Surveying Internal Parasites and Fecal Cortisol in Captive Scimitar-Horned Oryx, Oryx dammah, between Environments
Pauling, Cassandra Dawn
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The scimitar-horned oryx (SHO), Oryx dammah, is an endangered species that is extinct in the wild and is currently managed in various captive management programs throughout different regions. This study aims to determine parasite diversity between two study sites, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center (FRWC) and Kansas City Zoo (KCZ), and the cortisol levels within these different environmental settings to help establish expected levels in multiple environments. Fecal egg counts were performed using the modified McMaster method and wet mounts were prepared in order to identify genera of parasite ova and oocysts present in feces. Results indicated one species of Eimeria, Isospora, Strongyles, and Taenia infected both sites; however one species of Eimeria, Trichuris, and Nematodirus were unique to one FRWC. Fecal cortisol levels were assayed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). FRWC had median cortisol levels ranging from 140.4-264.8 pg/g and KCZ had median cortisol levels ranging from 120.4- 242.0 pg/g. This study can help determine parasite susceptibility and baseline cortisol levels within the species.