and PCB153. The most prominent congener, both as a weight (ng/g lipid) and as a percentage of summed PCBs (∑PCBs), was PCB 153. Comparisons between paired tissues showed that ∑DDTs in blubber samples were related to concentrations in blood, feces, and milk. The ∑PCBs in blubber were related to concentrations in milk and fecal samples, though the relationship with feces was weak. Our findings show milk samples, in particular, are useful for assessing OCs in young sea lions. Blubber concentrations of PCB101, PCB118, and PCB138 were an order of magnitude higher than those in milk, supporting the biomagnification of these PCB congeners in SSL tissues. The findings indicate alternative tissues may be used as indicators of relative contaminant exposure in lieu of surgical blubber biopsy. PMID:26524270

  9. Dive, food, and exercise effects on blood microparticles in Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus): exploring a biomarker for decompression sickness.

    PubMed

    Fahlman, Andreas; Moore, Michael J; Trites, Andrew W; Rosen, David A S; Haulena, Martin; Waller, Nigel; Neale, Troy; Yang, Ming; Thom, Stephen R

    2016-04-01

    Recent studies of stranded marine mammals indicate that exposure to underwater military sonar may induce pathophysiological responses consistent with decompression sickness (DCS). However, DCS has been difficult to diagnose in marine mammals. We investigated whether blood microparticles (MPs, measured as number/μl plasma), which increase in response to decompression stress in terrestrial mammals, are a suitable biomarker for DCS in marine mammals. We obtained blood samples from trained Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus, 4 adult females) wearing time-depth recorders that dove to predetermined depths (either 5 or 50 meters). We hypothesized that MPs would be positively related to decompression stress (depth and duration underwater). We also tested the effect of feeding and exercise in isolation on MPs using the same blood sampling protocol. We found that feeding and exercise had no effect on blood MP levels, but that diving caused MPs to increase. However, blood MP levels did not correlate with diving depth, relative time underwater, and presumed decompression stress, possibly indicating acclimation following repeated exposure to depth. PMID:26843583

  10. High speed galloping in the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and the racing greyhound (Canis familiaris): spatio-temporal and kinetic characteristics.

    PubMed

    Hudson, Penny E; Corr, Sandra A; Wilson, Alan M

    2012-07-15

    The cheetah and racing greyhound are of a similar size and gross morphology and yet the cheetah is able to achieve a far higher top speed. We compared the kinematics and kinetics of galloping in the cheetah and greyhound to investigate how the cheetah can attain such remarkable maximum speeds. This also presented an opportunity to investigate some of the potential limits to maximum running speed in quadrupeds, which remain poorly understood. By combining force plate and high speed video data of galloping cheetahs and greyhounds, we show how the cheetah uses a lower stride frequency/longer stride length than the greyhound at any given speed. In some trials, the cheetahs used swing times as low as those of the greyhounds (0.2 s) so the cheetah has scope to use higher stride frequencies (up to 4.0 Hz), which may contribute to it having a higher top speed that the greyhound. Weight distribution between the animal's limbs varied with increasing speed. At high speed, the hindlimbs support the majority of the animal's body weight, with the cheetah supporting 70% of its body weight on its hindlimbs at 18 m s(-1); however, the greyhound hindlimbs support just 62% of its body weight. Supporting a greater proportion of body weight on a particular limb is likely to reduce the risk of slipping during propulsive efforts. Our results demonstrate several features of galloping and highlight differences between the cheetah and greyhound that may account for the cheetah's faster maximum speeds. PMID:22723482

  11. Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) running the gauntlet: an evaluation of translocations into free-range environments in Namibia

    PubMed Central

    Lemeris, Joseph R.; Munro, Stuart J.; Bowden, Andrew; Venter, Cicelia; van Vuuren, Marlice; van Vuuren, Rudie J.

    2015-01-01

    Following dramatic range and population declines, the cheetah is Africa’s most endangered large felid. In Namibia, private land managers still trap cheetahs but increasingly consider moving animals instead of killing them. Across Africa, managers have translocated perceived conflict carnivores for decades, but rarely evaluated their actions. We analyse the outcomes of 15 cheetah translocations (for 23 adults and 10 dependent offspring) into free-range environments in Namibia. We released cheetahs at an average distance of 419.6 km ± 216.1 km SD (range: 71–816 km) after captive periods ranging from 1–1,184 days (350.6 days ± 439.0 days SD). An individual’s ability to survive the first year predominantly determined the overall translocation success of 40%. Post-release conflict and homing had less impact on success. Cheetah survival was lowest in the first three months after release. Human persecution (50% of deaths) and spotted hyaenas (29% of deaths) had the highest effect on survival. The degree of habituation to humans acquired during captivity significantly influenced chances of survival. Cheetahs surviving the initial post-release period (∼90 days) often settled into ranges and females reproduced successfully. However, all individuals exhibited extensive movements, frequently roaming >4,000 km2 in the first six months after release (with a maximum of 19,743 km2 in 112 days), resulting in low release site fidelity. Soft release and larger recipient area size did not improve site fidelity. Based on these outcomes, we evaluated which unfenced conservation areas in Namibia could potentially receive cheetahs. We found that there are currently few public and/or private reserves large enough to contain the movement profiles we observed in this study. This suggests that most translocations will result in cheetahs re-entering farmlands where they face a high risk of persecution. In conclusion, translocations into unconfined areas can successfully conserve individual cheetahs. Due to high mortality and unpredictable outcomes, however, conservation efforts need to focus on improving tolerance of cheetahs in commercial livestock and game farming areas in order to reduce the number of indiscriminately trapped animals. PMID:26528410

  12. Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) running the gauntlet: an evaluation of translocations into free-range environments in Namibia.

    PubMed

    Weise, Florian J; Lemeris, Joseph R; Munro, Stuart J; Bowden, Andrew; Venter, Cicelia; van Vuuren, Marlice; van Vuuren, Rudie J

    2015-01-01

    Following dramatic range and population declines, the cheetah is Africa's most endangered large felid. In Namibia, private land managers still trap cheetahs but increasingly consider moving animals instead of killing them. Across Africa, managers have translocated perceived conflict carnivores for decades, but rarely evaluated their actions. We analyse the outcomes of 15 cheetah translocations (for 23 adults and 10 dependent offspring) into free-range environments in Namibia. We released cheetahs at an average distance of 419.6 km ± 216.1 km SD (range: 71-816 km) after captive periods ranging from 1-1,184 days (350.6 days ± 439.0 days SD). An individual's ability to survive the first year predominantly determined the overall translocation success of 40%. Post-release conflict and homing had less impact on success. Cheetah survival was lowest in the first three months after release. Human persecution (50% of deaths) and spotted hyaenas (29% of deaths) had the highest effect on survival. The degree of habituation to humans acquired during captivity significantly influenced chances of survival. Cheetahs surviving the initial post-release period (∼90 days) often settled into ranges and females reproduced successfully. However, all individuals exhibited extensive movements, frequently roaming >4,000 km(2) in the first six months after release (with a maximum of 19,743 km(2) in 112 days), resulting in low release site fidelity. Soft release and larger recipient area size did not improve site fidelity. Based on these outcomes, we evaluated which unfenced conservation areas in Namibia could potentially receive cheetahs. We found that there are currently few public and/or private reserves large enough to contain the movement profiles we observed in this study. This suggests that most translocations will result in cheetahs re-entering farmlands where they face a high risk of persecution. In conclusion, translocations into unconfined areas can successfully conserve individual cheetahs. Due to high mortality and unpredictable outcomes, however, conservation efforts need to focus on improving tolerance of cheetahs in commercial livestock and game farming areas in order to reduce the number of indiscriminately trapped animals. PMID:26528410

  13. Babesia lengau sp. nov., a novel Babesia species in cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus, Schreber, 1775) populations in South Africa.

    PubMed

    Bosman, Anna-Mari; Oosthuizen, Marinda C; Peirce, Michael A; Venter, Estelle H; Penzhorn, Barend L

    2010-08-01

    In a previous paper, we reported on a large number of cheetah blood specimens that gave positive signals only for Babesia and/or Theileria genus-specific probes on the reverse line blot (RLB) assay, indicating the presence of a novel species or variant of an existing species. Some of these specimens were investigated further by microscopic, serological, sequencing, and phylogenetic analyses. The near-full-length 18S rRNA genes of 13 samples, as well as the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) region, were amplified, cloned, and sequenced. A species-specific RLB probe, designed to target the hypervariable V4 region of the 18S rRNA gene for detection of the novel Babesia sp., was used to screen an additional 137 cheetah blood specimens for the presence of the species. The prevalence of infection was 28.5%. Here we describe the morphology and phylogenetic relationships of the novel species, which we have named Babesia lengau sp. nov. PMID:20519464

  14. Dietary factors associated with faecal consistency and other indicators of gastrointestinal health in the captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Whitehouse-Tedd, Katherine M; Lefebvre, Sandra L; Janssens, Geert P J

    2015-01-01

    Gastrointestinal diseases pose significant risks to captive cheetah survival and welfare. Multiple factors are thought to be associated with these diseases, but to date a comprehensive epidemiological survey of disease risk factors has not been conducted. A survey of diet and health parameters was completed for 184 captive cheetahs in 86 international facilities. Comparisons were made among dietary factors with respect to disease status and observed faecal consistency, incidence of vomiting and diarrhoea in the past 4 weeks. Extremely dry faeces were most common in cheetahs fed carcasses, but was still of low incidence (15%). Contrastingly, cheetahs fed commercially prepared diets had the highest prevalence of liquid faeces "always" or "often" (9%). Cheetahs fed raw meat diets had the highest prevalence of soft faeces with no shape (22%), as well as of firm and dry faeces (40%). No broad category of diet exerted any influence on the health parameters investigated. However, feeding of ribs at least once per week reduced the odds of diarrhoea (P = 0.020) and feeding of long bones (limbs) at least once per week was associated with a lower odds of vomiting (P = 0.008). Cheetahs fed muscle meat at least once per week had reduced odds of suffering from chronic gastritis (P = 0.005) or non-specific gastrointestinal disease (P < 0.001). The only factor identified as increasing the odds of chronic gastritis was feeding of horse "often" or "always" (P = 0.023). The findings of the current study build on existing empirical research to support a recommendation towards a greater inclusion of skeletal components. Current husbandry guidelines advocating the use of supplemented raw meat diets are likewise supported, but the use of horse meat, as well as commercially prepared diets for captive cheetahs, warrants caution until further research is conducted. PMID:25830636

  15. Serum Amyloid A Protein Concentration in Blood is Influenced by Genetic Differences in the Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Franklin, Ashley D; Schmidt-Küntzel, Anne; Terio, Karen A; Marker, Laurie L; Crosier, Adrienne E

    2016-03-01

    Systemic amyloid A (AA) amyloidosis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among captive cheetahs. The self-aggregating AA protein responsible for this disease is a byproduct of serum amyloid A (SAA) protein degradation. Transcriptional induction of the SAA1 gene is dependent on both C/EBPβ and NF-κB cis-acting elements within the promoter region. In cheetahs, 2 alleles exist for a single guanine nucleotide deletion in the putative NF-κB binding site. In this study, a novel genotyping assay was developed to screen for the alleles. The results show that the SAA1A (-97delG) allele is associated with decreased SAA protein concentrations in the serum of captive cheetahs (n = 58), suggesting genetic differences at this locus may be affecting AA amyloidosis prevalence. However, there was no significant difference in the frequency of the SAA1A (-97delG) allele between individuals confirmed AA amyloidosis positive versus AA amyloidosis negative at the time of necropsy (n = 48). Thus, even though there is evidence that having more copies of the SAA1A (-97delG) allele results in a potentially protective decrease in serum concentrations of SAA protein in captive cheetahs, genotype is not associated with this disease within the North American population. These results suggest that other factors are playing a more significant role in the pathogenesis of AA amyloidosis among captive cheetahs. PMID:26585380

  16. Captive-housed male cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii) form naturalistic coalitions: measuring associations and calculating chance encounters.

    PubMed

    Chadwick, Carly L; Rees, Paul A; Stevens-Wood, Barry

    2013-01-01

    Cheetahs are known to reproduce poorly in captivity and research suggests that the reasons for this are behavioral, rather than physiological. In the wild, male cheetahs remain in stable groups, or coalitions, throughout their lifetime. Appropriate social group housing is important in enhancing welfare and reproductive success in captivity and this study examined the effect of changes in social group composition on the behavior of four male cheetahs: two siblings and two half siblings. During the study, the cheetahs were housed both in pairs and as a group of four, before one male was relocated. The remaining cheetahs were then housed in a trio. Affiliative behaviors were frequently shown within pairs and overt aggression was seldom observed. Association indices were calculated for each cheetah pair and corrected for chance encounters based on data generated from a Monte Carlo simulation. The indices showed that two coalitions existed before the relocated male departed. Following the relocation of one of the half siblings, the remaining cheetahs appeared to form a coalition of three, as the indices of association between the unrelated male and the siblings increased and allogrooming between unrelated individuals was observed. The findings of this study indicate that natural social groupings of male cheetahs can be successfully replicated in captivity, which could potentially improve the chances of reproductive success when they are introduced to female cheetahs. PMID:23813720

  17. Different patterns of metabolic cryo-damage in domestic cat (Felis catus) and cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) spermatozoa.

    PubMed

    Terrell, Kimberly A; Wildt, David E; Anthony, Nicola M; Bavister, Barry D; Leibo, S P; Penfold, Linda M; Marker, Laurie L; Crosier, Adrienne E

    2012-04-01

    Felid spermatozoa are sensitive to cryopreservation-induced damage, but functional losses can be mitigated by post-thaw swim-up or density gradient processing methods that selectively recover motile or structurally-normal spermatozoa, respectively. Despite the importance of sperm energy production to achieving fertilization, there is little knowledge about the influence of cryopreservation or post-thaw processing on felid sperm metabolism. We conducted a comparative study of domestic cat and cheetah sperm metabolism after cryopreservation and post-thaw processing. We hypothesized that freezing/thawing impairs sperm metabolism and that swim-up, but not density gradient centrifugation, recovers metabolically-normal spermatozoa. Ejaculates were cryopreserved, thawed, and processed by swim-up, Accudenz gradient centrifugation, or conventional washing (representing the 'control'). Sperm glucose and pyruvate uptake, lactate production, motility, and acrosomal integrity were assessed. Mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) was measured in cat spermatozoa. In both species, lactate production, motility, and acrosomal integrity were reduced in post-thaw, washed samples compared to freshly-collected ejaculates. Glucose uptake was minimal pre- and post-cryopreservation, whereas pyruvate uptake was similar between treatments due to high coefficients of variation. In the cat, swim-up, but not Accudenz processing, recovered spermatozoa with increased lactate production, pyruvate uptake, and motility compared to controls. Although confounded by differences in non-specific fluorescence among processing methods, MMP values within treatments were positively correlated to sperm motility and acrosomal integrity. Cheetah spermatozoa isolated by either selection method exhibited improved motility and/or acrosomal integrity, but remained metabolically compromised. Collectively, findings revealed a metabolically-robust subpopulation of cryopreserved cat, but not cheetah, spermatozoa, recovered by selecting for motility rather than morphology. PMID:22227231

  18. Babesia lengau sp. nov., a Novel Babesia Species in Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus, Schreber, 1775) Populations in South Africa ▿

    PubMed Central

    Bosman, Anna-Mari; Oosthuizen, Marinda C.; Peirce, Michael A.; Venter, Estelle H.; Penzhorn, Barend L.

    2010-01-01

    In a previous paper, we reported on a large number of cheetah blood specimens that gave positive signals only for Babesia and/or Theileria genus-specific probes on the reverse line blot (RLB) assay, indicating the presence of a novel species or variant of an existing species. Some of these specimens were investigated further by microscopic, serological, sequencing, and phylogenetic analyses. The near-full-length 18S rRNA genes of 13 samples, as well as the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) region, were amplified, cloned, and sequenced. A species-specific RLB probe, designed to target the hypervariable V4 region of the 18S rRNA gene for detection of the novel Babesia sp., was used to screen an additional 137 cheetah blood specimens for the presence of the species. The prevalence of infection was 28.5%. Here we describe the morphology and phylogenetic relationships of the novel species, which we have named Babesia lengau sp. nov. PMID:20519464

  19. Dietary Factors Associated with Faecal Consistency and Other Indicators of Gastrointestinal Health in the Captive Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

    PubMed Central

    Whitehouse-Tedd, Katherine M.; Lefebvre, Sandra L.; Janssens, Geert P. J.

    2015-01-01

    Gastrointestinal diseases pose significant risks to captive cheetah survival and welfare. Multiple factors are thought to be associated with these diseases, but to date a comprehensive epidemiological survey of disease risk factors has not been conducted. A survey of diet and health parameters was completed for 184 captive cheetahs in 86 international facilities. Comparisons were made among dietary factors with respect to disease status and observed faecal consistency, incidence of vomiting and diarrhoea in the past 4 weeks. Extremely dry faeces were most common in cheetahs fed carcasses, but was still of low incidence (15%). Contrastingly, cheetahs fed commercially prepared diets had the highest prevalence of liquid faeces “always” or “often” (9%). Cheetahs fed raw meat diets had the highest prevalence of soft faeces with no shape (22%), as well as of firm and dry faeces (40%). No broad category of diet exerted any influence on the health parameters investigated. However, feeding of ribs at least once per week reduced the odds of diarrhoea (P = 0.020) and feeding of long bones (limbs) at least once per week was associated with a lower odds of vomiting (P = 0.008). Cheetahs fed muscle meat at least once per week had reduced odds of suffering from chronic gastritis (P = 0.005) or non-specific gastrointestinal disease (P < 0.001). The only factor identified as increasing the odds of chronic gastritis was feeding of horse “often” or “always” (P = 0.023). The findings of the current study build on existing empirical research to support a recommendation towards a greater inclusion of skeletal components. Current husbandry guidelines advocating the use of supplemented raw meat diets are likewise supported, but the use of horse meat, as well as commercially prepared diets for captive cheetahs, warrants caution until further research is conducted. PMID:25830636

  20. Serum chemistry reference ranges for Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) pups from Alaska: stock differentiation and comparisons within a North Pacific sentinel species.

    PubMed

    Lander, Michelle E; Fadely, Brian S; Gelatt, Thomas S; Rea, Lorrie D; Loughlin, Thomas R

    2013-12-01

    Blood chemistry and hematologic reference ranges are useful for population health assessment and establishing a baseline for future comparisons in the event of ecosystem changes due to natural or anthropogenic factors. The objectives of this study were to determine if there was any population spatial structure for blood variables of Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), an established sentinel species, and to report reference ranges for appropriate populations using standardized analyses. In addition to comparing reference ranges between populations with contrasting abundance trends, data were examined for evidence of disease or nutritional stress. From 1998 to 2011, blood samples were collected from 1,231 pups captured on 37 rookeries across their Alaskan range. Reference ranges are reported separately for the western and eastern distinct population segments (DPS) of Steller sea lion after cluster analysis and discriminant function analysis (DFA) supported underlying stock structure. Variables with greater loading scores for the DFA (creatinine, total protein, calcium, albumin, cholesterol, and alkaline phosphatase) also were greater for sea lions from the endangered western DPS, supporting previous studies that indicated pup condition in the west was not compromised during the first month postpartum. Differences between population segments were likely a result of ecological, physiological, or age related differences. PMID:24419664

  1. Persistence of forage fish ‘hot spots’ and its association with foraging Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gende, Scott M.; Sigler, Michael F.

    2006-02-01

    Whereas primary and secondary productivity at oceanic 'hotspots' may be a function of upwelling and temperature fronts, the aggregation of higher-order vertebrates is a function of their ability to search for and locate these areas. Thus, understanding how predators aggregate at these productive foraging areas is germane to the study of oceanic hot spots. We examined the spatial distribution of forage fish in southeast Alaska for three years to better understand Steller sea lion ( Eumetopias jubatus) aggregations and foraging behavior. Energy densities (millions KJ/km 2) of forage fish were orders of magnitude greater during the winter months (November-February), due to the presence of schools of overwintering Pacific herring ( Clupea pallasi). Within the winter months, herring consistently aggregated at a few areas, and these areas persisted throughout the season and among years. Thus, our study area was characterized by seasonally variable, highly abundant but highly patchily distributed forage fish hot spots. More importantly, the persistence of these forage fish hot spots was an important characteristic in determining whether foraging sea lions utilized them. Over 40% of the variation in the distribution of sea lions on our surveys was explained by the persistence of forage fish hot spots. Using a simple spatial model, we demonstrate that when the density of these hot spots is low, effort necessary to locate these spots is minimized when those spots persist through time. In contrast, under similar prey densities but lower persistence, effort increases dramatically. Thus an important characteristic of pelagic hot spots is their persistence, allowing predators to predict their locations and concentrate search efforts accordingly.

  2. At-sea and on-shore cycles of juvenile Steller sea lions ( Eumetopias jubatus) derived from satellite dive recorders: A comparison between declining and increasing populations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Call, Katherine A.; Fadely, Brian S.; Greig, Angie; Rehberg, Michael J.

    2007-02-01

    We calculated the durations of time on-shore and at-sea for juvenile Steller sea lions ( Eumetopias jubatus) using satellite dive recorders deployed between 2000 and 2002, and compared two genetically distinct populations; one increasing (eastern stock; n=42) and one that experienced an 80% decline in population since the mid-1970s (western stock; n=89). Data represented 24-h periods divided into 72 20-min increments indicating whether an animal was on-shore (dry) or at-sea (wet). Time apportioned between land and sea was described on a per-trip basis (rather than a 24-h cycle) and durations ranged from 20 min to several days. We tested differences in the durations of on-shore and at-sea events among sex, geographic region, year, and age at capture using mixed-effects models. Animal identifier was included as a random effect to account for repeated measures on the same individual. Sea lions from the eastern Aleutian Islands, central Aleutian Islands, and central Gulf of Alaska hauled out just after sunrise, and departure times coincided with dusk. For Prince William Sound and Southeast Alaska animals, arrivals and departures occurred throughout the day and were not related to crepuscular period. Mean duration on-shore did not differ among sex, region, year or age, and was unrelated to previous trip duration. This may suggest a minimum rest period for juvenile Steller sea lions or that dependant animals are maximizing their time on-shore suckling. Time spent at-sea varied among individuals from both populations and development of maternal independence, inferred from significant increases in time spent at sea, occurred approximately 10 months later in individuals from Prince William Sound and Southeast Alaska than in the other regions, suggesting environmental and developmental differences among regions.

  3. The influence of time in captivity, food intake and acute trauma on blood analytes of juvenile Steller sea lions, Eumetopias jubatus.

    PubMed

    Skinner, John P; Tuomi, Pam A; Mellish, Jo-Ann E

    2015-01-01

    The Steller sea lion, Eumetopias jubatus, has experienced regionally divergent population trends over recent decades. One potential mechanism for this disparity is that local factors cause reduced health and, therefore, reduced survival of individuals. The use of blood parameters to assess sea lion health may help to identify whether malnutrition, disease and stress are important drivers of current trends, but such assessments require species-specific knowledge of how parameters respond to various health challenges. We used principal components analysis to identify which key blood parameters (principal analytes) best described changes in health for temporarily captive juvenile Steller sea lions in known conditions. Generalized additive mixed models were used to estimate the changes in principal analytes with food intake, time in captivity and acute trauma associated with hot-iron branding and transmitter implant surgery. Of the 17 blood parameters examined, physiological changes for juvenile sea lions were best described using the following six principal analytes: red blood cell counts, white blood cell counts, globulin, platelets, glucose and total bilirubin. The white blood cell counts and total bilirubin declined over time in captivity, whereas globulin increased. Elevated red blood cell counts, white blood cell counts and total bilirubin and reduced globulin values were associated with lower food intake. After branding, white blood cell counts were elevated for the first 30 days, while globulin and platelets were elevated for the first 15 days only. After implant surgery, red blood cell counts and globulin remained elevated for 30 days, while white blood cell counts remained elevated during the first 15 days only. Glucose was unassociated with the factors we studied. These results were used to provide expected ranges for principal analytes at different levels of food intake and in response to the physical challenges of branding and implant surgery

  4. The influence of time in captivity, food intake and acute trauma on blood analytes of juvenile Steller sea lions, Eumetopias jubatus

    PubMed Central

    Skinner, John P.; Tuomi, Pam A.; Mellish, Jo-Ann E.

    2015-01-01

    The Steller sea lion, Eumetopias jubatus, has experienced regionally divergent population trends over recent decades. One potential mechanism for this disparity is that local factors cause reduced health and, therefore, reduced survival of individuals. The use of blood parameters to assess sea lion health may help to identify whether malnutrition, disease and stress are important drivers of current trends, but such assessments require species-specific knowledge of how parameters respond to various health challenges. We used principal components analysis to identify which key blood parameters (principal analytes) best described changes in health for temporarily captive juvenile Steller sea lions in known conditions. Generalized additive mixed models were used to estimate the changes in principal analytes with food intake, time in captivity and acute trauma associated with hot-iron branding and transmitter implant surgery. Of the 17 blood parameters examined, physiological changes for juvenile sea lions were best described using the following six principal analytes: red blood cell counts, white blood cell counts, globulin, platelets, glucose and total bilirubin. The white blood cell counts and total bilirubin declined over time in captivity, whereas globulin increased. Elevated red blood cell counts, white blood cell counts and total bilirubin and reduced globulin values were associated with lower food intake. After branding, white blood cell counts were elevated for the first 30 days, while globulin and platelets were elevated for the first 15 days only. After implant surgery, red blood cell counts and globulin remained elevated for 30 days, while white blood cell counts remained elevated during the first 15 days only. Glucose was unassociated with the factors we studied. These results were used to provide expected ranges for principal analytes at different levels of food intake and in response to the physical challenges of branding and implant surgery

  5. Population Trend and Elasticities of Vital Rates for Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska: A New Life-History Table Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Maniscalco, John M.; Springer, Alan M.; Adkison, Milo D.; Parker, Pamela

    2015-01-01

    Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) numbers are beginning to recover across most of the western distinct population segment following catastrophic declines that began in the 1970s and ended around the turn of the century. This study makes use of contemporary vital rate estimates from a trend-site rookery in the eastern Gulf of Alaska (a sub-region of the western population) in a matrix population model to estimate the trend and strength of the recovery across this region between 2003 and 2013. The modeled population trend was projected into the future based on observed variation in vital rates and a prospective elasticity analysis was conducted to determine future trends and which vital rates pose the greatest threats to recovery. The modeled population grew at a mean rate of 3.5% per yr between 2003 and 2013 and was correlated with census count data from the local rookery and throughout the eastern Gulf of Alaska. If recent vital rate estimates continue with little change, the eastern Gulf of Alaska population could be fully recovered to pre-decline levels within 23 years. With density dependent growth, the population would need another 45 years to fully recover. Elasticity analysis showed that, as expected, population growth rate (λ) was most sensitive to changes in adult survival, less sensitive to changes in juvenile survival, and least sensitive to changes in fecundity. A population decline could be expected with only a 6% decrease in adult survival, whereas a 32% decrease in fecundity would be necessary to bring about a population decline. These results have important implications for population management and suggest current research priorities should be shifted to a greater emphasis on survival rates and causes of mortality. PMID:26488901

  6. Population Trend and Elasticities of Vital Rates for Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska: A New Life-History Table Analysis.

    PubMed

    Maniscalco, John M; Springer, Alan M; Adkison, Milo D; Parker, Pamela

    2015-01-01

    Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) numbers are beginning to recover across most of the western distinct population segment following catastrophic declines that began in the 1970s and ended around the turn of the century. This study makes use of contemporary vital rate estimates from a trend-site rookery in the eastern Gulf of Alaska (a sub-region of the western population) in a matrix population model to estimate the trend and strength of the recovery across this region between 2003 and 2013. The modeled population trend was projected into the future based on observed variation in vital rates and a prospective elasticity analysis was conducted to determine future trends and which vital rates pose the greatest threats to recovery. The modeled population grew at a mean rate of 3.5% per yr between 2003 and 2013 and was correlated with census count data from the local rookery and throughout the eastern Gulf of Alaska. If recent vital rate estimates continue with little change, the eastern Gulf of Alaska population could be fully recovered to pre-decline levels within 23 years. With density dependent growth, the population would need another 45 years to fully recover. Elasticity analysis showed that, as expected, population growth rate (λ) was most sensitive to changes in adult survival, less sensitive to changes in juvenile survival, and least sensitive to changes in fecundity. A population decline could be expected with only a 6% decrease in adult survival, whereas a 32% decrease in fecundity would be necessary to bring about a population decline. These results have important implications for population management and suggest current research priorities should be shifted to a greater emphasis on survival rates and causes of mortality. PMID:26488901

  7. Hyoid apparatus and pharynx in the lion (Panthera leo), jaguar (Panthera onca), tiger (Panthera tigris), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and domestic cat (Felis silvestris f. catus)

    PubMed Central

    Weissengruber, GE; Forstenpointner, G; Peters, G; Kübber-Heiss, A; Fitch, WT

    2002-01-01

    Structures of the hyoid apparatus, the pharynx and their topographical positions in the lion, tiger, jaguar, cheetah and domestic cat were described in order to determine morphological differences between species or subfamilies of the Felidae. In the lion, tiger and jaguar (species of the subfamily Pantherinae) the Epihyoideum is an elastic ligament lying between the lateral pharyngeal muscles and the Musculus (M.) thyroglossus rather than a bony element like in the cheetah or the domestic cat. The M. thyroglossus was only present in the species of the Pantherinae studied. In the lion and the jaguar the Thyrohyoideum and the thyroid cartilage are connected by an elastic ligament, whereas in the tiger there is a synovial articulation. In adult individuals of the lion, tiger and jaguar the ventral end of the tympanohyal cartilage is rotated and therefore the ventral end of the attached Stylohyoideum lies caudal to the Tympanohyoideum and the cranial base. In newborn jaguars the Apparatus hyoideus shows a similar topographical position as in adult cheetahs or domestic cats. In adult Pantherinae, the Basihyoideum and the attached larynx occupy a descended position: they are situated near the cranial thoracic aperture, the pharyngeal wall and the soft palate are caudally elongated accordingly. In the Pantherinae examined the caudal end of the soft palate lies dorsal to the glottis. Differences in these morphological features between the subfamilies of the Felidae have an influence on specific structural characters of their vocalizations. PMID:12363272

  8. Evidence for compromised metabolic function and limited glucose uptake in spermatozoa from the teratospermic domestic cat (Felis catus) and cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Terrell, Kimberly A; Wildt, David E; Anthony, Nicola M; Bavister, Barry D; Leibo, Stanley P; Penfold, Linda M; Marker, Laurie L; Crosier, Adrienne E

    2010-11-01

    Cheetahs and certain other felids consistently ejaculate high proportions (≥ 60%) of malformed spermatozoa, a condition known as teratospermia, which is prevalent in humans. Even seemingly normal spermatozoa from domestic cat teratospermic ejaculates have reduced fertilizing capacity. To understand the role of sperm metabolism in this phenomenon, we conducted a comparative study in the normospermic domestic cat versus the teratospermic cat and cheetah with the general hypothesis that sperm metabolic function is impaired in males producing predominantly pleiomorphic spermatozoa. Washed ejaculates were incubated in chemically defined medium containing glucose and pyruvate. Uptake of glucose and pyruvate and production of lactate were assessed using enzyme-linked fluorescence assays. Spermatozoa from domestic cats and cheetahs exhibited similar metabolic profiles, with minimal glucose metabolism and approximately equimolar rates of pyruvate uptake and lactate production. Compared to normospermic counterparts, pyruvate and lactate metabolism were reduced in teratospermic cat and cheetah ejaculates, even when controlling for sperm motility. Rates of pyruvate and lactate (but not glucose) metabolism were correlated positively with sperm motility, acrosomal integrity, and normal morphology. Collectively, our findings reveal that pyruvate uptake and lactate production are reliable, quantitative indicators of sperm quality in these two felid species and that metabolic function is impaired in teratospermic ejaculates. Furthermore, patterns of substrate utilization are conserved between these species, including the unexpected lack of exogenous glucose metabolism. Because glycolysis is required to support sperm motility and capacitation in certain other mammals (including dogs), the activity of this pathway in felid spermatozoa is a target for future investigation. PMID:20650882

  9. Glycolytic enzyme activity is essential for domestic cat (Felis catus) and cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) sperm motility and viability in a sugar-free medium.

