n African Zoology - Concurrent pregnancy and lactation in wild giraffes ()

Volume 50, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
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Lactation boosts reproductive costs by depleting maternal condition and delaying subsequent conception. However, some evidence suggests that giraffes () have evolved a mechanism to minimise the time allocated to suckling-induced suppression of ovulation. Here, we show for the first time that wild giraffe cows are impregnated while nursing a young calf. We suggest that a trio of traits (non-seasonal breeding, slow embryonic development and rapid calf growth) have promoted this unusual and flexible female reproductive strategy.

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