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The generality of cryptic dietary niche differences in diverse large-herbivore assemblages

Ecological niche differences are necessary for stable species coexistence but are often difficult to discern. Models of dietary niche differentiation in large mammalian herbivores invoke the quality, quantity, and spatiotemporal distribution of plant tissues and growth forms but are agnostic toward food plant species identity. Empirical support for these models is variable, suggesting that additional mechanisms of resource partitioning may be important in sustaining large-herbivore diversity in African savannas. We used DNA metabarcoding to conduct a taxonomically explicit analysis of

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Understanding dead space in giraffes, and its application to critically ill COVID-19 patients

Giraffes have long been a subject of study for scientists due to the physiological anomaly their anatomical design can present. The study of the species helps aid in understanding of clinically relevant processes. The long trachea of a giraffe presents the dilemma of exaggerated dead space; however, this physiological problem is surmounted by a narrow trachea when compared to mammals of similar size, thus decreasing potential dead space. As COVID-19 patients in the hospital and ICU can develop COVID-19 associated

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Integrating herbivore assemblages and woody plant cover in an African savanna to reveal how herbivores respond to ecosystem management

African savannas are experiencing anthropogenically-induced stressors that are accelerating the increase of woody vegetation cover. To combat this, land managers frequently implement large-scale clearing of trees, which can have a cascading influence on mammalian herbivores. Studies rarely focus on how differences in woody cover influence the herbivore assemblage, making it difficult to assess how aggressive measures, or the lack of management, to counteract increasing woody cover affect the local composition and biodiversity of herbivores. We address this knowledge gap by

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Effect of Elephants and Other Ungulates on the Vegetation in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania

This study assessed the effects of elephants and other ungulates on the vegetation in Northern Part of Serengeti National Park (SENAPA) in Tanzania. This study is peculiar since it assessed the effects of elephants and other ungulates on the vegetation in Northern Part of SENAPA which is missing in the literature. The objectives were to determine plant species composition in the Northern Part of SENAPA, examine the effects of elephants and other ungulates on vegetation in the Northern Part of

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The influence of feeding opportunities of six zoohoused Giraffa camelopardalis rothschild

Previous studies on captive giraffes have shown that an increase in foraging opportunities leads to reduced abnormal behaviour. This study evaluates the nocturnal behaviours of six captive giraffes, housed in Aalborg Zoo (N: 57.04°, E: 9.90°). The herd consists of one male giraffe (age 8), one male calf (age 1 ½), two female giraffe (age 7; 20) and two female calves (age 8 months; 2 years). The observations lasted eight nights and compared two observation periods (October and November) with

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Not just the Big Five: African ecotourists prefer parks brimming with bird diversity

Ecotourism helps sustain protected areas (PAs) that in turn conserve Africa’s declining fauna. Identifying ecotourist preferences and which species and landscapes benefit from ecotourism could therefore support African biodiversity conservation efforts. Due to historic associations with trophy hunting and subsequent ecotourism marketing efforts, ecotourist preferences have been thought to traditionally center around the ‘Big Five’: elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros. But these preferences may be evolving. Here, we ask two questions, one about the drivers and one about the

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Environmental DNA as a management tool for tracking artificial waterhole use in savanna ecosystems

Game parks are the last preserve of many large mammals, and in savanna ecosystems, management of surface waters poses a conservation challenge. In arid and semi-arid regions, water can be a scarce resource during dry seasons and drought. Artificial waterholes are common in parks and reserves across Africa, but can alter mammal community composition by favoring drought intolerant species, with consequences for disease dynamics, and population viability of drought-tolerant species. Analysis of waterborne environmental DNA (eDNA) is increasingly used to

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Inferred giraffe deaths from lightning strikes

In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin (1859) wrote that: ‘there must be much fortuitous destruction, which can have little or no influence on the course of natural selection’. His reasoning was that some organisms could be ‘the best adapted to their conditions… [but]…destroyed by accidental causes,’ such that ‘natural selection will be powerless’ in these instances. Stochastic factors, such as extreme weather events, can cause fatalities to individuals otherwise well-adapted to their environment. Specific atmospheric conditions create weather patterns

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Oral Stereotypies in Captive Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) Associated with Food Intake

Ungulates are the most prevalent mammalian stereotypers (Bergeron et al., 2006). Oral stereotypies are the most common abnormal behavior of zoo-housed giraffes, suggesting that this species develops stereotypic tongue movements (Bashaw et al., 2001). Wild giraffes must use their tongues to remove and consume tree leaves (Baxter & Plowman, 2001); therefore, the saliva production may be high due to the oral stimulation and time involved in selective feeding patterns (Kearney, 2005). Feeding captive giraffes is a challenge. Their diet consists

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Fibre Size Frequency In The Recurrent Laryngeal Nerves Of Man And Giraffe

An Optomax Image Analyser has been used to carry out fibre-size analyses in six pairs of human recurrent laryngeal nerve and two pairs of recurrent nerves from adult giraffes. In every case the left recurrent laryngeal nerve was found to contain a greater number of large, fast-conducting fibres. Since this nerve is longer than the right, these findings may explain the simultaneous arrival of motor impulses to both sides of the laryngeal musculature.

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