ESR 23:205-217 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00568

A retrospective review of mortality in lorises and pottos in North American zoos, 1980-2010

Grace Fuller1,2,*, Kristen E. Lukas1,2, Christopher Kuhar1,2, Patricia M. Dennis1,2,3

1Department of Biology, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA
2Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, Ohio 44109, USA
3Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, 1900 Coffey Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Patterns of mortality in captive animals can reveal potentially problematic care practices or other risk factors that may negatively impact animal health and population sustainability. We reviewed death records (necropsy and/or histopathology reports) for 367 lorises and pottos born between 1980 and 2010 that were housed in 33 North American zoos and related facilities. Our sample included 20 Loris tardigradus nordicus, 72 L. t. tardigradus, 109 Nycticebus coucang, 133 N. pygmaeus, and 33 Perodicticus potto. In all 5 groups, neonates (animals <30 d old) or geriatric animals accounted for the majority of death reports. Neonate deaths were most commonly attributed to stillbirth, trauma, and multi-systemic disease (septicemia or other infection). Animals that survived the first month of life were likely to live to adulthood or the geriatric stage. For all species, the most commonly cited causes of death were renal disease, multi-systemic illness, and trauma. Over 50% of all the animals studied displayed some renal pathology upon postmortem analysis. Across species, other organ systems in which >20% of animals showed signs of disease included the cardiovascular and hemolymphatic, endocrine and metabolic, gastrointestinal, and immunologic systems. Our results indicate that reducing neonatal mortality is a major priority for sustaining these species in captivity, and common practices for managing groups during the perinatal period should be carefully scrutinized. Other areas in need of further investigation are environmental contributions to neoplastic and infectious disease, and dietary contributions to chronic degenerative conditions.


KEY WORDS: Lorisid primate · Epidemiology · Zoo veterinary care · Infant mortality


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Cite this article as: Fuller G, Lukas KE, Kuhar C, Dennis PM (2014) A retrospective review of mortality in lorises and pottos in North American zoos, 1980-2010. Endang Species Res 23:205-217. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00568

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