Original Research

The candelabra tree (Euphorbia ingens): a source of water for black rhinoceros in Liwonde National Park, Malawi

C.O. Dudley
Koedoe | Vol 40, No 1 | a263 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v40i1.263 | © 1997 C.O. Dudley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 1997 | Published: 01 August 1997

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C.O. Dudley,, Malawi

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Abstract

The introduction of two rhinoceros into a 15 km2 fenced sanctuary within Liwonde National Park provided an opportunity for close observation of the animals feeding on the toxic succulent Euphorbia ingens. Feeding invariably caused the death of the plant and for plants with basal diameters between 5-17 cm, mortality ranged from 40-90 . During the severe drought of 1994 rhinoceros did not drink from the artificial waterhole from approximately 15 July to at least 23 September. As this waterhole was the only source of free water it is believed that the rhinoceros obtained their water from browsing on E. ingens.

Keywords

black rhinoceros, Euphorbia ingens, Liwonde National Park, Malawi, drought conditions, browsing, toxic plants, plants as water source.

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Crossref Citations

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