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Giraffes Amaze Biologists Once Again

It is usually seen that the size of the group of animals depends upon the risk of predation. The more is this risk, the larger is the group size. It is so because, it is an accepted fact that it is difficult to kill an individual animal when there are so many eyes to spot the predation risk. In a recent study conducted by the Bristol PhD student Zoe Muller from the School of Biological Sciences, it has been revealed that the case of giraffes is slightly different than the other animals. This present study investigated to find out that how the grouping behaviour of giraffes is different in numerous factors like the predation risk, habitat type and the characteristics of individuals.

It was found that the type of habitat that the giraffes choose for themselves, highly affects the size of the group. The main effect on the group size was in the behaviour of adult females, who were found in smaller groups when they had calves. The population of giraffes is constantly declining. It has reduced by 40% in the last 30 years. Presently, there are less than 98,000 individual giraffes left in the wild. Giraffes have also been recently categorized as "Vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation in Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. The next step for this study will be to replicate these findings in other parts of Africa. This particular case study is one of its kind. More such researches are needed in order to see if same effects are found in other giraffe populations as well. These researches are extremely beneficial in order to understand how the management of habitats, environmental and social variables can prove helpful in supporting the conservation of giraffe populations.

By: Anuja Arora