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Behavioural responses of captive mountain gazelles Gazella gazella to changes in dietary water


, : Behavioural responses of captive mountain gazelles Gazella gazella to changes in dietary water. Journal of Arid Environments 32(2): 193-209

Behavioural responses of mountain gazelles to four feeding schedules (restricted dietary water) over two (1991-92) summer seasons are described. Time spent feeding in the sun declined across treatments compared with control animals. Feeding behaviour became progressively more disrupted with treatment. Adult males were more active than females and spent less time feeding. Animals often used shelters for rumination and resting during the hottest part of the day. Resting time was divided into standing and lying time. Standing was considered to be an initial response to thermal stress. Females were more conservative in their evacuation behaviour than were males and spent less time urinating. Animals became more aggressive with treatment. A 'refuge' from direct sunlight is probably essential for the survival of mountain gazelles in the wild, although it is not known how animals partition their limited time between food patches and refuges. Changes in appetite may help to reduce metabolic heat. Both sexes scraped in the sand, but in different areas. Captive animals may require an extensive period of acclimatization to reduced dietary water before release into the wild.

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