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These include: how exactly do giraffes locate one another? What inspires them to live in groups? How do they maintain social cohesion? To get a better understanding of what is known about how giraffes communicate, we were inspired to conduct a review and synthesis of existing published literature to evaluate our interesting research questions. In August of , we conducted a thorough search of all published literature referencing giraffe communication.
To our surprise, the initial search only returned a meagre 10 studies. From these we could hardly extract comprehensive information on how giraffes exchange information among each other. We did not despair! We conducted another round of searches and found there are only 21 studies published between and referencing giraffe communication across olfactory chemical , visual and auditory dimensions.
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A common theme we found among these studies was description of different signals and sensory organs with no direct communication context. Only five studies referencing giraffe auditory communication provided direct communication context. These found that giraffes produce infrasonic and audible vocalizations i. The studies that focused on the olfactory and visual communication dimensions investigated form and structure of the organs responsible for the production of these signals.
These studies found substantive evidence that giraffes have acute visual and olfactory senses.
Giraffe eyes are well developed and the vomeronasal organ well suited for detecting chemical signals. These ultimately facilitate giraffe vision, individual recognition especially among mothers and their calves and mate choice. No experiments have so far been carried out to determine the cause, context and intent of these signals. Our review article synthesizes published information on giraffe communication across visual, auditory and olfactory dimensions. We describe what is currently known of these dimensions and codify potential avenues for further giraffe communication research.
Overall, the existing studies are too few to warrant any meaningful conclusions relating to giraffe communication. Thus the context in which the visual, olfactory and auditory modalities maybe used in giraffe communication remains largely unclear. As a result, uncertainty relating to the nature of giraffe communication remains. We suggest that more work be done to; 1 assess importance of pelage odor in sexual selection and individual recognition, 2 investigate and identify chemicals and glands involved in female receptivity and sexual attraction, 3 evaluate the giraffe olfactory system and relevance of olfaction in mediating giraffe social structures, 4 evaluate the role and relevance of visualization in giraffe communication, and 5 harmonize and expand on the current information on giraffe vocalizations.
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The San Diego Zoo and a long list of partners including The Nature Conservancy began a project in northern Kenya, where researchers estimate that the reticulated giraffe has declined from 36, animals to fewer than 9, Stacy-Dawes says the declines are due to people encroaching on giraffe habitat, degradation of that habitat and poaching. The conservationists are researching giraffes on two large conservancies, Loisaba Conservancy , which The Nature Conservancy helped protect and establish for the Loisaba Community Trust, and Namunyak Community Conservancy , one of 27 conservancies supported by Nature Conservancy partner Northern Rangelands Trust.
Conservationists realized they must understand the issues facing giraffes to better design conservation strategies. Do they return after the cattle have left? Does the presence of cattle cause the giraffes to just move at night? An important component of the research effort is that it is led by the community. They set out and maintain motion-activated field cameras to understand the abundance of giraffes and other wildlife , as well as their habits.click here
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These maps can also highlight the importance of working outside of the conservancies and within the communities that border the conservancies. While they may be favoring the areas within the conservancies, we can see that they are occurring outside of the conservancies as well, meaning they are co-occurring with these communities.
The project also donated 40 desks and education materials to a primary school just outside the Loisaba Conservancy. In , the partners also affixed solar-powered satellite GPS tracking devices to 11 giraffes to understand their movements. One of the biggest tasks in all this is actually processing the data captured by the motion-activated cameras.
With motion-activated cameras working all day and night in a wildlife-rich area, there are a lot of photos to search. More than 1 million, in fact. Wildwatch Kenya is a citizen science project that provides you with camera trap photos and you record any animals you see in the images. The project continues to analyze photos Update : Readers of this blog have been really helpful to the effort.
Thank you! The project is continuing to keep up the good work. The project is open to anyone, regardless of age. You will enjoy a diversity of animals in the photos, from well-known species like elephants and zebras to really cool smaller animals like honey badgers, bat-eared foxes and aardvarks. It is very easy and intuitive, and there is a helpful guide that allows you to easily identify animals. During the course of writing this blog, I checked it out and quickly found myself immersed in it.
Within minutes, I recorded hyena, zebra, impala, dik dik, warthog and more but no giraffes. They are often exhibited in zoos.
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Surely, many of us — even beyond the conservation community — love giraffes. To help them out, and spend some pleasant time on an Easter egg hunt of sorts, seeking out cool creatures in photos. Your observations can play an important role in making sure giraffes still roam the savanna, now and for future generations. Please note that all comments are moderated and may take some time to appear. They are endangered and need protection from hunters and poachers alike. Not to see their lofty heads above the trees and shrubs would be a tragedy.
Extinction is forever. No coming back from extinction. There are a lot of images to go through and your identifications help scientists narrow down which images have giraffes which tells them where the giraffes were and when. I believe in saving giraffes, and I believe in those people in the forefront of saving giraffes. For my self and my family that we may know of their presence on this earth.
Hi Heidi, Any of the organizations involved in this project are legitimate organizations helping the giraffe. I have been a supporting member of TNC since I regret that I do not have access to the the digital equipment necessary to participate as a citizen science observer.
I will explore how to remedy this situation! Such quiet, peaceable and gentle animals are such a pleasure to see and observe. How an we help keep these alive and help them remain living for us to enjoy their silent beings with us? We need to know more about their habits and what they need to keep them alive.
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