Ninety-six white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) were captured between February and October 2009–2011 in Kruger National Park, South Africa and placed in boma confinement before translocation. Of these, 19 rhinoceros did not adapt to the bomas and required early release (n=18) or died (n=1). The available immobilization data and physiologic parameters, including blood gas analyses, were compared between adapted and maladapted rhinoceros to determine whether predisposing causes could be identified. There were no statistical differences in age category, sex, or body weight at capture between adaptation cohorts. The recorded immobilization data, physiologic values, blood gas analytes, hematologic, or serum chemistry values were not statistically different between adapted and maladapted rhinoceros at capture, except maladapted rhinoceros had lower median serum aspartate aminotransferase, blood urea nitrogen, and phosphorus values; however, these statistically different values were not clinically important. Therefore, observable demographic or capture-related factors did not appear to predispose white rhinoceros to maladaptation to boma confinement. Further investigations into factors affecting adaptation should be performed to minimize the effect on rhinoceros health and welfare.
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Vol. 58 • No. 4