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Rhino Resource Center: Rhino Forums > Rhinos in Captivity > Zoos > Protecting trees!

Posted by: JJ_thomas May 29 2007, 10:15 PM

We are planning to place live Oaks in our Black Rhino enclosure, but we're not sure how to protect the trees.
I know hot wire does the trick, but are there any less expensive ways do achieve the same result?

Please leave a message if you know the solution!

Kind regards,


Posted by: ChrisL May 30 2007, 05:41 PM
We use hotwhire and I don't think there is a cheaper alternative. Rhinos just like to destroy things, especially trees.

I know that elephants are afraid of bees and some parks in Africa hang bee hives from trees to scare away the elephants. Don't know if this works on rhino's though. Plus, I don't think zoo's would want bees near their animals and visitors.

Posted by: Drooey May 31 2007, 10:30 AM
Speaking as a zoo visitor rather than a professional in the field, I would have to concur about the non-use of bees (please)! smile.gif I think the African Bees tend to be high up in the trees and are therefore elephants would be more likely to encounter them. A low browsing species like the Rhino would probably not disturb them unless they were giving the tree a particularly hard time!

The only alternative I can see is re-configuring the enclosures so that Rhinos are not in proximity to the young trees until they were big enough to withstand the battering. This would probably involve more expense than the hot wire not to mention the time and effort and inconvenience. The problem is that Oaks are quite slow growing and although very strong ultimately, you may have to have the hot wires in place for a long time.

Are Rhinos ok ingesting acorns by the way? I know they have tough stomachs but I don't know what the effect would be if a large quantity of acorns were to find their way in to them?

Good luck with the project. Perhaps you could post your progress with it along with some photos?


Posted by: nyukitx Jun 7 2007, 06:22 AM
We've planted a lovely little sweetgum in one of our black rhino yards. The planter area is elevated about 2.5 feet and surrounded by boulders. Although we spent the first couple years watering the darn thing every other day, it has since taken hold and is doing very well, plus it adds a nice dimension to the yard. The slope is great enough that the rhinos don't think of climbing into it. It might look nicer than hotwire and be more visitor-friendly than a bee hive.

Posted by: JJ_thomas Jun 8 2007, 01:53 PM
Thanks for all the replies.
I guess we'll have a try with planting them and indeed surrounding them with boulders. We're probably going for an automatic irrigation system though.



Posted by: Willem Jun 8 2007, 01:57 PM
Good to see questions are being answered. ChrisL, Drooey & Nyukitx thks for signing up and sharing your expertise.

Posted by: Michael Dee Jun 8 2007, 10:53 PM
You might try using large posts in a circle around the trees. We used them for whites, blacks & Indians. Once the trees were large enough, the posts were removed and the rhinos did little damage.

Posted by: Drooey Jun 19 2007, 11:59 AM
I understand also that Rhinos are reluctant (or unable?) to cross even relatively shallow ditches or mounds. Maybe a small ditch around the saplings or a low earthen mound would keep the Rhinos away without spoiling the look of the enclosure? It would be cheap too! I am not an expert though so I would have to defer to those more knowledgable as to whether this is, in fact, true and if this would pose any risk of injury to the Rhinos (which we definitely don't want).

Posted by: nyukitx Jun 21 2007, 06:36 PM
I wouldn't count on a ditch to deter them. We have gradual slopes to our enclosure walls and they are paved in cobble-like stonework. You can tell it is uncomfortable on the feet and slow-going...but if I've a bucket of produce the rhinos will come to the wall without haste. I would bet a juicy-looking sappling would be just as tempting.

Posted by: becwood Nov 11 2011, 06:51 AM
a metal tree guard??? we use them for our rhino exhibits and they are longstanding. Similar to tree guards in primate exhibits or other arboreal animal exhibits to stop them climbing? Works the same for ring barking...

Posted by: dilandilan Sep 22 2014, 08:04 AM
that depends on your capacity to have solutions.... i think the one that you have mentioned is the best way......