    PubMed

    Terrell, Kimberly A; Wildt, David E; Anthony, Nicola M; Bavister, Barry D; Leibo, S P; Penfold, Linda M; Marker, Laurie L; Crosier, Adrienne E

    2011-06-01

    We have previously reported a lack of glucose uptake in domestic cat and cheetah spermatozoa, despite observing that these cells produce lactate at rates that correlate positively with sperm function. To elucidate the role of glycolysis in felid sperm energy production, we conducted a comparative study in the domestic cat and cheetah, with the hypothesis that sperm motility and viability are maintained in both species in the absence of glycolytic metabolism and are fueled by endogenous substrates. Washed ejaculates were incubated in chemically defined medium in the presence/absence of glucose and pyruvate. A second set of ejaculates was exposed to a chemical inhibitor of either lactate dehydrogenase (sodium oxamate) or glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (alpha-chlorohydrin). Sperm function (motility and acrosomal integrity) and lactate production were assessed, and a subset of spermatozoa was assayed for intracellular glycogen. In both the cat and cheetah, sperm function was maintained without exogenous substrates and following lactate dehydrogenase inhibition. Lactate production occurred in the absence of exogenous hexoses, but only if pyruvate was present. Intracellular glycogen was not detected in spermatozoa from either species. Unexpectedly, glycolytic inhibition by alpha-chlorohydrin resulted in an immediate decline in sperm motility, particularly in the domestic cat. Collectively, our findings reveal an essential role of the glycolytic pathway in felid spermatozoa that is unrelated to hexose metabolism or lactate formation. Instead, glycolytic enzyme activity could be required for the metabolism of endogenous lipid-derived glycerol, with fatty acid oxidation providing the primary energy source in felid spermatozoa. PMID:21325689

  10. Effect of diet on the incidence of and mortality owing to gastritis and renal disease in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in South Africa.

    PubMed

    Lane, E P; Miller, S; Lobetti, R; Caldwell, P; Bertschinger, H J; Burroughs, R; Kotze, A; van Dyk, A

    2012-01-01

    Seventy-two adult cheetahs were evaluated for the degree of gastritis by endoscopic biopsy and for renal disease by serum creatinine. Cheetahs free of Grade 3 gastritis and renal disease were placed on Trial A; remaining cheetahs were placed on Trial B, which ran concurrently. All cheetahs were monitored for 4 years. Cheetahs exited Trial A and entered Trial B if they developed Grade 3 gastritis or renal disease. Cheetahs exited Trial B if they developed clinical gastritis or renal disease that required a dietary change or aggressive medical therapy or died owing to either disease. Cheetahs on Trial A were fed either a supplemented meat diet (N = 26) or commercial cat food (N = 22). Cheetahs on Trial B were fed either the same meat diet (N = 28) or a commercial dry cat food formulated for renal disease (N = 16). Cheetahs fed meat on Trial A had a daily hazard of developing Grade 3 gastritis 2.21 times higher (95% CI 0.95-5.15) than cheetahs fed commercial cat food. This hazard was not statistically significant (P = 0.07). Mean gastritis scores were not significantly different between the two groups. Cheetahs fed commercial cat food in both Trials had lower serum urea levels and higher creatinine levels than those fed meat. Evidence for the effect of diet in cheetahs with gastritis and/or renal disease (Trial B) was inconclusive. The number of cheetahs dying of gastritis or renal disease at the facility has dropped markedly since the study began. These results indicate that diet may play an important role in the incidence of Grade 3 gastritis and that dietary and/or therapeutic management of gastritis may reduce mortality owing to gastritis and renal disease in captive cheetahs. PMID:22083933

  11. Oxidative phosphorylation is essential for felid sperm function, but is substantially lower in cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) compared to domestic cat (Felis catus) ejaculate.

    PubMed

    Terrell, Kimberly A; Wildt, David E; Anthony, Nicola M; Bavister, Barry D; Leibo, S P; Penfold, Linda M; Marker, Laurie L; Crosier, Adrienne E

    2011-09-01

    Compared with the normospermic domestic cat, sperm metabolic function is compromised in the teratospermic cat and cheetah, but the pathway(s) involved in this deficiency are unknown. Glycolysis is essential for sperm motility, yet it appears to function normally in spermatozoa of either species regardless of structural morphology. We conducted a comparative study to further understand the mechanisms of energy production in felid spermatozoa, with the hypothesis that oxidative phosphorylation is required for normal sperm function and is impaired in teratospermic ejaculates. Electroejaculates from both species were stained with MitoTracker to quantify mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) or were incubated to assess changes in sperm function (motility, acrosomal integrity, and lactate production) after mitochondrial inhibition with myxothiazol. Sperm midpiece dimensions also were quantified. Sperm mitochondrial fluorescence (directly proportional to MMP) was ~95% lower in the cheetah compared with the normospermic and teratospermic cat, despite the cheetah having a 10% longer midpiece. In both species, MMP was increased 5-fold in spermatozoa with retained cytoplasm compared with structurally normal cells. Inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation impaired sperm function in both species, but a 100-fold higher inhibitor concentration was required in the cat compared with the cheetah. Collectively, findings revealed that oxidative phosphorylation was required for sperm function in the domestic cat and cheetah. This pathway of energy production appeared markedly less active in the cheetah, indicating a species-specific vulnerability to mitochondrial dysfunction. The unexpected, cross-species linkage between retained cytoplasmic droplets and elevated MMP may reflect increased concentrations of metabolic enzymes or substrates in these structures. PMID:21593479

  12. Validation of an enzyme-immunoassay for the non-invasive monitoring of faecal testosterone metabolites in male cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Pribbenow, Susanne; Wachter, Bettina; Ludwig, Carsten; Weigold, Annika; Dehnhard, Martin

    2016-03-01

    In mammals, the sex hormone testosterone is the major endocrine variable to objectify testicular activity and thus reproductive function in males. Testosterone is involved in the development and function of male reproductive physiology and sex-related behaviour. The development of a reliable androgen enzyme-immunoassay (EIA) to monitor faecal testosterone metabolites (fTM) is a powerful tool to non-invasively assess the gonadal status of males. We validated an epiandrosterone EIA for male cheetahs by performing a testosterone radiometabolism study followed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analyses and excluding possible cross-reactivities with androgenic metabolites not derived from testosterone metabolism. The physiological and biological relevance of the epiandrosterone EIA was validated by demonstrating (1) a significant increase in fTM concentrations within one day in response to a testosterone injection, (2) a significant increase in fTM concentrations within one day in response to a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) injection, which failed following a placebo injection, and (3) significant differences in fTM concentrations between adult male and adult female cheetahs and between adult and juvenile male cheetahs of a free-ranging population. Finally, we demonstrated stability of fTM concentrations measured in faecal samples exposed to ambient temperatures up to 72h. Our results clearly demonstrate that the epiandrosterone EIA is a reliable non-invasive method to monitor testicular activity in male cheetahs. PMID:26828820

  13. Characterisation and validation of an enzyme-immunoassay for the non-invasive assessment of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Ludwig, C; Wachter, B; Silinski-Mehr, S; Ganswindt, A; Bertschinger, H; Hofer, H; Dehnhard, M

    2013-01-01

    The non-invasive measurement of adrenocortical function in cheetahs is an important tool to assess stress in captive and free-ranging individuals, because stress has been suggested to be one of the causes of poor reproductive performance of captive cheetahs. We tested four enzyme immunoassays (EIA) in two captive cheetahs in Germany using adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) challenges and identified the corticosterone-3-CMO EIA to be most sensitive to the increase in faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCM) concentrations after the ACTH challenge. This EIA performed also well in five captive cheetahs in South Africa. The fGCM concentrations across all seven cheetahs increased within 24h by 681% compared to the baseline levels prior to ACTH. Storage of faecal samples at 0-4°C did not strongly affect fGCM concentrations within 24h, simplifying sample collection when immediate storage at -20°C is not feasible. The two cheetahs in Germany also received an injection of [(3)H]cortisol to characterise fGCMs in faecal extracts using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) immunograms. HPLC fractions were measured for their radioactivity and immunoreactive fGCM concentrations with the corticosterone-3-CMO EIA, respectively. The results revealed a polar peak of radiolabelled cortisol metabolites co-eluting with the major peak of immunoreactive fGCMs. Thus, our EIA measured substantial amounts of fGCMs corresponding to the radioactive peaks. The peaks were of higher polarity than native cortisol and corticosterone, suggesting that the metabolites were conjugated, which was confirmed by solvolysis of the HPLC fractions. Our results show that the corticosterone-3-CMO EIA is a reliable tool to assess fGCMs in cheetahs. PMID:23108105

  14. Acinonyx pardinensis (Carnivora, Felidae) from the Early Pleistocene of Pantalla (Italy): predatory behavior and ecological role of the giant Plio-Pleistocene cheetah

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cherin, Marco; Iurino, Dawid Adam; Sardella, Raffaele; Rook, Lorenzo

    2014-03-01

    The site of Pantalla (central Italy) yielded a rich late Villafranchian (Early Pleistocene) faunal assemblage, which includes some well-preserved large mammal skulls. We describe here two nearly complete crania and a left hemimandible of Acinonyx pardinensis from this locality, representing the most complete cranial material of this species in Europe. These finds allowed us to define more clearly the craniodental morphology of A. pardinensis. Similarly to the forms from North Africa and China, the giant cheetah from Pantalla has a more generalized skull than the living Acinonyx jubatus, showing some primitive, pantherine-like features such as the less domed dorsal outline of the cranium, the more developed sagittal and nuchal crests and the less bowed zygomatic arches. High-resolution CT scans of the specimens were used to obtain the first 3D model of a cranium with articulated mandible of A. pardinensis. Starting from the insertion areas on this model we reconstructed the jaw muscles of the Pantalla felid, confirming its affinities with pantherine felines. In the light of the musculoskeletal skull anatomy and the average body mass (about 80 kg), it is likely that A. pardinensis could kill large prey through a hunting strategy more similar to pantherine cats than to the living cheetah.

  15. 77 FR 20838 - Endangered Species; Receipt of Applications for Permits

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-04-06

    ... Departments and Agencies of January 21, 2009--Transparency and Open Government (74 FR 4685; January 26, 2009... (Acinonyx jubatus). Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Applicant: Bramble...

  16. 75 FR 63196 - Endangered Species; Receipt of Applications for Permit

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-10-14

    ... Federal Register on October 7, 2010 (75 FR 62139). We are extending the comment period because the number of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is actually seven, not six. Applicant: Hawthorn Corporation,...

  17. 50 CFR 14.252 - What definitions do I need to know?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... Animal Welfare Act (AWA) (7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq.) (See definition of “licensee” in 9 CFR 1.1.). Prohibited... registered with and inspected by APHIS under the AWA (See definition of “registrant” in 9 CFR 1.1.). ...), jaguar (Panthera onca), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), and cougar (Puma concolor) or any hybrids...

  18. 50 CFR 14.252 - What definitions do I need to know?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... Animal Welfare Act (AWA) (7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq.) (See definition of “licensee” in 9 CFR 1.1.). Prohibited... registered with and inspected by APHIS under the AWA (See definition of “registrant” in 9 CFR 1.1.). ...), jaguar (Panthera onca), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), and cougar (Puma concolor) or any hybrids...

  19. 50 CFR 14.252 - What definitions do I need to know?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... Animal Welfare Act (AWA) (7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq.) (See definition of “licensee” in 9 CFR 1.1.). Prohibited... registered with and inspected by APHIS under the AWA (See definition of “registrant” in 9 CFR 1.1.). ...), jaguar (Panthera onca), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), and cougar (Puma concolor) or any hybrids...

  20. 50 CFR 14.252 - What definitions do I need to know?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... Animal Welfare Act (AWA) (7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq.) (See definition of “licensee” in 9 CFR 1.1.). Prohibited... registered with and inspected by APHIS under the AWA (See definition of “registrant” in 9 CFR 1.1.). ...), jaguar (Panthera onca), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), and cougar (Puma concolor) or any hybrids...

  1. 50 CFR 14.252 - What definitions do I need to know?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... Animal Welfare Act (AWA) (7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq.) (See definition of “licensee” in 9 CFR 1.1.). Prohibited... registered with and inspected by APHIS under the AWA (See definition of “registrant” in 9 CFR 1.1.). ...), jaguar (Panthera onca), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), and cougar (Puma concolor) or any hybrids...

  2. 77 FR 46514 - Endangered Species; Marine Mammals; Receipt of Applications for Permit

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-08-03

    ... Departments and Agencies of January 21, 2009--Transparency and Open Government (74 FR 4685; January 26, 2009... Hole Oceanographic Institute, Woods Hole, MA; PRT-130062 On July 27, 2012, (77 FR 44264), we published... male cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) that were bred in captivity in South Africa at the Ann van Dyk...

  3. Underwater hearing sensitivity of a male and a female Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kastelein, Ronald A.; van Schie, Robbert; Verboom, Wim C.; de Haan, Dick

    2005-09-01

    The unmasked underwater hearing sensitivities of an 8-year-old male and a 7-year-old female Steller sea lion were measured in a pool, by using behavioral psychophysics. The animals were trained with positive reinforcement to respond when they detected an acoustic signal and not to respond when they did not. The signals were narrow-band, frequency-modulated stimuli with a duration of 600 ms and center frequencies ranging from 0.5 to 32 kHz for the male and from 4 to 32 kHz for the female. Detection thresholds at each frequency were measured by varying signal amplitude according to the up-down staircase method. The resulting underwater audiogram (50% detection thresholds) for the male Steller sea lion showed the typical mammalian U-shape. His maximum sensitivity (77 dB re: 1 μPa, rms) occurred at 1 kHz. The range of best hearing (10 dB from the maximum sensitivity) was from 1 to 16 kHz (4 octaves). Higher hearing thresholds (indicating poorer sensitivity) were observed below 1 kHz and above 16 kHz. The maximum sensitivity of the female (73 dB re: 1 μPa, rms) occurred at 25 kHz. Higher hearing thresholds (indicating poorer sensitivity) were observed for signals below 16 kHz and above 25 kHz. At frequencies for which both subjects were tested, hearing thresholds of the male were significantly higher than those of the female. The hearing sensitivity differences between the male and female Steller sea lion in this study may be due to individual differences in sensitivity between the subjects or due to sexual dimorphism in hearing.

  4. Coxiella burnetii Infection of a Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) Found in Washington State ▿

    PubMed Central

    Kersh, Gilbert J.; Lambourn, Dyanna M.; Self, Joshua S.; Akmajian, Adrianne M.; Stanton, James B.; Baszler, Timothy V.; Raverty, Stephen A.; Massung, Robert F.

    2010-01-01

    A pregnant sea lion stranded in the State of Washington was found to have placentitis caused by a unique strain of Coxiella burnetii. This is the first description of coxiellosis in a sea lion and suggests that exposure to sea lions may be a risk factor for contracting Q fever. PMID:20592144

  5. Underwater hearing sensitivity of a male and a female Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus).

    PubMed

    Kastelein, Ronald A; van Schie, Robbert; Verboom, Wim C; de Haan, Dick

    2005-09-01

    The unmasked underwater hearing sensitivities of an 8-year-old male and a 7-year-old female Steller sea lion were measured in a pool, by using behavioral psychophysics. The animals were trained with positive reinforcement to respond when they detected an acoustic signal and not to respond when they did not. The signals were narrow-band, frequency-modulated stimuli with a duration of 600 ms and center frequencies ranging from 0.5 to 32 kHz for the male and from 4 to 32 kHz for the female. Detection thresholds at each frequency were measured by varying signal amplitude according to the up-down staircase method. The resulting underwater audiogram (50% detection thresholds) for the male Steller sea lion showed the typical mammalian U-shape. His maximum sensitivity (77 dB re: 1 microPa, rms) occurred at 1 kHz. The range of best hearing (10 dB from the maximum sensitivity) was from 1 to 16 kHz (4 octaves). Higher hearing thresholds (indicating poorer sensitivity) were observed below 1 kHz and above 16 kHz. The maximum sensitivity of the female (73 dB re: 1 microPa, rms) occurred at 25 kHz. Higher hearing thresholds (indicating poorer sensitivity) were observed for signals below 16 kHz and above 25 kHz. At frequencies for which both subjects were tested, hearing thresholds of the male were significantly higher than those of the female. The hearing sensitivity differences between the male and female Steller sea lion in this study may be due to individual differences in sensitivity between the subjects or due to sexual dimorphism in hearing. PMID:16240840

  6. Coxiella burnetii infection of a Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) found in Washington State.

    PubMed

    Kersh, Gilbert J; Lambourn, Dyanna M; Self, Joshua S; Akmajian, Adrianne M; Stanton, James B; Baszler, Timothy V; Raverty, Stephen A; Massung, Robert F

    2010-09-01

    A pregnant sea lion stranded in the State of Washington was found to have placentitis caused by a unique strain of Coxiella burnetii. This is the first description of coxiellosis in a sea lion and suggests that exposure to sea lions may be a risk factor for contracting Q fever. PMID:20592144

  7. Physiological predictors of long-term survival in juvenile Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus)

    PubMed Central

    Shuert, C.; Mellish, J.; Horning, M.

    2015-01-01

    This study builds on a continued effort to document potential long-term research impacts on the individual, as well as to identify potential markers of survival for use in a field framework. The Transient Juvenile Steller sea lion (TJ) project was developed as a novel framework to gain access to wild individuals. We used three analyses to evaluate and predict long-term survival in temporarily captive sea lions (n = 45) through Cormack–Jolly–Seber open population modelling techniques. The first analysis investigated survival in relation to the observed responses to handling stress through changes in six principal blood parameters over the duration of captivity. The second analysis evaluated survival compared with body condition and mass at entry and exit from captivity. Finally, the third analysis sought to evaluate the efficacy of single-point sampling to project similar survival trends for use in field sampling operations. Results from a priori models ranked through Akaike information criterion model selection methods indicated that mass gains (4.2 ± 12%) over captivity and increases in leucocytes (WBC, 1.01 ± 3.54 × 103/mm3) resulted in a higher average survival rate (>3 years). Minor support was identified for the single-point measures of exit mass and entry WBC. A higher exit mass predicted a higher survival rate, whereas a higher WBC predicted a lower survival rate. While changes in mass and WBC appear to be the best predictors of survival when measured as a change over time, single-point sampling may still be an effective way to improve estimates of population health. PMID:27293728

  8. Phylogeography, genetic structure and population divergence time of cheetahs in Africa and Asia: evidence for long-term geographic isolates

    PubMed Central

    Charruau, P; Fernandes, C; Orozco-terWengel, P; Peters, J; Hunter, L; Ziaie, H; Jourabchian, A; Jowkar, H; Schaller, G; Ostrowski, S; Vercammen, P; Grange, T; Schlötterer, C; Kotze, A; Geigl, E-M; Walzer, C; Burger, P A

    2011-01-01

    The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has been described as a species with low levels of genetic variation. This has been suggested to be the consequence of a demographic bottleneck 10 000–12 000 years ago (ya) and also led to the assumption that only small genetic differences exist between the described subspecies. However, analysing mitochondrial DNA and microsatellites in cheetah samples from most of the historic range of the species we found relatively deep phylogeographic breaks between some of the investigated populations, and most of the methods assessed divergence time estimates predating the postulated bottleneck. Mitochondrial DNA monophyly and overall levels of genetic differentiation support the distinctiveness of Northern-East African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii). Moreover, combining archaeozoological and contemporary samples, we show that Asiatic cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) are unambiguously separated from African subspecies. Divergence time estimates from mitochondrial and nuclear data place the split between Asiatic and Southern African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) at 32 000–67 000 ya using an average mammalian microsatellite mutation rate and at 4700–44 000 ya employing human microsatellite mutation rates. Cheetahs are vulnerable to extinction globally and critically endangered in their Asiatic range, where the last 70–110 individuals survive only in Iran. We demonstrate that these extant Iranian cheetahs are an autochthonous monophyletic population and the last representatives of the Asiatic subspecies A. j. venaticus. We advocate that conservation strategies should consider the uncovered independent evolutionary histories of Asiatic and African cheetahs, as well as among some African subspecies. This would facilitate the dual conservation priorities of maintaining locally adapted ecotypes and genetic diversity. PMID:21214655

  9. Phylogeography, genetic structure and population divergence time of cheetahs in Africa and Asia: evidence for long-term geographic isolates.

    PubMed

    Charruau, P; Fernandes, C; Orozco-Terwengel, P; Peters, J; Hunter, L; Ziaie, H; Jourabchian, A; Jowkar, H; Schaller, G; Ostrowski, S; Vercammen, P; Grange, T; Schlötterer, C; Kotze, A; Geigl, E-M; Walzer, C; Burger, P A

    2011-02-01

    The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has been described as a species with low levels of genetic variation. This has been suggested to be the consequence of a demographic bottleneck 10 000-12 000 years ago (ya) and also led to the assumption that only small genetic differences exist between the described subspecies. However, analysing mitochondrial DNA and microsatellites in cheetah samples from most of the historic range of the species we found relatively deep phylogeographic breaks between some of the investigated populations, and most of the methods assessed divergence time estimates predating the postulated bottleneck. Mitochondrial DNA monophyly and overall levels of genetic differentiation support the distinctiveness of Northern-East African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii). Moreover, combining archaeozoological and contemporary samples, we show that Asiatic cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) are unambiguously separated from African subspecies. Divergence time estimates from mitochondrial and nuclear data place the split between Asiatic and Southern African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) at 32 000-67 000 ya using an average mammalian microsatellite mutation rate and at 4700-44 000 ya employing human microsatellite mutation rates. Cheetahs are vulnerable to extinction globally and critically endangered in their Asiatic range, where the last 70-110 individuals survive only in Iran. We demonstrate that these extant Iranian cheetahs are an autochthonous monophyletic population and the last representatives of the Asiatic subspecies A. j. venaticus. We advocate that conservation strategies should consider the uncovered independent evolutionary histories of Asiatic and African cheetahs, as well as among some African subspecies. This would facilitate the dual conservation priorities of maintaining locally adapted ecotypes and genetic diversity. PMID:21214655

  10. East African cheetahs: evidence for two population bottlenecks?

    PubMed Central

    O'Brien, S J; Wildt, D E; Bush, M; Caro, T M; FitzGibbon, C; Aggundey, I; Leakey, R E

    1987-01-01

    A combined population genetic and reproductive analysis was undertaken to compare free-ranging cheetahs from east Africa (Acinonyx jubatus raineyi) with the genetically impoverished and reproductively impaired south African subspecies (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). Like that of their south African counterparts, the quality of semen specimens from east African cheetahs was poor, with a low concentration of spermatozoa (25.3 X 10(6) per ejaculate) and a high incidence of morphological abnormalities (79%). From an electrophoretic survey of the products of 49 genetic loci in A. jubatus raineyi, two allozyme polymorphisms were detected; one of these, for a nonspecific esterase, shows an allele that is rare (less than 1% incidence) in south African specimens. Estimates of polymorphism (2-4%) and average heterozygosity (0.0004-0.014) affirm the cheetah as the least genetically variable felid species. The genetic distance between south and east African cheetahs was low (0.004), suggesting that the development of genetic uniformity preceded the recent geographic isolation of the subspecies. We propose that at least two population bottlenecks followed by inbreeding produced the modern cheetah species. The first and most extreme was ancient, possibly late Pleistocene (circa 10,000 years ago); the second was more recent (within the last century) and led to the south African populations. PMID:3467370

  11. The Effects of Birth Weight and Maternal Care on Survival of Juvenile Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus)

    PubMed Central

    Maniscalco, John M.

    2014-01-01

    Steller sea lions were listed as endangered following a collapse of the western distinct population beginning in the late 1970s. Low juvenile survival has been implicated as a factor in the decline. I conducted a multistate mark-recapture analysis to estimate juvenile survival in an area of the western population where sea lions are showing signs of recovery. Survival for males and females was 80% between 3 weeks and 1 year of age. Approximately 20% of juveniles continued to be nursed by their mothers between ages 1 and 2 and 10% between ages 2 and 3. Survival for juveniles that suckled beyond 1 year was 88.2% and 89.9% to ages 2 and 3, respectively. In contrast, survival for individuals weaned by age 1 was 40.6% for males and 64.2% for females between ages 1 and 2. Birth mass positively influenced survival for juveniles weaned at age 1 but had little effect on individuals continuing to suckle. Cumulative survival to age 4 was double that estimated during the population decline in this region. Evidence suggests that western Steller sea lions utilize a somewhat different maternal strategy than those in the eastern distinct population. Western adult females generally invest more in their pups during the first year but wean offspring by age 1 more often. This results in better survival to age 1, but greater mortality between ages 1 and 3 compared to the eastern population. Different maternal strategies may reflect density dependent pressures of populations at opposite levels of abundance. PMID:24804679

  12. Crossing to safety: dispersal, colonization and mate choice in evolutionarily distinct populations of Steller sea lions, Eumetopias jubatus.

    PubMed

    O'Corry-Crowe, Greg; Gelatt, Tom; Rea, Lorrie; Bonin, Carolina; Rehberg, Michael

    2014-11-01

    Population growth typically involves range expansion and establishment of new breeding sites, while the opposite occurs during declines. Although density dependence is widely invoked in theoretical studies of emigration and colonization in expanding populations, few empirical studies have documented the mechanisms. Still fewer have documented the direction and mechanisms of individual transfer in declining populations. Here, we screen large numbers of pups sampled on their natal rookeries for variation in mtDNA (n = 1106) and 16 microsatellite loci (n = 588) and show that new Steller sea lion breeding sites did not follow the typical paradigm and were instead colonized by sea lions from both a declining (Endangered) population and an increasing population. Dispersing individuals colonized rookeries in the distributional hiatus between two evolutionarily distinct (Φ¯(st) = 0.222, R¯(st) = 0.053, K = 2) metapopulations recently described as separate subspecies. Hardy-Weinberg, mixed-stock and relatedness analysis revealed levels of interbreeding on the new rookeries that exclude (i) assortative mating among eastern and western forms, and (ii) inbreeding avoidance as primary motivations for dispersal. Positive and negative density dependence is implicated in both cases of individual transfer. Migration distance limits, and conspecific attraction and performance likely influenced the sequence of rookery colonizations. This study demonstrates that resource limitation may trigger an exodus of breeding animals from declining populations, with substantial impacts on distribution and patterns of genetic variation. It also revealed that this event is rare because colonists dispersed across an evolutionary boundary, suggesting that the causative factors behind recent declines are unusual or of larger magnitude than normally occur. PMID:25266462

  13. The Effect of Novel Research Activities on Long-term Survival of Temporarily Captive Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus).

