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Hall-Martin, A.; Walker, C.H.; Bothma, J. du P., 1988. Kaokoveld: the last wilderness. Johannesburg, Southern Book Publishers, pp. i-xii, 1-145

Location: Africa - Southern Africa - Namibia
Subject: Ecology - Food
Species: Black Rhino

Original text on this topic:
Desert rhinos in Namibia. That these rhino can survive in areas with less than 100 mm mean annual rainfall is amazing. Normally rhino drink every night, yet in the Kaokoveld, because they must move great distances in search of food, they may drink only every third or even fourth night.
They utilise a wide range of plants for food, as recorded in Blythe Loutit's field studies over the past few years. In a study carried out in the area of the Doros Craters, in the Ugab valley, it was found that black rhino utilised 74 out of 103 plant species present.
Among the plants taken were several which contain very high levels of soluble tannins. which are normally regarded as a chemical defence mechanism by which plants avoid being eaten. (Others depend upon physical defences, such as spines and thorns.) The rhino were apparently not even deterre tie exceedingly virulent latex and formidable spines of Euphorbia virosa. a favourite food plant for them. The milky sap of this plant is so potent that Blythe and her co-workers reported severe skin irritations afflicting the person preparing samples for analysis.
The rhino showed a distinct preference for certain other plants as well, such as Sterculia africana, which was often browsed down to a stump by the rhino. Fortunately such plants recovered quickly after rains fell and put out new shoots. The rhino also fed on Welwitschia mirabilis plants but sometimes just chewed on the leaves and dropped them. Other plants were fed upon as and when the rhino encountered them, and yet others were avoided.

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