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Non-invasing reproductive monitoring of six female wild rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum simum)

By B. Bitter


Gaining knowledge of the reproductive status of wild animals can provide invaluable information that may assist in making appropriate conservation management programs. This study was a part of a long term non-invasive reproductive study in wild southern white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum simum) females in the Lapalala Wilderness in South Africa. Six females were monitored non-invasively using fecal progestagen analysis during a 4 months period. The purpose of this study was to determine the oestrus cycle of wild female white rhinoceroses and to non-invasively determine pregnancy. Fresh fecal samples were attempted to be collected on a regular basis (ideally twice per week) from each of the six females. The samples were freeze-dried and extracted and an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) was performed. The fecal progestagen profiles were highly variable between the different females. Because of the difficulty of finding the rhinoceroses on a regular basis it proved to be difficult to determine the oestrus cycles of these females. However, the progestagen profiles showed a significant difference between pregnant and non-pregnant periods. Non-invasive measurement of progestagen levels could therefore be implicated in wildlife management for determining pregnancy in wild female white rhinoceroses

Topics: Diergeneeskunde, white rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum, reproduction, pregnancy, progestagen
Year: 2008
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