Science.gov

Sample records for acinonyx jubatus jubatus

  1. Ileocecocolic strictures in two captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus).

    PubMed

    Travis, Erika K; Duncan, Mary; Weber, Martha; Adkesson, Michael J; Junge, Randall E

    2007-12-01

    Intestinal strictures were diagnosed in two captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). The cheetahs presented with lethargy, anorexia, diarrhea, and weight loss. The first cheetah had a stricture of the ileocecocolic junction diagnosed at necropsy. The second had an ileocecocolic stricture causing obstruction that was diagnosed at surgery. After resection and anastomosis, the cheetah recovered well. The etiology of the strictures remains undetermined. Intestinal stricture, particularly of the ileocecocolic junction, should be considered as a differential diagnosis for cheetahs with nonspecific gastrointestinal signs.

  2. Acute disseminated toxoplasmosis in a juvenile cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Lloyd, Christopher; Stidworthy, Mark F

    2007-09-01

    A juvenile cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) died with rapidly progressive pyrexia, tachypnea, abdominal effusion, and hepatomegaly. Postmortem examination revealed lesions consistent with acute disseminated infection with Toxoplasma gondii. The presence of this organism was confirmed in multiple organs by immunohistochemistry and polymerase chain reaction. To the best of our knowledge, we propose this to be the first reported case of primary acute disseminated toxoplasmosis in a cheetah.

  3. Radiographic kidney measurements in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Hackendahl, Nicole C; Citino, Scott B

    2005-06-01

    The prevalence of chronic renal disease is substantial among captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). The purpose of this study was to determine kidney measurements from radiographs of captive cheetahs (n = 15) with normal renal function. The ratio of kidney length to length of the body of the second lumbar vertebrae has been established for domestic cats with normal renal function. The mean ratio of renal length to length of the second lumbar vertebra was 1.81 +/- 0.14 in cheetahs. This baseline data may allow an objective evaluation of radiographic kidney size in cheetahs. However, evaluation of a small number of cheetahs with confirmed renal failure resulted in a similar ratio.

  4. Idiopathic acute onset myelopathy in cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) cubs.

    PubMed

    Walzer, Christian; Url, Angelika; Robert, Nadia; Kübber-Heiss, Anna; Nowotny, Norbert; Schmidt, Peter

    2003-03-01

    Numerous cases of ataxia, hind limb paresis, and paralysis have occurred in cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) cubs over the past 10 yr within the European Endangered Species Program population, including 12 in mainland Europe, two in the British Isles, one in Namibia, and one in Dubai. The condition is the most important medical factor limiting European cheetah population growth. Eight cubs at the Salzburg Zoo, Austria, were affected. They demonstrated upper motor neuron lesions when alive and bilateral, symmetrical myelin degeneration of the spinal cord on necropsy. Ballooning of myelin sheaths surrounded mostly preserved axons, and no spheroids, characteristic of acute axonal degeneration, were found. Myelin loss markedly exceeded axonal degeneration. The syndrome's etiology is unclear, although viral, bacterial, parasitic, genetic, nutritional-metabolic, toxic, and physical causes have been considered.

  5. The use of a probiotic in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Koeppel, K N; Bertschinger, H; van Vuuren, M; Picard, J; Steiner, J; Williams, D; Cardwell, J

    2006-09-01

    Juvenile captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) often present with diarrhoea that is commonly associated with bacterial infections. A species-specific probiotic containing Lactobacillus Group 2 and Enterococcus faecium was prepared from healthy adult cheetahs. Juvenile cheetahs (n = 27) between 8 and 13 months of age were included in the probiotic trial. The animals were observed prior to and after feeding of the probiotic which was made available for 28 days. Feeding of the probiotic resulted in a significantly increased body weight in the treatment group (P = 0.026), while there was no increase in the control group. A relative improvement in the faecal quality in the probiotic group during the treatment period compared with the pre-treatment (P = 0.0363) and post-treatment (P = 0.004) period was observed. This was accompanied by an absence of blood and mucus in the faeces during the treatment period in the probiotic group.

  6. NEPHROPATHIES IN THE EUROPEAN CAPTIVE CHEETAH (ACINONYX JUBATUS) POPULATION.

    PubMed

    Url, Angelika; Krutak, Verena; Kübber-Heiss, Anna; Chvala-Mannsberger, Sonja; Robert, Nadia; Dinhopl, Nora; Schmidt, Peter; Walzer, Chris

    2016-09-01

    According to previous studies in captive cheetah ( Acinonyx jubatus ) populations, one of the most threatening diseases besides amyloidosis, myelopathy, veno occlusive disease, and gastritis, is renal failure. Contrary to captive cheetahs in North America and South Africa, morphological data concerning renal lesions in the cheetah European Endangered Species Program (EEP) are lacking. This study details the histological characterization as well as immunohistochemical and morphometrical analysis of nephropathies in 35 captive cheetahs from the EEP, which were necropsied between 1985 and 2003. Examination of paraffin- and glycolmethacrylate-methylmethacrylate (GMA-MMA) embedded kidney samples by light microscopy revealed glomerulonephritis in 91%, with a high prevalence for glomerulosclerosis and glomerulonephritis with the histologic pattern of membranous glomerulonephritis (77%). Besides these predominating glomerulopathies, a wide range of other renal lesions, like acute tubular necrosis, interstitial nephritis, calcinosis, and amyloidosis, were present. Pathological expression of collagen type IV, complement C3, fibronectin, and IgG was demonstrated in the glomeruli of the cheetah kidneys with the use of the avidin-biotin complex method. Morphometrical analysis was performed on GMA-MMA embedded kidney samples to obtain glomerulosclerosis index and glomerulosclerosis incidence.

  7. Elemental sulfur identified in urine of cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus.

    PubMed

    Burger, Ben V; Visser, Runine; Moses, Alvira; Le Roux, Maritha

    2006-06-01

    The urine of the cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, is almost odorless, and probably for this reason, it has not attracted much attention from scientists. Using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, we identified 27 and 37 constituents in the headspace vapor of the urine of male and female cheetah, respectively. These constituents, composed of hydrocarbons, short-chain ethers, aldehydes, saturated and unsaturated cyclic and acyclic ketones, 2-acetylfuran, dimethyl disulfide, dimethyl sulfone, phenol, myristic acid (tetradecanoic acid), urea, and elemental sulfur, are all present in the headspace vapor in very small quantities; dimethyl disulfide is present in such a low concentration that it cannot be detected by the human nose. This is only the second example of elemental sulfur being secreted or excreted by an animal. It is hypothesized that the conversion of sulfur-containing compounds in the cheetah's diet to elemental sulfur and to practically odorless dimethyl sulfone enables this carnivore to operate as if "invisible" to the olfactory world of its predators as well as its prey, which would increase its chances of survival.

  8. 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.

  9. Movement patterns of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in farmlands in Botswana

    PubMed Central

    Hubel, T. Y.; Horgan, J.; Shotton, J.; McKenna, R.; Wilson, A. M.

    2017-01-01

    ABSTRACT Botswana has the second highest population of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) with most living outside protected areas. As a result, many cheetahs are found in farming areas which occasionally results in human-wildlife conflict. This study aimed to look at movement patterns of cheetahs in farming environments to determine whether cheetahs have adapted their movements in these human-dominated landscapes. We fitted high-time resolution GPS collars to cheetahs in the Ghanzi farmlands of Botswana. GPS locations were used to calculate home range sizes as well as number and duration of visits to landscape features using a time-based local convex hull method. Cheetahs had medium-sized home ranges compared to previously studied cheetah in similar farming environments. Results showed that cheetahs actively visited scent marking trees and avoided visiting homesteads. A slight preference for visiting game farms over cattle farms was found, but there was no difference in duration of visits between farm types. We conclude that cheetahs selected for areas that are important for their dietary and social needs and prefer to avoid human-occupied areas. Improved knowledge of how cheetahs use farmlands can allow farmers to make informed decisions when developing management practices and can be an important tool for reducing human-wildlife conflict. PMID:27913453

  10. Movement patterns of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in farmlands in Botswana.

    PubMed

    Van der Weyde, L K; Hubel, T Y; Horgan, J; Shotton, J; McKenna, R; Wilson, A M

    2017-01-15

    Botswana has the second highest population of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) with most living outside protected areas. As a result, many cheetahs are found in farming areas which occasionally results in human-wildlife conflict. This study aimed to look at movement patterns of cheetahs in farming environments to determine whether cheetahs have adapted their movements in these human-dominated landscapes. We fitted high-time resolution GPS collars to cheetahs in the Ghanzi farmlands of Botswana. GPS locations were used to calculate home range sizes as well as number and duration of visits to landscape features using a time-based local convex hull method. Cheetahs had medium-sized home ranges compared to previously studied cheetah in similar farming environments. Results showed that cheetahs actively visited scent marking trees and avoided visiting homesteads. A slight preference for visiting game farms over cattle farms was found, but there was no difference in duration of visits between farm types. We conclude that cheetahs selected for areas that are important for their dietary and social needs and prefer to avoid human-occupied areas. Improved knowledge of how cheetahs use farmlands can allow farmers to make informed decisions when developing management practices and can be an important tool for reducing human-wildlife conflict.

  11. 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

    2015-08-13

    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.

  12. Measurement of glomerular filtration rate, renal plasma flow, and endogenous creatinine clearance in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus).

    PubMed

    Holder, Erin Hall; Citino, Scott B; Businga, Nancy; Cartier, Leslie; Brown, Scott A

    2004-06-01

    Glomerular filtration rate (GFR), renal plasma flow (RPF), and the endogenous creatinine clearance (CCr) rate were determined in 13 captive cheetahs, Acinonyx jubatus jubatus (seven females and six males, 1.5-7.5 yr of age, x = 5.02 yr), during general anesthesia with Telazol and isoflurane by measuring the urinary clearances of inulin, para-aminohipppuric acid, and endogenous creatinine, respectively. Methods to determine GFR, RPF, and endogenous CCr in captive cheetahs were evaluated, and the relationship between GFR and CCr for this species was determined. The GFR and the RPF were stable during the procedure, with mean values of 1.59+/-0.17 ml/min/kg body weight and 5.12+/-1.15 ml/min/kg body weight, respectively. Although the mean value for CCr (1.47+/-0.20 ml/min/kg body weight) was significantly less than the corresponding value for GFR, the mean difference (0.11+/-0.02 ml/min/kg weight) between the two measurements was slight, and the values were highly correlated (R2 = 0.928; P < 0.0001). The measurement of CCr in cheetahs should provide a reliable estimate of GFR, facilitating the early detection of renal disease in this species.

  13. Tiletamine-zolazepam, ketamine, and xylazine anesthesia of captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Lewandowski, Albert H; Bonar, Christopher J; Evans, Sara E

    2002-12-01

    Thirty-two anesthetic episodes used a combination of tiletamine-zolezepam (50 mg/ml each), ketamine (80 mg/ml), and xylazine (20 mg/ml) at various dosages for routine diagnostic and minor surgical procedures in 13 captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). The mean dosage (0.023 +/- 0.003 ml/kg) provided rapid induction with a single i.m. injection along with safe predictable working time, good muscle relaxation, and analgesia. Yohimbine administration subsequently accelerated smooth and rapid recovery.

  14. Chylous ascites in a cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) with venoocclusive liver disease.

    PubMed

    Terrell, Scott P; Fontenot, Deidre K; Miller, Michele A; Weber, Martha A

    2003-12-01

    An 11-yr-old female cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) was diagnosed clinically with hepatic and renal disease and euthanatized after an extended illness. Postmortem examination revealed 8-10 L of milky white fluid in the abdominal cavity and markedly dilated lymphatic vessels within the intestinal mesentery. The abdominal fluid was a chylous effusion based on the cytologic predominance of lymphocytes and macrophages and comparison of cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the fluid and in serum. Gross and histopathologic lesions in the liver were consistent with a diagnosis of venoocclusive liver disease. Chylous ascites is uncommon with human chronic liver disease and is rarely identified in animals.

  15. Immunohistochemical screening for viral agents in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with myelopathy.

    PubMed

    Shibly, S; Schmidt, P; Robert, N; Walzer, C; Url, A

    2006-10-21

    Numerous cases of acute-onset progressive ataxia, hindlimb paresis and paralysis of unknown aetiology occurred during 1993 to 2003 in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) within the European Endangered Species Programme (eep). This study describes the immunohistochemical investigation of a possible viral aetiology of the "cheetah myelopathy". Antibodies to feline herpesvirus type 1, canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus and Borna disease virus were applied to formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded brain and spinal cord sections from 25 affected cheetahs aged between three-and-a-half months and 13 years. Using the avidin-biotin complex technique, none of the antibodies gave positive immunosignals in either the brain or the spinal cord tissue.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Chronic eosinophilic dermatitis associated with persistent feline herpes virus infection in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Munson, L; Wack, R; Duncan, M; Montali, R J; Boon, D; Stalis, I; Crawshaw, G J; Cameron, K N; Mortenson, J; Citino, S; Zuba, J; Junge, R E

    2004-03-01

    A chronic ulcerative and eosinophilic dermatitis occurred in 20 captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with persistent feline herpes virus 1 (FHV1) infection. Affected animals had erythematous, ulcerated plaques primarily on the face and forelegs in sites of contact with lachrymal and salivary secretions. The dermatitis was characterized by dense infiltrates of eosinophils and plasma cells and pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia. Rare keratinocytes within the lesions had nuclei with marginated chromatin and small eosinophilic inclusions composed of herpes virus nucleocapsids. Virus isolated from lesions was confirmed to be FHV1. Lesions persisted and progressed unless removed by cryoexcision. The occurrence of this unusual reaction to FHV1 in approximately 5% of captive North American cheetahs suggests a species propensity for a Th2-dominant response to herpes virus infection. This atypical immune reaction may indicate a heritable trait or modulation of the immune response by other factors such as chronic stress.

  19. Naturally acquired anthrax antibodies in a cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) in Botswana.

    PubMed

    Good, Kyle M; Houser, Annmarie; Arntzen, Lorraine; Turnbull, Peter C B

    2008-07-01

    An outbreak of anthrax in the Jwana Game Reserve in Jwaneng, Botswana, was first observed when three cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) died of the disease in November 2004. In the aftermath of this event, banked serum samples collected from 23 wild-caught cheetahs were examined, by the inhibition enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA), for antibodies to the protective antigen (PA) of Bacillus anthracis. Of the 23 cheetahs, 16 regularly accessed the reserve. Antibodies to PA were detected in one cheetah collected in May 2004, indicating the disease was occurring well before it was first noticed. This appears to be the first demonstration of naturally acquired anthrax antibodies in cheetahs. The finding of one antibody-positive animal amongst at least 16 potentially exposed individuals is consistent with existing reports that it is uncommon for cheetahs to develop natural immunity to anthrax.

  20. 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.

  1. Characterization of an outbreak of astroviral diarrhea in a group of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Atkins, Adrienne; Wellehan, James F X; Childress, April L; Archer, Linda L; Fraser, William A; Citino, Scott B

    2009-04-14

    A Mamastrovirus was identified in an outbreak of diarrhea in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Five young adult and two adult cheetahs presented with lethargy, anorexia, watery diarrhea and regurgitation over an 11-day period. Fecal samples were submitted for electron microscopy and culture. Electron microscopy results revealed particles morphologically consistent with an astrovirus, and no other viral pathogens or significant bacterial pathogens were identified. The astrovirus was confirmed and sequenced using consensus astroviral PCR, resulting in a 367 base pair partial RNA-dependent-RNA polymerase (RdRp) product and a 628 base pair partial capsid product. Bayesian and maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses were performed on both the RdRp and the capsid protein segments. All animals were monitored and treated with bismuth subsalicylate tablets (524mg PO BID for 5 days), and recovered without additional intervention. This is the first report we are aware of documenting an astrovirus outbreak in cheetah.

  2. Analysis of the mitochondrial genome of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with neurodegenerative disease.

    PubMed

    Burger, Pamela A; Steinborn, Ralf; Walzer, Christian; Petit, Thierry; Mueller, Mathias; Schwarzenberger, Franz

    2004-08-18

    The complete mitochondrial genome of Acinonyx jubatus was sequenced and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) regions were screened for polymorphisms as candidates for the cause of a neurodegenerative demyelinating disease affecting captive cheetahs. The mtDNA reference sequences were established on the basis of the complete sequences of two diseased and two nondiseased animals as well as partial sequences of 26 further individuals. The A. jubatus mitochondrial genome is 17,047-bp long and shows a high sequence similarity (91%) to the domestic cat. Based on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the control region (CR) and pedigree information, the 18 myelopathic and 12 non-myelopathic cheetahs included in this study were classified into haplotypes I, II and III. In view of the phenotypic comparability of the neurodegenerative disease observed in cheetahs and human mtDNA-associated diseases, specific coding regions including the tRNAs leucine UUR, lysine, serine UCN, and partial complex I and V sequences were screened. We identified a heteroplasmic and a homoplasmic SNP at codon 507 in the subunit 5 (MTND5) of complex I. The heteroplasmic haplotype I-specific valine to methionine substitution represents a nonconservative amino acid change and was found in 11 myelopathic and eight non-myelopathic cheetahs with levels ranging from 29% to 79%. The homoplasmic conservative amino acid substitution valine to alanine was identified in two myelopathic animals of haplotype II. In addition, a synonymous SNP in the codon 76 of the MTND4L gene was found in the single haplotype III animal. The amino acid exchanges in the MTND5 gene were not associated with the occurrence of neurodegenerative disease in captive cheetahs.

  3. Comparative Serum Fatty Acid Profiles of Captive and Free-Ranging Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in Namibia

    PubMed Central

    Wachter, Bettina; Heinrich, Sonja K.; Reyers, Fred; Mienie, Lodewyk J.

    2016-01-01

    Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) are highly specialised large felids, currently listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red data list. In captivity, they are known to suffer from a range of chronic non-infectious diseases. Although low heterozygosity and the stress of captivity have been suggested as possible causal factors, recent studies have started to focus on the contribution of potential dietary factors in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Fatty acids are an important component of the diet, not only providing a source of metabolisable energy, but serving other important functions in hormone production, cellular signalling as well as providing structural components in biological membranes. To develop a better understanding of lipid metabolism in cheetahs, we compared the total serum fatty acid profiles of 35 captive cheetahs to those of 43 free-ranging individuals in Namibia using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The unsaturated fatty acid concentrations differed most remarkably between the groups, with all of the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, except arachidonic acid and hypogeic acid, detected at significantly lower concentrations in the serum of the free-ranging animals. The influence of age and sex on the individual fatty acid concentrations was less notable. This study represents the first evaluation of the serum fatty acids of free-ranging cheetahs, providing critical information on the normal fatty acid profiles of free-living, healthy individuals of this species. The results raise several important questions about the potential impact of dietary fatty acid composition on the health of cheetahs in captivity. PMID:27992457

  4. 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

  5. The global decline of cheetah Acinonyx jubatus and what it means for conservation.

    PubMed

    Durant, Sarah M; Mitchell, Nicholas; Groom, Rosemary; Pettorelli, Nathalie; Ipavec, Audrey; Jacobson, Andrew P; Woodroffe, Rosie; Böhm, Monika; Hunter, Luke T B; Becker, Matthew S; Broekhuis, Femke; Bashir, Sultana; Andresen, Leah; Aschenborn, Ortwin; Beddiaf, Mohammed; Belbachir, Farid; Belbachir-Bazi, Amel; Berbash, Ali; Brandao de Matos Machado, Iracelma; Breitenmoser, Christine; Chege, Monica; Cilliers, Deon; Davies-Mostert, Harriet; Dickman, Amy J; Ezekiel, Fabiano; Farhadinia, Mohammad S; Funston, Paul; Henschel, Philipp; Horgan, Jane; de Iongh, Hans H; Jowkar, Houman; Klein, Rebecca; Lindsey, Peter Andrew; Marker, Laurie; Marnewick, Kelly; Melzheimer, Joerg; Merkle, Johnathan; M'soka, Jassiel; Msuha, Maurus; O'Neill, Helen; Parker, Megan; Purchase, Gianetta; Sahailou, Samaila; Saidu, Yohanna; Samna, Abdoulkarim; Schmidt-Küntzel, Anne; Selebatso, Eda; Sogbohossou, Etotépé A; Soultan, Alaaeldin; Stone, Emma; van der Meer, Esther; van Vuuren, Rudie; Wykstra, Mary; Young-Overton, Kim

    2017-01-17

    Establishing and maintaining protected areas (PAs) are key tools for biodiversity conservation. However, this approach is insufficient for many species, particularly those that are wide-ranging and sparse. The cheetah Acinonyx jubatus exemplifies such a species and faces extreme challenges to its survival. Here, we show that the global population is estimated at ∼7,100 individuals and confined to 9% of its historical distributional range. However, the majority of current range (77%) occurs outside of PAs, where the species faces multiple threats. Scenario modeling shows that, where growth rates are suppressed outside PAs, extinction rates increase rapidly as the proportion of population protected declines. Sensitivity analysis shows that growth rates within PAs have to be high if they are to compensate for declines outside. Susceptibility of cheetah to rapid decline is evidenced by recent rapid contraction in range, supporting an uplisting of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List threat assessment to endangered. Our results are applicable to other protection-reliant species, which may be subject to systematic underestimation of threat when there is insufficient information outside PAs. Ultimately, conserving many of these species necessitates a paradigm shift in conservation toward a holistic approach that incentivizes protection and promotes sustainable human-wildlife coexistence across large multiple-use landscapes.

