The composition and function of all-male herds of Thornicroft’s giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti, in Zambia

Author(s)Fred B. Bercovitch and Philip S. M. Berry
Year Published2014
JournalAfrican Journal of Ecology
Page Numbers167-174
Size208.83 KB
Abstract:

Temporary all-male social groups are formed in a number of animal species. We examined 34 years of data collected from 36 male Thornicroft’s giraffe in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia, to test a set of predictions related to five possible functions of all-male herds (predator protection, practicing aggressive skills, prolonging life, nutritional demands and resource learning). We found that all-male herds were significantly smaller than mixed-sex herds, usually contained a mature bull, and were not dependent upon season or habitat. Dyadic associations between males in single sex herds were quite weak, with <25% of potential male dyads sighted together in an all-male herd. Our data are best explained as a resource learning strategy adopted by males to obtain more extensive knowledge about the habitat, including both food and female distribution. However, other benefits in the form of predator protection, dietary intake and sharpening competitive skills for future contests over estrous females also seem to mediate formation of giraffe all-male groups. We conclude that the primary advantage of roaming in all-male herds changes during the life history of males.

Key Words: association index, bachelor bands, Giraffa camelopardalis, giraffe, information transfer, resource learning

Authors: Fred B. Bercovitch and Philip S. M. Berry

Journal: African Journal of Ecology


FileAction
2014Bercovitch_The composition and function of all-male herds of Thornicroft's giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti, in Zambia.pdfDownload 
Terms and Conditions: Any PDF files provided by the GRC are for personal use only and may not be reproduced. The files reflect the holdings of the GRC library and only contain pages relevant to giraffe study, and may not be complete. Users are obliged to follow all copyright restrictions.