Natures wonders: protecting baby giraffes (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, August 30, 2019, 20:02 (101 days ago) @ David Turell

The mothers do a good job:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190829152017.htm

"'Like all herbivores, giraffes need to find quality food to survive, but also need to avoid lions, or at least see them coming," said Monica Bond, PhD candidate from the University of Z├╝rich and lead author of the paper. "Giraffes in our huge, unfenced study area can choose from among many different places to spend their time -- places with different kinds of trees and bushes, places deep inside protected parks, or places closer to farming towns or ranchlands where people live.

***

"The study found that groups composed of only adult giraffes were food-focused and not affected by predation risk. These adult groups formed the largest groups -- up to 66 individuals -- in the rainy season when food is plentiful, but formed smaller groups during the dry season when food is harder to find. In contrast, predation risk was a very important factor influencing groups of giraffes with calves.

***

"The researchers showed that in areas with the most lions, groups with calves were found more often in dense bushes than in open grasslands, and that those groups were smaller in size. This observation supports the idea that giraffe mothers and calves have a strategy of hiding in dense bushes, rather than staying in open areas to better see lions or gathering in large groups to dilute the predation risk. Dense bushlands are therefore important habitat for giraffe calves that the researchers suggest should be protected. Some cattle ranchers promote shrub removal to encourage grass for their livestock, but this thinning of brush could be detrimental to giraffes and other animals that share the rangelands.

"The study also explored the influence of humans on giraffe grouping behaviors.

"'Outside the parks, the human population has been rapidly expanding in recent years," said Derek Lee, associate research professor of biology at Penn State and co-author of the study.
"Therefore, we felt it was important to understand how human presence affected grouping behavior, as natural giraffe habitat is ever-more dominated by people."

"Interestingly, adult females with calves were more likely to be found closer to traditional pastoralist compounds called bomas, made by livestock-keeping, non-farming people.

"'We suspect this is because the pastoralists may disrupt predator behaviors to protect their livestock and this benefits the giraffe calves," said Lee.

"Conversely, groups with calves avoided areas close to the larger towns of farming people, suggesting a difference between traditional bomas versus more densely populated human settlements for giraffe mothers seeking food and safety for themselves and their calves."

Comment: Not a surprising result. Animal mothers are very careful to protect their offspring.


Complete thread:

 RSS Feed of thread

powered by my little forum