Assessment of transportation stress in Dromedary camel (Camelus dromedarius) by using behavioural and physiological measures
H.H Emeash, A.S Mostafa, M. Karmy, Fatma Khalil , Mohamed Z. Elhussiny
Journal Title:Journal of Applied Veterinary Sciences
Transportation is often considered as one of the main causes of stress raising considerable interest, both in animal welfare and economic fields. Stressful transportation of camel may cause severe welfare consequences and economic losses. Therefore, this study was conducted to assess the stress resulting from transportation of Dromedary Camel (Camelus dromedarius) by measuring some behavioural and physiological responses. Camels were imported from Dongola quarantine in Sudan to Arqueen (at the borders between Egypt and Sudan) by walking for about 450 km. After that, camels are transported from Arqueen to Abu Simble quarantine in Aswan. According to method of transportation, camels were randomly assigned into three groups; group 1 (camels were transported by trucks for about 150 km, taking about 2-3 h), group 2 (camels were transported by walking for about 90 km, lasting for about 24 h), and group 3 (non-transported camels). In Abu Simble quarantine, 30 healthy males (5-7 years and 300-400 kg b.wt.) were selected for each group (three replicates for each). Some behaviours were selected from the ethogram and are used in the analysis which include comfort (recumbency and standing), ingestive (feeding and rumination), eliminative (defecation and urination) and body care (rubbing, scratching and nipping). All behaviours were recorded in the morning and afternoon by direct personal observation for 60 min with an interval of 5 min and calculated as a frequency per total observation time. Furthermore, blood samples were collected just after arrival of camels (T0) and at 18 h after arrival (T18) for hematological examination (PCV%, total RBCs and WBCs) and measurement of some blood parameters including total protein, albumin, globulin, glucose and cortisol. The results revealed that the frequency of standing, feeding, defecation, urination, scratching and total body care behaviours, were significantly decreased in group 1(81.24, 33.51, 6.48, 9.12, 3.87 and 12.80) and group 2 (10.80, 31.67, 1.40, 2.19, 1.25 and 10.96) including transported camels in comparison to control group (97.26, 47.62, 12.16, 16.44, 12.88 and 21.06) respectively. The frequency of recumbancy was increased in transported groups as compared to control one. The results of haematological examination indicated that there is a significant increase in PCV% and neutrophil count and a significant decrease in lymphocyte count in groups 1 and 2 as compared to control one. Camels transported by trucks had a significant high level of cortisol at T0 (17.21 μg/dl) and T18 (6.14 μg/dl) in comparison to other groups. In conclusion, transportation of camels either by trucks or walk imposes a marked stress upon them as indicated by behavioural and physiological measures.