Rock hyraxes are unusual animals in various respects. Evolutionarily they are the closest living relatives of elephants and manatees. They are highly adapted to a rock-dwelling lifestyle. And they have developed complex social and communication behaviors.
The rock hyraxes unusual ecology and highly social lifestyle make it exciting to explore the effects of other species in their shared habitat at Zoo Zurich.
Rock hyraxes are highly unusual animals in many respects. Photo: Maximilian Rometsch
In collaboration with the University of Vienna (research group Dr. Angela Stöger-Horwath, Mammal Communication Lab), researchers intensively monitored the rock hyrax group in the Semien Mountains of Zoo Zurich. They focused in particular on the interspecific effects within the association of rock hyrax, geladas and Nubian ibex.
The rock hyraxes at Zoo Zurich share their habitat with Nubian Ibex ... Photo: Maximilian Rometsch
... and geladas. How do the species influence each other? Photo: Maximilian Rometsch
In addition, the researchers made sound recordings of the complex vocalizations of the rock hyrax – a field of research that has so far been insufficiently studied in zoos.
Audio: How rock hyraxes sound
Copyright: Maximilian Rometsch
The results of the study will help zoological institutions plan and design new community facilities. Likewise, they will serve as a basis for further research.