Factors affecting the behavior of captive white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) and the accuracy of ad-hoc keeper data

Goodenough, Anne E ORCID: 0000-0002-7662-6670, Price, Thomas, Brazier, Danica L. and McDonald, Katie (2023) Factors affecting the behavior of captive white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) and the accuracy of ad-hoc keeper data. Zoo Biology, 42 (1). pp. 45-54. doi:10.1002/zoo.21723

11391_Goodenough_Price_Brazier_McDonald_(2022)_factors_affecting_the_behavior_of_captive_white_rhinoceros_ceratotherium_simum_and_the_accuracy_of_adhoc_keeper_data.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (474kB) | Preview


Although white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) are common in captivity, few behavioral studies have been conducted and there is seemingly no research for immersive exhibits where potential for visitor effects is high. Moreover, little information exists on possible effects of weather and temperature on rhino outside their native range. Here we analyze 14,501 observations of rhino in a drive-through enclosure. Data were collected by researchers (n=12,160 datapoints) and keepers (n=2,341 datapoints) over a four-month period. We aimed to: (1) quantify behavior using detailed researcher-collected data and contemporaneous but ad-hoc keeper-collected data; (2) compare datasets statistically; (3) establish effects of visitors, temperature, and weather on behavior; and (4) assess the influence of visitors on similarity of researcher/keeper datasets. Activity budgets were similar to the wild and the single previous study from a traditional (non-drive-through) enclosure. There was some discrepancy in activity budgets between researcher and keeper data due to significant differences in recorded frequency of two rare behaviors (horn rub; social interaction) and two behaviors that could be easily confused (grazing vs standing with head-down): recording of other behaviors matched well. Weather and temperature affected behavior, with rhino becoming more sedentary (- locomotion, grazing; + resting, standing, and sedentary eating of hay) on hot/sunny days compared to cool/wet days. The number of visitor vehicles had a fairly negligible effect but resting was lower on busy days, possibly as vigilance increased. The match between researcher/keeper datasets was lowest when visitor numbers were high, suggesting visitors might affect keeper ability to accurately record behavior.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Activity budget; Dataset comparison; Drive‐through enclosure; Visitor effects; Rhino behavior; Zoo keeper data
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Anna Kerr
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2022 15:46
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 14:08
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/11391

University Staff: Request a correction | Repository Editors: Update this record

University Of Gloucestershire

Bookmark and Share

Find Us On Social Media:

Social Media Icons Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Pinterest Linkedin

Other University Web Sites

University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.