European Journal of Wildlife Research

Published by Springer Nature
Online ISSN: 1439-0574
Learn more about this page
Recent publications
Location of Belum-Temengor Forest Complex (BTFC). The area of BTFC is about 320,000 ha which includes 17,200 ha Temengor Lake. The stars show the location of the Tersau salt-lick and Tiang area with 3 studied salt-licks, respectively
The number of captures with/without water-drinking behavior by each food-habit mammal recorded at salt-licks. The number in brackets shows the percentage of captures with water-drinking behavior. The black bar shows the capture with water-drinking behavior, and the white bar shows without such behavior
Article
  • Yuko TawaYuko Tawa
  • Shahrul Anuar Mohd SahShahrul Anuar Mohd Sah
  • Shiro KohshimaShiro Kohshima
The food habits and behavior of medium and large-sized mammals that visited natural salt-licks in a tropical rainforest of Belum-Temengor Forest Complex, Peninsular Malaysia, were analyzed to understand the purpose of their salt-lick visits. The study was conducted at the wet-type salt-licks, where the animals drink clear water, thus the ingestion of clay particles needed for detoxification of plant secondary compounds, one of the possible purposes of salt-lick visits, seemed very low. Ten herbivorous, seven omnivorous, and four carnivorous species were recorded at the salt-licks. 95.3% of all video capture records of animals at the salt-licks were of herbivores, while the records of omnivores and carnivores were only 3.5% and 1.2%, respectively. These results indicated that herbivores visited studied salt-licks much more frequently than other food-habit species. The herbivores also tended to stay longer at the salt-licks than omnivores and carnivores. In addition, water-drinking behaviors were recorded significantly more frequently in herbivores (73% of video captures) than in omnivores (28%) and carnivores (0%). The carnivores showed only resting, passing, and hunting behaviors. The results suggest that the studied salt-licks were mainly used by herbivores and some omnivores, possibly to supplement minerals and/or alleviate gastrointestinal problems by drinking salt-lick water.
 
Article
After the last glacial, the Carpathian Basin was repopulated from either eastward or northward colonisation routes for various species; one of these was the emblematic member of the European megafauna, the red deer, Cervus elaphus. We analysed 303 red deer individuals from the middle of the region, in seven Hungarian game reserves, at ten microsatellite loci (C01, C229, T26, T108, T123, T156, T172, T193, T501, T507), to investigate the genetic diversity of these subpopulations. We discovered high levels of genetic diversity of red deer subpopulations; allelic richness values ranging 4.99-7.01, observed heterozygosity 0.729-0.800, polymorphic information content 0.722-0.806, and Shannon's information index 1.668-2.064. Multi-locus analyses indicated population admixtures of various degrees that corresponded to geographical location, and complex genetic structures were shown by clustering. Populations in the southwestern and the northeastern parts of the region formed two highly separated groups, and the red deer from populations in between them were highly admixed (in western Pannonia/Transdanubia, where the Danube flows into the Carpathian Basin). This pattern corresponds to the distribution of mitochondrial as well as Y-chromosome lineages. Assignment tests showed that a large fraction of individuals (29.4%) are found outside of their population of origin, indicating that the dispersal of red deer is rather common, which could be expected considering the life course of the species.
 
Article
Raccoons ( Procyon lotor ), which are closely related to the family Mustelidae, might be susceptible to natural infection by SARS-CoV-2. This assumption is based on experimental evidence that confirmed the vulnerability of farmed fur-carnivore species, including Procyon lotor to SARS-CoV-2. To date, there are no reports of natural SARS-CoV-2 infections of raccoons in Germany. Here, we use RT-PCR to analyze 820 samples from raccoons hunted in Germany with a focus on 4 German federal states (Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia). Lung tissues were homogenized and processed for RNA extraction and RT-qPCR for detecting SARS-CoV-2 was performed. No viral RNA was detected in any samples (0/820). Next, we compared raccoons and human ACE-2 residues that are known to serve for binding with SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD). Interestingly, we found only 60% identity on amino acid level, which may have contributed to the absence of SARS-CoV-2 infections in raccoons. In conclusion, the chance of raccoons being intermediate reservoir hosts for SARS-CoV-2 seems to be very low.
 
of otter reports in Austria between 1990 and 1998. Data combines systematic assays and opportunistic records from multiple resources during that time period. Full black circles represent a high number of records during that time, whereas half-full circles indicate only rare or occasional records. Empty circles indicate negative survey results only. The approximate location of two otter refuge areas (A and B) is indicated by dashed circles. Inset shows locations of the nine states of Austria. VO, Vorarlberg; TI, Tyrol; SA, Salzburg; CA, Carinthia; UA, Upper Austria; LA, Lower Austria; ST, Styria; VI, Vienna; BL, Burgenland.
Modified from Jahrl (1999)
Combined results of the monitoring surveys in five different states of Austria utilizing monitoring bridges as survey sites. a Results of the individual bridges. Black circles indicate bridges at which at least one otter spraint was found, white circles indicate bridges where no otter spraints were found. White circles are presented semi-transparent when overlapping with other datapoints for better visualization of the complete dataset. b Results converted onto 10 × 10-km EEA UTM reference grid. Black grid cells indicate cells that contain at least one positive monitoring bridge, gray grid cells indicate grid cells that contain only negative monitoring bridges. White grid cells do not contain any monitoring bridge. Data was available for the five Austrian states Carinthia, Salzburg, Styria, Lower Austria and Upper Austria, whereas no data was available for Vorarlberg, Tirol, Vienna, and Burgenland (shaded in gray in a)
Boxplot/violin plots comparing measures of the monitoring bridges at which no otter spraints were found (negative) and bridges at which at least one otter spraint was found (positive). *** indicates a significant difference (Wilcoxon rank sum test, P < 0.001). For bridge width and river width, three and two outlier data points, respectively, were removed for better visualization
Current distribution of the Eurasian fish otter in Austria combining results from this study and results from Kranz and Poledník (2020) for Tyrol and from Kranz and Poledník (2013a) for Burgenland. Please note that this study utilized the EEA UTM reference grid while previous studies utilized the UTM grid of Reuther et al. (2000)
Article
Monitoring carnivore populations requires sensitive and trustworthy assessment methods to make reasonable and effective management decisions. The Eurasian fish otter Lutra lutra experienced a dramatic population decline throughout Europe during the twentieth century but is currently recovering in both distribution range and population size. In Austria, most assessments on otter distribution have applied a modified version of the so-called “British” or “standard” method utilizing point-wise surveys for otter spraints at predefined monitoring bridges. In this study, we synthesize several recent statewide assessments to compile the current otter distribution in Austria and evaluate the efficiency and sensitivity of the “monitoring bridge” approach in comparison to the “standard” method. The otter shows an almost comprehensive distribution throughout eastern and central Austria, while more western areas (Tyrol and Vorarlberg) are only partially inhabited, likely due to a still ongoing westward expansion. Furthermore, the bridge monitoring method utilizing presence/absence information on otter spraints reveals itself to be a time- and cost- effective monitoring tool with a tolerable loss of sensitivity for large-scale otter distribution assessments. Count data of spraints seem to be prone to observer bias or environmental influences like weather or flooding events making them less suitable for quantitative analyses.
 
Kolguev island in the Barents Sea with ringing sites of Greater White-fronted Geese in 2016
a-c Goslings of Greater White-fronted geese aged 3–4 weeks with signs of feather deformations (the open skin-patches in the dune feathering on the back resulted (Fig. 3 and this figure) from the trampling of other geese during the catch)
Average temperature of Kolguev Island during summer (red = broad-rearing period, blue = last 10 days before catching period), data course: Kolguev weather station
Weight/head length index of gosling caught on Kolguev in different seasons
Autumn migration of greater white-fronted geese tagged on Kolguev 2016
Article
In summer 2016, we observed premature feather malformation among goslings of greater white-fronted goose (Anser alb. albifrons), between 7 and 10 weeks of age on family gathering areas on Kolguev Island, Russia, the most important breeding island in the Western Palearctic. Rarely reported in wild birds, to our knowledge, this phenomenon has not been recorded in wild geese of this species, despite continuous ringing and marking of thousands of wild geese across Northern Europe and Arctic Siberia. This feather malformations were documented in 36 unfledged goslings showing weak feather basis, deformed or unevenly grown wing feathers or even dead feather buds. Approximately about one-third of all chicks were affected. Feather malformations like this, causing flightless chicks as a result, have never been noticed in any other of our 12 study years since 2006. The lesion was characterised by soft feather buds, weak or incomplete wing feathers and lack of feather development. No other abnormalities were observed in the goslings, so goslings did not differ in weight or body sizes. Affected fledglings never became airworthy and were killed in large numbers by predators or at latest perished during the Arctic winter.
 
Location of the three study zones (dashed squares) within the island of Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Dots in Lanzarote/La Graciosa show sampling localities
“Recapture” probability (annual mean ± 95% confidence interval) of ringed Kentish plovers in Lanzarote
Article
The increase of the tourism and urbanization of vast areas of dunes and beaches has been accompanied by an increase in the level of disturbances to many shorebirds, especially on those species which depend on such habitats to breed. The European Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) population is declining, also in the Canarian archipelago, one of the most important touristic destinations worldwide. Using data from an intense monitoring program on Lanzarote Island and the nearby La Graciosa islet (hereafter, both referred as Lanzarote), we aimed to (1) estimate the breeding output and survival and (2) use these parameter estimates to build a population model to assess the long-term growth rate of the population and evaluate, accordingly, its conservation status. Our studied population presents a relatively high breeding success although, thereafter, the first-year apparent survival is low. Even though adult apparent survival rates are reasonably high, these seem insufficient to compensate for the low survival rates of the first-year birds. In this sense, we found a negative growth rate according to a population model estimating an annual loss equivalent to 20% (95% confidence interval: 6–35%). Local studies to account for the effects of human disturbance caused by tourist industry on survival, breeding rates, and demography are required to develop precise conservation actions for the Kentish plover population in Lanzarote.
 
