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BLACK RHINOCEROS (Diceros bicornis)




Veterinary Section (Pages 1-14)

Michele Miller, DVM, PhD

Veterinary Advisor

Black Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan


Eric Miller, DVM, Diplm. ACZM

Veterinary Advisor

Rhinoceros TAG/SSP


Nutrition Section (Page 15 )

Ellen Dierenfeld, PhD

Nutrition Advisor

Black Rhinoceros SSP and Rhinoceros TAG






For any veterinary issues related to black rhinoceros, please contact Dr. Michele Miller, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, P.O. Box 10,000, Lake Buena Vista, FL  32830-1000; phone (407) 939-7316; e-mail:


Please continue to contact Dr. Mary Duncan at the Saint Louis Zoo in the event of a black rhinoceros mortality (email:  A duplicate set of H&E slides or formalinized tissue should be submitted to her.  A copy of the SSP necropsy protocol is available on the AAZV website.


Revision of “Rhinoceros Blood and Tissue Collection Protocol”

The revision is finally completed (version dated June 2003).  The new protocol has been sent to veterinarians through an email list and is also available on the AAZV website ( in the members only section under “Current and Emerging Disease Information – Necropsy and Pathology Protocols”.  This protocol provides up-to-date sample and contact information for research projects and other tissue/serum requests.  Those researchers interested in materials for TAG-approved research projects should contact the veterinary advisor with any updates. 



SSP/TAG Protocols for Rhinoceros

Draft protocols for routine preventive health programs for rhinoceros, recommendations for preshipment exams, transport and quarantine have been developed and submitted to the AZA-Veterinary Advisory Group and Rhinoceros SSP/TAG for review.  These are available on the AAZV website, or by contacting Dr. Michele Miller.


Rhinoceros Websites

In addition to the AAZV website, several other websites with rhinoceros information may be of interest to veterinarians and other involved professionals.


AZA Rhino Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)



AZA Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Rhinos



Veterinary Programs for Rhinos





Annual vaccination with 6-way leptospiral vaccine continues to be recommended.  Please report any adverse reactions to the Veterinary Advisor.  The SSP/TAG veterinary advisors have been in contact with Dr. Ken Harkin at KSU, a leading researcher in veterinary leptospirosis.  He has developed a PCR that will detect at least 40 different serovars of pathogenic leptospires in urine and tissue.  He is willing to run samples from black rhinoceros for a fee.  Details on submission of samples are included in the 2003 “Rhinoceros Blood and Tissue Collection Protocol”.  He has published a manuscript describing the PCR test used in dogs in JAVMA (May 1, 2003; vol 222 no.9, pp. 1224-1233).  An additional manuscript of interest is one describing improved antibody response in cattle vaccinated with L. hardjo by the intradermal route (Samina I, Brenner J, et al.  1997.  Enhanced antibody response in cattle against Leptospira hardjo by intradermal vaccination.  Vaccine 15 (12/13):1434-1436).  This may be worth evaluating when vaccinating rhinos that have been trained for hand-injection. 



West Nile Virus 

Despite the spread of WNV to most of the continental U.S. states, no documented report of clinical disease has occurred in a black or white rhinoceros.  Serum or heparinized plasma samples from rhinoceros should be submitted to Cornell University as part of the WNV Surveillance Program for Zoos.  This is especially important if the animals have been vaccinated to determine if these species will develop antibody titers.


q       Without documented morbidity or mortality associated with WNV infection in black rhinoceros, the risk of infection and disease is still unknown.  However, there are now a number of unvaccinated rhinos that have apparently seroconverted (speculation is that these animals have either been exposed, had asymptomatic infection, or that the antibody titer represents a cross-reaction to another arbovirus). 

q       At least 5 institutions have vaccinated their black rhinos (as well as some white rhinos) using the Fort Dodge equine product without any reports of adverse reactions.  Results of antibody titers post-vaccination are pending at this time.

q        Interpretation of WNV titers (summary):

o       If using Cornell, all sera are screened using serum neutralization (SN) – a titer of 1:40 will be reported as positive.  However, antibodies to other arboviruses may result in false positives in this test (i.e., antibodies to SLE).

o       Any positive sera will be tested at Cornell using viral plaque reduction.  Titers for SLE and WNV are differentiated in this test.  Confirmation of positive results for WNV requires a 4-fold increase in titer for WNV vs SLE.

o       For those institutions using state or other laboratories for WNV titers, it is important to determine methodology when interpreting results.  For example, TVMDL uses hemagglutination inhibition (HI) to screen for WNV antibody – this test should detect antibodies in any species, however, it is not clear whether cross-reactive antibodies will result in false positives.

o       Serologic results in domestic horses use plaque reduction neutralization testing (PRNT) to determine titers.  Vaccination with 2 doses elicited antibody titers >1:5 (1:5-1:1280) at approximately 2-3 weeks post second vaccination.  Preliminary results of the first efficacy trial appear favorable.  Protective titers in other species have not been determined.

