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Small founder populations of whooping cranes are managed to maximize egg production for the purpose of reintroducing young to the wild. This results in an excessive number of hatched chicks that cannot be naturally reared by parents. Hand-rearing techniques have been developed to raise the additional hatches. However, hand rearing may affect the behavior of the birds and their chances of survival later in life. The objectives of this study were to determine the impact of rearing practices on the behavior of whooping crane chicks. The birds were reared under three commonly used rearing techniques: parent reared (PR), hand reared (HR), and hand reared with exercise (HRE). Fifty-six whooping crane chicks were observed...
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Wildlife management actions can alter fundamental behaviors of individuals and groups,which may directly impact their life history parameters in unforeseen ways. This is especially true for highly social animals because changes in one individual’s behavior can cascade throughout its social network. When resources to support populations of social animals are limited and populations become locally overabundant, managers are faced with the daunting challenge of decreasing population size without disrupting core behavioral processes. Increasingly, managers are turning to fertility control technologies to supplement culling in efforts to suppress population growth, but little is quantitatively known about how either...
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Rearing treatments used in captivity to prepare animals for reintroduction to the wild may have a profound effect on behavior and, possibly, affect their survival after reintroduction. This study examined the behaviors of captive-reared whooping cranes (Grus americana) upon their release in Florida to determine if rearing treatments may affect the behavior of the birds and how these affect their chances of survival in the wild. Individually tagged birds were observed at the rearing facility, the U.S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, from hatch to 20 weeks of age and at the release site in Central Florida for up to 6 weeks post release. The rearing treatments were parent reared (PR),...
Managers concerned with shrinking habitats and limited resources for wildlife seek effective tools for limiting population growth in some species. Fertility control is one such tool, yet little is known about its impacts on the behavioral ecology of wild, free-roaming animals. We investigated influences of the immunocontraceptive porcine zona pellucida (PZP) on individual and social behavior in bands of feral horses (Equus caballus) in three discrete populations and used 14 hierarchical mixed effect models to gain insight into the influences of PZP treatment on feral horse behavior. A model of body condition was the strongest predictor of feeding, resting, maintenance, and social behaviors, with treated females...
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Managers concerned with shrinking habitats and limited resources for wildlife seek effective tools for limiting population growth in some species. Fertility control is one such tool, yet little is known about its impacts on the behavioral ecology of wild, free-roaming animals. We investigated influences of the immunocontraceptive porcine zona pellucida (PZP) on individual and social behavior in bands of feral horses (Equus caballus) in three discrete populations and used 14 hierarchical mixed effect models to gain insight into the influences of PZP treatment on feral horse behavior. A model of body condition was the strongest predictor of feeding, resting, maintenance, and social behaviors, with treated females...