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Behavioural aspects of conservation breeding: Red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) as a case study
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Zoology . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Ett stort antal utrotningshotade djurarter ingår idag i bevarandeprogram världen över. Små populationer hålls då i skyddade miljöer, exempelvis i djurparker, och i många fall är målet att återintroducera djur till naturen. Dessvärre är det vanligt att det uppstår problem när djur återintroduceras vilket kan bero på beteendemässiga anpassningar som uppkommit under tiden i fångenskap. Syftet med den här studien var därför att undersöka beteendemässiga aspekter på bevarandeavel och försöka ta reda på om och hur djur påverkas beteendemässigt av att hållas i skyddade fångenskapsmiljöer. I projektet användes röda djungelhöns (Gallus gallus) som en fallstudie. En granskning av beteendevariation mellan olika populationer av röda djungelhöns i fångenskap konstaterade skillnader i antipredatorbeteende, socialt beteende och födosöksbeteende. Vid en genetisk studie av samma populationer upptäcktes dessutom ett samband mellan genetisk diversitet och beteendevariation som potentiellt kan vara intressant ur ett bevarandeperspektiv. Socialt beteende, födosöksbeteende och olika aspekter av rädsla studerades vidare i populationer med olika bakgrund som fick växa upp tillsammans i en grupp. Resultaten visade att populationerna bara skilde sig åt i rädslebeteenden vilket antyder att denna typ av beteende i större utsträckning påverkas av långvarig avel i en viss fångenskapsmiljö medan socialt beteende och födosöksbeteende istället kan bero på den omedelbara sociala eller fysiska miljön. Antipredatorbeteende studerades också i en longitudinell studie av två populationer över fyra generationer och det visade sig att populationerna blev mer lika varandra ju längre tiden gick då de hölls under likadana miljöförhållanden. Det verkar alltså som om antipredatorbeteende kan förändras av avel i en viss miljö efter bara ett fåtal generationer. Utöver detta studerades även dagliga beteendemönster i olika djurparksmiljöer samt dygnsrytm av galanden hos både vilda populationer och djurparkspopulationer inom artens naturliga utbredningsområde. Resultaten tyder på att sådana beteendemönster inte påverkas nämnvärt av att djur hålls i fångenskap. Fallstudien som presenteras här är ett av de första försöken att, ur ett bevarandeperspektiv, studera hur fångenskapsmiljöer kan påverka djurs beteende och resultaten talar för att dessa aspekter är viktiga att ta hänsyn till vid planering av bevarandeavel.

Abstract [en]

A number of endangered species are currently involved in conservation breeding programs worldwide. Conservation breeding deals with propagation of captive populations, often with the ultimate aim of releasing animals into the wild. However, an alarmingly high proportion of reintroductions have not been successful in establishing viable populations, possibly due to behavioural problems caused by genetic adaptation to captivity. The main aim of this thesis was to study behavioural aspects of conservation breeding and investigate whether, and how, maintenance of small populations in captivity cause behavioural modifications, which could affect the success of reintroductions. Throughout the project, the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) was used as a case study, representing animals maintained in captive populations. A screening of behavioural variation revealed that captive populations differ in antipredator, social and exploratory behaviours, all of which are central components of life in the wild. A correlation was also found between genetic diversity and behavioural variation. This has not been reported before and may potentially have interesting implications for conservation breeding. When studying the behaviour of populations with different backgrounds being raised together as one group, the results suggested that fear-related behaviours may be more affected by long-term breeding in a certain captive environment than social and exploratory behaviours which seem to be more influenced by the immediate social or physical environment. A longitudinal study of antipredator behaviour in two populations across four generations revealed that the populations became more similar over time when maintained under identical conditions. This demonstrates that effects of a new environment can appear after only a few generations. Furthermore, daily behavioural routines in different captive environments as well as diurnal crowing rhythms in both wild and captive populations were studied in the species’ natural region of distribution and the results suggest that such behavioural patterns are not affected by the captive environments to any notable extent. The present case study is one of the first attempts to, from a conservation perspective, study how captive environments can affect behaviour and the results imply that these aspects are important to take into consideration in conservation breeding programs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för fysik, kemi och biologi , 2007.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1137
Keyword [en]
Behaviour, Conservation, Red junglefowl, Gallus gallus, Captivity
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-10035ISBN: 978-91-85895-73-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-10035DiVA: diva2:16781
Public defence
2007-11-23, Planck, Fysikhuset, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-10-19 Created: 2007-10-19 Last updated: 2009-03-30
List of papers
1. Behavioural and morphological variation between captive populations of red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) - possible implications for conservation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Behavioural and morphological variation between captive populations of red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) - possible implications for conservation
2005 (English)In: Biological Conservation, ISSN 0006-3207, Vol. 122, no 3, 431-439 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The escalating threats to ecosystems worldwide have lead to a need for efficient methods to breed animals in captivity and to prepare captive-born animals for release back to the wild. However, life in captivity may lead to modifications in the animal’s behaviour mainly by genetic changes, including behavioural adaptations such as reduced predator responses. Such modifications may seriously affect survival after a reintroduction. The present study was a first screening of behavioural and morphological variation between different captive populations in standardized test situations using red junglefowl as a model species. The birds were tested in three different test situations in order to measure anti-predatory behaviour, social behaviour and exploratory behaviour. The results of this study clearly show that there are behavioural differences between the captive populations which potentially can be crucial for the animals in a reintroduction situation. However, the extent to which these differences are due to genetic changes caused by small breeding populations or adaptations to the different captive environments is not yet known, although morphological differences found suggest that genetic variation may cause some of the behavioural differences as well. The differences found imply that life in captivity can affect an animal’s behaviour and even though the red junglefowl is merely used as a model here, this suggests that these aspects may be important to consider also in other species where reintroduction is a more central motive for keeping the animals in captivity.

