Effects of capture stress on free-ranging, reproductively active male Weddell seals

Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Robert G HarcourtMark A Hindell

Abstract

Physiological stress responses to capture may be an indicator of welfare challenges induced by animal handling. Simultaneously, blood chemistry changes induced by stress responses may confound experimental design by interacting with the biological parameters being measured. Cortisol elevation is a common indicator of stress responses in mammals and reproductive condition can profoundly influence endocrine response. We measured changes in blood cortisol and testosterone induced by handling reproductively active male Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) early and late in the breeding season. Weddell seals have the highest resting cortisol levels of all mammals yet showed a clear, prolonged elevation in cortisol in response to capture. Responses were similar when first caught and when caught a second time, later in the breeding season. Baseline testosterone levels declined over the breeding season but were not altered by capture. Administering a light dose of diazepam significantly ameliorated the cortisol response of handled animals without affecting testosterone levels. This may be an effective way of reducing acute capture stress responses. Male breeding success in years males were handled was no different to the years they ...Continue Reading

References

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Citations

Jul 24, 2014·PloS One·Murilo Sander de AbreuLeonardo José Gil Barcellos
Jul 16, 2014·General and Comparative Endocrinology·Patricia A FairJohn S Reif
Jan 10, 2013·General and Comparative Endocrinology·John F Cockrem
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Related Concepts

Metazoa
Valium
Handling (Psychology)
Hydrocortisone, (9 beta,10 alpha,11 alpha)-Isomer
Radioimmunoassay
Reproduction
Physical Restraint
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Testolin

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