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Seasonal and geographical influences on the feeding ecology of giraffes in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia: 1973–2014

Obtaining longitudinal data about the feeding ecology of long-lived iteroparous mammals is rare, but enhances our understanding of how the environment influences niche breadth and dietary diversity within a species. We analysed forty years of feeding records obtained from a population of Thornicroft’s giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti) living in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia. Giraffes are browsers that have been reported to feed primarily upon Acacia leaves, but their feeding ecology in some locations conflict with this interpretation. Giraffes in the

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Reproductive failure in female Thornicroft’s giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti) in Zambia

Reproductive suppression is common among mammals residing in cooperative social systems and is characterized by the cessation of ovulation in subordinate females until their social environment releases them from a temporary freeze on ovulating (e.g., dwarf mongoose, Helogale parvula (Creel, Creel, Wildt, & Monfort, 1992); African wild dogs, Lycaon pictus (Creel, Creel, Mills, & Monfort, 1997); wolves, Canus lupus (Packard, Seal, Mech, & Plotka, 1985); Damaraland mole rats, Cryptomys damarensis (Bennett, 1994); common marmosets, Callthrix jacchus (Barrett, Abbott, & George,

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Social and demographic influences on the feeding ecology of giraffe in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia: 1973–2014

Body size influences metabolic rate, which impacts feeding ecology. Body mass differs by sex in size-dimorphic species, such as giraffes, and also by age. Giraffes reside in a fission–fusion social system, which influences feeding ecology due to frequent changes in group size and composition. We analysed 40 years of feeding records collected from a population of Thornicroft’s giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti) living in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia. We examined the influence of herd composition, age and sex on diet. Solitary males

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Mitochondrial DNA analyses show that Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti) are genetically isolated

Thornicroft’s giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti, is a geographically isolated subspecies of giraffe found only in north-east Zambia. The population only occurs in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley,  an area which interestingly places it between the current distribution of Masai (G. c. tippelskirchi) giraffe to the north, and the Angolan (G. c. angolensis) and South African (G. c. giraffa) giraffe in the south-west and south, respectively. Specific studies have been undertaken on the ecology of this subspecies, but their population genetics remains

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Leadership of herd progressions in the Thornicroft’s giraffe of Zambia

In cohesive social groups, travel progressions are often led by dominant or older individuals, but the leadership traits of individuals residing in flexible social systems are poorly known. Giraffe reside in herds characterized by fission– fusion dynamics frequently mediated by kinship. We analyzed 41 years (1971–2012) of longitudinal data collected from a community of Thornicroft’s giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti) living around South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, to assess the characteristics of herd leaders. Movement of giraffe in a single file

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The Luangwa Valley Giraffe

Observations by the author on Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti between 1963 and 1969 are supplemented by other data. Its distribution in recent years has extended northwards as far as 11*50′ South on the east bank of the Luangwa River and its number have increased on the west bank in placed previously sparsely inhabited. It is difficult to estimate the total population but there may be 270 — 300 and possibly more as they are believed to be increasing. Calving probably takes

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