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Author Li, C.; Jiang, Z.; Tang, S.; Zeng, Y. doi  openurl
  Title Influence of enclosure size and animal density on fecal cortisol concentration and aggression in Pere David's deer stags Type Journal Article
  Year 2007 Publication General and Comparative Endocrinology Abbreviated Journal Gen Comp Endocrinol  
  Volume 151 Issue 2 Pages 202-209  
  Keywords *Aggression; Animals; *Deer; *Environment; Feces/*chemistry; Handling (Psychology); Housing, Animal; Hydrocortisone/*analysis; Male; Population Density  
  Abstract We investigated the impact of enclosure size and animal density on behavior and adrenocortical secretion in Pere David's deer in Dafeng Nature Reserve, China. From February 15 to April 16 in 2004, we conducted two experiments. First, we studied maintenance behavior and conflict behavior of Pere David's deer stags in a large enclosure (200 ha) with low animal density (0.66 deer/ha) and a small display pen (0.75 ha) with high animal density (25.33 deer/ha). The maintenance behavior we recorded included standing, locomotion, foraging and rest. During the behavioral observations, we collected fresh voided fecal samples from the stags periodically, and analyzed the fecal cortisol concentrations in those samples using radioimmunoassay technique. Second, we monitored the fecal cortisol concentrations of one group of stags (12 deer lived in an enclosure of 100 ha) before and after transferred into a small pen (0.5 ha). We found that in the first experiment: (1) there were significant differences in standing and rest whereas no significant differences of locomotion and foraging between the free-ranging group and the display group; (2) frequency of conflict behavior in the display group was significantly higher than those in the free-ranging group; and (3) fecal cortisol concentration of the display group (326.17+/-16.98 ng/g dry feces) was significantly higher than that of the free-ranging group (268.98+/-15.21 ng/g dry feces). In the second experiment, there was no significant difference of the fecal cortisol concentrations among sampling days, but the mean fecal cortisol concentration of the day after transferring (337.46+/-17.88 ng/g dry feces) was significantly higher than that of the day before transferring (248.44+/-7.99 ng/g dry feces). Comparison with published findings, our results indicated that enclosure size and animal density affect not only behaviors, but also adrenocortical secretion in Pere David's deer. Small living space with high animal density may impose physiological stress to captive Pere David's deer. Moreover, long-term physiological stress and increase of conflict behavior may subsequently affect survival and reproduction of the deer.  
  Address Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080, China  
  Corporate Author Thesis  
  Publisher Place of Publication Editor  
  Language English Summary Language (up) Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN 0016-6480 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes PMID:17324429 Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 5475  
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