Response to long-distance relocation in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus): monitoring adrenocortical activity via serum, urine, and feces

Fanson, Kerry V., Lynch, Michael, Vogelnest, Larry, Miller, Gary and Keeley, Tamara (2013) Response to long-distance relocation in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus): monitoring adrenocortical activity via serum, urine, and feces. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 59 655-664. doi:10.1007/s10344-013-0718-7


Author Fanson, Kerry V.
Lynch, Michael
Vogelnest, Larry
Miller, Gary
Keeley, Tamara
Title Response to long-distance relocation in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus): monitoring adrenocortical activity via serum, urine, and feces
Formatted title
Response to long-distance relocation in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus): monitoring adrenocortical activity via serum, urine, and feces
Journal name European Journal of Wildlife Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1612-4642
1439-0574
Publication date 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10344-013-0718-7
Open Access Status
Volume 59
Start page 655
End page 664
Total pages 10
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Abstract Understanding how elephants respond to potentially stressful events, such as relocation, is important for making informed management decisions. This study followed the relocation of eight Asian elephants from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands to mainland Australia. The first goal of this study was to examine patterns of adrenocortical activity as reflected in three different substrates: serum, urine, and feces. We found that the three substrates yielded very different signals of adrenocortical activity. Fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM) increased as predicted post-transport, but urinary glucocorticoid metabolites (UGM) were actually lower following transport. Serum cortisol levels did not change significantly. We suggest that the differences in FGM and UGM may reflect changes in steroid biosynthesis, resulting in different primary glucocorticoids being produced at different stages of the stress response. Additional studies are needed to more thoroughly understand the signals of adrenocortical activity yielded by different substrates. The second goal was to examine individual variation in patterns of adrenal response. There was a positive correlation between baseline FGM value and duration of post-transfer increase in FGM concentration. Furthermore, an individual's adrenocortical response to relocation was correlated with behavioral traits of elephants. Elephants that were described by keepers as being "curious" exhibited a more prolonged increase in FGM post-transfer, and "reclusive" elephants had a greater increase in FGM values. Future research should investigate the importance of these personality types for the management and welfare of elephants.
Keyword Elephant
Relocation
Stress (Physiology)
Fecal
Cortisol
Glucocorticoids
Transport
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 5 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Mon, 15 Dec 2014, 12:18:58 EST by Tamara Keeley on behalf of School of Agriculture and Food Sciences