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Animal Science applied to Game and Wildlife Management

img_57ab973c5289eEl Research Group in Animal Science applied to Game and Wildlife Management of the Institute for Game and Wildlife Research (IREC – CSIC, UCLM, JCCM) is one of the founding groups of the IREC (actually, it predates the IREC itself), and its objective is the study of red deer and other game ungulates using the detailed techniques of animal science (also known as animal production) normally applied on a farm (in this case the Experimental Deer Farm of the University of Castilla-La Mancha).

The objective of the group is not only to study aspects more typical of animal science such as lactation and factors that affect it, nutrition (especially minerals but also other specific nutrients), antler growth and factors that affect its size and structure, but also to evaluate the effects of ecological (particularly climatic), physiological (hormones, blood parameters) and any factors that may be of importance in the management of hunting and ungulate populations (including behavioral aspects such as diet selection, differential parental investment in sons vs. daughters, or dominance hierarchy studies).

This has led to a line of study on the understanding of the different factors that affect the mineral composition and mechanical behavior of the bone (not only of the antlers, but also of internal bones), and of the biology of the growing antlers, which has a highly valued animal product component (up to €21.000/kg) in Chinese traditional (trial and error) medicine. At the same time, these two lines and the study of physiological osteoporosis in red deer have led to the development of lines that may have implications for human medicine.. Among them and the most recent since 2021, the anticancer effect of antler extract in various types of tumors, both in cell cultures and animal models.

The red deer (Cervus elaphus) is probably the most important game species and the one that moves the most money in the world. In Spain alone, it is estimated that there are about 650.000 red deer in private lands and probably more than a million in total, whose management and use generate an economic impact estimated at around 2.600 million euros. Its greatest hunting value is the trophy, so knowing the ecological-physiological factors that affect the antlers of males can be very relevant when it comes to improving the economic performance of managed populations.

The objectives of our research are:

  1. Develop a diagnostic tool based on the mineral composition, structure and mechanics of the antlers, to assess the quality of hunting management, nutritional status or other aspects. As an extension to this, the study of effects on internal bones and physiological osteoporosis (annual) of red deer.
  2. Study of lactation as a phase of greater investment and of great importance of reproduction, as well as the growth of the kittens. Among other factors, we have evaluated the effect of mineral nutrition, or diet selection.
  3. Applications in medicine of the previous studies. Especially, the anticancer effect of the extract of growing antlers in different types of tumors (cell cultures or animal models), derived from the antitumor protection against the growth of the antler based on proto-oncogenes (similar to the genes that cause cancer).
  4. Study of deer products: from meat quality (in collaboration with groups such as CETECA from Galicia) to processing of growing antlers for the Asian traditional Chinese medicine market (2000 billion users).

The Research Group in Animal Science applied to Game and Wildlife Management of the Institute for Game and Wildlife Research (IREC - CSIC, UCLM, JCCM) stands out for its high scientific production in prestigious international journals. The work of production and scientific dissemination of the group can be freely consulted and downloaded in the attached documents provided below.

Scientific articles

Between 2000 and 2022, the researchers of the Research Group in Animal Science applied to Game and Wildlife Management have participated, as authors or co-authors, in more than 110 articles in scientific journals, which makes an average of about 5-6 articles per year [Download list].

Books and chapters in books

Between 2004 and 2022, the researchers of the Research Group in Animal Science applied to Game and Wildlife Management have participated, as authors or co-authors, in 11 books or chapters in books of a scientific nature [Download list].

Communication and dissemination articles

Between 2010 and 2022, the researchers of the Research Group in Animal Science applied to Game and Wildlife Management have contributed to the communication and dissemination of the science they develop and in which they participate with more than 40 articles in various types of media [Download list].

Composition, mechanical properties and factors that affect the hard antler. Biomedical applications of growing red deer antlers.

Antlers are very expensive for the animal: they grow and fall every year, represent up to 28% of the skeletal weight, and grow at a rate of up to 3 cm/d in length in 3,5 months. The demand for minerals forces the animal to mobilize them from the skeleton in a process of reversible osteoporosis. This enormous effort means that its composition and mechanical properties reflect nutrition and mineral deficiencies, the state of the animal and ecological factors that can be evaluated by studying the mineral profile and its mechanical properties. Growth that is faster than cancer (which at the tip creates more than 20 cm2/d) is based on genes similar to oncogenes (proto-oncogenes), which has led to the evolution of antitumor mechanisms to avoid the risk of lead to cancer. Thus, growing antler extract shows anticancer effects on various types of tumors (possibly a general anticancer) both in cell culture and in mouse models. This is our most recent line of research.