Additional data from the WNV Surveillance Program (using Cornell’s results) will be presented at the 2003 AAZV conference. 


Recommendations:  It is strongly recommended that both vaccinated and nonvaccinated rhinos have titers measured opportunistically.  Due to insufficient data, there is no recommendation regarding vaccination of black rhinoceros for WNV at this time.  Since no adverse reactions have been reported in rhinos to date, each institution should assess potential risk of exposure and determine whether vaccination is warranted.  However, vaccination should not be presumed to induce protection in individual rhinoceros since effective vaccination logistics have not been determined.


Suspected Iron-Storage Disease in Black Rhinoceros

Due to changes in labs, testing for suspected imbalances in iron metabolism is being referred to the comparative hematology lab at KSU as a diagnostic test (fee-based).  *Tests available: serum iron, TIBC, ferritin, transferrin saturation, haptoglobin.  Sample requirements:  2 ml serum  shipped overnight on wet ice.  Dr. Don Paglia continues to serve as a consultant, although he is unable to accept samples at this time.

For testing, contact and send samples to:          

Dr. Sue Chavey           

                                    KSU Vet. Med. Center, Mosier Hall

                                    Comparative Hematology

                                    1800 Denison Avenue

                                    Manhattan, KS  66506-5605

                                    Phone:  785-532-4424


Copies of results can be sent to Dr. Michele Miller to create a database that will be shared through the AAZV website and SSP/TAG reports.



IVHS Update

Anecdotal information that at least 2 individual rhinos in Texas (separate institutions) have shown clinical signs consistent with IVHS during the winter months.  One animal was a 7-year-old male that had arrived from Australia about a year previously.  He had not had any previous signs related to IVHS.  The other rhino was a female that had experienced previous episodes of IVHS.  Both rhinos have survived.  Cold agglutinins have been positive at least in the male rhino.  One black rhino that had previously lived in Texas and was euthanized due to hepatic hemochromatosis and renal failure, was also positive for cold agglutinins.  A potential association of cold agglutinins and IVHS should be investigated further.  This test can be performed by Dr. Angulo at Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (979-845-3414) using EDTA whole blood.  If interested in submitting a sample, contact Dr. Angulo prior to shipping a sample for exact instructions and current fees.



Suspected Vitamin D Toxicosis

Over the last two years, several black rhino have died with evidence of soft tissue mineralization (endocardium, great vessels, other tissues).  Prior to death, rhinos showed clinical signs of weight loss, skin ulcerations, dullness, and difficulty rising from recumbency.  Abnormal blood results included variable hypercalcemia, mild elevations in BUN and creatinine, and one animal had elevated CPK and SGOT.  Investigation into the etiology indicated that elevated vitamin D was found in the black rhino pellet at one institution that had experienced several deaths.  This institution used a different feed mill than the sources where most other collections obtain their black rhino pellet.  Several institutions tested their pellet and found vitamin D3 values 1241-4211 IU/kg (recommended livestock levels are 250-100 IU/kg).  The assay to determine 25-hydroxy vitamin D in feed is difficult and may not provide the most accurate results for assessing this problem.  Instead, serum values of 25-hydroxy vitamin D should be used in conjunction with other serum chemistry values and clinical signs.  See appendix 1 for a table of values obtained from black rhinoceros.  Additional data on the black rhinos that succumbed will be presented at the 2003 AAZV/NAG joint conference.


In addition to the animals with elevated serum vitamin D, soft tissue mineralization has been observed at necropsy in two other black rhinos that have died this year; both had vitamin D levels of 69 and 141 nmol/L.  Dystrophic mineralization can occur as a result of injury, disease, and aging in other species.  In patients with renal disease, systemic mineral imbalance can result in ectopic calcification.  Mineral imbalance may be the underlying cause of these observations in black rhinos.  Further research needs to be done to investigate this syndrome.