  6. Evaluation of long-term sedation in cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) with perphenazine enanthate and zuclopenthixol acetate.

    PubMed

    Huber, C; Walzer, C; Slotta-Bachmayr, L

    2001-09-01

    Two long-acting neuroleptics were used to tranquilize nine captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Perphenazine enanthate (3.0 mg/kg) and zuclopenthixol acetate (0.6 mg/kg) were each administered to separate groups of three cheetahs in a double blind trial. Both products were administered together to a third group of three animals at the same dosages. Behavioral effect, duration of effect, and possible side effects were observed by a predefined protocol. Under standardized holding conditions, the cheetahs were observed 5 days before drug administration and 14 days after administration. Daily activity was defined and statistically evaluated by a U-test. A significant reduction of activity was observed after administration in all three trials. Zuclopenthixol acetate at 0.6 mg/kg alone and in combination with perphenazine enanthate caused inappetence, ataxia, extra pyramidal reactions, akathisia, and prolapse of the third eyelid. Zuclopenthixol acetate should not be used in cheetahs. Perphenazine enanthate did not cause inappetence, reduced appetite, or any of the previously mentioned side effects when used alone. It produced satisfactory tranquilization and is suitable and safe for cheetahs at 3.0 mg/kg. This dosage should be varied depending on health, age, and temperament of the individual cheetah.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry profiles of urinary organic acids in healthy captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Tordiffe, Adrian Stephen Wolferstan; van Reenen, Mari; Reyers, Fred; Mienie, Lodewyk Jacobus

    2017-04-01

    In captivity, cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) frequently suffer from several unusual chronic diseases that rarely occur in their free-ranging counterparts. In order to develop a better understanding of their metabolism and health we documented the urine organic acids of 41 apparently healthy captive cheetahs, in an untargeted metabolomic study, using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. A total of 339 organic acids were detected and annotated. Phenolic compounds, thought to be produced by the anaerobic fermentation of aromatic amino acids in the distal colon, as well as their corresponding glycine conjugates, were present in high concentrations. The most abundant organic acids in the cheetahs' urine were an as yet unidentified compound and a novel cadaverine metabolite, tentatively identified as N(1),N(5)-dimethylpentane-1,5-diamine. Pantothenic acid and citramalic acid concentrations correlated negatively with age, while glutaric acid concentrations correlated positively with age, suggesting possible dysregulation of coenzyme A metabolism in older cheetahs. This study provides a baseline of urine organic acid reference values in captive cheetahs and suggests important avenues for future research in this species.

  11. The stress response to environmental change in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Wells, Amy; Terio, Karen A; Ziccardi, Michael H; Munson, Linda

    2004-03-01

    The captive North American cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) population is not self-sustaining because of high prevalences of unusual diseases and poor reproductive success. Cheetahs are commonly moved between zoos for breeding purposes to maintain genetic diversity within the captive population, and movement may exacerbate infertility and disease. Fecal corticoids were analyzed by radioimmunoassay to measure the stress response of cheetahs to movement between facilities. Fecal samples were collected from 15 cheetahs for 14 days before movement and for at least 30 days after movement. For each cheetah, premovement fecal corticoid concentrations were used to determine baseline and then compared with trends in postmovement concentrations. In general, postmovement corticoid concentrations either increased (n = 8), did not change (n = 2), or decreased (n = 5). Although individual animal differences occurred, corticoid concentrations increased for most animals moved on-exhibit and decreased in animals moved off-exhibit. Animals moving on-exhibit had an 18-times greater risk of having corticoids elevated more than two standard deviations above baseline for 30 days after movement compared with animals that moved off-exhibit. In addition, greater day-to-day variation in corticoids occurred in animals moved on-exhibit. In general, animals with initially low baseline corticoid concentrations had a greater postmovement corticoid response than cheetahs with initially high baseline levels. These results indicate that some cheetahs have a prolonged stress response when moved between facilities, and the magnitude and character of this response is influenced by the exhibit environment.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Comparative Serum Fatty Acid Profiles of Captive and Free-Ranging Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in Namibia.

    PubMed

    Tordiffe, Adrian S W; Wachter, Bettina; Heinrich, Sonja K; Reyers, Fred; Mienie, Lodewyk J

    2016-01-01

    Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) are highly specialised large felids, currently listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red data list. In captivity, they are known to suffer from a range of chronic non-infectious diseases. Although low heterozygosity and the stress of captivity have been suggested as possible causal factors, recent studies have started to focus on the contribution of potential dietary factors in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Fatty acids are an important component of the diet, not only providing a source of metabolisable energy, but serving other important functions in hormone production, cellular signalling as well as providing structural components in biological membranes. To develop a better understanding of lipid metabolism in cheetahs, we compared the total serum fatty acid profiles of 35 captive cheetahs to those of 43 free-ranging individuals in Namibia using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The unsaturated fatty acid concentrations differed most remarkably between the groups, with all of the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, except arachidonic acid and hypogeic acid, detected at significantly lower concentrations in the serum of the free-ranging animals. The influence of age and sex on the individual fatty acid concentrations was less notable. This study represents the first evaluation of the serum fatty acids of free-ranging cheetahs, providing critical information on the normal fatty acid profiles of free-living, healthy individuals of this species. The results raise several important questions about the potential impact of dietary fatty acid composition on the health of cheetahs in captivity.

  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

    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.

  19. Vaccine-induced protection against anthrax in cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis).

    PubMed

    Turnbull, P C B; Tindall, B W; Coetzee, J D; Conradie, C M; Bull, R L; Lindeque, P M; Huebschle, O J B

    2004-09-03

    Institution of a policy of vaccination in endangered species with a vaccine not previously administered to it cannot be undertaken lightly. This applies even more in the case of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) with their unusually monomorphic gene pool and the potential restrictions this places on their immune responses. However, the recently observed mortalities from anthrax in these animals in the Etosha National Park, Namibia, made it imperative to evaluate vaccination. Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), another endangered species in the park, have been vaccinated for over three decades but the effectiveness of this has never been evaluated. Passive protection tests in A/J mice using sera from 12 cheetahs together with enzyme immunoassay indicated that cheetah are able to mount seemingly normal primary and secondary humoral immune responses to the Sterne 34F2 live spore livestock vaccine. Overall protection rates in mice injected with the sera rose and fell in concert with rises and declines in antibody titres, although fine analysis showed that the correlation between titre and protection was complex. Once a high level of protection (96% of mice 1 month after a second booster in the cheetahs) had been achieved, the duration of substantial protection appeared good (60% of the mice 5 months after the second booster). Protection conferred on mice by sera from three of four vaccinated rhino was almost complete, but, obscurely, none of the mice receiving serum from the fourth rhino were protected. Sera from three park lions with naturally acquired high antibody titres, included as controls, also conferred high levels of protection. For the purposes of wildlife management, the conclusions were that vaccination of cheetah with the standard animal anthrax vaccine causes no observable ill effect in the animals and does appear to confer protective immunity. At least one well-separated booster does appear to be desirable. Vaccination of rhino also appears to be justified

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Prevalence of Bartonella infection in wild African lions (Panthera leo) and cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Molia, S; Chomel, B B; Kasten, R W; Leutenegger, C M; Steele, B R; Marker, L; Martenson, J S; Keet, D F; Bengis, R G; Peterson, R P; Munson, L; O'Brien, S J

    2004-05-20

    Bartonella species are emerging pathogens that have been isolated worldwide from humans and other mammals. Our objective was to estimate the prevalence of Bartonella infection in free-ranging African lions (Panthera leo) and cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Blood and/or serum samples were collected from a convenience sample of 113 lions and 74 cheetahs captured in Africa between 1982 and 2002. Whole blood samples available from 58 of the lions and 17 of the cheetahs were cultured for evidence of Bartonella spp., and whole blood from 54 of the 58 lions and 73 of the 74 cheetahs tested for the presence of Bartonella DNA by TaqMan PCR. Serum samples from the 113 lions and 74 cheetahs were tested for the presence of antibodies against Bartonella henselae using an immunofluorescence assay. Three (5.2%) of the 58 lions and one (5.9%) of the 17 cheetahs were bacteremic. Two lions were infected with B. henselae, based on PCR/RFLP of the citrate synthase gene. The third lion and the cheetah were infected with previously unidentified Bartonella strains. Twenty-three percent of the 73 cheetahs and 3.7% of the 54 lions tested by TaqMan PCR were positive for Bartonella spp. B. henselae antibody prevalence was 17% (19/113) for the lions and 31% (23/74) for the cheetahs. The prevalence of seropositivity, bacteremia, and positive TaqMan PCR was not significantly different between sexes and age categories (juvenile versus adult) for both lions and cheetahs. Domestic cats are thus no longer the only known carriers of Bartonella spp. in Africa. Translocation of B. henselae seronegative and TaqMan PCR negative wild felids might be effective in limiting the spread of Bartonella infection.

  4. 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

  5. Ejaculate traits in the Namibian cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus): influence of age, season and captivity.

    PubMed

    Crosier, Adrienne E; Marker, Laurie; Howard, JoGayle; Pukazhenthi, Budhan S; Henghali, Josephine N; Wildt, David E

    2007-01-01

    The objective was to examine the influence of animal age, season and captivity status on seminal quality in wild-born cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in Namibia, Africa. Animals were divided into three age categories: juvenile (14-24 months; n = 16 males, 23 ejaculates); adult (25-120 months; n = 76 males, 172 ejaculates); and aged (>120 months; n = 5 males, 5 ejaculates). Seasons were categorised into hot-wet (January-April), cold-dry (May-August) and hot-dry (September-December). A comparison between freshly wild-caught (n = 29 males, 41 ejaculates) and captive-held cheetahs (n = 68 males, 159 ejaculates) was also conducted. Raw ejaculates contained 69.0 +/- 1.1% motile spermatozoa (mean +/- s.e.m.) with 73.6 +/- 1.5% of these cells containing an intact acrosome. Overall, 18.4 +/- 0.9% of spermatozoa were morphologically normal, with midpiece anomalies being the most prevalent (approximately 39%) defect. Juvenile cheetahs produced ejaculates with poorer sperm motility, forward progressive status, lower seminal volume and fewer total motile spermatozoa than adult and aged animals. Spermatogenesis continued unabated throughout the year and was minimally influenced by season. Proportions of sperm malformations were also not affected by season. Ejaculates from captive cheetahs had increased volume and intact acrosomes, but lower sperm density than wild-caught counterparts. In summary, Namibian cheetahs produce an extraordinarily high proportion of pleiomorphic spermatozoa regardless of age, season or living (captive versus free-ranging) status. Young males less than 2 years of age produce poorer ejaculate quality than adult and aged males. Because (1) all study animals were wild born and (2) there was little difference between freshly caught males and those maintained in captivity for protracted periods, our results affirm that teratospermia in the cheetah is mostly genetically derived. It also appears that an ex situ environment for the Namibian cheetah can ensure sperm

  6. 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

  7. Efficacy and long-term outcome of gastritis therapy in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Citino, Scott B; Munson, Linda

    2005-09-01

    A prospective clinical trial evaluating efficacy and long-term outcome of treatments for lymphoplasmacytic gastritis in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) was conducted. The study evaluated efficacy of 11 different antibiotic and antiinflammatory treatment protocols in 32 cheetahs (19 male, 13 female) for reducing gastric inflammation and Helicobacter colonization and monitored the course of disease through histologic grading of gastric biopsies. All cheetahs were biopsied up to I wk before treatment and then rebiopsied within 1 mo after treatment. Most animals were reassigned to a second treatment regimen within 6 mo. Each animal received from one to three treatments during the study period. After the trial, gastric biopsies were obtained from each cheetah annually until death or transfer from the facility to assess disease progression. The trial and follow-up period spanned 10 yr. At onset of the trial, all 32 cheetahs had some degree of gastritis, and 26 cheetahs (81%) were colonized with Helicobacter. Inflammatory lesions worsened regardless of treatment or the presence of Helicobacter. No treatment had a significant effect on inflammatory changes except the lansoprazole/clarithromycin/amoxicillin treatment group, which produced a short-term decrease in inflammation when compared to controls. Prednisone had no effect on gastric inflammation. Overall, 65% of colonized cheetahs were initially cleared of histologic evidence of Helicobacter by treatment, with short-term eradication occurring in 100% of the animals treated with omeprazole/clarithromycin/amoxicillin or tetracycline/metronidazole/Pepto-Bismol for 28 days. Long-term follow-up of treated animals in this study clearly demonstrated that these treatments had little effect on life-long progression of gastritis or on Helicobacter burden in individual cheetahs, although some treatments provided short-term reduction in gastritis and Helicobacter. These results provide evidence that Helicobacter alone is not the cause

  8. 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%).

  9. 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.

  10. Intrinsic factors, adrenal gland morphology, and disease burden in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in South Africa.

    PubMed

    Gillis-Germitsch, Nina; Vybiral, Pamela-Rose; Codron, Daryl; Clauss, Marcus; Kotze, Antoinette; Mitchell, Emily P

    2017-01-01

    Adrenal gland weight (AW) and corticomedullary ratio (ACMR) are used as indicators of stress in animals. Captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) have higher ACMRs than free-ranging ones and stress has been linked to gastritis, amyloidosis, glomerulosclerosis, and myocardial fibrosis. We reviewed age, sex, body weight (BW), kidney weight (KW), and left AW and ACMR with necropsy findings in 51 South African captive cheetahs. Eleven common histopathologic lesions were counted for each animal as measure of its disease burden. Adrenal corticomedullary hyperplasia was significantly correlated with left AW and ACMR. Males had significantly higher AWs than females; other parameters showed no difference between the sexes. Disease burden, gastritis, and myocardial fibrosis were moderately correlated with adrenal morphology supporting prior evidence that gastritis and myocardial fibrosis are linked to stress. Glomerulosclerosis was not correlated with adrenal morphology and neither kidney nor liver amyloidosis contributed significantly to variation in AW or ACMR on multivariate analyses. Interstitial nephritis showed much stronger correlations with kidney and liver amyloidosis than gastritis. All three adrenal parameters were correlated with age; age was the only significant variable affecting ACMR on the multivariate analyses; and disease burden as well as systemic amyloidosis and kidney disease (except for fibrosis) showed moderate correlations with age. Age may, therefore, be important in the pathogenesis of disease in captive cheetahs, particularly of amyloidosis and kidney disease. None of the intrinsic measurements or adrenal parameters were sufficiently closely linked to disease to be used as ante-mortem proxies for disease burden or specific diseases. Zoo Biol. 36:40-49, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. 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.

  12. Radiographic and electrocardiographic evaluation of cardiac morphology and function in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Schumacher, Juergen; Snyder, Patti; Citino, Scott B; Bennett, R Avery; Dvorak, Laura D

    2003-12-01

    In a prospective study, eight (four males and four females) healthy, adult captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) were immobilized with a combination of tiletamine-zolazepam (4 mg/kg, i.m.), administered with a remote drug delivery system, to define normal cardiac morphology and function. Standard lateral and ventrodorsal (VD) radiographs were then taken to measure heart and thorax using a metric and vertebral scale system. Standard six-lead electrocardiograms were obtained with the animals in right lateral recumbency under isoflurane anesthesia. Mean chest depth and width was 18.7 +/- 1.3 cm and 13.0 +/- 0.6 cm, respectively. The mean lateral cardiac short axis (X) was 9.1 +/- 0.6 cm. the mean cardiac long axis (Y) was 13.6 +/- 0.7 cm, and the mean lateral heart sum (X + Y) was 22.6 +/- 1.2 cm. In the VD projection, mean cardiac short axis (V) was 10.1 +/- 0.7 cm, mean cardiac long axis (W) was 14.9 +/- 1.2 cm, and the heart sum (V + W) was 24.9 +/- 1.8 cm. The vertebral heart size was 8.2 +/- 0.9. All cheetahs had sinus rhythm, and no arrhythmias were noted. Mean heart rate was 126 +/- 15 beats/min, and the mean electrical axis was 82 + 5 degrees. P waves were always positive on lead II and had a width of 0.04 +/- 0.01 sec and a height between 0.1 and 0.3 mV. PR intervals were 0.11 +/- 0.01 sec. The height of the QRS complex was 1.25 +/- 0.24 mV and the width 0.06 +/- 0.01 sec. The ST segment was 0.04 sec, and the T wave (height: 0.25 +/- 0.05 mV) was positive in all cheetahs examined. Although these cardiac and thoracic measurements were larger than those of domestic cats (Felis catus), ratios of cardiac parameters were similar in both species. Electrocardiographic findings were similar to those reported from domestic cats.

  13. Treatment with omeprazole, metronidazole, and amoxicillin in captive South African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with spiral bacteria infection and gastritis.

    PubMed

    Lane, Emily; Lobetti, Remo; Burroughs, Richard

    2004-03-01

    Six captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with severe gastritis diagnosed by gastric endoscopy and mucosal histopathology were treated with omeprazole, metronidazole, and amoxicillin for 3 wk. Endoscopic biopsies were performed before therapy, immediately after treatment, and 3, 7, and 19 mo after treatment. Macroscopic appearance of the stomach, histologic scoring of gastric inflammation, and the presence or absence of spiral bacteria were recorded. Spiral bacteria were absent histologically immediately after treatment but reappeared in endoscopic biopsies by 3 mo after treatment. Gastritis scores fluctuated widely during the trial but improved in five of six cheetahs by 3 mo after treatment. By 19 mo after treatment, scores were close to the pretreatment scores. Therapy with omeprazole, amoxicillin, and metronidazole was associated with temporary improvement in the degree and distribution of gastritis in some cheetahs with gastritis, suggesting that treatment may be warranted once severe gastric inflammation has been diagnosed.

  14. Ultrasonography of the liver, spleen, and urinary tract of the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Carstens, Ann; Kirberger, Robert M; Spotswood, Tim; Wagner, Wencke M; Grimbeek, Richard J

    2006-01-01

    Diseases of the abdomen of the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) include those affecting the liver, spleen, and urinary tract. The most common diseases of captive-bred cheetah are gastritis, gastric ulceration, glomerulosclerosis, and hepatic veno-occlusive disease, and are the most frequent causes of mortality in these animals. The purpose of this study was to describe the ultrasonographic anatomy of the normal liver, spleen, kidney, and urinary bladder of the anesthetized captive-bred cheetah. Twenty-one cheetahs were examined. Eight of the 21 animals had subclinical evidence of either gastritis or chronic renal disease. The ultrasonographic appearances of the liver, gall bladder, common bile duct, and spleen were evaluated and various measurements made. Statistical analyses of the measurements were performed on all the healthy and subclinically ill animals taking sex, age, mass, and anesthetic protocol into account. There were no significant differences in any parameters between the healthy and subclinically ill animals (P > 0.25) and data were combined for statistical analyses. The mean mass was 41.1kg ( +/- 8.8) and the mean age was 5.0 years (+/- 2.2). The mean thickness of the liver medial to the gall bladder was 67.0 mm (+/- 14.8) and the liver was within the left costal arch in 75% of animals, extended caudal to the right costal arch in 50% of animals for an average of 30 mm, and extended caudal to the sternum in 63% of animals for an average of 32.5 mm. The maximum mean hepatic vein diameter at the entrance to the caudal vena cava was 8.6 +/- 2.8 mm; the mean diameters of the portal vein at the hilus and that of the caudal vena cava as it entered the liver were 7.5 +/- 1.6 and 9.9 +/- 4.1 mm, respectively. The mean diameter of the caudal vena cava was significantly affected by the type of anesthetic used (P < 0.10). The mass of the animals was significant in explaining the variance in maximum portal vein diameters (P < 0.10). The mean maximum velocity of the

  15. Multicentric T-cell lymphoma associated with feline leukemia virus infection in a captive namibian cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Marker, Laurie; Munson, Linda; Basson, Peter A; Quackenbush, Sandra

    2003-07-01

    This case report describes a multicentric lymphoma in a 4 yr old female wildborn captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) in Namibia after being housed in an enclosure adjacent to a feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infected cheetah that had previously been in contact with domestic cats. The year prior to the onset of clinical signs, the wild-born cheetah was FeLV antigen negative. The cheetah subsequently developed lymphoma, was found to be infected with FeLV, and then rapidly deteriorated and died. At necropsy, the liver, spleen, lymph nodes, and multiple other organs were extensively infiltrated with neoplastic T-lymphocytes. Feline leukemia virus DNA was identified in neoplastic lymphocytes from multiple organs by polymerase chain reaction and Southern blot analysis. Although the outcome of infection in this cheetah resembles that of FeLV infections in domestic cats, the transmission across an enclosure fence was unusual and may indicate a heightened susceptibility to infection in cheetahs. Caution should be exercised in holding and translocating cheetahs where contact could be made with FeLV-infected domestic, feral, or wild felids.

