Department of Animal Health and Anatomy, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, E-08193, Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain; FundAmazonia, Museum of Amazonian Indigenous Cultures, 332 Malecon Tarapaca, Iquitos, Peru; ComFauna, Comunidad de Manejo de Fauna de Manejo de Fauna Silvestre en La Amazonía y en Latinoamérica, 332 Malecon Tarapaca, Iquitos, Peru. Electronic address: [Email]
The measurement of fecal progesterone metabolites (fPM) by enzyme immunoassay analysis is a non-invasive technique that permits gathering reproductive information from wildlife without the stress associated with restraint. In the collared peccary (Pecari tajacu), a high correlation between serum progesterone and fPM levels (r2 = 0.783) suggests that fPM can be used to monitor their reproductive function. We monitored fPM during the estrous cycle of 15 collared peccary females. Estrous cycles averaged 27.9 ± 4.5 days (n = 28), ranging from 21 to 36 days. The luteal phase was 22.2 ± 4.8 days and the inter-luteal phase was 4.3 ± 1.4 days. Mean concentration of fPM across pregnancy were not different from those found during the luteal phase (1230 ± 718 and 1265 ± 584 ng/100 mg dried feces, respectively), however, significant differences were found when luteal phase concentrations were compared only against fPM concentrations during late pregnancy. In addition, late pregnancy fPM concentrations (1893 ± 551 ng/100 mg) were also significantly higher than those in the early (639 ± 339 ng/100 mg) and mid (1134 ± 449 ng/100 mg) pregnancy. For females during the early post-partum period, fPM concentrations were significantly increased (243 ± 118 ng/100 mg) than those of non-cycling females (103 ± 89 ng/100 mg). The analysis of fPM is a simple, non-invasive methodology to detect the ovarian activity in the collared peccary; moreover, it provides a husbandry tool, which may be used to help understand how social structure may impact reproduction.