Veterinary and Animal Health Advisory Reports

An advisory committee to the Antelope TAG has been established to provide input and guidance concerning various scientific and zoo related disciplines which affect the management of captive antelopes and global antelope conservation. Advisors to the Antelope TAG have established programs which will address actions concerning antelope research, health/veterinary care, nutrition, and education. Further advisors in behavioral science, genetics, and marketing are to be enlisted.

Research Advisory Committee Report
Steven Monfort, Ph.D.
Chairman, Antelope TAG Advisory Committee
Conservation Research Center
Smithsonian Institution
Front Royal, VA

 Many species of antelope are under grave threat of extinction. In many cases, we lack even the most fundamental understanding of species biology. Although there has been a relatively large quantity of research conducted on free-living antelope, there has been a generalized failure to exploit research opportunities in captive species. It is this absence of fundamental biological information that provides the impetus for increasing research within this taxonomic group. Both in situ and ex situ research is needed within all antelope families. In situ research needs include increasing our knowledge about species distribution and abundance, life history strategies, ecology, behavior, ecosystem assessments, plant-animal and animal-human interactions, and conservation biology of threatened taxa. Research that targets range countries of threatened species and integrates issues relevant to antelope conservation should be strongly encouraged. Furthermore, those in situ research endeavors that foster cooperation with officials of conservation agencies and range country governmental organizations and academic institutions are desirable. Ex situ research should exploit access to captive animals to develop fundamental databases on behavior, environmental enrichment, nutrition, veterinary medicine, reproduction, contraception, genetics, and husbandry/management. Such research should not be limited to western zoological organizations since substantial information can be gathered by collaborating zoos within range countries with minimal effort and expense. It is recognized that both basic and applied research can assist in maintaining the health and vigor of individual animals and populations.

To optimize our approach to conducting research within the zoological community, we first must define the existing problems warranting research attention. To facilitate this process, a 'research' survey has been distributed to all AZA organizations. The survey seeks to define: 1) which zoological institutions are conducting (or are interested in collaborating on) research investigations, and 2) what research priorities exist within the zoological community. Once this information has been accumulated, the Research Advisory Committee will assist in prioritizing TAG-sponsored research and foster improve collaboration and communication amongst zoos with common research problems/interests.

Criteria for Prioritization of Research

Because the resources to support research within the zoological community are limited, research initiatives must be carefully chosen to maximize benefits. We suggest that research be prioritized based on the following criteria:

  1. In situ conservation status.
  2. Animal numbers, availability and accessibility.
  3. Husbandry/management needs (i.e., contraception, space limitations, husbandry difficulties).
  4. Educational benefits of species for conservation.
  5. Relevance of species as "models" for extrapolation to other antelope species.

A future goal of the Research Advisory Committee will be to undertake detailed strategic planning that will facilitate directing antelope research towards well-defined conservation goals. The Committee will act as a resource for identifying specialists in all of the relevant research disciplines including population biologists, physiologists, geneticists, studbook keepers, veterinarians, zoo biologists, and conservation biologists for facilitating antelope research.

 Veterinary Advisory Report

The veterinary advisor group for the antelope TAG is composed of Hubert Paluch, DVM (Cape May Zoo), Barb Wolfe, DVM (The Wilds), and Linda Penfold, PhD (White Oak Conservation Center).


Suggested Protocol for Pre-Shipment Health Screening of Antelope Species

The institutions involved in the transfer of an antelope must communicate prior to the transfer. The receiver should be given the opportunity to request pre-shipment tests; ideally, the medical records and specimen report will be sent to the receiving institution prior to shipment. When determining the pre-shipment tests, the veterinary medical officer for the state of destination should be contacted regarding any tests that may be required before the specimen(s) can enter the state.

                                I.            Minimal Health Screen

                                                      A.            Signalment and Medical History

                                                                              1.   An ARKS specimen report will provide most of the required information.

                                                                              2.   Copies of medical records, AAZK transfer forms, and a health certificate should be available to the receiving institution.

                                                      B.            Pre-shipment Procedures.

                                                                              1.  Establish a means of permanent identification of the animal e.g. ear notch, transponder, and freeze brand.

                                                                              2.  Physical examination, routine hoof trim, serum bank, and a qualitative examination for endoparasites.

                                                                              3.  Prophylactic or therapeutic anthelmintic treatment and boostering of vaccines; e.g., tetanus toxoid.

                              II.            Supplemental Testing: Additional health screening tests will be determined by the sending institutions existing policy which may be influenced by previous or existing disease problems, the requests from the receiving institution, and the requirements of the state of destination.

1.      Tuberculin skin testing consistent with state regulations.

2.      Rectal culture for enteric pathogens.

3.      Serological tests as indicated; e.g., MCF.

4.      Routine CBC, Chemistry panel.

5.      Screen for Mycobacteria paratuberculosis; i.e., Johne's disease by one or more of the following methods:

a.       Radiometric culture (DNA probe).

b.      ELISA.

c.       Standard culture methods.



The purpose of this directory is to provide easy access to pertinent phone numbers for the individuals involved in preparing specimens for interstate shipment. Many states do not have specific testing requirements for antelope species; therefore, it is the responsibility of the institutions involved in the transfer to contact the appropriate state veterinary office and obtain as much information as possible regarding testing requirements prior to shipping.

If the telephone numbers in this directory have changed, you can call 1-800-545-8732 to get an updated number.


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