Giraffe study may help protect the species

Jan 29, 2007

A U.S. scientist says her research into giraffe dung might hold the secret to protecting the species for years to come.

University of Central Florida doctoral student Jennifer Fewster is studying giraffe excrement at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., in an effort to determine what the animals eat in the wild and how to improve the nutrition of those in captivity.

Fewster says her research could potentially help conserve a wide array of herbivores, including endangered ones.

"I find it fascinating, but I forget people find it odd," Fewster said. "It's not the most glamorous work. In fact, it can be a bit boring at times but the goal is worthwhile and it has applications for the wild and for the better care and nutrition of animals in captivity."

Although zookeepers know generally what giraffes eat, little is known about what else giraffes in the wild eat and the food's nutritional value.

Disney has provided the University of Central Florida with funding for Fewster's research and also supports at least three other university students working on research in areas such as animal behavior and reproduction.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: South American parrot in trouble: researchers

Related Stories

Early herders' grassy route through Africa

Mar 09, 2015

A University of Utah study of nearly 2,000-year-old livestock teeth show that early herders from northern Africa could have traveled past Kenya's Lake Victoria on their way to southern Africa because the ...

Danes defend zoo's killing of healthy giraffe

Feb 10, 2014

Many Danes on Monday defended the killing of a healthy but inbred giraffe at Copenhagen's zoo that triggered outrage after it was chopped up and fed to lions in front of visitors.

Recommended for you

Sandwich system found effective in organic apple orchards

25 minutes ago

In organic apple orchards, one of the most serious challenges for growers is determining ways to limit weed competition while improving soil quality and ensuring high yields of quality apples. Scientists from the Swedish ...

Protein scaffold

34 minutes ago

Right before a cell starts to divide to give birth to a daughter cell, its biochemical machinery unwinds the chromosomes and copies the millions of protein sequences comprising the cell's DNA, which is packaged ...

Using leeches to measure mammal biodiversity

40 minutes ago

In order to get a better grasp on the biodiversity of mammals in Sumatra, University of Delaware graduate student Sarah Weiskopf spent two weeks collecting leeches in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park and ...

Can we easily distinguish male and female protoceratops?

1 hour ago

Anatomical and behavioral differences distinguish males and females in many extant and extinct animals. For instance, male peacocks have a large and flashy tail, whereas females are smaller and less brightly ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.