Trace Elements Content in Moose (Alces alces) Urine in Winter

УДК 591.149:599.735.31

A. E. Scopin, T. L. Rukavishnikova

Russian Research Institute of Game Management and Fur Farming, Kirov, Russia,


A. E. Скопин, T. Л. Рукавишникова

ВНИИ охотничьего хозяйства и звероводства им. проф. Б. М. Житкова,
Киров, Российская Федерация,

In wildlife animals urine is a source to enrich the soil with macro- and microelements, which concentrations define the development of plants in ecosystems. The main macroelements content has studied enough on the territory of moose farms (Veber, Kochanov, 1976; Veber et al., 1992). On the contrary, there is almost a lack of data about trace elements concentrations in wild moose urine.

In our research work we had found out the contents of Cu, Zn, Fe, Mg, Cd, Pb, Mn, Ni, Na in the moose urine. Samples were collected in mooses permanent habitats in February–March period in the southern taiga subarea on the territory of Kirov region. The urine samples were taken with snow, which was also selected separately as a control one.

The minimum microelements content in moose urine was noticed for trace elements of man-made origin such as Cd (0.032±0.017 µg/l), Pb (0.828±0.367 µg/l) as well as for Mn (0.856±0.670 µg/l). Only cadmium concentration among these elements is for significantly higher than in the control samples of snow (t = 2.21, p < 0.05). This fact can be discribed as a leading role of kidneys in the urinary excretion of this heavy metal and confirmed the most cadmium accumulation exactly in kidneys of wild ungulates (Froslie et al., 2001; Deryabina, 2004). As for manganese its role in moose metabolism increases during winter this fact can be proved the sudden rise of its concentration in blood (Kochanov, Simakova, 1976). Therefore, despite on the high levels of manganese in forage of moose in winter its losses with urine are quite low.

In addition, concentrations of Cu (12.5±3.29 µg/l), Zn (19.8±11.36 µg/l), Ni (21.9±3.92 µg/l) and Fe (19.6±9.48 µg/l) are in one order higher. However, reliable estimation at high significance level between the urine samples and control ones was found only for copper (t = 4.35, p < 0.001). The significant urine excretion of this element may be caused as its high contents in boughs as copper less importance in moose metabolism in winter. The most concentrations were found out for Na (0.12±0.012 mg/l) and Mg (15.33±2.645 mg/l). The more reliable difference between snow-urine samples and control ones were for magnesium and sodium (t = 11.44, p < 0.001; t = 6.43, p < 0.001 respectively). The magnesium concentration in urine enriched snow exceeded the control ones more than 200. Mg and Na are known to be one of the main electrolytes, supporting mineral metabolism of a moose (Veber et al., 1992). The moose metabolism intensity prohibits less from urine excretion of these elements. Magnesium ion concentration is deeply connected with protein and its losses are likely to depend on the proteins fractions contents in urine. Significant sodium urine excretion may be determined its weak assimilation from winter feed (Veber et al., 1992).

In winter there is a great amount of urine in the places filled with moose, which enriches soil and snow with magnesium, sodium, copper and cadmium. Thus, the large herbivores vital activity products are inseparable unit of chemicals geochemical cycle in ecosystems.

Zoocenosis — 2007
 Біорізноманіття та роль тварин в екосистемах: Матеріали ІV Міжнародної наукової конференції. – Дніпропетровськ: Вид-во ДНУ, 2007. – С. 503-504.