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Keywords:

  • Acacia;
  • diet;
  • Kenya;
  • palatability;
  • rhinoceros;
  • selectivity

Summary

Daily indirect observations were made on the diet and feeding habits of the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis L.) on Ol Ari Nyiro Ranch, Laikipia, Kenya over a six-month period. Individual rhinos were followed along their feeding tracks, plants consumed by tracked animals were identified and herbivory quantified.

In total, 9665 individual feeding points were recorded at 1967 feeding stations. At least 103 plant species from at least 37 families were identified as rhino food plants. The diet of black rhinos on Ol Ari Nyiro was at least as species-rich as that in bushland habitats in Tsavo National Park and considerably more species-rich than the diet of rhinos in Masai Mara Reserve. Black rhinos ate selectively and showed a marked reference for Acacia species and Phyllanthus fisheri. They apparently fed less on each plant in the dry season than in the wet season. This may be due to decreased palatability of food plants, and implies that rhinos may travel further per day in the dry season than in the wet season.

Résumé

Pendant six mois, on a fait des observations quotidiennes indirectes des habitudes de régime alimentaire et de mode alimentaire du rhinocéros noir (Diceros bicornis L.) au ranch d'Ol Ari Nyiro, à Laikipia, au Kenya. On a suivi individuellement les rhinos le long de leurs pistes de nourrissage, on a identifyé les plantes consommées par les animaux suivis et on a quantifyé cette consommation.