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SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS AS AN INDICATOR OF SUCCESSFUL PACK FORMATION IN FREE-RANGING AFRICAN WILD DOGS

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Pack formation in the African wild dog is a social process that usually involves more than two individuals. Typically, same-sex relatives emigrate and join opposite-sex groups. Same-sex relatives have a shared social history and, consequently, established social bonds. In contrast, opposite-sex groups are unfamiliar with one another. Patterns of association (approaches and resting partners) were recorded during the daily resting period for three newly formed packs. Two packs annulled (Gijima and Amazoro) and one pack (Sinajima) became a stable reproductive unit (i.e. an established pack). An analysis of resting patterns suggests that spatial relationships mirror the relative strength of social bonds and thus the degree of social integration between females and males. Former members of the annulled Gijima pack rested with the same sex more often, and actively maintained this pattern, while opposite-sex associations were observed and maintained more often in the Sinajima pack. The Amazoro pack appeared more integrated than the Gijima pack, but less integrated than the Sinajima pack. Mate choice (i.e. group compatibility) may have influenced the outcome of attempted pack formation. The two cases of pack annulment were not the result of takeovers (i.e. the forceful expulsion of same-sex individuals), and same-sex associations were more common in these packs suggesting that opposite-sex group members were incompatible. The extremely social nature of this canid is reflected in the maintenance of physical contact or relatively short inter-individual distances while resting.

Affiliations: 1: Animal Behavior Group, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA

10.1163/156853900502222
/content/journals/10.1163/156853900502222
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/content/journals/10.1163/156853900502222
2000-05-01
2017-08-18

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