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Stealing milk by young and reciprocal mothers: high incidence of allonursing in giraffes, Giraffa camelopardalis

Allonursing, the nursing of nonfilial offspring, has been reported in a number of mammalian species; however, very few studies have investigated more than three hypotheses. The aim of our study was to investigate seven hypotheses explaining allonursing in captive giraffes. During 2007-2011, we observed 24 females and 37 calves in four zoological gardens in the Czech Republic, recording 2514 suckling events. We found that 83% of the females allonursed a nonfilial calf and 86.5% of calves allosuckled from a nonmaternal

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Giraffe nursing behaviour reflects environmental conditions

Nursing behaviour is one component of mammalian life history strategy that demonstrates context-dependent flexibility within species. Wild giraffes live in groups and feed themselves over large area. In the zoo, giraffes are kept in enclosures with abundant food resources.We aimed to analyse whether the nursing behaviour of giraffes differs between the zoo and nature reserve and discuss which factor (food intake, presence of predators, population density) can explain the difference. We observed seven and four female–calf pairs in the Bandia

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