Natural Park of Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche in south-western Iberian Peninsula. Feeding point locations are represented with dots, with different colours for each sampling period: March–July 2018 (green dots), March–April 2020 (purple dots) and July–August 2020 (orange dots)
Overall differences between species in feeding probability (a) and time spent eating (b) in 44 experimental feeding points. Predicted means and 95% CI are shown
Comparison of the putative subordinate species (owner) activity patterns at the feeder before (solid line) and after (dashed line) the arrival of a putative dominant species (challenger). At the top left of each graph: Dhat1 activity overlap index (except Dhat4 for genet with fox as challenger) obtained by comparing both activity patterns with its 95% CI and p values showing significant differences between the two density functions. Hours expressed in UTC on the x-axis and kernel density estimate on the y-axis. Competition improbable: pairs of species with completely opposite activity pattern; no data available: pairs with insufficient events to build the kernel density function
Article
Mammalian carnivores with generalist feeding behaviour should trace and exploit new and predictable food resources quicker and more easily than more specialised species. On the other hand, if the new food resource is spatially and temporally predictable, interference or exploitation competition should arise among members of the carnivore guild, with the expectation that smaller species will not use the food resource or will change their foraging behaviour to avoid conflict with larger species. Here, we studied the response to a new food resource of a mammalian mesocarnivore community in south-western Iberian Peninsula. We installed artificial feeding points supplied with a novel food source and tracked them by camera trapping to investigate whether (1) the new artificial food resource was visited, recognised and exploited by the mesocarnivore guild species; (2) how frequently they used the food; and (3) in case of co-occurrence, if dominant species excluded or reduced the feeding options of subordinates. All target species except the badger recognised and exploited the novel food. More generalist species trended to visit feeding points more frequently and spent more time feeding than less generalist species, even though significant differences were not achieved in all cases. When co-occurring at the same feeding point, the arrival of larger species reduced either the visitation rates, feeding probability or time spent feeding of smaller species. Moreover, some smaller species showed a shift in their normal activity pattern at the feeding points when a larger competitor started to use the food source. Overall, we conclude that active avoidance combined with temporal segregation may help reduce agonistic interactions among competitors for shared resources.
 
Scheme of the experimental design, in which the two monitored sections are shown along with their two zones; one zone would record the movements of the animals from the resting place to the feeding area (zones A and C, for Sects. 1 and 2, respectively), and the other the movements going back to the resting areas (zones B and D, for Sects. 1 and 2, respectively). Each zone was monitored with two lines of cameras: in the internal line cameras were located on the deterrents and in the external line cameras mounted on iron posts at 10 m from the internal line
Effectiveness of the deterrents in relation to significant factors, after controlling for camera trap nested in zone as random effect factors. Capture rate was used as the frequency of use of a certain area and was related to A experimental phase (control vs. test), B line of cameras (internal vs. external) and C time since starting each experimental phase
Effectiveness of the deterrents on the internal line of cameras, after controlling for camera trap nested in zone as random effect factors, in relation to A experimental phase (control vs. test) and B the time since starting each experimental phase
Variation in crossing success (i.e. number of crosses regarding the number of events) of the deterrent line, after controlling for camera trap nested in zone as random effect factors, in relation to A experimental phase (control vs. test) and B the time since starting each experimental phase
Article
Human–wildlife conflicts are a growing problem in Northern Hemisphere where wild ungulates are one of the taxonomic groups most frequently involved. To mitigate these conflicts, it is essential to develop preventive actions able to avoid encounters between wildlife and human (activities). We here employed photo-trapping to evaluate the behaviour of red deer ( Cervus elaphus ) when confronted with dissuasive portable deterrents that function on the basis of changing patterns of light and ultrasound. This was done by following a before/after experimental design, with two phases: (i) a test phase, with active deterrents, and (ii) a control phase, without deterrents. When deterrents were activated they achieved a 48.96% reduction in the frequency of use by red deer (up to 66.64% when it was assessed on a thinner Sect. 10 m wide from the line of deterrents) and produced a reduction of 67.71% in the frequency of deterrent-line crossings. However, a habituation effect was detected since the use by red deer of the treatment area increased as time since treatment. These results indicate that these portable devices are effective as regards dissuading deer, mainly on short time scales. The deterrents tested here could be suitable for use at focal points for short periods or in combination with other methods to improve their effectiveness in vulnerability points. This device could potentially be used to mitigate conflicts caused by wildlife species and in response to relevant and timely situations, such as vehicle collisions and damage to crops, among others.
 
Article
In Asian countries, there is high occurrence of tuberculosis (TB) among captive wild elephants due to close association with humans and other domestic livestock. The present study envisages on utilization of serological, molecular, and proteomic diagnostic assays for tuberculosis diagnosis. The usage of urine as a biological sample for the identification of biomarkers for tuberculosis forms the prime focus of the study. Seroprevalence of tuberculosis (TB) in elephants in Kerala were found to be 37.2% (n = 86) using Chembio DPP VetTB assay and nine (10.46%) were positive for acid fast bacilli using trunk wash sediment smear. On comparison with DPP VetTB assay, acid fast staining shows low sensitivity of 28.13%, specificity 100%, kappa statistics value of 0.329. The presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis was confirmed in trunk wash using PCR targeting gene IS6110, at 245 bp amplicon size and 25 seropositive elephants (78.2%) were confirmed positive. Custom sequencing and phylogenetic analysis revealed that the isolate obtained were Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The urine of six TB confirmed elephants and six healthy elephants were selected for proteomic analysis. The protein in urine was precipitated, quantified, and subjected to SDS-PAGE, enzymatic digestion, and HRLCMS analysis. Mass spectrometry data analysis revealed 49 proteins identified in TB-infected group, 68 proteins identified in control group and Galactosylgalactosylxylosylprotein 3-beta-glucuronosyltransferase was the protein exclusively present in TB-infected group. Galactosylgalactosylxylosylprotein 3-beta-glucuronosyltransferase plays a major role in glycosaminoglycan biosynthesis. This is the first report of the presence of galactosylgalactosylxylosylprotein 3-beta-glucuronosyltransferase protein in urine of elephant. Graphical abstract
 
Abnormal pelvis, Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx carpathicus): a Latero-lateral and b ventrodorsal projection of the pelvis of a juvenile female, north-eastern Swiss Alps (specimen W06/1532, BEHTLI), asymmetric pelvis and abnormally narrow pelvic canal with accumulation of fecal material in the descending colon and rectum
Measurements taken for pelvimetry: Pelvis, Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx carpathicus), subadult male; a Left–right latero-lateral radiograph showing pelvis length (PL); conjugata vera (CV); diagonal conjugata (DC); vertical diameter (VD); and sagittal diameter (SGD); b Ventro-dorsal radiograph showing the inner length of the foramen obturatum (FO); coxal tuberosities (CT); transversal diameter (TD); acetabula (AC); and lateral ischial tuberosities (LIT)
Box plots of selected pelvic parameters and body length of free-ranging Eurasian lynx from Switzerland (Lynx lynx carpathicus): Longitudinal parameters (n = 56) and body length (n = 45) are indicated in millimeters. Age classes are shown in white for juveniles, light grey for subadults and dark grey for adults. The whiskers were drawn as the box edge ± 1.5 times the interquartile range, and the severe outlier boundary was set at box edge ± 3 times the interquartile range. Outliers were found for one height parameter (VD: vertical diameter) and three width parameters (CT: horizontal distance between the coxal tuberosities; TD: the transversal diameter, LIT: horizontal distance between the lateral ischial tuberosities). The outliers are indicated as colored dots, each color referring to a specific individual, such as the adult females FREIA (orange) and ALMA (blue), the adult male JURO (green) and the juvenile male W09/1096 (purple)
Article
The observation of pelvic anomalies in two Eurasian lynx (subspecies Lynx lynx carpathicus) from a population reintroduced to Switzerland raised the question of the frequency of such anomalies, but no anatomical reference values were available for comparison. This study aimed at providing baseline data on the pelvic morphology of Carpathian lynx from Switzerland, and at detecting potential pelvic anomalies. Measurements of 10 pelvic parameters were performed on the radiographs of 56 lynx taken from 1997–2015. Two ratios (vertical diameter/acetabula; sagittal diameter/transversal diameter) and two areas (pelvic outlet and inlet) were calculated to describe pelvic shape. The results showed that the Eurasian lynx has a mesatipellic pelvis, with a pelvic length corresponding to approximatively 20% of the body length. We found growth-related pelvis size differences among age classes and evidence of sexual dimorphism in adults: two parameters reflecting pelvic width were larger in females, likely to meet the physiological requirements of parturition. By contrast, pelvis length, conjugata vera, diagonal conjugata, sagittal diameter, and tendentially also vertical diameter, were larger in males, in agreement with their larger body size. Outliers were found in five individuals but apparently without clinical significance. Extreme values were likely due to inter-individual differences and the limited sample size rather than to possible congenital or developmental pathological morphology of the pelvic cavity. We present baseline data of the pelvic morphology, including growth and sexual dimorphism, which may be useful for health monitoring and for determination of age and sex in skeletal remains of Carpathian lynx.
 
Spatial distribution of occupied main setts of badgers in the Utrecht-Gooi region in 1983, 1997, 2003, 2009, 2015 and 2021 (filled triangle (▲) for the initial (1983) main sett, open triangles (△) for the two artificial setts (1993–1994), open circles (⚪) for the two artifical setts used for re-introductions (1999–2000) and filled circles (⚫) for any other occupied main sett
Article
South of the town of Hilversum, The Netherlands, remained a small isolated population of badgers in 1983. Improved protection and, possibly, a few reintroductions made this population grow steadily in the following four decades. The number of occupied main setts grew from a only 5 setts in the 1980s to 137 in 2021 and the number of badgers from a dozen to 500. The proportion of occupied main setts where badgers reproduced, increased significantly (P < 0.05) from circa 30% in the earlier years to 45% in later years. The observed litter size based on emerged cubs was 2.26 without a change over time. The average density-related apparent mortality was 14–26%, depending on underlying assumptions. The estimated size of territories, based on dispersion distances, was 50–150 hectares. The observed number of badgers per main sett tended to increase (P < 0.10) from circa 2.7 during the first decade to circa 3.7 in the end. The increase of the total number of badgers in the region was, however, mainly associated with a proportional increase of the area where badgers and their setts can be found nowadays. This expansion continues until the present day, albeit at a diminishing pace.
 
Article
The Birds Directive (2009/147/EC) states that migratory game birds are not hunted “during their return to their rearing grounds”. It follows that for each huntable species, Member States shall assess the 10-day period (TDP) in which the pre-nuptial migration starts. For birds wintering in Europe, the onset of northward movements cannot be easily defined. In wintering areas, individuals with different migration patterns may coexist, and some migrants may fly northward while a relevant fraction of the population remains stationary. In this regard, one challenging case is represented by the song thrush Turdus philomelos, a short-distance migrant passerine intensively hunted across southern Europe. We used hunting bag data (n = 839,027) gathered in Liguria (NW Italy) during 6 consecutive hunting seasons (2006/2007–2011/2012) to test whether the second TDP of January actually corresponds to the beginning of northward movements, as previously determined based on ringing-recovery data. The spatial and temporal variation of hunting bag data was coherent with the migration pattern already described and confirmed the onset of return movements in early January. The analysis of hunting bag seasonality suggests that the increase in January harvesting is not due to wintering displacements induced by cold spells, but to regular movements that are predictable in time and direction, typical of migrating birds. Our analysis proves that hunting statistics, when collected with standardised protocols and checked to avoid bias due to variations in hunting efforts, can be used to describe the phenology of migration.
 
