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 While faecal hormone analysis provides valuable insights into the endocrinology of animals, it offers researchers more. A previous study that established a method for monitoring stress in crocodiles has subsequently served as a proxy for determining water health across South Africa, where faecal samples have been collected from crocodiles in pristine areas and in areas prone to pollution. A comparison of stress-related hormone levels in
those crocodiles provides critical information on the status of South African water and about the health of ecosystems. Similarly, a project assessing testicular and adrenocortical activity in giraffe now provides the basis for an ongoing study on the impact of social and ecological variability on the endocrine pattern in male giraffes.
Professor Ganswindt collaborates closely with
a number of international researchers and the ERL’s vast and continually growing collection of sample material serves as a database that is readily available to those involved in similar projects. In 2010, Ganswindt and some international colleagues
founded the International Society of Wildlife Endocrinology (ISWE). The connection between the ERL and the international research community that has been facilitated by the ISWE, has created several new research opportunities.
The species on which Professor Ganswindt and the team at ERL have collected data include elephant, rhinoceros, African buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, crocodile, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, aardwolf, sengi, bat-eared fox, Vervet monkeys, bushbaby, mole-rat, and even cat sharks. International collaborations with research groups from India, Great Britain, Australia and Canada further include species like tigers, Golden langurs, meerkats, sugar gliders and ground squirrels. Professor Ganswindt also serves
as a research associate at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, South Africa, where further collaborative projects, predominantly on birds, are being conducted. A satellite facility at the zoo studies African penguins, ground hornbills, Sungazers, and Bullfrogs.
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André Ganswindt

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