Faecal corticosterone responses of black rhinos (Diceros bicornis) to a transfer between housing facilities within a zoo

  • Thomas Göttert
  • Pierre Grothmann
  • Ulrich Zeller


Faecal corticosterone metabolites (FCM) of four black rhinos (Diceros bicornis) at Magdeburg Zoo in Germany were investigated to assess the stress level associated with an internal transfer of rhinos between housing facilities. Moving rhinos within the zoo led to a punctual increase of FCM concentrations in three animals. We observed no signs of a period of acclimatisation, such as increased FCM levels for several days or longer periods. Increased FCM levels of one out of three rhinos re-investigated one year after the enclosure change, may be related to the reproductive status of this female (five to six months before parturition). The moderate FCM response patterns found in this study indicate that the transfer of rhinos between enclosures at Magdeburg Zoo was minimally invasive.

Evidence Based Practice