Female tannin avoidance: a possible explanation for habitat and dietary segregation of giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis peralta) in Niger

Author(s)Lauren E. Caister, William M. Shields and Allen Gosser
Year Published2003
JournalAfrican Journal of Ecology
Page Numbers201-210
Size130.92 KB

Niger is host to the last free‐roaming herd of G.c. peralta (Giraffa camelopardalis peralta). We examined the foraging preferences of these giraffe in their dry‐season habitats, with the goal of preserving the herd in the regions that they currently inhabit. The current dry‐season habitat comprises two distinct vegetation zones. In both of these zones the giraffe must exist alongside the people of this region. The giraffes exhibit a sexual segregation in their dry‐season habitat selection and forage choices. The females show a strong preference for the intermediate zone (IM) when lactating. The males and pregnant females show a preference for the Dallol Bosso (DB). Nursing cows exhibit an avoidance of tannins. Bulls and non‐nursing cows prefer high protein and high fat forage, while subadults show a strong preference for high protein and carbohydrate contents and moderate tannin levels. Combretum glutinosum is the preferred species for adults of both sexes in the IM. Males and females have strong preferences for both Acacia nilotica and Acacia seyal in the DB. Sub‐adults of both sexes strongly prefer Prosopis africana in the IM. Unlike females, males retain their preference for A. nilotica when in the IM.

Keywords: Foraging preference, Giraffe G.c. peralta, Giraffa camelopardalis, Niger, West African browsers

Authors: Lauren E. Caister, William M. Shields and Allen Gosser

Journal: African Journal of Ecology


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