Complete blood counts (n = 115) and red blood cell analytes (n = 80) were assessed in free-ranging white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) from Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa. Blood was collected from healthy animals immobilized between February and September 2009–11 for management purposes. Our objectives were to establish baselines for KNP’s white rhinoceros population and to compare results based on sex and age group. Significant differences in total white blood cells, total eosinophils, and hemoglobin were found between adult and subadult rhinoceros. Female rhinoceros had significantly higher total white blood cells and lower hemoglobin compared with males. Hematologic analytes were similar to those published for other rhinoceros populations, although the impact of capture and sampling methods, nutritional status, and habitat should be considered when comparing data. This baseline hematology for healthy free-ranging white rhinoceros in KNP may be useful in assessing health status for translocation and medical interventions, including treatment of poaching cases.
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Vol. 51 • No. 4