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Non-invasive measurement of gonadal hormones metabolite concentrations in Ranfastides Droppings

Abstract

Captive husbandry and breeding plays an important role as auxiliary tools for species conservation. These tools enable the conduct of research with different species, adding fundamental knowledge for success of conservation projects. According ANDRIOLO (2007), in this context priority is given to studies such as feeding behavior, oriented reproduction to conservation of genetic variability in captivity and training for potential reintroductions. One can also stress the importance of determining the basic physiological, behavioral and reproductive characteristics of each species. Belonging to the Brazilian native fauna, toucans and aracaris are classified into the family Ramphastidæ and little is known about their endocrine and reproductive characteristics. Even among species that reproduce well in captivity, the endocrine characteristics of the ovulatory cycle and egg laying are not described. This information is of paramount importance for improving the management and for the potential application of assisted reproduction techniques aiming to increase the reproductive performance of these species. The endocrine study in wild species such as in ranfastides depends on the application of noninvasive techniques that allow longitudinal studies without interference from stressful actions like blood sampling and physical restraining. This project has the purpose to extract and measure the level of metabolites of sex steroids (progesterone and estradiol) from the droppings of Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) and Green-billed Toucan (Ramphastos dicolorus) inside and outside the reproductive season. (AU)