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Effect of local climate anomalies on giraffe survival


Bond, Monica L; Ozgul, Arpat; Lee, Derek E (2023). Effect of local climate anomalies on giraffe survival. Biodiversity and Conservation, 32(10):3179-3197.

Abstract

With the rapid pace of global warming, there is an urgent need to understand survival responses to climate, particularly for large mammals that are already experiencing population declines associated with anthropogenic pressures such as poaching and habitat loss. We tested hypotheses about the interactive effects of local climatic anomalies (variations around a long-term mean) and proximity to edge of protected area boundaries on seasonal adult and juvenile survival in a population of 2,385 individually identified giraffes monitored over 8 years in the Tarangire Ecosystem of northern Tanzania. Temperature anomalies were positively correlated with seasonal survival of adult giraffes, suggesting these megaherbivores are adapted to hot conditions. Higher seasonal rainfall anomalies were negatively correlated with both juvenile and adult survival, and greater vegetation greenness was associated with lower adult survival. During seasons of anomalously high rainfall and vegetation greenness, higher parasite and disease abundance, poorer-quality nutrition in forage, and higher predation risk may all play a role in lowering giraffe survival. Furthermore, climate-associated reduction in survival was most pronounced during the short rainy season for adult giraffes living closer to the edge of protected areas, indicating that the influence of climate anomalies may be exacerbated by anthropogenic edge effects such as poaching or livestock keeping. Precipitation in East Africa is projected to increase substantially, with a greater proportion of rain falling during heavy events in the short rainy season, which may threaten persistence of giraffes in one of Earth’s most important landscapes for large mammals.

Abstract

With the rapid pace of global warming, there is an urgent need to understand survival responses to climate, particularly for large mammals that are already experiencing population declines associated with anthropogenic pressures such as poaching and habitat loss. We tested hypotheses about the interactive effects of local climatic anomalies (variations around a long-term mean) and proximity to edge of protected area boundaries on seasonal adult and juvenile survival in a population of 2,385 individually identified giraffes monitored over 8 years in the Tarangire Ecosystem of northern Tanzania. Temperature anomalies were positively correlated with seasonal survival of adult giraffes, suggesting these megaherbivores are adapted to hot conditions. Higher seasonal rainfall anomalies were negatively correlated with both juvenile and adult survival, and greater vegetation greenness was associated with lower adult survival. During seasons of anomalously high rainfall and vegetation greenness, higher parasite and disease abundance, poorer-quality nutrition in forage, and higher predation risk may all play a role in lowering giraffe survival. Furthermore, climate-associated reduction in survival was most pronounced during the short rainy season for adult giraffes living closer to the edge of protected areas, indicating that the influence of climate anomalies may be exacerbated by anthropogenic edge effects such as poaching or livestock keeping. Precipitation in East Africa is projected to increase substantially, with a greater proportion of rain falling during heavy events in the short rainy season, which may threaten persistence of giraffes in one of Earth’s most important landscapes for large mammals.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Physical Sciences > Nature and Landscape Conservation
Uncontrolled Keywords:Nature and Landscape Conservation, Ecology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 August 2023
Deposited On:14 Jul 2023 08:38
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:37
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0960-3115
Additional Information:This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Biodivers Conserv. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-023-02645-4
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-023-02645-4
Project Information:
  • : FunderUniversity of Zurich
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
  • Content: Submitted Version
  • Language: English