Sharing with Other Species

The critical factors for sharing the enclosure with other species are space and refuge availability, including visual barriers. In a non-breeding situation rhino species have been successfully mixed with birds and hoof stock. In all cases the dispositions of the individual animals, as well as adequate space and exhibit structure are important considerations prior to attempting a mixed species exhibit.

Black rhinos have been reported to be problematic in mixed species exhibits. Both sexes have attacked and killed neonate and adult ungulates (Guldenschuh and von Houwald, 2002; Rieches, 1999).

Black rhinos can be mixed indoor with several small bird species. Another species mentioned is the ostrich however this mix has failed. Black rhinos can be mixed with (water) birds. According to the Rhino Keepers’ Workshop 2001 Husbandry Survey one zoo, Disney Animal Kingdom, has a mixed enclosure involving Black rhino, Pink backed pelican (Pelecanus rufescens) and Yellow billed stork (Mycteria ibis) (Mehrdadfar, 2002).

Red-billed ox peckers (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) have been mixed with Black rhinos in an indoor exhibit. The rhinos and ox peckers were only mixed when the rhinos were indoors. During the day the rhinos were locked outside of the house. Other species present in the same exhibit were Double-toothed barbet (Lybius bidentatus), Violet turaco (Musophaga violacea), Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), African grey hornbill (Tockus nasutus epirhinus), and Dinemelli’s weaver (Dinemellia dinemelli). The Black rhinos were highly intolerant to the ox peckers. The Ox peckers were feeding on the wounds of the Black rhino and they were making new wounds. Only half of the time the rhinos managed to chase the Ox peckers away. It is recommended observing both species when mixed (McElligott et al, 2004).

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