Hog deer release and translocation sites across Victoria, Australia. Green circles indicate sites where hog deer were released by the Acclimatisation Society, with information of the release year and the number of males and females released; orange circles indicate sites involved in translocations with arrows indicating the direction of movement. Blue shaded areas show the overall hog deer distribution across Gippsland, Victoria, as taken from the Atlas of Living Australia (Atlas of Living Australia 2019)
Hog deer sampling sites in Victoria, Australia. Sample sites are (1) Yanakie, (2) Wilsons Promontory National Park, (3) Snake Island, (4) Sunday Island, (5) Gelliondale, (6) Tarraville, (7) Stratford, (8) Perry Bridge, (9) Clydebank, (10) Lake Coleman, (11) Lake Reeve, (12) Loch Sport, (13) Blond Bay, (14) Bengworden, and (15) Boole Poole. Blue shaded regions indicate the overall hog deer distribution across Gippsland, Victoria, as taken from the Atlas of Living Australia (Atlas of Living Australia 2019). Sites 1–6 are considered the western distribution of hog deer, while sites 7–15 are considered the eastern distribution
Visualisations of the first MEM variables for a the entire hog deer dataset, b the western Victorian sites, and c the eastern Victorian sites. Black and white circles indicate positive and negative axis score values, respectively (i.e., different genetic groups), and circle size indicates genetic differences within the axis scores (i.e., circles of similar sizes are more genetically similar than circles of different sizes)
Structure and Tess plots for all samples of hog deer, showing Ks 2–4. Best fit for K was K = 2 for Structure, and K = 4 for Tess. Samples are ordered from west to east across the range of sites sampled across Victoria, Australia (1) Yanakie, (2) Wilsons Promontory National Park, (3) Snake Island, (4) Sunday Island, (5) Gelliondale, (6) Tarraville, (7) Stratford, (8) Perry Bridge, (9) Clydebank, (10) Lake Coleman, (11) Lake Reeve, (12) Loch Sport, (13) Blond Bay, (14) Bengworden, and (15) Boole Poole
Final sample size and collection year for all hog deer samples used in this study after filtering
Article
Hog deer were introduced to Australia in the 1860s, where they have spread across the Gippsland region of Victoria. Due to its status as an introduced species and an important game animal within Victoria, management of the species is complex. Given this complexity, genetic studies can provide important information regarding population structure and diversity which can assist in controlling problematic populations of hog deer, while also ensuring viable game stock in sites managed as game reserves. The aim of this study was to investigate the population genetic structure and diversity of the Victorian hog deer 150 years after introduction using short tandem repeats (STRs). Hog deer samples were collected across 15 sites of differing management regimes in the Gippsland region of Victoria and genotyped for 13 polymorphic STR loci. Up to four distinct genetic clusters were identified across the sites sampled, suggesting that despite low observed genetic diversity, population structure is present across their range. It was also possible to detect evidence of recent translocations among populations. This study suggests that the presence of distinct genetic clusters may enable management of separate genetic units, considering invasive species and game management objectives.
 
Number of cases in which a professional figures took specific actions to prevent legal consequences, b cameras were deployed with the purpose to detect human presence as a part of the scientific objectives, c illegal activities (i.e., poaching, harvesting of plants, woodfire) were detected during the monitoring, and d pictures that may violate privacy issues (i.e., people having sex, urinating, etc.) were collected during camera-trapping sessions
Difference in terms of the degree of knowledge about legal implications between a wildlife technicians and other categories (e.g., amateur naturalists, amateur photographers), and b wildlife technicians and students. Binary response categories: 1 = YES (aware about legal implications); 0 = NO (not aware about legal implications)
Difference in terms of informing residents about the presence of camera traps between a researchers and students, and b wildlife technicians and students. Binary response categories: 1 = YES (aware about legal implications); 0 = NO (not aware about legal implications)
Article
Camera traps are non-invasive monitoring tools largely used to detect species presence or population dynamics. The use of camera traps for wildlife conservation purposes raises questions about privacy invasion when images of people are taken. Throughout the use of an online questionnaire survey, we assessed the degree of knowledge about social and legal implications derived from the deployment of camera traps. Our results revealed a consistent gap in term of knowledge about legal implications derived by the use of camera traps among respondents. Most of those who were aware of such legislation did not take specific actions to prevent legal consequences, probably to reduce the risk of theft or vandalism. Most respondents declared that images of people were unintentionally collected. Some of them stated that images which may violate privacy issues or showed nefarious activities were stored for internal processing or reported to local authorities. Our research thus confirmed that privacy invasion is a widely poorly treated issue in the wildlife conservation dimension. Furthermore, despite camera traps being used to improve conservation efforts, the detection of individuals engaged in private or illegal activities poses further complications in terms of pursuance of legal actions when an individual is identified by these images. So, appropriate guidelines for images analysis need to be designed, and subsequently followed. Lastly, adopting effective methods to protect cameras from the risk of theft and/or vandalism is of primary concern.
 
Article
This study investigated the role of the insurance business in financial inclusion in Nigeria for the period 2000-2021. The study adopted an ex-post-facto research design using secondary data from the World Bank and Central Bank of Nigeria updated to 2021. The dependent variable was financial inclusion proxied by the ratio of total bank deposits to the total population while the independent variables were insurance penetration rate, insurance density, dependency ratio, and income level. The data were analyzed using Econometric procedures while the model was estimated using the Error Correction Model technique. The findings revealed that insurance penetration, dependency ratio, and income level had negative effects on financial inclusion in Nigeria for the period studied. However, only the insurance penetration rate and income level significantly decreased the financial inclusion drive in Nigeria. The findings further revealed that insurance density increased financial inclusion significantly over the period studied. Insurance penetration, insurance density, dependency ratio, and income level jointly accounted for up to 88.04% of the changes in financial inclusion in Nigeria. The study concluded that with less than 1% insurance penetration, and an increasing dependency ratio coupled with low-income level, increased financial inclusion may not be achieved shortly and recommends that the insurance industry should strive to increase the insurance penetration rate through micro-insurance schemes and encourage insurance policies that are savings inclined to enhance financial inclusion in Nigeria.
 
Scottish biogeographic zones, termed natural heritage zones by Scottish Natural Heritage (1998). The eight areas and their respective names sampled in 2017 and 2018 during this study appeared in grey and names in bold
Age and sex distribution of 47 healthy golden eagle nestlings (Aquila chrysaetos) (males N = 26, females = 21) used for reference interval calculation
Article
Health assessment of individuals is an important aspect of monitoring endangered wildlife populations. Haematological and biochemical values are a common health assessment tool, and whilst reference values are well established for domestic species, they are often not available for wild animal species. This study established 31 haematological and biochemical reference intervals for golden eagle ( Aquila chrysaetos ) nestlings in Scotland, in order to improve the understanding of the species’ health and support conservation efforts. Reference intervals were created from 47 nestlings (ages 2–7.5 weeks old) across 37 nests, to date, the largest sample of wild individuals of this species and age cohort sampled for these purposes. Upper reference intervals for concentrations of lymphocytes, total protein, cholesterol, triglycerides, uric acid, and monocytes, calculated in this study, are higher than those found for adult raptors and the interval span is higher than that observed in adult raptors for concentrations of AST, albumin, eosinophil, LDH, and monocyte count. Statistically significant positive correlations were found with age and concentrations of haemoglobin, lymphocytes, serum pH, and creatine kinase, and significant negative correlations with age for concentrations of thrombocytes, heterophils, total protein, globulin, and lactate dehydrogenase. Packed cell volume was significantly higher for females than males, and concentration of calcium and eosinophils were higher for individuals in good body condition than those in moderate body condition. The reference intervals produced by this study will be of important use to the veterinary and conservation management communities and will aid the long-term monitoring of the Scottish golden eagle population health.
 
Yield per 100 plants (kg) according to the damage variants explained in Table 1
Relative percentage of sunflower damage categories observed during the study
Relative percentage of damage to the sunflower crop in relation to distance from the field edge
Article
The numbers of large wild herbivores are rising in the Czech Republic, leading to increased grazing pressure on agricultural crops, including the sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), which is highly sensitive to grazing. In this study, we aim to estimate the amount of damage to sunflower crops in the Czech Republic, experimentally evaluate the effects of grazing on sunflower development and yield and their response to given types of damage, and propose a procedure for quantifying damage caused to sunflower crops. Our results indicate that most sunflowers damaged below the cotyledon at any stage of growth died or failed to yield achenes, while those damaged above the cotyledon were better able to regenerate and produce some form of harvest. In most cases, plants damaged at 11 cm height (growth stage BBCH 10–12) were able to increase growth intensity, replace damaged tissue and make up for any loss. In later growth stages, this ability progressively decreased. Plants damaged at 15 cm (BBCH 14–16), for example, produced just 14% of achievable production. On the other hand, we observed a 10% yield increase in undamaged plants when competitive neighbours were removed. Overall, we estimate total damage to sunflower achene production caused by herbivores in the Czech Republic at 16%.
 
Article
Telemetry provides researchers with invaluable data and has contributed to the progress of animal ecology and behavioral studies. However, the impact of biotelemetry devices on animal behavior and welfare has been evaluated in a few species. The telemetry device (GPS or VHF) is attached to a harness made especially for giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) due to its particular anatomy, and this is the best way to access the scheduled spatiotemporal data of the species’ movement. We evaluated the adverse effects of biotelemetry devices on giant anteaters’ behavior and welfare. Behavioral analysis on giant anteaters in captivity (n = 3) was conducted by observing them with and without the GPS-harness. We also include data on GPS-harness dysfunction and animal injuries observed from free-ranging tagged animals (n=74). The GPS-harness influenced the behavior distributions frequency, but no new or atypical act was verified. Free-ranging individuals detached the harness twice, five removed the front part of the harness, and three had skin injuries . This is the first study to document telemetry device effects on giant anteaters. To date, severe adverse effects of harness-attached GPS tracking devices were not reported for this species. Our data supports the continued use of this method for monitoring free-ranging or captive giant anteaters. However, we recommend and stress the importance of continued research that helps improve telemetry and monitoring techniques.
 