    PubMed

    Shuert, Courtney; Horning, Markus; Mellish, Jo-Ann

    2015-01-01

    Two novel research approaches were developed to facilitate controlled access to, and long-term monitoring of, juvenile Steller sea lions for periods longer than typically afforded by traditional fieldwork. The Transient Juvenile Steller sea lion Project at the Alaska SeaLife Center facilitated nutritional, physiological, and behavioral studies on the platform of temporary captivity. Temporarily captive sea lions (TJs, n = 35) were studied, and were intraperitoneally implanted with Life History Transmitters (LHX tags) to determine causes of mortality post-release. Our goal was to evaluate the potential for long-term impacts of temporary captivity and telemetry implants on the survival of study individuals. A simple open-population Cormack-Jolly-Seber mark-recapture model was built in program MARK, incorporating resightings of uniquely branded study individuals gathered by several contributing institutions. A priori models were developed to weigh the evidence of effects of experimental treatment on survival with covariates of sex, age, capture age, cohort, and age class. We compared survival of experimental treatment to a control group of n = 27 free-ranging animals (FRs) that were sampled during capture events and immediately released. Sex has previously been show to differentially affect juvenile survival in Steller sea lions. Therefore, sex was included in all models to account for unbalanced sex ratios within the experimental group. Considerable support was identified for the effects of sex, accounting for over 71% of total weight for all a priori models with delta AICc <5, and over 91% of model weight after removal of pretending variables. Overall, most support was found for the most parsimonious model based on sex and excluding experimental treatment. Models including experimental treatment were not supported after post-hoc considerations of model selection criteria. However, given the limited sample size, alternate models including effects of experimental treatments remain possible and effects may yet become apparent in larger sample sizes. PMID:26580549

  14. The Effect of Novel Research Activities on Long-term Survival of Temporarily Captive Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus)

    PubMed Central

    Shuert, Courtney; Horning, Markus; Mellish, Jo-Ann

    2015-01-01

    Two novel research approaches were developed to facilitate controlled access to, and long-term monitoring of, juvenile Steller sea lions for periods longer than typically afforded by traditional fieldwork. The Transient Juvenile Steller sea lion Project at the Alaska SeaLife Center facilitated nutritional, physiological, and behavioral studies on the platform of temporary captivity. Temporarily captive sea lions (TJs, n = 35) were studied, and were intraperitoneally implanted with Life History Transmitters (LHX tags) to determine causes of mortality post-release. Our goal was to evaluate the potential for long-term impacts of temporary captivity and telemetry implants on the survival of study individuals. A simple open-population Cormack-Jolly-Seber mark-recapture model was built in program MARK, incorporating resightings of uniquely branded study individuals gathered by several contributing institutions. A priori models were developed to weigh the evidence of effects of experimental treatment on survival with covariates of sex, age, capture age, cohort, and age class. We compared survival of experimental treatment to a control group of n = 27 free-ranging animals (FRs) that were sampled during capture events and immediately released. Sex has previously been show to differentially affect juvenile survival in Steller sea lions. Therefore, sex was included in all models to account for unbalanced sex ratios within the experimental group. Considerable support was identified for the effects of sex, accounting for over 71% of total weight for all a priori models with delta AICc <5, and over 91% of model weight after removal of pretending variables. Overall, most support was found for the most parsimonious model based on sex and excluding experimental treatment. Models including experimental treatment were not supported after post-hoc considerations of model selection criteria. However, given the limited sample size, alternate models including effects of experimental treatments remain possible and effects may yet become apparent in larger sample sizes. PMID:26580549

  15. Stable isotope values in pup vibrissae reveal geographic variation in diets of gestating Steller sea lions Eumetopias jubatus

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Scherer, Rick D.; Doll, Andrew C.; Rea, Lorrie D.; Christ, Aaron M.; Stricker, Craig A.; Witteveen, Briana; Kline, Thomas C.; Kurle, Carolyn M.; Wunder, Michael B.

    2015-01-01

    Multiple factors, including limitation in food resources, have been proposed as possible causes for the lack of recovery of the endangered western segment of the Steller sea lion population in the United States. Because maternal body condition has important consequences on fetal development and neonatal survival, the diets of pregnant females may be particularly important in regulating population sizes. We used the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values of vibrissae from Steller sea lion pups as an indirect indicator of maternal diets during gestation. Combining these data with isotope data from potential prey species in a Bayesian mixing model, we generated proportional estimates of dietary consumption for key prey. Our analysis indicated that females in the most westerly metapopulations relied heavily on Atka mackerel and squid, whereas females inhabiting the Gulf of Alaska region had a fairly mixed diet, and the metapopulation of Southeast Alaska showed a strong reliance on forage fish. These results are similar to previous data from scat collections; however, they indicate a possible under-representation of soft-bodied prey (squid) or prey with fragile skeletons (forage fish) from analyses of data from scats. This study supports the utility of stable isotope modeling in predicting diet composition in gestating adult female Steller sea lions during winter, using pup vibrissae.

  16. Diversity of ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting cheetahs (Acinoyx jubatus) at three breeding centres in South Africa and activity patterns of questing ticks.

    PubMed

    Golezardy, Habib; Oosthuizen, Marinda C; Penzhorn, Barend L

    2016-07-01

    Ticks were collected from 191 cheetahs at three breeding centres in North West and Limpopo Provinces, South Africa. Haemaphysalis elliptica, a common tick of large felids, was the most abundant species collected, while Amblyomma hebraeum and Rhipicephalus simus occurred in lower numbers. In addition to these three species, drag-sampling of the vegetation revealed the presence of Amblyomma marmoreum, Rhipicephalus (B.) decoloratus and Rhipicephalus zambeziensis. The presence of free-ranging antelopes, murid rodents and tortoises at the breeding centres probably contributed to the availability of immature tick stages on the vegetation. Diurnal and seasonal questing patterns of ixodid ticks were investigated at monthly intervals at the largest cheetah-breeding centre. Questing ticks were most abundant on the vegetation during the warm summer months. Most questing H. elliptica larvae and nymphs were collected from the vegetation in the early morning and late afternoon and fewest during the middle of the day. PMID:27020735

  17. Energy cost and return for hunting in African wild dogs and cheetahs

    PubMed Central

    Hubel, Tatjana Y.; Myatt, Julia P.; Jordan, Neil R.; Dewhirst, Oliver P.; McNutt, J. Weldon; Wilson, Alan M.

    2016-01-01

    African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) are reported to hunt with energetically costly long chase distances. We used high-resolution GPS and inertial technology to record 1,119 high-speed chases of all members of a pack of six adult African wild dogs in northern Botswana. Dogs performed multiple short, high-speed, mostly unsuccessful chases to capture prey, while cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) undertook even shorter, higher-speed hunts. We used an energy balance model to show that the energy return from group hunting and feeding substantially outweighs the cost of multiple short chases, which indicates that African wild dogs are more energetically robust than previously believed. Comparison with cheetah illustrates the trade-off between sheer athleticism and high individual kill rate characteristic of cheetahs, and the energetic robustness of frequent opportunistic group hunting and feeding by African wild dogs. PMID:27023457

  18. The difference between trivial and scientific names: There were never any true cheetahs in North America.

    PubMed

    Faurby, S; Werdelin, L; Svenning, J C

    2016-01-01

    Dobrynin et al. (Genome Biol 16:277, 2015) recently published the complete genome of the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and provided an exhaustive set of analyses supporting the famously low genetic variation in the species, known for several decades. Their genetic analyses represent state-of-the-art and we do not criticize them. However, their interpretation of the results is inconsistent with current knowledge of cheetah evolution. Dobrynin et al. suggest that the causes of the two inferred bottlenecks at ∼ 100,000 and 10,000 years ago were immigration by cheetahs from North America and end-Pleistocene megafauna extinction, respectively, but the first explanation is impossible and the second implausible. PMID:27150269

  19. Energy cost and return for hunting in African wild dogs and cheetahs.

    PubMed

    Hubel, Tatjana Y; Myatt, Julia P; Jordan, Neil R; Dewhirst, Oliver P; McNutt, J Weldon; Wilson, Alan M

    2016-01-01

    African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) are reported to hunt with energetically costly long chase distances. We used high-resolution GPS and inertial technology to record 1,119 high-speed chases of all members of a pack of six adult African wild dogs in northern Botswana. Dogs performed multiple short, high-speed, mostly unsuccessful chases to capture prey, while cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) undertook even shorter, higher-speed hunts. We used an energy balance model to show that the energy return from group hunting and feeding substantially outweighs the cost of multiple short chases, which indicates that African wild dogs are more energetically robust than previously believed. Comparison with cheetah illustrates the trade-off between sheer athleticism and high individual kill rate characteristic of cheetahs, and the energetic robustness of frequent opportunistic group hunting and feeding by African wild dogs. PMID:27023457

  20. Parasites of domestic and wild animals in South Africa. XLVIII. Ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting domestic cats and wild felids in southern Africa.

    PubMed

    Horak, Ivan G; Heyne, Heloise; Donkin, Edward F

    2010-01-01

    Ticks collected from domestic cats (Felis catus), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus),caracals (Caracal caracal), African wild cats (Felis lybica), black-footed cats (Felis nigripes), a serval (Leptailurus serval), lions(Panthera leo), and leopards (Panthera pardus) were identified and counted. Thirteen species of ixodid ticks and one argasid tick were identified from domestic cats and 17 species of ixodid ticks from wild felids. The domestic cats and wild felids harboured 11 ixodid species in common. The adults of Haemaphysalis elliptica, the most abundant tick species infesting cats and wild felids, were most numerous on a domestic cat in late winter and in mid-summer, during 2 consecutive years. The recorded geographic distribution of the recently described Haemaphysalis colesbergensis, a parasite of cats and caracals, was extended by 2 new locality records in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa. PMID:23327159

  1. 75 FR 14627 - Receipt of Applications for Permit

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-03-26

    ... permit to import a female cheetah (Acrinonyx jubatus) from DeWildt Cheetah Breeding Centre, South Africa where the individual cheetah was captive bred for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of...

  2. Feliform carnivores have a distinguished constitutive innate immune response

    PubMed Central

    Heinrich, Sonja K.; Wachter, Bettina; Aschenborn, Ortwin H. K.; Thalwitzer, Susanne; Melzheimer, Jörg; Hofer, Heribert; Czirják, Gábor Á.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Determining the immunological phenotype of endangered and threatened populations is important to identify those vulnerable to novel pathogens. Among mammals, members of the order Carnivora are particularly threatened by diseases. We therefore examined the constitutive innate immune system, the first line of protection against invading microbes, of six free-ranging carnivore species; the black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), the brown hyena (Hyena brunnea), the caracal (Caracal caracal), the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), the leopard (Panthera pardus) and the lion (Panthera leo) using a bacterial killing assay. The differences in immune responses amongst the six species were independent of their foraging behaviour, body mass or social organisation but reflected their phylogenetic relatedness. The bacterial killing capacity of black-backed jackals, a member of the suborder Caniformia, followed the pattern established for a wide variety of vertebrates. In contrast, the five representatives of the suborder Feliformia demonstrated a killing capacity at least an order of magnitude higher than any species reported previously, with a particularly high capacity in caracals and cheetahs. Our results suggest that the immunocompetence of threatened felids such as the cheetah has been underestimated and its assessment ought to consider both innate and adaptive components of the immune system. PMID:27044323

  3. Analytical Methods for Chemical and Sensory Characterization of Scent-Markings in Large Wild Mammals: A Review

    PubMed Central

    Soso, Simone B.; Koziel, Jacek A.; Johnson, Anna; Lee, Young Jin; Fairbanks, W. Sue

    2014-01-01

    In conjoining the disciplines of “ethology” and “chemistry” the field of “Ethochemistry” has been instituted. Ethochemistry is an effective tool in conservation efforts of endangered species and the understanding of behavioral patterns across all species. Chemical constituents of scent-markings have an important, yet poorly understood function in territoriality, reproduction, dominance, and impact on evolutionary biology, especially in large mammals. Particular attention has recently been focused on scent-marking analysis of great cats (Kalahari leopards (Panthera pardus), puma (Puma concolor) snow leopard (Panthera uncia), African lions (Panthera leo), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), and tigers (Panthera tigris)) for the purpose of conservation. Sensory analyses of scent-markings could address knowledge gaps in ethochemistry. The objective of this review is to summarize the current state-of-the art of both the chemical and sensory analyses of scent-markings in wild mammals. Specific focus is placed on sampling and sample preparation, chemical analysis, sensory analysis, and simultaneous chemical and sensory analyses. Constituents of exocrine and endocrine secretions have been most commonly studied with chromatography-based analytical separations. Odor analysis of scent-markings provides an insight into the animal's sensory perception. A limited number of articles have been published in the area of sensory characterization of scent marks. Simultaneous chemical and sensory analyses with chromatography-olfactometry hyphenation could potentially aid conservation efforts by linking perceived odor, compounds responsible for odor, and resulting behavior. PMID:24603639

  4. Skeletal muscle histology and biochemistry of an elite sprinter, the African cheetah.

    PubMed

    Williams, T M; Dobson, G P; Mathieu-Costello, O; Morsbach, D; Worley, M B; Phillips, J A

    1997-11-01

    To establish a skeletal muscle profile for elite sprinters, we obtained muscle biopsy samples from the vastus lateralis, gastrocnemius and soleus of African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Muscle ultrastructure was characterized by the fiber type composition and mitochondrial volume density of each sample. Maximum enzyme activity, myoglobin content and mixed fiber metabolite content were used to assess the major biochemical pathways. The results demonstrate a preponderance of fast-twitch fibers in the locomotor muscles of cheetahs; 83% of the total number of fibers examined in the vastus lateralis and nearly 61% of the gastrocnemius were comprised of fast-twitch fibers. The total mitochondrial volume density of the limb muscles ranged from 2.0 to 3.9% for two wild cheetahs. Enzyme activities reflected the sprinting capability of the cheetah. Maximum activities for pyruvate kinase and lactate dehydrogenase in the vastus lateralis were 1519.00 +/- 203.60 and 1929.25 +/- 482.35 mumol min-1.g wet wt-1, respectively, and indicated a high capacity for glycolysis. This study demonstrates that the locomotor muscles of cheetahs are poised for anaerobically based exercise. Fiber type composition, mitochondrial content and glycolytic enzyme capacities in the locomotor muscles of these sprinting cats are at the extreme range of values for other sprinters bred or trained for this activity including greyhounds, thoroughbred horses and elite human athletes. PMID:9404014

  5. Unintended Consequences of Conservation Actions: Managing Disease in Complex Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Chauvenet, Aliénor L. M.; Durant, Sarah M.; Hilborn, Ray; Pettorelli, Nathalie

    2011-01-01

    Infectious diseases are increasingly recognised to be a major threat to biodiversity. Disease management tools such as control of animal movements and vaccination can be used to mitigate the impact and spread of diseases in targeted species. They can reduce the risk of epidemics and in turn the risks of population decline and extinction. However, all species are embedded in communities and interactions between species can be complex, hence increasing the chance of survival of one species can have repercussions on the whole community structure. In this study, we use an example from the Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania to explore how a vaccination campaign against Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) targeted at conserving the African lion (Panthera leo), could affect the viability of a coexisting threatened species, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). Assuming that CDV plays a role in lion regulation, our results suggest that a vaccination programme, if successful, risks destabilising the simple two-species system considered, as simulations show that vaccination interventions could almost double the probability of extinction of an isolated cheetah population over the next 60 years. This work uses a simple example to illustrate how predictive modelling can be a useful tool in examining the consequence of vaccination interventions on non-target species. It also highlights the importance of carefully considering linkages between human-intervention, species viability and community structure when planning species-based conservation actions. PMID:22163323

  6. DNA variation of the mammalian major histocompatibility complex reflects genomic diversity and population history.

    PubMed Central

    Yuhki, N; O'Brien, S J

    1990-01-01

    The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a multigene complex of tightly linked homologous genes that encode cell surface antigens that play a key role in immune regulation and response to foreign antigens. In most species, MHC gene products display extreme antigenic polymorphism, and their variability has been interpreted to reflect an adaptive strategy for accommodating rapidly evolving infectious agents that periodically afflict natural populations. Determination of the extent of MHC variation has been limited to populations in which skin grafting is feasible or for which serological reagents have been developed. We present here a quantitative analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphism of MHC class I genes in several mammalian species (cats, rodents, humans) known to have very different levels of genetic diversity based on functional MHC assays and on allozyme surveys. When homologous class I probes were employed, a notable concordance was observed between the extent of MHC restriction fragment variation and functional MHC variation detected by skin grafts or genome-wide diversity estimated by allozyme screens. These results confirm the genetically depauperate character of the African cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, and the Asiatic lion, Panthera leo persica; further, they support the use of class I MHC molecular reagents in estimating the extent and character of genetic diversity in natural populations. Images PMID:1967831

  7. Adaptive management for improving species conservation across the captive-wild spectrum

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Canessa, Stefano; Guillera-Arroita, Gurutzeta; Lahoz-Monfort, José J.; Southwell, Darren M; Armstrong, Doug P.; Chadès, Iadine; Lacy, Robert C; Converse, Sarah J.

    2016-01-01

    Conservation of endangered species increasingly envisages complex strategies that integrate captive and wild management actions. Management decisions in this context must be made in the face of uncertainty, often with limited capacity to collect information. Adaptive management (AM) combines management and monitoring, with the aim of updating knowledge and improving decision-making over time. We provide a guide for managers who may realize the potential of AM, but are unsure where to start. The urgent need for iterative management decisions, the existence of uncertainty, and the opportunity for learning offered by often highly-controlled captive environments create favorable conditions for AM. However, experiments and monitoring may be complicated by small sample sizes, and the ability to control the system, including stochasticity and observability, may be limited toward the wild end of the spectrum. We illustrate the key steps to implementing AM in threatened species management using four case studies, including the management of captive programs for cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and whooping cranes (Grus americana), of a translocation protocol for Arizona cliffroses Purshia subintegra and of ongoing supplementary feeding of reintroduced hihi (Notiomystis cincta) populations. For each case study, we explain (1) how to clarify whether the decision can be improved by learning (i.e. it is iterative and complicated by uncertainty) and what the management objectives are; (2) how to articulate uncertainty via alternative, testable hypotheses such as competing models or parameter distributions; (3) how to formally define how additional information can be collected and incorporated in future management decisions.

  8. Quasi-steady state aerodynamics of the cheetah tail

    PubMed Central

    Boje, Edward; Fisher, Callen; Louis, Leeann; Lane, Emily

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT During high-speed pursuit of prey, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has been observed to swing its tail while manoeuvring (e.g. turning or braking) but the effect of these complex motions is not well understood. This study demonstrates the potential of the cheetah's long, furry tail to impart torques and forces on the body as a result of aerodynamic effects, in addition to the well-known inertial effects. The first-order aerodynamic forces on the tail are quantified through wind tunnel testing and it is observed that the fur nearly doubles the effective frontal area of the tail without much mass penalty. Simple dynamic models provide insight into manoeuvrability via simulation of pitch, roll and yaw tail motion primitives. The inertial and quasi-steady state aerodynamic effects of tail actuation are quantified and compared by calculating the angular impulse imparted onto the cheetah's body and its shown aerodynamic effects contribute to the tail's angular impulse, especially at the highest forward velocities. PMID:27412267

  9. Trapping Elusive Cats: Using Intensive Camera Trapping to Estimate the Density of a Rare African Felid.

    PubMed

    Brassine, Eléanor; Parker, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Camera trapping studies have become increasingly popular to produce population estimates of individually recognisable mammals. Yet, monitoring techniques for rare species which occur at extremely low densities are lacking. Additionally, species which have unpredictable movements may make obtaining reliable population estimates challenging due to low detectability. Our study explores the effectiveness of intensive camera trapping for estimating cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) numbers. Using both a more traditional, systematic grid approach and pre-determined, targeted sites for camera placement, the cheetah population of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana was sampled between December 2012 and October 2013. Placement of cameras in a regular grid pattern yielded very few (n = 9) cheetah images and these were insufficient to estimate cheetah density. However, pre-selected cheetah scent-marking posts provided 53 images of seven adult cheetahs (0.61 ± 0.18 cheetahs/100 km²). While increasing the length of the camera trapping survey from 90 to 130 days increased the total number of cheetah images obtained (from 53 to 200), no new individuals were recorded and the estimated population density remained stable. Thus, our study demonstrates that targeted camera placement (irrespective of survey duration) is necessary for reliably assessing cheetah densities where populations are naturally very low or dominated by transient individuals. Significantly our approach can easily be applied to other rare predator species. PMID:26698574

  10. Epidemiological observations on spongiform encephalopathies in captive wild animals in the British Isles.

    PubMed

    Kirkwood, J K; Cunningham, A A

    1994-09-24

    Since 1986, scrapie-like spongiform encephalopathy has been diagnosed in 19 captive wild animals of eight species at or from eight zoological collections in the British Isles. The affected animals have comprised members of the family Bovidae: one nyala (Tragelaphus angasi), four eland (Taurotragus oryx), and six greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), one gemsbok (Oryx gazella), one Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx), and one scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), and members of the family Felidae: four cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and one puma (Felis concolor). In addition, three cases of a spongiform encephalopathy of unknown aetiology have been reported in ostriches (Struthio camellus) from two zoos in north west Germany. Three features suggest that some of these cases may have been caused by the agent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). First, they have been temporally and geographically coincident with the BSE epidemic. Secondly, in all the ungulates for which details are available, it is possible that either the affected animal itself, or the herd into which it was born or moved, had been exposed to proprietary feeds containing ruminant-derived protein or other potentially contaminated material, and all the carnivores had been fed parts of cattle carcases judged unfit for human consumption. Thirdly, the pathological results of inoculating mice with a homogenate of fixed brain tissue from the nyala and from one greater kudu were similar to the results of inoculating mice with BSE brain tissue. PMID:7817514

  11. Trapping Elusive Cats: Using Intensive Camera Trapping to Estimate the Density of a Rare African Felid

    PubMed Central

    Brassine, Eléanor; Parker, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Camera trapping studies have become increasingly popular to produce population estimates of individually recognisable mammals. Yet, monitoring techniques for rare species which occur at extremely low densities are lacking. Additionally, species which have unpredictable movements may make obtaining reliable population estimates challenging due to low detectability. Our study explores the effectiveness of intensive camera trapping for estimating cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) numbers. Using both a more traditional, systematic grid approach and pre-determined, targeted sites for camera placement, the cheetah population of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana was sampled between December 2012 and October 2013. Placement of cameras in a regular grid pattern yielded very few (n = 9) cheetah images and these were insufficient to estimate cheetah density. However, pre-selected cheetah scent-marking posts provided 53 images of seven adult cheetahs (0.61 ± 0.18 cheetahs/100km²). While increasing the length of the camera trapping survey from 90 to 130 days increased the total number of cheetah images obtained (from 53 to 200), no new individuals were recorded and the estimated population density remained stable. Thus, our study demonstrates that targeted camera placement (irrespective of survey duration) is necessary for reliably assessing cheetah densities where populations are naturally very low or dominated by transient individuals. Significantly our approach can easily be applied to other rare predator species. PMID:26698574

  12. Prevalence and diversity of Babesia, Hepatozoon, Ehrlichia, and Bartonella in wild and domestic carnivores from Zambia, Africa.

    PubMed

    Williams, Brianna M; Berentsen, Are; Shock, Barbara C; Teixiera, Maria; Dunbar, Michael R; Becker, Matthew S; Yabsley, Michael J

    2014-03-01

    A molecular survey was conducted for several hemoparasites of domestic dogs and three species of wild carnivores from two sites in Zambia. Three Babesia spp. were detected including Babesia felis and Babesia leo in lions (Panthera leo) and a Babesia sp. (similar to Babesia lengau) in spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) and a single lion. All wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) and domestic dogs were negative for Babesia. High prevalences for Hepatozoon were noted in all three wild carnivores (38-61%) and in domestic dogs (13%). Significantly higher prevalences were noted in hyenas and wild dogs compared with domestic dogs and lions. All carnivores were PCR negative for Ehrlichia canis, Ehrlichia ewingii, and Bartonella spp. Overall, high prevalences and diversity of Babesia and Hepatozoon were noted in wild carnivores from Zambia. This study is the first molecular characterization of Babesia from any hyena species and is the first report of a Babesia sp. closely related to B. lengau, a parasite previously only reported from cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), in lions and hyenas. Although usually benign in wild carnivores, these hemoparasites can be pathogenic under certain circumstances. Importantly, data on vectors for these parasites are lacking, so studies are needed to identify vectors as well as determine transmission routes, infection dynamics, and host specificity of these hemoparasites in wildlife in Africa and also the risk of transmission between domestic animals and wildlife. PMID:24363181

  13. Feliform carnivores have a distinguished constitutive innate immune response.

    PubMed

    Heinrich, Sonja K; Wachter, Bettina; Aschenborn, Ortwin H K; Thalwitzer, Susanne; Melzheimer, Jörg; Hofer, Heribert; Czirják, Gábor Á

    2016-01-01

    Determining the immunological phenotype of endangered and threatened populations is important to identify those vulnerable to novel pathogens. Among mammals, members of the order Carnivora are particularly threatened by diseases. We therefore examined the constitutive innate immune system, the first line of protection against invading microbes, of six free-ranging carnivore species; the black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), the brown hyena (Hyena brunnea), the caracal (Caracal caracal), the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), the leopard (Panthera pardus) and the lion (Panthera leo) using a bacterial killing assay. The differences in immune responses amongst the six species were independent of their foraging behaviour, body mass or social organisation but reflected their phylogenetic relatedness. The bacterial killing capacity of black-backed jackals, a member of the suborder Caniformia, followed the pattern established for a wide variety of vertebrates. In contrast, the five representatives of the suborder Feliformia demonstrated a killing capacity at least an order of magnitude higher than any species reported previously, with a particularly high capacity in caracals and cheetahs. Our results suggest that the immunocompetence of threatened felids such as the cheetah has been underestimated and its assessment ought to consider both innate and adaptive components of the immune system. PMID:27044323

  14. To kill, stay or flee: the effects of lions and landscape factors on habitat and kill site selection of cheetahs in South Africa.

    PubMed

    Rostro-García, Susana; Kamler, Jan F; Hunter, Luke T B

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how animals utilize available space is important for their conservation, as it provides insight into the ecological needs of the species, including those related to habitat, prey and inter and intraspecific interactions. We used 28 months of radio telemetry data and information from 200 kill locations to assess habitat selection at the 3rd order (selection of habitats within home ranges) and 4th order (selection of kill sites within the habitats used) of a reintroduced population of cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus in Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Along with landscape characteristics, we investigated if lion Panthera leo presence affected habitat selection of cheetahs. Our results indicated that cheetah habitat selection was driven by a trade-off between resource acquisition and lion avoidance, and the balance of this trade-off varied with scale: more open habitats with high prey densities were positively selected within home ranges, whereas more closed habitats with low prey densities were positively selected for kill sites. We also showed that habitat selection, feeding ecology, and avoidance of lions differed depending on the sex and reproductive status of cheetahs. The results highlight the importance of scale when investigating a species' habitat selection. We conclude that the adaptability of cheetahs, together with the habitat heterogeneity found within Phinda, explained their success in this small fenced reserve. The results provide information for the conservation and management of this threatened species, especially with regards to reintroduction efforts in South Africa. PMID:25693067

  15. Cheetahs have 4 serum amyloid a genes evolved through repeated duplication events.

    PubMed

    Chen, Lei; Une, Yumi; Higuchi, Keiichi; Mori, Masayuki

    2012-01-01

    Amyloid A (AA) amyloidosis is a leading cause of mortality in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). We performed genome walking and PCR cloning and revealed that cheetahs have 4 SAA genes (provisionally named SAA1A, SAA1B, SAA3A, and SAA3B). In addition, we identified multiple nucleotide polymorphisms in the 4 SAA genes by screening 51 cheetahs. The polymorphisms defined 4, 7, 6, and 4 alleles for SAA1A, SAA3A, SAA1B, and SAA3B, respectively. Pedigree analysis of the inheritance of genotypes for the SAA genes revealed that specific combinations of alleles for the 4 SAA genes cosegregated as a unit (haplotype) in pedigrees, indicating that the 4 genes were linked on the same chromosome. Notably, cheetah SAA1A and SAA1B were highly homologous in their nucleotide sequences. Likewise, SAA3A and SAA3B genes were homologous. These observations suggested a model for the evolution of the 4 SAA genes in cheetahs in which duplication of an ancestral SAA gene first gave rise to SAA1 and SAA3. Subsequently, each gene duplicated one more time, uniquely making 4 genes in the cheetah genome. The monomorphism of the cheetah SAA1A protein might be one of the factors responsible for the high incidence of AA amyloidosis in this species. PMID:21987659

  16. The clavicles of Smilodon fatalis and Panthera atrox (Mammalia: Felidae) from Rancho La Brea, Los Angeles, California.

    PubMed

    Hartstone-Rose, Adam; Long, Ryan C; Farrell, Aisling B; Shaw, Christopher A

    2012-09-01

    The Rancho La Brea collections at the George C. Page Museum in Los Angeles, California, contain the largest single inventory of Smilodon fatalis remains representing virtually every bone in the skeleton. Eighteen clavicles of two distinctive shapes have been recovered from historical and recent excavations at Rancho La Brea. In this study, we identify these specimens to species through comparison of their morphology and morphological variability with clavicles found in modern felids. This study includes a reevaluation of clavicles that have been previously assigned to S. fatalis, which are more likely to be those of Panthera atrox, and the description of pantherine cat clavicles. A previously undescribed sample of clavicles not only includes some of the same pantherine morph but also 10 specimens, herein assigned to S. fatalis, which are morphologically distinctive and significantly smaller than the previously described specimens. In addition, we report unexpected variations between clavicles of Panthera leo and P. tigris: the clavicles of P. leo closely resemble those of the large Rancho La Brea clavicle morph-which presumably belongs to P. atrox-thus supporting a P. leo/P. atrox clade. We report distinctive morphology of the clavicles of Acinonyx jubatus. Possible functional and phylogenic significance of felid clavicles is suggested. PMID:22592918

  17. Molecular detection and characterization of potentially new Babesia and Theileria species/variants in wild felids from Kenya.

    PubMed

    Githaka, Naftaly; Konnai, Satoru; Kariuki, Edward; Kanduma, Esther; Murata, Shiro; Ohashi, Kazuhiko

    2012-10-01

    Piroplasms frequently infect domestic and wild carnivores. At present, there is limited information on the occurrence and molecular identity of these tick-borne parasites in wild felids in Kenya. In 2009, a pair of captive lions (Panthare leo) was diagnosed with suspected babesiosis and mineral deficiency at an animal orphanage on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. Blood smears indicated presences of haemoparasites in the erythrocytes, however, no further investigations were conducted to identify the infecting agent. The animals recovered completely following diet supplementation and treatment with anti-parasite drug. In this report, we extracted and detected parasite DNA from the two lions and seven other asymptomatic feline samples; two leopards (Panthera pardus) and five cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Reverse line blot with probes specific for Babesia spp. of felines indicated the presence of new Babesia species or genotypes in the lions and leopards, and unknown Theileria sp. in the cheetahs. Phylogenetic analyses using partial sequences of 18S ribosomal RNA (18S rRNA) gene showed that the parasite infecting the lions belong to the Babesia canis complex, and the parasite variant detected in the leopards clusters in a clade bearing other Babesia spp. reported in wild felids from Africa. The cheetah isolates falls in the Theileria sensu stricto group. Our findings indicate the occurrence of potentially new species or genotypes of piroplams in all three feline species. PMID:22796449

  18. Leukoencephalomyelopathy of mature captive cheetahs and other large felids: a novel neurodegenerative disease that came and went?

