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Food access in captive Ammotragus: The role played by hierarchy and mother-infant interactions

AuthorsCassinello, Jorge
KeywordsAccess to resources
Mother–infant relationships
Social ranks
Issue Date2002
CitationZoo Biology 21(6): 597-605 (2002)
AbstractAn analysis of individuals' behavior when accessing a restricted food source (troughs) was carried out in a captive population of aoudad (Ammotragus lervia). Access to the troughs followed a strict hierarchical order, as higher-ranking individuals fed before lower-ranking ones. Unweaned male and female calves made use of the troughs from the ages of 2 and 3 months, respectively. Both fed from the troughs more frequently and for longer periods when their mother was present, which allowed them to make use of the troughs while skipping the hierarchical order. Calves received fewer threats when in proximity to their mothers, particularly in high-ranking families. Mothers defended their calves from other herdmates more frequently when at the feeding area than in other areas of the herd. However, only sated mothers let their calves feed freely from the troughs; unsated mothers showed an aggressive behavior even toward their calves. I conclude that a maternal presence is necessary for aoudad calves to successfully feed from troughs, and that families of higher social rank benefit by getting access to this food source earlier in the day and are disturbed less than low-ranking families.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/zoo.10062
Appears in Collections:(IREC) Artículos
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