Projects and contracts

  • PROJECT TITLE: Powerful and without side effects: study of the anti-cancer effect of growing deer horn extract in cell culture and in vivo models.
    REFERENCE: PRDAB222426ALEG_PREDOC22_NICOLAS ALEGRIA | 2022-HELP-33655
    FINANCING ENTITY: Competitive contract with the AECC Scientific Foundation
    MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION: UCLM
    AMOUNT: €88.000,00.
    DURATION: 28/06/2022 – 27/06/2025 + 1 year extendable
    RESPONSIBLE RESEARCHERS: Landete-Castillejos, T. (thesis director; co-director Carmen Ramírez Castillejo, UPM). Selected student: Nicolás Alegría Aravena. Number of participating researchers: 4.
  • PROJECT TITLE: Seasonal changes in deer bones and meat: from cyclic osteoporosis to variations in meat quality.
    REFERENCE: SBPLY/19/180501/000115
    FINANCING ENTITY: Grants for carrying out scientific research and technology transfer projects, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER).
    MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION: UCLM
    AMOUNT: €93.213,00.
    DURATION: from: 01/01/2020 to: 30/06/2022.
    RESPONSIBLE RESEARCHERS: Serrano, MP and Landete-Castillejos, T. Number of participating researchers: 6.
  • PROJECT TITLE: Adaptation of spaces for the installation of scientific equipment EQC2018-004108-P, silos and quad for handling on the deer farm.
    REFERENCE: 2019-ADAP-28102
    FINANCING ENTITY: UCLM (Adaptation and improvement of scientific equipment UCLM [2018/12195]).
    MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION: UCLM
    AMOUNT: €11.647,04.
    DURATION: from: 16/10/2019 to: 31/12/2019.
    RESPONSIBLE RESEARCHERS: Laureano Gallego. Number of participating researchers: 5.
  • PROJECT TITLE: Expansion and improvement of the scientific-technical equipment of the laboratories of the Regional Development Institute.
    REFERENCE: EQC2018-004108-P
    FINANCING ENTITY: Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (Aid for the Acquisition of Scientific-Technical Equipment).
    MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION: UCLM
    AMOUNT: €546.932,82.
    DURATION: from: 16/10/2018 to: 31/12/2019.
    RESPONSIBLE RESEARCHERS: Maria Isabel Berruga Number of researchers: 18.
  • PROJECT TITLE: Increasing the useful life and quality of products derived from Deer AND Development of New Products (INCYDEN).
    REFERENCE: INCYDEN RTC-2016-5327-2
    FINANCING ENTITY: MINECO (Call for Challenges-Collaboration for industrial innovation).
    MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION: UCLM
    AMOUNT: €1.660.792,10.
    DURATION: from: 7/03/2016 to: 31/12/2019.
    RESPONSIBLE RESEARCHERS: Tomás Landete. Consortium leader: Dibe company Number of partners participating in the consortium: 5 (3 companies and 2 research centers/universities).
  • PROJECT TITLE: Characterization of the horns of deer populations. Relationship with the mineral composition of their diet and with plant productivity to develop management criteria.
    REFERENCE: PEII-2014-004-P
    FINANCING ENTITY: Ministry of Education and Sports of Castilla-La Mancha.
    MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION: UCLM
    AMOUNT: €46.000,00.
    DURATION: 2014-2016
    RESPONSIBLE RESEARCHERS: Laureano Gallego. Number of participating researchers: 3.
  • PROJECT TITLE: Sustainable production in water limited environments of Mediterranean agro-ecosystems.
    REFERENCE: 2018/REGING-53091
    FINANCING ENTITY: SUPROMED (EU)
    MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION: UCLM
    AMOUNT: €324,937,50.
    DURATION FROM: 01/01/2019 TO: 31/12/2022
    RESPONSIBLE INVESTIGATOR: Andrés García Díaz.
  • PROJECT TITLE: Scientific-technical collaboration and transfer of the farrowing pen of 2020 (9 males and 10 females) for blood exchange and genetic improvement.
    FINANCING ENTITY: Finca Moniate
    MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION: UCLM
    AMOUNT: €13.612,50.
    DURATION FROM: 01/12/2020 TO: 30/11/2023
    RESPONSIBLE INVESTIGATOR: Andrés García Díaz
  • PROJECT TITLE: Scientific-technical collaboration and transfer of 21 Iberian red deer calves (15 males and 6 females) for blood exchange and genetic improvement.
    FINANCING ENTITY: El Molina del Abogado SA
    MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION: UCLM
    AMOUNT: €13.189,00.
    DURATION FROM: 01/01/2020 TO: 31/12/2023
    RESPONSIBLE INVESTIGATOR: Tomás Landete Castillejos
  • PROJECT TITLE: Scientific-technical collaboration and transfer of 1 adult deer and the 2018 calving (11 males and 14 females) for blood exchange and genetic improvement.
    FINANCING ENTITY: Alegría 2003 SL
    MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION: UCLM
    AMOUNT: €26.801,50.
    DURATION FROM: 01/11/2019 TO: 31/10/2022
    RESPONSIBLE INVESTIGATOR: Andrés García Díaz
  • PROJECT TITLE: Effectiveness of using the mineral composition of various organs and tissues as indicators of mineral content, mechanical properties and structure of Iberian deer antlers.
    REFERENCE: POII10-0129-0562
    FINANCING ENTITY: JCCM
    MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION: UCLM
    AMOUNT: €50.000.
    DURATION FROM: 01/04/2010 TO: 31/03/2012
    RESPONSIBLE INVESTIGATOR: Laureano Gallego.
  • PROJECT TITLE: Factors that affect antler breakage: from habitat quality or histology to social behaviour.
    REFERENCE: CGL2011-24811
    FINANCING ENTITY: MICINN
    MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION: UCLM
    AMOUNT: €14.520
    DURATION FROM: 01/01/2012 TO: 31/12/2012
    MAIN INVESTIGATOR: Tomás Landete Castillejos

