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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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Pair of endangered Amur leopard cubs born at Colchester Zoo

News Story 1
 Keepers at Colchester Zoo are hailing the arrival of a pair of critically endangered Amur leopard cubs.

The cubs were born to first-time parents Esra and Crispin on the 9 September. This is the first time the Zoo has bred Amur leopard cubs on-site.

Amur leopards originate from the Russian Far East and north-east China. In the wild they are threatened by climate change, habitat loss, deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade.

The cubs are said to be “looking well” and are expected to emerge from their den in a few weeks.  

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RCVS names Professor John Innes as chair of Fellowship Board

Professor John Innes has been elected chair of the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Board, replacing Professor Nick Bacon who comes to the end of his three-year term.


Professor Innes will be responsible for making sure the Fellowship progresses towards fulfilling its strategic goals, determining its ongoing strategy and objectives, and reporting to the RCVS Advancement of the Professions Committee on developments within the Fellowship.