Year of Publication

2017

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest and Natural Resource Sciences (MSFNRS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Forestry and Natural Resources

First Advisor

Dr. John Cox

Abstract

Establishing blood serum profiles is important for understanding animal disease ecology and nutrition, the effects of capture and immobilization, and general physiological variation among individuals and populations. Elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) have been successfully translocated to several states for reintroduction or population augmentation, including most recently in Kentucky, where over the course of three years (2011-13) wild elk were captured, temporarily quarantined, and subsequently moved to Missouri and Virginia to establish populations in those states. I used this opportunity to collect a variety of biological samples, including blood from which I present and compare serological profiles for a variety of elk age and sex classes. Additionally, I took the opportunity to investigate the effects of the translocation process on some morphological and physiological parameters of elk. Quarantine and processing of elk can be stressful for animals and lead to injury or death. I characterized how elk respond to this process by measuring biochemical serum values along with various physiological parameters at 5 handling events from the time of capture until final transport to recipient states. Changes observed in parameters between paired workups were indicative of the physical exertion and stress associated with handling activities.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2017.384

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