Ninety-four subadult and adult white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum) were captured between February and October, 2009–11, in Kruger National Park and placed in holding bomas prior to translocation to other locations within South Africa. A simple three-category system was developed based on appetite, fecal consistency/volume, and behavior to assess adaptation to bomas. Individual animal and group daily median scores were used to determine trends and when rhinoceroses had successfully adapted to the boma. Seventeen rhinoceroses did not adapt to boma confinement, and 16 were released (1 mortality). No differences in boma scores were observed between rhinoceroses that adapted and those that did not, until day 8, when the first significant differences were observed (adapted score=13 versus nonadapted score=10). The time to reach a boma score determined as successful adaptation (median 19 d) matched subjective observations, which was approximately 3 wk for most rhinoceroses. Unsuccessful adaptation was indicated by an individual boma score of less than 15, typically during the first 2 wk, or a declining trend in scores within the first 7–14 d. This scoring system can be used for most locations and could also be easily adapted to other areas in which rhinoceroses are held in captivity. This tool also provides important information for assessing welfare in newly captured rhinoceroses.
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1 April 2016
A SCORING SYSTEM TO IMPROVE DECISION MAKING AND OUTCOMES IN THE ADAPTATION OF RECENTLY CAPTURED WHITE RHINOCEROSES (CERATOTHERIUM SIMUM) TO CAPTIVITY
Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Vol. 52 • No. 2s
Vol. 52 • No. 2s