    PubMed

    Brower, A I; Munson, L; Radcliffe, R W; Citino, S B; Lackey, L B; Van Winkle, T J; Stalis, I; Terio, K A; Summers, B A; de Lahunta, A

    2014-09-01

    A novel leukoencephalomyelopathy was identified in 73 mature male and female large captive felids between 1994 and 2005. While the majority of identified cases occurred in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), the disease was also found in members of 2 other subfamilies of Felidae: 1 generic tiger (Panthera tigris) and 2 Florida panthers (Puma concolor coryi). The median age at time of death was 12 years, and all but 1 cheetah were housed in the United States. Characteristic clinical history included progressive loss of vision leading to blindness, disorientation, and/or difficulty eating. Neurologic deficits progressed at a variable rate over days to years. Mild to severe bilateral degenerative lesions were present in the cerebral white matter and variably and to a lesser degree in the white matter of the brain stem and spinal cord. Astrocytosis and swelling of myelin sheaths progressed to total white matter degeneration and cavitation. Large, bizarre reactive astrocytes are a consistent histopathologic feature of this condition. The cause of the severe white matter degeneration in these captive felids remains unknown; the lesions were not typical of any known neurotoxicoses, direct effects of or reactions to infectious diseases, or nutritional deficiencies. Leukoencephalomyelopathy was identified in 70 cheetahs, 1 tiger, and 2 panthers over an 11-year period, and to our knowledge, cases have ceased without planned intervention. Given what is known about the epidemiology of the disease and morphology of the lesions, an environmental or husbandry-associated source of neurotoxicity is suspected. PMID:24129896

  19. Evaluation and interpretation of the effects of environmental enrichment utilizing varying degrees of sampling effort.

    PubMed

    Quirke, Thomas; O'Riordan, Ruth M

    2013-01-01

    Documenting the effects of novel forms of enrichment is becoming increasingly important within the field of environmental enrichment. Appropriate documentation and evaluation must accompany any enrichment research project in order for accurate results to be obtained. The objective of the present study was to provide an example of how the level of effort in documenting the effect of enrichment is linked to how it is evaluated. This study was carried out on eight cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) at Fota Wildlife Park, Ireland. Temporal feeding variation was the enrichment type used during this study. Behavior data were collected in five different ways in order to simulate varying degrees of effort. Randomization tests were utilized to analyze behavior data. Significant behavioral differences were observed in the first four sampling methods with patterns of behavior remaining similar in all five methods. However, only the most time intensive method concurred with findings previously published utilizing this form of enrichment. No significant differences in behavior were detected when the least time intensive method was used. Between 1 and 2 hr of data collection daily is necessary to evaluate temporal feeding variation accurately. However, 30-45 min of data collection also gave an insight into the effectiveness of the enrichment. Methods of evaluation can influence the interpretations of the strength of the enriching effect of the treatment. Appropriate evaluation and accurate reporting of enrichment is crucial for the future development of the environmental enrichment field. PMID:22383365

  20. Ecomorphology of the African felid ensemble: the role of the skull and postcranium in determining species segregation and assembling history.

    PubMed

    Morales, M M; Giannini, N P

    2013-05-01

    Morphology of extant felids is regarded as highly conservative. Most previous studies have focussed on skull morphology, so a vacuum exists about morphofunctional variation in postcranium and its role in structuring ensembles of felids in different continents. The African felid ensemble is particularly rich in ecologically specialized felids. We studied the ecomorphology of this ensemble using 31 cranial and 93 postcranial morphometric variables measured in 49 specimens of all 10 African species. We took a multivariate approach controlling for phylogeny, with and without body size correction. Postcranial and skull + postcranial analyses (but not skull-only analyses) allowed for a complete segregation of species in morphospace. Morphofunctional factors segregating species included body size, bite force, zeugopodial lengths and osteological features related to parasagittal leg movement. A general gradient of bodily proportions was recovered: lightly built, long-legged felids with small heads and weak bite forces vs. the opposite. Three loose groups were recognized: small terrestrial felids, mid-to-large sized scansorial felids and specialized Acinonyx jubatus and Leptailurus serval. As predicted from a previous study, the assembling of the African felid ensemble during the Plio-Pleistocene occurred by the arrival of distinct felid lineages that occupied then vacant areas of morphospace, later diversifying in the continent. PMID:23496381

  1. DNA variation of the mammalian major histocompatibility complex reflects genomic diversity and population history

    SciTech Connect

    Yuhki, Naoya; O'Brien, S.J. )

    1990-01-01

    The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a multigene complex of tightly linked homologous genes that encode cell surface antigens that play a key role in immune regulation and response to foreign antigens. In most species, MHC gene products display extreme antigenic polymorphism, and their variability has been interpreted to reflect an adaptive strategy for accommodating rapidly evolving infectious agents that periodically afflict natural populations. Determination of the extent of MHC variation has been limited to populations in which skin grafting is feasible or for which serological reagents have been developed. The authors present here a quantitative analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphism of MHC class I genes in several mammalian species (cats, rodents, humans) known to have very different levels of genetic diversity based on functional MHC assays and on allozyme surveys. When homologous class I probes were employed, a notable concordance was observed between the extent of MHC restriction fragment variation and functional MHC variation detected by skin grafts or genome-wide diversity estimated by allozyme screens. These results confirm the genetically depauperate character of the African cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, and the Asiatic lion, Panthera leo persica; further, they support the use of class I MHC molecular reagents in estimating the extent and character of genetic diversity in natural populations.

  2. Analytical methods for chemical and sensory characterization of scent-markings in large wild mammals: a review.

    PubMed

    Soso, Simone B; Koziel, Jacek A; Johnson, Anna; Lee, Young Jin; Fairbanks, W Sue

    2014-01-01

    In conjoining the disciplines of "ethology" and "chemistry" the field of "Ethochemistry" has been instituted. Ethochemistry is an effective tool in conservation efforts of endangered species and the understanding of behavioral patterns across all species. Chemical constituents of scent-markings have an important, yet poorly understood function in territoriality, reproduction, dominance, and impact on evolutionary biology, especially in large mammals. Particular attention has recently been focused on scent-marking analysis of great cats (Kalahari leopards (Panthera pardus), puma (Puma concolor) snow leopard (Panthera uncia), African lions (Panthera leo), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), and tigers (Panthera tigris)) for the purpose of conservation. Sensory analyses of scent-markings could address knowledge gaps in ethochemistry. The objective of this review is to summarize the current state-of-the art of both the chemical and sensory analyses of scent-markings in wild mammals. Specific focus is placed on sampling and sample preparation, chemical analysis, sensory analysis, and simultaneous chemical and sensory analyses. Constituents of exocrine and endocrine secretions have been most commonly studied with chromatography-based analytical separations. Odor analysis of scent-markings provides an insight into the animal's sensory perception. A limited number of articles have been published in the area of sensory characterization of scent marks. Simultaneous chemical and sensory analyses with chromatography-olfactometry hyphenation could potentially aid conservation efforts by linking perceived odor, compounds responsible for odor, and resulting behavior. PMID:24603639

  3. Unintended consequences of conservation actions: managing disease in complex ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Chauvenet, Aliénor L M; Durant, Sarah M; Hilborn, Ray; Pettorelli, Nathalie

    2011-01-01

    Infectious diseases are increasingly recognised to be a major threat to biodiversity. Disease management tools such as control of animal movements and vaccination can be used to mitigate the impact and spread of diseases in targeted species. They can reduce the risk of epidemics and in turn the risks of population decline and extinction. However, all species are embedded in communities and interactions between species can be complex, hence increasing the chance of survival of one species can have repercussions on the whole community structure. In this study, we use an example from the Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania to explore how a vaccination campaign against Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) targeted at conserving the African lion (Panthera leo), could affect the viability of a coexisting threatened species, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). Assuming that CDV plays a role in lion regulation, our results suggest that a vaccination programme, if successful, risks destabilising the simple two-species system considered, as simulations show that vaccination interventions could almost double the probability of extinction of an isolated cheetah population over the next 60 years. This work uses a simple example to illustrate how predictive modelling can be a useful tool in examining the consequence of vaccination interventions on non-target species. It also highlights the importance of carefully considering linkages between human-intervention, species viability and community structure when planning species-based conservation actions. PMID:22163323

  4. To Kill, Stay or Flee: The Effects of Lions and Landscape Factors on Habitat and Kill Site Selection of Cheetahs in South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Rostro-García, Susana; Kamler, Jan F.; Hunter, Luke T. B.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how animals utilize available space is important for their conservation, as it provides insight into the ecological needs of the species, including those related to habitat, prey and inter and intraspecific interactions. We used 28 months of radio telemetry data and information from 200 kill locations to assess habitat selection at the 3rd order (selection of habitats within home ranges) and 4th order (selection of kill sites within the habitats used) of a reintroduced population of cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus in Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Along with landscape characteristics, we investigated if lion Panthera leo presence affected habitat selection of cheetahs. Our results indicated that cheetah habitat selection was driven by a trade-off between resource acquisition and lion avoidance, and the balance of this trade-off varied with scale: more open habitats with high prey densities were positively selected within home ranges, whereas more closed habitats with low prey densities were positively selected for kill sites. We also showed that habitat selection, feeding ecology, and avoidance of lions differed depending on the sex and reproductive status of cheetahs. The results highlight the importance of scale when investigating a species’ habitat selection. We conclude that the adaptability of cheetahs, together with the habitat heterogeneity found within Phinda, explained their success in this small fenced reserve. The results provide information for the conservation and management of this threatened species, especially with regards to reintroduction efforts in South Africa. PMID:25693067

  5. Quasi-steady state aerodynamics of the cheetah tail.

    PubMed

    Patel, Amir; Boje, Edward; Fisher, Callen; Louis, Leeann; Lane, Emily

    2016-01-01

    During high-speed pursuit of prey, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has been observed to swing its tail while manoeuvring (e.g. turning or braking) but the effect of these complex motions is not well understood. This study demonstrates the potential of the cheetah's long, furry tail to impart torques and forces on the body as a result of aerodynamic effects, in addition to the well-known inertial effects. The first-order aerodynamic forces on the tail are quantified through wind tunnel testing and it is observed that the fur nearly doubles the effective frontal area of the tail without much mass penalty. Simple dynamic models provide insight into manoeuvrability via simulation of pitch, roll and yaw tail motion primitives. The inertial and quasi-steady state aerodynamic effects of tail actuation are quantified and compared by calculating the angular impulse imparted onto the cheetah's body and its shown aerodynamic effects contribute to the tail's angular impulse, especially at the highest forward velocities. PMID:27412267

  6. The cheetah Acinonyx pardinensis (Croizet et Jobert, 1828) s.l. at the hominin site of Dmanisi (Georgia) - A potential prime meat supplier in Early Pleistocene ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hemmer, Helmut; Kahlke, Ralf-Dietrich; Vekua, Abesalom K.

    2011-09-01

    The fossil site of Dmanisi (southern Georgia) has yielded a significant amount of hominin remains dated to around 1.8 Ma, in addition to a rich contemporaneous faunal record. Based on topographic information combined with an updated list of the vertebrate faunal assemblage, the corresponding palaeo-landscape has been reconstructed. Over a distance of some kilometres the landscape pattern changed from that of a forested valley floor, to tree savannah and open grasslands, thus providing typical habitats for carnivores hunting in open spaces. Morphological analysis of the elements from a nearly complete cat's foreleg reveals the existence of a large and stoutly built cheetah, Acinonyx pardinensis (Croizet et Jobert, 1828) s.l., in the Dmanisi faunal assemblage. Body mass estimations based on the humerus and metacarpals point to a cat of around 100 kg. The amount of pure meat and associated leftovers produced by the cheetah's hunting activity available for other consumers has been estimated. Within Early Pleistocene ecosystems, the cheetah must be considered as a potential fresh prime meat supplier, above that of any other felid.

  7. Implications of Diet for the Extinction of Saber-Toothed Cats and American Lions

    PubMed Central

    DeSantis, Larisa R. G.; Schubert, Blaine W.; Scott, Jessica R.; Ungar, Peter S.

    2012-01-01

    The saber-toothed cat, Smilodon fatalis, and American lion, Panthera atrox, were among the largest terrestrial carnivores that lived during the Pleistocene, going extinct along with other megafauna ∼12,000 years ago. Previous work suggests that times were difficult at La Brea (California) during the late Pleistocene, as nearly all carnivores have greater incidences of tooth breakage (used to infer greater carcass utilization) compared to today. As Dental Microwear Texture Analysis (DMTA) can differentiate between levels of bone consumption in extant carnivores, we use DMTA to clarify the dietary niches of extinct carnivorans from La Brea. Specifically, we test the hypothesis that times were tough at La Brea with carnivorous taxa utilizing more of the carcasses. Our results show no evidence of bone crushing by P. atrox, with DMTA attributes most similar to the extant cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, which actively avoids bone. In contrast, S. fatalis has DMTA attributes most similar to the African lion Panthera leo, implying that S. fatalis did not avoid bone to the extent previously suggested by SEM microwear data. DMTA characters most indicative of bone consumption (i.e., complexity and textural fill volume) suggest that carcass utilization by the extinct carnivorans was not necessarily more complete during the Pleistocene at La Brea; thus, times may not have been “tougher” than the present. Additionally, minor to no significant differences in DMTA attributes from older (∼30–35 Ka) to younger (∼11.5 Ka) deposits offer little evidence that declining prey resources were a primary cause of extinction for these large cats. PMID:23300674

  8. The Conflict between Cheetahs and Humans on Namibian Farmland Elucidated by Stable Isotope Diet Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Voigt, Christian C.; Thalwitzer, Susanne; Melzheimer, Jörg; Blanc, Anne-Sophie; Jago, Mark; Wachter, Bettina

    2014-01-01

    Large areas of Namibia are covered by farmland, which is also used by game and predator species. Because it can cause conflicts with farmers when predators, such as cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), hunt livestock, we assessed whether livestock constitutes a significant part of the cheetah diet by analysing the stable isotope composition of blood and tissue samples of cheetahs and their potential prey species. According to isotopic similarities, we defined three isotopic categories of potential prey: members of a C4 food web with high δ15N values (gemsbok, cattle, springhare and guinea fowl) and those with low δ15N values (hartebeest, warthog), and members of a C3 food web, namely browsers (eland, kudu, springbok, steenbok and scrub hare). We quantified the trophic discrimination of heavy isotopes in cheetah muscle in 9 captive individuals and measured an enrichment for 15N (3.2‰) but not for 13C in relation to food. We captured 53 free-ranging cheetahs of which 23 were members of groups. Cheetahs of the same group were isotopically distinct from members of other groups, indicating that group members shared their prey. Solitary males (n = 21) and males in a bachelor groups (n = 11) fed mostly on hartebeest and warthogs, followed by browsers in case of solitary males, and by grazers with high δ15N values in case of bachelor groups. Female cheetahs (n = 9) predominantly fed on browsers and used also hartebeest and warthogs. Mixing models suggested that the isotopic prey category that included cattle was only important, if at all, for males living in bachelor groups. Stable isotope analysis of fur, muscle, red blood cells and blood plasma in 9 free-ranging cheetahs identified most individuals as isotopic specialists, focussing on isotopically distinct prey categories as their food. PMID:25162403

  9. Monitoring Rarity: The Critically Endangered Saharan Cheetah as a Flagship Species for a Threatened Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Belbachir, Farid; Pettorelli, Nathalie; Wacher, Tim; Belbachir-Bazi, Amel; Durant, Sarah M.

    2015-01-01

    Deserts are particularly vulnerable to human impacts and have already suffered a substantial loss of biodiversity. In harsh and variable desert environments, large herbivores typically occur at low densities, and their large carnivore predators occur at even lower densities. The continued survival of large carnivores is key to healthy functioning desert ecosystems, and the ability to gather reliable information on these rare low density species, including presence, abundance and density, is critical to their monitoring and management. Here we test camera trap methodologies as a monitoring tool for an extremely rare wide-ranging large felid, the critically endangered Saharan cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus hecki). Two camera trapping surveys were carried out over 2–3 months across a 2,551km2 grid in the Ti-n-hağğen region in the Ahaggar Cultural Park, south central Algeria. A total of 32 records of Saharan cheetah were obtained. We show the behaviour and ecology of the Saharan cheetah is severely constrained by the harsh desert environment, leading them to be more nocturnal, be more wide-ranging, and occur at lower densities relative to cheetah in savannah environments. Density estimates ranged from 0.21–0.55/1,000km2, some of the lowest large carnivore densities ever recorded in Africa, and average home range size over 2–3 months was estimated at 1,583km2. We use our results to predict that, in order to detect presence of cheetah with p>0.95 a survey effort of at least 1,000 camera trap days is required. Our study identifies the Ahaggar Cultural Park as a key area for the conservation of the Saharan cheetah. The Saharan cheetah meets the requirements for a charismatic flagship species that can be used to “market” the Saharan landscape at a sufficiently large scale to help reverse the historical neglect of threatened Saharan ecosystems. PMID:25629400

  10. Monitoring rarity: the critically endangered Saharan cheetah as a flagship species for a threatened ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Belbachir, Farid; Pettorelli, Nathalie; Wacher, Tim; Belbachir-Bazi, Amel; Durant, Sarah M

    2015-01-01

    Deserts are particularly vulnerable to human impacts and have already suffered a substantial loss of biodiversity. In harsh and variable desert environments, large herbivores typically occur at low densities, and their large carnivore predators occur at even lower densities. The continued survival of large carnivores is key to healthy functioning desert ecosystems, and the ability to gather reliable information on these rare low density species, including presence, abundance and density, is critical to their monitoring and management. Here we test camera trap methodologies as a monitoring tool for an extremely rare wide-ranging large felid, the critically endangered Saharan cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus hecki). Two camera trapping surveys were carried out over 2-3 months across a 2,551 km2 grid in the Ti-n-hağğen region in the Ahaggar Cultural Park, south central Algeria. A total of 32 records of Saharan cheetah were obtained. We show the behaviour and ecology of the Saharan cheetah is severely constrained by the harsh desert environment, leading them to be more nocturnal, be more wide-ranging, and occur at lower densities relative to cheetah in savannah environments. Density estimates ranged from 0.21-0.55/1,000 km2, some of the lowest large carnivore densities ever recorded in Africa, and average home range size over 2-3 months was estimated at 1,583 km2. We use our results to predict that, in order to detect presence of cheetah with p>0.95 a survey effort of at least 1,000 camera trap days is required. Our study identifies the Ahaggar Cultural Park as a key area for the conservation of the Saharan cheetah. The Saharan cheetah meets the requirements for a charismatic flagship species that can be used to "market" the Saharan landscape at a sufficiently large scale to help reverse the historical neglect of threatened Saharan ecosystems. PMID:25629400

  11. Spotting Cheetahs: Identifying Individuals by Their Footprints.

    PubMed

    Jewell, Zoe C; Alibhai, Sky K; Weise, Florian; Munro, Stuart; Van Vuuren, Marlice; Van Vuuren, Rudie

    2016-01-01

    The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is Africa's most endangered large felid and listed as Vulnerable with a declining population trend by the IUCN(1). It ranges widely over sub-Saharan Africa and in parts of the Middle East. Cheetah conservationists face two major challenges, conflict with landowners over the killing of domestic livestock, and concern over range contraction. Understanding of the latter remains particularly poor(2). Namibia is believed to support the largest number of cheetahs of any range country, around 30%, but estimates range from 2,905(3) to 13,520(4). The disparity is likely a result of the different techniques used in monitoring. Current techniques, including invasive tagging with VHF or satellite/GPS collars, can be costly and unreliable. The footprint identification technique(5) is a new tool accessible to both field scientists and also citizens with smartphones, who could potentially augment data collection. The footprint identification technique analyzes digital images of footprints captured according to a standardized protocol. Images are optimized and measured in data visualization software. Measurements of distances, angles, and areas of the footprint images are analyzed using a robust cross-validated pairwise discriminant analysis based on a customized model. The final output is in the form of a Ward's cluster dendrogram. A user-friendly graphic user interface (GUI) allows the user immediate access and clear interpretation of classification results. The footprint identification technique algorithms are species specific because each species has a unique anatomy. The technique runs in a data visualization software, using its own scripting language (jsl) that can be customized for the footprint anatomy of any species. An initial classification algorithm is built from a training database of footprints from that species, collected from individuals of known identity. An algorithm derived from a cheetah of known identity is then able to classify

  12. Seroprevalences of antibodies to Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii in zoo animals.

    PubMed

    Sedlák, K; Bártová, E

    2006-03-31

    Neospora caninum is an apicomplexan parasite that causes neuromuscular disease in dogs and abortions in cattle. Little is known about the prevalence of antibodies to this parasite in zoo animals. Sera from 556 animals, from 13 Czech and Slovak zoos were tested for antibodies to N. caninum and Toxoplasma gondii by indirect fluorescent antibody test. Antibodies to N. caninum were found in 31 of 556 zoo animals (5.6%), representing 18 of 114 species tested: Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus), Maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), fennec (Vulpes zerda), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), jaguarundi (Herpailurus yaguarondi), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), Indian lion (Panthera leo goojratensis), fisher (Martes pennanti), blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), European bison (Bison bonasus), lechwe (Kobus leche), African buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer), eland (Taurotragus oryx), sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekei gratus), Thorold's deer (Cervus albirostris), Eastern elk (C. elaphus canadensis), Vietnam sika deer (C. nippon pseudaxis) and Père David's deer (Elaphurus davidianus). Titres ranged from 1:40 to 1:2560. The highest prevalence 50% was found in family mustelidae of the order carnivora. Antibodies to T. gondii were detected in 193 of 556 zoo animals (34.7%) representing 72 of 114 species tested, with titres ranging from 1:40 to 1:40960. The highest prevalence 100% was found in families: hyaenidae, mustelidae, ursidae and viveridae of the order carnivora. The results of this study indicate that zoo animals have more exposure to T. gondii than to N. caninum. It is the first report of seroprevalence of antibodies to N. caninum in European zoo animals. PMID:16387445

  13. Landscape Suitability in Botswana for the Conservation of Its Six Large African Carnivores

    PubMed Central

    Winterbach, Hanlie E. K.; Winterbach, Christiaan W.; Somers, Michael J.

    2014-01-01

    Wide-ranging large carnivores often range beyond the boundaries of protected areas into human-dominated areas. Mapping out potentially suitable habitats on a country-wide scale and identifying areas with potentially high levels of threats to large carnivore survival is necessary to develop national conservation action plans. We used a novel approach to map and identify these areas in Botswana for its large carnivore guild consisting of lion (Panthera leo), leopard (Panthera pardus), spotted hyaena (Crocuta crocuta), brown hyaena (Hyaena brunnea), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and African wild dog (Lycaon pictus). The habitat suitability for large carnivores depends primarily on prey availability, interspecific competition, and conflict with humans. Prey availability is most likely the strongest natural determinant. We used the distribution of biomass of typical wild ungulate species occurring in Botswana which is preyed upon by the six large carnivores to evaluate the potential suitability of the different management zones in the country to sustain large carnivore populations. In areas where a high biomass of large prey species occurred, we assumed interspecific competition between dominant and subordinated competitors to be high. This reduced the suitability of these areas for conservation of subordinate competitors, and vice versa. We used the percentage of prey biomass of the total prey and livestock biomass to identify areas with potentially high levels of conflict in agricultural areas. High to medium biomass of large prey was mostly confined to conservation zones, while small prey biomass was more evenly spread across large parts of the country. This necessitates different conservation strategies for carnivores with a preference for large prey, and those that can persist in the agricultural areas. To ensure connectivity between populations inside Botswana and also with its neighbours, a number of critical areas for priority management actions exist in the

  14. Conservation of spermatogonial stem cell marker expression in undifferentiated felid spermatogonia.

    PubMed

    Vansandt, Lindsey M; Livesay, Janelle L; Dickson, Melissa Joy; Li, Lei; Pukazhenthi, Budhan S; Keefer, Carol L

    2016-09-01

    Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) are distinct in their ability to self-renew, transmit genetic information, and persist throughout the life of an individual. These characteristics make SSCs a useful tool for addressing diverse challenges such as efficient transgenic production in nonrodent, biomedical animal models, or preservation of the male genome for species in which survival of frozen-thawed sperm is low. A requisite first step to access this technology in felids is the establishment of molecular markers. This study was designed to evaluate, in the domestic cat (Felis catus), the expression both in situ and following enrichment in vitro of six genes (GFRA1, GPR125, ZBTB16, POU5F1, THY1, and UCHL1) that had been previously identified as SSC markers in other species. Antibodies for surface markers glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor family receptor alpha 1, G protein-coupled receptor 125, and thymus cell antigen 1 could not be validated, whereas Western blot analysis of prepubertal, peripubertal, and adult cat testis confirmed protein expression for the intracellular markers ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase 1, zinc finger and BTB domain-containing protein 16, and POU domain, class 5, transcription factor 1. Colocalization of the markers by immunohistochemistry revealed that several cells within the subpopulation adjacent to the basement membrane of the seminiferous tubules and identified morphologically as spermatogonia, expressed all three intracellular markers. Studies performed on cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) testis exhibited a conserved expression pattern in protein molecular weights, relative abundance, and localization of positive cells within the testis. The expression of the three intracellular SSC marker proteins in domestic and wild cat testes confirms conservation of these markers in felids. Enrichment of marker transcripts after differential plating was also observed. These markers will

  15. Determinants of Persistence and Tolerance of Carnivores on Namibian Ranches: Implications for Conservation on Southern African Private Lands

    PubMed Central

    Lindsey, Peter Andrew; Havemann, Carl Peter; Lines, Robin; Palazy, Lucille; Price, Aaron Ernest; Retief, Tarryn Anne; Rhebergen, Tiemen; Van der Waal, Cornelis

    2013-01-01

    Changing land use patterns in southern Africa have potential to dramatically alter the prospects for carnivore conservation. Understanding these influences is essential for conservation planning. We interviewed 250 ranchers in Namibia to assess human tolerance towards and the distribution of large carnivores. Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), leopards (Panthera pardus) and brown hyaenas (Hyaena brunnea) were widely distributed on Namibian farmlands, spotted hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta) had a narrower distribution, and wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) and lions (Panthera leo) are largely limited to areas near source populations. Farmers were most tolerant of leopards and least tolerant of lions, wild dogs and spotted hyaenas. Several factors relating to land use correlated consistently with carnivore-presence and landowner tolerance. Carnivores were more commonly present and/or tolerated where; wildlife diversity and biomass were higher; income from wildlife was higher; income from livestock was lower; livestock biomass was lower; in conservancies; game fencing was absent; and financial losses from livestock depredation were lower. Efforts to create conditions whereby the costs associated with carnivores are lowest, and which confer financial value to them are likely to be the most effective means of promoting carnivore conservation. Such conditions are achieved where land owners pool land to create conservancies where livestock are replaced with wildlife (or where livestock husbandry is improved) and where wildlife generates a significant proportion of ranch income. Additional measures, such as promoting improved livestock husbandry and educational outreach efforts may also help achieve coexistence with carnivores. Our findings provide insights into conditions more conducive to the persistence of and tolerance towards large carnivores might be increased on private (and even communal) lands in Namibia, elsewhere in southern and East Africa and other parts of the world where

  16. Integrated Community Profiling Indicates Long-Term Temporal Stability of the Predominant Faecal Microbiota in Captive Cheetahs

    PubMed Central

    Becker, Anne A. M. J.; Janssens, Geert P. J.; Snauwaert, Cindy; Hesta, Myriam; Huys, Geert

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the symbiotic relationship between gut microbes and their animal host requires characterization of the core microbiota across populations and in time. Especially in captive populations of endangered wildlife species such as the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), this knowledge is a key element to enhance feeding strategies and reduce gastrointestinal disorders. In order to investigate the temporal stability of the intestinal microbiota in cheetahs under human care, we conducted a longitudinal study over a 3-year period with bimonthly faecal sampling of 5 cheetahs housed in two European zoos. For this purpose, an integrated 16S rRNA DGGE-clone library approach was used in combination with a series of real-time PCR assays. Our findings disclosed a stable faecal microbiota, beyond intestinal community variations that were detected between zoo sample sets or between animals. The core of this microbiota was dominated by members of Clostridium clusters I, XI and XIVa, with mean concentrations ranging from 7.5-9.2 log10 CFU/g faeces and with significant positive correlations between these clusters (P<0.05), and by Lactobacillaceae. Moving window analysis of DGGE profiles revealed 23.3-25.6% change between consecutive samples for four of the cheetahs. The fifth animal in the study suffered from intermediate episodes of vomiting and diarrhea during the monitoring period and exhibited remarkably more change (39.4%). This observation may reflect the temporary impact of perturbations such as the animal’s compromised health, antibiotic administration or a combination thereof, which temporarily altered the relative proportions of Clostridium clusters I and XIVa. In conclusion, this first long-term monitoring study of the faecal microbiota in feline strict carnivores not only reveals a remarkable compositional stability of this ecosystem, but also shows a qualitative and quantitative similarity in a defined set of faecal bacterial lineages across the five animals under

  17. An Advanced Method to Assess the Diet of Free-Ranging Large Carnivores Based on Scats

    PubMed Central

    Wachter, Bettina; Blanc, Anne-Sophie; Melzheimer, Jörg; Höner, Oliver P.; Jago, Mark; Hofer, Heribert

    2012-01-01

    Background The diet of free-ranging carnivores is an important part of their ecology. It is often determined from prey remains in scats. In many cases, scat analyses are the most efficient method but they require correction for potential biases. When the diet is expressed as proportions of consumed mass of each prey species, the consumed prey mass to excrete one scat needs to be determined and corrected for prey body mass because the proportion of digestible to indigestible matter increases with prey body mass. Prey body mass can be corrected for by conducting feeding experiments using prey of various body masses and fitting a regression between consumed prey mass to excrete one scat and prey body mass (correction factor 1). When the diet is expressed as proportions of consumed individuals of each prey species and includes prey animals not completely consumed, the actual mass of each prey consumed by the carnivore needs to be controlled for (correction factor 2). No previous study controlled for this second bias. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we use an extended series of feeding experiments on a large carnivore, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), to establish both correction factors. In contrast to previous studies which fitted a linear regression for correction factor 1, we fitted a biologically more meaningful exponential regression model where the consumed prey mass to excrete one scat reaches an asymptote at large prey sizes. Using our protocol, we also derive correction factor 1 and 2 for other carnivore species and apply them to published studies. We show that the new method increases the number and proportion of consumed individuals in the diet for large prey animals compared to the conventional method. Conclusion/Significance Our results have important implications for the interpretation of scat-based studies in feeding ecology and the resolution of human-wildlife conflicts for the conservation of large carnivores. PMID:22715373

  18. Determinants of persistence and tolerance of carnivores on Namibian ranches: implications for conservation on Southern African private lands.

