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Pienaar, D.J., 1994. Social organization and behaviour of the white rhinoceros: pp. 87-92, tables 1-2

In: Penzhorn, B.L. et al. Proceedings of a symposium on rhinos as game ranch animals. Onderstepoort, Republic of South Africa, 9-10 September 1994: pp. i-iv, 1-242

Location: Africa - Southern Africa - South Africa
Subject: Ecology - Population
Species: White Rhino

Original text on this topic:
Territorial white rhino bulls occupied non-overlapping home ranges and left these territories only to proceed to and from water. In some instances one or two adult bulls shared the home range of a territorial bull but behaved in a subordinate manner. Territorial bulls ejected their urine in powerful sprays, while subordinate bulls and cows urinated in a conventional stream. Territorial males scattered their dung after defecating, while subordinate males, females and subadults did not scatter their dung or only made a few ineffectual kicking movements.
The annual range size of territorial white rhino males in the south-western KNP ranged from 6,2 to 13,8 km? with a mean of 9,9 ? 3,4 km?. Associated core area sizes ranged from 1,7 to 4,2 km? with a mean of 2,7 ? 0,8 km? . The boundaries of annual ranges for males did not overlap although short forays into neighboring ranges were occasionally observed.
The annual range size of white rhino females ranged from 7,2 to 45,2 km? with a mean of 22,8 ? 11,9 km? . The sizes of the associated core areas ranged from 2,9 to 8,9 km? with a mean of 4,7 ? 2,1 km?. Annual ranges of females showed extensive overlap.
The mean annual range size of male white rhino differed significantly from that of females (P= 0,005, n = 15). There was also a significant difference in core area size for male and female white rhinos (P=0,011, n=15).
Two male territory takeovers were observed during the study period. In one case the defeated male moved to a neighboring territory where he assumed a subordinate position. In the second case, the defeated male stayed on in the same territory but restricted his movements to a small area and assumed a subordinate position. In both cases the defeated territorial males ceased to spray-urinate or scatter their dung.
No seasonal movements, such as those mentioned by Heppes for the northern white rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum cottoni, were found in the present study although white rhinoceros females did show a seasonal variation in range size.
In the summer wet season, the mean range size of white rhino females in the KNP was 21,44 ? 11,98 km? compared with 11,64 ? 6,2 km? in the winter dry season (P= 0,03, n = 8). The wet season range size was comparable to the annual range size, whereas a reduction in range size was observed during the dry season. The ranges of territorial males did not show seasonally induced shifts in size. One white rhino female, however, had a dry season range that was larger than the wet season range.
Table 1. Comparison of white rhinoceros densities (animals per km?), male territory and female range sizes ( km?) in four game reserves; The Kruger National Park, Umfolozi Game Reserve and Ndumu Game Reserve in South Africa and Kyle National Park in Zimbabwe
Area Density Male Female
territory range
Kruger 0,5 - 1,4 6,2 - 13,8* 7,2 - 45,2
Kyle 0,7 5 - 11 * 3 - 20
Ndumu 0,6 - 1,8 2,5 - 13,9 4,7 - 22,9
Umfolozi 3,2 - 5,7 0,75 - 2,6* 8,9 - 20,5
* Male territory sizes are significantly smaller than female ranges.

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