Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


Editor-in-Chief: Denys, Christiane

6 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.714
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.816

CiteScore 2017: 0.82

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.433
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.603

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 81, Issue 5


Effect of supplementary feeding on the social behaviour and distribution patterns of free-ranging southern white rhinoceros

Ivana Cinková
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Zoology and Laboratory of Ornithology, Faculty of Science, Palacký University, 17. listopadu 50, 771 46 Olomouc, Czech Republic
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Udo Ganslosser
  • Zoologisches Institut und Museum, Johann Sebastian Bach-Str 11/12, 17 489 Greifswald, Germany; and Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, Erbertstr 1, 07743 Jena, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Petra Kretzschmar
  • Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Alfred-Kowalke-Str. 17, 10315 Berlin, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2016-11-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2016-0016


An increasing number of free-ranging southern white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum Burchell 1817) live in fenced and intensively managed reserves. They are often kept in small populations and depend on supplementary feeding in the dry season, which can influence their behaviour and distribution. We studied the distribution and social behaviour of free-ranging southern white rhinos in two smaller reserves in South Africa. In the first reserve, the rhinos (n=13) were supplementary-fed while in the second one, the rhinos (n=8) depended on natural grazing. Following the start of supplementary feeding in the first reserve, the rhinos changed their distribution and concentrated in areas around the feeding places. We observed (79 h of observation) the social behaviour of rhinos at places, where they frequently gathered and the agonistic interactions between them were significantly more frequent at the feeding places (in the first reserve) than at the natural grazing and resting area (in the second reserve). A sufficient number of feeding places and especially their good dispersion could help decrease the agonistic behaviour. Knowledge of the social behaviour of free-ranging rhinos at potentially competitive places in smaller reserves can also be very valuable for better understanding of behaviour of captive animals.

Keywords: agonistic behaviour; reserve management; social behaviour; southern white rhinoceros; supplementary feeding


  • Aschwanden, J., L. Gygax, B. Wechsler and N.M. Keil. 2008. Social distances of goats at the feeding rack: Influence of the quality of social bonds, rank differences, grouping age and presence of horns. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 114: 116–131.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Alibhai, S.K., Z.C. Jewell and P.R. Law. 2008. A footprint technique to identify white rhino Ceratotherium simum at individual and species levels. Endanger. Species Res. 4: 205–218.Google Scholar

  • Altmann, J. 1974. Observational study of behaviour: sampling methods. Behaviour 49: 227–267.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Berger, J. 1988. Social systems, resources and phylogenetic inertia: an experimental test and its limitations. In: (C.N. Slobodchikoff, ed.) The Ecology of Social Behaviour. Academic Press, San Diego, London. pp. 157–186.Google Scholar

  • Bredenkamp, G. and N. van Rooyen. 1996. Rocky Highveld Grassland. In: (A.B. Low and A.G. Rebelo, eds.) Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Pretoria. pp. 85.Google Scholar

  • Carlstead, K. and J.L. Brown. 2005. Relationships between patterns of fecal corticoid excretion and behavior, reproduction, and environmental factors in captive black (Diceros bicornis) and white (Ceratotherium simum) Rhinoceros. Zoo Biol. 24: 215–232.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Castley, J. G. and A.J. Hall-Martin. 2003. The status of the southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) on private land in South Africa in 2001. Pachyderm 34: 33–44.Google Scholar

  • Cinková, I. and V. Bičík. 2013. Social and reproductive behaviour of critically endangered northern white rhinoceros in a zoological garden. Mamm. Biol. 78: 50–54.Google Scholar

  • Cinková, I. and R. Policht. 2016. Sex and species recognition by wild male southern white rhinoceros using contact pant calls. Anim. Cogn. 19: 375–386.Google Scholar

  • Davies-Mostert, H.T. 2014. Overcoming barriers to understanding the biodiversity contribution of private ranchlands. Anim. Conserv. 17: 399–400.Google Scholar

  • DeVries, A.C., E.R. Glasper and C.E Detillion. 2003. Social modulation of stress responses. Physiol. Behav. 79: 399–407.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • DeVries, T.J., M.A.G. Von Keyserlingk and D.M. Weary. 2004. Effect of feeding space on the inter-cow distance, aggression, and feeding behavior of free-stall housed lactating dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 87: 1432–1438.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Dobson, H. and R.F. Smith. 2000. What is stress, and how does it affect reproduction? Anim. Reprod. Sci. 60–61: 743–752.Google Scholar