    PubMed

    Lindsey, Peter Andrew; Havemann, Carl Peter; Lines, Robin; Palazy, Lucille; Price, Aaron Ernest; Retief, Tarryn Anne; Rhebergen, Tiemen; Van der Waal, Cornelis

    2013-01-01

    Changing land use patterns in southern Africa have potential to dramatically alter the prospects for carnivore conservation. Understanding these influences is essential for conservation planning. We interviewed 250 ranchers in Namibia to assess human tolerance towards and the distribution of large carnivores. Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), leopards (Panthera pardus) and brown hyaenas (Hyaena brunnea) were widely distributed on Namibian farmlands, spotted hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta) had a narrower distribution, and wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) and lions (Panthera leo) are largely limited to areas near source populations. Farmers were most tolerant of leopards and least tolerant of lions, wild dogs and spotted hyaenas. Several factors relating to land use correlated consistently with carnivore-presence and landowner tolerance. Carnivores were more commonly present and/or tolerated where; wildlife diversity and biomass were higher; income from wildlife was higher; income from livestock was lower; livestock biomass was lower; in conservancies; game fencing was absent; and financial losses from livestock depredation were lower. Efforts to create conditions whereby the costs associated with carnivores are lowest, and which confer financial value to them are likely to be the most effective means of promoting carnivore conservation. Such conditions are achieved where land owners pool land to create conservancies where livestock are replaced with wildlife (or where livestock husbandry is improved) and where wildlife generates a significant proportion of ranch income. Additional measures, such as promoting improved livestock husbandry and educational outreach efforts may also help achieve coexistence with carnivores. Our findings provide insights into conditions more conducive to the persistence of and tolerance towards large carnivores might be increased on private (and even communal) lands in Namibia, elsewhere in southern and East Africa and other parts of the world where

  19. Risk avoidance in sympatric large carnivores: reactive or predictive?

    PubMed

    Broekhuis, Femke; Cozzi, Gabriele; Valeix, Marion; McNutt, John W; Macdonald, David W

    2013-09-01

    1. Risks of predation or interference competition are major factors shaping the distribution of species. An animal's response to risk can either be reactive, to an immediate risk, or predictive, based on preceding risk or past experiences. The manner in which animals respond to risk is key in understanding avoidance, and hence coexistence, between interacting species. 2. We investigated whether cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), known to be affected by predation and competition by lions (Panthera leo) and spotted hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta), respond reactively or predictively to the risks posed by these larger carnivores. 3. We used simultaneous spatial data from Global Positioning System (GPS) radiocollars deployed on all known social groups of cheetahs, lions and spotted hyaenas within a 2700 km(2) study area on the periphery of the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana. The response to risk of encountering lions and spotted hyaenas was explored on three levels: short-term or immediate risk, calculated as the distance to the nearest (contemporaneous) lion or spotted hyaena, long-term risk, calculated as the likelihood of encountering lions and spotted hyaenas based on their cumulative distributions over a 6-month period and habitat-associated risk, quantified by the habitat used by each of the three species. 4. We showed that space and habitat use by cheetahs was similar to that of lions and, to a lesser extent, spotted hyaenas. However, cheetahs avoided immediate risks by positioning themselves further from lions and spotted hyaenas than predicted by a random distribution. 5. Our results suggest that cheetah spatial distribution is a hierarchical process, first driven by resource acquisition and thereafter fine-tuned by predator avoidance; thus suggesting a reactive, rather than a predictive, response to risk. PMID:23692142

  20. Digital gene expression for non-model organisms.

    PubMed

    Hong, Lewis Z; Li, Jun; Schmidt-Küntzel, Anne; Warren, Wesley C; Barsh, Gregory S

    2011-11-01

    Next-generation sequencing technologies offer new approaches for global measurements of gene expression but are mostly limited to organisms for which a high-quality assembled reference genome sequence is available. We present a method for gene expression profiling called EDGE, or EcoP15I-tagged Digital Gene Expression, based on ultra-high-throughput sequencing of 27-bp cDNA fragments that uniquely tag the corresponding gene, thereby allowing direct quantification of transcript abundance. We show that EDGE is capable of assaying for expression in >99% of genes in the genome and achieves saturation after 6-8 million reads. EDGE exhibits very little technical noise, reveals a large (10(6)) dynamic range of gene expression, and is particularly suited for quantification of transcript abundance in non-model organisms where a high-quality annotated genome is not available. In a direct comparison with RNA-seq, both methods provide similar assessments of relative transcript abundance, but EDGE does better at detecting gene expression differences for poorly expressed genes and does not exhibit transcript length bias. Applying EDGE to laboratory mice, we show that a loss-of-function mutation in the melanocortin 1 receptor (Mc1r), recognized as a Mendelian determinant of yellow hair color in many different mammals, also causes reduced expression of genes involved in the interferon response. To illustrate the application of EDGE to a non-model organism, we examine skin biopsy samples from a cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and identify genes likely to control differences in the color of spotted versus non-spotted regions. PMID:21844123

  1. Landscape suitability in Botswana for the conservation of its six large African carnivores.

    PubMed

    Winterbach, Hanlie E K; Winterbach, Christiaan W; Somers, Michael J

    2014-01-01

    Wide-ranging large carnivores often range beyond the boundaries of protected areas into human-dominated areas. Mapping out potentially suitable habitats on a country-wide scale and identifying areas with potentially high levels of threats to large carnivore survival is necessary to develop national conservation action plans. We used a novel approach to map and identify these areas in Botswana for its large carnivore guild consisting of lion (Panthera leo), leopard (Panthera pardus), spotted hyaena (Crocuta crocuta), brown hyaena (Hyaena brunnea), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and African wild dog (Lycaon pictus). The habitat suitability for large carnivores depends primarily on prey availability, interspecific competition, and conflict with humans. Prey availability is most likely the strongest natural determinant. We used the distribution of biomass of typical wild ungulate species occurring in Botswana which is preyed upon by the six large carnivores to evaluate the potential suitability of the different management zones in the country to sustain large carnivore populations. In areas where a high biomass of large prey species occurred, we assumed interspecific competition between dominant and subordinated competitors to be high. This reduced the suitability of these areas for conservation of subordinate competitors, and vice versa. We used the percentage of prey biomass of the total prey and livestock biomass to identify areas with potentially high levels of conflict in agricultural areas. High to medium biomass of large prey was mostly confined to conservation zones, while small prey biomass was more evenly spread across large parts of the country. This necessitates different conservation strategies for carnivores with a preference for large prey, and those that can persist in the agricultural areas. To ensure connectivity between populations inside Botswana and also with its neighbours, a number of critical areas for priority management actions exist in the

  2. Implications of diet for the extinction of saber-toothed cats and American lions.

    PubMed

    Desantis, Larisa R G; Schubert, Blaine W; Scott, Jessica R; Ungar, Peter S

    2012-01-01

    The saber-toothed cat, Smilodon fatalis, and American lion, Panthera atrox, were among the largest terrestrial carnivores that lived during the Pleistocene, going extinct along with other megafauna ∼12,000 years ago. Previous work suggests that times were difficult at La Brea (California) during the late Pleistocene, as nearly all carnivores have greater incidences of tooth breakage (used to infer greater carcass utilization) compared to today. As Dental Microwear Texture Analysis (DMTA) can differentiate between levels of bone consumption in extant carnivores, we use DMTA to clarify the dietary niches of extinct carnivorans from La Brea. Specifically, we test the hypothesis that times were tough at La Brea with carnivorous taxa utilizing more of the carcasses. Our results show no evidence of bone crushing by P. atrox, with DMTA attributes most similar to the extant cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, which actively avoids bone. In contrast, S. fatalis has DMTA attributes most similar to the African lion Panthera leo, implying that S. fatalis did not avoid bone to the extent previously suggested by SEM microwear data. DMTA characters most indicative of bone consumption (i.e., complexity and textural fill volume) suggest that carcass utilization by the extinct carnivorans was not necessarily more complete during the Pleistocene at La Brea; thus, times may not have been "tougher" than the present. Additionally, minor to no significant differences in DMTA attributes from older (∼30-35 Ka) to younger (∼11.5 Ka) deposits offer little evidence that declining prey resources were a primary cause of extinction for these large cats. PMID:23300674

  3. The conflict between cheetahs and humans on Namibian farmland elucidated by stable isotope diet analysis.

    PubMed

    Voigt, Christian C; Thalwitzer, Susanne; Melzheimer, Jörg; Blanc, Anne-Sophie; Jago, Mark; Wachter, Bettina

    2014-01-01

    Large areas of Namibia are covered by farmland, which is also used by game and predator species. Because it can cause conflicts with farmers when predators, such as cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), hunt livestock, we assessed whether livestock constitutes a significant part of the cheetah diet by analysing the stable isotope composition of blood and tissue samples of cheetahs and their potential prey species. According to isotopic similarities, we defined three isotopic categories of potential prey: members of a C4 food web with high δ15N values (gemsbok, cattle, springhare and guinea fowl) and those with low δ15N values (hartebeest, warthog), and members of a C3 food web, namely browsers (eland, kudu, springbok, steenbok and scrub hare). We quantified the trophic discrimination of heavy isotopes in cheetah muscle in 9 captive individuals and measured an enrichment for 15N (3.2‰) but not for 13C in relation to food. We captured 53 free-ranging cheetahs of which 23 were members of groups. Cheetahs of the same group were isotopically distinct from members of other groups, indicating that group members shared their prey. Solitary males (n = 21) and males in a bachelor groups (n = 11) fed mostly on hartebeest and warthogs, followed by browsers in case of solitary males, and by grazers with high δ15N values in case of bachelor groups. Female cheetahs (n = 9) predominantly fed on browsers and used also hartebeest and warthogs. Mixing models suggested that the isotopic prey category that included cattle was only important, if at all, for males living in bachelor groups. Stable isotope analysis of fur, muscle, red blood cells and blood plasma in 9 free-ranging cheetahs identified most individuals as isotopic specialists, focussing on isotopically distinct prey categories as their food. PMID:25162403

  4. Mitogenomic analysis of the genus Panthera.

    PubMed

    Wei, Lei; Wu, Xiaobing; Zhu, Lixin; Jiang, Zhigang

    2011-10-01

    The complete sequences of the mitochondrial DNA genomes of Panthera tigris, Panthera pardus, and Panthera uncia were determined using the polymerase chain reaction method. The lengths of the complete mitochondrial DNA sequences of the three species were 16990, 16964, and 16773 bp, respectively. Each of the three mitochondrial DNA genomes included 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNA, two rRNA, one O(L)R, and one control region. The structures of the genomes were highly similar to those of Felis catus, Acinonyx jubatus, and Neofelis nebulosa. The phylogenies of the genus Panthera were inferred from two combined mitochondrial sequence data sets and the complete mitochondrial genome sequences, by MP (maximum parsimony), ML (maximum likelihood), and Bayesian analysis. The results showed that Panthera was composed of Panthera leo, P. uncia, P. pardus, Panthera onca, P. tigris, and N. nebulosa, which was included as the most basal member. The phylogeny within Panthera genus was N. nebulosa (P. tigris (P. onca (P. pardus, (P. leo, P. uncia)))). The divergence times for Panthera genus were estimated based on the ML branch lengths and four well-established calibration points. The results showed that at about 11.3 MYA, the Panthera genus separated from other felid species and then evolved into the several species of the genus. In detail, N. nebulosa was estimated to be founded about 8.66 MYA, P. tigris about 6.55 MYA, P. uncia about 4.63 MYA, and P. pardus about 4.35 MYA. All these estimated times were older than those estimated from the fossil records. The divergence event, evolutionary process, speciation, and distribution pattern of P. uncia, a species endemic to the central Asia with core habitats on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and surrounding highlands, mostly correlated with the geological tectonic events and intensive climate shifts that happened at 8, 3.6, 2.5, and 1.7 MYA on the plateau during the late Cenozoic period. PMID:22038004

  5. Integrated community profiling indicates long-term temporal stability of the predominant faecal microbiota in captive cheetahs.

    PubMed

    Becker, Anne A M J; Janssens, Geert P J; Snauwaert, Cindy; Hesta, Myriam; Huys, Geert

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the symbiotic relationship between gut microbes and their animal host requires characterization of the core microbiota across populations and in time. Especially in captive populations of endangered wildlife species such as the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), this knowledge is a key element to enhance feeding strategies and reduce gastrointestinal disorders. In order to investigate the temporal stability of the intestinal microbiota in cheetahs under human care, we conducted a longitudinal study over a 3-year period with bimonthly faecal sampling of 5 cheetahs housed in two European zoos. For this purpose, an integrated 16S rRNA DGGE-clone library approach was used in combination with a series of real-time PCR assays. Our findings disclosed a stable faecal microbiota, beyond intestinal community variations that were detected between zoo sample sets or between animals. The core of this microbiota was dominated by members of Clostridium clusters I, XI and XIVa, with mean concentrations ranging from 7.5-9.2 log10 CFU/g faeces and with significant positive correlations between these clusters (P<0.05), and by Lactobacillaceae. Moving window analysis of DGGE profiles revealed 23.3-25.6% change between consecutive samples for four of the cheetahs. The fifth animal in the study suffered from intermediate episodes of vomiting and diarrhea during the monitoring period and exhibited remarkably more change (39.4%). This observation may reflect the temporary impact of perturbations such as the animal's compromised health, antibiotic administration or a combination thereof, which temporarily altered the relative proportions of Clostridium clusters I and XIVa. In conclusion, this first long-term monitoring study of the faecal microbiota in feline strict carnivores not only reveals a remarkable compositional stability of this ecosystem, but also shows a qualitative and quantitative similarity in a defined set of faecal bacterial lineages across the five animals under

  6. Cheetah paradigm revisited: MHC diversity in the world's largest free-ranging population.

    PubMed

    Castro-Prieto, Aines; Wachter, Bettina; Sommer, Simone

    2011-04-01

    For more than two decades, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has been considered a paradigm of disease vulnerability associated with low genetic diversity, particularly at the immune genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Cheetahs have been used as a classic example in numerous conservation genetics textbooks as well as in many related scientific publications. However, earlier studies used methods with low resolution to quantify MHC diversity and/or small sample sizes. Furthermore, high disease susceptibility was reported only for captive cheetahs, whereas free-ranging cheetahs show no signs of infectious diseases and a good general health status. We examined whether the diversity at MHC class I and class II-DRB loci in 149 Namibian cheetahs was higher than previously reported using single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis, cloning, and sequencing. MHC genes were examined at the genomic and transcriptomic levels. We detected ten MHC class I and four class II-DRB alleles, of which nine MHC class I and all class II-DRB alleles were expressed. Phylogenetic analyses and individual genotypes suggested that the alleles belong to four MHC class I and three class II-DRB putative loci. Evidence of positive selection was detected in both MHC loci. Our study indicated that the low number of MHC class I alleles previously observed in cheetahs was due to a smaller sample size examined. On the other hand, the low number of MHC class II-DRB alleles previously observed in cheetahs was further confirmed. Compared with other mammalian species including felids, cheetahs showed low levels of MHC diversity, but this does not seem to influence the immunocompetence of free-ranging cheetahs in Namibia and contradicts the previous conclusion that the cheetah is a paradigm species of disease vulnerability. PMID:21183613

  7. Cheetah interspecific SCNT followed by embryo aggregation improves in vitro development but not pluripotent gene expression.

    PubMed

    Moro, L N; Hiriart, M I; Buemo, C; Jarazo, J; Sestelo, A; Veraguas, D; Rodriguez-Alvarez, L; Salamone, D F

    2015-07-01

    The aim of this study was to evaluate the capacity of domestic cat (Dc, Felis silvestris) oocytes to reprogram the nucleus of cheetah (Ch, Acinonyx jubatus) cells by interspecies SCNT (iSCNT), by using embryo aggregation. Dc oocytes were in vitro matured and subjected to zona pellucida free (ZP-free) SCNT or iSCNT, depending on whether the nucleus donor cell was of Dc or Ch respectively. ZP-free reconstructed embryos were then cultured in microwells individually (Dc1X and Ch1X groups) or in couples (Dc2X and Ch2X groups). Embryo aggregation improved in vitro development obtaining 27.4, 47.7, 16.7 and 28.3% of blastocyst rates in the Dc1X, Dc2X, Ch1X and Ch2X groups, respectively (P<0.05). Moreover, aggregation improved the morphological quality of blastocysts from the Dc2X over the Dc1X group. Gene expression analysis revealed that Ch1X and Ch2X blastocysts had significantly lower relative expression of OCT4, CDX2 and NANOG than the Dc1X, Dc2X and IVF control groups. The OCT4, NANOG, SOX2 and CDX2 genes were overexpressed in Dc1X blastocysts, but the relative expression of these four genes decreased in the Dc2X, reaching similar relative levels to those of Dc IVF blastocysts. In conclusion, Ch blastocysts were produced using Dc oocytes, but with lower relative expression of pluripotent and trophoblastic genes, indicating that nuclear reprogramming could be still incomplete. Despite this, embryo aggregation improved the development of Ch and Dc embryos, and normalized Dc gene expression, which suggests that this strategy could improve full-term developmental efficiency of cat and feline iSCNT embryos. PMID:25820926

  8. PREVALENCE OF VALVULAR REGURGITATIONS IN CLINICALLY HEALTHY CAPTIVE LEOPARDS AND CHEETAHS: A PROSPECTIVE STUDY FROM THE WILDLIFE CARDIOLOGY (WLC) GROUP (2008-2013).

    PubMed

    Chai, Norin; Petit, Thierry; Kohl, Muriel; Bourgeois, Aude; Gouni, Vassiliki; Trehiou-Sechi, Emilie; Misbach, Charlotte; Petit, Amandine; Damoiseaux, Cécile; Garrigou, Audrey; Guepin, Raphaëlle; Pouchelon, Jean Louis; Chetboul, Valérie

    2015-09-01

    The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate transthoracic echocardiograms from clinically healthy large felids for the presence of valvular regurgitations (VR). Physiologic VR commonly occur in normal dogs and cats, but the percentage of large felids with VR has not been previously reported. During a 5-yr study period (2008-2013), 28 healthy animals were evaluated under general anesthesia: 16 cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringuii) with a mean age of 1.5±0.8 yr (range 0.7-3.5 yr), 5 Amur leopards (Panthera pardus orientalis), 1 snow leopard (Uncia uncia), and 6 clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa). For this study, all the leopards were gathered in one so-called "leopards group" with a mean age of 2.8±3.4 yr (range 0.3-10.7 yr). All valves observed in each view were examined for evidence of regurgitant jets and turbulent blood flow using the color-flow Doppler mode. Valves were also examined for structural changes. Mitral valve and aortic cusp abnormalities were considered to be of congenital origin. Mitral valve lesions led to mitral insufficiency in all the felids. Aortic cusp abnormalities led to aortic regurgitation in 94% of the cheetahs and 67% of the leopards. Leopards showed a predominance of early systolic mitral regurgitations, whereas all the mitral regurgitation jets in cheetahs were holosystolic. Tricuspid regurgitation was found in 81% of the cheetahs and in 50% of the leopards, whereas pulmonic regurgitation was detected in 44% of the cheetahs and 33% of the leopards. Interestingly, none of these tricuspid and pulmonic regurgitations were associated with two-dimensional structural valve abnormalities, thus suggesting their physiologic origin, as described in humans, cats, and dogs. In conclusion, subclinical valvular diseases are common in apparently healthy leopards and cheetahs. Longitudinal follow-up of affected animals is therefore required to assess their clinical outcome. PMID:26352956

  9. What makes a feline fatal in Toxoplasma gondii's fatal feline attraction? Infected rats choose wild cats.

    PubMed

    Kaushik, M; Knowles, S C L; Webster, J P

    2014-07-01

    Toxoplasma gondii is an indirectly transmitted protozoan parasite, of which members of the cat family (Felidae) are the only definitive hosts and small mammals such as rats serve as intermediate hosts. The innate aversion of rodents to cat odor provides an obstacle for the parasite against successful predation by the feline definitive host. Previous research has demonstrated that T. gondii appears to alter a rat's perception of the risk of being preyed upon by cats. Although uninfected rats display normal aversion to cat odor, infected rats show no avoidance and in some cases even show attraction to cat odor, which we originally termed the "Fatal Feline Attraction." In this study, we tested for the first time whether the "Fatal Feline Attraction" of T. gondii-infected rats differed according to the type of feline odor used, specifically whether it came from domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) or wild cats-cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) or pumas (Felis concolor). In two-choice odor trials, where wild and domestic cat odors were competed against one another, consistent with previous findings we demonstrated that infected rats spent more time in feline odor zones compared with uninfected rats. However, we further demonstrated that all cat odors are not equal: infected rats had a stronger preference for wild cat odor over that of domestic cats, an effect that did not differ significantly according to the type of wild cat odor used (cheetah or puma). We discuss these results in terms of the potential mechanism of action and their implications for the current and evolutionary role of wild, in addition to domestic, cats in transmission of T. gondii. PMID:24907200

  10. Spotting Cheetahs: Identifying Individuals by Their Footprints

    PubMed Central

    Jewell, Zoe C.; Alibhai, Sky K.; Weise, Florian; Munro, Stuart; Van Vuuren, Marlice; Van Vuuren, Rudie

    2016-01-01

    The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is Africa's most endangered large felid and listed as Vulnerable with a declining population trend by the IUCN1. It ranges widely over sub-Saharan Africa and in parts of the Middle East. Cheetah conservationists face two major challenges, conflict with landowners over the killing of domestic livestock, and concern over range contraction. Understanding of the latter remains particularly poor2. Namibia is believed to support the largest number of cheetahs of any range country, around 30%, but estimates range from 2,9053 to 13,5204. The disparity is likely a result of the different techniques used in monitoring. Current techniques, including invasive tagging with VHF or satellite/GPS collars, can be costly and unreliable. The footprint identification technique5 is a new tool accessible to both field scientists and also citizens with smartphones, who could potentially augment data collection. The footprint identification technique analyzes digital images of footprints captured according to a standardized protocol. Images are optimized and measured in data visualization software. Measurements of distances, angles, and areas of the footprint images are analyzed using a robust cross-validated pairwise discriminant analysis based on a customized model. The final output is in the form of a Ward's cluster dendrogram. A user-friendly graphic user interface (GUI) allows the user immediate access and clear interpretation of classification results. The footprint identification technique algorithms are species specific because each species has a unique anatomy. The technique runs in a data visualization software, using its own scripting language (jsl) that can be customized for the footprint anatomy of any species. An initial classification algorithm is built from a training database of footprints from that species, collected from individuals of known identity. An algorithm derived from a cheetah of known identity is then able to classify free

  11. Antibodies to Neospora caninum in wild animals from Kenya, East Africa.

    PubMed

    Ferroglio, E; Wambwa, E; Castiello, M; Trisciuoglio, A; Prouteau, A; Pradere, E; Ndungu, S; De Meneghi, D

    2003-12-01

    The prevalence of antibodies to Neospora caninum was examined in six wild Artiodactyla species, and in five wild Carnivora species from Kenya. Blood sera (104 wild ungulates from Marula Estates (MEs), and 31 wild carnivores from Masai-Mara reserve and from other wildlife areas in northern and Southern Kenya), were screened using a Neospora agglutination test (NAT), with a twofold dilution (1:40-1:320 titres). Presence of NAT antibodies to N. caninun is reported here for the first time in zebra (Equus burchelli), eland (Taurotragus oryx), African buffalo (Syncerus caffer), Thompson gazelle (Gazella thompsoni), impala (Aepyceros melampus), warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus), spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) and in free-ranging cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). At 1:80 dilution, prevalence was 61.5% in eland, 58.5% in zebra, 19.2% in Thompson gazelle, 33.3% in warthog, 50% in African buffalo, 30% in lion (Panthera leo), 20% in cheetah, and 33.3% in spotted hyena. Antibodies up to 1:320 titre were detected in eland (38.4%), zebra (19.5%), Thompson gazelle (3.8%) and lion (5%). Amongst herbivores, sero-prevalence was significantly (P<0.05) higher, at all dilutions, in "grazer/digger" species (e.g. eland and zebra) than in non-"grazer/digger" species (e.g. impala and Thompson gazelle). No antibodies to N. caninum were found in two leopards (Panthera pardus) and one serval (Felis serval). Our results indicates a steady presence of N. caninum in wild mammals from Kenya. The hypothesis of a sylvatic cycle of N. caninum could be suggested, but more data are needed to verify the hypothesis, as to evaluate the role of N. caninum infection on the dynamics of wild animals population in the study area. PMID:14651874

  12. 50 CFR 226.202 - Critical habitat for Stellar sea lions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 7 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Critical habitat for Stellar sea lions... ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.202 Critical habitat for Stellar sea lions. Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) (a) Alaska...

  13. 50 CFR 226.202 - Critical habitat for Steller sea lions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Critical habitat for Steller sea lions... ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.202 Critical habitat for Steller sea lions. Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) (a) Alaska...

  14. 50 CFR 226.202 - Critical habitat for Stellar sea lions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Critical habitat for Stellar sea lions... ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.202 Critical habitat for Stellar sea lions. Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) (a) Alaska...

  15. 50 CFR 17.11 - Endangered and threatened wildlife.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... jubatus U.S.A. (AK, CA, OR, WA), Canada, Russia; North Pacific Ocean Western DPS—see 50 CFR 224.101 E 384E... Pacific Oceans Beringia DPS—see 50 CFR 223.102 T 816 NA NA Seal, bearded (Okhotsk DPS) Erignathus barbatus nauticus Pacific Ocean Okhotsk DPS—see 50 CFR 223.102 T 816 NA NA Seal, Guadalupe fur...

  16. Integrated Bayesian network framework for modeling complex ecological issues.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Sandra; Mengersen, Kerrie

    2012-07-01

    . The benefits of OOBN modeling in the environmental community have not yet been fully realized in environmental management research. The IBNDC approach to BN modeling is described in the context of 2 case studies. The first is the initiation of blooms of Lyngbya majuscula, a blue-green algae, in Deception Bay, Australia where 3 existing models are being integrated, and the second case study is the viability of the free-ranging cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) population in Namibia where an integrated OOBN model is created consisting of 3 independent subnetworks, each describing a particular aspect of free-ranging cheetah population conservation. PMID:21853523

  17. Comparative sacral morphology and the reconstructed tail lengths of five extinct primates: Proconsul heseloni, Epipliopithecus vindobonensis, Archaeolemur edwardsi, Megaladapis grandidieri, and Palaeopropithecus kelyus.

    PubMed

    Russo, Gabrielle A

    2016-01-01

    This study evaluated the relationship between the morphology of the sacrum-the sole bony link between the tail or coccyx and the rest of the body-and tail length (including presence/absence) and function using a comparative sample of extant mammals spanning six orders (Primates, Carnivora, Rodentia, Diprotodontia, Pilosa, Scandentia; N = 472). Phylogenetically-informed regression methods were used to assess how tail length varied with respect to 11 external and internal (i.e., trabecular) bony sacral variables with known or suspected biomechanical significance across all mammals, only primates, and only non-primates. Sacral variables were also evaluated for primates assigned to tail categories ('tailless,' 'nonprehensile short-tailed,' 'nonprehensile long-tailed,' and 'prehensile-tailed'). Compared to primates with reduced tail lengths, primates with longer tails generally exhibited sacra having larger caudal neural openings than cranial neural openings, and last sacral vertebrae with more mediolaterally-expanded caudal articular surfaces than cranial articular surfaces, more laterally-expanded transverse processes, more dorsally-projecting spinous processes, and larger caudal articular surface areas. Observations were corroborated by the comparative sample, which showed that shorter-tailed (e.g., Lynx rufus [bobcat]) and longer-tailed (e.g., Acinonyx jubatus [cheetah]) non-primate mammals morphologically converge with shorter-tailed (e.g., Macaca nemestrina) and longer-tailed (e.g., Macaca fascicularis) primates, respectively. 'Prehensile-tailed' primates exhibited last sacral vertebrae with more laterally-expanded transverse processes and greater caudal articular surface areas than 'nonprehensile long-tailed' primates. Internal sacral variables performed poorly compared to external sacral variables in analyses of extant primates, and were thus deemed less useful for making inferences concerning tail length and function in extinct primates. The tails lengths of

  18. Comparison of the effects of artificial and natural barriers on large African carnivores: implications for interspecific relationships and connectivity.

