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The impact of age-class and social context on fecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels in free-ranging male giraffes

One of the primary sources of perceived stress is the social environment of an animal and the interactions with conspecifics. An essential component of the response to a stressor is the activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical axis, which results amongst others in a temporal increase in circulating glucocorticoid (GC) levels. Giraffes occur in a highly flexible fission-fusion social system and group compositions can change on a daily basis, with bulls establishing an age-related dominance hierarchy and showing a roaming strategy in

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Age and socially related changes in fecal androgen metabolite concentrations in free-ranging male giraffes

In many mammal species, androgen levels in males are elevated during periods of mating activity, often to facilitate aggressive behavior between males over access to fertile females. However, this pattern might be less obvious in species with a rather low male-male aggression rate, or in those that are not strictly seasonal breeders. A complex social structure, as well as additional social and environmental factors, might add more to the complexity. Here, we applied a non-invasive method to monitor fecal androgen

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