Keyword
Behaviour; Conservation; Captive breeding; Red junglefowl; Gallus gallus
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12648 (URN)10.1016/j.biocon.2004.09.004 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-10-19 Created: 2007-10-19 Last updated: 2013-11-06
2. Genetic diversity and its correlation with behavioural variance in captive populations of red junglefowl - possible implications for conservation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genetic diversity and its correlation with behavioural variance in captive populations of red junglefowl - possible implications for conservation
Show others...
2010 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12649 (URN)
Available from: 2007-10-19 Created: 2007-10-19 Last updated: 2015-10-05Bibliographically approved
3. Behavioural differences between two captive populations of red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) with different genetic background, raised under identical conditions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Behavioural differences between two captive populations of red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) with different genetic background, raised under identical conditions
2007 (English)In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, ISSN 0168-1591, E-ISSN 1872-9045, Vol. 102, no 1-2, 24-38 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ex situ conservation of threatened species may lead to behavioural adaptation, which can affect success of reintroduction attempts. In previous studies, we investigated the effects of captivity on the behaviour of red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) and found that captive populations differed behaviourally as well as genetically. The aim of the present study was to compare the behaviour of two of the previously studied populations, raised under identical conditions. Eggs were collected from birds at Copenhagen zoo (Cop) and Götala research station (Got) and were incubated and hatched together. Twenty-eight birds (16 Got and 12 Cop) were reared together and tested in eight different behavioural tests, measuring different aspects of fear-related behaviours as well as exploratory and social behaviours. The study revealed several differences in fear-related behaviours between the populations but none in exploratory or social behaviours. In general, one of the populations (Cop) showed more intense fear behaviours than the other (Got), which instead were less fearful in their behaviours. This indicates that breeding animals in captivity may lead to behavioural modifications, which can affect the outcome of reintroductions. The results further suggest that fear-related behaviours are dependent on the genetic background of the animals while social behaviours may be more influenced by the social environment. Since fear-related behaviours, such as predator avoidance and fear of humans, are essential for a life in the wild, these aspects are crucial for the breeding of animals in captivity for conservation purposes.

Keyword
Behaviour, Captive breeding, Conservation, Gallus gallus, Red jungle fowl
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12650 (URN)10.1016/j.applanim.2006.03.013 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-10-19 Created: 2007-10-19 Last updated: 2017-12-14
4. A longitudinal study of antipredator behaviour in four successive generations of two populations of captive red junglefowl
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A longitudinal study of antipredator behaviour in four successive generations of two populations of captive red junglefowl
2008 (English)In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, ISSN 0168-1591, E-ISSN 1872-9045, Vol. 114, no 3-4, 409-418 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Conservation breeding and reintroduction into the wild can only be an effective management tool if behaviours essential for a life in the wild are maintained in captivity. The aim of this study was to investigate how a protected captive environment influences antipredator behaviour over generations. The red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) was used as a case study. Birds from two different captive populations were followed over four generations. In the last three generations, all birds were hatched and reared in the same indoor settings. Antipredator behaviour was measured in each generation in a standardised test where the birds were exposed to a simulated predator attack. The test was divided into three parts: pre-exposure period, exposure and post-exposure periods. There was an interaction effect between Population and generation (F-3.129 = 4.84, P < 0.01) on behaviour during the pre-exposure period, suggesting that the birds "baseline" agitation level may have been altered differently in the two populations. Population differences were also found during the post-exposure period but the populations tended to become more similar over successive generations in their behaviour after the exposure. Furthermore, there were significant effects of generation (H (d.f. = 1, N = 137) = 10.94, P < 0.05) as well as population (H (d.f. = 1, N = 137) = 5.17, P < 0.05) on the immediate reaction to the simulated predator attack. In conclusion, over four successive generations, the two populations altered their antipredator behaviour and tended to become more similar. This study shows that antipredator behaviour may change over generations in a captive environment. This is likely to be one of the most crucial factors for successful reintroduction into the wild and hence, it is a very important aspect to consider for conservation breeding.

Keyword
Domestication, Contrafreeloading, Junglefowl, White Leghorn, Age, Social isolation
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-16126 (URN)10.1016/j.applanim.2008.04.003 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-01-08 Created: 2009-01-07 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
5. Behavioural sex differences and diurnal crowing rhythms in red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) in Northern India
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Behavioural sex differences and diurnal crowing rhythms in red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) in Northern India
2010 (English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12652 (URN)
Available from: 2007-10-19 Created: 2007-10-19 Last updated: 2010-04-20

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