Are 90% of giraffes gay -- or have their loving looks been misunderstood?

According to Stephanie Fennessy, director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Namibia, Stuart is right. “While I totally agree with Dawn Butler’s comment that we should accept people for who they are, she is incorrect in her comment that giraffes are gay,” Fennessy says. “Sometimes they fake-hump each other, which is also dominance behaviour. Dogs do that as well. And when you see them necking, it’s fighting. It’s vicious. They can kill each other.”

Dr Natalie Cooper, a researcher in life sciences at the Natural History Museum, sees things slightly differently. According to her understanding of giraffe research, same-sex necking, licking, nuzzling and mounting is not always an aggressive act. Indeed, it may not be aggressive at all, and sometimes includes genital stimulation. It is common among males, but has been seen among females too. “At the moment, I don’t think we have enough research to know why the males do it,” Cooper says. “There are usually females around, so it’s not just because there are no females.”

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