  16. A molecular epidemiologic investigation of Salmonella from a meat source to the feces of captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Venter, Estelle H; van Vuuren, Moritz; Carstens, Johann; van der Walt, Martha L; Nieuwoudt, Badenhorst; Steyn, Helena; Kriek, Nick P J

    2003-03-01

    Low cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) birth rates were observed for a long time in a captive breeding facility in which Salmonella, which was possibly present in contaminated beef, was isolated from still-born lion (Panthera leo) cubs. Salmonella, including 14 isolates of Salmonella serovar typhimurium and 19 isolates of Salmonella serovar muenchen, was subsequently isolated 47 times from 378 meat samples at the facility during a 13-mo period. Salmonella, including 26 isolates of S. serovar typhimurium, 10 of S. serovar muenchen, and 11 other serovars, also was isolated 54 times from 119 fecal samples. Only three plasmid profiles were identified in 59 S. typhimurium isolates from both meat and fecal samples. Although random-amplified polymorphic DNA fingerprinting using different primers in the polymerase chain reaction was able to distinguish between S. typhimurium and S. muenchen and to demonstrate similar chromosomal DNA fingerprints in some of the isolates from meat and feces, the results were not consistent enough to prove that the Salmonella in the feces originated from contaminated meat. However, the predominance of only two serovars in the meat fed to carnivores and in the feces of these animals suggests that the meat was the source of the Salmonella organisms in the feces.

  17. Tracking data from nine free-roaming Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) collared in the Thabazimbi area, Limpopo Province, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Marnewick, Kelly; Roxburgh, Lizanne; Somers, Michael J.

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Background In partnership with the University of Pretoria, the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Programme collared six male and three female free-roaming Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in the Thabazimbi area in Limpopo Province, South Africa. This study was undertaken to determine the spatial ecology of free-roaming Cheetahs that occur outside of formal protected areas on private ranchland, where they frequently come into conflict with, and are sometimes killed by, private landowners. The data were collected between September 2003 and November 2008, resulting in a total of 3165 location points (65 points from VHF collars and 3100 from GPS collars) for nine individual Cheetahs. New information This dataset provides distribution information about this Vulnerable species occurring outside of protected areas within South Africa. The dataset has been published to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (www.GBIF.org) and provides the largest dataset on Cheetahs thus far, and, although it is spatially limited to a relatively small region on the African continent, it is the first study of its kind within South Africa. Also of significance is that the fate of 6 of the 9 collared Cheetahs is known, all except one of which died of anthropogenic causes. PMID:28325981

  18. 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.

  19. Validation of the 13C-urea breath test for use in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with Helicobacter.

    PubMed

    Chatfield, Jenifer; Citino, Scott; Munson, Linda; Konopka, Stanley

    2004-06-01

    Historically, therapeutic monitoring for prescribed eradication treatment of Helicobacter in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with associated gastritis has been accomplished only through endoscopic biopsies. The 13C-urea breath test (UBT) can offer an alternative to repeated biopsies for therapeutic monitoring. Five male and five female cheetahs and one male Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris) were studied. All were clinically healthy before and after this investigation. Breath samples of end-tidal expiration were taken before and after administration of a 13C-enriched urea solution through a gastroesophageal tube. Twenty-milliliter breath samples were taken at 10, 20, 30, and 40 min after administration of the urea solution. The results of the breath analysis were compared with the results of rapid urease testing, histopathologic examination, and impression smears of gastric biopsies taken at the time of the breath test. The sensitivity and specificity for the 13C-UBT in this investigation were 100%. and the positive predictive value and negative predictive value were both 100%. Although the 13C-UBT is a good noninvasive diagnostic tool for monitoring the presence of Helicobacter sp. in the gastric mucosa, endoscopy should still be used for initial diagnosis and grading of gastritis and for monitoring the progression of disease in cheetahs. The 13C-UBT is a valuable, simple, accurate, and sensitive tool for monitoring eradication of Helicobacter during therapy for clinical gastritis.

  20. Extrinsic factors significantly affect patterns of disease in free-ranging and captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) populations.

    PubMed

    Munson, Linda; Terio, Karen A; Worley, Michael; Jago, Mark; Bagot-Smith, Arthur; Marker, Laurie

    2005-07-01

    The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has been considered a paradigm for disease vulnerability due to loss of genetic diversity. This species monomorphism has been suspected to be the basis for their general poor health and dwindling populations in captivity. North American and South African captive populations have high prevalences of hepatic veno-occlusive disease, glomerulosclerosis, gastritis, and systemic amyloidosis, diseases that are rare in other species. Unusually severe inflammatory reactions to common infectious agents have also been documented in captive cheetahs. The current study compared disease prevalences in free-ranging Namibian cheetahs with those in two captive populations of similar ages. The occurrence of diseases in the free-ranging population was determined from 49 necropsies and 27 gastric biopsies obtained between 1986 and 2003 and compared with prevalences in 147 North American and 80 South African captive cheetahs. Except for two cheetahs, the free-ranging population was in robust health with only mild lesions present, in contrast with significantly higher prevalences in the captive populations. Despite widespread heavy Helicobacter colonization in wild cheetahs, only 3% of the free-ranging population had moderate to severe gastritis, in contrast with 64% of captive cheetahs. No severe inflammatory reactions to viral infections were detected in the free-ranging animals. Because free-ranging Namibian cheetahs are as genetically impoverished as captive cheetahs, these findings caution against attributing loss of fitness solely to genetic factors and attest to the fundamental importance of extrinsic factors in wildlife health.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Evidence for chronic stress in captive but not free-ranging cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) based on adrenal morphology and function.

    PubMed

    Terio, Karen A; Marker, Laurie; Munson, Linda

    2004-04-01

    The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is highly endangered because of loss of habitat in the wild and failure to thrive in captivity. Cheetahs in zoos reproduce poorly and have high prevalences of unusual diseases that cause morbidity and mortality. These diseases are rarely observed in free-ranging cheetahs but have been documented in cheetahs that have been captured and held in captive settings either temporarily or permanently. Because captivity may be stressful for this species and stress is suspected as contributing to poor health and reproduction, this study aimed to measure chronic stress by comparing baseline concentrations of fecal corticoid metabolites and adrenal gland morphology between captive and free-ranging cheetahs. Additionally, concentrations of estradiol and testosterone metabolites were quantified to determine whether concentrations of gonadal steroids correlated with corticoid concentration and to assure that corticosteroids in the free-ranging samples were not altered by environmental conditions. Concetntrations of fecal corticoids, estradiol, and testosterone were quantified by radioimmunoassay in 20 free-ranging and 20 captive cheetahs from samples collected between 1994 and 1999. Concentrations of baseline fecal corticoids were significantly higher (p = 0.005) in captive cheetahs (196.08 +/- 36.20 ng/g dry feces) than free-ranging cheetahs (71.40 +/- 14.35 ng/g dry feces). Testosterone concentrations were lower in captive male cheetahs (9.09 +/- 2.84 ng/g dry feces) than in free-ranging cheetahs (34.52 +/- 12.11 ng/g dry feces), which suggests suppression by elevated corticoids in the captive males. Evidence for similar sulppression of estradiol concentrations in females was not present. Adrenal corticomedullary ratios were determined on midsagittal sections of adrenal glands from 13 free-ranging and 13 captive cheetahs obtained between 1991 and 2002. The degree of vacuolation of cortical cells in the zona fasciculata was graded for each animal

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Validating a commercially available enzyme immunoassay for the determination of 17beta-estradiol and progestogens in the feces of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus): a case report.

    PubMed

    Borque, C; Perez-Garnelo, S S; Lopez, M; Talavera, C; Delclaux, M; de la Fuente, J

    2005-03-01

    Fecal 17beta-estradiol and progestogens excretion was monitored in adult, female cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus; n = 2), ZGG-12301 (born 3 April 1993), gonadotrophin treated and ZGT-3301, (born 19 August 1993), nontreated, for 120 days using commercially available plate enzyme immunoassay kits prepared for human serum or plasma. There were significant differences (P < 0.001) between baseline and peak concentrations of both hormone measures. Female ZGG-12301, which conceived, but this pregnancy resulted in an unobserved spontaneous abortion, showed no significant difference (P > 0.05) between baseline and gestation 17beta-estradiol values; fecal 17beta-estradiol excretion during pregnancy was statistically different (P < 0.001) from excretion during the nonpregnancy period. Baseline progestogen concentrations were different from pregnancy (P < 0.001) and postovulatory (P < 0.01) concentrations, and progestogen concentrations during pregnancy period were different (P < 0.001) from postovulatory concentrations. In the nontreated cheetah (ZGT-3301), basal and increased progestogen concentrations were statistically different (P < 0.01). On the basis of 17beta-estradiol excretory patterns, duration of the estrous cycle (x +/- SEM) was 13.2 +/- 2.2 days. These results suggest that the enzyme-linked immunosorbent methods reported in this study were capable of quantifying reproductive hormones in fecal extracts of cheetahs and could be a practical alternative to other enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays which require more complex procedures.

  10. Cryptococcus neoformans granuloma in the lung and spinal cord of a free-ranging cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). A clinical report and literature review.

    PubMed

    Millward, I R; Williams, M C

    2005-12-01

    A 6-year-old, male, wild-born, free-ranging cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) was evaluated for acute onset of progressive lameness in the right hind limb. Survey radiographs were unrewarding and myelography indicated an intramedullary compressive mass at the L3-L4 region. A fine needle aspirate of the lesion indicated the presence of Cryptococcus organisms. Necropsy confirmed the presence of granulomas (cryptococcoma) in the lung and the spinal cord (meningomyelitis) caused by Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii. Cryptococcus neoformans is a yeast-like organism that is a potential pathogen to many species. Initial infection is thought to be of respiratory origin and then it commonly disseminates systemically from the nasal cavity or lungs to the skin, eyes and central nervous system in particular. The cheetah tested negative for both feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), as have all the previously reported cheetah cases. C. neoformans is a non-contagious, opportunistic organism and is the most common systemic mycoses in domestic cats and the cheetah.

  11. CARDIORESPIRATORY EFFECTS OF DEXMEDETOMIDINE-BUTORPHANOL-MIDAZOLAM (DBM): A FULLY REVERSIBLE ANESTHETIC PROTOCOL IN CAPTIVE AND SEMI-FREE-RANGING CHEETAHS (ACINONYX JUBATUS).

    PubMed

    Woc Colburn, A Margarita; Murray, Suzan; Hayek, Lee-Ann C; Marker, Laurie; Sanchez, Carlos R

    2017-03-01

    Multiple anesthesia protocols have been used in the cheetah ( Acinonyx jubatus ). Twenty healthy, captive cheetahs were immobilized with dexmedetomidine (15.8 ± 1.9 μg/kg), butorphanol (0.22 ± 0.03 mg/kg), and midazolam (0.18 ± 0.03 mg/kg) by intramuscular injection. Induction, recumbency, and recovery times were recorded, and physiologic parameters were monitored. Anesthesia was antagonized with atipamezole (0.125 ± 0.02 mg/kg) and naltrexone (0.1 ± 0.014 mg/kg) intramuscularly. All cheetahs were safely anesthetized with this protocol. Cheetahs were laterally recumbent by 8 ± 3.5 min. Cardiorespiratory values were stable throughout the length of anesthesia. Moderate hypertension, with systolic blood pressure ranging from 178 ± 19.8 mm Hg, was initially observed but decreased over time. There was a statistical decreasing trend in temperature; SpO2; and systolic, mean, and diastolic blood pressure, but not in heart rate and end-tidal CO2. Recoveries were rapid, with cheetahs standing by 11.3 ± 5.7 min postreversal administration. This is the first report of a dexmedetomidine-butorphanol-midazolam anesthetic combination in cheetahs. Overall, this anesthetic protocol proved to be safe and effective.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Cardiopulmonary effects of medetomidine or midazolam in combination with ketamine or tiletamine/zolazepam for the immobilisation of captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Stegmann, G F; Jago, M

    2006-12-01

    Captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) scheduled for either general health examination or dental surgery were immobilised with combinations of medetomidine-ketamine (K/DET, n = 19), midazolam-ketamine (K/MID, n = 4) or medetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam (Z/DET, n = 5). Induction time and arterial blood pressure was not statistically significantly (P > 0.05) different between treatment groups. Transient seizures were observed in the K/DET treated animals during induction. Hypertension was present in all groups during anaesthesia with mean (+/- SD) systolic pressure of 30.7 +/- 5.0 kPa for the K/DET group, 27.7 +/- 2.7 kPa for the K/MID group, and 33.1 +/- 4.6 kPa for the Z/DET group. Heart rate was statistically significantly (P < 0.05) lower in the K/DET group (69 +/- 13.2 beats/min) compared to the K/MID group (97 +/- 22.6 beats/min), and ventilation rate was statistically significantly (P < 0.05) lower in the K/MID group (15 +/- 0.0 breaths/min) compared with the K/DET group (21 +/- 4.6). A metabolic acidosis and hypoxia were observed during anaesthesia when breathing air. Oxygen (O2) administration resulted in a statistically significant (P < 0.05) increase in the arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide (hypercapnoea), arterial partial pressure of O2, and % oxyhaemoglobin saturation.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. The use of reference strand-mediated conformational analysis for the study of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) feline leucocyte antigen class II DRB polymorphisms.

    PubMed

    Drake, G J C; Kennedy, L J; Auty, H K; Ryvar, R; Ollier, W E R; Kitchener, A C; Freeman, A R; Radford, A D

    2004-01-01

    There is now considerable evidence to suggest the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has limited genetic diversity. However, the extent of this and its significance to the fitness of the cheetah population, both in the wild and captivity, is the subject of some debate. This reflects the difficulty associated with establishing a direct link between low variability at biologically significant loci and deleterious aspects of phenotype in this, and other, species. Attempts to study one such region, the feline leucocyte antigen (FLA), are hampered by a general reliance on cloning and sequencing which is expensive, labour-intensive, subject to PCR artefact and always likely to underestimate true variability. In this study we have applied reference strand-mediated conformational analysis (RSCA) to determine the FLA-DRB phenotypes of 25 cheetahs. This technique was rapid, repeatable and less prone to polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-induced sequence artefacts associated with cloning. Individual cheetahs were shown to have up to three FLA-DRB genes. A total of five alleles were identified (DRB*ha14-17 and DRB*gd01) distributed among four genotypes. Fifteen cheetahs were DRB*ha14/ha15/ha16/ha17, three were DRB*ha15/ha16/ha17, six were DRB*ha14/ha16/ha17 and one was DRB*ha14/ha15/ha16/ha17/gd01. Sequence analysis of DRB*gd01 suggested it was a recombinant of DRB*ha16 and DRB*ha17. Generation of new alleles is difficult to document, and the clear demonstration of such an event is unusual. This study confirms further the limited genetic variability of the cheetah at a biologically significant region. RSCA will facilitate large-scale studies that will be needed to correlate genetic diversity at such loci with population fitness in the cheetah and other species.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Isolation of Bartonella henselae, Bartonella koehlerae subsp. koehlerae, Bartonella koehlerae subsp. bothieri and a new subspecies of B. koehlerae from free-ranging lions (Panthera leo) from South Africa, cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) from Namibia and captive cheetahs from California.

    PubMed

    Molia, S; Kasten, R W; Stuckey, M J; Boulouis, H J; Allen, J; Borgo, G M; Koehler, J E; Chang, C C; Chomel, B B

    2016-11-01

    Bartonellae are blood- and vector-borne Gram-negative bacteria, recognized as emerging pathogens. Whole-blood samples were collected from 58 free-ranging lions (Panthera leo) in South Africa and 17 cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) from Namibia. Blood samples were also collected from 11 cheetahs (more than once for some of them) at the San Diego Wildlife Safari Park. Bacteria were isolated from the blood of three (5%) lions, one (6%) Namibian cheetah and eight (73%) cheetahs from California. The lion Bartonella isolates were identified as B. henselae (two isolates) and B. koehlerae subsp. koehlerae. The Namibian cheetah strain was close but distinct from isolates from North American wild felids and clustered between B. henselae and B. koehlerae. It should be considered as a new subspecies of B. koehlerae. All the Californian semi-captive cheetah isolates were different from B. henselae or B. koehlerae subsp. koehlerae and from the Namibian cheetah isolate. They were also distinct from the strains isolated from Californian mountain lions (Felis concolor) and clustered with strains of B. koehlerae subsp. bothieri isolated from free-ranging bobcats (Lynx rufus) in California. Therefore, it is likely that these captive cheetahs became infected by an indigenous strain for which bobcats are the natural reservoir.

  5. The composition of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) milk.

    PubMed

    Osthoff, G; Hugo, A; de Wit, M

    2006-01-01

    Milk was obtained from two captive bred cheetahs. The nutrient content was 99.6 g protein; 64.8 g fat; and 40.21 g lactose per kg milk. Small amounts of oligosaccharides, glucose, galactose and fucose were noted. The protein fraction respectively consisted of 34.2 g caseins per kg milk and of 65.3 g whey proteins per kg milk. Very little variation in milk composition among the individual cheetahs was noted. Electrophoresis and identification of protein bands showed a similar migrating sequence of proteins as seen in lion's and cat's milk, with small differences in the beta-caseins. The lipid fraction contains 290.4 g saturated and 337.3 g mono-unsaturated fatty acids per kg milk fat respectively. The high content of 279.5 g kg(-1) milk fat of polyunsaturated fatty acids is due to a high content in alpha-linolenic acid. No short chain fatty acids, but substantial levels of uneven carbon chain fatty acids were observed.

  6. Poxvirus infection of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in Alaska.

    PubMed

    Burek, Kathy A; Beckmen, Kimberlee; Gelatt, Tom; Fraser, Woody; Bracht, Alexa J; Smolarek, Kara A; Romero, Carlos H

    2005-10-01

    Lesions suggestive of poxvirus infection were observed in two Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in Alaska during live capture-and-release studies during 2000 and 2001. Both of these animals, female pups in poor body condition, were from Prince William Sound; this population is part of the declining western stock. Umbilicated, typically ulcerated dermal nodules were present, primarily on the fore flippers in one case, and over most of the body in the second case. Histologically, there were discrete masses in the superficial dermis composed of epithelial cells, some of which contained eosinophilic intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies. Negative staining of skin biopsy homogenates demonstrated the presence of orthopoxvirus-like particles. Total DNA extracted from skin biopsies were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using primers that targeted the DNA polymerase and DNA topoisomerase genes. These primers directed the amplification of fragments 543 base pairs (bp) and 344 bp, respectively, whose deduced amino acid sequences indicated the presence of a novel poxvirus within the Chordopoxvirinae subfamily. Comparison of these amino acid sequences with homologous sequences from members of the Chordopoxvirinae indicated highest identity with orthopoxviruses.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Marine vesiviruses were isolated in cell culture from oral and rectal swabs and vesicular fluids 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 ...

  8. 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.

  9. Diseases of captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) in South Africa: a 20-year retrospective survey.

    PubMed

    Munson, L; Nesbit, J W; Meltzer, D G; Colly, L P; Bolton, L; Kriek, N P

    1999-09-01

    As part of an ongoing study to determine the basis for high prevalences of veno-occlusive disease, glomerulosclerosis, and chronic lymphoplasmacytic gastritis in cheetahs, a retrospective pathology survey of captive cheetahs in the Republic of South Africa (RSA) was conducted. The RSA population was selected because its genetic composition and captive management were similar to those of the cheetah population in U.S. zoos, in which these diseases are common. For this study, archived pathology materials at the University of Pretoria Faculty of Veterinary Sciences in Onderstepoort and the Faculty of Veterinary Science, MEDUNSA, from 69 cheetahs that died between 1975 and 1995 were reviewed, and prevalences of common lesions were compared with those in the U.S. population. Gastritis associated with Helicobacter-like organisms was the most prevalent disease, accounting for close to 40% of the mortalities, including several cheetahs < 3 yr old. Glomerulosclerosis and veno-occlusive disease also were major causes of mortality in RSA cheetahs. RSA cheetahs also had adrenal cortical hyperplasia, cardiac fibrosis, lymphocytic depletion of the spleen, systemic amyloidosis, and splenic myelolipomas. The presence in the captive RSA cheetah population of the same unusual diseases that are common in U.S. cheetahs suggests a species predilection to develop these diseases in captivity.

  10. Demonstration of parvovirus in diarrhoeic African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus Schreber, 1775).

