Noninvasive monitoring of adrenocortical activity in carnivores by fecal glucocorticoid analyses

Measurement of glucocorticoid metabolites in feces has become an accepted method for the noninvasive evaluation of adrenocortical activity. The objective of this study was to determine if a simple cortisol enzyme immunoassay (EIA) was suitable for monitoring adrenocortical activity in a variety of carnivore species. Performance of the cortisol EIA was gauged by comparison to […]

Use of fecal glucocorticoid metabolite measures in conservation biology research: considerations for application and interpretation

Fecal glucocorticoid metabolite analyses are increasingly being used by a variety of scientists (e.g., conservation biologists, animal scientists) to examine glucocorticoid (i.e., stress hormone) secretion in domestic and wild vertebrates. Adrenocortical activity (i.e., stress response) is of interest to conservation biologists because stress can alter animal behavior, reduce resistance to disease, and affect population performance. […]

Social capital and physiological stress levels in free-ranging adult female rhesus macaques

Social animals with greater access to social support, i.e. higher levels of social capital, may be able to cope better with the challenges they face in their day-to-day lives, and this may be reflected in lower physiological stress levels. Here, we examine the relationship between social capital and fecal glucocorticoid (GC) levels in pregnant free-ranging […]

Using odor cues to elicit a behavioral and hormonal response in zoo-housed African wild dogs

Olfactory enrichment, like odor cues, can positively affect behavior, reproductive success, and stress physiology in zoo-housed species. Our goal was to determine if odor cues were enriching to the African wild dog (AWD; Lycaon pictus), a species with a complex social structure and a highly developed sense of smell. Our objectives were to: (1) examine […]

Mean fecal glucocorticoid metabolites are associated with vigilance, whereas immediate cortisol levels better reflect acute anti-predator responses in meerkats

Adrenal hormones likely affect anti-predator behavior in animals. With experimental field studies, we first investigated associations between mean fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGC) excretion and vigilance and with behavioral responses to alarm call playbacks in free-ranging meerkats (Suricata suricatta). We then tested how vigilance and behavioral responses to alarm call playbacks were affected in individuals administered […]