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Baboon-like social structure creates efficiencies for spotted hyena

14.03.2012
As large, carnivorous mammals, spotted hyenas are well known for their competitive nature; however, recent work suggests that their clan structure has similarities to some primate social systems such as those of the baboon and macaque. San Diego Zoo Global researchers have documented relatedness between individuals and how this factor appears to influence their social behaviors.
"Understanding how animal social systems work is an important part of learning what we need to know to conserve them," said Russell Van Horn, researcher with the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. "In the case of spotted hyenas, understanding how they manage available resources can be very important as resources become less available due to human habitat encroachment."

The study, which was recently published in Molecular Ecology, shows that spotted hyenas show strong kinship relationships that are affected by resource reduction.

The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The work of the Conservancy includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries.

In addition, San Diego Zoo Global manages the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Frozen ZooTM and Native Seed Gene Bank, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers, San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility, Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, and a 900-acre biodiversity reserve adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Christina Simmons | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sandiegozoo.org

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