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Fresh insights into guinea pig social behaviour
They found that females tended to flee from each other during fertile periods, but otherwise would risk confrontation.

Females risk confrontation outside of fertile periods 

New research has shed light on how a female guinea pig’s sexual cycle could impact their social behaviour.

Guinea pigs use their intuition to decide whether to compete or escape, in order to maintain a hierarchy in which dominant animals take advantage.

Researchers from the University of Vienna analysed social behaviours and hormone levels to find out the effect of the oestrus cycle during encounters between females.

They found that females tended to flee from each other during fertile periods, but otherwise would risk confrontation. In animals that were not ready to mate, the stress hormone level increased and physical contact between the two females was more frequent.

There has so far been limited research on how the sexual cycle may shape female social behaviour in animals.

Lead author Lisa-Maria Glenk, commented: “These rodents live in social hierarchies, similar to many other mammals. Such hierarchies are established through confrontations between conspecifics.

"Animals with a good intuition of when to compete or withdraw are more successful and better integrated.”

Photo © Lisa Glenk/Vetmeduni Vienna

 

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
BSAVA announces winner of 2019 Bourgelat Award

One of the world’s leading small animal medicine specialists is set to receive the prestigious Bourgelat Award at BSAVA Congress 2019.

Professor Mike Herrtage will be recognised for his major research into metabolic and endocrine diseases, including diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease.

During his career, Prof Herrtage has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and written more than 200 other publications such as abstracts, books and chapters. He also continues to be a source of inspiration for thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary surgeons.