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Circadian rhythm of salivary cortisol in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus): a factor to consider during welfare assessment

By A. Menargues, V. Urios, R. Liminana, M. Mauri

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Abstract

Elevated glucocorticoid levels during an extended time period might be a stress indicator in nonhuman animals. Therefore, knowledge of the circadian pattern of cortisol secretion is very important to correctly interpret data obtained for welfare assessment of animals in captivity through salivary cortisol. In order to define the circadian rhythm of salivary cortisol secretion in the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), morning and evening saliva samples of 3 Asian elephants were collected and analyzed by radioimmunoassay. Significantly higher salivary cortisol concentrations were found in the morning than in the evening in all individuals. These results show that salivary cortisol of Asian elephants follows a diurnal pattern of secretion, which could be taken into account when using this methodology to assess welfare in captive Asian elephants.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 15
Issue 4
Pages 383-390
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2012.709157
Language English
Author Address Terra Natura Biological Station, University Research Institute CIBIO, University of Alicante, Campus San Vicente del Raspeig, Edificio Ciencias III, E-03080 Alicante, Spain.a.menargues@ua.es
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Tags
  1. Animal physiology
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Circadian rhythm
  6. Cortisol
  7. Elephants
  8. Glucocorticoids
  9. Hydrocortisone
  10. Immunoradiometric assay
  11. Mammals
  12. Methodologies
  13. Methods
  14. peer-reviewed
  15. radioimmunoassay
  16. saliva
  17. Techniques
  18. vertebrates
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed