Sunday, February 12, 2006

Canadian Lynx Reintroduction - With the help of Dances With Wolves and Shatia

Dances With Wolves and Shatia are beautiful Canadian Lynx (view their pictures on our website) who have been longtime residents at Big Cat Rescue.  I was recently asked to participate in a project that will hopefully help with the reintroduction of the Canadian Lynx in the state of Colorado. I am very excited at the possibility that "our girls" could help their wild and free counterparts to propagate and thrive.
This is a letter that I would like to share with you about how Dances With Wolves (I call her Woofy) and Shatia will participate in this goal.
Written by:  Kerry Fanson
   Dances With Wolves and Shatia are working hard to help biologists understand more about Canada Lynx physiology.  What's their role in the project?  They poop!  Biologists have found that certain hormones are excreted in the urine and/or feces after they carry out their job in the body.  These hormones are critical players in reproduction and also influence an animal's response to stressful events.  Kerry Fanson, a graduate student at Purdue University, is analyzing  these fecal hormones in order to describe basic patterns of hormone expression in Canada Lynx.  While the information obtained from this study will be helpful to captive lynx, it also has broader importance.  In 1999, the state of Colorado initiated a large-scale Canada Lynx reintroduction.  However, it took 5 years before the cats began to successfully reproduce, and biologists are not sure what caused this reproductive suppression.  By comparing hormonal data collected from captive lynx with hormonal data collected from reintroduced lynx, Kerry will be able to see if there were physiological changes that caused this reproductive failure.  Ultimately, the information obtained from this study will help biologists better understand how the reintroduction process impacts the individuals involved.  With this information, conservation biologists will be better prepared to carry out reintroductions, and hopefully the success of these endeavors will improve.
** I will keep you updated on the progress of this project.  Many thanks to Woofy and Shatia.


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