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Applying computer-aided photo-identification to messy datasets: a case study of Thornicroft’s giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti)

Digital photography enables researchers to rapidly compile large quantities of data from individually identifiable animals, and computer software improves the management of such large datasets while aiding the identification process. Wild-ID software has performed well with uniform datasets controlling for angle and portion of the animal photographed; however, few datasets are collected under such controlled conditions. We examined the effectiveness of Wild-ID in identifying individual Thornicroft’s giraffe from a dataset of photographs (n = 552) collected opportunistically in the Luangwa

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Theileria spp. in free ranging giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) in Zambia

Theileria parasites were detected in five apparently healthy free-ranging giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis Linnaeus, 1758) captured for translocation on a game ranch located approximately 60 km south west of Lusaka. Giemsa-stained blood smears examined under a light microscope showed characteristic oval and rod shaped intra-erythrocytic piroplasms. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products targeted on the 18S rRNA gene showed characteristic bands of Theileria spp. The average number of infected blood cells per field examined by light microscopy was estimated at 48.6% (n=50,

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Seasonal and geographical influences on the feeding ecology of giraffes in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia: 1973–2014

Obtaining longitudinal data about the feeding ecology of long-lived iteroparous mammals is rare, but enhances our understanding of how the environment influences niche breadth and dietary diversity within a species. We analysed forty years of feeding records obtained from a population of Thornicroft’s giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti) living in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia. Giraffes are browsers that have been reported to feed primarily upon Acacia leaves, but their feeding ecology in some locations conflict with this interpretation. Giraffes in the

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Population census of Thornicroft’s giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti in Zambia, 1973−2003: conservation reassessment required

Thornicroft’s giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti is limited in distribution to a single population resident in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia. During 1973 – 2003 regular counts were recorded along the Luangwa River in the core section of the subspecies’ range. In 2013 we conducted a count in the same region for comparison with the earlier survey results. During the 30-year period 1973 – 2003 the giraffe index (no. of individuals per km surveyed) was relatively stable, with an increase in 1994

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Trypanosome diversity in wildlife species from the Serengeti and Luangwa Valley Ecosystems

The trypanosomes include a number of species that cause disease in livestock. In recent years, several trypanosomes have been identified which do not fit into the classic trypanosome classification system. However, previous work has focused on trypanosomes identified in the tsetse vector, with little information available on trypanosomes found in their natural hosts, wildlife. We studied trypanosome sequences from wildlife in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Luangwa Valley in Zambia and found a number of trypanosome species pathogenic

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Reproductive failure in female Thornicroft’s giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti) in Zambia

Reproductive suppression is common among mammals residing in cooperative social systems and is characterized by the cessation of ovulation in subordinate females until their social environment releases them from a temporary freeze on ovulating (e.g., dwarf mongoose, Helogale parvula (Creel, Creel, Wildt, & Monfort, 1992); African wild dogs, Lycaon pictus (Creel, Creel, Mills, & Monfort, 1997); wolves, Canus lupus (Packard, Seal, Mech, & Plotka, 1985); Damaraland mole rats, Cryptomys damarensis (Bennett, 1994); common marmosets, Callthrix jacchus (Barrett, Abbott, & George,

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Social and demographic influences on the feeding ecology of giraffe in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia: 1973–2014

Body size influences metabolic rate, which impacts feeding ecology. Body mass differs by sex in size-dimorphic species, such as giraffes, and also by age. Giraffes reside in a fission–fusion social system, which influences feeding ecology due to frequent changes in group size and composition. We analysed 40 years of feeding records collected from a population of Thornicroft’s giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti) living in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia. We examined the influence of herd composition, age and sex on diet. Solitary males

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Reproductive life history of Thornicroft’s giraffe in Zambia

Knowledge of the reproductive life history of giraffe in the wild is sparse. Giraffe have two fairly unusual reproductive patterns among large mammals: they can become pregnant while lactating, and calf mortality is extremely high. Longitudinal records are largely absent, so tracking reproductive parameters tends to combine information from captive and field studies. In this study, we examine longitudinal data obtained over a 33-year period in one population of Thornicroft’s giraffe in order to chart their reproductive careers. We found

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Ecological determinants of herd size in the Thornicroft’s giraffe of Zambia

Ecological factors have a pervasive impact on animal population sizes and the structure of their social systems. In a number of ungulate species, predator pressure exerts a major influence on group size. Given that giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) live in an extremely flexible social system, and that breeding is non-seasonal, they are an ideal species for examining how ecological variables contribute to fluctuations in herd size. We present an analysis of 34 years of data on a population of Thornicroft’s giraffe

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Herd composition, kinship and fission–fusion social dynamics among wild giraffe

A variety of social systems have evolved as a consequence of competition and cooperation among individuals. Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis sp.) societies are an anomaly because the dearth of long-term data has produced two polar perspectives: a loose amalgamation of non-bonded individuals that sometimes coalesce into a herd and a structured social system with a fission–fusion process modifying herd composition within a community. We analysed 34 years of data collected from a population of Thornicroft’s giraffe (G. c. thornicrofti, Lydekker 1911)

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