Comparative endocrine investigations in three bear species based on urinary steroid metabolites and volatiles

In order to improve breeding of in situ populations of bears, a comprehensive study of reproductive physiology in Brown (Ursus arctos), Spectacled (Tremarctos ornatus) and Giant panda bears (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) was performed. The objective was to perform non-invasive analyses of urinary and fecal steroid metabolites. In addition, we investigated the presence of reproduction-related urinary volatile […]

Name that tune: call discrimination and individual recognition in Magellanic penguins

Individual recognition via vocalizations is key to reproductive success in many species. We explored individual recognition and call discrimination in Magellanic penguins, Spheniscus magellanicus, through several playback experiments. By using two call types in multiple social contexts, we demonstrate, for the first time in a Spheniscus species, that adults and chicks can discriminate between conspecific […]

Hormonal correlates of parental behavior in yellow-eyed penguins (Megadyptes antipodes)

Penguins show varying degrees of brood reduction behavior, from obligate brood reducers to brood maximizers, and we hypothesize that this is associated with differences in prolactin secretion. To address this hypothesis, we determined the breeding season prolactin profile of the yelloweyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) for comparison with those of other penguin species found in the […]

Invited review: Body condition score and its association with dairy cow productivity, health, and welfare

The body condition score (BCS) of a dairy cow is an assessment of the proportion of body fat that it possesses, and it is recognized by animal scientists and producers as being an important factor in dairy cattle management. The scale used to measure BCS differs between countries, but low values always reflect emaciation and […]

Stress, behaviour and reproductive performance in female cattle and pigs

Female farm animals are exposed to a great variety of environmental and management related stressors. As a consequence, their reproductive and maternal abilities may be compromised through mechanisms acting on the hypothalamic, pituitary, ovarian and uterine function. Responses to short- and long-term stressors may differ as short-term stressors often fail to affect reproduction or even […]

Elephant Communication

Elephants live in a complex society in which both long- and short-distance communication plays an important role in the ability to locate mates and to maintain intra- and inter-group cohesion. Elephants use a variety of sensory channels in ways both complementary and redundant to achieve this communication, as well as to advertise physiological states, allow […]

Skewed birth sex ratio and premature mortality in elephants

Sex allocation theories predict equal offspringnumber of both sexes unless differential investment is required or some competition exists. Left undisturbed, elephants reproduce well and in approximately even numbers in the wild.We report an excess of males are born and substantial juvenile mortality occurs, perinatally, in captivity. Studbook data on captive births (CB, n = 487) […]

Behavioural and endocrinological parameters of female African and Asian elephants

Reproduction of African elephants Loxodonta africana and Asian elephants Elephas maximus has in the past been poor in European zoos and juvenile survival has been low. A range of potential complications, such as stillbirths or maternal aggression towards the calf, makes it imperative that the date of parturition is predicted as accurately as possible. Behavioural, […]

Group size: Determinants in the wild and implications for the captive housing of wild mammals in zoos☆

Group size is one of the most important factors influencing the formation and maintenance of successful social groups in captivity. For zoos, appropriate social groupings are of the utmost importance to provide examples of species-typical behaviors, as well as attain captive breeding goals. In the wild, group-living evolved largely in response to the need for […]

Longitudinal study of delayed reproductive success in a pair of white-cheeked gibbons (Hylobates leucogenys)

Concern over a lack of breeding success in a pair of white-cheeked gibbons (Hylobates leucogenys) prompted a four-part study of gibbon behavior and physiology at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Data were collected to determine the female intermenstrual interval (IMI) and identify periods of peak receptivity. Subsequent behavioral data were gathered during both female menses and […]