Novel appeasing pheromones to minimize stress during metapopulation management of African wild dogs

Riddell, Pia, Paris, Monique C.J., Joone, Carolynne, Pageat, Patrick, Ganswindt, Andre, Parker, Daniel M., Du Plessis, Cole, and Paris, Damien B.B.P. (2020) Novel appeasing pheromones to minimize stress during metapopulation management of African wild dogs. In: Abstracts from the 33rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Wildlife Management Society. p. 44. From: 33rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Wildlife Management Society, 8-10 December 2020, Online Event.

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Abstract

In the last century, human persecution and increased habitat fragmentation has reduced African wild dog populations from around 500,000 to 6,600 individuals, with the population continuing to decline. In South Africa, metapopulation management has been instrumental to the survival of populations across fragmented habitats, and entails the translocation and artificial new pack formation of animals to reinforce populations, maximize genetic dispersal and reintroduce animals into their former range. However, temporary captivity during such conservation interventions regularly cause chronic stress in African wild dogs, and can result in increased aggression, disrupted pack hierarchy, injury and occasionally mortality. Pheromones are naturally occurring chemicals that can moderate behaviours and physiology in conspecifics. Appeasing pheromones identified in domestic dogs (DAP) are known to reduce stress and aggression. When applied to African wild dog packs, we showed DAP treatment decreased faecal androgen metabolite concentrations and shifted dominance behaviour from contact to non-contact compared to controls (Van den Berghe et al. PLoS ONE 14(3): e0212551). However, because pheromones are largely species-specific, an African wild dog-specific appeasing pheromone (AWDAP) should elicit a stronger beneficial physiological and behavioural effect during conservation interventions. In this project, AWDAP will be isolated and applied to packs undergoing translocation in South Africa. Using a combination of behaviour, faecal hormone metabolites and antibodies, animals will be monitored for reduced stress and aggression, improved immune function and greater social cohesion, all of which should ultimately confer a survival advantage to the pack upon release into the wild.

Item ID: 66002
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Keywords: African wild dog; appeasing pheromone; wildlife management; androgen; testosterone; faecal hormone analysis; behaviour; stress; aggression; conservation
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Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2021 01:28
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management @ 40%
34 CHEMICAL SCIENCES > 3404 Medicinal and biomolecular chemistry > 340401 Biologically active molecules @ 30%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 40%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity @ 60%
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