    PubMed

    Cozzi, Gabriele; Broekhuis, Femke; McNutt, J Weldon; Schmid, Bernhard

    2013-05-01

    1. Physical barriers contribute to habitat fragmentation, influence species distribution and ranging behaviour, and impact long-term population viability. Barrier permeability varies among species and can potentially impact the competitive balance within animal communities by differentially affecting co-occurring species. The influence of barriers on the spatial distribution of species within whole communities has nonetheless received little attention. 2. During a 4-year period, we studied the influence of a fence and rivers, two landscape features that potentially act as barriers on space use and ranging behaviour of lions Panthera leo, spotted hyenas Crocuta crocuta, African wild dogs Lycaon pictus and cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus in Northern Botswana. We compared the tendencies of these species to cross the barriers using data generated from GPS-radio collars fitted to a total of 35 individuals. Barrier permeability was inferred by calculating the number of times animals crossed a barrier vs. the number of times they did not cross. Finally, based on our results, we produced a map of connectivity for the broader landscape system. 3. Permeability varied significantly between fence and rivers and among species. The fence represented an obstacle for lions (permeability = 7.2%), while it was considerably more permeable for hyenas (35.6%) and wild dogs and cheetahs (≥ 50%). In contrast, the rivers and associated floodplains were relatively permeable to lions (14.4%) while they represented a nearly impassable obstacle for the other species (<2%). 4. The aversion of lions to cross the fence resulted in a relatively lion-free habitat patch on one side of the fence, which might provide a potential refuge for other species. For instance, the competitively inferior wild dogs used this refuge significantly more intensively than the side of the fence with a high presence of lions. 5. We showed that the influence of a barrier on the distribution of animals could potentially

  19. An objective approach to determining the weight ranges of prey preferred by and accessible to the five large African carnivores.

    PubMed

    Clements, Hayley S; Tambling, Craig J; Hayward, Matt W; Kerley, Graham I H

    2014-01-01

    Broad-scale models describing predator prey preferences serve as useful departure points for understanding predator-prey interactions at finer scales. Previous analyses used a subjective approach to identify prey weight preferences of the five large African carnivores, hence their accuracy is questionable. This study uses a segmented model of prey weight versus prey preference to objectively quantify the prey weight preferences of the five large African carnivores. Based on simulations of known predator prey preference, for prey species sample sizes above 32 the segmented model approach detects up to four known changes in prey weight preference (represented by model break-points) with high rates of detection (75% to 100% of simulations, depending on number of break-points) and accuracy (within 1.3±4.0 to 2.7±4.4 of known break-point). When applied to the five large African carnivores, using carnivore diet information from across Africa, the model detected weight ranges of prey that are preferred, killed relative to their abundance, and avoided by each carnivore. Prey in the weight ranges preferred and killed relative to their abundance are together termed "accessible prey". Accessible prey weight ranges were found to be 14-135 kg for cheetah Acinonyx jubatus, 1-45 kg for leopard Panthera pardus, 32-632 kg for lion Panthera leo, 15-1600 kg for spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta and 10-289 kg for wild dog Lycaon pictus. An assessment of carnivore diets throughout Africa found these accessible prey weight ranges include 88±2% (cheetah), 82±3% (leopard), 81±2% (lion), 97±2% (spotted hyaena) and 96±2% (wild dog) of kills. These descriptions of prey weight preferences therefore contribute to our understanding of the diet spectrum of the five large African carnivores. Where datasets meet the minimum sample size requirements, the segmented model approach provides a means of determining, and comparing, the prey weight range preferences of any carnivore species. PMID

  20. Moving to stay in place: behavioral mechanisms for coexistence of African large carnivores.

    PubMed

    Vanak, Abi Tamim; Fortin, Daniel; Thaker, Maria; Ogden, Monika; Owen, Cailey; Greatwood, Sophie; Slotow, Rob

    2013-11-01

    Most ecosystems have multiple predator species that not only compete for shared prey, but also pose direct threats to each other. These intraguild interactions are key drivers of carnivore community structure, with ecosystem-wide cascading effects. Yet, behavioral mechanisms for coexistence of multiple carnivore species remain poorly understood. The challenges of studying large, free-ranging carnivores have resulted in mainly coarse-scale examination of behavioral strategies without information about all interacting competitors. We overcame some of these challenges by examining the concurrent fine-scale movement decisions of almost all individuals of four large mammalian carnivore species in a closed terrestrial system. We found that the intensity ofintraguild interactions did not follow a simple hierarchical allometric pattern, because spatial and behavioral tactics of subordinate species changed with threat and resource levels across seasons. Lions (Panthera leo) were generally unrestricted and anchored themselves in areas rich in not only their principal prey, but also, during periods of resource limitation (dry season), rich in the main prey for other carnivores. Because of this, the greatest cost (potential intraguild predation) for subordinate carnivores was spatially coupled with the highest potential benefit of resource acquisition (prey-rich areas), especially in the dry season. Leopard (P. pardus) and cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) overlapped with the home range of lions but minimized their risk using fine-scaled avoidance behaviors and restricted resource acquisition tactics. The cost of intraguild competition was most apparent for cheetahs, especially during the wet season, as areas with energetically rewarding large prey (wildebeest) were avoided when they overlapped highly with the activity areas of lions. Contrary to expectation, the smallest species (African wild dog, Lycaon pictus) did not avoid only lions, but also used multiple tactics to minimize

  1. Allometry in the distribution of material properties and geometry of the felid skull: why larger species may need to change and how they may achieve it.

    PubMed

    Chamoli, Uphar; Wroe, Stephen

    2011-08-21

    Extant members of the cat family (Felidae) have been considered behaviourally and morphologically conservative, i.e., despite great differences in size, there is relatively little variation in either the shape of the felid skull and dentition across species, or in the way in which these structures are used to kill and dismember prey. Consequently felids have been considered an appropriate focus for a number of investigations into the influence of allometry on craniomandibular mechanics and morphology. However, although previous treatments have considered the role of shape, they have not investigated the influence of differences in the distribution of relatively stiff cortical and more compliant cancellous bone on performance. Here, using models that incorporate material properties for both cortical and cancellous bone, we apply three-dimensional (3D) finite element analysis (FEA) to models representing the skulls of seven extant felid species. Our objectives being to determine allometric trends regarding both overall geometry and the relative distributions of cortical and cancellous bone tissue. We also more comprehensively assess variation in the efficiency with which muscular force is converted to bite force and the capacity to resist associated stresses. Our results show that the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) may be exceptional regarding both the efficiency with which muscular force is converted to bite force and the distribution of stress. We found a negative allometric trend between cortical bone volume and total skull bone volume, and positive allometry between the total skull bone volume and skull surface area. Results gained from mathematical modelling of beam analogies suggest that these trends reflect a need for larger species to respond to physical challenges associated with increased size, and, that changes in skull shape, bone composition, or a combination of both may be required to accommodate these challenges. With geometrical scaling stress increases

  2. An Objective Approach to Determining the Weight Ranges of Prey Preferred by and Accessible to the Five Large African Carnivores

    PubMed Central

    Clements, Hayley S.; Tambling, Craig J.; Hayward, Matt W.; Kerley, Graham I. H.

    2014-01-01

    Broad-scale models describing predator prey preferences serve as useful departure points for understanding predator-prey interactions at finer scales. Previous analyses used a subjective approach to identify prey weight preferences of the five large African carnivores, hence their accuracy is questionable. This study uses a segmented model of prey weight versus prey preference to objectively quantify the prey weight preferences of the five large African carnivores. Based on simulations of known predator prey preference, for prey species sample sizes above 32 the segmented model approach detects up to four known changes in prey weight preference (represented by model break-points) with high rates of detection (75% to 100% of simulations, depending on number of break-points) and accuracy (within 1.3±4.0 to 2.7±4.4 of known break-point). When applied to the five large African carnivores, using carnivore diet information from across Africa, the model detected weight ranges of prey that are preferred, killed relative to their abundance, and avoided by each carnivore. Prey in the weight ranges preferred and killed relative to their abundance are together termed “accessible prey”. Accessible prey weight ranges were found to be 14–135 kg for cheetah Acinonyx jubatus, 1–45 kg for leopard Panthera pardus, 32–632 kg for lion Panthera leo, 15–1600 kg for spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta and 10–289 kg for wild dog Lycaon pictus. An assessment of carnivore diets throughout Africa found these accessible prey weight ranges include 88±2% (cheetah), 82±3% (leopard), 81±2% (lion), 97±2% (spotted hyaena) and 96±2% (wild dog) of kills. These descriptions of prey weight preferences therefore contribute to our understanding of the diet spectrum of the five large African carnivores. Where datasets meet the minimum sample size requirements, the segmented model approach provides a means of determining, and comparing, the prey weight range preferences of any carnivore

  3. Comparative Phylogeography of Direct-Developing Frogs (Anura: Craugastoridae: Pristimantis) in the Southern Andes of Colombia

    PubMed Central

    García-R, Juan C.; Crawford, Andrew J.; Mendoza, Ángela María; Ospina, Oscar; Cardenas, Heiber; Castro, Fernando

    2012-01-01

    The Andes of South America hosts perhaps the highest amphibian species diversity in the world, and a sizable component of that diversity is comprised of direct-developing frogs of the genus Pristimantis (Anura: Craugastoridae). In order to better understand the initial stages of species formation in these frogs, this study quantified local-scale spatial genetic structuring in three species of Pristimantis. DNA sequences of two mitochondrial gene fragments (16S and COI) were obtained from P. brevifrons, P. palmeri and P. jubatus at different locations in the Cordillera Occidental. We found high levels of genetic diversity in the three species, with highly structured populations (as measured by FST) in P. brevifrons and P. palmeri while P. jubatus showed panmixia. Large effective population sizes, inferred from the high levels of genetic diversity, were found in the three species and two highly divergent lineages were detected within P. jubatus and P. palmeri. Estimated divergence times among populations within P. brevifrons and P. palmeri coincide with the Pleistocene, perhaps due to similar responses to climatic cycling or recent geological history. Such insights have important implications for linking alpha and beta diversity, suggesting regional scale patterns may be associated with local scale processes in promoting differentiation among populations in the Andes. PMID:23049941

  4. Molecular systematics of pinniped hookworms (Nematoda: Uncinaria): species delimitation, host associations and host-induced morphometric variation.

    PubMed

    Nadler, Steven A; Lyons, Eugene T; Pagan, Christopher; Hyman, Derek; Lewis, Edwin E; Beckmen, Kimberlee; Bell, Cameron M; Castinel, Aurelie; Delong, Robert L; Duignan, Padraig J; Farinpour, Cher; Huntington, Kathy Burek; Kuiken, Thijs; Morgades, Diana; Naem, Soraya; Norman, Richard; Parker, Corwin; Ramos, Paul; Spraker, Terry R; Berón-Vera, Bárbara

    2013-12-01

    Hookworms of the genus Uncinaria have been widely reported from juvenile pinnipeds, however investigations of their systematics has been limited, with only two species described, Uncinaria lucasi from northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) and Uncinaria hamiltoni from South American sea lions (Otaria flavescens). Hookworms were sampled from these hosts and seven additional species including Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), South American fur seals (Arctocephalus australis), Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus), New Zealand sea lions (Phocarctos hookeri), southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina), and the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus). One hundred and thirteen individual hookworms, including an outgroup species, were sequenced for four genes representing two loci (nuclear ribosomal DNA and mitochondrial DNA). Phylogenetic analyses of these sequences recovered seven independent evolutionary lineages or species, including the described species and five undescribed species. The molecular evidence shows that U. lucasi parasitises both C. ursinus and E. jubatus, whereas U. hamiltoni parasitises O. flavescens and A. australis. The five undescribed hookworm species were each associated with single host species (Z. californianus, A. pusillus, P. hookeri, M. leonina and M. monachus). For parasites of otarids, patterns of Uncinaria host-sharing and phylogenetic relationships had a strong biogeographic component with separate clades of parasites from northern versus southern hemisphere hosts. Comparison of phylogenies for these hookworms and their hosts suggests that the association of U. lucasi with northern fur seals results from a host-switch from Steller sea lions. Morphometric data for U. lucasi shows marked host-associated size differences for both sexes, with U. lucasi individuals from E. jubatus significantly larger. This result suggests that adult growth of U. lucasi is reduced within the

  5. Beta-endorphin levels in blood from selected Alaskan mammals.

    PubMed

    Franzmann, A W; Flynn, A; Schwartz, C C; Calkins, D G; Nichols, L

    1981-10-01

    Blood samples were analyzed for beta-endorphin from 43 non-torpid black bear (Ursus americanus), 8 torpid black bear, 3 non-torpid brown bear (Ursus arctos), 14 moose (Alces alces), 6 mountain goats (Oreamnus americanus) and 30 Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). Beta-endorphin levels were detected in all species sampled and there were no significant differences in levels among non-torpid black bear, brown bear and sea lions. Also, no differences were detected between moose and mountain goats, but all other comparisons were significantly different (P less than 0.001). Torpid black bear had higher levels than all other groups. Moose and mountain goats had the lowest levels. The possibility of beta-endorphin influencing behavior and physiology of mammals is discussed. PMID:6279890

  6. Assessment of mercury and selenium tissular concentrations and total mercury body burden in 6 Steller sea lion pups from the Aleutian Islands

    PubMed Central

    Correa, Lucero; Rea, Lorrie D.; Bentzen, Rebecca; O’Hara, Todd M.

    2014-01-01

    Concentrations of total mercury ([THg]) and selenium ([TSe]) were measured in several tissue compartments in Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) pups; in addition we determined specific compartment and body burdens of THg. Compartmental and body burdens were calculated by multiplying specific compartment fresh weight by the [THg] (summing compartment burdens equals body burden). In all 6 pup tissue sets 1) highest [THg] was in hair, 2) lowest [THg] was in bone, and 3) pelt, muscle and liver burdens contributed the top three highest percentages of THg body burden. In 5 of 6 pups the Se:Hg molar ratios among compartments ranged from 0.9 to 43.0. The pup with the highest hair [THg] had Se:Hg molar ratios in 9 of 14 compartments that were ≤ 0.7 potentially indicating an inadequate [TSe] relative to [THg]. PMID:24661459

  7. Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii in zoo animals in selected zoos in the midwestern United States.

    PubMed

    de Camps, Silvia; Dubey, J P; Saville, W J A

    2008-06-01

    Toxoplasma gondii infections in zoo animals are of interest because many captive animals die of clinical toxoplasmosis and because of the potential risk of exposure of children and elderly to T. gondii oocysts excreted by cats in the zoos. Seroprevalence of T. gondii antibodies in wild zoo felids, highly susceptible zoo species, and feral cats from 8 zoos of the midwestern United States was determined by using the modified agglutination test (MAT). A titer of 1:25 was considered indicative of T. gondii exposure. Among wild felids, antibodies to T. gondii were found in 6 (27.3%) of 22 cheetahs (Acynonyx jubatus jubatus), 2 of 4 African lynx (Caracal caracal), 1 of 7 clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa), 1 of 5 Pallas cats (Otocolobus manul), 12 (54.5%) of 22 African lions (Panthera leo), 1 of 1 jaguar (Panthera onca), 1 of 1 Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis), 1 of 1 Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor), 5 (27.8%) of 18 Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica), 1 of 4 fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus), 3 of 6 pumas (Puma concolor), 2 of 2 Texas pumas (Puma concolor stanleyana), and 5 (35.7%) of 14 snow leopards (Uncia uncia). Antibodies were found in 10 of 34 feral domestic cats (Felis domesticus) trapped in 3 zoos. Toxoplasma gondii oocysts were not found in any of the 78 fecal samples from wild and domestic cats. Among the macropods, antibodies were detected in 1 of 3 Dama wallabies (Macropus eugenii), 1 of 1 western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus), 1 of 2 wallaroos (Macropus robustus), 6 of 8 Bennett's wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus), 21 (61.8%) of 34 red kangaroos (Macropus rufus), and 1 of 1 dusky pademelon (Thylogale brunii). Among prosimians, antibodies were detected in 1 of 3 blue-eyed black lemurs (Eulemur macaco flavifrons), 1 of 21 ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta), 2 of 9 red-ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata rubra), and 2 of 4 black- and white-ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata variegata). Among the avian species tested, 2 of 3 bald

  8. Assessment of Competition between Fisheries and Steller Sea Lions in Alaska Based on Estimated Prey Biomass, Fisheries Removals and Predator Foraging Behaviour.

    PubMed

    Hui, Tabitha C Y; Gryba, Rowenna; Gregr, Edward J; Trites, Andrew W

    2015-01-01

    A leading hypothesis to explain the dramatic decline of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in western Alaska during the latter part of the 20th century is a change in prey availability due to commercial fisheries. We tested this hypothesis by exploring the relationships between sea lion population trends, fishery catches, and the prey biomass accessible to sea lions around 33 rookeries between 2000 and 2008. We focused on three commercially important species that have dominated the sea lion diet during the population decline: walleye pollock, Pacific cod and Atka mackerel. We estimated available prey biomass by removing fishery catches from predicted prey biomass distributions in the Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska; and modelled the likelihood of sea lions foraging at different distances from rookeries (accessibility) using satellite telemetry locations of tracked animals. We combined this accessibility model with the prey distributions to estimate the prey biomass accessible to sea lions by rookery. For each rookery, we compared sea lion population change to accessible prey biomass. Of 304 comparisons, we found 3 statistically significant relationships, all suggesting that sea lion populations increased with increasing prey accessibility. Given that the majority of comparisons showed no significant effect, it seems unlikely that the availability of pollock, cod or Atka mackerel was limiting sea lion populations in the 2000s. PMID:25950178

  9. Inflation and deflation pressure-volume loops in anesthetized pinnipeds confirms compliant chest and lungs

    PubMed Central

    Fahlman, Andreas; Loring, Stephen H.; Johnson, Shawn P.; Haulena, Martin; Trites, Andrew W.; Fravel, Vanessa A.; Van Bonn, William G.

    2014-01-01

    We examined structural properties of the marine mammal respiratory system, and tested Scholander's hypothesis that the chest is highly compliant by measuring the mechanical properties of the respiratory system in five species of pinniped under anesthesia (Pacific harbor seal, Phoca vitulina; northern elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris; northern fur seal Callorhinus ursinus; California sea lion, Zalophus californianus; and Steller sea lion, Eumetopias jubatus). We found that the chest wall compliance (CCW) of all five species was greater than lung compliance (airways and alveoli, CL) as predicted by Scholander, which suggests that the chest provides little protection against alveolar collapse or lung squeeze. We also found that specific respiratory compliance was significantly greater in wild animals than in animals raised in an aquatic facility. While differences in ages between the two groups may affect this incidental finding, it is also possible that lung conditioning in free-living animals may increase pulmonary compliance and reduce the risk of lung squeeze during diving. Overall, our data indicate that compliance of excised pinniped lungs provide a good estimate of total respiratory compliance. PMID:25426080

  10. Findings in pinnipeds stranded along the central and northern California coast, 1984-1990.

    PubMed

    Gerber, J A; Roletto, J; Morgan, L E; Smith, D M; Gage, L J

    1993-07-01

    Personnel at The Marine Mammal Center (The Center) treated 1,446 stranded marine mammals recovered from the central and northern California (USA) coast from 1984 through 1990, including California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris), Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsi), northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus), Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), and Guadalupe fur seals (Arctocephalus townsendi). The primary disease findings in stranded California sea lions were renal disease, renal disease complicated by severe verminous pneumonia, verminous pneumonia, seizures of unknown etiology, and renal disease complicated by severe pneumonia of unknown etiology. Stranded elephant seals included pups, yearlings with dermatological problems, and neonates. Most harbor seals admitted to The Center were underweight and premature pups. Stranded northern fur seals included animals with seizures of unknown etiology and emaciated pups. Stranded Steller sea lions included underweight pups and aged adult females with pneumonia. Two Guadalupe fur seals had hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. Incidental findings at the time of stranding among the six species included verminous pneumonia and pneumonia of unknown etiology, renal disease, internal parasitism, ophthalmologic problems, gastrointestinal disorders, otitis externa, and external wounds. PMID:8355344

  11. Status and trend of the Kittlitz's Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris in Glacier Bay, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Piatt, J.F.; Arimitsu, M.; Drew, G.; Madison, E.N.; Bodkin, J.; Romano, Marc D.

    2011-01-01

    We conducted standardized surveys for marine birds in Glacier Bay in seven years between 1991 and 2008. From our most recent survey, a combination of line- and strip-transect methods completed in 2008, we estimated that 4981 (95% CI 1293-8670) Kittlitz's Murrelets Brachyramphus brevirostris resided in Glacier Bay during the month of June, together with 12 195 (5607-18 783) Marbled Murrelets B. marmoratus. When counts were prorated to assign unidentified Brachyramphus murrelets to species, population estimates increased to 5641 Kittlitz's Murrelets and 13 810 Marbled Murrelets. Our surveys of bird numbers in Glacier Bay between 1991 and 2008 revealed that Kittlitz's Murrelet declined by ???85% during this period. Trend analysis suggested a rate of decline between -10.7% and -14.4% per year. No direct human impacts (e.g., bycatch, oil pollution, vessel disturbance) in our study area could fully account for a decline of this magnitude. Widespread declines of Brachyramphus murrelets and Harbor Seals Phoca vitulina in the Gulf of Alaska during the 1980s-1990s suggest large-scale influences on these marine predators, perhaps related to climate-mediated cycles in food supply. Other natural factors that may impact Glacier Bay populations include predation by avian and terrestrial predators, widespread glacial retreat and its effect on nesting and foraging habitats, and competition for food with marine predators whose abundance in Glacier Bay has increased markedly in recent years (Humpback Whales Megaptera novaeangliae and Steller Sea Lions Eumetopias jubatus).

  12. Occurrence and genotypic analysis of Trichinella species in Alaska marine-associated mammals of the Bering and Chukchi seas.

    PubMed

    Seymour, J; Horstmann-Dehn, L; Rosa, C; Lopez, J A

    2014-02-24

    The zoonotic parasite Trichinella is the causative agent of trichinellosis outbreaks in the circumpolar Arctic. Subsistence communities are particularly prone to trichinellosis due to traditional meat preparation methods and regional presence of a freeze-tolerant Trichinella species (Trichinella nativa). This study is the first application of a validated artificial digestion method in determining incidence of Trichinella sp. in Alaskan mammals. Infection incidence in pinniped species (Erignathus barbatus, Eumetopias jubatus, Odobenus rosmarus divergens, and Pusa hispida) was low, with only 1/57 ringed seals infected. Polymerase Chain Reaction assays indicate T. nativa as the only species present in northern Alaska. Analysis of an archived polar bear (Ursus maritimus) muscle sample shows freeze-tolerance and longevity for T. nativa to -20°C for 10 years and short-term freeze resistance to -80°C when morphology was used to determine presence of live larvae. However, larval motility suggests 0% survival. An approach that combines artificial digestion with PCR based species identification has excellent potential for Trichinella sp. detection and identification of archived tissues. Overall, Trichinella in Alaskan mammals, particularly marine mammals of subsistence importance, appears to be a minor problem. These modern diagnostic techniques provide accurate insight into the presence of Trichinella in the Alaskan marine environment. PMID:24373515

  13. Occurrence of Pasteurellaceae bacteria in the oral cavity of selected marine mammal species.

    PubMed

    Hansen, Mie Johanne; Bertelsen, Mads F; Christensen, Henrik; Bisgaard, Magne; Bojesen, Anders Miki

    2012-12-01

    The occurrence of bacteria belonging to Pasteurellaceae in the oral cavity of captive marine mammals was investigated using culture and subsequent geno- and phenotypic characterization and phylogenetic analyses. A total of 89 bacterial isolates from pinnipeds tentatively classified with the family Pasteurellaceae were further characterized by phylogenetic analysis of rpoB gene sequences, which showed that the isolates investigated formed five distinct groups. Four strains from California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) made up group I, which was classified with Pasteurella canis. Group II comprised four strains from harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) classified with Pasteurella stomatis. Group III consisted of 28 strains, isolated from harbor and gray seals and represented Bisgaardia genomospecies 1. Two strains from a harbor and a grey seal, group IV, were classified with Bisgaardia hudsonensis. Fifty-two strains from northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus), walruses (Odobenus rosmarus), and California and Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) formed group V and represented Otariodibacter oris. No Pasteurellaceae isolates were obtained from cetaceans, but Pasteurellaceae were isolated from all sampled pinnipeds. On the basis of these results, it is very likely that Pasteurellaceae bacteria represent a part of the normal oral flora in pinnipeds. PMID:23272350

  14. A nutrigenomic approach to detect nutritional stress from gene expression in blood samples drawn from Steller sea lions.

    PubMed

    Spitz, Jérôme; Becquet, Vanessa; Rosen, David A S; Trites, Andrew W

    2015-09-01

    Gene expression profiles are increasingly being used as biomarkers to detect the physiological responses of a number of species to disease, nutrition, and other stressors. However, little attention has been given to using gene expression to assess the stressors and physiological status of marine mammals. We sought to develop and validate a nutrigenomic approach to quantify nutritional stress in Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). We subjected 4 female Steller sea lions to 3 feeding regimes over 70-day trials (unrestricted food intake, acute nutritional stress, and chronic nutritional stress), and drew blood samples from each animal at the end of each feeding regime. We then extracted the RNA of white blood cells and measured the response of 8 genes known to react to diet restriction in terrestrial mammals. Overall, we found that the genomic response of Steller sea lions experiencing nutritional stress was consistent with how terrestrial mammals respond to dietary restrictions. Our nutritionally stressed sea lions down-regulated some cellular processes involved in immune response and oxidative stress, and up-regulated pro-inflammatory responses and metabolic processes. Nutrigenomics appears to be a promising means to monitor nutritional status and contribute to mitigation measures needed to assist in the recovery of Steller sea lions and other at-risk species of marine mammals. PMID:25700740

  15. Coxiella burnetii infection of marine mammals in the Pacific Northwest, 1997-2010.

    PubMed

    Kersh, Gilbert J; Lambourn, Dyanna M; Raverty, Stephen A; Fitzpatrick, Kelly A; Self, Joshua S; Akmajian, Adrianne M; Jeffries, Steven J; Huggins, Jessica; Drew, Clifton P; Zaki, Sherif R; Massung, Robert F

    2012-01-01

    Q fever is a zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Humans are commonly exposed via inhalation of aerosolized bacteria derived from the waste products of domesticated sheep and goats, and particularly from products generated during parturition. However, many other species can be infected with C. burnetii, and the host range and full zoonotic potential of C. burnetii is unknown. Two cases of C. burnetii infection in marine mammal placenta have been reported, but it is not known if this infection is common in marine mammals. To address this issue, placenta samples were collected from Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsi), harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), and Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). Coxiella burnetii was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the placentas of Pacific harbor seals (17/27), harbor porpoises (2/6), and Steller sea lions (1/2) collected in the Pacific Northwest. A serosurvey of 215 Pacific harbor seals sampled in inland and outer coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest showed that 34.0% (73/215) had antibodies against either Phase 1 or Phase 2 C. burnetii. These results suggest that C. burnetii infection is common among marine mammals in this region. PMID:22247392

  16. Inflation and deflation pressure-volume loops in anesthetized pinnipeds confirms compliant chest and lungs.

    PubMed

    Fahlman, Andreas; Loring, Stephen H; Johnson, Shawn P; Haulena, Martin; Trites, Andrew W; Fravel, Vanessa A; Van Bonn, William G

    2014-01-01

    We examined structural properties of the marine mammal respiratory system, and tested Scholander's hypothesis that the chest is highly compliant by measuring the mechanical properties of the respiratory system in five species of pinniped under anesthesia (Pacific harbor seal, Phoca vitulina; northern elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris; northern fur seal Callorhinus ursinus; California sea lion, Zalophus californianus; and Steller sea lion, Eumetopias jubatus). We found that the chest wall compliance (CCW) of all five species was greater than lung compliance (airways and alveoli, CL) as predicted by Scholander, which suggests that the chest provides little protection against alveolar collapse or lung squeeze. We also found that specific respiratory compliance was significantly greater in wild animals than in animals raised in an aquatic facility. While differences in ages between the two groups may affect this incidental finding, it is also possible that lung conditioning in free-living animals may increase pulmonary compliance and reduce the risk of lung squeeze during diving. Overall, our data indicate that compliance of excised pinniped lungs provide a good estimate of total respiratory compliance. PMID:25426080

  17. Age-specific vibrissae growth rates: a tool for determining the timing of ecologically important events in Steller sea lions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rea, L.D.; Christ, A.M.; Hayden, A.B.; Stegall, V.K.; Farley, S.D.; Stricker, Craig A.; Mellish, J.E.; Maniscalco, J.M.; Waite, J.N.; Burkanov, V.N.; Pitcher, K.W.

    2015-01-01

    Steller sea lions (SSL; Eumetopias jubatus) grow their vibrissae continually, providing a multiyear record suitable for ecological and physiological studies based on stable isotopes. An accurate age-specific vibrissae growth rate is essential for registering a chronology along the length of the record, and for interpreting the timing of ecologically important events. We utilized four methods to estimate the growth rate of vibrissae in fetal, rookery pup, young-of-the-year (YOY), yearling, subadult, and adult SSL. The majority of vibrissae were collected from SSL live-captured in Alaska and Russia between 2000 and 2013 (n = 1,115), however, vibrissae were also collected from six adult SSL found dead on haul-outs and rookeries during field excursions to increase the sample size of this underrepresented age group. Growth rates of vibrissae were generally slower in adult (0.44 ± 0.15 cm/mo) and subadult (0.61 ± 0.10 cm/mo) SSL than in YOY (0.87 ± 0.28 cm/mo) and fetal (0.73 ± 0.05 cm/mo) animals, but there was high individual variability in these growth rates within each age group. Some variability in vibrissae growth rates was attributed to the somatic growth rate of YOY sea lions between capture events (P = 0.014, r2 = 0.206, n = 29).

  18. Contribution to the knowledge of Stenochironomus Kieffer (Diptera, Chironomidae) from Brazil: seven new species and description of females and immatures of some previously known species.

