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Tichagwa, T.; Pegg, N.; Ndagurwa, H.G.T.; Zhuwau, C., 2020. Factors influencing the diurnal behaviour of white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) in Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe. African Journal of Ecology 2020 - early view:

Location: Africa - Southern Africa - Zimbabwe
Subject: Ecology
Species: White Rhino

Original text on this topic:
Activity periods and diurnal behaviour of southern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum) were studied in Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe, from August 2016 to July 2017 using camera trapping and focal group sampling, respectively. Camera trap data showed that diurnal and nocturnal movements of white rhino varied significantly with moon phase, with more frequent nocturnal photographic captures during full‐ and third‐quarter moon phases than during new and crescent moon phases. Permutational MANOVA and canonical correspondence analysis of focal group observation data were used to test the effects of season, time of day, habitat type, distance to roads, moon phase, presence/absence of other mammals, age/sex category, individual identity and herd composition on daytime behaviour. Weather conditions accounted for the majority of variation in rhino behaviour, with more time spent feeding during cloudy and rainy weather than sunny weather. Time of day and moon phase also accounted for high variation in behaviour, followed by habitat attributes and age/sex category. Variance partitioning by sets of explanatory variables showed that weather conditions had the greatest explanatory power in the variation of rhino behaviour, followed by temporal attributes, habitat attributes and age/sex category. Our findings provide insights for white rhino population management strategies aimed at increasing the effectiveness of security patrols, minimising disturbance and improving sightings for tourists.

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