Stretch of the River Segura (110 km; Murcia, SE Spain) surveyed for otter spraints in 1997–1998 and 2016–2019
Seasonal variation in otter diet on the River Segura, as assessed by the analysis of fecal samples collected in 1997–1998 and 2016–2019
Box-plot diagram showing variation in the mean length of barbels preyed on by otters in 1997–1998 and 2016–2019
Article
In semi-arid environments, the effects of irregularly distributed rainfall, flow regulation and water inter-basin transfer enhance the spread of non-native fish to the detriment of native communities. In the River Segura, since the 1980s the number of non-native fish species has progressively increased, also because of the building of water transfer facility connecting the rivers Segura and Tajo. With the aim of highlighting how man-driven changes in the diversity of fish communities affect the diet of top-predators, we compared Eurasian otter Lutra lutra diet in the span of 20 years, i.e. 1997–98 vs. 2016–19. As habitat quality affects the condition of Andalusian barbel Luciobarbus sclateri, the most widespread native fish, we also compared the size of preyed barbels to point out whether human activities may have lowered their profitability to otters. Fish and introduced red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii formed the bulk of otter diet in both study periods. In 2016–19 the contribution of non-native species to otter diet increased significantly, both for crayfish and fish, which included ten non-native species. Otter feeding habits faithfully mirrored the variation in the composition of the fish community and confirmed the importance of crayfish as alternative-to-fish prey in the Iberian Peninsula. The average length of preyed barbels was significantly lower in the second study period, consistently with a decline in barbel profitability for otters.
 
Geographic locations of sampled individuals and urban areas in the Var district (the main cities are indicated on the map). Hybrids, inferred from NewHybrid software, are represented with black stars
Results from Structure and Structure harvester concerning population genetic structure of the whole sample (n = 708). A The mean log likelihood (Ln) of the data across the 20 replicates (white circles) with associated variance (however, the size of the variance is smaller than the size of the symbols) and Evanno’s delta K statistic (black circles) for each simulated genetic cluster (K, from 1 to 7). The highest mean likelihood as well as delta K values indicated that the genetic structure of tortoise populations was characterized by K = 2 genetic clusters. These figures have been realized using Structure Harvester software version 0.6.1 (Earl & vonHoldt 2012). B Results from Bayesian clustering method implemented in Structure software. Mean of proportions of ancestry for investigated individuals, inferred at K = 2. Each vertical bar represents an individual, each colour represents a different genetic cluster, and vertical black lines separate the different populations. We realized this barplot using Distruct (Rosenberg 2004)
Article
The Western subspecies of Hermann's tortoise (Testudo hermanni hermanni: WT) is threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation, wildfires, illegal harvesting, and likely hybridization with Testudo hermanni boettgeri (ET), a subspecies introduced from Eastern Europe. To assess the prevalence of this hybridization, we used microsatellite markers and simulations to investigate the genetic status of 565 individuals of the Var district (France) in contrast to the genetic signature of 121 individuals sampled in the Balkans. The genetic differentiation between WT and ET indicated 18% of tortoises in the Var were hybrids between WT and ET (i.e. F1, F2, and F3). Although hybridization increases the genetic diversity within the genetically impoverished WT population, hybridi-zation could also threaten WT genetic integrity. Identifying and removing all hybridized individuals (especially beyond F1) is logistically unfeasible. Instead, conservation actions should reinforce communication and education, notably towards pet owners, to limit further hybridization. Moreover, accurate genetic identification of captives is essential to programs that involve translocating individuals to fragile populations (e.g. those severely impacted by bush fires). Further studies should assess the extent that WT/ET hybridization is detrimental or beneficial to populations facing rapid global changes in the context of depressed genetic diversity.
 
Camera trap study design in Glen Lyon, Scotland, showing location, year of deployment, and habitat type of the camera trap sites. In total, we have n = 45 year-location replicates
Scatterplots of the detection rates of a and b deer and c and d sheep vs distances (log transformed) from the hiking path. Each location in the study area (i.e., the location of one camera trap) is represented by a dot in each panel. Blue dots are detection during day and black dots during the night
Daily activity patterns (kernel density curves) of red deer (red line) and sheep (blue dotted line). The overlap of red deer and sheep activities is shown as the grey shaded area. The coefficient of overlap (Δ4) is 0.502 (95% CI: 0.479–0.526)
Temporal overlap of sheep and deer in our study area. a Map showing the temporal overlap (Δ4) at each location b scatterplot of the red deer and sheep temporal overlap from each camera trap depending on their distances from the hiking path. The blue line is the linear regression line, and the grey shaded area shows the 95% confidence interval. Each dot represents a camera trap location for which we calculated the Δ4. The kernel density curves for the red (location 17) and purple (location 20) dots are shown in panels c and d as examples of high Δ4 (location 17, in red, Δ4 = 0.63) and low Δ4 (location 20, in purple, Δ4 = 0.057)
Article
Anthropogenic activities, such as outdoor recreation, have the potential to change complex interactions between wildlife and livestock, with further consequences for the management of both animals, the environment, and disease transmission. We present the interaction amongst wildlife, livestock, and outdoor recreationists as a three-way interaction. Little is known about how recreational activities alter the interaction between herbivores in areas extensively used for recreational purposes. We investigate how hiking activity affects spatio-temporal co-occurrence between domestic sheep (Ovis aries) and red deer (Cervus elaphus). We used camera traps to capture the spatio-temporal distribution of red deer and sheep and used the distance from the hiking path as a proxy of hiking activity. We used generalized linear models to investigate the spatial distribution of sheep and deer. We analysed the activity patterns of sheep and deer and then calculated their coefficients of temporal overlap for each camera trap location. We compared these coefficients in relation to the distance from the hiking path. Finally, we used a generalized linear mixed-model to investigate which factors influence the spatio-temporal succession between deer and sheep. We do not find that sheep and red deer spatially avoid each other. The coefficient of temporal overlap varied with distance from the hiking trail, with stronger temporal co-occurrence at greater distances from the hiking trail. Red deer were more likely to be detected further from the path during the day, which increased the temporal overlap with sheep in these areas. This suggests that hiking pressure influences spatio-temporal interactions between sheep and deer, leading to greater temporal overlap in areas further from the hiking path due to red deer spatial avoidance of hikers. This impact of recreationists on the wildlife and livestock interaction can have consequences for the animals’ welfare, the vegetation they graze, their management, and disease transmission.
 
Map of the study wetlands in Finland
A comparison of duck pair density and brood density (per km of shoreline) of the three common duck species (mallard, teal, and goldeneye) in our study wetlands (13 wetlands) across Finland during 2008–2011 and in two boreal areas; Evo in southern Finland (51 wetlands) and Intsilä in eastern Finland (23 wetlands) (Nummi and Pöysä 1997a). The bars represent standard errors
Article
The number of wetlands in Europe decreased by more than 60% by the 1990s compared with the beginning of the twentieth century. Man-made wetlands may be an effective way to compensate for the loss and degradation of freshwater ecosystems. This loss impacts the populations of declining duck species, partly due to a lack of suitable breeding opportunities. In this study, we evaluated duck productivity and invertebrate abundance in 13 man-made Finnish wetlands that were created for waterbirds. Our findings revealed that man-made wetlands have higher duck production than average natural boreal lakes. High invertebrate levels were a key factor that positively correlated with duck pair density, brood density, duckling density of the common teal (Anas crecca), and duck density during the post-breeding period. Our results suggest that man-made wetlands are a useful tool for increasing duck productivity. For upholding this status in the long term, appropriate management should involve maintaining sufficient invertebrate levels.
 
Design of the study. A Location of the three study areas in Estonia (location in Europe is shown in the upper left corner). B Each study area contained lines of trap groups in three different ecotone types. C Each type of ecotone contained three replicates of lines of trap groups. D Each trap group consisted of five Sherman box traps
Relative abundances (loess-smooths of mean number of individuals trapped in a 5-trap group) of A all rodents, B bank voles and C yellow-necked mice at various distances from the ecotone in grasslands green solid line), cereal (blue-dotted line) and rapeseed (purple-dashed line). Shading indicates 95% confidence intervals
Article
Biodiversity is often highest at ecotones. However, edge effects vary among species and the spatial extent has rarely been quantified. Rodents form an important part of the food chain and thus are keystones of the ecosystem. We measured the species richness and abundance of rodents at ecotones between forests and three types of open agricultural biotopes (grasslands, rapeseed fields, and cereal fields) along perpendicular transects. The species richness and relative abundance of rodents were highest at the forest/grassland ecotone where the densities of the yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) and the striped field mouse (A. agrarius) were highest. The highest density of the forest-dwelling bank vole (Myodes glareolus) was recorded next to grasslands; however, the abundance of this species increased towards the forest interior. The positive edge effect of ecotones on species richness and total abundance did not exceed 10 m. Our results suggest that maintaining narrow grasslands at the margins of crop fields would strengthen rodent communities at ecotones as well as in adjacent forests.
 
Article
An attempt has been made to analyze the temporal and spatial patterns of human-elephant conflict (HEC) and mitigation measures adopted in West Bengal, a thickly populated and agrarian state of India. West Bengal supports only 2% elephant population of India but contributes to the highest human casualties due to HEC. A total of 726 human deaths, 1233 human injuries, 51,542.027 ha areas of crop loss, 34,446 hut damage, and 136 unnatural elephant deaths were reported in West Bengal during April 2010 to March 2019 due to direct HEC. Electrocution was the leading cause of unnatural elephant deaths, followed by train accidents and poaching. South Bengal witnessed maximum crop raiding by elephants. About INR 59.09 crores were compensated by the government to the victims of wild elephant depredation during the same period. Both human and elephant population is increasing and resulting in higher HEC. Natural elephant habitats become fragmented and even degraded due to rapid urbanization and human intervention. Increasing HECs not only cause a negative impact on the agro-based and forest-based household economy of rural people living in conflict prone areas of almost thirteen districts of the state, but also pose a major threat to elephant conservation. Apart from traditional short-term elephant driving practices, several long-term cost-effective and innovative mitigation measures should also be taken involving local communities and other stakeholders for proper management of natural elephant habitat, restoration of elephant corridors, protection of elephants, reduction of HEC, and sustainable development in the state of West Bengal.
 
