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Theriogenology. 2012 Aug;78(3):483-94. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2012.02.006. Epub 2012 May 22.

Characterizing the behavior and reproductive biology of zoo-housed Sichuan takin (Budorcas taxicolor tibetana) using non-invasive techniques.

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1
Animal Care Department, Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60614, USA.

Abstract

The Sichuan takin (takin; Budorcas taxicolor tibetana) is distributed in the Gansu and Sichuan providences of southern China and along eastern Tibet. Because of their ecology, few data on takin reproductive biology exist, with the exception of its mating season in the Sichuan province, which occurs from July through August. Therefore, the objectives were to: 1) characterize reproductive hormones in zoo-housed male and female takin, including pregnancy in the female, using non-invasive fecal steroid hormonal monitoring; 2) characterize behaviors of zoo-housed takin, emphasizing reproductive behaviors and activity budget; and 3) assess the influence of season on births in North America and reproductive hormonal and behavioral activity. Fecal samples were collected 3 to 5 times per week from two adult males and three adult females. Extracted hormones were analyzed using an enzyme immunoassay for progestagen and androgen concentrations. Behavioral observations were collected for 2 yrs using an ethogram. In this study, season affected reproduction, specifically birth occurrences, reproductive cyclicity in females and androgen production in males. The duration of the estrous cycle was approximately 35 d and cycles occurred June through December. Androgen concentrations peaked in May through August. Season did not influence behavior; however, age and sex may affect some behaviors, including activity level, foraging and drinking, social affiliative behavior, and visibility from the visitor's viewpoint. In conclusion, fecal hormonal and behavioral analyses can provide information for management and conservation of this herd species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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