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Assessment of Cortisol Levels in Captive Blackbucks (Antilope cervicapra)

Assessment of Cortisol Levels in Captive Blackbucks (Antilope cervicapra)

Mubashar Ahmad, Roheela Yasmeen*, Aisha Waheed Qurashi, Muhammad Hassan Ali Shah 

Department of Biology, Lahore Garrison University, Sector C, Phase VI, DHA, Lahore.

*Correspondence | Roheela Yasmeen, Department of Biology, Lahore Garrison University, Sector C, Phase VI, DHA, Lahore; Email: roheelayasmeen@lgu.edu.pk 

ABSTRACT

Wildlife is decreasing due to loss of habitat, hunting, killing, poaching and availability of contaminated food. To save animals formation of Zoos is years old practice. The animals are placed in captivity for recreation, education and economic benefits. The physical needs of animals are even met in captivity however the conditions of confinement and exposure to humans can result in physiological stress. The stress response consists of the suite of hormonal and physiological reactions which are helpful in an animal’s survival. Cortisol levels are frequently used to determine the stress in animals. The elevation in cortisol levels are associated with increased stress levels. The present study was aimed to find the reliability of the faecal and urine samples for the determination of the stress levels in animals. A non-invasive technique was used to measure the cortisol levels. Urine and faecal samples of male and female blackbucks (Antilope cervicapra) were collected from Lahore Zoo, Safari Zoo and Jallo Zoo in winter and summer season to determine the stress levels. Both faecal and urine samples were prepared and further analyzed by radioimmunoassay (RIA) kit to determine the faecal and urine cortisol levels. Higher concentrations of cortisol were recorded in both males and females of blackbuck in the Jallo Park and Lahore Zoo as compared to Safari Zoo. Moreover, higher cortisol levels were recorded in the blackbuck in summer season as compared to winter season. Results of ANOVA showed significant differences in cortisol levels among different sites at <0.05 p-value. Temperature was positively correlated with the cortisol levels. While humidity levels were negatively correlated with the faecal and urine cortisol concentration in blackbuck. It was concluded that the faecal and urine samples can be used to determine the stress levels in captive blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra).

Keywords | Cortisol, captive sites, seasons, radioimmunoassay (RIA), blackbuck 

 

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Journal of Animal Health and Production

June

Vol. 10, Iss. 2, Pages 135-272

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