Location of the study road (red line) and vehicle counting points (blue stars) in Tenerife, Canary Islands
Monthly roadkill rates, precipitation and temperature in the northwest of Tenerife, Canary Islands, from August 2014 to July 2016. The top panel shows all roadkills including birds and mammals and traffic measured in two points of the road: Amparo and Pedregal (blue and red lines respectively; see Fig. 1 for locations on the road). The middle panel shows the birds (grey) and mammal (black) roadkills and traffic as above. The bottom panel shows averaged monthly precipitation (blue bars) and temperature (red line). Climatic data from the insular government (Cabildo de Tenerife,
available at http://www.agrocabildo.org/)
Variation in the number of roadkills during the first and the second annual cycle. Left panel: Number of roadkills per month (open circles) during the first and the second annual cycle. Lines link months. Red circles indicate the annual mean and SD. Right panel: Number of roadkills per month (open circles) and y = x line (dashed line)
Article
The main factors affecting specific road casualty rates are related to life-history traits, road features, and landscape variables. After road inauguration, roadkill rate and spatial and temporal patterns can change substantially due to changes in traffic intensity, avoidance behaviour or local population decline. Despite the Canary Islands constituting a biodiversity hotspot, Canarian ecosystems are highly threatened because of the high human density, and studies on anthropogenic sources of mortality of wildlife are scarce. Here, we counted roadkills during two annual cycles after the inauguration of an 8.8-km-road section on Tenerife, the largest and most densely populated island of the Canaries. We counted 694 roadkills belonging to a minimum of 19 species of birds and six species of introduced mammals. Seasonal variation was apparent during both annual cycles, particularly for birds, being the majority of victims concentrated in May and June. Although traffic intensity increased since road inauguration, the number of roadkills decreased significantly in the second annual cycle. The reduction in road mortality in the second cycle could be related to some non-mutually exclusive factors such as population decline, road avoidance, or weather conditions. As road networks of the Canary Islands are still increasing, further studies quantifying road mortality impacts on Canarian ecosystems and threatened species are urgently needed to guarantee the management and conservation of its fragile wildlife.
 
Percentage of mouflon groups observed inside grassland as a function of distance from livestock groups. Observations were collected from 2005 to 2007 in a mountainous region of Sardinia (Italy). The red point represents the percentage of mouflon groups observed inside grassland when livestock were not present in the monitored sector. The red line represents the regression line as predicted by the broken-line model
Relative probability of selection for areas inside and outside grassland in interaction with the grass quality index (GQI) as predicted by the most parsimonious resource selection function, which was built using mouflon observations collected from 2005 to 2007 in a mountainous region of Sardinia (Italy). The data points on the x axis are offset from each other to allow a more comprehensive visualization of results
Relative probability of selection for areas inside and outside grassland in interaction with distance from livestock (dist) as predicted by the most parsimonious resource selection function, which was built using mouflon observations collected from 2005 to 2007 in a mountainous region of Sardinia (Italy). The data points on the x axis are offset from each other to allow a more comprehensive visualization of results
Article
The conflict between free-ranging livestock and wildlife is a serious conservation concern across rural communities worldwide. Livestock may affect wild herbivores via direct competition for resources due to spatial and diet overlap or via behavioural interference. It is imperative that we disentangle the effects of livestock on wildlife behaviour to obtain an empirical basis able to stir management and conservation decisions. Here, we studied the effect of livestock presence on the habitat selection in a free-ranging European mouflon (Ovis aries musimon) population in Sardinia, where the species is under strict protection. We collected spatial data on mouflon and livestock during two consecutive years to investigate whether the mouflon selection of key feeding grassland sites was negatively impacted by the livestock presence. We found that mouflon preferably selected grassland, and its selection significantly increased when grass was of better quality (greener). We showed that livestock presence led to the displacement of mouflon from such preferred feeding sites, an effect clearly exacerbated by livestock proximity. We indeed found that the selection of grassland by mouflon dropped significantly when the distance between livestock and mouflon was below ~ 650 m, providing a useful management threshold indication. Livestock presence in close proximity displaced mouflon to sub-optimal habitat, and its effects may have negative impact on the population dynamic of this species which is already characterized by low female productivity within harsh Mediterranean environment. Our results give clear management indications aimed at better managing livestock grazing within natural areas to ultimately improve wildlife conservation.
 
Location of seven free and semi-free ranging European bison (Bison bonasus) herds in Ukraine
Article
Beginning in the 1960s, restoration of the European bison (Bison bonasus) in Ukraine has resulted in seven herds with approximately 350 total individuals currently. For the first time, we describe characteristics of habitats used by these seven European bison herds located in forest, forest-steppe, and mountain zones of Ukraine. During the growing season across all ecological zones and herds, we observed variation in bison use of woodland and open habitats associated with temporal variation in landscape scale habitat characteristics. During winter across all ecological zones and herds, variation in habitat use declined dramatically with supplementary feeding that incentivized sedentary association with woodlands. Our descriptive field observations are intended to improve understanding of European bison landscape ecology and serve as a basis for additional quantitative investigations.
 
The complexity of managing overabundance in game species. Successful management will depend on considering not only the ecology of the overabundant species and the habitat, but also on integrating the needs and perceptions of different stakeholders and the policy of several government departments. Government responsibilities regarding wildlife overabundance management are spread among different compartments
Article
Many game species are prey species and evolved to cope with significant mortality by natural predators. In the absence of predation or hunting, these game populations will be limited by resource depletion or disease. Both situations may fall within the overabundance definition. We review drivers of game species overabundance, considering if recreational hunting can effectively manage this challenge. We show examples of overabundance management in European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), deer (red deer Cervus elaphus and white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus), and wild boar (Sus scrofa) or its relative, the feral pig. We also consider available alternatives for managing overabundant wildlife such as habitat management, predator restoration, pathogen introductions, professional culling, immunocontraception, and poisoning. Most alternatives can be included in integrated wildlife management strategies but are unsuitable alone for large-scale overabundance control. We conclude that, when available, it is advisable to use recreational hunting as one tool in the box. Recreational hunting will perform best as a means of population control within integrated wildlife management strategies, combining hunting with habitat management. To maintain the contribution of recreational hunting for managing overabundance, hunters need to survey demographics of game populations to adequately plan harvest quotas. They should continue developing their commitment with biodiversity conservation, monitoring programs, and animal/public health. Agencies could set acceptable targets and facilitate hunting, educating the public about recreational hunting as socio-ecological service. Hunting and conservation should go hand in hand, with special caution regarding native endangered species that locally become pests needing sustainable management including adaptive hunting.
 
Article
Hunting method was recorded for a total of 7725 wild boar harvested in Sweden during the hunting years 2009/10 to 2017/18. Still hunting was most common and accounted for 53.0% of the harvested animals, whereas drive hunts and hunting for protection of crops accounted for 22.4% and 19.7%, respectively. In still hunting, significantly fewer adult females were harvested compared with expected numbers from a random harvest, whereas the opposite pattern occurred for all other methods. The proportion of wild boars harvested in still hunting decreased as the total harvest increased.
 
The survey design used in the study. Both the 2-km and the 250-m sampling units are shown, as well as the point count stations. The location of the study area in northern Italy is shown in the insert
The response curves of the most important environmental variables (Σwi = 1) selected in the average GLM built to investigate the occurrence of the common pheasant in northern Italy
Histograms of the detection function calculated to estimate the density of the common pheasant in northern Italy. On the y-axis, the detection distance in meters, on the x-axis the detection probability (from 0 to 1)
Article
Knowing the ecology of game species is important to define sustainable hunting pressure and to plan management actions aimed to maintain viable populations. Common pheasant ( Phasianus colchicus ) is one of the main gamebird species in Europe and North America, despite its native range extending from the Caucasus to Eastern China. This research aimed to define the environmental variables shaping the spatial distribution of male pheasants and to estimate their breeding density in an agroecosystem of northern Italy. During the breeding season, 2015, we carried out 372 point counts with unlimited distances, randomly placed following a stratified sampling survey design. The habitat requirements of the pheasant were evaluated following a presence vs. availability approach, using environmental variables related to land use cover and landscape configuration. We built generalized linear models with a binary distribution, selecting variables following an information-theoretic approach. Densities were estimated through both conventional and multiple-covariate distance sampling. We estimated a density of 1.45 males/km ² , with 4.26 males/km ² in suitable areas and 0.91 males/km ² in unsuitable ones. We found pheasants in areas with meadows and tree plantations, which were used to find food and refuges from predators and bad weather conditions. Similarly, woodlands have a positive effect on species occurrence, whereas arable lands were avoided, specifically maize and paddy fields. We found little evidence that landscape configuration affects pheasant occurrence. We found pheasants to be negatively affected by the length of edges between woodlands and arable lands, whereas edges between woodlands and grasslands seem to be beneficial for the species. These findings could help landscape and wildlife managers to plan habitat improvement actions useful to maintain self-sustaining populations of this species, by increasing cover of woodlands, meadows, and tree plantations.
 
Article
Health assessment of individuals is an important aspect of monitoring endangered wildlife populations. Haematological and biochemical values are a common health assessment tool, and whilst reference values are well established for domestic species, they are often not available for wild animal species. This study established 31 haematological and biochemical reference intervals for golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) nestlings in Scotland, in order to improve the understanding of the specie health and support conservation efforts. Reference intervals were created from 47 nestlings (ages 2-7.5 weeks old) across 37 nests, to date, the largest sample of wild individuals of this species and age cohort sampled for these purposes. Upper reference intervals for concentrations of lymphocytes, total protein, cholesterol, triglycerides, uric acid, and monocytes, calculated in this study are higher than those found for adult raptors and the interval span is higher than that observed in adult raptors for concentrations of AST, albumin, eosinophil, LDH and monocyte count. Statistically significant positive correlations were found with age and concentrations of haemoglobin, lymphocytes, serum pH, and creatine kinase, and significant negative correlations with age for concentrations of thrombocytes, heterophils, total protein, globulin, and lactate dehydrogenase. Packed cell volume was significantly higher for females than males, and concentration of calcium and eosinophils were higher for individuals in good body condition than those in moderate body condition. The reference intervals 1 produced by this study will be of important use to the veterinary and conservation management communities and will aid the long-term monitoring of the Scottish golden eagle population health.
 
Article
Mineral licks are essential to many species of mammals and birds in the Amazon rainforest, including the Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus). While sloths have been recorded at mineral licks, visitation of the two-toed sloth at mineral licks has not been described in detail. We used camera traps to observe sloth visitation at 53 mineral lick sites and generalized linear mixed-effects model to evaluate patterns in visitation. We recorded a visitation rate of 29.39 visits per 100 camera nights, with a peak activity time of 22.00 h. Our model results suggest that sloth visitation at mineral licks may be related to differential habitat selection based in part on elevation, slope, and distance from rivers and streams. This study describes the largest dataset on sloth visitation at mineral licks to date, provides key natural history information on this cryptic mammal, and contributes to our understanding of the ecological importance of mineral licks.
 
