According to the new findings, the social structure of giraffes in Africa is more complex than previously assumed. A study conducted by the University of Bristol and published in the Mammal Review showed that the social network is characterized by strong bonds between females and their offspring even after the reproductive stage. So the “grandmother’s giraffe” also helps in securing offspring.
According to the authors, this finding about complex multi-layered link structures contradicts ancient assumptions, according to which giraffes have no social structure. The picture has only changed for a few years.
“It’s amazing that such a creative, brilliant and attractive African genre has been misunderstood for so long,” says co-author Zoe Miller. Through her work, she hopes to reshape the image of the giraffe as an intelligent social being and thus also contribute to the survival of the species.
Inventories have fallen dramatically
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), stocks have declined by up to 40 percent over the past 30 years. In total, there are less than 70,000 giraffes of all species left in nature – and this trend is declining. Therefore, the organization upgraded the powerful ruminants in 2016 from “critically endangered” to “threatened”.
As a result, the habitats of the tallest land mammals with their kind eyes and long eyelashes are becoming smaller and smaller. In the wild, spotted mammals with their pronounced silhouette live only south of the Sahara, especially in the grassy steppes of eastern and southern Africa. Their average life expectancy is about 25 years.
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