Tue, Aug 09, 2011 - Page 13 News List

Wild dog urine may hold a secret message
破解野狗尿液密碼 望能防犬入侵

Female dingo on the Nullarbor Plain in South Australia in 2009.
這張二OO九年攝於澳洲南部的納勒博平原,是一隻母澳洲犬。

Photo courtesy of Henry Whitehead
照片由亨利‧懷特黑德提供

Australian scientists are working to artificially produce the urine of wild dogs, hoping to keep other wild dogs away from humans and prevent them from destroying livestock, avoiding losses that mount into millions of dollars every year.

Researchers say the chemical message in the urine of dingoes, as the wild dogs are known, insists “this is my territory, stay out” — creating a “bio boundary” that the dogs and other wild animals cannot cross.

“We hope it would be a non-lethal tool for the management of dingoes in Australia,” said Alan Robley, senior research scientist at the Department of Sustainability and Environment, a government-funded research institute.

“You can use this non-lethal barrier to keep animals out of where people don’t want them — in their back yards or those sort of urban areas where towns are encroaching into the bush [wilderness], or on a farm where there are sheep and where dogs are coming in and attacking their sheep.”

Animals use chemical messages all the time to advertise their social status, whether or not they are sexually available and ready for reproduction, and things about their food. The messages come through the chemicals they excrete.

Scientists collect urine from captive dingoes — male and female, adults and juveniles — held in private collections around Australia. The urine is then sent to a laboratory where they can extract the molecular signature of the different chemicals that make up the urine.

“That analysis tells us how strong each of those chemicals are,” Robley said.

The chemicals are reproduced and presented back to the animals under test conditions to see how they respond.

It is believed that wild dogs cause roughly A$64 million (about NT$1.94 billion) in damage to livestock throughout Australia each year, A$18 million (about NT$545 million) in southern Victoria state alone.

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. excrete v.

排出 (pai2 chu1)

例: Water helps excrete toxins from the body.

(水有助排出體內毒素。)

2. captive adj.

圈養的 (quan1 yang3 de5)

例: She was mauled by a 500-pound captive black bear.

(她被五百磅重被圈養的黑熊打傷。)

3. extract v.

提取 (ti2 qu3)

例: The process fails to extract all of the cocaine alkaloids from Coca-Cola at the molecular level.

(該過程未能從分子層次,提取可口可樂中所有的古柯鹼類製劑。)


“There’s a bit of work being done in Botswana on African wild dogs which is very similar to this, but no one’s tried to extract and identify the constituent chemical compounds of wild dogs or dingo urine before and use that in a management sense,” Robley said.

(Reuters)

澳洲科學家正試圖以人工方式,製造野狗尿液,希望藉此驅趕其他野狗靠近人類、防止牠們侵害家畜,並且避免每年高達上百萬元的損失。

研究員表示,澳洲犬尿液裡的化學信號,堅稱「這是我的地盤,勿近」─產生一個「生物界線」,使狗兒們與其他野生動物互不相犯。澳洲犬是當地野狗的統稱。

生態永續環保部門的資深研究科學家雅倫‧羅布里表示:「我們希望這是控管澳洲犬的一個非致命手段。」該部門是政府贊助的研究機構。

他說:「你可以利用這種非致命的界線,將動物從人們所不希望牠們進入的地方驅離,例如是他們的後院,或是那些侵佔荒野地區的城鎮,或是一座遭狗兒入侵攻擊羊隻的綿羊農場。」

動物無時無刻以化學信號宣示其社會地位、透露牠們是否正值發情期或準備繁衍後代,以及彰顯關於牠們食物的事宜。該信號來自牠們排泄出的化學物質。

科學家們蒐集不分公母老幼、被圈養的澳洲犬尿液,並將尿液存放在澳洲各地的私人蒐藏點,然後再將這些樣本送至附近實驗室,提取尿液中不同化學記號。

羅布里說:「那個分析告訴我們每種化學物質是多麼地強烈。」

這些化學物質被複製並送回給受試狀態下的動物,以觀察牠們的反應。

一般認為野狗對於整個澳洲家畜,每年所造成的損失大約是六千四百萬澳幣(約新台幣十九點四億元)。光是澳洲南部的維多利亞州,損失就高達一千八百萬澳幣(約新台幣五點四五億元)。

羅布里說:「非洲波紮那有對野狗,進行極類似的實驗,但之前從未有人試圖提取野狗或稱澳洲犬的尿液,並識別其組成化學化合物,或是從控管的觀點利用該化合物。」

(路透/翻譯:林亞蒂)

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