At the start of the rainy season (January/February), wildebeest begin their annual migration through East Africa. When observing a grazing patch visited by wildebeest and zebra on the same day, wildebeest and zebra arrived together 40 times (demonstrating cohesion when mobile), zebra arrived first 18 times and wildebeest first 15 times. Wildebeests, on the other hand, have a fantastic sense of smell and can detect water even in dry savannahs. We found that only in open scrub habitat, group size for both ungulate species increased with the probability of encountering lion. Groups of wildebeest and zebra were found in all habitat types except closed riverine, but selection of habitats was not in proportion to availability (χ2 = 19.69, p<0.001 for wildebeest, χ2 = 20.23, p<0.001 for zebra; Figure 1). Zebra groups had proportionally fewer females in areas with high lion UDs (β = −0.040±0.032 SE) and in open scrub habitats (β = −0.043±0.048 SE). For zebra and wildebeest, larger groups are safer in the open plains of the Serengeti as lion prefer attacking smaller groups [10]. No, Is the Subject Area "Social psychology" applicable to this article? No, Is the Subject Area "Habitats" applicable to this article? If a difference was found between use and available, we used Goodman's confidence intervals (graphically shown in Figure 1) to determine which habitats were selected or avoided [28]. 2. However, group dynamics and the trade-offs that affect grouping of African ungulates in closed habitats or dense vegetation are less well understood. The wildebeest and the zebra are best buddies in the wildlife. These benefits of grouping are weighed against the costs of sharing food [5], [6], and of increased probability of being detected by predators [7]. | Rhulani Safari Lodge. Therefore, we also predict that in closed habitats and areas where lion activity is low, group composition will be skewed toward females, especially during the calving season when females are most vulnerable. 2. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Here we examine the landscape-level distribution of groups of blue wildebeest, Connochaetes taurinus, and Burchell's zebra, Equus burchelli, to test the hypothesis that group size and group composition are a function of minimizing predation risk. No, Is the Subject Area "Predation" applicable to this article? https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0012758, Editor: Wayne M. Getz, University of California, United States of America, Received: June 30, 2010; Accepted: August 24, 2010; Published: September 20, 2010. Being out in the open obviously makes these two antelope species very vulnerable – therefore they are teaming up and are best buddies. You might wonder why Zebras and Wildebeests (Gnus) love to hang out together in the African savanna. There is no competition regarding food and everyone is happy. Local legends of the animal say that a blue wildebeest looks the way it does because its front legs originated from an ox, its back legs from an antelope and its tale and mane from a horse.

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