Giraffes surprise scientists again

So far, the theory that the size of groups of wild animals is larger when the risk of them being attacked by their direct enemies, the predators, is generally accepted. This is basically due to the fact that the more members that make up the collective, the more protected they will be and the more easily they will be able to detect and warn of a danger. However, a new study (the first to investigate this group tendency) of the University of Bristol (England) has shown that this assumption was not entirely true, or at least not in the case of giraffes.

This study has been based on observing how the grouping of these animals differs from the rest in factors such as the risk of predation, the type of habitat and the characteristics of the individuals that haunt. The type of habitat had remarkable effects on the size of the group. However, the main change was reflected in the behavior of adult females, who tended to be in smaller groups when they were in procreation and had offspring. This last data belies another popular belief that giraffes were thought to form large groups for the community care of their offspring.

The researcher and doctoral student Zoe Muller says that "these data are surprising and reflect how little we know about giraffes, even in the most basic aspects of life. This research adds another important piece to the puzzle of understanding how giraffes live in nature. "

Extraordinary animals in danger of extinction

It is estimated that giraffe populations have decreased by approximately 40% in the last three decades. Among the survivors, it is thought that there are just under 98,000 individuals left in freedom. These figures have led to the inclusion of the species in the Red List of Endangered Species of the International Union for Conservation in Nature and has been classified as 'vulnerable'. Experts see this as a valuable step in recognizing the seriousness of their extinction, and understanding the threats and challenges they face in nature.

"Giraffes are an endangered species that suffer a constant decline in Africa, and this research highlights how incredibly misunderstood they are, and we can only manage and conserve giraffe populations effectively if we understand their behavior and ecology, which is what we are just beginning to do, "says Muller.

Another of the popular ideas of the society is that giraffes abound in Africa and for that reason, they point to it as an indisputable icon of the continent. However, the figures reveal a very different reality, since its decline is progressive and accelerated.

The next step in this investigation is to expand the project to different areas of Africa, since this study has been carried out only in the eastern part. According to Muller, more research is needed to see if the same effects are observed in other groups of giraffes. The extracted results could be used to understand how the habitat alteration and other environmental and social variables can help the conservation of the populations of this species.

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