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      Giraffe nursing behaviour reflects environmental conditions

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      Behaviour

      Brill

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          Abstract

          Nursing behaviour is one component of mammalian life history strategy that demonstrates context-dependent flexibility within species. Wild giraffes live in groups and feed themselves over large area. In the zoo, giraffes are kept in enclosures with abundant food resources. We aimed to analyse whether the nursing behaviour of giraffes differs between the zoo and nature reserve and discuss which factor (food intake, presence of predators, population density) can explain the difference. We observed seven and four female–calf pairs in the Bandia reserve, Senegal, and in Prague Zoo, Czech Republic, respectively. Nursing bouts were less frequent and longer and calves were less successful in nursing solicitations in the reserve, as females there seemed to be more selective for nursing times and locations, likely due to presence of predators and differences in food intake. Allonursing occurred more frequently in the zoo which can be attributed to higher population density in captive conditions.

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          Most cited references 33

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          Vigilance Behaviour in African Ungulates: The Role of Predation Pressure

           Skinner,  Hunter (1998)
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            The Scaling of Intake Rate in Mammalian Herbivores

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              A comparative analysis of non-offspring nursing

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Behaviour
                Behav
                Brill
                0005-7959
                1568-539X
                2017
                2017
                2017
                2017
                : 154
                : 1
                : 115-129
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, 165 21 Prague 6–Suchdol, Czech Republic
                [2 ]Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, 165 21 Prague, Czech Republic
                Article
                10.1163/1568539X-00003413
                © 2017

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