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15 July 2021 Measuring Faecal Glucocorticoid Metabolite Concentrations as an Indicator of Stress in Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus)
Tanja E. Wolf, Adel R. De Haast, Leith Meyer, David Gerber, Andre Ganswindt
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Abstract

In South Africa, blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) are routinely captured for relocation purposes. To monitor the stress caused by this practise, a non-invasive method assessing adrenocortical function as a measure of stress would minimize disturbance during sample collection. In our study, an adrenocorticotropic hormone challenge, and a mass-capture event were used to examine the suitability of five enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) for monitoring stress-related physiological responses using faeces as a sample matrix. The tested 11-oxoaetiocholanolone I EIA performed best, showing a 2126% increase above baseline after 22 h for a male, and a 474% increase for a female 23 h post-ACTH injection. Baseline faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCM) concentrations did not differ between animals captured on either day 1 or day 2 of the capture event, indicating that the frequent presence of a helicopter during the two days did not influence fGCM concentrations. However, during capture-related restraint for up to 10 h, an overall 1.5-fold elevation in (fGCM) concentrations was found. Storage of faeces at ambient temperature post-defecation indicated a fair stability of fGCMs for up to 8 h. The ability to reliably assess adrenocortical function provides a solid basis to examine endocrine responses to putative stressful circumstances in blue wildebeest.

Tanja E. Wolf, Adel R. De Haast, Leith Meyer, David Gerber, and Andre Ganswindt "Measuring Faecal Glucocorticoid Metabolite Concentrations as an Indicator of Stress in Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus)," African Journal of Wildlife Research 51(1), (15 July 2021). https://doi.org/10.3957/056.051.0090
Received: 26 April 2021; Accepted: 29 June 2021; Published: 15 July 2021
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