An unrelated finding is the preliminary data that suggest serum vitamin D values may vary by season in black rhinoceros.  Data from two separate institutions (one in the south, one in the Midwest) show increased serum vitamin D in samples taken in summer versus winter/spring.  Further data is needed to investigate this observation.



Review of Mortalities

Renal pathology appears to be a more common finding in adult mortalities during 2002-2003.  Antecdotal information suggests that changes in BUN and creatinine may be more subtle than is observed in renal disease in other species.  Common clinical signs include lethargy, weight loss, and inappetance.  Adult black rhinoceros that develop chronic weight loss should be evaluated for renal disease.



Black Rhinoceros Standing Sedation Doses

With the widespread use of training and restraint devices for rhinos, the use of standing sedation has become more common.  Requests for doses are occasionally received, so the veterinary advisor has started to compile a list of successful drug combinations.  If veterinarians have used other drug doses or combinations not listed, please send them to Michele Miller (email: to add to the list.

Note:  all information is anecdotal


Etorphine 0.2-0.5 mg IM (total dose)

Butorphanol 0.15 mg/kg + detomidine 0.03 mg/kg IM

Adult (total doses):  50-60 mg detomidine + 20-30 mg butorphenol IM;

reversed with 50-80 mg atipamezole + 500 mg naltrexone IM

Adult (total doses):  100 mg azaperone + 70 mg butorphenol IM;

            reversed with 100 mg naltrexone IM

2 year old (total doses):  40 mg azaperone + 40 mg butorphenol IM


Veterinary Research Projects


1.  Project:  Epidemiological Survey of Rhinoceroses


Researcher:  Dr. Pam Dennis, The Ohio State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbus, Ohio,  43210


In an effort to gain a better understanding of the underlying factors leading to reproductive and health problems in captive rhinoceros in the United States, the International Rhino Foundation has funded an advanced veterinary epidemiology training program focusing on the health of rhinoceros in captivity. This program adopts a broad, population level assessment to examine the factors limiting population growth in captive rhinoceros and to identify the risk factors associated with morbidity and mortality in these captive populations. The project is in its fourth year and the results of the survey are being analyzed.



2.  Project:  Phosphate Depletion in Captive Black Rhinoceros


Researchers:  Dr. Pam Dennis, Dr. Ray Ball, Dr. Bruce LeRoy, Dr. Janine Brown, Dr. Markus Hofmeyr, Harry Peachey


Black rhinoceroses in captivity suffer from many disease syndromes not seen in wild populations. Imbalances in their diet may cause captive animals to become phosphate depleted. Phosphate is essential for providing energy to cells and oxygen to tissues. Tissue hypoxia resulting from phosphate depletion may trigger the production of proteins that enhance the absorption of iron. Endogenous glucocorticoids, released during stressful events, may exacerbate the effects of phosphate depletion.  This research seeks to determine whether captive black rhinos are phosphate depleted and to investigate the relationships of glucocorticoids, iron, and phosphate in the disease syndromes of the captive black rhino.


We are interested in adding rhinos to our study, particularly any animals that are affected with signs of any of the

black rhino syndromes, or are experiencing epistaxis, sudden onset of lameness or shifting leg lameness, hindlimb weakness, or anemia. Please contact Dr. Pam Dennis if you are interested in this study. Contact info: Dr. Pam Dennis, Ohio State University, Dept of Vet Preventive Medicine, 1900 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210 (614) 292-1206,


3.  Project:  Pathological Review of Black Rhinoceros Tissues


Researcher:  Dr. Mary Duncan, Saint Louis Zoo, St. Louis, MO  63110-1396


Please send duplicate sets of pathology tissues from all deaths (and a copy of any pathology reports that you receive from your pathology sources).



4.  Project:  Correlates of Cellular Immune Function in the Black Rhinoceros


Researcher:  Dr. Mike Worley, Zoological Society of San Diego, San Diego, CA  92101


Increased susceptibility to aspergillosis and several gram negative bacterial diseases have been associated with mutations in the open reading frame (ORF) of the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) gene.  As the receptor for gram negative bacterial lipopolysaccharide, TLR4 is one of a family of toll-like receptors that play a role in innate immunity.  As a result of interest in both innate and adaptive immunity in the black rhinoceros, we have determined the DNA sequence of the entire ORF of the TLR4 gene in the black rhinoceros.  Studies are now in progress to determine if mutations exist in the black rhinoceros TLR4 ORF and should mutations exist, if they are associated with individuals with specific types of infections.  We are especially interested in whether development of pulmonary aspergillosis in individual black rhinos are associated with TLR4 ORF mutations.


