Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychological Science (MSPS)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Gregory Kohn

Second Advisor

Dr. Lindsay Mahovetz

Rights Statement

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. George Rainbolt


Many animals live in gregarious, fission-fusion societies where group size and composition are continually changing. Despite this, many studies have suggested that captive animals are capable of maintaining long term social bonds with others. In captive giraffes, effects on their social bonds during membership transitions have not been studied thoroughly, however, prior research does show that social bonds are a defining factor in non-captive animals. Captive giraffe social network patterns were investigated at the Jacksonville Zoo and Botanical Gardens using all occurrence behavioral data. Based on previous research, I hypothesized that when one of the individuals in the group was removed, the previous significant social ties would remain significant. Specifically, I expected there would not be significant changes within the group in how they interact. Furthermore, I expected same age groups and same sex groups to be defining variables across the two data sets, in regard to social organization. The data was analyzed using R’s package StatNet and SNA to develop their social network patterns and determine if there is any significance. There were significant social ties found within some members of the group before Sir Isaac was removed, but after his removal no significant ties were found. There was also a significant difference in the rate of interactions between same sex individuals when the two datasets were compared. Furthermore, there was significant reciprocity within both datasets. These results imply that there were in fact differences in individual social ties with the removal of Sir Isaac. Limitations include that this was a case study and there was no breeding male. The aforementioned results hint at the fact that captive giraffes are not exhibiting the same behaviors as wild giraffes.