Original Research

A comparison of woody browse selection by hand-raised, boma-adapted and wild black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis, L. in Matusadona National Park, Zimbabwe

G. Matipano
Koedoe | Vol 46, No 2 | a57 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v46i2.57 | © 2003 G. Matipano | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 December 2003 | Published: 18 December 2003

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G. Matipano, Matusadona National Park, South Africa

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Abstract

Differences in woody browse selection between hand-raised (and subsequently released), boma-adapted and wild black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis, L. were studied in Matusadona National Park between December 1999 and July 2000. Boma-adapted rhinoceros were animals that were subjected to hand-raising and were kept in bomas (enclosures) over night. The feeding behaviour was different between the three rhinoceros groups. All rhinoceros groups utilised and selected for a few browse species in common, at different preference levels in the same habitat types according to season. Wild rhinoceroses browsed most in Colophospermum-Terminalia-Combretum woodland in the wet season and in thicket in the dry season. Hand-raised rhinoceroses browsed most in Colophospermum-Terminalia-Combretum woodland and boma-adated rhinos in thickets in both the wet and the early dry seasons. Hand-raised and bomaadapted rhinos changed their habitats less for browse selection than wild rhinos. This can be ascribed to a relative restriction of home range in the hand-raised group and a herding effect for the boma-adapted animals. These situations might have accounted for differences in seasonal browse selection by the rhinoceros groups.

Keywords

black rhino; hand-raised; browse selection

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