    PubMed

    Valícek, L; Smíd, B; Váhala, J

    1993-01-01

    Parvovirus was demonstrated in the intestinal content of diarrhoeic African cheetahs by electron microscopy. The virus was isolated in a feline kidney cell line inoculated with a filtrate of the intestinal content. Its growth characteristics, cytopathic effect, agglutination of porcine erythrocytes, structure, and results of immunoelectron microscopic examination were indistinguishable from those of feline panleukopenia virus.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    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

  12. Analysis of amyloid fibrils in the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Bergström, Joakim; Ueda, Mitsuharu; Une, Yumi; Sun, Xuguo; Misumi, Shogo; Shoji, Shozo; Ando, Yukio

    2006-06-01

    Recently, a high prevalence of amyloid A (AA) amyloidosis has been documented among captive cheetahs worldwide. Biochemical analysis of amyloid fibrils extracted from the liver of a Japanese captive cheetah unequivocally showed that protein AA was the main fibril constituent. Further characterization of the AA fibril components by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and Western blot analysis revealed three main protein AA bands with approximate molecular weights of 8, 10 and 12 kDa. Mass spectrometry analysis of the 12-kDa component observed in SDS-PAGE and Western blotting confirmed the molecular weight of a 12,381-Da peak. Our finding of a 12-kDa protein AA component provides evidence that the cheetah SAA sequence is longer than the previously reported 90 amino acid residues (approximately 10 kDa), and hence SAA is part of the amyloid fibril.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. ACTH stimulation test in the captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Köster, L S; Schoeman, J P; Meltzer, D G A

    2007-09-01

    Serum cortisol response was assessed in 8 captive cheetahs, of varying ages, after the intravenous administration of 500 microg of tetracosactide (Synacthen Depot, Novartis, Kempton Park) while maintained under general anaesthesia. In addition, 8 cheetahs were anaesthetised and given an equal volume of saline in order to establish baseline cortisol concentrations at similar stages of anaesthesia. A significant difference in the median cortisol concentration measured over time was found following ACTH administration in the ACTH group (P < 0.001). There was no difference between the median cortisol concentrations in the ACTH group at time-points 120, 150 and 180 min after ACTH stimulation (P = 0.867). Thus it appears appropriate to collect serum 120 to 180 min after tetracosactide administration to assess maximal stimulation of the adrenal in the cheetah. No statistically significant rise was seen in the anaesthetised control group following the injection of saline (P = 0.238).

  16. Ulnar metaphyseal osteochondrosis in seven captive bred cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Allan, Graeme; Portas, Timothy; Bryant, Benn; Howlett, Rolfe; Blyde, David

    2008-01-01

    Distal ulna metaphyseal osteochondrosis was identified in seven captive bred cheetahs raised in Australia between 1984 and 2005. The disorder was characterized by bilateral carpal valgus conformation. In the metaphyseal region of the distal ulnae, an osteolucent defect that appeared as a proximal extension of the lucent physis was identified radiographically between 6 and 10 months of age. Ulna ostectomy was done to correct the angular limb deformity. Histologically, changes were identified in the osteolucent lesion that resembled osteochondrosis. We propose that the condition is probably familial and/or dietary in origin.

  17. Glacial refugia and the phylogeography of Steller's sea lion (Eumatopias jubatus) in the North Pacific.

    PubMed

    Harlin-Cognato, A; Bickham, J W; Loughlin, T R; Honeycutt, R L

    2006-05-01

    Mitochondrial DNA sequence data were used to examine the phylogeographic history of Steller's sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in relation to the presence of Plio-Pleistocene insular refugia. Cytochrome b and control region sequences from 336 Steller's sea lions reveal phylogenetic lineages associated with continental refugia south of the ice sheets in North America and Eurasia. Phylogenetic analysis suggests the genetic structure of E. jubatus is the result of Pleistocene glacial geology, which caused the elimination and subsequent reappearance of suitable rookery habitat during glacial and interglacial periods. The cyclic nature of geological change produced a series of independent population expansions, contractions and isolations that had analogous results on Steller's sea lions and other marine and terrestrial species. Our data show evidence of four glacial refugia in which populations of Steller's sea lions diverged. These events occurred from approximately 60,000 to 180,000 years BP and thus preceded the last glacial maximum.

  18. No evidence of metabolic depression in Western Alaskan juvenile Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus).

    PubMed

    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.

  19. 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

  20. Assessing substitution patterns, rates and homoplasy at HVRI of Steller sea lions, Eumetopias jubatus.

    PubMed

    Phillips, C D; Trujillo, R G; Gelatt, T S; Smolen, M J; Matson, C W; Honeycutt, R L; Patton, J C; Bickham, J W

    2009-08-01

    Despite the widely recognized incidence of homoplasy characterizing this region, the hypervariable region I (HVRI) of the mitochondrial control region is one of the most frequently used genetic markers for population genetic and phylogeographic studies. We present an evolutionary analysis of HVRI and cytochrome b sequences from a range-wide survey of 1031 Steller sea lions, Eumetopias jubatus, to quantify homoplasy and substitution rate at HVRI. Variation in HVRI was distributed across 41 variable sites in the 238-bp segment examined. All variants at HVR1 were found to be transitions. However, our analyses suggest that a minimum of 101 changes have actually occurred within HVRI with as many as 18 substitutions occurring at a single site. By including this hidden variation into our analyses, several instances of apparent long-range dispersal were resolved to be homoplasies and 8.5-12% of observed HVRI haplotypes were found to have geographic distributions descriptive of convergent molecular evolution rather than identity by descent. We estimate the rate of substitution at HVRI in Steller sea lions to be approximately 24 times that of cytochrome b with an absolute rate of HVRI substitution estimated at 27.45% per million years. These findings have direct implications regarding the utility of HVRI data to generate a variety of evolutionary genetic hypotheses.

  1. 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

    2011-04-07

    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

  2. Seroprevalences to Viral Pathogens in Free-Ranging and Captive Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) on Namibian Farmland▿

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    SUMMARY 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 (=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

  4. Molecular genetic insights on cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) ecology and conservation in Namibia.

    PubMed

    Marker, Laurie L; Pearks Wilkerson, Alison J; Sarno, Ronald J; Martenson, Janice; Breitenmoser-Würsten, Christian; O'Brien, Stephen J; Johnson, Warren E

    2008-01-01

    The extent and geographic patterns of molecular genetic diversity of the largest remaining free-ranging cheetah population were described in a survey of 313 individuals from throughout Namibia. Levels of relatedness, including paternity/maternity (parentage), were assessed across all individuals using 19 polymorphic microsatellite loci, and unrelated cheetahs (n = 89) from 7 regions were genotyped at 38 loci to document broad geographical patterns. There was limited differentiation among regions, evidence that this is a generally panmictic population. Measures of genetic variation were similar among all regions and were comparable with Eastern African cheetah populations. Parentage analyses confirmed several observations based on field studies, including 21 of 23 previously hypothesized family groups, 40 probable parent/offspring pairs, and 8 sibling groups. These results also verified the successful integration and reproduction of several cheetahs following natural dispersal or translocation. Animals within social groups (family groups, male coalitions, or sibling groups) were generally related. Within the main study area, radio-collared female cheetahs were more closely interrelated than similarly compared males, a pattern consistent with greater male dispersal. The long-term maintenance of current patterns of genetic variation in Namibia depends on retaining habitat characteristics that promote natural dispersal and gene flow of cheetahs.

  5. Group management influences reproductive function of the male cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Koester, Diana C; Freeman, Elizabeth W; Wildt, David E; Terrell, Kimberly A; Franklin, Ashley D; Meeks, Karen; Crosier, Adrienne E

    2015-09-21

    Although the free-ranging cheetah is generally socially solitary, as many as 60% of males live in same-sex (usually sibling) coalitions. Under ex situ conditions, the cheetah experiences low reproductive success with only ~18% of males having ever produced young. Most male cheetahs (85%) are managed in captivity in coalitions, but with no data on the influence of social grouping on reproductive parameters. We examined the influence of singleton versus coalition management on various male cheetah physiological traits, including ejaculate quality and gonadal and adrenal hormone metabolite concentrations. We also assessed behaviour within coalitions for evidence of social hierarchy through initiation of interactions with group mates and relatedness to physiological traits. Ejaculate quality (including total motile and structurally normal spermatozoa per ejaculate) and androgen concentration profiles were higher (P < 0.05) in coalition compared with singleton males. These results support the conclusion that testis function in the cheetah, specifically related to the development of normal, motile spermatozoa and androgen production, is influenced by management with same-sex conspecifics. The findings have implications for ex situ conservation breeding programs by suggesting that reproductive quality can be enhanced through group maintenance of cheetah males.

  6. Circumventing the natural, frequent oestrogen waves of the female cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) using oral progestin (Altrenogest).

    PubMed

    Crosier, Adrienne E; Comizzoli, Pierre; Koester, Diana C; Wildt, David E

    2016-08-03

    Cheetah are induced ovulators, experiencing short, variable oestrogen waves year-round. Exogenous gonadotrophin administration induces ovulation, but success is variable and often improves if ovaries are quiescent. After affirming the presence of short-term oestrogenic waves, we examined the effect of the timing of administration of exogenous equine and human chorionic gonadotrophins (eCG-hCG) within the oestrogen concentration pattern on subsequent follicle development and oocyte and corpus luteum quality. We also investigated ovarian suppression using an oral progestin (Altrenogest, 7 days) and assessed whether Altrenogest moderated adrenal activity by reducing glucocorticoid metabolites. All cheetahs exhibited short (every ~7-10 days), sporadic, year-round increases in faecal oestradiol punctuated by unpredictable periods (4-10 weeks) of baseline oestradiol (anoestrous). Gonadotrophin (eCG-hCG) efficacy was not affected by oestradiol 'wave' pattern if administered ≥3 days after an oestrogen peak. Such cheetahs produced normative faecal progestagen patterns and higher numbers (P<0.06) of mature oocytes than females given gonadotrophins ≤2 days after an oestradiol peak. Altrenogest supplementation expanded the interval between oestradiol peaks to 12.9 days compared with 7.3 days without progestin pretreatment. Altrenogest-fed females excreted less (P<0.05) glucocorticoid metabolites than non-supplemented counterparts. Results show that Altrenogest is effective for suppressing follicular activity, may contribute to reduced glucocorticoid production and may result in more effective ovulation induction via gonadotrophin therapy.

  7. 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.

  8. Improved quality of cryopreserved cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) spermatozoa after centrifugation through Accudenz.

    PubMed

    Crosier, Adrienne E; Henghali, Josephine N; Howard, Jogayle; Pukazhenthi, Budhan S; Terrell, Kimberly A; Marker, Laurie L; Wildt, David E

    2009-01-01

    Sperm cryopreservation, in combination with assisted reproductive techniques, is a valuable tool for the genetic management of endangered felids. However, the acrosome of the cheetah spermatozoon is especially sensitive to cryopreservation, with approximately 40% of spermatozoa experiencing acrosomal damage immediately after thawing and then another approximately 15% loss during the next 4 hours in vitro. Additionally, thawing causes a reduction in sperm motility by approximately 20% with another decrease of approximately 12% during subsequent incubation in vitro. We hypothesized that slow removal of glycerol from cryopreserved cheetah spermatozoa using an Accudenz gradient would improve acrosomal integrity, sperm motility longevity, and structural morphology. Accudenz was compared with traditional cheetah sperm processing methods for glycerol removal that involves washing, multistep resuspension, and swim-up processing. Electroejaculates (n = 21 total from 8 males) were washed in Ham F10 medium, and sperm pellets were resuspended in TEST-yolk buffer with 0% glycerol. Samples were cryopreserved in straws in 4% final glycerol, thawed, and assessed for percent intact acrosomes (% IA), percent motility (% M), and forward progressive status (FPS; scale, 0-5). Sperm motility index (SMI) was calculated as (% M + [FPS x 20]) / 2. In study 1, glycerol removal by centrifugation through an Accudenz gradient (4%, 10%) was compared with traditional sperm washing (control) and multistep resuspension protocols. At each time after centrifugation (hourly for 4 hours), % IA was improved (P < .05) for Accudenz (range, 36%-39%) compared with control (30%-33%) and multistep (29%-33%) treatments. In study 2, a modified Accudenz protocol was compared with traditional washing and was found to improve (P < .05) SMI (range, 52-64) compared with controls (range, 41-52) at each time postthaw after centrifugation. In study 3, swim-up processed sperm were compared with those treated by centrifugation through Accudenz and traditional sperm washing for improving sperm morphology. The percentage of structurally-normal sperm recovered postthawing increased (P < .05) for both the Accudenz (38%) and swim-up (33%) treatments compared with controls (21%). Percent IA and SMI also were improved (P < .05) for Accudenz (range, 39%-47% and 46-59, respectively) compared with controls (range, 26%-33% and 40-53, respectively). Results indicate that using Accudenz for glycerol removal from cryopreserved cheetah sperm mitigates the significant loss in sperm quality that occurs after freeze-thawing. This alleviation of cellular damage resulting from cryopreservation contributes to a more than 10% improvement in overall sperm motility and, more importantly, allows retention of 40% or more of sperm with intact acrosomes.

  9. The morphological characteristics of the antebrachiocarpal joint of the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Ohale, L O C; Groenewald, H B

    2003-03-01

    A morphological study of the structures of the antebrachiocarpal (AC) joint of the cheetah was carded out by dissection of eight forelimbs obtained from four adult cheetahs culled from the Kruger National Park, Republic of South Africa. The aim was to evaluate the deviations of this joint from the normal feline pattern and to consider their possible relationship to the cheetah's adaptation to speed. Although published data on the AC joint of the other felids show general resemblance to that of the cheetah, there are nevertheless slight, but significant variations and modifications which tend to suggest adaptation to speed. The shafts of the radius and ulna of the cheetah are relatively straight and slender, with poorly developed distal ends. The ulnar notch is reduced to a very shallow concavity while the corresponding ulnar facet is a barely noticeable convexity, separated from the distal ulnar articular facet by an ill-defined groove. The movement of the distal radio-ulnar joint is highly restricted by the presence of a fibro-cartilaginous structure and a strong interrosseous membrane, limiting pronation and supination normally achieved by the rotation of the radius around the ulna. The extensor grooves at the distal extremity of the radius are deep and narrow and are guarded by prominent ridges. A thick extensor retinaculum anchors the strong extensor tendons in these grooves. The distal articular surface of the radius is concave in all directions except at the point where it moves into its stylold process. At this point it is convex in the dorsopalmar direction, with a surface that is rather deep and narrow. The proximal row of carpal bones presents a strongly convex surface, which is more pronounced in the dorsopalmar direction with the greatest convexity on the lateral aspect. Medially, there is a ridge-like concavity across the base of the tubercle, which rocks on the flexor surface of the radius, limiting excessive flexion as well as restricting lateral deviation of the AC joint.

  10. 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%.

  11. 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.

  12. Comparison of Helicobacter spp. in Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with and without Gastritis

    PubMed Central

    Terio, K. A.; Munson, L.; Marker, L.; Aldridge, B. M.; Solnick, J. V.

    2005-01-01

    Chronic gastritis causes significant morbidity and mortality in captive cheetahs but is rare in wild cheetahs despite colonization by abundant spiral bacteria. This research aimed to identify the Helicobacter species that were associated with gastritis in captive cheetahs but are apparently commensal in wild cheetahs. Helicobacter species were characterized by PCR amplification and sequencing of the 16S rRNA, urease, and cagA genes and by transmission electron microscopy of frozen or formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded gastric samples from 33 cheetahs infected with Helicobacter organisms (10 wild without gastritis and 23 captive with gastritis). Samples were screened for mixed infections by denaturant gel gradient electrophoresis of the 16S rRNA gene and by transmission electron microscopy. There was no association between Helicobacter infection and the presence or severity of gastritis. Eight cheetahs had 16S rRNA sequences that were most similar (98 to 99%) to H. pylori. Twenty-five cheetahs had sequences that were most similar (97 to 99%) to “H. heilmannii” or H. felis. No cheetahs had mixed infections. The ultrastructural morphology of all bacteria was most consistent with “H. heilmannii,” even when 16S rRNA sequences were H. pylori-like. The urease gene from H. pylori-like bacteria could not be amplified with primers for either “H. heilmannii” or H. pylori urease, suggesting that this bacteria is neither H. pylori nor “H. heilmannii.” The cagA gene was not identified in any case. These findings question a direct role for Helicobacter infection in the pathogenesis of gastritis and support the premise that host factors account for the differences in disease between captive and wild cheetah populations. PMID:15634976

  13. Comparison of Helicobacter spp. in Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with and without gastritis.

    PubMed

    Terio, K A; Munson, L; Marker, L; Aldridge, B M; Solnick, J V

    2005-01-01

    Chronic gastritis causes significant morbidity and mortality in captive cheetahs but is rare in wild cheetahs despite colonization by abundant spiral bacteria. This research aimed to identify the Helicobacter species that were associated with gastritis in captive cheetahs but are apparently commensal in wild cheetahs. Helicobacter species were characterized by PCR amplification and sequencing of the 16S rRNA, urease, and cagA genes and by transmission electron microscopy of frozen or formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded gastric samples from 33 cheetahs infected with Helicobacter organisms (10 wild without gastritis and 23 captive with gastritis). Samples were screened for mixed infections by denaturant gel gradient electrophoresis of the 16S rRNA gene and by transmission electron microscopy. There was no association between Helicobacter infection and the presence or severity of gastritis. Eight cheetahs had 16S rRNA sequences that were most similar (98 to 99%) to H. pylori. Twenty-five cheetahs had sequences that were most similar (97 to 99%) to "H. heilmannii" or H. felis. No cheetahs had mixed infections. The ultrastructural morphology of all bacteria was most consistent with "H. heilmannii," even when 16S rRNA sequences were H. pylori-like. The urease gene from H. pylori-like bacteria could not be amplified with primers for either "H. heilmannii" or H. pylori urease, suggesting that this bacteria is neither H. pylori nor "H. heilmannii." The cagA gene was not identified in any case. These findings question a direct role for Helicobacter infection in the pathogenesis of gastritis and support the premise that host factors account for the differences in disease between captive and wild cheetah populations.

  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

    2016-02-26

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

    2016-02-26

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Public exposure and number of conspecifics have no influence on ovarian and adrenal activity in the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Koester, Diana C; Wildt, David E; Brown, Janine L; Meeks, Karen; Crosier, Adrienne E

    2017-03-01

    Cheetahs in managed zoological collections do not reproduce efficiently, a problem that may be related to environmental/management stressors. In this study, we examined 17 adult female cheetahs to determine the influence of two environmental factors, (1) being housed on- or off-exhibit and (2) number of adult conspecifics (males and/or females) in nearby enclosures, on profiles and concentrations of ovarian and adrenal hormones. Secondarily, we assessed a subset of group-housed siblings (n=5 females in groups of 2 or 3) for effects of long-term cohabitation. All of the females demonstrated waves of estrogen excretion (indicative of ovarian activity) as well as occasional periods of no estrogen production (anestrus). Glucocorticoid and estrogen concentrations were correlated within an individual (rs=0.53; P<0.05), and overall there was a higher frequency of days with elevated glucocorticoid concentrations in association with elevated estrogen excretion. However, none of the management factors had an impact (P>0.05) on estrogen or glucocorticoid metabolite excretory patterns. Although we recently reported that public exposure can negatively affect sperm production, ovarian steroidogenesis in females was unaffected. There also was no evidence of hyper-adrenal activity. Thus, different methods of ex situ management appear to have minimal influence on ovarian function or stress susceptibility of female cheetahs.

  10. 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

  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. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Diet composition and blood values of captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) fed either supplemented meat or commercial food preparations.

    PubMed

    Bechert, Ursula; Mortenson, Jack; Dierenfeld, Ellen S; Cheeke, Peter; Keller, Mark; Holick, Michael; Chen, Tai C; Rogers, Quinton

    2002-03-01

    Nutrition most certainly affects health and may play a role in the etiology of growth and reproductive problems in captive cheetah (Acinonyxjubatus) populations. The objective of our research was to examine nutritional differences between two dietary regimens and quantify their physiologic effects on cheetahs held in captivity. Twelve cheetahs were randomly assigned to either a commercial diet (COM) or a supplemented meat diet (SMD) group. These cats were physically examined and had blood samples taken three times over the course of a year. Representative samples of COM and four separate components of the SMD treatment were analyzed over the same time frame for proximate nutrient composition, digestibility, and concentrations of taurine, fat-soluble vitamins, and selected minerals. Concentrations of fat, vitamins A and E, Se, Fe, Cu, Na, and Mn were significantly higher in COM compared with those in SMD samples, with the exception of fat content in turkey. Mg content was lower in COM than in SMD; other nutrients did not differ. Mean concentrations of vitamins A and E in COM were markedly higher than in SMD samples (408,140 vs. 29,696 IU/kg dry matter [DM] and 431 vs. 48 IU/kg DM, respectively) and varied dramatically between sampling periods. Percent crude protein and protein-to-fat ratios were high for SMD compared with either whole prey-based or commercial food preparations. Blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine levels were above normal reference means for domestic cats. Plasma concentrations of vitamins A, D, and E were significantly higher in COM-fed than in SMD-fed cheetahs. Both plasma retinol and tocopherol levels were almost three times higher in COM-fed cats (1.26 +/- 0.06 vs. 0.53 +/- 0.03 microg/ml and 17.5 +/- 0.7 vs. 6.4 +/- 0.02 microg/ml, respectively) and exceeded the normal ranges expected for domestic felids. Significant differences between male and female cheetahs were found for plasma concentrations of vitamin E, Se, and Fe after allowing for effects of diet and time of collection. Excess fat-soluble dietary vitamins can result in direct toxicities as well as nutrient antagonisms and may be linked to reproductive and health issues in captive cheetahs. The high protein levels found in SMD may be linked to chronic renal disease, which was detected in some of these cheetahs.

  15. 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.

  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.

  17. Cryopreservation of spermatozoa from wild-born Namibian cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and influence of glycerol on cryosurvival.