    PubMed

    Dantas, Galileu P S; Hamada, Neusa; Mendes, Humberto F

    2016-01-01

    Twenty two species of Stenochironomus Kieffer are known from Brazil, 19 of which occur in the Amazon region. In order to increase knowledge of the taxonomy of this genus in the Amazon region, collections were carried out in streams located in Presidente Figueiredo, Manaus and Itacoatiara municipalities, Amazonas State. Leaves and wood mined by Stenochironomus larvae were collected and transported to the laboratory where they were kept until adult emergence. Seven new species were found, one of which is described in the immature stages and as adults of both sexes (S. amazonicus sp. n.), one as immatures and adult male (S. liviae sp. n.), four as male and pupa (S. bare sp. n., S. figueiredoensis sp. n., S. gracilis sp. nov. and S. manauara sp. n.) and one only as male (S. suzanae sp. n.). Additionally, the female, pupa and larva of S. impendens Borkent, pupa and larva of S. jubatus Borkent, female and pupa of S. zonarius Borkent and female of S. palliaculeatus Borkent were described. PMID:27395156

  19. Assessment of Competition between Fisheries and Steller Sea Lions in Alaska Based on Estimated Prey Biomass, Fisheries Removals and Predator Foraging Behaviour

    PubMed Central

    Hui, Tabitha C. Y.; Gryba, Rowenna; Gregr, Edward J.; Trites, Andrew W.

    2015-01-01

    A leading hypothesis to explain the dramatic decline of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in western Alaska during the latter part of the 20th century is a change in prey availability due to commercial fisheries. We tested this hypothesis by exploring the relationships between sea lion population trends, fishery catches, and the prey biomass accessible to sea lions around 33 rookeries between 2000 and 2008. We focused on three commercially important species that have dominated the sea lion diet during the population decline: walleye pollock, Pacific cod and Atka mackerel. We estimated available prey biomass by removing fishery catches from predicted prey biomass distributions in the Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska; and modelled the likelihood of sea lions foraging at different distances from rookeries (accessibility) using satellite telemetry locations of tracked animals. We combined this accessibility model with the prey distributions to estimate the prey biomass accessible to sea lions by rookery. For each rookery, we compared sea lion population change to accessible prey biomass. Of 304 comparisons, we found 3 statistically significant relationships, all suggesting that sea lion populations increased with increasing prey accessibility. Given that the majority of comparisons showed no significant effect, it seems unlikely that the availability of pollock, cod or Atka mackerel was limiting sea lion populations in the 2000s. PMID:25950178

  20. Linking Reproduction and Survival Can Improve Model Estimates of Vital Rates Derived from Limited Time-Series Counts of Pinnipeds and Other Species

    PubMed Central

    Battaile, Brian C.; Trites, Andrew W.

    2013-01-01

    We propose a method to model the physiological link between somatic survival and reproductive output that reduces the number of parameters that need to be estimated by models designed to determine combinations of birth and death rates that produce historic counts of animal populations. We applied our Reproduction and Somatic Survival Linked (RSSL) method to the population counts of three species of North Pacific pinnipeds (harbor seals, Phoca vitulina richardii (Gray, 1864); northern fur seals, Callorhinus ursinus (L., 1758); and Steller sea lions, Eumetopias jubatus (Schreber, 1776))—and found our model outperformed traditional models when fitting vital rates to common types of limited datasets, such as those from counts of pups and adults. However, our model did not perform as well when these basic counts of animals were augmented with additional observations of ratios of juveniles to total non-pups. In this case, the failure of the ratios to improve model performance may indicate that the relationship between survival and reproduction is redefined or disassociated as populations change over time or that the ratio of juveniles to total non-pups is not a meaningful index of vital rates. Overall, our RSSL models show advantages to linking survival and reproduction within models to estimate the vital rates of pinnipeds and other species that have limited time-series of counts. PMID:24324541

  1. Drag, but not buoyancy, affects swim speed in captive Steller sea lions

    PubMed Central

    Suzuki, Ippei; Sato, Katsufumi; Fahlman, Andreas; Naito, Yasuhiko; Miyazaki, Nobuyuki; Trites, Andrew W.

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT Swimming at an optimal speed is critical for breath-hold divers seeking to maximize the time they can spend foraging underwater. Theoretical studies have predicted that the optimal swim speed for an animal while transiting to and from depth is independent of buoyancy, but is dependent on drag and metabolic rate. However, this prediction has never been experimentally tested. Our study assessed the effects of buoyancy and drag on the swim speed of three captive Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) that made 186 dives. Our study animals were trained to dive to feed at fixed depths (10–50 m) under artificially controlled buoyancy and drag conditions. Buoyancy and drag were manipulated using a pair of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubes attached to harnesses worn by the sea lions, and buoyancy conditions were designed to fall within the natural range of wild animals (∼12–26% subcutaneous fat). Drag conditions were changed with and without the PVC tubes, and swim speeds were recorded and compared during descent and ascent phases using an accelerometer attached to the harnesses. Generalized linear mixed-effect models with the animal as the random variable and five explanatory variables (body mass, buoyancy, dive depth, dive phase, and drag) showed that swim speed was best predicted by two variables, drag and dive phase (AIC = −139). Consistent with a previous theoretical prediction, the results of our study suggest that the optimal swim speed of Steller sea lions is a function of drag, and is independent of dive depth and buoyancy. PMID:24771620

  2. Relationship of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and polychlorinated dibenzofuran levels to stable-nitrogen isotope abundance in marine birds and mammals in coastal California

    SciTech Connect

    Jarman, W.M.; Sydeman, W.J.; Hobson, K.A.; Bergqvist, P.A.

    1997-05-01

    Levels of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) were determined in common murre (Uria aalge), Brandt`s cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus), rhinoceros auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata), and pigeon guillemot (Cepphus columba) eggs, and Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) blubber collected from the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary in 1993. In addition, the samples were analyzed for stable-nitrogen isotopes ({delta}{sup 15}N). Of the PCDDs and PCDFs, the 2,3,7,8-TCDD (TCDD) and 2,3,7,8-TCDF (TCDF) congeners were the most prominent in the birds. The levels of TCDD in the eggs ranged from 0.2 to 6.6 ng/wet kg in the pigeon guillemot and Brandt`s cormorant, respectively. The TCDF ranged from 0.30 to 2.25 ng/kg in the pigeon guillemot and Brandt`s cormorant eggs, respectively. Other prominent PCDD and PCDF congeners detected in all bird species were 1,2,3,6,7,8-HxCDD, 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF, 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDD and 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpCDD. In the Steller sea lion the most prominent congeners were 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDD at 3.2 ng/kg, 2,3,7,8-TCDD at 2.9 ng/kg, OCDF at 2.2 ng/kg, 1,2,3,6,7,8-HxCDD at 1.92 ng/kg, and 1,2,3,4,7,8-HxCDF at 1.3 ng/kg. Stable-nitrogen values ranged from 16.9% in the pigeon guillemot and rhinoceros auklet to 19.8% in the Steller sea lion.

  3. Understanding Tourists’ Preference for Mammal Species in Private Protected Areas: Is There a Case for Extralimital Species for Ecotourism?

    PubMed Central

    Maciejewski, Kristine; Kerley, Graham I. H.

    2014-01-01

    Private Protected Areas (PPAs) often use wildlife-based ecotourism as their primary means of generating business. Achieving tourist satisfaction has become a strong driving goal in the management of many PPAs, often at the expense of biodiversity. Many extralimitral species, those which historically did not occur in an area, are stocked in PPAs with the intention of increasing ecotourism attractions. Even though the ecological and economic costs of stocking these species are high, the social benefits are not understood and little information exists globally on the ecotourism role of extralimital species. This study assessed the value of stocking extralimital species using questionnaire-based surveys and observing tourists in Shamwari Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. No difference was found between indigenous and extralimital species with regards to the tourists’ weighted scoring system, average amount tourists were willing to pay, total viewing time, average viewing time or the likelihood of stopping to view species when encountered on game drives. During game drives a strong preference was found for the elephant (Loxodonta africana), lion (Panthera leo), leopard (Panthera pardus) and cheetah (Acynonix jubatus). With the exception of the cheetah, these species are all members of the “big five” and are indigenous. Species availability and visibility, however, may influence the amount of time tourists spend at an animal sighting. Our analysis suggests that certain extralimital species (typically larger and charismatic species) contribute to tourist satisfaction, while particularly the smaller extralimital species add little to the game viewing experience, but add to the costs and risks of the PPAs. We recommend that extralimital species introductions for ecotourism purposes should be approached with caution with regards to the risks to the sustainability of PPAs. PMID:24505426

  4. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope trophic enrichment factors for Steller sea lion vibrissae relative to milk and fish/invertebrate diets

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stricker, Craig A.; Christ, Aaron M.; Wunder, Michael B.; Doll, Andrew C.; Farley, Sean D.; Rea, Lorrie D.; Rosen, David A. S.; Scherer, R. D.; Tollit, Dominic J.

    2015-01-01

    Nutritional constraints have been proposed as a contributor to population declines in the endangered Steller sea lion Eumetopias jubatus in some regions of the North Pacific. Isotopic analysis of vibrissae (whiskers) is a potentially useful approach to resolving the nutritional ecology of this species because long-term (up to 8 yr) dietary information is sequentially recorded and metabolically inert once formed. Additionally, vibrissae are grown in utero, potentially offering indirect inference on maternal diet. However, diet reconstruction using isotopic techniques requires a priori knowledge of trophic enrichment factors (TEFs), which can vary relative to diet quality and among animal species. In this study, we provide new TEF estimates for (1) maternal relative to pup vibrissae during both gestation and nursing and (2) adult vibrissae relative to a complex diet. Further, we refine vibrissa-milk TEFs based on an additional 76 animals with an age distribution ranging from 1 to 20 mo. Mother-pup vibrissae TEF values during gestation and nursing were near zero for δ13C and averaged 0.8 and 1.6‰, respectively, for δ15N. In contrast, vibrissa-fish/invertebrate TEFs averaged 3.3 (± 0.3 SD) and 3.7‰ (±0.3) for lipid-free δ13C and δ15N, respectively. Average lipid-free δ13C and δ15N vibrissa-milk TEFs were 2.5 (±0.9) and 1.8‰ (±0.8), respectively, and did not differ among metapopulations. Empirically determined TEFs are critical for accurate retrospective diet modeling, particularly for evaluating the hypothesis of nutritional deficiency contributing to the lack of Steller sea lion population recovery in some regions of Alaska.

  5. Averaged Propulsive Body Acceleration (APBA) Can Be Calculated from Biologging Tags That Incorporate Gyroscopes and Accelerometers to Estimate Swimming Speed, Hydrodynamic Drag and Energy Expenditure for Steller Sea Lions

    PubMed Central

    Trites, Andrew W.; Rosen, David A. S.; Potvin, Jean

    2016-01-01

    Forces due to propulsion should approximate forces due to hydrodynamic drag for animals horizontally swimming at a constant speed with negligible buoyancy forces. Propulsive forces should also correlate with energy expenditures associated with locomotion—an important cost of foraging. As such, biologging tags containing accelerometers are being used to generate proxies for animal energy expenditures despite being unable to distinguish rotational movements from linear movements. However, recent miniaturizations of gyroscopes offer the possibility of resolving this shortcoming and obtaining better estimates of body accelerations of swimming animals. We derived accelerations using gyroscope data for swimming Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), and determined how well the measured accelerations correlated with actual swimming speeds and with theoretical drag. We also compared dive averaged dynamic body acceleration estimates that incorporate gyroscope data, with the widely used Overall Dynamic Body Acceleration (ODBA) metric, which does not use gyroscope data. Four Steller sea lions equipped with biologging tags were trained to swim alongside a boat cruising at steady speeds in the range of 4 to 10 kph. At each speed, and for each dive, we computed a measure called Gyro-Informed Dynamic Acceleration (GIDA) using a method incorporating gyroscope data with accelerometer data. We derived a new metric—Averaged Propulsive Body Acceleration (APBA), which is the average gain in speed per flipper stroke divided by mean stroke cycle duration. Our results show that the gyro-based measure (APBA) is a better predictor of speed than ODBA. We also found that APBA can estimate average thrust production during a single stroke-glide cycle, and can be used to estimate energy expended during swimming. The gyroscope-derived methods we describe should be generally applicable in swimming animals where propulsive accelerations can be clearly identified in the signal—and they should

  6. Drag, but not buoyancy, affects swim speed in captive Steller sea lions.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Ippei; Sato, Katsufumi; Fahlman, Andreas; Naito, Yasuhiko; Miyazaki, Nobuyuki; Trites, Andrew W

    2014-01-01

    Swimming at an optimal speed is critical for breath-hold divers seeking to maximize the time they can spend foraging underwater. Theoretical studies have predicted that the optimal swim speed for an animal while transiting to and from depth is independent of buoyancy, but is dependent on drag and metabolic rate. However, this prediction has never been experimentally tested. Our study assessed the effects of buoyancy and drag on the swim speed of three captive Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) that made 186 dives. Our study animals were trained to dive to feed at fixed depths (10-50 m) under artificially controlled buoyancy and drag conditions. Buoyancy and drag were manipulated using a pair of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubes attached to harnesses worn by the sea lions, and buoyancy conditions were designed to fall within the natural range of wild animals (∼12-26% subcutaneous fat). Drag conditions were changed with and without the PVC tubes, and swim speeds were recorded and compared during descent and ascent phases using an accelerometer attached to the harnesses. Generalized linear mixed-effect models with the animal as the random variable and five explanatory variables (body mass, buoyancy, dive depth, dive phase, and drag) showed that swim speed was best predicted by two variables, drag and dive phase (AIC = -139). Consistent with a previous theoretical prediction, the results of our study suggest that the optimal swim speed of Steller sea lions is a function of drag, and is independent of dive depth and buoyancy. PMID:24771620

  7. A Longitudinal Study of Steller Sea Lion Natality Rates in the Gulf of Alaska with Comparisons to Census Data

    PubMed Central

    Maniscalco, John M.; Springer, Alan M.; Parker, Pamela; Adkison, Milo D.

    2014-01-01

    Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) numbers in the Western Distinct Population Segment are beginning to recover following the dramatic decline that began in the 1970s and ended around the turn of the century. Low female reproductive rates (natality) may have contributed to the decline and remain an issue of concern for this population. During the 2000s we found high natality among Steller sea lions in the Gulf of Alaska indicating a healthy population. This study extends these previous estimates over an additional three years and tests for interannual variations and long-term trends. We further examine the proportions of pups to adult females observed on the rookery and nearby haulouts during the birthing season to assess whether census data can be used to estimate natality. Open robust design multistate models were built and tested using Program MARK to estimate survival, resighting, and state transition probabilities in addition to other parameters dependent on whether or not a female gave birth in the previous year. Natality was estimated at 70% with some evidence of interannual variation but a long-term increasing or decreasing trend was not supported by the data. Bootstrap and regression comparisons of census data with natality estimates revealed no correlation between the two methods suggesting that census data are not an appropriate proxy for natality in this species. Longitudinal studies of individual animals are an appropriate method for estimating vital rates in species with variable detection over time such as the Steller sea lion. This work indicates that natality remains high in this region and is consistent with a population in recovery. PMID:25383865

  8. Cytotaxonomy of Eurypyga helias (Gruiformes, Eurypygidae): First Karyotypic Description and Phylogenetic Proximity with Rynochetidae.

    PubMed

    Furo, Ivanete de Oliveira; Monte, Amanda Almeida; dos Santos, Michelly da Silva; Tagliarini, Marcella Mergulhão; O'Brien, Patricia C M; Ferguson-Smith, Malcolm A; de Oliveira, Edivaldo H C

    2015-01-01

    The sunbittern (Eurypyga helias) is a South American Gruiformes, the only member of Family Eurypigidae. In most phylogenetic proposals, it is placed in a more distant position than other families of the so-called "core Gruiformes". Different studies based on molecular, morphological and biogeographical data suggest that the Eurypigidae is closely related to the kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus), the only species in Rynochetidae, another family not included in the core Gruiformes. Here, the karyotype of the sunbittern is described for the first time, by classical and molecular cytogenetics, using whole chromosome probes derived from Gallus gallus and Leucopternis albicollis. We found a diploid number of 80, with only one pair of biarmed autosomal macrochromosomes, similar to that observed in the kagu. Chromosome painting revealed that most syntenies found in the avian putative ancestral karyotype (PAK) were conserved in the sunbittern. However, PAK1, PAK2, and PAK5 corresponded to two chromosome pairs each. Probes derived from L. albicollis confirm that fissions in PAK1 and PAK2 were centric, whereas in PAK5 the fission is interstitial. In addition, there is fusion of segments homologous to PAK2q and PAK5. From a phylogenetic point of view, comparisons of our results with two other Gruiformes belonging to family Rallidae suggest that the PAK5q fission might be a synapomorphy for Gruiformes. Fissions in PAK1 and PAK2 are found only in Eurypigidae, and might also occur in Rynochetidae, in view of the similar chromosomal morphology between the sunbittern and the kagu. This suggests a close phylogenetic relationship between Eurypigidae and Rynochetidae, whose common ancestor was separated by the Gondwana vicariancy in South America and New Caledonia, respectively. PMID:26624624

  9. Tooth Size Variation in Pinniped Dentitions

    PubMed Central

    Wolsan, Mieczyslaw; Suzuki, Satoshi; Asahara, Masakazu; Motokawa, Masaharu

    2015-01-01

    It is contentious whether size variation among mammalian teeth is heterogeneous or homogeneous, whether the coefficient of variation is reliable, and whether the standard deviation of log-transformed data and the residual of standard deviation on mean variable size are useful replacements for the coefficient of variation. Most studies of tooth size variation have been on mammals with complex-crowned teeth, with relatively little attention paid to taxa with simple-crowned teeth, such as Pinnipedia. To fill this gap in knowledge and to resolve the existing controversies, we explored the variation of linear size variables (length and width) for all teeth from complete permanent dentitions of four pinniped species, two phocids (Histriophoca fasciata, Phoca largha) and two otariids (Callorhinus ursinus, Eumetopias jubatus). Size variation among these teeth was mostly heterogeneous both along the toothrow and among species. The incisors, canines, and mesial and distal postcanines were often relatively highly variable. The levels of overall dental size variation ranged from relatively low as in land carnivorans (Phoca largha and both otariids) to high (Histriophoca fasciata). Sexual size dimorphism varied among teeth and among species, with teeth being, on average, larger in males than in females. This dimorphism was more pronounced, and the canines were larger and more dimorphic relative to other teeth in the otariids than in the phocids. The coefficient of variation quantified variation reliably in most cases. The standard deviation of log-transformed data was redundant with the coefficient of variation. The residual of standard deviation on mean variable size was inaccurate when size variation was considerably heterogeneous among the compared variables, and was incomparable between species and between sexes. The existing hypotheses invoking developmental fields, occlusal complexity, and the relative timing of tooth formation and sexually dimorphic hormonal activity do

  10. The Ancestral Carnivore Karyotype As Substantiated by Comparative Chromosome Painting of Three Pinnipeds, the Walrus, the Steller Sea Lion and the Baikal Seal (Pinnipedia, Carnivora)

    PubMed Central

    Beklemisheva, Violetta R.; Perelman, Polina L.; Lemskaya, Natalya A.; Kulemzina, Anastasia I.; Proskuryakova, Anastasia A.; Burkanov, Vladimir N.; Graphodatsky, Alexander S.

    2016-01-01

    Karyotype evolution in Carnivora is thoroughly studied by classical and molecular cytogenetics and supplemented by reconstructions of Ancestral Carnivora Karyotype (ACK). However chromosome painting information from two pinniped families (Odobenidae and Otariidae) is noticeably missing. We report on the construction of the comparative chromosome map for species from each of the three pinniped families: the walrus (Odobenus rosmarus, Odobenidae–monotypic family), near threatened Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus, Otariidae) and the endemic Baikal seal (Pusa sibirica, Phocidae) using combination of human, domestic dog and stone marten whole-chromosome painting probes. The earliest karyological studies of Pinnipedia showed that pinnipeds were characterized by a pronounced karyological conservatism that is confirmed here with species from Phocidae, Otariidae and Odobenidae sharing same low number of conserved human autosomal segments (32). Chromosome painting in Pinnipedia and comparison with non-pinniped carnivore karyotypes provide strong support for refined structure of ACK with 2n = 38. Constructed comparative chromosome maps show that pinniped karyotype evolution was characterized by few tandem fusions, seemingly absent inversions and slow rate of genome rearrangements (less then one rearrangement per 10 million years). Integrative comparative analyses with published chromosome painting of Phoca vitulina revealed common cytogenetic signature for Phoca/Pusa branch and supports Phocidae and Otaroidea (Otariidae/Odobenidae) as sister groups. We revealed rearrangements specific for walrus karyotype and found the chromosomal signature linking together families Otariidae and Odobenidae. The Steller sea lion karyotype is the most conserved among three studied species and differs from the ACK by single fusion. The study underlined the strikingly slow karyotype evolution of the Pinnipedia in general and the Otariidae in particular. PMID:26821159

  11. Regional differences in the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of oceanographic habitat used by Steller sea lions.

    PubMed

    Lander, Michelle E; Loughlin, Thomas R; Logsdon, Miles G; VanBlaricom, Glenn R; Fadely, Brian S; Fritz, Lowell W

    2009-09-01

    Over the past three decades, the decline and altered spatial distribution of the western stock of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in Alaska have been attributed to changes in the distribution or abundance of their prey due to the cumulative effects of fisheries and environmental perturbations. During this period, dietary prey occurrence and diet diversity were related to population decline within metapopulation regions of the western stock of Steller sea lions, suggesting that environmental conditions may be variable among regions. The objective of this study, therefore, was to examine regional differences in the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of oceanographic habitat used by Steller sea lions within the context of recent measures of diet diversity and population trajectories. Habitat use was assessed by deploying satellite-depth recorders and satellite relay data loggers on juvenile Steller sea lions (n = 45) over a five-year period (2000-2004) within four regions of the western stock, including the western, central, and eastern Aleutian Islands, and central Gulf of Alaska. Areas used by sea lions during summer months (June, July, and August) were demarcated using satellite telemetry data and characterized by environmental variables (sea surface temperature [SST] and chlorophyll a [chl a]), which possibly serve as proxies for environmental processes or prey. Spatial patterns of SST diversity and Steller sea lion population trends among regions were fairly consistent with trends reported for diet studies, possibly indicating a link between environmental diversity, prey diversity, and distribution or abundance of Steller sea lions. Overall, maximum spatial heterogeneity coupled with minimal temporal variability of SST appeared to be beneficial for Steller sea lions. In contrast, these patterns were not consistent for chl a, and there appeared to be an ecological threshold. Understanding how Steller sea lions respond to measures of environmental

  12. Inter-population movements of steller sea lions in Alaska with implications for population separation.

    PubMed

    Jemison, Lauri A; Pendleton, Grey W; Fritz, Lowell W; Hastings, Kelly K; Maniscalco, John M; Trites, Andrew W; Gelatt, Tom S

    2013-01-01

    Genetic studies and differing population trends support the separation of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) into a western distinct population segment (WDPS) and an eastern DPS (EDPS) with the dividing line between populations at 144° W. Despite little exchange for thousands of years, the gap between the breeding ranges narrowed during the past 15-30 years with the formation of new rookeries near the DPS boundary. We analyzed >22,000 sightings of 4,172 sea lions branded as pups in each DPS from 2000-2010 to estimate probabilities of a sea lion born in one DPS being seen within the range of the other DPS (either 'West' or 'East'). Males from both populations regularly traveled across the DPS boundary; probabilities were highest at ages 2-5 and for males born in Prince William Sound and southern Southeast Alaska. The probability of WDPS females being in the East at age 5 was 0.067 but 0 for EDPS females which rarely traveled to the West. Prince William Sound-born females had high probabilities of being in the East during breeding and non-breeding seasons. We present strong evidence that WDPS females have permanently emigrated to the East, reproducing at two 'mixing zone' rookeries. We documented breeding bulls that traveled >6,500 km round trip from their natal rookery in southern Alaska to the northern Bering Sea and central Aleutian Islands and back within one year. WDPS animals began moving East in the 1990s, following steep population declines in the central Gulf of Alaska. Results of our study, and others documenting high survival and rapid population growth in northern Southeast Alaska suggest that conditions in this mixing zone region have been optimal for sea lions. It is unclear whether eastward movement across the DPS boundary is due to less-optimal conditions in the West or a reflection of favorable conditions in the East. PMID:23940543

  13. Predation on an upper trophic marine predator, the Steller sea lion: evaluating high juvenile mortality in a density dependent conceptual framework.

    PubMed

    Horning, Markus; Mellish, Jo-Ann E

    2012-01-01

    The endangered western stock of the Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus)--the largest of the eared seals--has declined by 80% from population levels encountered four decades ago. Current overall trends from the Gulf of Alaska to the Aleutian Islands appear neutral with strong regional heterogeneities. A published inferential model has been used to hypothesize a continuous decline in natality and depressed juvenile survival during the height of the decline in the mid-late 1980's, followed by the recent recovery of juvenile survival to pre-decline rates. However, these hypotheses have not been tested by direct means, and causes underlying past and present population trajectories remain unresolved and controversial. We determined post-weaning juvenile survival and causes of mortality using data received post-mortem via satellite from telemetry transmitters implanted into 36 juvenile Steller sea lions from 2005 through 2011. Data show high post-weaning mortality by predation in the eastern Gulf of Alaska region. To evaluate the impact of such high levels of predation, we developed a conceptual framework to integrate density dependent with density independent effects on vital rates and population trajectories. Our data and model do not support the hypothesized recent recovery of juvenile survival rates and reduced natality. Instead, our data demonstrate continued low juvenile survival in the Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords region of the Gulf of Alaska. Our results on contemporary predation rates combined with the density dependent conceptual framework suggest predation on juvenile sea lions as the largest impediment to recovery of the species in the eastern Gulf of Alaska region. The framework also highlights the necessity for demographic models based on age-structured census data to incorporate the differential impact of predation on multiple vital rates. PMID:22272296

  14. A longitudinal study of Steller sea lion natality rates in the Gulf of Alaska with comparisons to census data.

    PubMed

    Maniscalco, John M; Springer, Alan M; Parker, Pamela; Adkison, Milo D

    2014-01-01

    Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) numbers in the Western Distinct Population Segment are beginning to recover following the dramatic decline that began in the 1970s and ended around the turn of the century. Low female reproductive rates (natality) may have contributed to the decline and remain an issue of concern for this population. During the 2000s we found high natality among Steller sea lions in the Gulf of Alaska indicating a healthy population. This study extends these previous estimates over an additional three years and tests for interannual variations and long-term trends. We further examine the proportions of pups to adult females observed on the rookery and nearby haulouts during the birthing season to assess whether census data can be used to estimate natality. Open robust design multistate models were built and tested using Program MARK to estimate survival, resighting, and state transition probabilities in addition to other parameters dependent on whether or not a female gave birth in the previous year. Natality was estimated at 70% with some evidence of interannual variation but a long-term increasing or decreasing trend was not supported by the data. Bootstrap and regression comparisons of census data with natality estimates revealed no correlation between the two methods suggesting that census data are not an appropriate proxy for natality in this species. Longitudinal studies of individual animals are an appropriate method for estimating vital rates in species with variable detection over time such as the Steller sea lion. This work indicates that natality remains high in this region and is consistent with a population in recovery. PMID:25383865

  15. Haptoglobin concentrations in free-range and temporarily captive juvenile steller sea lions.

    PubMed

    Thomton, Jamie D; Mellish, Jo-Ann E

    2007-04-01

    Haptoglobin (Hp) is an acute-phase protein synthesized in the liver that circulates at elevated concentrations in response to tissue damage caused by inflammation, infection, and trauma. As part of a larger study, sera Hp concentrations were measured in temporarily captive (n = 21) and free-range (n = 38) western stock juvenile Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) sampled from 2003 to 2006. Baseline Hp concentration at time of capture was 133.3 +/- 17.4 mg/dl. Temporarily captive animals exhibited a 3.2-fold increase in Hp concentrations during the first 4 wk of captivity, followed by a return to entry levels by week 5. Haptoglobin levels were not influenced by age, season, or parasite load. There was a significant positive correlation between Hp concentrations and white blood cell count (P < 0.001) and globulin levels (P < 0.001) and a negative correlation to red blood cell count and hematocrit (P < 0.001 for both). There was no correlation between Hp levels and platelet count (P = 0.095) or hemoglobin (P = 0.457). Routine blubber biopsies collected under gas anesthesia did not produce a measurable Hp response. One animal with a large abscess had an Hp spike of 1,006.0 mg/dl that returned to entry levels after treatment. In conclusion, serum Hp levels correlate to the stable clinical health status observed during captivity, with moderate Hp response during capture and initial acclimation to captivity and acute response to inflammation and infection. PMID:17495310

  16. Understanding tourists' preference for mammal species in private protected areas: is there a case for extralimital species for ecotourism?

    PubMed

    Maciejewski, Kristine; Kerley, Graham I H

    2014-01-01

    Private Protected Areas (PPAs) often use wildlife-based ecotourism as their primary means of generating business. Achieving tourist satisfaction has become a strong driving goal in the management of many PPAs, often at the expense of biodiversity. Many extralimitral species, those which historically did not occur in an area, are stocked in PPAs with the intention of increasing ecotourism attractions. Even though the ecological and economic costs of stocking these species are high, the social benefits are not understood and little information exists globally on the ecotourism role of extralimital species. This study assessed the value of stocking extralimital species using questionnaire-based surveys and observing tourists in Shamwari Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. No difference was found between indigenous and extralimital species with regards to the tourists' weighted scoring system, average amount tourists were willing to pay, total viewing time, average viewing time or the likelihood of stopping to view species when encountered on game drives. During game drives a strong preference was found for the elephant (Loxodonta africana), lion (Panthera leo), leopard (Panthera pardus) and cheetah (Acynonix jubatus). With the exception of the cheetah, these species are all members of the "big five" and are indigenous. Species availability and visibility, however, may influence the amount of time tourists spend at an animal sighting. Our analysis suggests that certain extralimital species (typically larger and charismatic species) contribute to tourist satisfaction, while particularly the smaller extralimital species add little to the game viewing experience, but add to the costs and risks of the PPAs. We recommend that extralimital species introductions for ecotourism purposes should be approached with caution with regards to the risks to the sustainability of PPAs. PMID:24505426

  17. Evaluating hair as a predictor of blood mercury: the influence of ontogenetic phase and life history in pinnipeds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peterson, Sarah H.; McHuron, Elizabeth A.; Kennedy, Stephanie N.; Ackerman, Josh; Rea, Lorrie D.; Castellini, J. Margaret; O'Hara, Todd M.; Costa, Daniel P.

