Dog appeasing pheromone prevents the androgen surge and may reduce contact dominance and active submission after stressful interventions in African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus)

Van den Berghe, Femke, Paris, Monique C.J., Sarnyai, Zoltan, Vlamings, Bart, Millar, Robert P., Ganswindt, Andre, Cozzi, Alessandro, Pageat, Patrick, and Paris, Damien B.B.P. (2019) Dog appeasing pheromone prevents the androgen surge and may reduce contact dominance and active submission after stressful interventions in African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus). PLoS ONE, 14 (3). e0212551.

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The endangered African wild dog (AWD; Lycaon pictus) is a highly social canid living in packs with a separate male and female hierarchy. Immobilisation, handling and translocations are acute stressors for AWDs, however such interventions are often needed for species management. In addition, new pack formation or temporary pack separation can lead to an increase in intra-pack aggression. The goal of this double-blinded placebo-controlled study conducted in captive zoo populations was to evaluate whether dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) reduces behavioural stress and faecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels (fGCM) normally associated with pack separation, immobilisation and reintroduction (SIR), and to assess whether this reduces aggressive behaviours and faecal androgen metabolite levels (fAM). Four packs (n = 11 males) were treated with DAP and 4 packs (n = 12 males) were treated with a placebo solution, applied at the end of anaesthesia. Behavioural interactions as well as fGCM and fAM were determined from 3 days before until 4–6 days after SIR. No effect of DAP on fGCM was observed, however, fAM increased after SIR in placebo but not DAP treated animals. Moreover, on the day of reintroduction, DAP treated packs tended to have lower rates of contact-dominance and active-submission behaviour, but higher rates of non-contact dominance behaviour. As these effects could decrease the risk of agonistic interactions, DAP may be a useful tool to help manage new pack formations and temporary pack separation.

Item ID: 57147
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Keywords: African wild dog; dog appeasing pheromone; wildlife management; cortisol; androgen; testosterone; faecal hormone analysis; behaviour; stress; aggression; conservation
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2019 Van den Berghe et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funders: Morris Animal Foundation (MAF), Roger Williams Park Zoo, Fresno Chaffe Zoo, James Cook University (JCU), IBREAM
Projects and Grants: MAF D15ZO-053
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2019 03:01
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 60%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310903 Animal developmental and reproductive biology @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 20%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 60%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 40%
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