    PubMed

    Crosier, Adrienne E; Pukazhenthi, Budhan S; Henghali, Josephine N; Howard, Jogayle; Dickman, Amy J; Marker, Laurie; Wildt, David E

    2006-04-01

    Sperm cryopreservation is a valuable tool for the genetic management of ex situ populations. This study was conducted to assess: (1) semen characteristics of wild-born cheetahs; and (2) the impact of three types of glycerol influence (duration of exposure, temperature, and method of addition) on sperm cryosensitivity. To evaluate the impact of duration of glycerol exposure, spermatozoa were incubated in Test Yolk Buffer (TYB) with 4% glycerol at ambient temperature (approximately 22 degrees C) for 15 vs. 60 min before cryopreservation. To evaluate the influence of temperature and method of glycerol addition, spermatozoa were resuspended at ambient temperature either in TYB with 0% glycerol followed by addition of 8% glycerol (1:1 v/v; at ambient temperature vs. 5 degrees C) or directly in TYB with 4% glycerol. All samples were cryopreserved in straws over liquid nitrogen vapor and evaluated for sperm motility and acrosomal integrity after thawing. Semen samples (n = 23; n = 13 males) contained a high proportion (78%) of pleiomorphic spermatozoa. Ejaculates also contained a high proportion of acrosome-intact (86%) and motile spermatozoa (78%). Immediately after thawing, a significant proportion of spermatozoa retained intact acrosomes (range, 48-67%) and motility (range, 40-49%). After thawing, incubation in glycerol for 60 min at ambient temperature before freezing decreased (p < 0.05) sperm motility and acrosomal integrity at one time-point each (pre-centrifugation and post-centrifugation, respectively). However, method or temperature of glycerol addition had no (p > 0.05) impact on sperm cryosurvival. In summary, (1) wild-born cheetahs produce high proportions of pleiomorphic spermatozoa but with a high proportion of intact acrosomes; and (2) resuspension in 4% glycerol, followed by exposure for up to 60 min at ambient temperature, had minimal effect on sperm motility and acrosomal integrity after cryopreservation. Results indicate the feasibility of cryopreserving cheetah spermatozoa under field conditions, providing a user-friendly method to capture and store gametes to enhance genetic management.

  18. Repeated use of the GnRH analogue deslorelin to down-regulate reproduction in male cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

    PubMed

    Bertschinger, H J; Jago, M; Nöthling, J O; Human, A

    2006-10-01

    The GnRH analogue deslorelin, as a subcutaneous implant, was initially developed in Australia as an ovulation-inducing agent in mares. Its uses, for the suppression of reproduction in the domestic dog and cat and in other species, including humans, have been developed subsequently. Such implants have been used as a contraceptive modality in a variety of wild carnivores, both males and females. This paper describes the use of deslorelin implants as a contraceptive agent for cheetah males maintained in a semi-captive environment and housed in various camps together with females. Annually, male cheetahs were treated for 1 (n = 2), 2 (n = 7), 3 (n = 9), 4 (n = 3) or 5 (n = 1) consecutive years with an implant containing 4.7, 5.0 or 6.0 mg of deslorelin. On the first day of treatment and then on an annual basis, blood testosterone concentrations were analysed, testicular measurements were taken, appearance of penile spikes was determined, and semen was collected and evaluated. Pregnancy rates of mated or inseminated females were determined. A dose of 6 mg of deslorelin suppressed reproduction for at least 1 year, whereas with 4.7 and 5 mg of deslorelin, 3 of 17 males had a few non-motile spermatozoa in their ejaculates. All testosterone concentrations were basal at 1 year post-implant and no side effects were observed. We concluded that deslorelin implantation, at a dose of 6 mg, was a safe and reliable method of annual contraception in male cheetahs.

  19. 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.

  20. Aerial audiograms of several California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) and Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) measured using single and multiple simultaneous auditory steady-state response methods.

    PubMed

    Mulsow, Jason; Reichmuth, Colleen; Gulland, Frances; Rosen, David A S; Finneran, James J

    2011-04-01

    Measurements of the electrophysiological auditory steady-state response (ASSR) have proven to be efficient for evaluating hearing sensitivity in odontocete cetaceans. In an effort to expand these methods to pinnipeds, ASSRs elicited by single and multiple simultaneous tones were used to measure aerial hearing thresholds in several California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) and Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). There were no significant differences between thresholds measured using the single and multiple ASSR methods, despite the more rapid nature of data collection using the multiple ASSR method. There was a high degree of variability in ASSR thresholds among subjects; thresholds covered a range of ∼40 dB at each tested frequency. As expected, ASSR thresholds were elevated relative to previously reported psychophysical thresholds for California and Steller sea lions. The features of high-frequency hearing limit and relative sensitivity of most ASSR audiograms were, however, similar to those of psychophysical audiograms, suggesting that ASSR methods can be used to improve understanding of hearing demographics in sea lions, especially with respect to high-frequency hearing. Thresholds for one Steller sea lion were substantially elevated relative to all other subjects, demonstrating that ASSR methods can be used to detect hearing loss in sea lions.

  1. Accumulation and maternal transfer of polychlorinated biphenyls in Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus) from Prince William Sound and the Bering Sea, Alaska.

    PubMed

    Wang, Jun; Hülck, Kathrin; Hong, Su-Myeong; Atkinson, Shannon; Li, Qing X

    2011-01-01

    The western stock of the Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) in the northern Pacific Ocean has declined by approximately 80% over the past 30 years. This led to the listing of this sea lion population as an endangered species in 1997. Chemical pollution is [corrected] one of several contributing causes. In the present study, 145 individual PCBs were determined in tissues of male sea lions from Tatitlek (Prince William Sound) and St. Paul Island (Bering Sea), and placentae from the Aleutian Islands. PCBs 90/101, 118, and 153 were abundant in all the samples. The mean toxic equivalents (TEQ) were 2.6, 4.7 and 7.4 pg/g lw in the kidney, liver, and blubber samples, respectively. The mean TEQ in placentae was 8 pg/g lw. Total PCBs concentrations (2.6-7.9 μg/g lw) in livers of some males were within a range known to cause physiological effects, further [corrected] suggesting the possibility of adverse effects on this stock.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Dive behaviour impacts the ability of heart rate to predict oxygen consumption in Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) foraging at depth.

    PubMed

    Young, Beth L; Rosen, David A S; Hindle, Allyson G; Haulena, Martin; Trites, Andrew W

    2011-07-01

    The predictive relationship between heart rate (f(H)) and oxygen consumption (VO2) has been derived for several species of marine mammals swimming horizontally or diving in tanks to shallow depths. However, it is unclear how dive activity affects the f(H):VO2 relationship and whether the existing equations apply to animals diving to deeper depths. We investigated these questions by simultaneously measuring the f(H) and VO2 of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) under different activity states (surface resting or diving), types of dives (single dives or dive bouts), and depths (10 or 40 m). We examined the relationship over dives only and also over dive cycles (dive + surface interval). We found that f(H) could only predict VO2 over a complete single dive cycle or dive bout cycle (i.e. surface intervals had to be included). The predictive equation derived for sea lions resting on the surface did not differ from that for single dive cycles. However, the equation derived over dive bout cycles (multiple dives + surface intervals) differed from those for single dive cycles or surface resting, with similar f(H) for multiple dive bout equations yielding higher predicted VO2 than that for single dive bout cycles (or resting). The f(H):VO2 relationships were not significantly affected by dive duration, dive depth, water temperature or cumulative food consumed under the conditions tested. Ultimately, our results demonstrate that f(H) can be used to predict activity-specific metabolic rates of diving Steller sea lions, but only over complete dive cycles that include a post-dive surface recovery period.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Ancylostoma genettae, A. protelesis, A. somaliense: three new species from wild Carnivora in the Somali Republic.

    PubMed

    Macchioni, G

    1995-12-01

    Ancylostoma braziliense was found in Somalia in Acinonyx jubatus, Canis familiaris, C. mesomelas, Crocuta crocuta, Felis catus, F. libyca, Genetta genetta, Otocyon megalotis, Proteles cristatus; A. caninum in A. jubatus, C. familiaris, C. mesomelas, C. crocuta; A. duodenale in C. crocuta; A. iperodontatum in Lynx caracal; A. paraduodenale in Felis serval; A. tubaeforme in A. jubatus, F. catus, F. libyca; Arthrocephalus gambiense in Ichneumia albicauda; Uncinaria parvibursata in Mellivora capensis. In addition, three new species of Ancylostoma were collected: A. genettae in Genetta genetta, A. protelesis in Proteles cristatus, A. somaliense in Canis mesomelas. These new species are described and illustrated.

  17. 77 FR 22604 - Endangered Species; Marine Mammals; Receipt of Applications for Permit

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-04-16

    ...), which call on all Federal agencies to promote openness and transparency in Government by disclosing... (Acinonyx jubatus), one male and three females, from Bester Birds and Animals Zoo Park, Pretoria, South... weather and other circumstances beyond his control. This notification covers activities to be conducted...

  18. 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

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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 × 10(3)/mm(3)) 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.

  1. 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

  2. High diving metabolism results in a short aerobic dive limit for Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus).

    PubMed

    Gerlinsky, Carling D; Rosen, David A S; Trites, Andrew W

    2013-07-01

    The diving capacity of marine mammals is typically defined by the aerobic dive limit (ADL) which, in lieu of direct measurements, can be calculated (cADL) from total body oxygen stores (TBO) and diving metabolic rate (DMR). To estimate cADL, we measured blood oxygen stores, and combined this with diving oxygen consumption rates (VO2) recorded from 4 trained Steller sea lions diving in the open ocean to depths of 10 or 40 m. We also examined the effect of diving exercise on O2 stores by comparing blood O2 stores of our diving animals to non-diving individuals at an aquarium. Mass-specific blood volume of the non-diving individuals was higher in the winter than in summer, but there was no overall difference in blood O2 stores between the diving and non-diving groups. Estimated TBO (35.9 ml O2 kg(-1)) was slightly lower than previously reported for Steller sea lions and other Otariids. Calculated ADL was 3.0 min (based on an average DMR of 2.24 L O2 min(-1)) and was significantly shorter than the average 4.4 min dives our study animals performed when making single long dives-but was similar to the times recorded during diving bouts (a series of 4 dives followed by a recovery period on the surface), as well as the dive times of wild animals. Our study is the first to estimate cADL based on direct measures of VO2 and blood oxygen stores for an Otariid and indicates they have a much shorter ADL than previously thought.

  3. 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

  4. Sensitivity to hypercapnia and elimination of CO2 following diving in Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus).

    PubMed

    Gerlinsky, Carling D; Rosen, David A S; Trites, Andrew W

    2014-05-01

    The diving ability of marine mammals is a function of how they use and store oxygen and the physiological control of ventilation, which is in turn dependent on the accumulation of CO2. To assess the influence of CO2 on physiological control of dive behaviour, we tested how increasing levels of inspired CO2 (hypercarbia) and decreasing inspired O2 (hypoxia) affected the diving metabolic rate, submergence times, and dive recovery times (time to replenish O2 stores and eliminate CO2) of freely diving Steller sea lions. We also measured changes in breathing frequency of diving and non-diving individuals. Our findings show that hypercarbia increased breathing frequency (as low as 2 % CO2), but did not affect metabolic rate, or the duration of dives or surface intervals (up to 3 % CO2). Changes in breathing rates indicated respiratory drive was altered by hypercarbia at rest, but blood CO2 levels remained below the threshold that would alter normal dive behaviour. It took the sea lions longer to remove accumulated CO2 than it did for them to replenish their O2 stores following dives (whether breathing ambient air, hypercarbia, or hypoxia). This difference between O2 and CO2 recovery times grew with increasing dive durations, increasing hypercarbia, and was greater for bout dives, suggesting there could be a build-up of CO2 load with repeated dives. Although we saw no evidence of CO2 limiting dive behaviour, the longer time required to remove CO2 may eventually exhibit control over the overall time they can spend in apnoea and overall foraging duration.

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  7. 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

  8. Chronic gastritis in tigers associated with Helicobacter acinonyx.

    PubMed

    Schröder, H D; Ludwig, C; Jakob, W; Reischl, U; Stolte, M; Lehn, N

    1998-07-01

    Helicobacter pylori-like organisms (HPLOs) were isolated from the gastric mucosa of two Sumatran tigers and identified by polymerase chain reaction analysis as Helicobacter acinonyx. At histological examination, both tigers revealed a chronic gastritis associated with HPLOs as demonstrated by immunolabelling and electron microscopy. This is the first isolation of H. acinonyx from tigers, in which, as previously reported in cheetahs, it may be a cause of gastritis.

  9. 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.

  10. Variability in leptin and adrenal response in juvenile Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) to adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in different seasons.

    PubMed

    Mashburn, Kendall L; Atkinson, Shannon

    2008-01-15

    Eight free-ranging juvenile Steller sea lions (SSL; 6 males, 2 females; 14-20 months) temporarily held under ambient conditions at the Alaska SeaLife Center were physiologically challenged through exogenous administration of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Four individuals (3 males, 1 female) underwent ACTH challenge in each of two seasons, summer and winter. Following ACTH injection serial blood and fecal samples were collected for up to 3 and 96 h, respectively. A radioimmunoassay (RIA) was validated for leptin, and using a previously validated RIA for cortisol, collected sera were analyzed for both cortisol and leptin. ACTH injection resulted in a 2.9-fold increase (P=0.164) in leptin which preceded a 3.2-fold increase (P=0.0290) in cortisol by 105 min in summer. In winter, a 1.7-fold increase in leptin (P=0.020) preceded a 2.1-fold increase (P=0.001) in serum cortisol by 45 min. Mean fecal corticosteroid maxima were 10.4 and 16.7-fold above baseline 28 and 12 h post-injection and returned to baseline 52 and 32 h post-injection, in summer and winter, respectively. Data indicate acute activity in juvenile adrenal glands is detectable in feces approximately 12-24 h post-stimulus in either season, with a duration of approximately 40 h in summer and 20 h in winter. Changes in serum cortisol proved statistically significant both seasons and elevated concentrations were detected by 30 min post-stimulus (baseline 64.8+/-4.2; peak 209.5+/-18.3 ng/ml: summer; baseline 87.0+/-15.7; peak 237.6+/-10.0 ng/ml: winter), whereas the changes that occurred in serum leptin proved to be significant only in winter (baseline 6.4+/-0.6; peak 18.7+/-7.0 ng/ml: summer; baseline 4.2+/-0.5; peak 7.5+/-0.6 ng/ml: winter). Changes in fecal corticosteroids proved significant only in summer (baseline 117.8+/-36.7; peak 1219.3+/-298.4 ng/g, P=0.038: summer; baseline 71.8+/-13.7; peak 1198.6+/-369.9 ng/g, P=0.053: winter) due to a high degree of individual variability in winter months. The data indicate that ACTH stimulates leptin production earlier than cortisol in both summer and winter, and that while the leptin response appears most variable in summer, fecal corticosteroids are most variable in winter.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) have greater blood volumes, higher diving metabolic rates and a longer aerobic dive limit when nutritionally stressed.

    PubMed

    Gerlinsky, Carling D; Trites, Andrew W; Rosen, David A S

    2014-03-01

    Marine mammal foraging behaviour inherently depends on diving ability. Declining populations of Steller sea lions may be facing nutritional stress that could affect their diving ability through changes in body composition or metabolism. Our objective was to determine whether nutritional stress (restricted food intake resulting in a 10% decrease in body mass) altered the calculated aerobic dive limit (cADL) of four captive sea lions diving in the open ocean, and how this related to changes in observed dive behaviour. We measured diving metabolic rate (DMR), blood O2 stores, body composition and dive behaviour prior to and while under nutritional restriction. We found that nutritionally stressed sea lions increased the duration of their single long dives, and the proportion of time they spent at the surface during a cycle of four dives. Nutritionally stressed sea lions lost both lipid and lean mass, resulting in potentially lower muscle O2 stores. However, total body O2 stores increased due to rises in blood O2 stores associated with having higher blood volumes. Nutritionally stressed sea lions also had higher mass-specific metabolic rates. The greater rise in O2 stores relative to the increase in mass-specific DMR resulted in the sea lions having a longer cADL when nutritionally stressed. We conclude that there was no negative effect of nutritional stress on the diving ability of sea lions. However, nutritional stress did lower foraging efficiency and require more foraging time to meet energy requirements due to increases in diving metabolic rates and surface recovery times.

  15. Seasonal influence on the response of the somatotropic axis to nutrient restriction and re-alimentation in captive Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus).

    PubMed

    Richmond, Julie P; Jeanniard du Dot, Tiphaine; Rosen, David A S; Zinn, Steven A

    2010-03-01

    Fluctuations in availability of prey resources can impede acquisition of sufficient energy for maintenance and growth. By investigating the hormonal mechanisms of the somatotropic axis that link nutrition, fat metabolism, and lean tissue accretion, we can assess the physiological impact of decreased nutrient intake on growth. Further, species that undergo seasonal periods of reduced intake as a part of their normal life history may have a differential seasonal response to nutrient restriction. This experiment evaluated the influence of season and age on the response of the somatotropic axis, including growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, and IGF-binding proteins (BP), to reduced nutrient intake and re-alimentation in Steller sea lions. Eight captive females (five juveniles, three sub-adults) were subject to 28-day periods of food restriction, controlled re-feeding, and ad libitum recovery in summer (long-day photoperiod) and winter (short-day photoperiod). Hormone concentrations were insensitive to type of fish fed (low fat pollock vs. high fat herring), but sensitive to energy intake. Body mass, fat, and IGF-I declined, whereas GH and IGFBP-2 increased during feed restriction. Reduced IGF-I and IGFBP with increased GH during controlled re-feeding suggest that animals did not reach positive energy balance until fed ad libitum. Increased IGF-I, IGFBP-2, IGFBP-3, and reduced GH observed in summer reflected seasonal differences in energy partitioning. There was a strong season and age effect in the response to restriction and re-alimentation, indicating that older, larger animals are better able to cope with stress associated with energy deficit, regardless of season.

  16. Biomimetic Oscillating Foil Propulsion to Enhance Underwater Vehicle Agility and Maneuverability

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2008-06-01

    with various conventional thruster/control sur- face combinations, as well as sealion ( Zalophus californianus and Eu- matopias jubatus ) turning rates...surface combinations, as well as sealion ( Zalophus californianus and Eumatopias jubatus ) turning rates (see Table 3.1 for values and sources). of...radii radii for sealions, ( Zalophus californianus and Eumatopias jubatus ) taken from Fish [18] and Cheneval [9] are given for speeds of 1 and 2 BL/s

  17. Lung Mechanics in Marine Mammals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-09-30

    Pv = Phoca vitulina, Ma = Mirounga angustirostris; Cu = Callorhinus ursinus; Zc = Zalophus californianus ; Ej = Eumetopias jubatus). *Ptp all < 10cmH2O...Eumetopias jubatus), California sea lion (Zc = Zalophus californianus ), Northern fur seal (Cu = Callorhinus ursinus), harbor seal (Pv = Phoca vitulina) and...captive Steller sea lions (Ej = Eumetopias jubatus), California sea lion (Zc = Zalophus californianus ), Northern fur seal (Cu = Callorhinus ursinus

  18. 78 FR 72643 - Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities: Mukilteo Ferry Terminal Construction...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-12-03

    ... construction area include Pacific harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardsi), California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), Dall's porpoise...

  19. 77 FR 44218 - Marine Mammals; File No. 16111

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-07-27

    ..., diving behavior, and diet. Focal species are blue (Balaenoptera musculus), fin (B. physalus), humpback... (Orcinus orca), and the threatened eastern stock of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). Vessel...

  20. Genetic basis for species vulnerability in the cheetah.

    PubMed

    O'Brien, S J; Roelke, M E; Marker, L; Newman, A; Winkler, C A; Meltzer, D; Colly, L; Evermann, J F; Bush, M; Wildt, D E

    1985-03-22

    A population genetic survey of over 200 structural loci previously revealed that the South African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) has an extreme paucity of genetic variability, probably as a consequence of a severe population bottleneck in its recent past. The genetic monomorphism of the species is here extended to the major histocompatibility complex, since 14 reciprocal skin grafts between unrelated cheetahs were accepted. The apparent consequences of such genetic uniformity to the species include (i) great difficulty in captive breeding, (ii) a high degree of juvenile mortality in captivity and in the wild, and (iii) a high frequency of spermatozoal abnormalities in ejaculates. The species vulnerability of the cheetah was demonstrated by an epizootic of coronavirus-associated feline infectious peritonitis in an Oregon breeding colony in 1983. Exposure and spread of the coronavirus, which has a very low morbidity in domestic cats (approximately 1 percent), has decimated a heretofore productive and healthy captive population. The extreme genetic monomorphism, especially at the major histocompatibility complex, and the apparent hypersensitivity of the cheetah to a viral pathogen may be related, and provide a biological basis for understanding the adaptive significance of abundant genetic variation in outbred mammalian species.