Cytokines play a major role in modulating cellular and humoral immune responses associated with different lymphocyte subsets.  To address the question of whether some level of immune dysfunction may exist in black rhinos and, if so, whether immunological intervention may provide increased resistance to pathogen insult, we have begun to investigate the role of cytokine expression in black rhino health.  We have determined the DNA sequence of the majority of or the entire ORF of black rhino interleukin 2 (IL-2), IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12 p35, IL-12 p40, IL-13, IL-15, IL-17, IL-18, interferon gamma (INF-G), and granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF).  Using species-specific DNA primers and probes will provide the most accurate data for comparing the level of expression between cytokines and between species of rhinos.


In addition to accurately determining cytokine expression levels, the cloning and sequencing of black rhino cytokine ORFs will allow us to produce recombinant cytokines.  This will provide the opportunity to test these molecules in in vitro enhancement assays and the potential to stimulate ceratin cellular components of the black rhino immune system with cytokine therapy.


Some intracellular pathogen induced diseases in humans have been associated with mutations in certain receptors of specific cytokines.  To determine whether similar types of mutations may exist in black rhinos, we have determined the DNA sequence of the ORF of four cytokine receptors: the IL-2 receptor gamma chain, the IL-18 receptor alpha chain, the IL-12 receptor gamma chain, and the INF-G R1 receptor.  As with the TLR4 ORF, we are searching for mutations in individuals that have experienced various types of diseases.



5.  Project:  Evaluation of Antiphospholipid Syndrome


Researcher:  Dr. Ray Ball, Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida


The antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is defined as the occurrence of venous and arterial thrombosis, recurrent fetal losses, and frequently a moderate thrombocytopenia in the presence of the phospholipid antibodies (aPL), namely lupus anticoagulant (aLA), anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL), or both.  This is a broad definition in a syndrome that can affect virtually any body system.  Comparisons between APS and black rhino syndromes may not be obvious at first but there may be some parallels.


September 2003 Update:

            To date 17/27 captive animals have tested positive for antibodies to anionic antiphospholipid.  All 17 positives had clinical signs consistent with those typically seen in captive black rhinoceros while 8/10 negatives had no such signs.  Several animals have demonstrated a rising level as length in captivity increased and there is a weak correlation to clinical signs developing with these rising levels of antibodies.  Twenty-one wild rhinos from South Africa and four from Zimbabwe have all have levels to these antibodies below the cutoff established using the same controls.  Warfarin anticoagulation is suggested as a therapy for the APS in humans and one rhino at BGT was treated with high intensity warfarin and responded favorably with clinical improvement, lessening of the serum ferritin and reduction of the antiphospholipid antibody levels.  Given that wild rhinos experience various inflammatory conditions this this difference in levels of antibody appears significant.  Samples are still sought and the next phase of this investigation will examine the possibility of food as an antigen (food hypersensitivity) as the trigger for the difference in the levels of APS antibodies in these rhinos.  Food hypersensitivity profiles exist for domestic animals using IgG and IgE and will be adapted for use in black rhinoceros.  Food trials using a new browser diet will be tested and will hope to include gastric biopsies.


Samples are requested with histories from animals with any of the syndromes that have affected black rhinos in captivity.  Neonates/juveniles are also to be looked at as well as pregnant animals, animals with embryonic/fetal losses (from all causes).  Beta-2-glycoprotein (B2-GPI) and IL-3 will hopefully be examined in these animals and wild animals when the opportunity arises. Please contact Ray Ball, DVM at Busch Gardens 813-987-5562, Fax 813-987-5562, e-mail at for more details and shipping arrangements.


