Chapter

Male Strategies and Society: Influences of the Environment and of Females

Alexander H. Harcourt

in Gorilla Society

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780226316024
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226316048 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226316048.003.0010
Male Strategies and Society: Influences of the Environment and of Females

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Male animals have a variety of options for finding a fertilizable female. The male can roam in search of the females, defend areas that females frequent, attract females to himself, or stay with females once they are found. The strategy that the male adopts strongly determines the nature of the species' society. The gorilla's folivorous diet allows a short daily distance traveled; even necessitates it. At the usual low population densities of this large-bodied species, the short daily distance means that gorilla males are unable to use territorial defense as a means of access to females, and are committed to permanent association with females if they are to reliably find females when they are in estrus. Once a male is committed to remaining with the females, he is then committed to protect them and their offspring from harm. This chapter, which explores gorilla male strategies and society in comparison with Pan and Pongo, focusing on the influences of females and the environment, also looks at association and territoriality as a means for male gorillas to access females, along with predation and infanticide.

Keywords: gorilla males; gorilla females; Pan; Pongo; predation; infanticide; territoriality; association; environment

Chapter.  5121 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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