Activity budget of zoo-housed Dolichotis patagonum mates

Authors

  • Johan Baechli
  • Laura Marisa Bellis
  • María Constanza García Capocasa
  • Juan Manuel Busso Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas-Universidad Nacional de Córdoba

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.19227/jzar.v9i1.531

Keywords:

behaviour, conservation, ex-situ, ex-situ management, monogamy, rodent

Abstract

Captive conditions differ widely from an animal’s natural environment and risk making them prone to reduced behavioural flexibility and sometimes impaired reproduction. The Patagonian mara Dolichotis patagonum, a near threatened species, is a large rodent endemic to Argentina with a singular social organisation that combines monogamy with communal breeding. The aim of this study was to learn more about the activity budget and behavioural synchrony between mates of zoo-housed D. patagonum and thus contribute to research and conservation programmes at modern zoos worldwide. The study implicated 28 animals housed at Córdoba Zoo (Argentina) under natural photoperiod and temperature conditions. Behaviour was recorded once a week every hour from 0800–1800 for a 28-day period and the total offspring at the end of the spring-summer season were counted. The recorded activity budget was: resting (43%), feeding (25%) and alert (13%), the remaining categories accounting for less than 10%. Resting, feeding and alert were the only categories associated with hourly changes. There was 48% behavioural synchrony between mates (both sexes engaging in the same behaviour at the same time) and a total of 23 offspring were counted, corresponding to one litter each reproducing female. The similarity between the behavioural response of these zoo-housed individuals and available data on the behaviour of D. patagonum in the wild indicates that zoo-housed D. patagonum behavioural activities can be considered positive responses, providing useful information for the future development of reintroduction programmes.

Author Biographies

Johan Baechli

PhD student and Fellow from Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) -Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC). 

Laura Marisa Bellis

Researcher from Instituto de Altos Estudios Espaciales "Mario Gulich" (CONAE-UNC) and 3 Cátedra de Ecología (FCEFyN-UNC), Córdoba, Argentina.

María Constanza García Capocasa

Biologist from the Córdoba Zoo

Juan Manuel Busso, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas-Universidad Nacional de Córdoba

Researcher from

Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas y Tecnológicas, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas Físicas y Naturales (FCEFyN), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) -Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC), Córdoba, Argentina.

 Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de los Alimentos (FCEFyN-UNC), Córdoba, Argentina.

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Published

2021-01-31

How to Cite

Baechli, J. ., Bellis, L. M., García Capocasa, M. C., & Busso, J. M. (2021). Activity budget of zoo-housed Dolichotis patagonum mates. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 9(1), 14–19. https://doi.org/10.19227/jzar.v9i1.531

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Articles