Benchmarking lion welfare

Lion Adrenal Activity

Lions , like most wildlife species have evolved not to show weakness or stress until it becomes severe. In some species it is possible to determine stress levels by assessing adrenal activity over a period of time. This is done in humans by taking blood and assaying for adrenaline, but this is clearly not an option for lions . We have often determined the reproductive status of females by examining the estrogen and progesterone metabolites in either fecal or urine samples collected on a regular basis. We will now apply the same technology to develop and validate a corticosteroid assay specifically for lions . We will work with other zoos and even circuses to gain access to lions under a range of management conditions, and pair our physiological assessment with behavioural assessments to determine behavioural indices of adrenaline.

Project Partners:

Taronga: Dr Meredith Bashaw, Marina Tokarski

For more information contact:

Taronga Conservation Science Initiative

Rebecca Spindler, Manager, Research and Conservation
+61 2 9978 4608

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