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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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