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Relationship between Sexual Behaviors and Fecal Estrogen Levels in a Female Snow Leopard (<i>Uncia uncia</i>) and a Female Cheetah (<i>Acinonyx jubatus</i>) under Captivity

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  • 飼育下の雌ユキヒョウ(<i>Uncia uncia</i>)1頭と雌チーター(<i>Acinonyx jubatus</i>)1頭における性行動と糞中エストロゲン動態の関係(繁殖学)

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Abstract

We conducted concurrent behavioral observations and fecal collections 2-7 times a week to examine the relationship between ovarian hormones and sexual behaviors in a captive female snow leopard (Uncia uncia) and a cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). The fecal samples were analyzed by enzyme immunoassay for estrogen levels. We recorded 25 behavior types in the snow leopard, but only one in the cheetah. In the snow leopard, highly significant (P<0.01) Spearman rank-order correlations with fecal estrogen levels were obtained in 12 behavior types such as Locomotion (r_s=0.4305), Flehmen (r_s=0.3905), Sniffing (r_s=0.3588), Rubbing (r_s=0.2988), Lordosis (r_s=0.2621), Pace (r_s=0.2335), Rolling (r_s=0.2285), Prusten (r_s=0.2216), Spraying (r_s=0.1876) and Pursuing (r_s=0.1793), whereas significant (P<0.05) correlations were obtained in Attacking (r_s=0.1732) and Approaching (r_s=0.1423). Both fecal estrogen levels and frequencies of these behaviors in the snow leopard fluctuated seasonally, and peaked during the early winter to late spring breeding season. In the cheetah, Rolling was observed just prior to or during the fecal estrogen peaks, and was significantly correlated to the fecal hormone level (r_s=0.2714, P<0.05). The results suggest that the observation of sex-related behaviors would be useful in predicting optimum mating time in captive snow leopards and cheetahs.

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