Monitoring Female Reproductive Status in White-Handed Gibbons (Hylobates lar) Using Fecal Hormone Analysis and Patterns of Genital Skin Swellings
Recent field research on white-handed gibbons (Hylobates lar) has focused predominantly on questions regarding their social organization, mating systems, and life histories under different socioecological conditions (Sommer and Reichard 2000; Reichard 2003). However, due to difficulties in accurately determining female reproductive status in free-ranging animals, a number of questions concerning gibbon reproductive biology in their natural setting have remained unanswered. In the past, assessment of reproductive status in wild female gibbons has been restricted to observations of menstruation, sexual behavior, and presence/absence of clinging infants (Morino, Barelli, and Reichard unpubl. data); these parameters provide only rough and mostly indirect information on female reproductive condition. Endocrine monitoring, in contrast, permits a more reliable and direct assessment of female reproductive status and thus enables more detailed studies into the reproductive biology...
KeywordsFecal Sample Ovarian Cycle Captive Animal Captive Female Wild Female
We would like to thank Dr. U. Schürer and Dr. A. Sliwa (Wuppertal Zoo) for providing us the opportunity to collect samples and a special thanks to their supportive staff for helping and facilitating the collection. We are also grateful to Dr. P. Rahn and the animal keepers of Berlin Zoo for their kind collaboration and sample collection from one gibbon female. We especially thank Prof. Dr. R.D. Nadler for providing unpublished data and initial encouragement. For laboratory assistance, we thank J. Hagedorn and A. Heistermann. Research permits to work at Khao Yai National Park were kindly granted by the Royal Forest Department of Thailand (RFD) and the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT). C.B. thanks Prof. Dr. C. Boesch and the Max-Planck Society for the interest in and the support of this project, M. Arandjelovic for helpful comments and Dr. T. Deschner for valuable discussion and comments on the manuscript.
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