A comparison of rectal and oral cultivable microbiota in wild and captive black lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysopygus, Mikan 1823)

The black lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus) is an endangered primate species, restricted to the Atlantic Forest fragments of Sao Paulo state, Brazil, with an estimated wild population of ~1600 individuals. Integrative studies between zoo (ex situ) and wild (in situ) animals are crucial to modern conservation programs. They can demonstrate a substantial impact with the One Health concept, an interdisciplinary research frontier regarding the relations between human, animal, and environmental health. Studies of wild populations of Leontopithecus spp. are scarce and should be encouraged to provide baseline information to develop preventive and curative medicine in zoos and other conservation programs. Studying these animals in the wild can offer important reference parameters for the species. Comparing bacterial communities between in situ and ex situ populations can help us understand both conditions and the dynamics of potentially pathogenic microorganisms. To increase our understanding of resident microorganisms among these groups, we collected oral and rectal samples from captive (zoo) and wild black lion tamarins. We employed a culture method for the identification of aerobic bacteria. Thirty-three specimens were sampled (24 zoo and 8 wild animals) and 18 bacterial genera were identified. We found primarily Gram-positive bacteria in wild animals, whereas in zoo animals, Gram-negative bacteria were dominant. Some of the bacterial species we identified are potentially pathogenic, whereas several others are being reported here for the first time in this host species. Our results reinforce the importance of integrative studies for the future management and conservation of this endangered primate species.

Feral Cats: Parasitic Reservoirs in Our Zoos?

Up until the recent past, zoos served limited function, primarily existing for entertainment value. Today’s zoos, however, are serving many roles, chief among them: species conservation of captive animals. The biggest zoo in Brazil, São Paulo Zoological Park Foundation, has among its 2000 animals and many species of wild cats. The presence of domestic cats living freely in zoos is common and can be a source of spreading disease. The aim of this study was to verify the variety and prevalence of parasites found in the feces of felids (feral and wild) living in the Sao Paulo Zoo. The results of this parasitological analysis have been obtained from the laboratory of clinical analysis and correspond to the 4-year period beginning January/2009 and ending December/2012. Eight species of parasites were identified in the feces of captive wild cats and three in the feces of feral cats. For those captives, Toxocara cati (7.95%) had the highest prevalence, followed by Toxascaris leonina (7.58%), Isospora sp. (2.03%), Hymenolepis nana (0.92%), Eimeria sp., Giardia sp. and Blastocystis sp. (0.37% each) and Ascaris sp. (0.18%). Among the feral cats, we found Toxocara cati (59.26%), Giardia sp. (22.22%) and Isospora sp. (11.11%). For the captive group, we also distinguished natives from exotic species, finding native species to be more frequently parasitized than the exotic ones. Key to our findings, though, was the fact that a few parasite species were found among all groups of felids, specifically (Toxocara cati, Giardia sp. and Isospora sp). Further research is needed, however, to confirm that transmission of these parasites is occurring between and among these groups.

Giardia spp., ten years of parasitological data in the biggest zoo of Latin America

Giardia spp. (Diplomonadida: Hexamitidae) is an important and widely studied protozoan parasite with worldwide distribution. Nowadays have six described species, and the most important probably is Giardia duodenalis due to the zoonotical potential that some assemblages have. Many studies analysing samples from wild animals have detected Giardia in captive environment, including the zoonotic type. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of Giardia sp. in wild captive animals at Sao Paulo Zoo, using conventional parasitological techniques (direct smear, passive flotation with saturated sodium chloride solution and simple gravity sedimentation), from 2006 to 2016. In total, 7066 coprological exams were performed during this period with samples from mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. The prevalence of Giardia infections was of 1.5% (103/7066). Mammals had the higher prevalence of infections with 2% (77/3872), followed by birds with 1.1% (25/2186) and reptiles with only one positive sample (1/894). All samples from amphibians were negative. Representatives of thirteen families presented positive results for this parasite: Dromaidae, Phasianidae, Ramphastidae, Cervidae, Giraffidae, Canidae, Felidae, Herpestidae, Myrmecophagidae, Callithrichidae, Cebidae, Hylobatidae and Dipsadidae. This study presents the first report of Giardia sp. in Pavo muticus and Brachyteles arachnoides. Infections were prevalent in Cebidae and Ramphastidae species. The findings of this study highlight the importance of identifying which Giardia assemblage are involved in the infections and if they may have a zoonotic potential.

Ticks infesting captive and free-roaming wild animal species at the São Paulo Zoo, São Paulo, Brazil

Ticks are ectoparasites of worldwide distribution that affect vertebrates and can transmit pathogens to animals and humans. The Zoological Park Foundation of São Paulo (FPZSP) is located in a Conservation Unit in one of the most important remaining fragments of the Atlantic Rainforest biome in the suburbs of São Paulo, Brazil. The FPZSP houses more than 3,000 wild animals on exhibit, in breeding programs and in environmental education programs, and also attracts migratory birds and free-roaming wildlife. This study focused on identifying the diversity of tick species that infest captive and free-roaming animals at the FPZSP. The collection of ticks kept at the FPZSP contains 523 specimens that were collected from different host species between 1990 and 2017. Ten tick species were found. In addition, Amblyomma aureolatum (Pallas) was found on stray cats living in the Atlantic forest fragment in the FPZSP. This study reveals a low occurrence of parasitism in captive animals and a high diversity of tick species collected from hosts in this Atlantic forest fragment, contributing information about host-parasite relationships and potential vectors of zoonotic diseases, since the vectors of Brazilian spotted fever, A. aureolatum and Amblyomma sculptum Berlese, were found in some hosts.