|Author(s)||Wilfred N. Marealle, Grethe Stavik Eggen and Eivin Røskaft|
|Journal||East African Journal of Forestry & Agroforestry|
The increase in the human population and the demand for natural resources and recreational activities poses insurmountable threats to the welfare and survival of wildlife. Human disturbance negatively impacts wildlife populations. A prospective way of determining wildlife welfare is to assess stress. To manage and conserve giraffes, it is vital to understand their stress factors and their responses to stressors. This study used a non-invasive (faecal collection) technique to evaluate the Faecal Glucocorticoid Metabolite (FGM) levels of giraffes depending on the protected area type, poaching risk, group size, age and sex. The study took place at the Serengeti National Park and Selous Game Reserve where a total of 63 faecal samples were randomly collected from 272 giraffe groups. A significant difference in the FGM levels between the sexes was found, as females had higher concentrations compared to males. In addition, a significant difference was found in relation to group size and age; however, protection type and poaching risk did not have any significant effect. Stressful conditions when prolonged can result in deteriorating animal welfare especially in calves and young animals thus their survival. However, the level of impaired FGMs and the amount of time required to produce damage are not known. In this regard, conservation strategies should seek to minimize the occurrence of stressful events in protected areas.
Keywords: Giraffe, Stress, Faecal Glucocorticoids, Metabolite, Serengeti, Selous, Protected Area, Conservation
Authors: Wilfred N. Marealle, Grethe Stavik Eggen and Eivin Røskaft
Journal: East African Journal of Forestry & Agroforestry