Original Research

Seasonal variation of diet and faeces composition of Black Rhinoceros Diceros Bicornis in the Addo Elephant National Park

A.J Hall-Martin, T Erasmus, B.P Botha
Koedoe | Vol 25, No 1 | a605 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v25i1.605 | © 1982 A.J Hall-Martin, T Erasmus, B.P Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 December 1982 | Published: 02 December 1982

About the author(s)

A.J Hall-Martin, National Parks Board, South Africa
T Erasmus, University of Port Elizabeth, South Africa
B.P Botha, National Parks Board, South Africa

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Abstract

The feeding habits of black rhinoceros were studied in the Addo Elephant National Park, Republic of South Africa, using the "feeding track" method and recording bites taken. A total sample of 59 feeding tracks, 5 540 plants and 17 191 bites were recorded from June 1976 to March 1977. The rhino fed largely on woody shrubs but also took forbs, grass and succulent plants. During dry periods the rhino were selecting succulent plants with a high moisture content rather than woody plants. A total of 111 plant species were utilized. During dry months the feeding rate was greater than wet months. Physical analysis of faeces composition confirmed conclusions drawn from observations. Chemical analyses of faeces indicated that mean crude protein values varied with rainfall and herbage quality, ash values were strongly influenced by the intake of plant roots and dust during dry periods, acid detergent fibre was highest during unfavourable periods and low during favourable periods.

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