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Type of publication: Doctoral Thesis
Type of document:

Year: 2007

Authors: Thaller, D

Title: Jahreszeitliche Anpassungsmechanismen und mögliche Auswirkungen anthropogener Störreize bei Gämsen (Rupicapra R. Rupicapra).

Source: Dissertation, Vet. Med. Univ. Wien, pp. 87.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Thaller Denise

Arnold Walter
Gemeiner Manfred
Schwarzenberger Franz

To get a better insight into seasonal adaptation mechanism in chamois (Rupicapra r. rupicapra) and the consequences of anthropogenic disturbances, a group of chamois in the Salzburg Zoo was equipped with implantable biotelemetry devices. Additionally faecal samples were collected from the same group as well as from a free ranging group to measure cortisol metabolite excretion during the year and after various disturbance events. Throughout the year a seasonal variation in heart rate, subcutaneous body temperature and activity was detected with higher values in summer and a consecutive decline to minimum values in winter. The male individual was showing an increase in activity level following the rut in December. Cortisolmetabolite excretion also showed a circannual variation with a minimum in August and a maximum in February to mobilise energy stores to fuel metabolism during winter. The captive and the free ranging group showed an elevation in hormone levels as a response to severe disturbances as the implantation of biotelemetry devices and medical interventions in the captive group or the impact of a paragliding championship in the free ranging group. Less severe disturbances, like walking through the zoo enclosure, produced only a small variation in hormone excretion, but the circannual variation was also observed indicating stronger reactions to disturbances in winter than in summer. On the other hand zoo relevant issues like visitor number or the night zoo showed no influence on hormone secretion. All these findings indicate an endogenic controlled rhythm as an adaptive mechanism to the natural alpine habitat.

seasonal adaptation / heart rate / cortisol / disturbance

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