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Adcock, K., 1994. The relevance of 'territorial' behaviour in black rhino to their population management: pp. 82-86, fig. 1, table 1

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: Black Rhino

Original text on this topic:
The overall size and shape of rhino ranges is determined by the quality, quantity and distribution of food and water resources; and to a lesser extent the ranges of potential mates and competing animals. The ranges of dominant bulls therefore resembles jig-saw pieces over the resources of the reserve, and the number that result is partly a matter of geometry. Thus the number of dominant males that can be carried is not only related to the park's carrying capacity (CC), and is usually less than might be anticipated from overall CC estimates.
Areas far away (ca 10 km in Pilanesberg) from permanent water will not become regular territories, although they may be used during the wet season. A highly clumped or limited water distribution will thus limit the number of territories and rhino in a reserve. Table 1 shows some estimates of range size for males in different parts of Africa. Figure 1 shows dominant male rhino range patterns in Pilanesberg from 1984-89, after introductions.
Because territorial behaviour leads to injuries and deaths, good rhino management (aimed at maximum yield) should take careful account of population age structure and distribution, and especially male rhino behaviour.
Young, maturing bulls that are surplus to the jig-saw of territories, and that could cause disruptions, may need to be removed. Removing prime breeding males (territory holders) is more disruptive to breeding, as the replacement male will take time to settle and win over the female rhino for mating. Ageing prime males could however be removed to make room for young bulls (new blood).
Females do seem less prone to injury or death through fighting-related high levels of social pressure. Usually such incidents are related to defense of their calves and/or failed courtship behaviour. However, such incidents should be carefully diagnosed, because they could imply that the population is nearing capacity for the habitat and territory conditions prevailing. Again, monitoring of the age structure and distribution of the animals should assist in making removal decisions to alleviate the situation.
Table 1: Range sizes of black rhino in different parts of Africa
Location Range size ( km?) Reference
Masai Mara 5,6-22,7 Mukinya
Serengeti 88-133 Frame
Laikepia 15-70 (males) Brett
Ndumu 8,3-13,8 Goodman & Conway
Pilanesberg 16-60 (females) Adcock
Pilanesberg 13,9-40,9 (males) Adcock
Hluhluwe* 1,7-4,2 Hitchins
Andries Vosloo 0,5-2,0 Fike
NB: this was in the 1960's when carrying capacity was much greater due to rhino food vegetation's ideal size structure and density.

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