  1. A primitive Late Pliocene cheetah, and evolution of the cheetah lineage.

    PubMed

    Christiansen, Per; Mazák, Ji H

    2009-01-13

    The cheetah lineage is a group of large, slender, and long-limbed cats with a distinctive skull and dental morphology, of which only the extant cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is present today. The lineage is characterized by having abbreviated, tall, and domed crania, and a trenchant dentition with a much reduced, posteriorly placed protocone on the upper carnassial. In this article, we report on a new discovery of a Late Pliocene specimen from China with an estimated age of approximately 2.2-2.5 million years, making it one of the oldest specimens known to date. A cladistic analysis confirmed that it is the most primitive cheetah known, and it shares a number of unambiguous derived cranial traits with the Acinonyx lineage, but has more primitive dentition than previously known cheetahs, demonstrating that the many unusual skull and dental characters hitherto considered characteristic of cheetahs evolved in a gradual fashion. Isolated teeth of primitive cheetahs may not be recognizable as such, but can be confused with, for instance, those of leopards or other similar-sized pantherine cats or pumas. The age and morphology of the new specimen supports an Old World origin of the cheetah lineage, not a New World one, as has been suggested. We name the new species Acinonyx kurteni in honor of the late Björn Kurtén.

  2. A primitive Late Pliocene cheetah, and evolution of the cheetah lineage

    PubMed Central

    Christiansen, Per; Mazák, Ji H.

    2009-01-01

    The cheetah lineage is a group of large, slender, and long-limbed cats with a distinctive skull and dental morphology, of which only the extant cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is present today. The lineage is characterized by having abbreviated, tall, and domed crania, and a trenchant dentition with a much reduced, posteriorly placed protocone on the upper carnassial. In this article, we report on a new discovery of a Late Pliocene specimen from China with an estimated age of ≈2.2–2.5 million years, making it one of the oldest specimens known to date. A cladistic analysis confirmed that it is the most primitive cheetah known, and it shares a number of unambiguous derived cranial traits with the Acinonyx lineage, but has more primitive dentition than previously known cheetahs, demonstrating that the many unusual skull and dental characters hitherto considered characteristic of cheetahs evolved in a gradual fashion. Isolated teeth of primitive cheetahs may not be recognizable as such, but can be confused with, for instance, those of leopards or other similar-sized pantherine cats or pumas. The age and morphology of the new specimen supports an Old World origin of the cheetah lineage, not a New World one, as has been suggested. We name the new species Acinonyx kurteni in honor of the late Björn Kurtén. PMID:19114651

  3. Trichinella nelsoni in carnivores from the Serengeti ecosystem, Tanzania.

    PubMed

    Pozio, E; De Meneghi, D; Roelke-Parker, M E; La Rosa, G

    1997-12-01

    A survey of trichinellosis among sylvatic carnivore mammals from the Serengeti ecosystem (Tanzania) demonstrated the presence of Trichinella nelsoni in 5 of 9 species examined. Muscle samples were collected from carcasses of 56 carnivores from 1993 to 1995 and frozen before transport and examination. Following artificial digestion of the samples, collected larvae were analyzed by the random amplified polymorphic DNA technique. Trichinella nelsoni was identified in 1 bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis), 1 cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), 1 leopard (Panthera pardus), 3 lions (Panthera leo), and 3 spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta). The numbers of bat-eared foxes (6), cheetahs (5), and leopards (3) examined were too small to reveal the roles of these carnivore species in the ecology of T. nelsoni. The numbers of lions and spotted hyenas examined, with a prevalence of 12% and 23%, respectively, suggest that these species may be reservoirs of T. nelsoni in the area under study.

  4. Cheetahs have a stronger constitutive innate immunity than leopards

    PubMed Central

    Heinrich, Sonja K.; Hofer, Heribert; Courtiol, Alexandre; Melzheimer, Jörg; Dehnhard, Martin; Czirják, Gábor Á.; Wachter, Bettina

    2017-01-01

    As a textbook case for the importance of genetics in conservation, absence of genetic variability at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is thought to endanger species viability, since it is considered crucial for pathogen resistance. An alternative view of the immune system inspired by life history theory posits that a strong response should evolve in other components of the immune system if there is little variation in the MHC. In contrast to the leopard (Panthera pardus), the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has a relatively low genetic variability at the MHC, yet free-ranging cheetahs are healthy. By comparing the functional competence of the humoral immune system of both species in sympatric populations in Namibia, we demonstrate that cheetahs have a higher constitutive innate but lower induced innate and adaptive immunity than leopards. We conclude (1) immunocompetence of cheetahs is higher than previously thought; (2) studying both innate and adaptive components of immune systems will enrich conservation science. PMID:28333126

  5. Identification of Haemobartonella felis (Mycoplasma haemofelis) in captive nondomestic cats.

    PubMed

    Haefner, Monika; Burke, Thomas J; Kitchell, Barbara E; Lamont, Leigh A; Schaeffer, David J; Behr, Melissa; Messick, Joanne B

    2003-06-01

    This study was undertaken to determine whether Haemobartonella felis (Mycoplasma haemofelis), the causative bacterial agent of feline infectious anemia, infects nondomestic cats. Routine complete blood count and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were performed to detect the gene for 16S ribosomal RNA for the organism. Sixty-four blood samples were collected from 54 nondomestic cats, including tigers (Panthera tigris), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), lions (P. leo), mountain lions (Felis concolor), snow leopards (P. unica), and a jaguar (P. onca). Some cats were sampled on two or three different dates. Two tigers were positive for H. felis by PCR analysis. As previously described in domestic cats, the parasitemia appears to be intermittent in nondomestic cats.

  6. 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

  7. 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

    2010-11-24

    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.

  8. Fecal transmission of AA amyloidosis in the cheetah contributes to high incidence of disease.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Beiru; Une, Yumi; Fu, Xiaoying; Yan, Jingmin; Ge, FengXia; Yao, Junjie; Sawashita, Jinko; Mori, Masayuki; Tomozawa, Hiroshi; Kametani, Fuyuki; Higuchi, Keiichi

    2008-05-20

    AA amyloidosis is one of the principal causes of morbidity and mortality in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), which are in danger of extinction, but little is known about the underlying mechanisms. Given the transmissible characteristics of AA amyloidosis, transmission between captive cheetahs may be a possible mechanism involved in the high incidence of AA amyloidosis. In this study of animals with AA amyloidosis, we found that cheetah feces contained AA amyloid fibrils that were different from those of the liver with regard to molecular weight and shape and had greater transmissibility. The infectious activity of fecal AA amyloid fibrils was reduced or abolished by the protein denaturants 6 M guanidine.HCl and formic acid or by AA immunodepletion. Thus, we propose that feces are a vehicle of transmission that may accelerate AA amyloidosis in captive cheetah populations. These results provide a pathogenesis for AA amyloidosis and suggest possible measures for rescuing cheetahs from extinction.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-05

    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.

  10. 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

    2016-03-29

    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.

  11. The complete mitochondrial genome structure of snow leopard Panthera uncia.

    PubMed

    Wei, Lei; Wu, Xiaobing; Jiang, Zhigang

    2009-05-01

    The complete mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) of snow leopard Panthera uncia was obtained by using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique based on the PCR fragments of 30 primers we designed. The entire mtDNA sequence was 16 773 base pairs (bp) in length, and the base composition was: A-5,357 bp (31.9%); C-4,444 bp (26.5%); G-2,428 bp (14.5%); T-4,544 bp (27.1%). The structural characteristics [0] of the P. uncia mitochondrial genome were highly similar to these of Felis catus, Acinonyx jubatus, Neofelis nebulosa and other mammals. However, we found several distinctive features of the mitochondrial genome of Panthera unica. First, the termination codon of COIII was TAA, which differed from those of F. catus, A. jubatus and N. nebulosa. Second, tRNA(Ser) ((AGY)), which lacked the ''DHU'' arm, could not be folded into the typical cloverleaf-shaped structure. Third, in the control region, a long repetitive sequence in RS-2 (32 bp) region was found with 2 repeats while one short repetitive segment (9 bp) was found with 15 repeats in the RS-3 region. We performed phylogenetic analysis based on a 3 816 bp concatenated sequence of 12S rRNA, 16S rRNA, ND2, ND4, ND5, Cyt b and ATP8 for P. uncia and other related species, the result indicated that P. uncia and P. leo were the sister species, which was different from the previous findings.

  12. 50 CFR 216.180 - Specified activity.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ....), harp seal (Phoca groenlandica), Galapagos sea lion (Zalophus californianus wollebaeki), Japanese sea lion (Zalophus californianus japonicus), Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea), New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos...

  13. Grays Harbor and Chehalis River Improvements to Navigation Environmental Studies. Grays Harbor Ocean Disposal Study. Literature Review and Preliminary Benthic Sampling,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1980-05-01

    Lion, Eumetopias jubatus, and the California Sea Lion, Zalophus californianus ," Ph. D. thesis, 1973, Department of Biology, University of Oregon...Eugene, Oregon. 94 p. Mate, B. R. "Annual Migration of Sea Lions, Eumetopias jubatus and Zalophus californianus , along the Oregon Coast," International...Biological Laboratory, 1971). 2. California sea lion - Zalophus californianus Range and Habitat: Found in the study area in coastal and offshore waters

  14. Serum concentrations of lipids, vitamin d metabolites, retinol, retinyl esters, tocopherols and selected carotenoids in twelve captive wild felid species at four zoos.

    PubMed

    Crissey, Susan D; Ange, Kimberly D; Jacobsen, Krista L; Slifka, Kerri A; Bowen, Phyllis E; Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, Maria; Langman, Craig B; Sadler, William; Kahn, Stephen; Ward, Ann

    2003-01-01

    Serum concentrations of several nutrients were measured in 12 captive wild felid species including caracal (Felis caracal), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), cougar (Felis concolor), fishing cat (Felis viverrinus), leopard (Panthera pardus), lion (Panthera leo), ocelot (Felis pardalis), pallas cat (Felis manul), sand cat (Felis margarita), serval (Felis serval), snow leopard (Panthera uncia) and tiger (Panthera tigris). Diet information was collected for these animals from each participating zoo (Brookfield Zoo, Fort Worth Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens and North Carolina Zoological Park). The nutritional composition of the diets at each institution met the probable dietary requirements for each species except for the pallas cat. Blood samples were collected from each animal (n = 69) and analyzed for lipids (total cholesterol, triacylglycerides, HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol), vitamin D metabolites [25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25(OH)D) and 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (1,25(OH)(2)D)], vitamin A (retinol, retinyl stearate and retinyl palmitate), vitamin E (alpha- and gamma-tocopherol) and selected carotenoids. Species differences were found for all except triacylglycerides and 1,25(OH)(2)D. Genus differences were found for retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl stearate, gamma-tocopherol and beta-carotene. Circulating nutrient concentrations for many of the species in this study have not been reported previously and most have not been compared with the animals' dietary intakes. The large number of animals analyzed provides a substantial base for comparing the serum nutrient concentrations of healthy animals, for both wild and captive exotic species.

  15. Blastomycosis in nondomestic felids.

    PubMed

    Storms, Timothy N; Clyde, Victoria L; Munson, Linda; Ramsay, Edward C

    2003-09-01

    Blastomycosis was diagnosed in six nondomestic felids from eastern Tennessee, including two Asian lions (Panthera leo persicus), one African lion (Panthera leo), one Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris), one cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), and one snow leopard (Panthera uncia). Clinical signs included lethargy, anorexia, weight loss, dyspnea, sneezing. ataxia, and paresis. Variable nonspecific changes included leukocytosis, monocytosis, moderate left shift of neutrophils, moderate hypercalcemia, hyperproteinemia, and hyperglobulinemia. Thoracic radiographs revealed interstitial and alveolar changes, consolidation or collapse of a lung lobe, bullae formation, and a pulmonary mass. Agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID) serology for Blastomyces dermatitidis was performed in five felids and was positive in three. The tiger had cerebral blastomycosis and was positive for AGID serologic tests of both cerebrospinal fluid and serum. One percutaneous lung aspirate in the snow leopard and one bronchial aspirate in an Asian lion demonstrated B. dermatitidis organisms. whereas tracheal wash samples and a nasal discharge were nondiagnostic in others. Treatment with itraconazole was attempted in four cats. The tiger improved before euthanasia, whereas the others did not survive beyond initial treatments. In four felids, B. dermatitidis was found in the lungs and tracheobronchial lymph nodes associated with a florid pyogranulomatous reaction; the tiger had a pyogranulomatous encephalomyelitis, and the cheetah had a single pulmonary granuloma. Thoracic radiography, cytologic examination of lung lesion aspirates, and B. dermatitidis AGID serology should be performed on clinically ill zoo felids in endemic areas to rule out blastomycosis.

  16. 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

    2014-03-05

    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.

  17. Veno-occlusive disease in snow leopards (Panthera uncia) from zoological parks.

    PubMed

    Munson, L; Worley, M B

    1991-01-01

    Livers from 54 snow leopards, 4 days to 23 years old, that had died in 23 US zoos, were evaluated histopathologically to determine if the hepatic fibrosis, which has been noted to be prevalent in this species, was due to chronic active hepatitis from hepadnaviral infection, Ito cell proliferation, or hemosiderosis. Forty-two of 54 snow leopards had subintimal vascular fibrosis with partial or total occlusion of central and sublobular veins (veno-occlusive disease) of unknown origin. All 21 leopards older than 5 years were affected. Four leopards had chronic active hepatitis, and 12 leopards had cholangiohepatitis; but these lesions were not connected anatomically to central and sublobular venous fibrosis. Hepatocellular and Kupffer cell siderosis and Ito cell proliferation were prevalent and often coexisted with perisinusoidal, central, and sublobular venous fibrosis; but fibrosis was present in leopards without siderosis or Ito cell proliferation. The pattern and prevalence of veno-occlusive disease in these leopards was similar to that reported in captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), suggesting that a common extrinsic factor may cause the majority of hepatic disease in these large felid animals in captivity.

  18. Genetic characterization of feline parvovirus sequences from various carnivores.

    PubMed

    Steinel, A; Munson, L; van Vuuren, M; Truyen, U

    2000-02-01

    Infections with viruses of the feline parvovirus subgroup such as feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), mink enteritis virus (MEV) and canine parvovirus (CPV-2) [together with its new antigenic types (CPV-2a, CPV-2b)] have been reported from several wild carnivore species. To examine the susceptibility of different species to the various parvoviruses and their antigenic types, samples from wild carnivores with acute parvovirus infections were collected. Viral DNA was amplified, and subsequently analysed, from faeces or formalin-fixed small intestines from an orphaned bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis), a free-ranging honey badger (Mellivora capensis), six captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), a captive Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) and a free-ranging African wild cat (Felis lybica). Parvovirus infection in bat-eared fox and honey badger was demonstrated for the first time. FPV-sequences were detected in tissues of the African wild cat and in faeces of one cheetah and the honey badger, whereas CPV-2b sequences were found in five cheetahs and the bat-eared fox. The Siberian tiger (from a German zoo) was infected with a CPV-type 2a virus. This distribution of feline parvovirus antigenic types in captive large cats suggests an interspecies transmission from domestic dogs. CPV-2 sequences were not detected in any of the specimens and no sequences with features intermediate between FPV and CPV were found in any of the animals examined.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-15

    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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Selection against inbred song sparrows during a natural population bottleneck.

    PubMed

    Keller, L F; Arcese, P; Smith, J N; Hochachka, W M; Stearns, S C

    1994-11-24

    The genetic and demographic consequences of population subdivision have received considerable attention from conservation biologists. In particular, losses of genetic variability and reduced viability and fecundity due to inbreeding (inbreeding depression) are of concern. Studies of domestic, laboratory and zoo populations have shown inbreeding depression in a variety of traits related to fitness. Consequently, inbreeding depression is widely accepted as a fact. Recently, however, the relative impact of inbreeding on the viability of natural populations has been questioned. Work on the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), for example, has emphasized the overwhelming importance of environmental factors on mortality in the wild. Here we report that song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) that survived a severe population bottleneck were a non-random subset of the pre-crash population with respect to inbreeding, and that natural selection favoured outbred individuals. Thus, inbreeding depression was expressed in the face of an environmental challenge. Such challenges are also likely to be faced by inbred populations of endangered species. We suggest that environmental and genetic effects on survival may interact and, as a consequence, that their effects on individuals and populations should not be considered independently.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Spatial and temporal avoidance of risk within a large carnivore guild.

    PubMed

    Dröge, Egil; Creel, Scott; Becker, Matthew S; M'soka, Jassiel

    2017-01-01

    Within a large carnivore guild, subordinate competitors (African wild dog, Lycaon pictus, and cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus) might reduce the limiting effects of dominant competitors (lion, Panthera leo, and spotted hyena, Crocuta crocuta) by avoiding them in space, in time, or through patterns of prey selection. Understanding how these competitors cope with one other can inform strategies for their conservation. We tested how mechanisms of niche partitioning promote coexistence by quantifying patterns of prey selection and the use of space and time by all members of the large carnivore guild within Liuwa Plain National Park in western Zambia. Lions and hyenas specialized on wildebeest, whereas wild dogs and cheetahs selected broader diets including smaller and less abundant prey. Spatially, cheetahs showed no detectable avoidance of areas heavily used by dominant competitors, but wild dogs avoided areas heavily used by lions. Temporally, the proportion of kills by lions and hyenas did not detectably differ across four time periods (day, crepuscular, early night, and late night), but wild dogs and especially cheetahs concentrated on time windows that avoided nighttime hunting by lions and hyenas. Our results provide new insight into the conditions under which partitioning may not allow for coexistence for one subordinate species, the African wild dog, while it does for cheetah. Because of differences in responses to dominant competitors, African wild dogs may be more prone to competitive exclusion (local extirpation), particularly in open, uniform ecosystems with simple (often wildebeest dominated) prey communities, where spatial avoidance is difficult.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

    2016-05-15

    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.

  15. Characterization of the cheetah serum amyloid A1 gene: critical role and functional polymorphism of a cis-acting element.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Beiru; Une, Yumi; Ge, Fengxia; Fu, Xiaoying; Qian, Jinze; Zhang, Pengyao; Sawashita, Jinko; Higuchi, Keiichi; Mori, Masayuki

    2008-01-01

    Amyloid A (AA) amyloidosis is one of the principal causes of morbidity and mortality in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), which are in danger of extinction. For practical conservation of this species, therefore, it is critical to elucidate the etiology of AA amyloidosis, especially to understand the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation of serum amyloid A (SAA), a precursor protein of the AA protein. In this study, the structure and nucleotide sequence of the cheetah SAA1 gene including the 5'-flanking promoter/enhancer region was determined. Putative nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-kappaB) and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein beta (C/EBPbeta) cis-acting elements, which play key roles in SAA1 transcriptional induction in response to inflammation, were identified in the 5'-flanking region of the cheetah SAA1 gene. Fortuitously, a single nucleotide polymorphism was identified in the captive cheetah cohort in the putative NF-kappaB cis-acting element and had a remarkable effect on SAA1 transcriptional induction. These results provide a foundation not only for clarifying the etiology of AA amyloidosis in the cheetah but also for contriving a strategy for conservation of this species.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. Neoplasia in felids at the Knoxville Zoological Gardens, 1979-2003.

    PubMed

    Owston, Michael A; Ramsay, Edward C; Rotstein, David S

    2008-12-01

    A review of medical records and necropsy reports from 1979-2003 found 40 neoplasms in 26 zoo felids, including five lions (Panthera leo, two males and three females), three leopards (Panthera pardus, two males and one female), one jaguar (Panthera onca, female), 11 tigers (Panthera tigris, three males and eight females), two snow leopards (Panthera uncia, one male and one female), two cougars (Felis concolor, one male and one female), one bobcat (Felis rufus, male), and one cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus, female). Animals that had not reached 3 yr of age or had been housed in the collection less than 3 yrs were not included in the study. Neoplasia rate at necropsy was 51% (24/47), and overall incidence of felid neoplasia during the study period was 25% (26/103). Neoplasia was identified as the cause of death or reason for euthanasia in 28% (13/47) of those necropsied. Neoplasms were observed in the integumentary-mammary (n=11), endocrine (n=10), reproductive (n=8), hematopoietic-lymphoreticular (n=5), digestive (n=3), and hepatobiliary (n=2) systems. One neoplasm was unclassified by system. Multiple neoplasms were observed in 11 animals. Both benign and malignant neoplasms were observed in all systems except for the hematopoietic-lymphoreticular systems where all processes were malignant. Of the endocrine neoplasms, those involving the thyroid and parathyroid glands predominated (n=8) over other endocrine organs and included adenomas and carcinomas. In the integumentary system, 63% (7/11) of neoplasms involved the mammary gland, with mammary carcinoma representing 83% (6/7) of the neoplasms. The rates of neoplasia at this institution, during the given time period, appears to be greater than rates found in the one other published survey of captive felids.

  4. 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.

  5. Challenges in cryopreserving endangered mammal spermatozoa: morphology and the value of acrosomal integrity as markers of cryo-survival.

