Title page for ETD etd-01042011-182557


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Bates, Melodie Joy
Email mellie447@yahoo.com
URN etd-01042011-182557
Document Title Endocrine correlates of tree-ranging African elephant (Loxodonata Africana) treated with porcine zona pellucida vaccine
Degree MSc
Department Production Animal Studies
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Dr A Ganswindt Co-Supervisor
Prof H J Bertschinger Supervisor
Keywords
  • porcine zona pellucida
  • pZP
  • African elephant
Date 2010-11-26
Availability unrestricted
Abstract

Due to overpopulation of African elephants in South Africa and the consequent threat to biodiversity, the need for a method of population control has become evident. The potential use of the porcine zona pellucida (pZP) vaccine as a safe and effective means for population control is explored. While potential effects of pZP treatment on social behaviour of African elephants have been investigated, no examination of the influence of pZP vaccination on the endocrine correlates in treated females has been undertaken. The ovarian activity of freeranging, pZP-treated African elephant females was monitored non-invasively for one year duration by measuring faecal progestagen concentrations via enzyme immunoassay. Behavioural observations were recorded for comparison with progestagen concentrations and to determine any behavioural changes surrounding the pZP vaccine darting event. Each elephant under study showed progestagen concentrations rising above baseline at some period during the study indicating luteal functionality. Average progestagen concentrations were 1.61 0.46 g/g. Within sampled females, 42.9% exhibited oestrous cycles within the range reported for African elephants, 14.3% had irregular cycles, and 42.9% did not appear to be cycling. Average oestrous cycle duration was 14.72 0.85 weeks. Behavioural oestrous coincided with the onset of the luteal phase and a subsequent rise in progestagen concentrations. Focal sampling to determine activity budgets before and after the darting event revealed no significant change in behavioural activities. In the week following immunization, individual progestagen concentrations decreased significantly from overall average concentrations. Average progestagen concentrations positively correlated with rainfall and with herd dominance. No association between average individual progestagen concentrations or cyclicity status with age, lactation, or parity were detected. Earlier determination of efficacy was made indicating reproductive control was established 22 months post-treatment. Results indicate the presence of ovarian activity amongst pZP-treated female African elephants in two years following initial immunization. Further study should be aimed toward studying the long term effects of pZP vaccination on the reproductive function of female African elephants.

2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Bates, MJ 2010, Endocrine correlates of tree-ranging African elephant (Loxodonata Africana) treated with porcine zona pellucida vaccine, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-01042011-182557/ >

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