El Research Group in Animal Science applied to Game and Wildlife Management from the Institute for Game and Wildlife Research (IREC – CSIC, UCLM, JCCM) participates teaching in a master's degree and in a PhD program and offers specialized and tailored training through different training formats.

Master's Degree in Basic and Applied Research in Game Resources (MUIBARC)

In this own master's degree of the Institute for Game and Wildlife Research (IREC – CSIC, UCLM, JCCM), accredited by ANECA, in which researchers from the Animal Science Group coordinate various subjects.

Its general objective is the training of graduates capable of carrying out scientific research tasks in the field of wildlife, particularly game species, and it is proposed as a specific offer of knowledge on wild and game species at a specialized level and complementary to that of the degree titles of various degrees.

More information about the MUIBARC

Training of researchers in the PhD Program in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

PhD program verified by ANECA, made up of several centers of the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) that combine staff and material efforts for an offer of the highest quality and guarantee. Within the programme, researchers from the Research Group in Animal Science applied to Game and Wildlife Management have directed 9 PhD theses.

List of PhD theses of the Research Group in Animal Science

The participating centers have in common their approach to agrarian and environmental issues. The research lines of the program integrate, complementing each other, contents of agricultural production, forestry production, animal production and health, biology, ecology, study of global change, biodiversity, biotechnology and genetics or engineering.

More information about the PhD in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Scientists have a duty to contribute to making a better society. Therefore, with the aim of fulfilling part of our social responsibility, from the Research Group in Animal Science applied to Game and Wildlife Management of the Institute for Game and Wildlife Research (IREC – CSIC, UCLM, JCCM) we make innovation and the results derived from our science and research are available to society and the market:

  • Consulting on nutrition and management problems based on analysis of composition, mechanical properties and structure of antlers from preserves or farms. This service is unique in the world.
  • Consulting on the implementation of deer farms, breeding systems, breeding selection, health, deer management. This offer includes the application of both the knowledge obtained from our experiments on lactation, growth of young deer and the factors that affect it, as well as the experience of managing and solving the daily problems involved in maintaining a red deer population, which has currently more than 100 individuals.

Alegría Aravena, Nicolás André

Pre-doctoral researcher - UCLM

nicolas.alegria @uclm.es

Phone:

Arroyo Gonzalez, Irene

Technical staff - CSIC

irene.arroyo@uclm.es

Phone: 967599200; Ext 2537

Chonco Jimenez, Louis

Postdoctoral researcher - UCLM

Louis.chonco@uclm.es

Phone: 967599200; Ext: 2537

Datao Wang

Postdoctoral researcher - UCLM

wangdatao@caas.cn

Phone: 967599200; Ext: 2537

Garcia Diaz, Andres Jose

Professor - UCLM

AndresJose.Garcia@uclm.es

Phone: 926052932

Landete Castillejos, Tomas

Professor - UCLM

tomas.landete@uclm.es

Phone: 926053641

Collaborators

  • Prof John Currey, University of York; York (UK)
  • Prof. Ludek Bartos, Institute of Animal Science; Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Dr. Francisco Ceacero, Institute of Animal Science; Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Dr. Jitka Bartosova, Institute of Animal Science; Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Dr Radim Kotrba, Institute of Animal Science; Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Dr. Santiago Gómez, University of Cádiz; Cadiz (Spain)
  • Dr Chinyi Li, Ag Research; Invermay (New Zealand)
  • Dr Geoff Asher, Ag Research; Invermay (New Zealand)
  • Dr. Ilya Volodin, Moscow University; Moscow, Russia)
  • Dr. Elena Volodina, Moscow Zoo; Moscow, Russia)
  • Dr Uwe Kierdorf, Hildesheim University; Hildesheim (Germany)
  • Dr. Carlos de Cabo, University Hospital of Albacete; Albacete (Spain)
  • Dr. Claudio Festuccia. University of L'Aquila; L'Aquila (Italy)
  • Dr. Carmen Ramírez, Polytechnic University of Madrid; Madrid Spain)
  • Dr. Javier Pérez-Barbería, Mixed Institute for Biodiversity Research