  • Emslie, R. 2008. Rhino population sizes and trends. Pachyderm 44: 88–95.Google Scholar

  • Emslie, R. and M. Brooks. 1999. African rhino. Status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN/SSC African rhino specialist group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge. pp. 92.Google Scholar

  • Estevez, I., I.L. Andersen and E. Nævdal. 2007. Group size, density and social dynamics in farm animals. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 103: 185–204.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ganslosser, U. and C. Brunner. 1997. Influence of food distribution on behavior in captive bongos, Taurotragus euryceros: An experimental investigation. Zoo Biol. 16: 237–245.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ganslosser, U. and B. Dellert. 1997. Experimental alterations of food distribution in two species of captive equids (Equus burchelli and E. hemionus kulan). Ethol. Ecol. Evol. 9: 1–17.Google Scholar

  • Ganslosser, U. and P. Thermann. 1997. Verteidigung der nahrungsquellen beeinflusst agonistischen verhalten von damwild (Dama dama) in Gehegehaltung. Zool. Gart. 67: 229–237.Google Scholar

  • Groves, C., P. Fernando and J. Robovský. 2010. The sixth rhino: a taxonomic re-assessment of the critically endangered northern white rhinoceros. PLoS One 5: e9703.Google Scholar

  • Hand, J.L. 1986. Resolution of social conflicts: dominance, egalitarianism, spheres of dominance, and game theory. Q. Rev. Biol. 61: 201–220.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hermes, R., T.B. Hildebrandt, S. Blottner, C. Walzer, S. Silinski, M.L. Patton, G. Wibbelt, F. Schwarzenberger and F. Göritz. 2005. Reproductive soundness of captive southern and northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum, C.s. cotttoni): evaluation of male genital tract morphology and semen quality before and after cryopreservation. Theriogenology 63: 219–238.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hermes, R., T.B. Hildebrandt, C. Walzer, F. Göritz, M.L. Patton, S. Silinski, M.J. Anderson, C.E. Reid, G. Wibbelt, K. Tomášová and F. Schwarzenberger. 2006. The effect of long non-reproductive periods on the genital health in captive female white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum, C.s. cottoni). Theriogenology 65: 1492–1515.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hogan, E.S., K.A. Houpt and K. Sweeney. 1988. The effect of enclosure size on social interactions and daily activity patterns of the captive Asiatic wild horse (Equus przewalskii). Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 21: 147–168.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hutchins, M. and M.D. Kreger. 2006. Rhinoceros behaviour: implications for captive management and conservation. Int. Zoo Yearb. 40: 150–173.Google Scholar

  • Jarman, P. 1974. The social organisation of antelope in relation to their ecology. Behaviour 48: 215–267.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Knight, M. 2013. African rhino specialist group report. Pachyderm 54, 8–27.Google Scholar

  • Knight, M. 2015. African rhino specialist group report. Pachyderm 56, 10–39.Google Scholar

  • Kretzschmar, P. 2002a. Population growth, sex ratio and reproduction of a natural living population of white rhinoceros. In: (H.M. Schwammer, T.J. Foose, M. Fouraker and D. Olson, eds.) A research update on elephants and rhinos, Proceedings of the International elephant and rhino research symposium, Vienna, June 7–11 2001. Schüling Verlag, Münster. pp. 196–201.Google Scholar

  • Kretzschmar, P. 2002b. Ecological, endocrinological and ethological investigations of female mate choice in free-ranging white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum). PhD. thesis, Ernst Moritz Arndt University in Greifswald, Greifswald.Google Scholar

  • Kuneš, M. and V. Bičík. 2001–2002. Social and sexual behaviour in captive breeding groups of white rhinoceros. Acta Univ. Palacki. Olomuc., Fac. rer. nat., Biologica 39–40: 81–99.Google Scholar

  • Meister, J. 1997. Untersuchungen zum Sozial- und Reproduktionsverhalten von Breitmaulnashörnern (Ceratotherium simum) in zoologischen Einrichtungen. PhD. thesis, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Nuremberg.Google Scholar

  • Metrione, L.C. and J.D. Harder. 2011. Fecal corticosterone concentrations and reproductive success in captive female southern white rhinoceros. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 171: 283–292.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Metrione, L.C., L.M. Penfold and G.H. Waring. 2007. Social and spatial relationships in captive southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum). Zoo Biol. 26: 487–502.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Mikulica, V. 1991. Social behaviour in two captive groups of white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum and Ceratotherium simum cottoni). Zool. Gart. 61: 365–385.Google Scholar

