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Exploring the connections between giraffe skin disease and lion predation

Rates at which predators encounter, hunt and kill prey are influenced by, among other things, the intrinsic condition of prey. Diseases can considerably compromise body condition, potentially weakening the ability of afflicted prey to avoid predation. Understanding predator–prey dynamics is particularly important when both species are threatened, as is the case with lions (Panthera leo) and giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis). Importantly, an emergent disease called giraffe skin disease (GSD) may affect predatory interactions of lions and giraffes. Hypotheses suggest that GSD

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Camera-trap data do not indicate scaling of diel activity and cathemerality with body mass in an East African mammal assemblage

Diel activity patterns of animal species reflect constraints imposed by morphological, physiological, and behavioral trade-offs, but these trade-offs are rarely quantified for multispecies assemblages. Based on a systematic year-long camera-trap study in the species-rich mammal assemblage of Lake Manyara National Park (Tanzania), we estimated activity levels (hours active per day) and circadian rhythms of 17 herbivore and 11 faunivore species to determine the effects of body mass and trophic level on activity levels and cathemerality (the degree to which species

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Leaving by staying: Social dispersal in giraffes

Dispersal is a critical process that shapes the structure of wild animal populations. In species that form multi-level societies, natal dispersal might be social (associated with a  different social community while remaining near the natal area), spatial (moving away from the natal area while continuing to associate with the same community), or both social and spatial (associating with a different community and moving away from the natal area). For such species, classical spatial measures of dispersal, such as distance moved,

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Prevalence and histopathological characterization of Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) skin disease in Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem, Northern Tanzania

Background: Masai Giraffes have declined dramatically in recent decades due to loss of habitat and illegal hunting. Hence, it is critically important that the epidemiology and etiology of so-called giraffe skin disease (GSD) is understood well. Aim: To assess the prevalence and histopathological characteristics of GSD in the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem (TME), northern Tanzania. Methods: The study used road transects to gather field information on GSD. Eighty-four giraffes were sighted by systematic random sampling in the six study sites. Examination of

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Large mammal tracks in 1.8-million-year-old volcanic ash (Tuff IF , Bed I) at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

Large animal tracks, unequivocally attributable to terrestrial mammals, are reported for the first time in sediment from uppermost Bed I (Tuff IF; ~1.803 million years ago) at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. One track in particular (attributed to the ichnogenus Pecoripeda) retains an exceptional level of detail, demonstrating the excellent trackway-preserving potential of the volcanic ash fall (tuff) layers at this important hominin archaeological locality. Olduvai Gorge is renowned for its abundant Plio-Pleistocene (zoo)archaeological discoveries and fossiliferous deposits vis-à-vis studies of human

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Peste des Petits Ruminants Virus Infection at the Wildlife–Livestock Interface in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem, 2015–2019

Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a viral disease of goats and sheep that occurs in Africa, the Middle East and Asia with a severe impact on livelihoods and livestock trade. Many wild artiodactyls are susceptible to PPR virus (PPRV) infection, and some outbreaks have threatened endangered wild populations. The role of wild species in PPRV epidemiology is unclear, which is a knowledge gap for the Global Strategy for the Control and Eradication of PPR. These studies aimed to investigate

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Dynamics of a Socially and Spatially Structured Giraffe Population in a Human-Natural Landscape

Sociality involves a constant trade-off between fitness benefits and costs of living in groups, and this trade-off can be influenced by the social and ecological environment in which individuals live. In this PhD I explored socioecological factors underlying the social and spatial population structure and dynamics of a large tropical herbivore with a highly fission-fusion social system, the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis). Using a dataset of more than 3,000 uniquely identified individuals collected over a period of 8 years in the

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Diversity and abundance of wild mammals between different accommodation facilities in the Kwakuchinja Wildlife Corridor, Tanzania

Most of the wildlife corridors in Tanzania have been threatened by extensive human activities, including the establishment of tourist’s facilities. However, less attention has been paid to the degree at which tourist accommodation affects the abundance and diversity of wild mammals in wildlife corridors. This study assess the changes in abundance and diversity of wild mammals in relation to proximity to tourist lodges and tented camps in Kwakuchinja Wildlife Corridor. All wild mammals around four randomly selected accommodation facilities that

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Genetic connectivity and population structure of African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Tanzania

Increasing human population growth, exurban development, and associated habitat fragmentation is accelerating the isolation of many natural areas and wildlife populations across the planet. In Tanzania, rapid and ongoing habitat conversion to agriculture has severed many of the country’s former wildlife corridors between protected areas. To identify historically linked protected areas, we investigated the genetic structure and gene flow of African savanna elephants in Tanzania using microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA markers in 688 individuals sampled in 2015 and 2017. Our

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Bushmeat Consumption in the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem, Tanzania

Illegal hunting, driven by demand for bushmeat, threatens animal populations throughout Africa. While bushmeat consumption is thought to be common in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem (TME) of Northern Tanzania, its magnitude and drivers are not well understood. This lack of knowledge may inhibit effective mitigation policies. We conducted 394 household interviews in the TME in 2013 and 2014 to assess both the scale and the possible drivers of bushmeat availability and consumption in the ecosystem. Using generalized linear mixed models, information

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