Determining thermal stress during the transport of mammals

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dc.contributor.author Wimberger, Kirsten
dc.date.accessioned 2006-11-01T11:42:45Z
dc.date.available 2006-11-01T11:42:45Z
dc.date.issued 2006-11-01T11:42:45Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/1573
dc.description Student Number: 0218322F Master of Science School of Physiology en
dc.description.abstract The high morbidity and mortality of wild mammals and livestock during capture and transport is generally ascribed to thermal stress. Consequently, capture operators can benefit from improved methods that may reduce thermal stress. The aim of my study was to develop a practical method of measuring the body temperature of mammals during capture and transport operations. Firstly, I determined whether intermittent temperature recordings, which allow for minuteby- minute monitoring of an animal’s temperature, could accurately reflect continuous measures of an animal’s rectal temperature. Intermittent temperatures were measured via telemetry while continuous and off-line recordings were measured with data loggers. Secondly, I compared rectal and abdominal temperatures to determine if rectal temperature can provide a practical, noninvasive method of estimating core body temperature. Additionally, I measured body temperature and environmental conditions throughout transportation and compared pre- and post-transport levels of faecal cortisol, and blood cortisol, haematocrit and catecholamines. Measuring rectal temperatures seems to be the only feasible, non-invasive technique to obtain temperature during transport operations. However, rectal temperature records required about 30 minutes to stabilise after inserting a thermometric device. After rectal temperature stabilised, generally the difference between abdominal and rectal temperatures varied greatly for individual animals, while the average differences in temperatures between the body sites were not significant for all, except one, species. I have also shown that telemeters and data loggers can be used interchangeably to measure the body temperature of animals. The differences between temperatures measured by the devices were not significant, except for substantial differences shown in two animals. The addition of earphones and a large aerial inside the vehicle improved the telemetry results, by limiting the extraneous noise of the capture and transport environment. These conditions probably caused the anomalous readings in the two animals. General thermal responses to stress are that animals showed a peak in temperature due to capture and a decrease in temperature during transport. Therefore, capture-related stress and the likelihood of animals dying during capture could be minimised by ensuring that the animals are not chased longer than a set cut-off time. Further, globe temperature should be monitored to ensure that animals are not captured in high thermal conditions. In contradiction with the current guidelines regarding the appropriate time of day for capture, I recommend that animals should not be caught at the end of the day, as my results show that this is when their body temperatures are the highest. Body temperatures during transport and differences in faeces cortisol before and after transport seem to indicate that animals adapt to repeated stress events. en
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dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Angora goats en
dc.subject Capture and transport en
dc.subject Mortality wild mammals en
dc.subject Thermal stress en
dc.subject Body temperature en
dc.subject Intermittent temperature en
dc.subject Telemetry en
dc.subject Data loggers en
dc.subject Pre- and post-transport levels en
dc.subject Catecholamines en
dc.title Determining thermal stress during the transport of mammals en
dc.type Thesis en


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    Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of the Witwatersrand, 1972.

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