    PubMed

    Pukazhenthi, Budhan; Santymire, Rachel; Crosier, Adrienne; Howard, JoGayle; Wildt, David E

    2007-01-01

    The science of cryobiology is essential to the effective, practical use of semen for assisted breeding to help manage small populations of rare wildlife species. In this review, we describe challenges associated with cryopreserving gametes from wild fauna. Based on more than 25 years of experience across a diversity of mammals, it appears that the primary driving force dictating cryo-survival of a spermatozoon is its initial pre-freeze quality and morphology, especially having a morphologically normal, intact acrosome. This assertion is supported through extensive studies of three animal groups that routinely ejaculate semen containing (1) normal sperm/acrosomal quality (examples, Eld's deer, Cervus eldi and giant panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca), (2) normal acrosomal quality, but from teratospermic donors (>70% pleiomorphic sperm; cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus and black-footed ferret, Mustela nigripes) and (3) abnormal acrosomal quality and general teratospermia (clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosa). Data revealed that species producing high quality sperm with > 70% normal, intact acrosomes were best able to survive cryopreservation (-80% intact acrosomes post-thaw). Species that were teratospermic, but with high proportions of intact acrosomes (72 to 88%) in ejaculates varied significantly (4 to 55% intact acrosomes post-thaw) in sperm survival to freeze-thawing. Spermatozoa from the clouded leopard (that was both teratospermic while producing only 11% normal acrosomes in fresh semen) failed to survive cryopreservation despite using an array of conventional and unconventional freezing approaches. These observations (combined with zona penetration assays and artificial insemination results) suggest that proportions of malformed sperm and especially initial structural integrity of the acrosome are more important predictors of sperm survivability post-thaw than initial sperm motility scores.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  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. 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

  12. Phylogenetic studies of pantherine cats (Felidae) based on multiple genes, with novel application of nuclear beta-fibrinogen intron 7 to carnivores.

    PubMed

    Yu, Li; Zhang, Ya-Ping

    2005-05-01

    The pantherine lineage of the cat family Felidae (order: Carnivora) includes five big cats of genus Panthera and a great many midsized cats known worldwide. Presumably because of their recent and rapid radiation, the evolutionary relationship among pantherines remains ambiguous. We provide an independent assessment of the evolutionary history of pantherine lineage using two complete mitochondrial (mt) genes (ND2 and ND4) and the nuclear beta-fibrinogen intron 7 gene, whose utility in carnivoran phylogeny was first explored. The available four mt (ND5, cytb, 12S, and 16SrRNA) and two nuclear (IRBP and TTR) sequence loci were also combined to reconstruct phylogeny of 14 closely related cat species. Our analyses of combined mt data (six genes; approximately 3750 bp) and combined mt and nuclear data (nine genes; approximately 6500 bp) obtained identical tree topologies, which were well-resolved and strongly supported for almost all nodes. Monophyly of Panthera genus in pantherine lineage was confirmed and interspecific affinities within this genus revealed a novel branching pattern, with P. tigris diverging first in Panthera genus, followed by P. onca, P. leo, and last two sister species P. pardus and P. uncia. In addition, close association of Neofelis nebulosa to Panthera, the phylogenetic redefinition of Otocolobus manul within the domestic cat group, and the relatedness of Acinonyx jubatus and Puma concolor were all important findings in the resulting phylogenies. The potential utilities of nine different genes for phylogenetic resolution of closely related pantherine species were also evaluated, with special interest in that of the novel nuclear beta-fibrinogen intron 7.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Digital gene expression for non-model organisms

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    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 (106) 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Advances in reproductive science for wild carnivore conservation.

    PubMed

    Comizzoli, P; Crosier, A E; Songsasen, N; Gunther, M Szykman; Howard, J G; Wildt, D E

    2009-07-01

    Knowledge about reproduction is critical for predicting the viability of wildlife populations in nature and for managing breeding programmes in captivity. Intensive species-based studies are the priority, because reproductive mechanisms are extraordinarily diverse, even within the same taxonomic family. Carnivores deserve more attention as such species are highly vulnerable to environmental change and human persecution. The present review provides contemporary illustrations of how reproductive science is contributing to understand unique reproductive mechanisms that are both of fundamental and applied interest. In the case of the endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) free-living in South Africa, non-invasive faecal corticosteroid assessments have yielded new insights about the impact of animal relocation and reintroduction on adaptive responses, reproductive fitness and survival. For the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), advances have been made in characterizing and comparing reproductive traits in free-ranging vs captive individuals. For the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), recent studies have focused on the cryosensitivity of sperm and the ability to develop a field-friendly sperm cryo-method. The by-product has been a large-scale frozen repository of sperm from wild-caught cheetahs useful for infusing new genes into ex situ populations. Finally, rigorous, multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional reproductive studies of the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes), including the use of artificial insemination, have contributed to the remarkable recovery and restoration of this species, once on the brink of extinction. In summary, advances in reproductive science are not necessarily related to 'assisted breeding'. However, understanding the unique ways of carnivore reproduction greatly contributes to species management and conservation.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  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. 76 FR 18724 - Marine Mammals; File No. 14334

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-04-05

    ... research on Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) had been submitted by the above-named applicant. The... species (50 CFR parts 222-226). Permit No. 14334-01 increases the number of Steller sea lion mortalities... sea lions to and from an additional facility (The Dolfinarium in Harderwijk, Netherlands), and makes...

  7. 50 CFR 217.62 - Permissible methods of taking.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ...)—31,161; (2) California sea lions (Zalophus californianus)—465,129; (3) Northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris)—80,024; (4) Northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus)—62,500; and (5) Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus)—1,824....

  8. Pinniped Hearing in Complex Acoustic Environments

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-09-30

    harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), and California sea lions ( Zalophus californianus ), and Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). The second location...and Southall, B.L. Improved description of underwater hearing in California sea lions ( Zalophus californianus ). Marine Mammal Science...and Reichmuth, C. Temporal summation of airborne tones in a California sea lion ( Zalophus californianus ). Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

  9. Criteria and Thresholds for U.S. Navy Acoustic and Explosive Effects Analysis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-04-01

    Onset, growth, and recovery of in-air temporary threshold shift in a California sea lion ( Zalophus californianus ),” Journal of the Acoustical...audiograms of several California sea lions ( Zalophus californianus ) and Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) measured using single and multiple...2011b). “California sea lion ( Zalophus californianus ) aerial hearing sensitivity measured using auditory steady-state response and psychophysical

  10. Environmental Assessment for Ongoing and Future Operations at U.S. Navy Dabob Bay and Hood Canal Military Operating Areas

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-11-02

    Zalophus californianus None Most sensitive to sounds >1 kHz, can hear to  Hz. Common resident and seasonal migrant Steller Sea Lion...jubatus), the northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus), and the California sea lion ( Zalophus californianus ), occur in Puget Sound (Angell and Balcomb

  11. 77 FR 32943 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Pile Driving in the Columbia River, WA

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-06-04

    ... Specified Activities; Pile Driving in the Columbia River, WA AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS..., incidental to pile driving during construction of the Terminal 5 Bulk Potash Handling Facility. DATES... (Eumatopius jubatus) ] incidental to pile driving activities conducted during the construction of the...

  12. 75 FR 38979 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Initiation of a 5-Year Review of the Eastern Distinct...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-07-07

    ... (Eumetopias jubatus) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA) and requesting information... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XU50 Endangered and Threatened Species; Initiation... number to which comments and information should be sent. DATES: This correction is effective July 7,...

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. 76 FR 25308 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-05-04

    ... 50 animals of each of the following species: Harp seal, Pagophilus groenlandica; hooded seal... captive Steller Sea lions, Eumetopias jubatus. Samples may be from subsistence-harvested animals in Alaska... of Canada, Norway, the United Kingdom, and in international waters. Samples may be...

  17. 75 FR 75491 - Endangered Species; Receipt of Applications for Permit

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-12-03

    ... biological specimens of Asian elephant (Elephus maximus) from wild animals in all range countries and captive-held animals in countries worldwide for the purpose of scientific research. This notification covers... jubatus), Bred-in-Captivity for the purpose of conservation education and captive breeding for...

  18. 77 FR 12815 - Marine Mammals; File No. 16998

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-03-02

    ... Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), 200 harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), 10 killer whales (Orcinus orca... Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Steller Sea Lion and Northern Fur Seal Research (NMFS... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA914 Marine Mammals; File No. 16998...

  19. Dive Distribution and Group Size Parameters for Marine Species Occurring in Navy Training and Testing Areas in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-03-12

    None Eumetopias jubatus Steller sea lion 2 None Zalophus californianus California sea lion 1 None Family Phocidae Cystophora cristata Hooded seal... Zalophus californianus , California Sea Lion. The California sea lion is a Tier 1 species. California sea lions primarily breed on island beaches off...NY, pp. 174-212. Aurioles-Gamboa, D. and F. J. Camacho-Ríos (2007), “Diet and Feeding Overlap of Two Otariids, Zalophus californianus and

  20. 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

  1. Comparative aspects of steroid hormone metabolism and ovarian activity in felids, measured noninvasively in feces.

    PubMed

    Brown, J L; Wasser, S K; Wildt, D E; Graham, L H

    1994-10-01

    Noninvasive fecal assays were used to study steroid metabolism and ovarian activity in several felid species. Using the domestic cat (Felis catus) as model, the excretory products of injected [14C]estradiol (E2) and [14C]progesterone (P4) were determined. Within 2 days, 97.0 +/- 0.6% and 96.7 +/- 0.5% of recovered E2 and P4 radioactivity, respectively, was found in feces. E2 was excreted as unconjugated estradiol and estrone (40%) and as a non-enzyme-hydrolyzable conjugate (60%). P4 was excreted primarily as non-enzyme-hydrolyzable, conjugated metabolites (78%) and as unconjugated pregnenolone epimers. A simple method for extracting fecal steroid metabolites optimized extraction efficiencies of the E2 and P4 excretion products (90.1 +/- 0.8% and 87.2 +/- 1.4%, respectively). Analysis of HPLC fractions of extracted fecal samples from the radiolabel-injected domestic cats revealed that E2 immunoreactivity coincided primarily with the unconjugated metabolized [14C]E2 peak, whereas progestogen immunoreactivity coincided with a single conjugated epimer and multiple unconjugated pregnenolone epimers. After HPLC separation, similar immunoreactive E2 and P4 metabolite profiles were observed in the leopard cat (F. bengalensis), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), and snow leopard (Panthera uncia). Longitudinal analyses demonstrated that changes in fecal E2 and P4 metabolite concentrations reflected natural or artificially induced ovarian activity. For example, severalfold increases in E2 excretion were associated with overt estrus or exogenous gonadotropin treatment, and elevated fecal P4 metabolite concentrations occurred during pregnant and nonpregnant (pseudopregnant) luteal phases. Although overall concentrations were similar, the duration of elevated fecal P4 metabolites during pseudopregnancy was approximately half that observed during pregnancy. In summary, steroid metabolism mechanisms appear to be conserved among these physically

  2. Big Cat Coalitions: A Comparative Analysis of Regional Brain Volumes in Felidae.

    PubMed

    Sakai, Sharleen T; Arsznov, Bradley M; Hristova, Ani E; Yoon, Elise J; Lundrigan, Barbara L

    2016-01-01

    Broad-based species comparisons across mammalian orders suggest a number of factors that might influence the evolution of large brains. However, the relationship between these factors and total and regional brain size remains unclear. This study investigated the relationship between relative brain size and regional brain volumes and sociality in 13 felid species in hopes of revealing relationships that are not detected in more inclusive comparative studies. In addition, a more detailed analysis was conducted of four focal species: lions (Panthera leo), leopards (Panthera pardus), cougars (Puma concolor), and cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). These species differ markedly in sociality and behavioral flexibility, factors hypothesized to contribute to increased relative brain size and/or frontal cortex size. Lions are the only truly social species, living in prides. Although cheetahs are largely solitary, males often form small groups. Both leopards and cougars are solitary. Of the four species, leopards exhibit the most behavioral flexibility, readily adapting to changing circumstances. Regional brain volumes were analyzed using computed tomography. Skulls (n = 75) were scanned to create three-dimensional virtual endocasts, and regional brain volumes were measured using either sulcal or bony landmarks obtained from the endocasts or skulls. Phylogenetic least squares regression analyses found that sociality does not correspond with larger relative brain size in these species. However, the sociality/solitary variable significantly predicted anterior cerebrum (AC) volume, a region that includes frontal cortex. This latter finding is despite the fact that the two social species in our sample, lions and cheetahs, possess the largest and smallest relative AC volumes, respectively. Additionally, an ANOVA comparing regional brain volumes in four focal species revealed that lions and leopards, while not significantly different from one another, have relatively larger AC volumes

  3. Interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer in Asiatic cheetah using nuclei derived from post-mortem frozen tissue in absence of cryo-protectant and in vitro matured domestic cat oocytes.

    PubMed

    Moulavi, F; Hosseini, S M; Tanhaie-Vash, N; Ostadhosseini, S; Hosseini, S H; Hajinasrollah, M; Asghari, M H; Gourabi, H; Shahverdi, A; Vosough, A D; Nasr-Esfahani, M H

    2017-03-01

    Recent accomplishments in the field of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) hold tremendous promise to prevent rapid loss of animal genetic resources using ex situ conservation technology. Most of SCNT studies use viable cells for nuclear transfer into recipient oocytes. However, preparation of live cells in extreme circumstances, in which post-mortem material of endangered/rare animals is improperly retained frozen, is difficult, if not impossible. This study investigated the possibility of interspecies-SCNT (iSCNT) in Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus), a critically endangered subspecies, using nuclei derived from frozen tissue in absence of cryo-protectant at -20 °C and in vitro matured domestic cat oocytes. No cells growth was detected in primary culture of skin and tendon pieces or following culture of singled cells prepared by enzymatic digestion. Furthermore, no live cells were detected following differential viable staining and almost all cells had ruptured membrane. Therefore, direct injection of donor nuclei into enucleated cat oocytes matured in vitro was carried out for SCNT experiments. Early signs of nuclear remodeling were observed as early as 2 h post-iSCNT and significantly increased at 4 h post-iSCNT. The percentages of iSCNT reconstructs that cleaved and developed to 4-16 cell and morula stages were 32.3 ± 7.3, 18.2 ± 9.8 and 5.9 ± 4.3%, respectively. However, none of the iSCNT reconstructs developed to the blastocyst stage. When domestic cat somatic and oocytes were used for control SCNT and parthenogenetic activation, the respective percentages of oocytes that cleaved (51.3 ± 13.9 and 77.3 ± 4.0%) and further developed to the blastocyst stage (11.3 ± 3.3 and 16.8 ± 3.8%) were comparable. In summary, this study demonstrated that enucleated cat oocytes can partially remodel and reactivate non-viable nuclei of Asiatic cheetah and support its reprogramming back to the embryonic stage. To our knowledge, this is

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Big Cat Coalitions: A Comparative Analysis of Regional Brain Volumes in Felidae

    PubMed Central

    Sakai, Sharleen T.; Arsznov, Bradley M.; Hristova, Ani E.; Yoon, Elise J.; Lundrigan, Barbara L.

    2016-01-01

    Broad-based species comparisons across mammalian orders suggest a number of factors that might influence the evolution of large brains. However, the relationship between these factors and total and regional brain size remains unclear. This study investigated the relationship between relative brain size and regional brain volumes and sociality in 13 felid species in hopes of revealing relationships that are not detected in more inclusive comparative studies. In addition, a more detailed analysis was conducted of four focal species: lions (Panthera leo), leopards (Panthera pardus), cougars (Puma concolor), and cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). These species differ markedly in sociality and behavioral flexibility, factors hypothesized to contribute to increased relative brain size and/or frontal cortex size. Lions are the only truly social species, living in prides. Although cheetahs are largely solitary, males often form small groups. Both leopards and cougars are solitary. Of the four species, leopards exhibit the most behavioral flexibility, readily adapting to changing circumstances. Regional brain volumes were analyzed using computed tomography. Skulls (n = 75) were scanned to create three-dimensional virtual endocasts, and regional brain volumes were measured using either sulcal or bony landmarks obtained from the endocasts or skulls. Phylogenetic least squares regression analyses found that sociality does not correspond with larger relative brain size in these species. However, the sociality/solitary variable significantly predicted anterior cerebrum (AC) volume, a region that includes frontal cortex. This latter finding is despite the fact that the two social species in our sample, lions and cheetahs, possess the largest and smallest relative AC volumes, respectively. Additionally, an ANOVA comparing regional brain volumes in four focal species revealed that lions and leopards, while not significantly different from one another, have relatively larger AC volumes

  7. 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

  8. Serologic evidence of Brucella infection in pinnipeds along the coast of Hokkaido, the northernmost main island of Japan.

    PubMed

    Abe, Erika; Ohishi, Kazue; Ishinazaka, Tsuyoshi; Fujii, Ke; Maruyama, Tadashi

    2017-03-06

    Brucella infection in Hokkaido was serologically surveyed in four species of pinnipeds inhabiting Cape Erimo during 2008-2013 and the Shiretoko Peninsula in 1999, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using Brucella abortus and B. canis as antigens. Anti-Brucella positive sera showed higher absorbance to B. abortus than B. canis in almost all samples. Anti-B. abortus antibodies were detected in serum samples from 24% (n=55) of Western Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina stejnegeri) in Cape Erimo, and from 66% (n=41) of spotted seals (P. largha), 15% (n=20) of ribbon seals (Histriophoca fasciata) and 18% (n=17) of Western Steller's sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus jubatus) in the Shiretoko Peninsula. In the harbor seals, anti-Brucella antibodies were detected at higher absorbance in 1- to 4-year-old individuals than in pups and mature animals, suggesting either that the Brucella infection mainly occurred after weaning, or that it is maternally transmitted to the pups with premature or suppressed immunity. In the spotted seals and ribbon seals, anti-Brucella antibodies were detected in both immature and mature animals, with higher absorbance in the former. In the Western Steller's sea lions, the antibodies were detected only in mature animals. Western blot analysis of the serum samples showed some differences in band appearances, i.e. discrete or smeary, and in the number of bands. These indicate that multiple different Brucella may be prevalent in pinnipeds in Hokkaido. Or the Brucella of pinnipeds may have some intra-species diversity.

  9. Biological and pathological consequences of feline infectious peritonitis virus infection in the cheetah.

    PubMed

    Evermann, J F; Heeney, J L; Roelke, M E; McKeirnan, A J; O'Brien, S J

    1988-01-01

    An epizootic of feline infectious peritonitis in a captive cheetah population during 1982-1983 served to focus attention on the susceptibility of the cheetah (Acinoyx jubatus) to infectious disease. Subsequent observations based upon seroepidemiological surveys and electron microscopy of fecal material verified that cheetahs were indeed capable of being infected by coronaviruses, which were antigenically related to coronaviruses affecting domestic cats, i.e. feline infectious peritonitis virus/feline enteric coronavirus. Coincident with the apparent increased susceptibility of the cheetah to infectious diseases, were observations that the cheetah was genetically unusual insofar as large amounts of enzyme-encoding loci were monomorphic, and that unrelated cheetahs were capable of accepting allogenic skin grafts. These data provided the basis for a hypothesis that the cheetah, through intensive inbreeding, had become more susceptible to viral infections as a result of genetic homogeneity.

  10. Monitoring glucocorticoid response to rehabilitation and research procedures in California and Steller sea lions.

    PubMed

    Petrauskas, Lisa; Atkinson, Shannon; Gulland, Frances; Mellish, Jo-Ann; Horning, Markus

    2008-03-01

    We used serum and fecal corticosteroid analysis to study the physiological response to a range of invasive and non-invasive procedures in sea lions. Four experimental groups of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus; Group A: restraint only [n=9], Group B: gas anesthesia without surgery [n=10], Group C: minimally invasive surgery [n=10], and Group D: invasive surgery [n=5]) were monitored for adrenal response. Feces were collected opportunistically from 72 hr before 72 hr post procedure for corticosterone analysis. All experimental groups showed substantial individual variation and no significant change in corticosterone levels after the procedures. Additional fecal and serum corticoid samples were collected from six free-ranging Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in temporary captivity undergoing abdominal implantation of long-term telemetry devices. Only one sea lion exhibited a significant fecal corticosterone increase in response to the surgery. Capture and restraint appear to elicit a greater glucocorticoid response than invasive or non-invasive procedures.

  11. 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

  12. Intraperitoneal implantation of life-long telemetry transmitters in otariids

    PubMed Central

    Horning, Markus; Haulena, Martin; Tuomi, Pamela A; Mellish, Jo-Ann E

    2008-01-01

    Background Pinnipeds, including many endangered and declining species, are inaccessible and difficult to monitor for extended periods using externally attached telemetry devices that are shed during the annual molt. Archival satellite transmitters were implanted intraperitoneally into four rehabilitated California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) and 15 wild juvenile Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) to determine the viability of this surgical technique for the deployment of long-term telemetry devices in otariids. The life history transmitters record information throughout the life of the host and transmit data to orbiting satellites after extrusion following death of the host. Results Surgeries were performed under isoflurane anesthesia and single (n = 4) or dual (n = 15) transmitters were inserted into the ventrocaudal abdominal cavity via an 8.5 to 12 cm incision along the ventral midline between the umbilicus and pubic symphysis or preputial opening. Surgeries lasted 90 minutes (SD = 8) for the 19 sea lions. All animals recovered well and were released into the wild after extended monitoring periods from 27 to 69 days at two captive animal facilities. Minimum post-implant survival was determined via post-release tracking using externally attached satellite transmitters or via opportunistic re-sighting for mean durations of 73.7 days (SE = 9.0, Z. californianus) and 223.6 days (SE = 71.5, E. jubatus). Conclusion The low morbidity and zero mortality encountered during captive observation and post-release tracking periods confirm the viability of this surgical technique for the implantation of long-term telemetry devices in otariids. PMID:19077193

  13. 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

  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.