Schematic representation of trapping devices. a Cage containing a decoy green-winged saltator, showing details of the spring mechanism that closes the net trapdoor (1), net trapdoor (2), trigger perch (3), and metal hook keeping the trigger perch mounted and the net trapdoor open (4). b Loop snare with numbered parts, showing the spring securing the fishing rod that pulls the loop (5), fishing rod (6), pin securing the mounted trigger perch and fishing-rod (7), trigger perch (8), brackets (nylon line folds) holding the loop open (9 and 10), and spring keeping the trigger perch up (11). c Red-crested cardinal captured in the loop
Proportions of individuals captured with each trapping method
Article
Passerines are elusive animals, and their capture generally requires considerable fieldwork. This study describes the capture and sampling of free-living birds from two of the most illegally trafficked Brazilian wild passerine species, namely the red-crested cardinal (Paroaria coronata) and green-winged saltator (Saltator similis). The study is part of the planning process for a rehabilitation and release program for confiscated conspecifics of both species. A total of 290 free-living wild passerines were captured, and most of them were sampled, banded, and immediately released at the same site. Blood, feces, and oropharyngeal swabs were collected for subsequent health analysis and blood drops were stored on FTA cards for genetic assessments. Conspecific live decoys played an important role in the trapping process, especially those with a high-ranking for dueling behavior and vocal performance. Most of the green-winged saltators that promptly engage in combat were caught with netted trapdoors. However, red-crested cardinals are shy, cautious, open-area passerines that seldom perch on unknown objects. These were mostly captured in loop snares after they perched on tree branches used as triggers. Although mist netting was more difficult to install and captured the most non-target species, it was the fastest technique and also provided comparable numbers of captures for both target species. Despite being an old and well-established practice, detailed information on the use of live decoys for capturing free-living passerines is scarce.
 
Map of collected blackbirds (Turdus merula, n = 56) in the study area. Red points represent the location where blackbirds were found. The position of the Emilia-Romagna region is in the lower right corner of the figure
Midpoint rotted maximum likelihood trees obtained by the NS5 (a) and E datasets (b). The bootstraps over 70% was shown near the nodes. The GenBank accessions were reported with numerosity and origin of identical sequences in GB. In the two phylogenetic trees, the sequences obtained in this work were grouped, with other Italian sequences, in a well-supported branch within the European clade (EU)
Article
Usutu virus (USUV) is a mosquito-borne virus belonging to the family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus. Natural transmission cycle of USUV involves mosquitoes and birds, so humans and other mammals are considered incidental hosts. In this study, USUV infection was diagnosed in all wild blackbirds, collected from July to September 2018 in a wildlife recovery center in the province of Bologna, in the Emilia-Romagna region, northern Italy. All blackbirds showed neurological clinical signs, such as overturning, pedaling, and incoordination. Moreover, the subjects died shortly after arriving at the hospitalization center. Virological investigations were performed by real-time PCR on frozen samples of the spleen, kidney, myocardium, and brain for the detection of Usutu (USUV) and West Nile (WNV) viruses. The small and large intestine were used as a matrix for the detection of Newcastle disease virus (NDV). All 56 subjects with neurological clinical signs were positive for USUV, only one subject (1.8%) tested positive for WNV, and no subject was positive for NDV. The most represented age class was class 1 J (58.9%), followed by class 3 (25.0%), and lastly from class 4 (16.1%). Most of the blackbirds before dying were in good (51.8%) and fair (39.3%) nutritional status, while only five subjects (8.9%) were cachectic. The USUV genomes detected in the blackbirds of this study fall within the sub-clade already called EU2 that has been detected since 2009 in the Emilia-Romagna region. Neurological clinical signs in USUV-affected blackbirds are still widely discussed and there are few works in the literature. Although our results require further studies, we believe them to be useful for understanding the clinical signs of Usutu virus in blackbirds, helping to increase the knowledge of this zoonotic agent in wild species and to understand its effect on the ecosystem. The goal of this study was to report-in the context of the regional passive surveillance program-the detection of USUV RNA in its most important amplifying host, the common blackbird, when showing clinical signs before death.
 
Assignment to likely wintering origin (moulting areas of winter-grown primary feathers) of European turtle doves (n = 181) sampled in seven different European countries (labeled and shaded grey) predicted from a multivariate normal probability distribution function based on tenth primary feather (P10) δ²H and δ¹³C isotope assignments of individual birds. Assignment probabilities of individuals (0 to 1) were summed according to the maximum value obtained in a pixel during the assignment process for the overall sample set representing the percent of individuals potentially originating from a cell in the isoscape. The assignment is restricted to a hitherto described turtle dove wintering range (outline; in red in the online version). (a) Overlap of likely wintering areas with internationally and nationally protected areas as well as bird sanctuaries, and (b) overlap with hunting areas. Information on protected and hunting areas was based on a dataset (mix of polygons and points) from UNEP-WCMC (2021)
Assignments to likely wintering origin (moulting areas of winter-grown primary feathers) of European turtle doves following (a) the western flyway (n = 121) sampled in two different European countries (grey shaded) and (b) the central/eastern flyway (n = 55) sampled in four different countries (grey shaded) predicted from a multivariate normal probability distribution function based on tenth primary feather (P10) δ²H and δ¹³C isotope assignments of individual birds. Assignment probabilities of individuals (0 to 1) were summed according to the maximum value obtained in a pixel during the assignment process for (a) individuals following the western flyway and (b) turtle doves following the central-eastern flyway representing the percent of individuals potentially originating from a cell in the isoscape. The assignments are restricted to a hitherto described turtle dove wintering range (outline; in red in the online version)
Boxplots for δ²Hf and δ¹³Cf values from the tenth primary (P10) feather samples of turtle doves moulted during the overwintering period at African winter grounds grouped by central/eastern (n = 55) and western (n = 121) flyways. The boxes represent the range in which 50% of the data occur (inter-quartile distance from 25% quartile to 75% quartile). Whiskers show extreme values, and the median is shown as a black line within the boxes. Circles highlight outliers and extend 1.5 times beyond the inter-quartile distance
Article
Conservation of migratory birds requires knowledge of breeding and nonbreeding ranges and the connections between them. European turtle doves ( Streptopelia turtur ) are Palearctic-African long-distance migrants with wintering areas in the Sub-Saharan belt that are classed as vulnerable due to strong population declines. However, detailed non-breeding locations of individuals from different migratory flyways are unknown. To identify wintering regions of turtle doves, we measured stable isotopes of feathers grown on the wintering grounds and used a dual-isotope (hydrogen ( δ ² H f ) and carbon ( δ ¹³ C f )) probabilistic assignment to analyse origins of individuals migrating through the western and central/eastern flyways. The most probable wintering areas for turtle dove samples from both flyways were in the western and central Sub-Sahara. However, we found differences in δ ² H f and δ ¹³ C f values between turtle doves following different migratory routes (western vs central/eastern flyway). This result suggests a higher likelihood of origins in the central Sub-Sahara for central and eastern migrants, while turtle doves using the western flyway originated primarily in the western Sub-Sahara, highlighting the importance of both regions for the future conservation of turtle doves from European breeding populations. The establishment of migratory connectivity of populations requires sampling from birds from the European as well as Asian continent; however, we provide important results that can be used to test hypotheses regarding population declines resulting from factors experienced over the full annual cycle for some populations.
 
Geographical position of the study area in northwestern Russia
The percentage (%) of the wild boar tissue samples containing various Cd and Pb concentrations
Article
To evaluate the nutritional status and the environmental exposure to toxic elements of the wild boar Sus scrofa L. (n = 20) from northwestern (NW) Russia, we determined the contents of the essential (Co, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Ni, and Zn) and toxic (Cd and Pb) elements in the muscle, kidney, and liver. A second aim was to study the interactions between these elements and several antioxidants, namely, the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase, and the contents of glutathione (GSH), retinol, and α-tocopherol. A third aim was to assess whether the meat and offal of the wild boar are suitable for consumption or unsuitable due to the level of toxic elements. According to reference values of elements reported for domestic pigs, the wild boar from NW Russia was deficient in most of the essential elements (Co, Cu, Mn, Ni, and Zn) but had optimal values of Fe and Mg. The concentrations of Cd and Pb were lower than the values reported for pigs and wild boars living in heavily polluted areas. The correlations between antioxidants and elements could indicate that mineral balance in the body is regulated by antioxidants, among which the SOD activity, GSH, and retinol levels are the most sensitive parameters. Our assessment indicates that consumption of wild boar meat and liver, either rarely (4 times a year) or regularly (monthly), does not pose a health risk to adults and children, although wild boar kidney is not suitable for consumption.
 
Article
Canopy bridges are crossing structures specific to mitigate the impact of roads on arboreal animals. Long-term monitoring of such infrastructures together with the analysis of design preferences has never been done in South America. To avoid the roadkills of a threatened primate species, the black lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus), in Guareí, São Paulo, Brazil, we installed two designs of canopy bridges: a wood pole bridge and a rope bridge. We aimed to (1) evaluate the functionality (number of species and events) of both designs, (2) test the design preference of each species, and (3) determine if there were seasonal differences in the use of canopy bridges. We monitored the canopy bridges continuously since their installation with camera traps during 3 years. We recorded nine mammal and one lizard species crossing on the canopy bridges as well as 13 bird species using them as perches. Overall, the probability of crossing was higher on the wood pole bridge and the number of crossings, considering both designs, was higher during the dry season. One lizard and seven mammal species used the wood pole bridge, including the black lion tamarin, and six mammal species used the rope bridge. Four out of five species tested, including the black lion tamarin, preferred the wood pole bridge. While replications of this experimental design are necessary to obtain a more robust evaluation of the effectiveness of these canopy bridges, our study suggests that wood pole bridges might be an effective tool to reduce roadkills of the endangered black lion tamarin and possibly other arboreal species.
 
