Disease surveillance in Neotropical primates (NP) is limited by the difficulties associated with anesthetizing NP for sample collection in remote settings. Our objective was to optimize a noninvasive method of oral sampling from semicaptive NP in Peru. We offered 40 NP at Taricaya Rescue Centre in Madre de Dios, Peru ropes coated in various attractants and measured variables (acceptance of the rope, chewing time, and volume of fluid eluted from ropes) that may affect sample acquisition and quality. We preserved samples by direct freezing in liquid nitrogen or by storing samples in RNA stabilization reagent at room temperature. Sample integrity was measured by testing for mammalian cytochrome b with the use of conventional PCR. The NP successfully chewed on a rope in 82% (125/152) of trials. Overall sample integrity was high, with 96% (44/46) of samples (both directly frozen and stored in stabilization reagent) testing positive for cytochrome b. The number of times that an individual NP was exposed to the rope procedure and NP age were associated with higher acceptance rates and the NP successfully chewing on the rope. We conclude that ropes serve as a feasible noninvasive method of obtaining oral samples from NP at rescue centers and could be used in future studies to evaluate population genetics and for pathogen surveillance for population health monitoring.
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© Wildlife Disease Association 2020.