THE REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS OF THE BLACK RHINO (DICEROS BICORNIS) IN HLUHLUWE-IMFOLOZI PARK, KWAZULU-NATAL
Zoliswa Nhleko, Dan Parker, Dave Druce and Geoff Clinning
Rhodes University, Department of Zoology and Entomology, Wildlife and Reserve Management Reserve Group, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Life Sciences

 

Abstract
A biological management strategy for black rhino (Diceros bicornis) was developed and adopted by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in order to have an average 0.25 black rhino births per female per annum, an annual growth rate of 5% per population and a provincial in situ population of 750 individuals. In 2002 the KZN Rhino Management Group determined that the Hluhluwe-iMfoloziPark (HiP) black rhino population was not achieving these desired targets. Our study was initiated to determine the historical reproductive life histories of the HiP black rhino population. Using monitoring data from January 1998 to December 2012, seven reproductive parameters were calculated: age at sexual maturity (ASM), gestation length, intercalving interval (ICI), proportion of adult females giving birth per year, reproductive lifespan, mortality rate and annual population growth rate. Mean ASM was 150.6 ± 11.5 months which is almost double the ASM for black rhinos elsewhere. In addition, ICI was twice as long in the HiP population. However, average gestation length and reproductive lifespan were similar to other black rhino populations in Africa. The longer ICIs could be as a result of neonates dying before they are recorded. Further analysis is being conducted to determine the actual reasons for these differences.

 

Presentation Topic
THE REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS OF THE BLACK RHINO (DICEROS BICORNIS) IN HLUHLUWE-IMFOLOZI PARK, KWAZULU-NATAL
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Email Zoliswa Nhleko