Exploring the Relationships Between Stressors and Cortisol Production in Captive and Wild Sifakas
Mogan, James R., 1988--
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The ‘stress response,’ or how an animal responds to external stressors, transpires from a litany of external factors. Past research has examined this response in captive sifakas and wild sifakas without making a direct comparison between these two groups. By using competition over space as a measure of stress, behavioral and hormonal data were gathered in the wild at the Tsinjoarivo Forest (19°40.940S, 47°45.460E; 1,590 m) of Madagascar and in captivity at the Duke Lemur Center to assess differences between less and more competitive sifakas to determine how competitiveness and sex influence behavior and cortisol production. The hypotheses of this study are 1) daily activity budget will be more varied and cortisol production in captive sifakas will be higher given food competition and reduced space 2) in both populations, daily activity budget will be more varied and cortisol production should be higher in larger groups versus smaller groups and 3) given the added responsibilities of child-rearing and territory defense, there should be a main effect of sex across both groups with females having increased activity budget and higher cortisol levels. The results revealed a significantly more varied activity budget in the captive sifakas, but no significant difference in cortisol production.