Glucocorticoid Production, Activity Levels, And Personality Traits Of Fennec Foxes (Vulpes zerda) Managed For Different Roles In Zoos

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Corinne P Kozlowski, Karen L Bauman, Ashley D Franklin, John M Sahrmann, Marieke Gartner, Eli Baskir, Sheri Hanna, Kathleen LaMattina, Alice Seyfried, David M Powell
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
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Fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) concentrations, activity, and personality were assessed for 35 fennec foxes (Vulpes zerda) to determine whether animals managed as ambassadors differed from exhibit or off-exhibit animals. A FGM assay, pedometer, and personality assessment tool were validated. Then, fecal samples and movement data were collected during winter and summer periods. Handling was recorded, and the personality of each fox was evaluated. Generalized linear mixed models assessed the relationships between FGM concentrations, activity, personality, handling, sex, season, rearing type, and role. FGM concentrations did not differ in relation to role or handling. Foxes were most active at night; the time of peak activity did not vary with role or handling. Foxes were more active in winter; males were more active than females, and ambassador foxes were more active than off-exhibit animals. Hand-reared foxes were more sociable, and, at one institution, ambassador foxes were more sociable than foxes in other roles. These results suggest that management for ambassador programs is not associated with changes in glucocorticoid production or circadian patterns but may increase activity and be associated with greater sociability.


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