  • Milliken, T. and J. Shaw. 2012. The South Africa – Viet Nam rhino horn trade nexus: a deadly combination of institutional lapses, corrupt wildlife industry professionals and Asian crime syndicates. TRAFFIC, Johannesburg. pp. 173.Google Scholar

  • Mills, A.J. and M.V. Fey. 2005. Interactive response of herbivores, soils and vegetation to annual burning in a South African savanna. Austral Ecol. 30: 435–444.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Mundry, R. and J. Fischer. 1998. Use of statistical programs for nonparametric tests of small samples often leads to incorrect P values: examples from animal behaviour. Anim. Behav. 56: 256–259.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Mysterud, A. 2010. Still walking on the wild side? Management actions as steps towards ‘semi-domestication’ of hunted ungulates. J. Appl. Ecol. 47: 920–925.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • North West Province Website. 2016. The Province. Available at: http://www.tourismnorthwest.co.za/the-province/#tab=tab-1 [Accessed January 13, 2016].

  • Owen-Smith, R.N. 1971. Territoriality in the White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) Burchell. Nature 231: 294–296.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Owen-Smith, R.N. 1973. The behavioural ecology of the white rhinoceros. PhD. thesis, University of Wisconsin, Madison.Google Scholar

  • Owen-Smith, R.N. 1975. The social ethology of the white rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum (Burchell 1817*). Z. Tierpsychol. 38: 337–384.Google Scholar

  • Owen-Smith, R.N. 2013. Ceratotherium simum White Rhinoceros (Grass Rhinoceros, Square-lipped Rhinoceros). In: (J. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann, eds.) Mammals of Africa. Volume V. Carnivores, Pangolins, Equids and Rhinoceroses. Bloomsbury, London, New Delhi, New York and Sydney. pp. 446–454.Google Scholar

  • Policht, R., K. Tomášová, D. Holečková and D. Frynta. 2008. The vocal repertoire in northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) as recorded in the last surviving herd. Bioacoustics 18: 69–96.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Reid, C.E., L. Versteege, A. Ludwig and R. Hermes. 2012. Analysis of the European captive Southern white rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum simum population using the International Studbook for the African White Rhinoceros (2001–2004) and integrating reproductive health findings. Int. Zoo Yearb. 46: 209–220.Google Scholar

  • Schmidt, C. and N. Sachser. 1996. Auswirkungen unterschiedlicher Futterverteilungen auf Verhalten und Speichel-Streßhormonkonzentrationen von Breitmaulnashörnern im Allwetterzoo Münster. Curr. Res. App. Ethol. 1996: 188–198.Google Scholar

  • Schmidt, K., L.J. Seivwright, H. Hoi and B.W. Staines. 1998. The effect of depletion and predictability of distinct food patches on the timing of aggression in red deer stags. Ecography 21: 415–422.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Shrader, A.M. and N. Owen-Smith. 2002. The role of companionship in the dispersal of white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum). Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 52: 255–261.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Shrader, A.M., J.F. Post, N. Hagenah, P.W. Bateman and G.I.H. Kerley. 2013. Is a reduction in the individual vigilance of mothers a key evolutionary driver of group formation in white rhinos? Afr. Zool. 48: 109–114.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Swaisgood, R.R., D.M. Dickman and A.M. White. 2006. A captive population in crisis: Testing hypotheses for reproductive failure in captive-born southern white rhinoceros females. Biol. Conserv. 129: 468–476.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Tilbrook, A.J., A.I. Turner and I.J. Clarke. 2000. Effects of stress on reproduction in non-rodent mammals: the role of glucocorticoids and sex differences. Rev. Reprod. 5: 105–113.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Traill, L.W. and R.C. Bigalke. 2006. A presence-only habitat suitability model for large grazing African ungulates and its utility for wildlife management. Afr. J. Ecol. 45: 347–354.Google Scholar

  • van Schaik, C.P. 1989. The ecology of social relationships amongst female primates. In: (V. Standen and R.A. Foley, eds.) Comparative Socioecology. Blackwell Scientific Publication, Oxford. pp. 195–218.Google Scholar

  • van Staden, P.J. 2001. Management plan. Private reserve. Unpublished report. p. 94.Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2016-01-26

Accepted: 2016-09-30

Published Online: 2016-11-12

Published in Print: 2017-08-28

Citation Information: Mammalia, Volume 81, Issue 5, Pages 433–443, ISSN (Online) 1864-1547, ISSN (Print) 0025-1461, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2016-0016.

Export Citation

©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in