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Response to “How many species of giraffe are there?”

It is not unexpected that a proposal, such as ours [1], of four new mammalian species stirs up controversy, as evident in the correspondence by Bercovitch et al. [2]. We appreciate that their concerns are unrelated to the quality of the genetic data, the methodological approach or analyses, but are focused on the interpretation. Thus, we provided an analysis of giraffe speciation based on genomic sequence data, and not just “another viewpoint on giraffe taxonomy” [2]. We maintain our perspective

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Functional significance of ungulate diversity in African savannas and the ecological implications of the spread of pastoralism

The African savanna biome supports a higher diversity of ungulate species than is found in any other biome or continent. This exceptional faunal diversity and herbivore biomass density is directly linked to the high spatial heterogeneity of African savanna ecosystems. The dependence of herbivore dietary tolerance on body size translates into important size-related differences between savanna ungulate species in terms of habitat specificity, geographical range, and the share of community resources exploited. Intact savanna ungulate communities, with species distributed across

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Protect giraffes from wildlife trade

The number of giraffes in Africa has plunged by 36 to 40% in only three decades, mainly due to habitat loss, human conflicts, and poaching (1). The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List recently listed giraffes as Vulnerable to becoming endangered (1). Out of nine recognized giraffe subspecies, four are decreasing (1). Moreover, for five subspecies, current population estimates are fewer than 2000 individuals (1). Although more than 36,000 species are currently listed by the Convention on

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The South African giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa: a conservation success story

Across Africa the majority of giraffe species and subspecies are in decline, whereas the South African giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa remains numerous and widespread throughout southern Africa. By 2013 the number of giraffes in South Africa’s Kruger National Park had increased by c. 150% compared to 1979 estimates. An even greater increase occurred on many of the estimated 12,000 privately owned game ranches, indicating that private ownership can help to conserve this subspecies. The estimated total population size in South

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Habitat heterogeneity and social factors drive behavioral plasticity in giraffe herd-size dynamics

Behavioral plasticity, or the mechanism by which an organism can adjust its behavior in response to exogenous change, has been highlighted as a potential buffer against extinction risk. Giraffes (Giraffa spp.) are gregarious, long-lived, highly mobile megaherbivores with a large brain size, characteristics that have been associated with high levels of behavioral plasticity. However, while there has been a recent focus on genotypic variability and morphological differences among giraffe populations, there has been relatively little discussion centered on behavioral flexibility

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The Mammals of Angola

Scientific investigations on the mammals of Angola started over 150 years ago, but information remains scarce and scattered, with only one recent published account. Here we provide a synthesis of the mammals of Angola based on a thorough survey of primary and grey literature, as well as recent unpublished records. We present a short history of mammal research, and provide brief information on each species known to occur in the country. Particular attention is given to endemic and near endemic

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Faecal Glucocorticoids Metabolite Response in Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) in Relation to Protected Area Management Objectives in Tanzania

The increase in the human population and the demand for natural resources and recreational activities poses insurmountable threats to the welfare and survival of wildlife. Human disturbance negatively impacts wildlife populations. A prospective way of determining wildlife welfare is to assess stress. To manage and conserve giraffes, it is vital to understand their stress factors and their responses to stressors. This study used a non-invasive (faecal collection) technique to evaluate the Faecal Glucocorticoid Metabolite (FGM) levels of giraffes depending on

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Matrilineal population structure and distribution of the Angolan giraffe the Namib desert and beyond

The distribution maps of giraffe (Giraffa) subspecies in southern Africa are based on historical assumptions, yet some populations have likely been misidentified, hindering effective conservation efforts. Particularly, the populations in Zimbabwe are poorly studied, and translocations, such as the 1991 movement of giraffe from Namibia’s Etosha National Park to mitigate the human-induced decline of Namibia’s desert-dwelling giraffe in the lower Hoanib and Hoarusib Rivers, was concluded without consideration of genotype. Mitochondrial DNA sequence analyses from cytochrome b and control region

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Giraffe translocations: A review and discussion of considerations

Giraffe populations have declined dramatically in the last three decades. Giraffe translocations are likely to increase as wildlife managers seek to augment or re-establish populations. Currently, formal practical guidance for giraffe translocations is limited. Here, we present a review of translocation guidelines emphasising planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and we review giraffe behaviour and ecology to provide recommendations specific to the translocation of giraffes. We also aim to stimulate discussion about best practices for giraffe translocations and further research into

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Giraffe demography and population ecology

Population dynamics describe temporal change in population size and structure and the processes that contribute to that change. For conservation to succeed, it is critical that we are able to detect changes in population size and the demographic processes in the population, and also we must learn how to effect change in population size by managing specific demographic components. This article summarizes current knowledge of demography and population ecology of giraffes and provides a framework for using population models to

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