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Asif, Daniel, 2019. A descriptive study of the role of maternal behavior in the survival of Markhor (Capra falconeri) kids. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health



In a herd of captive Markhors, observations were made to investigate the elements of
maternal behavior, interactions of mothers with their kids, visitor’s effect and welfare. Females
isolated themselves from other conspecifics before parturition and selected a parturition site
in the elevated part of the enclosure. After birth, the kids concealed themselves under a rock
formation for at least eight days and their mothers visited them in their hiding for nursing.
Each doe allowed only her own kid to suckle, after identifying the kid. When the hiding phase
was over the mothers communicated with their kids by bleats. A close maternal-offspring
bond was observed between does and their kids. Nursing time was significantly longer in the
elevated rocky part of the enclosure (48.5 ±2.3 sec, 49 ± 1.4 sec) compared to the lower
part (17.8 ±1.8 sec, 18.1 ± 1.3 sec). The higher number of nursing events were recorded in
the evening or late afternoon and least suckling events were recorded during the late
morning, noon and early afternoon. The number of bleats by the does were significantly more
in the lower part of the enclosure (median 6/day) compared to the elevated rocky part
(median 1.5/day). Babysitting behavior was observed among two mothers. Despite the
display of babysitting behavior, allonursing behavior as well as the kid-stealing/adoption
behavior was absent. The mothers were vigilant when they were accompanied by the kids.
The kids spent relatively more time uphill than downhill with an increasing number of visitors.
Moreover, the kids spent significantly more time in the elevated part of the enclosure (146.2 ±
63.9 mins) compared to the flat lower part (73.7 ± 32 mins) (P < 0.05, Paired t-test t = 4.30 P
= 0.016) for each category of the visitors. The results of this study suggest that the Markhor
individuals perceived the elevated part safer than the lower part of their enclosure. Keeping
Markhors in captivity for the purpose of conservation, provision of an enclosure which mimics
their natural habitat would not only provide them optimum welfare but also facilitates their
successful reproduction.

Main title:A descriptive study of the role of maternal behavior in the survival of Markhor (Capra falconeri) kids
Authors:Asif, Daniel
Supervisor:Yngvesson, Jenny
Examiner:Loberg, Jenny
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2019
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VM006 Animal Science - Master's Programme
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:Markhors, maternal behavior
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal ecology
Deposited On:19 Nov 2019 09:34
Metadata Last Modified:20 Nov 2019 02:25

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