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Romano, M. C., Rodas, A. Z., Valdez, R. A., Hernandez, S. E., Galindo, F., Canales, D., et al. (2010). Stress in wildlife species: noninvasive monitoring of glucocorticoids. Neuroimmunomodulation, 17(3), 209–212.
Abstract: Depression and stress are related pathologies extensively studied in humans. However, this relationship is not well known in animals kept in zoos and even less known in wild animals. In zoo animals, acute and chronic stress caused by difficulties in coping with stressors such as public presence and noise, among others, can induce the appearance of repetitive pathological behaviors such as stereotypies, many times associated with organic pathologies that deeply affect their health and welfare. In the wild, factors such as deforestation, habitat fragmentation, lack of food and water, and human disturbances are potential causes of acute and chronic stress for the resident fauna. Glucocorticoids (GC) have been extensively used as stress indicators in many species including humans. Since chase and handling of wild animals immediately raise their GC serum levels, noninvasive methods have been developed to assess stress without interference caused by sample collection. The hormones and their metabolites can be measured in various body fluids and excreta and detect basal feedback free hormone concentrations as well as the response to ACTH and handling. In order to study the influence of disturbing factors we have measured GC as stress indicators by noninvasive techniques in dolphins and felids (ocelots, jaguarundis and margays) and cortisol and testosterone in spider monkeys.