Zoo Based Projects

A Survey of Native Amphibians and Reptiles in Pine Rockland Habitat at Zoo Miami

This project, conducted by Zoo Miami staff, surveys the various species of native amphibians and reptiles found in the natural habitats on zoo grounds. The zoo property contains one of the largest tracts of pine rockland remaining in Miami-Dade County. The goals are to document species diversity and abundance, as well as track population trends and obtain life history information on these animals.

Low-iron Diet Trial in Rhinoceros and Tapirs, Zoo Miami

This was a long-term study at Zoo Miami to evaluate a specially formulated low-iron feed in preventing iron overload in captive rhinos and tapirs. This involved monthly blood samples drawn from each rhino and for specific iron and copper parameters at an outside lab.

Pongo Pygmaeus Ovulation Study, Zoo Miami

The goal of this study at Zoo Miami and Chaffee Zoological Gardens is to determine various ways of tracking ovulation in female orangutans. This might facilitate future attempts at artificial insemination, should this need occur for this endangered species. The focus of this project is to determine whether the changes that occur in the salivary cells correlate with rising estrogen levels (analyzed by urine samples) during the menstrual cycle. Positive findings would thus establish a quicker and easier way of pinpointing the approximate time of ovulation. In collaboration with Chaffee Zoological Garden (Fresno, CA) and San Diego Zoo.

Hormone Concentrations in Captive Male Rhinoceros: Seasonal, Age and Sociosexual Variation, Zoo Miami

The purpose of this study at Zoo Miami and other facilities is to determine the factors that may influence testosterone levels in captive rhinos, including territory (proximity of other rhinos), sociosexual status (male dominance; presence of estrous females), seasonality and age.

Elephant Reproductive Soundness Evaluation by Ultrasound, Zoo Miami

The goal of this project at Zoo Miami was to determine the physical reproductive health of both species of elephants in Metrozoo's collection, to better understand which animals were sound for breeding, and to delineate whether there were reproductive problems that required investigation.

Maintenance of Pregnancy in a High-Risk Black Rhino with Progesterone Supplementation, Zoo Miami

A specific female rhino has had a reproductive history of aborting mid-to full-term fetuses. The theory was that there were inadequate levels of progesterone to support the pregnancies to term. Once the last pregnancy was determined, this rhino was supplemented with Regumate, a synthetic progesterone. This protocol was successfully used once in a female Sumatran rhino, but never in the Black rhino. The supplement was discontinued several days before the expected date of parturition. In collaboration with Cincinnati Zoo.

Assessing Reproductive Senescence in Captive Female Gorillas, Zoo Miami

This project at Zoo Miami and Brookfield Zoo will examine the hormonal and behavioral patterns of reproduction in geriatric gorillas. The project will observe whether aging females continue to cycle normally, both hormonally and behaviorally. It addresses the differences between prime age and geriatric females. Most importantly for capture and species survival, the project may establish recommendations for the social and reproductive management of aging female gorillas.

Fecal Steroids in Matschies Tree Kangaroo

This is a study to establish hormonal cycles to determine reproductive cycles of kangaroos for estrogen and progesterone concentrations in fecal samples. These hormones will be used to monitor reproductive events such as estrous cycles and gestation. Zoos will be able to determine the reproductive status of their females. Also, the project will assist population managers address challenges such as disease, poor reproduction and declining numbers. In collaboration with Roger Williams Park Zoo and Ohio State University.