Study area location in northern Portugal, including the land cover characterization and spatial position of the sampling sites
Bat activity through the three bat phenological Seasons considered (A post-hibernation; B breeding season; C pre-hibernation): (left) average values (± standard error) of bat passes (passes/30 min) during the study period and (right) box and whisker plots expressing the differences of bat passes detected by the Kruskal–Wallis and Nemenyi tests between Seasons A, B, and C (box plots represent the median, upper and lower quartiles; whiskers indicate the variation outside the upper and lower quartiles; outliers are plotted as individual points)
Arthropod dry weight biomass through the three bat phenological Seasons considered (A post-hibernation; B breeding season; C pre-hibernation): (left) average values (± standard error) of arthropod dry biomass (g) during the study period and (right) Box and whisker plots expressing the differences of arthropod dry biomass detected by the Kruskal–Wallis test and Nemenyi tests between Seasons A, B, and C (box plots represent the median, upper and lower quartiles; whiskers indicate the variation outside the upper and lower quartiles; outliers are plotted as individual points)
Leaf chlorophyll content (SPAD) through the three bat phenological Seasons considered (A post-hibernation; B breeding season; C pre-hibernation): (left) average values (± standard error) of the leaf chlorophyll (SPAD unit) during the study period and (right) box and whisker plots expressing the differences of leaf chlorophyll content detected by the Kruskal–Wallis and Nemenyi tests between Seasons A, B, and C (box plots represent the median, upper and lower quartiles; whiskers indicate the variation outside the upper and lower quartiles; outliers are plotted as individual points)
Estimated relationships between Bat activity probabilities and significant variables in Season A (TEM and HUM), Season B (DW, WS, and TEM), and Season C (SPAD) best models. The light grey area represents the 95% confidence interval and the solid blue lines indicate the estimated values. Black tick marks represent raw data
Article
Although deciduous forests are usually associated with high levels of arthropod availability, bats seem to adjust their phenological requirements also as a response to other ecological and environmental conditions. In order to assess the potential influence of these conditions on bat activity phenological patterns, a peri-urban deciduous forest was selected as representative Mediterranean habitat, dominated by sweet chestnut trees (Castanea sativa L.) and English oaks (Quercus robur L.). Data on bat activity, arthropod biomass, primary production, and weather conditions were collected with a fortnightly periodicity, between March and October. To conduct the dataset analyses, we considered three different bats phenological periods. Our approach suggests that bat activity, food resource availability, and primary production are interdependent throughout the bat phenological periods. Moreover, in order to understand the potential multi-factor relationships for each specific phenological period, a generalized linear mixed effect model was applied. The results suggest that bat activity in deciduous forests was influenced by different drivers’ during each phenological period. The bat activity in the post-hibernation season was mainly influenced by wind speed, air temperature, and humidity. In the breeding season arthropod biomass, wind speed and temperature were the most significant variables to explain bat activity. Primary production was the only variable with statistical influence on bat activity in the pre-hibernation season. This integrative approach represents a step forward in evaluating seasonal habitat suitability for bats, which can be used in the future to guide the deciduous forest management for conservation purposes.
 
Camera trap locations during the sampling period (January–April 2020) in Kalesar National Park, India
Temporal overlap between the leopard and its prey species (a. chital, b. wild boar, c. sambar, d. barking deer, e. peafowl, f. rhesus macaque) using kernel density estimates in Kalesar National Park, India. The solid lines represent the kernel density estimates for leopard and the dashed lines represent the kernel density estimates for indicated prey species. The overlap coefficient is the area under the minimum of the two density estimates, as indicated by the shaded area in each plot
The spatial and temporal overlap of leopard with its potential prey species (the sambar, wild boar, and peafowl showing high spatial and temporal overlap suggested the most encountered and potentially the most preferred prey species. The barking deer and chital showing high temporal and low spatial overlap indicated potential alternative prey species encountered less in space and time. The rhesus macaque showing low spatial and temporal overlap suggested species that were rarely encountered and not preferable prey species) in Kalesar National Park, India
Photo-capture of leopard predate on primates (rhesus macaque) is clear evidence of how leopards predate on primates, and low temporal overlap could indicate avoidance in Kalesar National Park, India
Article
Understanding the interspecific interactions (spatial and temporal) between predators and their prey species is important to understanding the prey preferences for conservation and management decisions. However, due to large predators’ wide-ranging, nocturnal, and cryptic behaviour, it is often difficult to assess their interactions with prey species. Therefore, we determined the spatial and temporal interactions of leopard (Panthera pardus) with potential prey species in Kalesar National Park (KNP) using camera traps from January 2020 to April 2020. KNP is situated in the foothills of the Shiwalik mountain range of Himalaya, North India. We used encounter rates and activity patterns to understand the spatial and temporal overlap between leopards and prey species. We used composite scores to predict the potential prey preferences using the photo-capture data. A total sampling effort of 1150 trap nights documented 92 photo-captures of leopards with a detection rate of 17.3 leopards per 100/trap nights. Leopards exhibited bimodal peaks and were active throughout the day and night but showed more diurnal activity. Leopards had the highest temporal overlap with chital (Axis axis) and wild boar (Sus scrofa) and the highest spatial overlap with wild boar, peafowl (Pavo cristatus), and sambar (Rusa unicolor). Due to their high composite scores, wild boar, sambar, peafowl, and chital were predicted the most preferred prey species for leopards. Our results suggest that effective management of preferred prey species in the area is required to ensure the conservation of the leopard population.
 
Article
The Persian Gulf is positioned in the heart of the Middle East as one of the most critical water bodies. Indian Ocean humpback dolphins (Sousa plumbea) are distributed in nearshore waters and are therefore highly vulnerable to a variety of anthropogenic pressures. To our knowledge, there is a little information and data available about habitat use and abundance of this endangered species in Iranian waters. In the present study, baseline data about population size and site fidelity of Indian Ocean humpback dolphins in the Dayer-Nakhiloo Marine National Park in Northern Persian Gulf, Iran, has been explored for the first time. From March 2014 to December 2018, 127 boat-based surveys and 6436 km of survey effort were conducted. Overall, 127 groups of humpback dolphins were observed on 62% of the surveys. Humpback dolphin group size ranged from 1 to 14 individuals (mean 5.8 ± SE 0.3). Abundance estimates were calculated and fitted with open population models. Thirty (95% CI 22–38) humpback dolphins were estimated to inhabit the study area. There was a lack of seasonality in the occurrence of humpback dolphins and strong site fidelity within the Dayer-Nakhiloo Marine National Park. Most of the identified individuals used the study zone regularly (79.5%), while a smaller number were present less often. The results of this study provide important baseline information about humpback dolphin ecology in an area subject to significant anthropogenic pressures which can help to take effective conservation and management measures.
 
Sites in Sweden where Greylag geese were caught and equipped with GPS tracking devices
Migration paths by GPS tracks for 76 Greylag geese caught at five sites in Sweden
Distribution of GPS locations by country in Greylag geese (n = 76) originating from five catch sites in Sweden (see Fig. 1). Less than 0.05% of the positions were located in Spain and Finland, respectively
Monthly mean coordinates based on GPS tracks from Greylag geese originating from five sites in Sweden. See Fig. 1 for catch site locations
In earlier studies Greylag geese were ringed 1940–1990 with standard tarsal rings at three out of five catch sites (circles) used in the present study. The map compares the two data sets with respect to mean winter (Dec–Jan) coordinates. Pentagons represent ring recoveries (n = 80) reproduced from Fransson and Pettersson (2001). Triangles denote mean coordinates from the present study (GPS positions). Greylag geese from the northernmost catch site (Hudiksvall) show similar migration patterns between the two time periods (~ 80 km further southeast in our study than earlier). On the other hand, data from geese ringed at Nyköping and Svedala (~ 440 km and ~ 1450 km further northeast in our study than earlier) imply a shortened migration distance, especially so birds from southernmost Sweden
Article
Significant population growth of some European goose populations has led to initiatives to implement management at the flyway level. Understanding migration routes and spatiotemporal distribution is crucial for the successful and coordinated management of migratory species such as geese. In this study, we describe movements across the entire annual cycle in 76 Greylag geese (Anser anser) fitted with GPS tracking devices at five catch sites in Sweden. We show that Greylag geese breeding in Sweden still use a NE-SW migration path. However, the wintering range has undergone a northward shift during the last decades. Compared to previous studies, our data suggest a continued reduction in migration distance, being most pronounced in birds in southernmost Sweden. Greylag geese tagged in southernmost Sweden spent almost the entire annual cycle in Sweden and Denmark (97 and 100% of all GPS locations). In contrast, the flyway of Greylag geese from the northern catch sites still covers countries from Sweden to Spain, but presently, only a small fraction of the population migrates to Spain. Instead, most of the annual cycle is spent in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, or Germany. The contrasting spatiotemporal distribution in geese of different geographical origin indicates that management initiatives for the NW/SW European Greylag Goose population need to consider that different migration strategies occur within previously defined management units. As a consequence, coordination of management actions (e.g. monitoring, harvest quotas, reserves) may need to consider different spatial scales, i.e. from the regional to the international scale depending on the origin of the Greylag geese.
 
Study area in the Netherlands showing the 100 surveyed kilometer squares. Woodland squares distinguished from squares with other habitat (mostly agricultural landscape)
Detected presence of ten bat species during four field visits. Each rectangle is one visit (filled: presence detected; open: presence not detected). Visit 1 was in August–September; visits 2–4 were in April–May. Species abbreviations: Mdau, Myotis daubentonii; Mdas, Myotis dasycneme; Mmyst, Myotis mystacinus; Mnat, Myotis nattereri; Nnoc, Nyctalus noctula; Ppip, Pipistrellus pipistrellus; Pnat, Pipistrellus nathusii; Vmur, Vespertilio murinus; Eser, Eptesicus serotinus; Paur, Plecotus auritus
Detected presence of three species-function combinations for ten bat species during four field visits. Functions are foraging, commuting, and roosting. Each rectangle is one visit (filled: presence detected; open: presence not detected). Visit 1 was in August–September; visits 2–4 were in April–May. Species abbreviations: Mdau, Myotis daubentonii; Mdas, Myotis dasycneme; Mmys, Myotis mystacinus; Mnat, Myotis nattereri; Nnoc, Nyctalus noctula; Ppip, Pipistrellus pipistrellus; Pnat, Pipistrellus nathusii; Vmur, Vespertilio murinus; Eser, Eptesicus serotinus; Paur, Plecotus auritus
Article
Different bat species are known to differ in their detectability. Having available presence-absence data from 100 randomly stratified selected 1 km² squares in the north of the Netherlands, collected during autumn 2009 and spring 2010 following Environmental Impact Assessment protocols, we calculated probabilities of occupancy and detection for ten bat species. Not only did we investigate their presence in general but also of the three main functions a landscape has for a bat: roosting, commuting and foraging. The four most commonly detected species were Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Pipistrellus nathusii, Eptesicus serotinus and Myotis daubentonii. For all species, roosting was the function detected least while the function of foraging was detected most for most species. Probability of detection was highest for P. pipistrellus (0.79), followed by P. nathusii and E. serotinus. They are all relatively loud species, whose presence is hardly missed. For the other seven species, probability of detection was below 0.4 with the lowest value for Plecotus auritus (0.11). The latter species has a very soft echolocation call and is thus often not detected even when present. Our study is the first to use occupancy modelling for European bats. Our results show that the number of visits required to obtain a reliable approximation of occupancy differs widely: from two visits for both Pipistrellus species, to three for E. serotinus and M. daubentonii and even ten for P. auritus. Especially for the latter species, other survey methods may be better employed. This has implications for the design of surveys for Environmental Impact Assessments.
 