  15. Influence of a weak field of pulsed DC electricity on the behavior and incidence of injury in adult Steelhead and Pacific Lamprey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mesa, Matthew G.; Copeland, Elizabeth S.

    2009-01-01

    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.

  16. 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

  17. Running energetics in the pronghorn antelope.

    PubMed

    Lindstedt, S L; Hokanson, J F; Wells, D J; Swain, S D; Hoppeler, H; Navarro, V

    1991-10-24

    The pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) has an alleged top speed of 100 km h-1, second only to the cheetah (Acionyx jubatus) among land vertebrates, a possible response to predation in the exposed habitat of the North American prairie. Unlike cheetahs, however, pronghorn antelope are distance runners rather than sprinters, and can run 11 km in 10 min, an average speed of 65 km h-1. We measured maximum oxygen uptake in pronghorn antelope to distinguish between two potential explanations for this ability: either they have evolved a uniquely high muscular efficiency (low cost of transport) or they can supply oxygen to the muscles at unusually high levels. Because the cost of transport (energy per unit distance covered per unit body mass) varies as a predictable function of body mass among terrestrial vertebrates, we can calculate the predicted cost to maintain speeds of 65 and 100 km h-1 in an average 32-kg animal. The resulting range of predicted values, 3.2-5.1 ml O2 kg-1 s-1, far surpasses the predicted maximum aerobic capacity of a 32-kg mammal (1.5 ml O2 kg-1 s-1). We conclude that their performance is achieved by an extraordinary capacity to consume and process enough oxygen to support a predicted running speed greater than 20 ms-1 (70 km h-1), attained without unique respiratory-system structures.

  18. Prevalence and distribution of serum neutralizing antibodies to Tillamook (bovine) calicivirus in selected populations of marine mammals.

    PubMed

    Barlough, J E; Berry, E S; Smith, A W; Skilling, D E

    1987-01-01

    Neutralizing antibodies to Tillamook calicivirus (TCV) were found in sera collected from California sea lions (Zalophus c. californianus Lesson) in 1983 and 1984 and in sera collected from Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus Schreber) in 1976 and 1985. The combined prevalence of antibodies for these two species was 10/228 = 4.38%. Titers ranged from 1:20 (five animals), to 1:40 (four animals), to 1:80 (one animal) by standard microtiter neutralization assay. The seropositive pinnipeds were dispersed widely along the margins of the eastern Pacific rim, from the Bering Sea to the Santa Barbara Channel. Antibodies to TCV were not found in sera collected from northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus L.), Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens Illiger), seals of the family Phocidae, or several cetacean species. Tillamook calicivirus was isolated originally in 1981 from dairy calves in Oregon; the finding of neutralizing antibodies in two widely distributed species of sea lions suggests the possibility of a marine origin for this agent.

  19. Characterization of phylogenetically diverse astroviruses of marine mammals.

    PubMed

    Rivera, Rebecca; Nollens, Hendrik H; Venn-Watson, Stephanie; Gulland, Frances M D; Wellehan, James F X

    2010-01-01

    Astroviruses are small, non-enveloped, positive-stranded RNA viruses. Previously studied mammalian astroviruses have been associated with diarrhoeal disease. Knowledge of astrovirus diversity is very limited, with only six officially recognized astrovirus species from mammalian hosts and, in addition, one human and some bat astroviruses were recently described. We used consensus PCR techniques for initial identification of five astroviruses of marine mammals: three from California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), one from a Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) and one from a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Bayesian and maximum-likelihood phylogenetic analysis found that these viruses showed significant diversity at a level consistent with novel species. Astroviruses that we identified from marine mammals were found across the mamastrovirus tree and did not form a monophyletic group. Recombination analysis found that a recombination event may have occurred between a human and a California sea lion astrovirus, suggesting that both lineages may have been capable of infecting the same host at one point. The diversity found amongst marine mammal astroviruses and their similarity to terrestrial astroviruses suggests that the marine environment plays an important role in astrovirus ecology.

  20. 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, John 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).

  1. 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.

  2. Hormone changes indicate that winter is a critical period for food shortages in Steller sea lions.

    PubMed

    Rosen, David A S; Kumagai, Saeko

    2008-07-01

    Given that many marine mammals display seasonal energetic priorities, it is important to investigate whether the impact of unexpected food restriction differs during the year. Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) fed restricted diets for up to 9 days during spring, summer, fall, and winter lost an average of 10% of their initial body mass. We tracked changes in the levels of three hormones (cortisol, total thyroxine-TT4, total triiodothyronine-TT3) and one blood metabolite (blood urea nitrogen-BUN) following a food restriction in relation to season, body mass, body composition, and metabolism. Degree of changes in cortisol, TT3, and BUN after food restriction was significantly affected by season. The greatest changes in cortisol (+231%), BUN (+11.4%), TT4 (-23.3%), and TT3 (-35.6%) occurred in the winter (November/December) when rates of body mass loss were also greatest. Changes in cortisol levels were positively related to total body mass loss, while changes in TT3 levels were negatively related. While greater increases in BUN were related to greater rates of mass loss, the use of BUN levels as an indicator of metabolic state is complicated by the type and level of food intake. The observed changes in hormone levels support morphological data suggesting Steller sea lions may be more strongly impacted by short-term, reduced energy intake during winter than at other times of the year.

  3. 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

    2016-05-30

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. Genetic identification of novel poxviruses of cetaceans and pinnipeds.

    PubMed

    Bracht, A J; Brudek, R L; Ewing, R Y; Manire, C A; Burek, K A; Rosa, C; Beckmen, K B; Maruniak, J E; Romero, C H

    2006-03-01

    Novel poxviruses were identified in skin lesions of several species of cetaceans and pinnipeds using polymerase chain reaction targeting DNA polymerase and DNA topoisomerase I genes of members of the subfamily Chordopoxvirinae. With the exception of parapoxviruses, no molecular data of marine mammal poxviruses were available to infer genetic and evolutionary relatedness to terrestrial vertebrate poxviruses. Viruses were assigned to a cetacean poxvirus 1 (CPV-1) group based on nucleotide and amino acid identities of gene fragments amplified from skin lesions of Asian bottlenose (Tursiops aduncus), Atlantic bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus), rough-toothed (Steno bredanensis), and striped (Stenella coeruleoalba) dolphins. A different poxvirus was detected in skin lesions of a bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) and provisionally assigned to a CPV-2 group. These viruses showed highest identity to terrestrial poxviruses of the genera Orthopoxvirus and Suipoxvirus. A novel species-specific poxvirus was also identified in skin lesions of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). None of these poxviruses were found to have amplifiable hemagglutinin gene sequences. Novel parapoxviruses were also identified in skin lesions of Steller sea lions and spotted seals (Phoca largha). A significant degree of divergence was observed in sequences of Steller sea lion parapoxviruses, while those of spotted seals and harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) were highly conserved.

  6. 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.

  7. Linking reproduction and survival can improve model estimates of vital rates derived from limited time-series counts of pinnipeds and other species.

    PubMed

    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.

  8. Beneath the surface: profiling blubber depth in pinnipeds with infrared imaging.

    PubMed

    Mellish, J; Nienaber, J; Polasek, L; Horning, M

    2013-01-01

    Infrared thermography (IRT) was assessed as a non-invasive tool to evaluate body condition in juvenile female harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), (n=6) and adult female Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), (n=2). Surface temperature determined by IRT and blubber depth assessed with portable imaging ultrasound were monitored concurrently at eight body sites over the course of a year in long-term captive individuals under controlled conditions. Site-specific differences in surface temperature were noted between winter and summer in both species. Overall, surface temperature was slightly higher and more variable in harbor seals (9.8±0.6°C) than Steller sea lions (9.1±0.5°C). Limited site-specific relationships were found between surface temperature and blubber thickness, however, insulation level alone explained a very small portion of the variance. Therefore, while validated IRT data collection can potentially provide valuable information on the health, condition and metabolic state of an animal, it cannot provide a generalized proxy for blubber depth.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Contrasting patterns of genetic diversity at three different genetic markers in a marine mammal metapopulation.

    PubMed

    Hoffman, J I; Dasmahapatra, K K; Amos, W; Phillips, C D; Gelatt, T S; Bickham, J W

    2009-07-01

    Many studies use genetic markers to explore population structure and variability within species. However, only a minority use more than one type of marker and, despite increasing evidence of a link between heterozygosity and individual fitness, few ask whether diversity correlates with population trajectory. To address these issues, we analysed data from the Steller's sea lion, Eumetiopias jubatus, where three stocks are distributed over a vast geographical range and where both genetic samples and detailed demographic data have been collected from many diverse breeding colonies. To previously published mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and microsatellite data sets, we have added new data for amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers, comprising 238 loci scored in 285 sea lions sampled from 23 natal rookeries. Genotypic diversity was low relative to most vertebrates, with only 37 loci (15.5%) being polymorphic. Moreover, contrasting geographical patterns of genetic diversity were found at the three markers, with Nei's gene diversity tending to be higher for AFLPs and microsatellites in rookeries of the western and Asian stocks, while the highest mtDNA values were found in the eastern stock. Overall, and despite strongly contrasting demographic histories, after applying phylogenetic correction we found little correlation between genetic diversity and either colony size or demography. In contrast, we were able to show a highly significant positive relationship between AFLP diversity and current population size across a range of pinniped species, even though equivalent analyses did not reveal significant trends for either microsatellites or mtDNA.

  12. 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).

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Tooth Size Variation in Pinniped Dentitions.

    PubMed

    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

  6. 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.

  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. 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

  9. Physiological constraints and energetic costs of diving behaviour in marine mammals: a review of studies using trained Steller sea lions diving in the open ocean.

    PubMed

    Rosen, David A S; Hindle, Allyson G; Gerlinsky, Carling D; Goundie, Elizabeth; Hastie, Gordon D; Volpov, Beth L; Trites, Andrew W

    2017-01-01

    Marine mammals are characterized as having physiological specializations that maximize the use of oxygen stores to prolong time spent under water. However, it has been difficult to undertake the requisite controlled studies to determine the physiological limitations and trade-offs that marine mammals face while diving in the wild under varying environmental and nutritional conditions. For the past decade, Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) trained to swim and dive in the open ocean away from the physical confines of pools participated in studies that investigated the interactions between diving behaviour, energetic costs, physiological constraints, and prey availability. Many of these studies measured the cost of diving to understand how it varies with behaviour and environmental and physiological conditions. Collectively, these studies show that the type of diving (dive bouts or single dives), the level of underwater activity, the depth and duration of dives, and the nutritional status and physical condition of the animal affect the cost of diving and foraging. They show that dive depth, dive and surface duration, and the type of dive result in physiological adjustments (heart rate, gas exchange) that may be independent of energy expenditure. They also demonstrate that changes in prey abundance and nutritional status cause sea lions to alter the balance between time spent at the surface acquiring oxygen (and offloading CO2 and other metabolic by-products) and time spent at depth acquiring prey. These new insights into the physiological basis of diving behaviour further our understanding of the potential scope for behavioural responses of marine mammals to environmental changes, the energetic significance of these adjustments, and the consequences of approaching physiological limits.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Proportion of prey consumed can be determined from faecal DNA using real-time PCR.

    PubMed

    Bowles, Ella; Schulte, Patricia M; Tollit, Dominic J; Deagle, Bruce E; Trites, Andrew W

    2011-05-01

    Reconstructing the diets of pinnipeds by visually identifying prey remains recovered in faecal samples is challenging because of differences in digestion and passage rates of hard parts. Analysing the soft-matrix of faecal material using DNA-based techniques is an alternative means to identify prey species consumed, but published techniques are largely nonquantitative, which limits their usefulness for some applications. We further developed and validated a real-time PCR technique using species-specific mitochondrial DNA primers to quantify the proportion of prey in the diets of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), a pinniped species thought to be facing significant diet related challenges in the North Pacific. We first demonstrated that the proportions of prey tissue DNA in mixtures of DNA isolated from four prey species could be estimated within a margin of ∼ 12% of the percent in the mix. These prey species included herring Clupea palasii, eulachon Thaleichthyes pacificus, squid Loligo opalescens and rosethorn rockfish Sebastes helvomaculatus. We then applied real-time PCR to DNA extracted from faecal samples obtained from Steller sea lions in captivity that were fed 11 different combinations of herring, eulachon, squid and Pacific ocean perch rockfish (Sebastes alutus), ranging from 7% to 75% contributions per meal (by wet weight). The difference between the average percentage estimated by real-time PCR and the percentage of prey consumed was generally <12% for all diets fed. Our findings indicate that real-time PCR of faecal DNA can detect the approximate relative quantity of prey consumed for complex diets and prey species, including cephalopods and fish.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Toxic elements and organochlorines in harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsi), Kodiak, Alaska, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miles, A.K.; Calkins, D.G.; Coon, N.C.

    1992-01-01

    Marine and estuarine habitats near urban or industrialized regions are vulnerable to contaminated runoff. Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsi), which occur throughout much of the northern hemisphere, are useful mammalian biomonitors because they feed, reproduce, and rest near or on shore and are high-level trophic consumers. They have often been monitored for contaminants in Europe (Wagemann and Muir 1984). To date, no studies have been reported on contaminants in harbor seals from industrialized areas of Alaska. In the vicinity of Anchorage, Alaska's largest urban and industrial city, harbor seals are sedentary and limited to coastal waters; some movements have been documented but there is no evidence of extensive migrations. Although some harbor seals in the Kodiak Archipelago move up to 100 km along the shore, strong fidelity to specific haulout sites is more common (Pitcher and Calkins 1979). These seals eat mainly non-migratory fishes and octopi. Harbor seal numbers have declined substantially from unknown causes in the southern part of the Kodiak Archipelago. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) suggested that the decline is a trend for the entire Kodiak region and other Alaskan waters. Contaminants have been suggested as a possible reason for the precipitous decline of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in the region (Braham et al. 1980), and were suspected in the decline of harbor seals. In this study, harbor seals were sampled from throughout the Kodiak Archipelago to determine concentrations of certain metals, metalloids, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and organochlorine pesticides, and to determine if these concentrations varied by sex or accumulated with age. All seals were collected within 75 km of Cook Inlet, an estuary next to Anchorage. The targeted elements or compounds were known to be toxic to a wide spectrum of organisms (e.g., MARC 1980; Eisler 1986).

  16. 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

    2014-04-25

    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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Predation on an Upper Trophic Marine Predator, the Steller Sea Lion: Evaluating High Juvenile Mortality in a Density Dependent Conceptual Framework

    PubMed Central

    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

  20. 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

  1. Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum, Sarcocystis neurona, and Sarcocystis canis-like infections in marine mammals.

    PubMed

    Dubey, J P; Zarnke, R; Thomas, N J; Wong, S K; Van Bonn, W; Briggs, M; Davis, J W; Ewing, R; Mense, M; Kwok, O C H; Romand, S; Thulliez, P

    2003-10-30

    Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum, Sarcocystis neurona, and S. canis are related protozoans that can cause mortality in many species of domestic and wild animals. Recently, T. gondii and S. neurona were recognized to cause encephalitis in marine mammals. As yet, there is no report of natural exposure of N. caninum in marine mammals. In the present study, antibodies to T. gondii and N. caninum were assayed in sera of several species of marine mammals. For T. gondii, sera were diluted 1:25, 1:50, and 1:500 and assayed in the T. gondii modified agglutination test (MAT). Antibodies (MAT > or =1:25) to T. gondii were found in 89 of 115 (77%) dead, and 18 of 30 (60%) apparently healthy sea otters (Enhydra lutris), 51 of 311 (16%) Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), 19 of 45 (42%) sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) [corrected] 5 of 32 (16%) ringed seals (Phoca hispida), 4 of 8 (50%) bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus), 1 of 9 (11.1%) spotted seals (Phoca largha), 138 of 141 (98%) Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), and 3 of 53 (6%) walruses (Odobenus rosmarus). For N. caninum, sera were diluted 1:40, 1:80, 1:160, and 1:320 and examined with the Neospora agglutination test (NAT) using mouse-derived tachyzoites. NAT antibodies were found in 3 of 53 (6%) walruses, 28 of 145 (19%) sea otters, 11 of 311 (3.5%) harbor seals, 1 of 27 (3.7%) sea lions, 4 of 32 (12.5%) ringed seals, 1 of 8 (12.5%) bearded seals, and 43 of 47 (91%) bottlenose dolphins. To our knowledge, this is the first report of N. caninum antibodies in any marine mammal, and the first report of T. gondii antibodies in walruses and in ringed, bearded, spotted, and ribbon seals. Current information on T. gondii-like and Sarcocystis-like infections in marine mammals is reviewed. New cases of clinical S. canis and T. gondii infections are also reported in sea lions, and T. gondii infection in an Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus).

  2. Investigating trophic relationships of pinnipeds in Alaska and Washington using stable isotope ratios of nitrogen and carbon

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hobson, Keith A.; Sease, John L.; Merrick, Richard L.; Piatt, John F.

    1997-01-01

    We measured stable-nitrogen (δ15N) and stable-carbon (δ13C) isotope ratios in muscle and hair from 7 northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) from the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, and 27 Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), and 14 harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) from the Gulf of Alaska and coast of Washington State, in order to contrast dietary information derived from isotopic vs. available conventional dietary studies. Stable-nitrogen-isotope analysis of muscle revealed that harbor seals were enriched over sea lions (mean δ15N = 18.6‰vs. 17.5‰) which were in turn enriched over northern fur seals (mean δ15N = 16.6‰). Trophic segregation among these species likely results primarily from differential reliance on herring (Clupea harengus), Atka mackerel (Pleurogrammus monopterygius), and large vs. small walleye pollock (Theregra chalcogramma). According to their δ15N values, adult male Steller sea lions showed a higher trophic position than adult females (mean δ15N: 18.0‰ vs. 17.2‰), whereas adult female northern fur seals were trophically higher than juvenile male fur seals (mean δ15N: 16.5‰vs. 15.0‰). Each of these observed differences likely resulted from differential reliance on squid or differences in the size range of pollock consumed. Three northern fur seal pups showed higher δ15N enrichment over adults (mean 17.7‰vs. 15.8‰) due to their reliance on their mother's milk. Stable-carbon isotope measurements of hair revealed a cline toward more negative values with latitude. Segregation in hair δ13C between Steller sea lions and harbor seals off the coast of Washington (mean δ13C: -13.6‰ vs. -15.0‰) reflected the greater association of harbor seals with freshwater input from the Columbia River. Our study demonstrates the utility of the stable isotope approach to augment conventional dietary analyses of pinnipeds and other marine mammals.

  3. 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

  4. Pacific Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment (PaCSEA): aerial seabird and marine mammal surveys off northern California, Oregon, and Washington, 2011-2012

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adams, Josh; Felis, Jonathan J.; Mason, John W.; Takekawa, John Y.

    2014-01-01

    observed occasionally during all seasons with harbor seals occurring nearshore (usually within 10 km of the coast) and northern fur seals almost exclusively beyond the shelf break (> 200-m depth), especially during winter off Oregon and Washington. Northern (Steller’s) sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) were uncommonly sighted during winter and fall.

  5. 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

  6. Helicobacter acinonychis: genetic and rodent infection studies of a Helicobacter pylori-like gastric pathogen of cheetahs and other big cats.

    PubMed

    Dailidiene, Daiva; Dailide, Giedrius; Ogura, Keiji; Zhang, Maojun; Mukhopadhyay, Asish K; Eaton, Kathryn A; Cattoli, Giovanni; Kusters, Johannes G; Berg, Douglas E

    2004-01-01

    Insights into bacterium-host interactions and genome evolution can emerge from comparisons among related species. Here we studied Helicobacter acinonychis (formerly H. acinonyx), a species closely related to the human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori. Two groups of strains were identified by randomly amplified polymorphic DNA fingerprinting and gene sequencing: one group from six cheetahs in a U.S. zoo and two lions in a European circus, and the other group from a tiger and a lion-tiger hybrid in the same circus. PCR and DNA sequencing showed that each strain lacked the cag pathogenicity island and contained a degenerate vacuolating cytotoxin (vacA) gene. Analyses of nine other genes (glmM, recA, hp519, glr, cysS, ppa, flaB, flaA, and atpA) revealed a approximately 2% base substitution difference, on average, between the two H. acinonychis groups and a approximately 8% difference between these genes and their homologs in H. pylori reference strains such as 26695. H. acinonychis derivatives that could chronically infect mice were selected and were found to be capable of persistent mixed infection with certain H. pylori strains. Several variants, due variously to recombination or new mutation, were found after 2 months of mixed infection. H. acinonychis ' modest genetic distance from H. pylori, its ability to infect mice, and its ability to coexist and recombine with certain H. pylori strains in vivo should be useful in studies of Helicobacter infection and virulence mechanisms and studies of genome evolution.

  7. 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.