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University of the Witwatersrand (2012)

Detection of hyperthermia during capture of wild antelope

Broekman, Marna Suzanne

Titre : Detection of hyperthermia during capture of wild antelope

Auteur : Broekman, Marna Suzanne

Université de soutenance : University of the Witwatersrand

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2012

Résumé partiel
Capture of wildlife often leads to high animal mortality. In many species, capture is associated with development of a high body temperature. This stress-induced hyperthermia appears to form an integral part of capture-related mortalities, since it occurs before, during and after exposure to capture. I used two wildlife species, impala and blesbok, and exposed them to darting and net capture so as to investigate thermal and haematological changes that occur during capture. We implanted the animals with temperature-sensitive data loggers within the abdominal cavity (for core body temperature) and caudal aspect of the thigh (for muscle temperature). Activity loggers were tethered to the abdominal wall to measure locomotor activity. Blood samples were taken after capture when the animal became recumbent and another sample 10 minutes after the first sample in order to determine haematological changes. Impala had higher abdominal body temperatures during net capture in comparison to darting, whereas blesbok abdominal body temperatures did not differ between capture methods. Different species and individuals of the same species respond differently to various capture procedures. However, I found that irrespective of the capture event or whether impala or blesbok were captured, human presence before capture caused abdominal body temperatures to rise. Similar to thermal responses, there also was high variability between individuals in terms of blood variable concentrations used to quantify physiological responses to capture. Overall, blood variable changes (total protein, sodium, lactate, haematocrit, noradrenaline, adrenaline, potassium, creatine phosphokinase, pH) were similar for impala and blesbok in response to the two capture procedures. Cortisol values in blesbok however showed a greater response during darting whereas impala showed a greater response during net capture. Similarly, osmolality values showed a greater response during net capture whereas impala showed a greater response during darting. Both the species showed that sodium and lactate correlated positively as well as noradrenaline and adrenaline correlated positively. The correlation between two variables allows us to measure only one of the variables, predicting the change of another. Unpredictable differences in thermal and blood variable measurements of impala and blesbok between different capture procedures did not allow me to correlate the thermal responses after a capture event to stress-related blood variables. The issue of obtaining a practical and accurate measurement of the hyperthermic response during capture also often arises. Rectal temperature is currently the method of choice to determine body temperature in the field. I aimed to investigate whether muscle temperature measurement can be used as an alternative body temperature measurement in the field. When abdominal core body temperatures were high, muscle temperature measurements were close to and even slightly higher than the abdominal body temperature measurements in both the species. However, low abdominal body temperatures, muscle temperature measurements were at lower and much less accurate in predicting abdominal body temperatures. Muscle temperatures can therefore predict abdominal body temperatures with sufficient accuracy during a capture event, since animals respond to capture with elevated body temperatures thus increasing the similarity between the abdominal and muscle temperature measurements measured.


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