Gene ontology annotations of proteins identified in fluid of small/medium follicles from brown brocket deer. Proteins were classified based on cellular component (a), molecular function (b), and biological process (c)
Gene ontology annotations of proteins identified in fluid of large follicles from brown brocket deer. Proteins were classified based on cellular component (a), molecular function (b), and biological process (c)
In silico analyses of interactions among proteins of the follicular fluid from brown brocket deer. Proteins identified in small/medium (a) and large follicles (b). Analysis was conducted with the web-based STRING software (http://string-db.org)
KEGG pathways of the follicular fluid of small/medium (orange) and large (blue) follicles from brown brocket deer and analyzed through DAVID platform (DAVID Functional Annotation Bioinformatics Analysis—https://david.ncifcrf.gov)
Article
Understanding the protein composition of the follicular fluid from brown brocket deer would aid the development of a medium for in vitro embryo production, which would in turn contribute toward programs for species preservation. Proteomic shotgun is a sensitive tool for analysis of complex protein mixtures. Thus, this study aimed to use shotgun technique to investigate the proteome of fluid from small/medium and large follicles from brocket brown deer. The fluid was obtained by laparoscopy-guided follicular puncture from five females. Quantitative proteomic analysis was performed by multidimensional liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. A total of 226 proteins were identified in the follicular fluid, 53 and 60 of which were found only in small/medium and large follicles, respectively. One hundred and thirteen proteins were common to both groups of follicles. Quantitative analysis showed no significant differences (P > 0.05) in protein abundances in the follicular fluid from small/medium and large follicles. The proteins identified were classified by gene ontology terms, in silico interaction and assigned to 12 pathways indicated that proteins are involved in protein binding, catalytic activity, regulation of biological processes, extracellular matrix organization, and complement and coagulation cascades. In conclusion, these data add knowledge on the follicular development and provide original information on the follicular environment, which can contribute in the future to formulation of culture medium to use in embryo technology in brown brocket deer.
 
Article
The first-ever case of animal tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium bovis is described in a striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) found stranded on the coasts of Sicily, Southern Italy, in 2012. The carcass showed a typical TB granulomatous lesion in the intestine; microbiological culture on solid medium (Stonebrink) allowed to isolate colonies with the characteristic aspect of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex (MTC) members. M. bovis was identified by molecular and microbiological tests. Genotyping of the dolphin strain by spoligotyping and Multilocus Variable Number of Tandem Repeat Analysis (MLVA) showed that it was similar to isolates found in cattle herds in Sicily over the period 2008–2012, suggesting an epidemiological correlation with the dolphin case. In particular, we can hypothesise possible contamination by cattle faeces of marine environments due to seasonal rain streams and to the practice to graze animals (cattle, sheep and goats) in seaside areas.
 
Map of Yukon, Canada, showing registered trapping concessions (light gray) within ecoregions (bold black). The city of Whitehorse is indicated with a star. Light gray numbers in brackets indicate the number of registered trapping concessions in each ecoregion. Ecoregions are as follows: 32, Yukon Coastal Plain; 33, Tuktoyaktuk Coastal Plain; 51, Peel River Plateau; 53, Fort MacPherson Plain; 66, Muskwa Plateau; 165, British-Richardson Mountains; 166, Old Crow Basin; 168, North Ogilvie Mountains; 169, Eagle Plains; 170, Mackenzie Mountains; 171, Selwyn Mountains; 172, Klondike Plateau; 173, St. Elias Mountains; 174, Ruby-Nisling Ranges; 175, Yukon Plateau (Central); 176, Yukon Plateau (North); 177, Yukon Southern Lakes; 178, Pelly Mountains; 179, Yukon-Stikine Highlands; 181, Liard Basin; 182, Hyland Highland; 184, Mount Logan; 301, Davidson Mountains; 302, McQuesten Highlands; and 303, Wellesley Lake
Annual wolverine (Gulo gulo) harvest and the number of registered trapping concessions (RTCs) reporting wolverine harvest in Yukon, Canada, during 1988–2014
Map of Yukon, Canada, showing the number of years with at least one wolverine (Gulo gulo) harvested in registered trapping concessions during 1988–2014. Northern subsistence harvest is unknown outside Old Crow. Specific trapping areas in Ross River community trapping area (RTC 405) are unknown
Mean annual harvest density of wolverine (Gulo gulo) by ecoregion, over 5-year time periods from 1990 to 2014, in Yukon, Canada
Article
Fur trapping is an important source of mortality for wolverine (Gulo gulo) in northern Canada. However, few populations are monitored for harvest sustainability. An examination of harvest data can be useful to identify areas of concern and direct appropriate management interventions. We used 27 years of harvest data (1988–2014) to examine patterns of wolverine harvest in the Yukon (Canada), where trapping permits are spatially explicit and there are no quotas. We identify spatiotemporal patterns in estimated harvest density, and trapping behavior by fur trappers. We also examined estimated harvest rates and availability of harvest refugia to evaluate if harvest was sustainable. The mean annual harvest in Yukon was 132 ± 31 wolverines, and there was no significant trend over time. Most trappers harvested wolverines infrequently, but 12% of trappers were responsible for 50% of all harvested wolverines, indicating that a small number of trappers had an influence on overall mortality. Relatively high mean annual harvest rates (≥8%) were estimated in several ecoregions in southwestern Yukon, where much of the human population and roads are concentrated. Conversely, estimated harvest rates were moderate to low (<6%) in northern and eastern Yukon, which consist largely of remote wilderness. The mean percent area without harvest was 62 ± 16%. Sustained high harvest rates in southwestern Yukon are likely supported by dispersing animals from harvest refugia. Few putative harvest refugia were formally protected; rather, unutilized trapping areas constituted temporal de facto harvest refugia. Our study points to the importance of harvest refugia, and the persistence of wilderness regions, for sustaining wolverine populations.
 
Map of collected blackbirds (Turdus merula, n = 56) in the study area. Red points represent the location where blackbirds were found. The position of the Emilia-Romagna region is in the lower right corner of the figure
Midpoint rotted maximum likelihood trees obtained by the NS5 (a) and E datasets (b). The bootstraps over 70% was shown near the nodes. The GenBank accessions were reported with numerosity and origin of identical sequences in GB. In the two phylogenetic trees, the sequences obtained in this work were grouped, with other
Italian sequences, in a well-supported branch within the European clade (EU)
Article
Usutu virus (USUV) is a mosquito-borne virus belonging to the family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus. Natural transmission cycle of USUV involves mosquitoes and birds, so humans and other mammals are considered incidental hosts. In this study, USUV infection was diagnosed in all wild blackbirds, collected from July to September 2018 in a wildlife recovery center in the province of Bologna, in the Emilia-Romagna region, northern Italy. All blackbirds showed neurological clinical signs, such as overturning, pedaling, and incoordination. Moreover, the subjects died shortly after arriving at the hospitalization center. Virological investigations were performed by real-time PCR on frozen samples of the spleen, kidney, myocardium, and brain for the detection of Usutu (USUV) and West Nile (WNV) viruses. The small and large intestine were used as a matrix for the detection of Newcastle disease virus (NDV). All 56 subjects with neurological clinical signs were positive for USUV, only one subject (1.8%) tested positive for WNV, and no subject was positive for NDV. The most represented age class was class 1 J (58.9%), followed by class 3 (25.0%), and lastly from class 4 (16.1%). Most of the blackbirds before dying were in good (51.8%) and fair (39.3%) nutritional status, while only five subjects (8.9%) were cachectic. The USUV genomes detected in the blackbirds of this study fall within the sub-clade already called EU2 that has been detected since 2009 in the Emilia-Romagna region. Neurological clinical signs in USUV-affected blackbirds are still widely discussed and there are few works in the literature. Although our results require further studies, we believe them to be useful for understanding the clinical signs of Usutu virus in blackbirds, helping to increase the knowledge of this zoonotic agent in wild species and to understand its effect on the ecosystem. The goal of this study was to report-in the context of the regional passive surveillance program-the detection of USUV RNA in its most important amplifying host, the common blackbird, when showing clinical signs before death.
 
Common Adder at the nest of Booted Warbler
Number of the adder`s attack on the nestlings of Booted Warbler and Whinchat at Topornya study site, 2016–2020 (n = 30)
Article
Nest predation is the most important cause of reproductive failure in ground-nesting passerines and can have significant consequences for populations. To understand how predation affects avian populations, it is important to determine the impact of individual predator species or groups and how their ecology can influence patterns of success. Using motion-activated trail cameras, we investigated the identity of predators appearing at Booted Warbler Iduna caligata and Whinchat Saxicola rubetra nests, and the importance of different predator groups for nest survival in the abandoned fields of “Russky Sever” National Park (European North of Russia). Here, we presented data on 87 Booted Warbler and 122 Whinchat nests monitored with trail cameras from 2016–2020. Nests of Booted Warbler and Whinchat in abandoned fields were depredated by a diverse set of predators comprising at least 12 species belonging to four vertebrate classes. Common Adder Vipera berus was the most important predator identified (30 of 66 depredations). Corvids were the second most important group (12 of 66 depredations), which contradicts established ideas about the important role of corvids in nest predation in agricultural landscapes. All Common Adder predation attempts were recorded at nest with nestlings. The rates of nest predation by Common Adder increased with the age of nestlings and as daily mean temperatures increased. Common Adders could not kill all the nestlings in most of the registered attacks on the nests. Our study shows that the community of species predating nests of ground-nesting passerines can differ between intensively used and abandoned fields.
 
Top-cited authors
Uwe Kierdorf
  • Universität Hildesheim
Horst Kierdorf
  • Universität Hildesheim
Nicolas Morellet
  • French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE)
Christian Gortázar
  • University of Castilla-La Mancha
Bruno Cargnelutti
  • French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE)