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Research by João Santos of the Department of Biology
UA’s biologist improves methods for the monitoring and management of deer populations
O investigador João Santos
It is possible to evaluate and monitor the physical condition of deer by using methods that are simpler and more profitable than those currently used. These include an analysis to the two kidneys and associated fat of the animals found dead in the wild or killed by hunters. João Santos, biologist at the University of Aveiro (UA), found out that only one kidney and its perirenal fat are enough to evaluate the deer’s nutritional state. The proceeding developed by the researcher reduces the effort, cost and time necessary to obtain crucial data to know the physical condition of a species that, only in the Iberian Peninsula, has more than 900 thousand individuals.

“It has been evidenced that the nutritional condition of deer, measured in terms of the amount of fat reserves, may be evaluated by using only one kidney and its perirenal fat, instead of the two kidneys and its associated fat, as it was usual to do”, explains João Santos, biologist at the Department of Biology and of the Wild Life Unit of the UA. The result, he says, has implications in the reduction of the effort and time necessary both on the field as in the laboratory, particularly when gathering and processing the samples.

This is one of the main conclusions of the PhD work “Ecology and physical condition of red deer in the Iberian Peninsula: implications for management” that the biologist, under the supervision of Carlos Fonseca, of UA, and Christian Gortázar and Joaquín Vicente, of the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (Spain), has finished in October.

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