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The five digits of the giraffe metatarsal

Evolution has shaped the limbs of hoofed animals in specific ways. In artiodactyls, it is the common assumption that the metatarsal is composed of the fusion of digits III and IV, whereas the other three digits have been lost or are highly reduced. However, evidence from the fossil record and internal morphology of the metatarsal challenges these assumptions. Furthermore, only a few taxonomic groups have been analysed. In giraffes, we discovered that all five digits are present in the adult

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The numerical status of sixteen game species in the Transvaal, excluding the Kruger National Park

The paper describes the results of a survey to determine the numbers of the following game species in the Transvaal: springbok, blesbok, zebra, blue wildebeest, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, gemsbok, eland, nyaia, buffalo, elephant, giraffe and squarelipped rhinoceros. The distribution of each species is discussed and the different localities of occurrence are illustrated. The growing concern for the conservation of wildlife in the Transvaal has resulted in an increase in the numbers of most of the species during the past

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Quantifying the ecological success of a community-based wildlife conservation area in Tanzania

In Tanzania, community-based natural resource management of wildlife occurs through the creation of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). WMAs consist of multiple villages designating land for wildlife conservation, and sharing a portion of subsequent tourism revenues. Nineteen WMAs are currently operating, encompassing 7% of Tanzania’s land area, with 19 more WMAs planned. The ecological success or failure of WMAs for wildlife conservation has yet to be quantified. We defined ecological success in this case as significantly greater densities of wildlife and

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The weight of Rothschild giraffe—Is it really well known?

Despite being regularly bred in zoos, giraffes remain a challenge, especially in terms of feeding. Assessment of factors influencing growth and weight changes during ontogeny, as well as analysis of weight fluctuations in adult individuals, may become a critical point in captive diet evaluation. Knowledge about weight is a crucial husbandry tool; however, such data are rarely acquired. Using a unique dataset from regularly weighed Rothschild giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi) from Prague zoo, we determined the growth functions of male

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Sexual segregation by Masai giraffes at two spatial scales

In this paper alternative explanations for observed patterns of sexual segregation by giraffes are examined at two spatial scales: within-habitats and within-landscape. Habitats are defined as recognizable plant associations and the landscape as the collection of all available habitat types. The study was conducted in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. At the within-landscape level, all sex and age classes of giraffes exhibited high degrees of preference for riverine habitats. Sex differences in habitat selection were mostly due to females with young,

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The Structure of Social Relationships Among Captive Female Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Giraffe herds have been characterized as random associations of individuals, but recent evidence suggests giraffe have a more complex social structure. The authors formulated 3 hypotheses designed to evaluate whether a herd of captive giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) associated randomly or patterned their behavior and proximity in a manner indicative of social relationships. Affiliative interaction, proximity, and nearest neighbors for 6 captive female giraffe living in a large outdoor enclosure were analyzed, and all three measures were nonrandomly distributed, indicating female

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Food supply and poaching limit giraffe abundance in the Serengeti

The iconic giraffe, an ecologically important browser, has shown a substantial decline in numbers across Africa since the 1990s. In Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, giraffes reached densities of 1.5–2.6 individuals km-2 in the 1970s coincident with a pulse of Acacia tree recruitment. However, despite continued increases in woody cover between the 1980s and the 2000s, giraffe recruitment and survival rates have declined and density has dropped to only 0.3–0.4 giraffes km-2. We used a decision table to investigate how four

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Consistency of Captive Giraffe Behavior Under Two Different Management Regimes

Long-term animal behavior studies are sometimes conducted at a single site, leading to questions about whether effects are limited to animals in the same environment. Our ability to make general conclusions about behavior is improved when we can identify behaviors that are consistent across a range of environments. To extend Veasey and colleagues’ ([1996b] Anim Welf 5:139–153) study, I compared not only activity budgets but also social behaviour of an all-female group of giraffe at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

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Giraffe feeding on Acacia flowers: predation or pollination?

Consumption of flowers by the following four browsing ruminant species was monitored for two years in a southern African savannah: giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis Linnaeus), kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros Pallas), impala (Aepyceros melampus Lichtenstein) and steenbok (Raphicerus campestris Thunberg). Flowers of Acacia nigrescens Oliver are an important food resource to giraffe in the late dry season. This is not necessarily deleterious to the reproductive potential of the plant however, as most or all African Acacia species bear high proportions of sterile flowers.

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Case Report: Severe laminitis in multiple zoo species

A 10-year record review from a zoological institution in the western USA identified four cases of severe laminitis resulting in rotation and protrusion of the third phalanx through the sole. Laminitis is reported in a Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi), a Sichuan takin (Budorcas taxicolor tibetana), a greater Malayan chevrotain (Tragulus napu) and a giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus). This is the first report of severe laminitis with pedal bone rotation and protrusion in multiple species of non-domestic hoofstock, and the

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