Individual and environmental risk factors associated with fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations in zoo-housed Asian and African elephants

A recent large-scale welfare study in North America involving 106 Asian (Elephas maximus) and 131 African (Loxodonta africana) elephants at 64 accredited facilities identified links (i.e., risk factors) between zoo environmental factors and a number of welfare outcomes (stereotypic behavior, ovarian acyclicity, hyperprolactinemia, walking and recumbence, body condition, health status, serum cortisol). For this population […]

Fathers’ cortisol and testosterone in the days around infants’ births predict later paternal involvement

Human paternal behavior is multidimensional, and extant research has yet to delineate how hormone patterns may be related to different dimensions of fathering. Further, although studies vary in their measurement of hormones (i.e., basal or reactivity), it remains unclear whether basal and/or reactivity measures are predictive of different aspects of men’s parenting. We examined whether […]

Effects of artificial eggs on prolactin secretion, steroid levels, brood patch development, incubation onset and clutch size in the yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes)

Several studies have shown that the transition from egg laying to incubation behavior in birds is associated with changes in plasma levels of prolactin and steroid hormones. However, any effect of the tactile and visual input provided by eggs at initiating these hormonal changes has not been fully investigated in wild birds. A few days […]

Effects of artificial social stimuli on the reproductive schedule and hormone levels of yellow-eyed penguins (Megadyptes antipodes)

The effects of social stimuli on avian reproductive behaviors such as breeding schedules and courtship behaviors are well known due to numerous field studies. However, studies that have simultaneously examined the effects of social stimuli on reproductive behavior and the mediating endocrine mechanisms have been largely restricted to captive populations, which may not be representative […]

Comparative endocrinology of cycling and non-cycling Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants

Up to 14% of Asian and 29% of African elephants in captivity are not cycling normally or exhibit irregular cycles based on progestin profiles. To determine if ovarian acyclicity is related to other disruptions in endocrine activity, serum pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, and ovarian hormones in weekly samples collected for 6–25 months were compared between normal […]

Reproductive endocrine monitoring of elephants: An essential tool for assisting captive management

Considerable information now is available about the basic reproductive biology of elephants, especially females. However, as important as this knowledge is, it no longer is enough to simply compile it into a database. The potential exists for using endocrine monitoring techniques to solve real problems. This review summarizes our current knowledge of elephant endocrinology and […]

Proceedings of The Fifth Annual Symposium on Zoo Research


Results of a second survey to assess the reproductive status of female Asian and African elephants in North America

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20238.abs Surveys are being conducted to monitor the reproductive health of elephants managed by the TAG/SSP. This study summarizes results of a 2005 survey and compares data to one conducted in 2002. Surveys were returned for 100% and 79.0% of Asian and African elephants, respectively. Of those, 79.3% of Asian and 92.1% of African […]

Pregnancy detection from fecal progestin concentrations in the red panda (Ailures fulgens fulgens)

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20059.abs The reproductive physiology of red pandas (Ailures fulgens fulgens) has not been well documented. This critically endangered species is not self-sustaining in captivity despite several breeding populations, with low reproductive success and high infant mortality being leading causes of the decline. Hormone profiles were monitored in three groups of females (mated with birth, […]

Predicting reproduction in captive sea otters (Enhydra lutris)

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20020.abs The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is a threatened species. It is also a popular exhibit animal in many zoos and aquariums worldwide. Unfortunately, sea otters reproduce successfully in only a small number of facilities. Pregnancies vary in duration, and are thought to involve a delayed implantation of about 2–3 months, followed by an […]