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Mitochondrial sequences reveal a clear separation between Angolan and South African giraffe along a cryptic rift valley

Background: The current taxonomy of the African giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is primarily based on pelage pattern and geographic distribution, and nine subspecies are currently recognized. Although genetic studies have been conducted, their resolution is low, mainly due to limited sampling. Detailed knowledge about the genetic variation and phylogeography of the South African giraffe (G. c. giraffa) and the Angolan giraffe (G. c. angolensis) is lacking. We investigate genetic variation among giraffe matrilines by increased sampling, with a focus on giraffe

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The composition and function of all-male herds of Thornicroft’s giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti, in Zambia

Temporary all-male social groups are formed in a number of animal species. We examined 34 years of data collected from 36 male Thornicroft’s giraffe in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia, to test a set of predictions related to five possible functions of all-male herds (predator protection, practicing aggressive skills, prolonging life, nutritional demands and resource learning). We found that all-male herds were significantly smaller than mixed-sex herds, usually contained a mature bull, and were not dependent upon season or habitat. Dyadic

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Giraffe Helmholtz resonance

Introduction The following acoustical assessment documents infrasonic vocalizations that are produced by giraffe and demonstrates these vocalizations occur in social contexts. It also proposes that Helmholtz resonance is used to produce such vocalizations. Giraffes are large ruminant browsers that live in sub-Saharan Africa. Giraffe females and young are usually sighted in small groups whose composition can change from day to day, while adult males live alone briefly joining groups of females to breed . Giraffes recognize each other “personally”, maintain

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Linking social and pathogen transmission networks using microbial genetics in giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Although network analysis has drawn considerable attention as a promising tool for disease ecology, empirical research has been hindered by limitations in detecting the occurrence of pathogen transmission (who transmitted to whom) within social networks. Using a novel approach, we utilize the genetics of a diverse microbe, Escherichia coli, to infer where direct or indirect transmission has occurred and use these data to construct transmission networks for a wild giraffe population (Giraffe camelopardalis). Individuals were considered to be a part

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Behavioural inventory of the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Background: Numerous factors like continuous habitat reduction or fragmentation for free-ranging giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) as well as e.g. suboptimal housing conditions for animals in captivity might lead to behavioural alterations as part of the overall adaptation process to the changing living conditions. In order to facilitate current and future studies on giraffe behaviour, a comprehensive ethogram was compiled based on existing literature, as well as observations on giraffes in the wild (Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe; Entabeni Game Reserve, South Africa),

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Androgen changes and flexible rutting behaviour in male giraffes

The social organization of giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) imposes a high-cost reproductive strategy on bulls, which adopt a ‘roving male’ tactic. Our observations on wild giraffes confirm that bulls indeed have unsynchronized rut-like periods, not unlike another tropical megaherbivore, the elephant, but on a much shorter timescale. We found profound changes in male sexual and social activities at the scale of about two weeks. This so far undescribed rutting behaviour is closely correlated with changes in androgen concentrations and appears to

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Foraging ecologies of giraffe and camels in Northern Kenya: Effects of habitat structure and possibilities for competition?

Domestic camels (Camelus dromedarius) have become increasingly popular livestock in arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa. However, little is known about the environmental impacts of these animals, and concern has been mounting about possible competition with wild native ungulates. Unlike the more traditional pastoralist livestock species, camels are large-bodied, long-necked browsers which increases the potential to overlap with wild giraffe foraging, especially as the space available for browsing decreases. Giraffe ecology and social dynamics are poorly understood; it is believed that

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Successful management of acute-onset torticollis in a giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata)

A 2-yr-old male reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) presented with severe midcervical segmental torticollis upon arrival as an incoming shipment. Despite initial medical management, the giraffe developed marked neck sensitivity, focal muscle spasms, and decreased cervical range of motion. Using operant conditioning to assist patient positioning and tolerance to cervical manipulation, a series of manually applied chiropractic treatments were applied to the affected cervical vertebrae in an effort to restore normal cervical mobility. Laser therapy and cervical range of motion

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Serum chemistry comparisons between captive and free-ranging giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Serum chemistry analyses were compared between captive and free-ranging giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) in an attempt to better understand some of the medical issues seen with captive giraffes. Illnesses, including peracute mortality, energy malnutrition, pancreatic disease, urolithiasis, hoof disease, and severe intestinal parasitism, may be related to zoo nutrition and management issues. Serum samples were collected from 20 captive giraffes at 10 United States institutions. Thirteen of the captive animal samples were collected from animals trained for blood collection; seven were

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Monodontella giraffae Infection in Wild-caught Southern Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa)

Postmortem examination of seven wild-caught southern giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa) from Namibia demonstrated focal discoloration, biliary thickening, and peribiliary fibrosis affecting mainly the left liver lobe. The giraffes were infected with Monodontella giraffae, previously associated with lethal infections in captive okapis (Okapia johnstoni) and giraffes. Contrary to this, all seven giraffes investigated in the present study were clinically healthy. Based on these findings, it is suggested that the nematode M. giraffae may not be an unusual parasite of the giraffe

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