Iron overload disorder (IOD) is a significant health issue for captive black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis). Measurement of serum ferritin with a validated rhinoceros ferritin ELISA has been used extensively to detect animals in U.S. zoos that are at risk of developing IOD. However, there is limited information on serum ferritin levels in free-ranging black rhinoceros using this same assay. Serum ferritin, iron, and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) were determined in 194 black rhinoceros from southern Africa. Mean ferritin in free-ranging black rhinoceros (290.54 ±247.4 ng/ml) was significantly higher than in free-ranging white rhinoceros (64.0 ± 102.4 ng/ml) sampled in this study from Kruger National Park, South Africa. However, there were no significant differences between genders or age groups. Ferritin values varied with geographical location of the black rhinoceros, although this was not clinically significant. Serum iron values were also higher in black rhinoceros (40.4 ± 19.1 μmol/L) compared to white rhinoceros (29.7 ± 10.7 μmol/L). There was no association between ferritin and GGT. This study provides serum ferritin, iron, and GGT values from free-ranging black rhinoceros that can be used for as comparative target values for captive animals.
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