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Normal hematology and serum chemistry of northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) in captivity

Kohyama, Kaoru, Inoshima, Yasuo
Zoo biology 2017 v.36 no.5 pp. 345-350
Callorhinus ursinus, alkaline phosphatase, blood, blood chemistry, blood sampling, captive animals, ex situ conservation, fur, guidelines, rearing, seals, Japan, Pacific Ocean, United States
Northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) are endemic to the North Pacific Ocean. They were hunted for their fur and became endangered in the late 1800s, but their populations recovered following the introduction of protection laws. Recently, populations have been decreasing again, although the reasons are unclear. For individuals that are bred and reared in captivity as part of ex situ conservation projects, details of blood characteristics are essential to ensure good health. However, the normal ranges of hematology and serum chemistry of captive northern fur seals have not been defined. This study determined the normal ranges of hematology and serum chemistry of captive fur seals. Blood samples were collected every month for 2 years from four captive northern fur seals in Japan (three born in an aquarium and one kept in the same aquarium following rescue). Fifteen blood characteristics and 29 serum chemistry properties were compared with those previously reported for wild northern fur seals in the USA. Several parameters were not within the normal ranges reported previously in wild northern fur seals. In particular, levels of alkaline phosphatase was outside of the normal ranges previously reported. The hematological and serum chemistry ranges in this study can help provide a guideline for understanding the health of northern fur seals in captivity.