Jan en die span kuier in Sabi Sands, opsoek na die groot vyf. Hy wys jou ook hoe om ‘n springbok fillet met ‘n biltongsous op die kole voor te berei.
To every thing there is a yin and yang, a balance. The web of all species is intricately connected, each relies on the others.
When we let a species go extinct, we upset the balance. So if we fail the rhino, what will happen to the rest of the savanna?
Rhinos are mega-herbivores, the lawn maintenance crew of the savanna. Their job to the ecosystem is to carve out paths for other creatures (eating), make water holes (digging), and to help germinate plants (defecating).
It may seem simplistic, but they are the only sizable creatures in this habitat to do it. The other mega-herbivores, elephants affect different parts of the savanna, as they eat from a different menu, browsing on taller bushes and trees.
Rhinos eat an average of 23.6 kg during the course of each day. The dung piles they share can be 5 metres wide and 1 metre deep. That’s a sizable…
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The animal kingdom is full of different mating strategies both of terms of the physical ‘deed’ and courting/attracting mates. Mating is when a male and female of the same species (or genus) come together to reproduce and create offspring. In reality, ‘mating for life‘ is quite rare in the animal kingdom, but several species practice monogamy; providing exclusive mating rights to a single partner for a given period of time.
Some animals are famous for their perceived monogamous behaviour: The European turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) has been the subject of Shakespearean poetry for its dedication to its life partner. Turtle doves do indeed seem to pick a preferred mate, but they certainly aren’t as saintly as it first appears; females will commonly mate with passing males if they are deemed more desirable than their partner, this of course is…
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In the previous post we saw how birdsare, generally speaking, the most faithful animals to their mating partners, but which other animals are monogamous? Although loyalty to a partner is reasonably common (although varied) in the bird world, it is far less common elsewhere, for example, only 3% of mammal species show any sort of monogamy.
One mammal species that was thought to have mated for life was the siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus), along with some other species of gibbon. Intensive research has shown that they actually practice something called ‘social monogamy‘ as opposed to sexual monogamy, in other words, they are swingers (and not just from tree to tree)! Siamangs pair off and form close social bonds with their partners, often spending their whole lives together and raising families together, however, they quite frequently will mate with other…
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We’ve seen in part 1 (birds) and part 2 (mammals) of this series that there is a lot of variation in monogamy in the animal kingdom. It is worth mentioning one more group of animals before we carry on.
In the invertebrateworld, there is a countless variety of mating techniques, but even amidst this variety there are some examples of monogamy and mating for life. Termites (infraorder: Isoptera) are colonial animals where a single queen produces all the offspring that then grow up to service the collective. A termite queen constantly produces offspring, most of which become workers and soldiers that serve the colony, but each year, the queen will produce a generation of breeding individuals. These ‘breeders’, called alates, are males and females with wings that fly away from the home colony to found their own. Females breed and then…
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As we’ve seen in previous posts (about birds, mammals and insects), monogamy is common in some parts of the animal kingdom and rare in others, but the way in which it is practised varies a great deal. But what are the advantages of being faithful to a mating partner? Generally speaking, it makes sense for animals to be promiscuous; mating with a lot of partners increases the chance of producing a large number of offspring as well as increasing the chance of having the opportunity to mate with the most desirable partner. However, monogamy does have some advantages, as demonstrated by many of the species we have already discussed.
Warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus) are promiscuous animals; the males wander around large areas, mating with any females they come across. They sacrifice selectivity for increased chances of producing young every breeding season. Photo…
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