Appeasing Pheromones for the Management of Stress and Aggression during Conservation of Wild Canids: Could the Solution Be Right under Our Nose?
Gamete and Embryology (GAME) Laboratory, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, James Cook Drive, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
Institute for Breeding Rare and Endangered African Mammals (IBREAM), 9 Ainslie Place, Edinburgh EH3 6AT SCT, UK
Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science, James Cook University, James Cook Drive, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
Mammal Research Institute, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0028, South Africa
Discipline of Veterinary Science, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Solander Drive, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
Institut de Recherche en Sémiochemie et Ethologie Appliquée, 84400 Apt, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Bruce A. Schulte
Received: 16 April 2021 / Revised: 25 May 2021 / Accepted: 25 May 2021 / Published: 27 May 2021
Many canid species are declining globally. It is important to conserve these species that often serve as important predators within ecosystems. Continued human expansion and the resulting habitat fragmentation necessitate conservation interventions, such as translocation, artificial pack formation, and captive breeding programs. However, chronic stress often occurs during these actions, and can result in aggression, and the physiological suppression of immunity and reproduction. Limited options are currently available for stress and aggression management in wild canids. Pheromones provide a promising natural alternative for stress management; an appeasing pheromone has been identified for multiple domestic species and may reduce stress and aggression behaviours. Many pheromones are species-specific, and the appeasing pheromone has been found to have slight compositional changes across species. In this review, the benefits of a dog appeasing pheromone and the need to investigate species-specific derivatives to produce more pronounced and beneficial behavioural and physiological modulation in target species as a conservation tool are examined.