    2016-01-01

    Mercury (Hg) biomonitoring of pinnipeds increasingly utilizes nonlethally collected tissues such as hair and blood. The relationship between total Hg concentrations ([THg]) in these tissues is not well understood for marine mammals, but it can be important for interpretation of tissue concentrations with respect to ecotoxicology and biomonitoring. We examined [THg] in blood and hair in multiple age classes of four pinniped species. For each species, we used paired blood and hair samples to quantify the ability of [THg] in hair to predict [THg] in blood at the time of sampling and examined the influence of varying ontogenetic phases and life history of the sampled animals. Overall, we found that the relationship between [THg] in hair and blood was affected by factors including age class, weaning status, growth, and the time difference between hair growth and sample collection. Hair [THg] was moderately to strongly predictive of current blood [THg] for adult female Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), adult female California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), and adult harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), whereas hair [THg] was poorly predictive or not predictive (different times of year) of blood [THg] for adult northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris). Within species, except for very young pups, hair [THg] was a weaker predictor of blood [THg] for prereproductive animals than for adults likely due to growth, variability in foraging behavior, and transitions between ontogenetic phases. Our results indicate that the relationship between hair [THg] and blood [THg] in pinnipeds is variable and that ontogenetic phase and life history should be considered when interpreting [THg] in these tissues.

  18. Validating the relationship between 3-dimensional body acceleration and oxygen consumption in trained Steller sea lions.

    PubMed

    Volpov, Beth L; Rosen, David A S; Trites, Andrew W; Arnould, John P Y

    2015-08-01

    We tested the ability of overall dynamic body acceleration (ODBA) to predict the rate of oxygen consumption ([Formula: see text]) in freely diving Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) while resting at the surface and diving. The trained sea lions executed three dive types-single dives, bouts of multiple long dives with 4-6 dives per bout, or bouts of multiple short dives with 10-12 dives per bout-to depths of 40 m, resulting in a range of activity and oxygen consumption levels. Average metabolic rate (AMR) over the dive cycle or dive bout calculated was calculated from [Formula: see text]. We found that ODBA could statistically predict AMR when data from all dive types were combined, but that dive type was a significant model factor. However, there were no significant linear relationships between AMR and ODBA when data for each dive type were analyzed separately. The potential relationships between AMR and ODBA were not improved by including dive duration, food consumed, proportion of dive cycle spent submerged, or number of dives per bout. It is not clear whether the lack of predictive power within dive type was due to low statistical power, or whether it reflected a true absence of a relationship between ODBA and AMR. The average percent error for predicting AMR from ODBA was 7-11 %, and standard error of the estimated AMR was 5-32 %. Overall, the extensive range of dive behaviors and physiological conditions we tested indicated that ODBA was not suitable for estimating AMR in the field due to considerable error and the inconclusive effects of dive type. PMID:26002519

  19. Feeding kinematics and performance of basal otariid pinnipeds, Steller sea lions and northern fur seals: implications for the evolution of mammalian feeding.

    PubMed

    Marshall, Christopher D; Rosen, David A S; Trites, Andrew W

    2015-10-01

    Feeding performance studies can address questions relevant to feeding ecology and evolution. Our current understanding of feeding mechanisms for aquatic mammals is poor. Therefore, we characterized the feeding kinematics and performance of five Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) and six northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus). We tested the hypotheses that both species use suction as their primary feeding mode, and that rapid jaw opening was related to suction generation. Steller sea lions used suction as their primary feeding mode, but also used a biting feeding mode. In contrast, northern fur seals only used a biting feeding mode. Kinematic profiles of Steller sea lions were all indicative of suction feeding (i.e. a small gape, small gape angle, large depression of the hyolingual apparatus and lip pursing). However, jaw opening as measured by gape angle opening velocity (GAOV) was relatively slow in Steller sea lions. In contrast to Steller sea lions, the GAOV of northern fur seals was extremely fast, but their kinematic profiles indicated a biting feeding mode (i.e. northern fur seals exhibited a greater gape, a greater gape angle and minimal depression of the hyolingual apparatus compared with Steller sea lions). Steller sea lions produced both subambient and suprambient pressures at 45 kPa. In contrast, northern fur seals produced no detectable pressure measurements. Steller sea lions have a broader feeding repertoire than northern fur seals, which likely enables them to feed on a greater variety of prey, in more diverse habitats. Based on the basal phylogenetic position of northern fur seals, craniodental morphological data of the Callorhinus lineage, and the performance data provided in this study, we suggest that northern fur seals may be exhibiting their ancestral feeding mode. PMID:26449976

  20. Evaluating Hair as a Predictor of Blood Mercury: The Influence of Ontogenetic Phase and Life History in Pinnipeds.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Sarah H; McHuron, Elizabeth A; Kennedy, Stephanie N; Ackerman, Joshua T; Rea, Lorrie D; Castellini, J Margaret; O'Hara, Todd M; Costa, Daniel P

    2016-01-01

    Mercury (Hg) biomonitoring of pinnipeds increasingly utilizes nonlethally collected tissues such as hair and blood. The relationship between total Hg concentrations ([THg]) in these tissues is not well understood for marine mammals, but it can be important for interpretation of tissue concentrations with respect to ecotoxicology and biomonitoring. We examined [THg] in blood and hair in multiple age classes of four pinniped species. For each species, we used paired blood and hair samples to quantify the ability of [THg] in hair to predict [THg] in blood at the time of sampling and examined the influence of varying ontogenetic phases and life history of the sampled animals. Overall, we found that the relationship between [THg] in hair and blood was affected by factors including age class, weaning status, growth, and the time difference between hair growth and sample collection. Hair [THg] was moderately to strongly predictive of current blood [THg] for adult female Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), adult female California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), and adult harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), whereas hair [THg] was poorly predictive or not predictive (different times of year) of blood [THg] for adult northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris). Within species, except for very young pups, hair [THg] was a weaker predictor of blood [THg] for prereproductive animals than for adults likely due to growth, variability in foraging behavior, and transitions between ontogenetic phases. Our results indicate that the relationship between hair [THg] and blood [THg] in pinnipeds is variable and that ontogenetic phase and life history should be considered when interpreting [THg] in these tissues. PMID:26149950

  1. The Ancestral Carnivore Karyotype As Substantiated by Comparative Chromosome Painting of Three Pinnipeds, the Walrus, the Steller Sea Lion and the Baikal Seal (Pinnipedia, Carnivora).

    PubMed

    Beklemisheva, Violetta R; Perelman, Polina L; Lemskaya, Natalya A; Kulemzina, Anastasia I; Proskuryakova, Anastasia A; Burkanov, Vladimir N; Graphodatsky, Alexander S

    2016-01-01

    Karyotype evolution in Carnivora is thoroughly studied by classical and molecular cytogenetics and supplemented by reconstructions of Ancestral Carnivora Karyotype (ACK). However chromosome painting information from two pinniped families (Odobenidae and Otariidae) is noticeably missing. We report on the construction of the comparative chromosome map for species from each of the three pinniped families: the walrus (Odobenus rosmarus, Odobenidae-monotypic family), near threatened Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus, Otariidae) and the endemic Baikal seal (Pusa sibirica, Phocidae) using combination of human, domestic dog and stone marten whole-chromosome painting probes. The earliest karyological studies of Pinnipedia showed that pinnipeds were characterized by a pronounced karyological conservatism that is confirmed here with species from Phocidae, Otariidae and Odobenidae sharing same low number of conserved human autosomal segments (32). Chromosome painting in Pinnipedia and comparison with non-pinniped carnivore karyotypes provide strong support for refined structure of ACK with 2n = 38. Constructed comparative chromosome maps show that pinniped karyotype evolution was characterized by few tandem fusions, seemingly absent inversions and slow rate of genome rearrangements (less then one rearrangement per 10 million years). Integrative comparative analyses with published chromosome painting of Phoca vitulina revealed common cytogenetic signature for Phoca/Pusa branch and supports Phocidae and Otaroidea (Otariidae/Odobenidae) as sister groups. We revealed rearrangements specific for walrus karyotype and found the chromosomal signature linking together families Otariidae and Odobenidae. The Steller sea lion karyotype is the most conserved among three studied species and differs from the ACK by single fusion. The study underlined the strikingly slow karyotype evolution of the Pinnipedia in general and the Otariidae in particular. PMID:26821159

  2. Averaged Propulsive Body Acceleration (APBA) Can Be Calculated from Biologging Tags That Incorporate Gyroscopes and Accelerometers to Estimate Swimming Speed, Hydrodynamic Drag and Energy Expenditure for Steller Sea Lions.

    PubMed

    Ware, Colin; Trites, Andrew W; Rosen, David A S; Potvin, Jean

    2016-01-01

    Forces due to propulsion should approximate forces due to hydrodynamic drag for animals horizontally swimming at a constant speed with negligible buoyancy forces. Propulsive forces should also correlate with energy expenditures associated with locomotion-an important cost of foraging. As such, biologging tags containing accelerometers are being used to generate proxies for animal energy expenditures despite being unable to distinguish rotational movements from linear movements. However, recent miniaturizations of gyroscopes offer the possibility of resolving this shortcoming and obtaining better estimates of body accelerations of swimming animals. We derived accelerations using gyroscope data for swimming Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), and determined how well the measured accelerations correlated with actual swimming speeds and with theoretical drag. We also compared dive averaged dynamic body acceleration estimates that incorporate gyroscope data, with the widely used Overall Dynamic Body Acceleration (ODBA) metric, which does not use gyroscope data. Four Steller sea lions equipped with biologging tags were trained to swim alongside a boat cruising at steady speeds in the range of 4 to 10 kph. At each speed, and for each dive, we computed a measure called Gyro-Informed Dynamic Acceleration (GIDA) using a method incorporating gyroscope data with accelerometer data. We derived a new metric-Averaged Propulsive Body Acceleration (APBA), which is the average gain in speed per flipper stroke divided by mean stroke cycle duration. Our results show that the gyro-based measure (APBA) is a better predictor of speed than ODBA. We also found that APBA can estimate average thrust production during a single stroke-glide cycle, and can be used to estimate energy expended during swimming. The gyroscope-derived methods we describe should be generally applicable in swimming animals where propulsive accelerations can be clearly identified in the signal-and they should also

  3. Cytotaxonomy of Eurypyga helias (Gruiformes, Eurypygidae): First Karyotypic Description and Phylogenetic Proximity with Rynochetidae

    PubMed Central

    dos Santos, Michelly da Silva; Tagliarini, Marcella Mergulhão; O´Brien, Patricia C. M.; Ferguson-Smith, Malcolm A.; de Oliveira, Edivaldo H. C.

    2015-01-01

    The sunbittern (Eurypyga helias) is a South American Gruiformes, the only member of Family Eurypigidae. In most phylogenetic proposals, it is placed in a more distant position than other families of the so-called “core Gruiformes”. Different studies based on molecular, morphological and biogeographical data suggest that the Eurypigidae is closely related to the kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus), the only species in Rynochetidae, another family not included in the core Gruiformes. Here, the karyotype of the sunbittern is described for the first time, by classical and molecular cytogenetics, using whole chromosome probes derived from Gallus gallus and Leucopternis albicollis. We found a diploid number of 80, with only one pair of biarmed autosomal macrochromosomes, similar to that observed in the kagu. Chromosome painting revealed that most syntenies found in the avian putative ancestral karyotype (PAK) were conserved in the sunbittern. However, PAK1, PAK2, and PAK5 corresponded to two chromosome pairs each. Probes derived from L. albicollis confirm that fissions in PAK1 and PAK2 were centric, whereas in PAK5 the fission is interstitial. In addition, there is fusion of segments homologous to PAK2q and PAK5. From a phylogenetic point of view, comparisons of our results with two other Gruiformes belonging to family Rallidae suggest that the PAK5q fission might be a synapomorphy for Gruiformes. Fissions in PAK1 and PAK2 are found only in Eurypigidae, and might also occur in Rynochetidae, in view of the similar chromosomal morphology between the sunbittern and the kagu. This suggests a close phylogenetic relationship between Eurypigidae and Rynochetidae, whose common ancestor was separated by the Gondwana vicariancy in South America and New Caledonia, respectively. PMID:26624624

  4. Predicting synergistic effects of resources and predators on foraging decisions by juvenile Steller sea lions.

    PubMed

    Frid, Alejandro; Burns, Jennifer; Baker, Gregory G; Thorne, Richard E

    2009-01-01

    Many theoretical and experimental studies suggest that synergistic interactions between resources and predators influence foraging decisions and their fitness consequences. This framework, however, has been ignored almost completely by hypotheses on causes of the population decline of Steller sea lions (SSLs) (Eumetopias jubatus) in western Alaska. By comparing predictions from a dynamic state variable model to empirical data on the behaviour of individuals instrumented with satellite-linked time-at-depth recorders, we develop and find preliminary support for the hypothesis that, during winter in Prince William Sound, juvenile SSLs (a) underutilise walleye pollock, a predictable resource in deep strata, due to predation risk from Pacific sleeper sharks, and (b) underutilise the potential energy bonanza of inshore aggregations of Pacific herring due to risk from either killer whales, larger conspecifics, or both. Further, under conditions of resource scarcity-induced by overfishing, long-term oceanographic cycles, or their combination-trade-offs between mortality risk and energy gain may influence demographic parameters. Accordingly, computer simulations illustrated the theoretical plausibility that a decline of Pacific herring in shallow strata would greatly increase the number of deep foraging dives, thereby increasing exposure to sleeper sharks and mortality rates. These results suggest that hypotheses on the decline of SSLs should consider synergistic effects of predators and resources on behaviour and mortality rates. Empirical support for our model, however, is limited and we outline tasks for empirical research that emerge from these limitations. More generally, in the context of today's conservation crises, our work illustrates that the greater the dearth of system-specific data, the greater the need to apply principles of behavioural ecology toward the understanding and management of large-scale marine systems. PMID:18953573

  5. Inter-Population Movements of Steller Sea Lions in Alaska with Implications for Population Separation

    PubMed Central

    Jemison, Lauri A.; Pendleton, Grey W.; Fritz, Lowell W.; Hastings, Kelly K.; Maniscalco, John M.; Trites, Andrew W.; Gelatt, Tom S.

    2013-01-01

    Genetic studies and differing population trends support the separation of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) into a western distinct population segment (WDPS) and an eastern DPS (EDPS) with the dividing line between populations at 144° W. Despite little exchange for thousands of years, the gap between the breeding ranges narrowed during the past 15–30 years with the formation of new rookeries near the DPS boundary. We analyzed >22,000 sightings of 4,172 sea lions branded as pups in each DPS from 2000–2010 to estimate probabilities of a sea lion born in one DPS being seen within the range of the other DPS (either ‘West’ or ‘East’). Males from both populations regularly traveled across the DPS boundary; probabilities were highest at ages 2–5 and for males born in Prince William Sound and southern Southeast Alaska. The probability of WDPS females being in the East at age 5 was 0.067 but 0 for EDPS females which rarely traveled to the West. Prince William Sound-born females had high probabilities of being in the East during breeding and non-breeding seasons. We present strong evidence that WDPS females have permanently emigrated to the East, reproducing at two ‘mixing zone’ rookeries. We documented breeding bulls that traveled >6,500 km round trip from their natal rookery in southern Alaska to the northern Bering Sea and central Aleutian Islands and back within one year. WDPS animals began moving East in the 1990s, following steep population declines in the central Gulf of Alaska. Results of our study, and others documenting high survival and rapid population growth in northern Southeast Alaska suggest that conditions in this mixing zone region have been optimal for sea lions. It is unclear whether eastward movement across the DPS boundary is due to less-optimal conditions in the West or a reflection of favorable conditions in the East. PMID:23940543

  6. The effect of organohalogen contaminants on western Steller sea lion survival and movement in the Russian Far East.

    PubMed

    Zaleski, Adam; Atkinson, Shannon; Burkanov, Vladimir; Quinn, Terrance

    2014-08-15

    The western stock of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) have experienced dramatic declines since the 1960s, particularly in the western Alaskan and Asian portions, which have continued to decline or stabilized at low levels. Multiple causes for this decline have been proposed and may include anthropogenic contamination from organohalogen contaminants (OCs). These include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), which have not been ruled out as a potential cause for the lack of recovery. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of OCs on survival and movement probabilities estimated in program MARK using resighting data collected from 2003 to 2009. PCBs and DDTs were measured in whole blood from 136 (74 males and 62 females) individually marked, free-ranging pups from four Russian Far East rookeries. The mean concentration of ∑PCB and ∑DDT was 4.25±5.12 and 3.22±4.28 ng g(-1) ww (n=136), respectively, and the average ∑PCB and ∑DDT concentration for those above the aggregate mean (n=44) was 9.25±6.55 and 7.65±5.21 ng g(-1) ww, and those below the aggregate mean (n=92) the concentration was 1.86±0.89 and 1.11±0.65 ng g(-1) ww, respectively. The lowest estimated probabilities of survival occurred in the first year, ranging from 38% to 74%, but increased for ages 1-9, ranging from 82% to 94%. The greatest movement occurred from Medny Island west toward the Kamchatka Peninsula (33%) and to Bering Island (18%), and low movement estimates for other natal rookeries was largely due to minimal resighting effort. The estimated probabilities of resighting varied by location (48%-87%), but had greater precision than survival or movement parameters. Survival and movement were most affected by age and location rather than OCs. PMID:24887189

  7. Flightlessness and phylogeny amongst endemic rails (Aves:Rallidae) of the New Zealand region.

    PubMed

    Trewick, S A

    1997-04-29

    The phylogenetic relationships of a number of flightless and volant rails have been investigated using mtDNA sequence data. The third domain of the small ribosomal subunit (12S) has been sequenced for 22 taxa, and part of the 5' end of the cytochrome-b gene has been sequenced for 12 taxa. Additional sequences were obtained from outgroup taxa, two species of jacana, sarus crane, spur-winged plover and kagu. Extinct rails were investigated using DNA extracted from subfossil bones, and in cases where fresh material could not be obtained from other extant taxa, feathers and museum skins were used as sources of DNA. Phylogenetic trees produced from these data have topologies that are, in general, consistent with data from DNA-DNA hybridization studies and recent interpretations based on morphology. Gallinula chloropus moorhen) groups basally with Fulica (coots), Amaurornis (= Megacrex) ineptus falls within the Gallirallus/Rallus group, and Gallinula (= Porphyrula) martinica is basal to Porphyrio (swamphens) and should probably be placed in that genus. Subspecies of Porphyrio porphyrio are paraphyletic with respect to Porphyrio mantelli (takahe). The Northern Hemisphere Rallus aquaticus is basal to the south-western Pacific Rallus (or Gallirallus) group. The flightless Rallus philippensis dieffenbachii is close to Rallus modestus and distinct from the volant Rallus philippensis, and is evidently a separate species. Porzana (crakes) appears to be more closely associated with Porphyrio than Rallus. Deep relationships among the rails remain poorly resolved. Rhynochetus jubatus (kagu) is closer to the cranes than the rails in this analysis. Genetic distances between flightless rails and their volant counterparts varied considerably with observed 12S sequence distances, ranging from 0.3% (Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus and P. mantelli mantelli) to 7.6% (Rallus modestus and Rallus philippensis). This may be taken as an indication of the rapidity with which flightlessness can

  8. Flightlessness and phylogeny amongst endemic rails (Aves:Rallidae) of the New Zealand region.

    PubMed Central

    Trewick, S A

    1997-01-01

    The phylogenetic relationships of a number of flightless and volant rails have been investigated using mtDNA sequence data. The third domain of the small ribosomal subunit (12S) has been sequenced for 22 taxa, and part of the 5' end of the cytochrome-b gene has been sequenced for 12 taxa. Additional sequences were obtained from outgroup taxa, two species of jacana, sarus crane, spur-winged plover and kagu. Extinct rails were investigated using DNA extracted from subfossil bones, and in cases where fresh material could not be obtained from other extant taxa, feathers and museum skins were used as sources of DNA. Phylogenetic trees produced from these data have topologies that are, in general, consistent with data from DNA-DNA hybridization studies and recent interpretations based on morphology. Gallinula chloropus moorhen) groups basally with Fulica (coots), Amaurornis (= Megacrex) ineptus falls within the Gallirallus/Rallus group, and Gallinula (= Porphyrula) martinica is basal to Porphyrio (swamphens) and should probably be placed in that genus. Subspecies of Porphyrio porphyrio are paraphyletic with respect to Porphyrio mantelli (takahe). The Northern Hemisphere Rallus aquaticus is basal to the south-western Pacific Rallus (or Gallirallus) group. The flightless Rallus philippensis dieffenbachii is close to Rallus modestus and distinct from the volant Rallus philippensis, and is evidently a separate species. Porzana (crakes) appears to be more closely associated with Porphyrio than Rallus. Deep relationships among the rails remain poorly resolved. Rhynochetus jubatus (kagu) is closer to the cranes than the rails in this analysis. Genetic distances between flightless rails and their volant counterparts varied considerably with observed 12S sequence distances, ranging from 0.3% (Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus and P. mantelli mantelli) to 7.6% (Rallus modestus and Rallus philippensis). This may be taken as an indication of the rapidity with which flightlessness can

  9. Age-structured modeling reveals long-term declines in the natality of western Steller sea lions.

    PubMed

    Holmes, E E; Fritz, L W; York, A E; Sweeney, K

    2007-12-01

    Since the mid-1970s, the western Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), inhabiting Alaskan waters from Prince William Sound west through the Aleutian Islands, has declined by over 80%. Changing oceanographic conditions, competition from fishing operations, direct human-related mortality, and predators have been suggested as factors driving the decline, but the indirect and interactive nature of their effects on sea lions have made it difficult to attribute changes in abundance to specific factors. In part, this is because only changes in abundance, not changes in vital rates, are known. To determine how vital rates of the western Steller sea lion have changed during its 28-year decline, we first estimated the changes in Steller sea lion age structure using measurements of animals in aerial photographs taken during population surveys since 1985 in the central Gulf of Alaska (CGOA). We then fit an age-structured model with temporally varying vital rates to the age-structure data and to total population and pup counts. The model fits indicate that birth rate in the CGOA steadily declined from 1976 to 2004. Over the same period, survivorship first dropped severely in the early 1980s, when the population collapsed, and then survivorship steadily recovered. The best-fitting model indicates that in 2004, the birth rate in the central Gulf of Alaska was 36% lower than in the 1970s, while adult and juvenile survivorship were close to or slightly above 1970s levels. These predictions and other model predictions concerning population structure match independent field data from mark-recapture studies and photometric analyses. The dominant eigenvalue for the estimated 2004 Leslie matrix is 1.0014, indicating a stable population. The stability, however, depends on very high adult survival, and the shift in vital rates results in a population that is more sensitive to changes in adult survivorship. Although our modeling analysis focused exclusively on the central Gulf of Alaska

  10. Influence of dietary fiber type and amount on energy and nutrient digestibility, fecal characteristics, and fecal fermentative end-product concentrations in captive exotic felids fed a raw beef-based diet.

    PubMed

    Kerr, K R; Morris, C L; Burke, S L; Swanson, K S

    2013-05-01

    Little nutritional or metabolic information has been collected from captive exotic cats fed raw diets. In particular, fiber types and concentrations for use in raw meat-based diets for captive exotic felids have not been well studied. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of fiber type and concentration on apparent total tract energy and macronutrient digestibility, fecal characteristics, and fecal fermentative end-products in captive exotic felids. Four animals of each captive exotic species (jaguar (Panthera onca), cheetah (Acinonyz jubatus), Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti), and Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) were randomized in four 4 × 4 Latin square designs (1 Latin square per species) to 1 of the 4 raw beef-based dietary treatments (94.7 to 96.7% beef trimmings): 2 or 4% cellulose or 2 or 4% beet pulp. Felid species, fiber type, and fiber concentration all impacted digestibility and fecal fermentative end-products. Inclusion of beet pulp increased (P ≤ 0.05) fecal short-chain fatty acids and fecal output in all cats. Inclusion of 2 and 4% cellulose, and 4% beet pulp increased (P ≤ 0.05) fecal bulk and diluted fecal branched-chain fatty acid concentrations compared with 2% beet pulp. Apparent total tract DM, OM, fat, and GE digestibility coefficients decreased (P ≤ 0.05) linearly with BW of cats. Additionally, fecal moisture, fecal score, and concentrations of fermentative end-products increased (P ≤ 0.05) with BW. Although the response of many outcomes was dependent on cat size, in general, beet pulp increased wet fecal weight, fecal scores, and fecal metabolites, and reduced fecal pH. Cellulose generally reduced DM and OM digestibility, but increased dry fecal weight and fecal percent DM. Although beet pulp and cellulose fibers were tested individually in this study, these data indicate that the optimum fiber type and concentration for inclusion in captive exotic felid diets is likely a combination of fermentable and

  11. 77 FR 41198 - Endangered Species; Marine Mammals; Receipt of Applications for Permit

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-07-12

    ... Equidae Species: Lemur catta (ring-tailed lemur) Varecia variegata (black and white ruffed lemur) Acinonyx... Departments and Agencies of January 21, 2009--Transparency and Open Government (74 FR 4685; January 26,...

  12. Influence of a Weak Field of Pulsed DC Electricity on the Behavior and Incidence of Injury in Adult Steelhead and Pacific Lamprey, Final Report.

    SciTech Connect

    Mesa, Matthew

    2009-02-13

    Predation by pinnipeds, such as California sea lions Zalophus californianus, Pacific harbor seals Phoca vitulina, and Stellar sea lions Eumetopias jubatus on adult Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp in the lower Columbia River has become a serious concern for fishery managers trying to conserve and restore runs of threatened and endangered fish. As a result, Smith-Root, Incorporated (SRI; Vancouver, Washington), manufacturers of electrofishing and closely-related equipment, proposed a project to evaluate the potential of an electrical barrier to deter marine mammals and reduce the amount of predation on adult salmonids (SRI 2007). The objectives of their work were to develop, deploy, and evaluate a passive, integrated sonar and electric barrier that would selectively inhibit the upstream movements of marine mammals and reduce predation, but would not injure pinnipeds or impact anadromous fish migrations. However, before such a device could be deployed in the field, concerns by regional fishery managers about the potential effects of such a device on the migratory behavior of Pacific salmon, steelhead O. mykiss, Pacific lampreys Entoshpenus tridentata, and white sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus, needed to be addressed. In this report, we describe the results of laboratory research designed to evaluate the effects of prototype electric barriers on adult steelhead and Pacific lampreys. The effects of electricity on fish have been widely studied and include injury or death (e.g., Sharber and Carothers 1988; Dwyer et al. 2001; Snyder 2003), physiological dysfunction (e.g., Schreck et al. 1976; Mesa and Schreck 1989), and altered behavior (Mesa and Schreck 1989). Much of this work was done to investigate the effects of electrofishing on fish in the wild. Because electrofishing operations would always use more severe electrical settings than those proposed for the pinniped barrier, results from these studies are probably not relevant to the work proposed by SRI. Field

  13. Immunogenetic Variation and Differential Pathogen Exposure in Free-Ranging Cheetahs across Namibian Farmlands

    PubMed Central

    Castro-Prieto, Aines; Wachter, Bettina; Melzheimer, Joerg; Thalwitzer, Susanne; Hofer, Heribert; Sommer, Simone

    2012-01-01

    Background Genes under selection provide ecologically important information useful for conservation issues. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II genes are essential for the immune defence against pathogens from intracellular (e.g. viruses) and extracellular (e.g. helminths) origins, respectively. Serosurvey studies in Namibian cheetahs (Acinonyx juabuts) revealed higher exposure to viral pathogens in individuals from north-central than east-central regions. Here we examined whether the observed differences in exposure to viruses influence the patterns of genetic variation and differentiation at MHC loci in 88 free-ranging Namibian cheetahs. Methodology/Principal Findings Genetic variation at MHC I and II loci was assessed through single-stranded conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis and sequencing. While the overall allelic diversity did not differ, we observed a high genetic differentiation at MHC class I loci between cheetahs from north-central and east-central Namibia. No such differentiation in MHC class II and neutral markers were found. Conclusions/Significance Our results suggest that MHC class I variation mirrors the variation in selection pressure imposed by viruses in free-ranging cheetahs across Namibian farmland. This is of high significance for future management and conservation programs of this species. PMID:23145096

  14. Postsacral vertebral morphology in relation to tail length among primates and other mammals.

    PubMed

    Russo, Gabrielle A

    2015-02-01

    Tail reduction/loss independently evolved in a number of mammalian lineages, including hominoid primates. One prerequisite to appropriately contextualizing its occurrence and understanding its significance is the ability to track evolutionary changes in tail length throughout the fossil record. However, to date, the bony correlates of tail length variation among living taxa have not been comprehensively examined. This study quantifies postsacral vertebral morphology among living primates and other mammals known to differ in relative tail length (RTL). Linear and angular measurements with known biomechanical significance were collected on the first, mid-, and transition proximal postsacral vertebrae, and their relationship with RTL was assessed using phylogenetic generalized least-squares regression methods. Compared to shorter-tailed primates, longer-tailed primates possess a greater number of postsacral vertebral features associated with increased proximal tail flexibility (e.g., craniocaudally longer vertebral bodies), increased intervertebral body joint range of motion (e.g., more circularly shaped cranial articular surfaces), and increased leverage of tail musculature (e.g., longer spinous processes). These observations are corroborated by the comparative mammalian sample, which shows that distantly related short-tailed (e.g., Phascolarctos, Lynx) and long-tailed (e.g., Dendrolagus, Acinonyx) nonprimate mammals morphologically converge with short-tailed (e.g., Macaca tonkeana) and long-tailed (e.g., Macaca fascicularis) primates, respectively. Multivariate models demonstrate that the variables examined account for 70% (all mammals) to 94% (only primates) of the variance in RTL. Results of this study may be used to infer the tail lengths of extinct primates and other mammals, thereby improving our understanding about the evolution of tail reduction/loss. PMID:25132483