Hematology and serum biochemistry values of free-ranging Iberian wolves (Canis lupus) trapped by leg-hold snares

Abstract

Hematology and serum biochemistry are important tools in assessing the health and physiological status of wildlife populations. Nevertheless, studies on free-ranging wolves (Canis lupus) are scarce, and no reference values are available neither for Iberian wolves nor for wolves captured with leg-hold snares. We report 37 hematology and serum biochemistry variables obtained from 26 free-ranging Iberian wolves captured with leg-hold snares between 2007 and 2014, including variables previously not reported in the literature. The values obtained are similar to the published reference intervals for Scandinavian wolves captured by darting from a helicopter, except for higher values for mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), red blood cell distribution width (RDW), leukocyte count, creatinine kinase (CK), γ-globulins, and total bilirubin (TBIL) and lower values for alkaline phosphatase (ALP). We propose that differences in leukocyte count, CK, and TBIL are related to the method of capture, while differences in RDW, MCHC, ALP, and γ-globulins could reflect physiological adaptations to environmental conditions, sampling, or pre-analytical artifacts. Lymphocyte count was lower and neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio was significantly higher in older, reproductive females, while ALP and phosphorus were higher in juvenile wolves. For the first time, we describe hematology and serum biochemistry values of free-ranging Iberian wolves captured with leg-hold snares. The data reported here is the first published reference for wolves captured with similar methods and for monitoring Iberian wolves populations’ physiological and health status.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Nuria Fandos and Carla Ferreira, rangers from Xunta de Galicia and Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa, and volunteers who helped during the trapping sessions. The wolves were captured under projects financed by Associação de Conservação do Habitat do Lobo Ibérico (ACHLI) in Portugal and by Picos de Europa National Park, Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente, and Xunta de Galicia in Spain. Sara Roque benefited from grant SFRH/BD/12291/2003 from Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia. José V. López-Bao was supported by a postdoctoral contract from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. This is the paper no. 5 from the Iberian Wolf Research Team.

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All work was conducted in full compliance of the national laws and ethical standards.

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Correspondence to Nuno Santos.

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Communicated by C. Gortázar

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Santos, N., Maior, H.R., Nakamura, M. et al. Hematology and serum biochemistry values of free-ranging Iberian wolves (Canis lupus) trapped by leg-hold snares. Eur J Wildl Res 61, 135–141 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-014-0883-3

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Keywords

  • Iberian wolf
  • Hematology
  • Serum biochemistry
  • Reference intervals
  • Leg-hold snares