Retrospective review of causes of mortality in captive springboks (Antidorcas marsupialis) at the Réserve Africaine de Sigean, France from 1990 to 2015
Keywords:bad weather conditions, captive management, disease, hand rearing, maternal neglect, neonatal mortality, predation, trauma
Springboks (Antidorcas marsupialis) are medium-sized African antelopes commonly kept in captivity; nevertheless, veterinary literature on common conditions in captivity is scarce for this species. To better understand the prevalence of different causes of death in this species, the medical and zoological records of 560 springboks having died at the Réserve Africaine de Sigean (France) from 1990 to 2015 were evaluated to determine the causes of mortality. These causes were then compared between gender, age classes, month of death and location. In the neonate age class, the main cause of death was maternal neglect (57.4%; 74/129). This condition was not impacted by neonatal examination in the first few days of life. Casualties following bad weather conditions appeared to be a leading cause of death in the juvenile, subadult and adult age classes (13.2%, 15.0% and 18.1%, respectively). Trauma – mainly by conspecifics – was significantly more prevalent in males in the subadult (P=0.033) and adult (P=0.011) age classes during the reproduction period (September to January). On the other hand, females appeared significantly more affected by reproductive disorders (P=0.019). In the juvenile, subadult and adult age classes, 52.4% (226/431) of deaths took place during the coldest months (November to February). Most of the conditions pointed out may be preventable with appropriate management, such as hand rearing or provision of more shelters and retreat areas as necessary for the well-being of this small antelope species.
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