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Indirect effects of African megaherbivore conservation on bat diversity in the world’s oldest desert

In extreme environments, temperature and precipitation are often the main forces responsible for structuring ecological communities and species distributions. The role of biotic interactions is typically thought to be minimal. By clustering around rare and isolated features, like surface water, however, effects of herbivory by desert-dwelling wildlife can be amplified. Understanding how species interact in these environments is critical to safeguarding vulnerable or data-deficient species. We examined whether African elephants (Loxodonta africana), black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), and southern giraffe (Giraffa

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Seasonal shifts in sociosexual behaviour and reproductive phenology in giraffe

Reproductive phenology (timing) is a heritable trait that confers a range of fitness or survival advantages. Giraffe (Giraffa spp.) breed year-round; however, some studies have suggested adaptive birth pulses, where demanding stages of reproduction coincide with seasonal increases in resource availability (phenological match). Here we use 3.5 years of demographic data to investigate the sociosexual behaviour and reproductive phenology of Angolan giraffe (G. g. angolensis) in the hyper arid northern Namib Desert, Namibia. We show that, in a highly seasonal

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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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Home range and seasonal movements of Giraffa camelopardalis angolensis in the northern Namib Desert

Estimates of home range size of giraffe in the northern Namib Desert were on average larger than those in other populations. In particular, the largest individual home range of any giraffe bull (1950 km2) was recorded – correlated with low population density, reduced forage density and increased searching for receptive cows. The predominant pattern of movement was linear, along the riparian environments, however, large-scale irregular movements into tributaries and other areas were also recorded. Small-scale movements by bulls into the

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Genetic structure of two populations of the Namibian giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis angolensis

Two geographically distinct populations of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) were sampled for this study, the northern Namib Desert and Etosha National Park. Population genetic parameters and relationships within subpopulations were estimated to better understand the genetic architecture of this isolated subspecies. Gene flow between the geographically separated populations can be attributed to recent translocation of giraffe between the two populations. Inbreeding estimates in the six subpopulations studied were low though we found evidence that genetic drift may be affecting the genetic

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