6.  Project:  Evaluation of Iron Metabolism as a Function of Age and Diet


Researcher:  Dr. Michele Miller, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, Florida


Captive black rhinoceros have increased hemosiderosis as compared to captive white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) (JE Smith, PS Chavey, RE Miller, 1995).  This appears to be a condition of captivity, since recently captured animals do not have this condition.  Antecdotal information indicates that diet and environmental factors play an important role, since black rhinoceros born in other countries, such as Japan and Australia, do not develop the severe iron loads seen in captive animals in North America (D Paglia, pers. comm.).  Iron accumulation in tissues can lead to a variety of pathological conditions, and may lead to fatal toxicosis.  Therefore, monitoring the amount of stored iron and iron secretion is important in determining methods of prevention and treatment. 


Since iron accumulation would hypothetically worsen with age in a captive animal, serial samples over time might allow detection of excess iron loads in time to start intervention (i.e., chelation, therapeutic phlebotomy).  This baseline would also allow comparison of iron absorption from different diets.


At this time, monthly samples from 4.2 black rhinos have been collected for approximately 13 months to monitor serum iron (and other trace minerals), total iron binding capacity (TIBC), ferritin, ceruloplasmin, haptoglobin, hematocrit and total protein, in juvenile and adult black rhinoceros exposed to the same dietary and environmental factors to determine the effects of age and create baseline for diet changes or other interventions.


Diet changes were initiated after at least 4 months of baseline data.  One adult male developed clinical disease during this period and underwent a successful ultrasound-guided liver biopsy using standing sedation.  The biopsy detected diffuse iron pigment in hepatocytes.  Since diet analyses of pellet, hay, and browse is performed with each change, any trends can be correlated retrospectively.  Initial data is being analyzed at this time.  From very preliminary data, it appears that ferritin varies with age and may be elevated in young rhinos with an initial drop before reaching a plateau or slow increase with age.



7.  Project:  Salmonella Shedding in Asymptomatic Black Rhinoceros


Researcher:  Dr. Michele Miller, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, Florida


Salmonellosis is a potentially serious disease in black rhinoceros.  Diagnostic testing is often complicated by the intermittent shedding of Salmonella bacteria as well as sensitivity of the culture.  This study was initiated to determine whether black rhinoceros can shed Salmonella without showing clinical signs, and compare fecal culture and PCR methods for detection.  Fecal samples were collected from 6 black rhinoceros three times during the first week of each month and submitted for culture and PCR testing.  The study included two adult females, two adult males, and two juvenile males.  Between April 2000 and June 2003, 414 samples were submitted for culture and 427 samples for PCR at Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL).  The fecal PCR test was validated for horses and has been shown to detect multiple serotypes.  None of the animals showed clinical signs consistent with Salmonellosis during the study.  Very similar detection rates were obtained for the two methods (2.66% for culture, 2.34% for PCR).  Interestingly, only two of the animals never had a positive result (one adult female, one juvenile male).  These results suggest that black rhinos may shed Salmonella asymptomatically, and may have a carrier state similar to horses.  Positive results in a symptomatic rhino should be interpreted in light of clinical signs, since shedding may be secondary to another problem.



Black Rhinoceros Deaths

July 1, 2002 – July 31, 2003


Southern Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor)


SB#/Institution  Sex      DOB                DOD                Cause of Death


410/White Oak            F          1983 (wild)      17Jan03           Died – hyercalcemia,


                                                                                                Systemic mineralization,

                                                                                                Marked renal pathology*

                                                                                                Hemosiderosis (multiple



522/White Oak            M         1987 (wild)      7Oct02                        Died – systemic

                                                                                                mineralization, cachexia, 

                                                                                                hemosiderosis (multiple

                                                                                                tissues); mild renal changes       


783/White Oak            M         5Aug00            28Jan03           Died – septicemia*

Pneumonia, myodegeneration, nephritis w/ mineralization, gastroenteritis, cellulitis 


900/Milwaukee            M         25Oct02          25Oct02          Died – weak neonate;

                                                                                                maternal trauma


403/Disney’s    M         1989 (wild)      26May03                     Euthanized – hx of wt loss

Animal Kingdom                                                                       Glomerulonephritis/


                                                                                                Diffuse hepatic

                                                                                                hemosiderosis, gastritis,

                                                                                                adrenal gland adenoma


Eastern Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli)


SB#/Institution  Sex      DOB                DOD                Cause of Death

552/Jacksonville           M         22Aug95          25Dec02          Died after anesthesia

Hx of wt loss, lethargy

Moderate-marked glomerulonephropathy*

                                                                                                Mild-moderate hemosiderosis

                                                                                                (multiple tissues)


247/Cincinnati              M         1970 (wild)      3Oct02                        Euthanized due to severe

                                                                                                chronic osteoarthritis*  

                                                                                                Hemosiderosis (multiple



381/Riverbanks            M         10Jun86           3Nov02           Euthanized

Mild-severe mineralization (multiple tissues)

Moderate-severe renal pathology

                                                                                                Mild-moderate hemosiderosis

                                                                                                (multiple tissues)


432/Busch Gardens      M         31Oct89          27Dec02          Euthanized

Hx of severe anemia, epistaxis

Progressive sinusitis – suspect fungal

Mild-moderate hemosiderosis

                                                                                                (multiple tissues)                                                                                              

Appendix 1.  Table of Vitamin D values in black rhinoceros                                                                             


Rhino ID

25-hydroxy Vit D (nmol/L)

Ca (mg/dL)

P (mg/dL)


Riverbanks #1





Riverbanks #1





Riverbanks #1





Riverbanks #2





Riverbanks #2*





Riverbanks #2





Riverbanks #2*
































































Feb 5 03





Feb 5 03





Feb 5 03





Feb 5 03





Feb 5 03





Feb 5 03





April 7 03





April 7 03





April 7 03





April 7 03





April 7 03





July 7 03





July 7 03





July 7 03





July 7 03





July 7 03






Milw-adult male





Milw-adult female





Milw-6yo female





St. Louis-female





Potter Park-Jimma*




Jun 3 98





Sept 22 01





Jul 23 02





Aug 27 02


>399 (Boston lab)



Dec 5 02


>399 (Boston lab)



Aug 2 2002





Nov 4 02





Oct 22 02





April 14 03





April 28 03





April 14 03





April 14 03










Wild blk rhinos (28)

WCS-E. Dierenfeld

144.8 +/-88.9



Captive rhinos (2) in Australia

WCS -E. Dierenfeld

0.25 +/- 0








Normal values






































Rhinoceros Nutrition Research Update 2003

Ellen S. Dierenfeld, PhD

Nutrition Advisor, Rhino TAG/Black rhino SSP



1.      Asian One-Horned Rhino Nutrition study was completed by Carmen Polster, Ludwig-Maximillians Universitaet, Munich, as part of her PhD program.  She monitored intake and digestion in animals fed diets with or without concentrate at 3 zoos in Europe (Munich, Zurich, and Nuernburg) as well as in the Bronx, US.  She is also focusing on understanding mechanisms of calcium metabolism in this species.


2.      Feeding Trials with Low-Iron Formulations and Dietary Tannin Additions continue in studies with browsing rhinos in the US.  Results of similar trials were reported from European facilities in the 2002 report – all investigations are seeking to address potential health problems from iron storage disease as has been reported in the species.


3.      Chemical Composition of Native Browses Eaten by Sumatran Rhinos in Malaysia has been quantified, and a summary note prepared for publication from studies spearheaded by Dr. Annaliese Kilbourn.


4.      A Database of Diets Fed and Browses Used in Rhino Feeding Programs at AZA Institutions is being jointly compiled for broad distribution, through funding provided by the International Rhino Foundation/SOS Rhino (funds from grant R96-2), and efforts of Rhino Keepers within the AAZK, Colorado State University, and Wildlife Conservation Society personnel.


5.        A Summary of Mineral Concentrations in Blood and Tissues of Captive and Free-Ranging Rhino Species, comprising blood samples from 65 individuals and 25 livers from 4 species in captivity and >20 free-ranging animals from several locations has been submitted for publication.  Horses appear a good physiologic model for interpretation of data in rhinoceros; nonetheless some distinct highlights are apparent.  Browsing rhino species have higher concentrations of iron – in both blood and tissue samples – compared with grazers, but dietary iron alone is probably not the single causative factor.  There appears to be some real differences in copper metabolism among the rhino species as well, with the browsing species possibly deficient in this mineral (which may also be linked with iron metabolism differences).  Excessive concentrations of both Se and Mo were noted in captive rhino species compared to free-ranging, as well as physiologic norms.  This study was funded by the International Rhino Foundation/SOS Rhino (R96-2), authored by Ellen S. Dierenfeld, Shirley Atkinson, A. Morrie Craig, Karen C. Walker, W. Jürgen Streich, and Marcus Clauss. 



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